Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Gun law

The still-resonating shooting at Orlando in Florida - an inland city, not a coastal one with beach bars and clubs, incidentally - once again emphasises how very easy it is to get gunned down in the USA. This is shocking for a country that is supposed to be the most tone-setting and sophisticated on earth, and a world leader where notions connected with individual freedom and maximum personal opportunity are concerned. And, moreover, a country with notoriously strict border controls. It can keep out people it doesn't like, though it seems extraordinary who does get in.

Unfortunately that 'individual freedom and maximum personal opportunity' thing has become a religion. A birthright. Not to be meddled with. Thus it remains casually easy in the USA to buy multiple guns and ammunition with no serious questions asked. 'Oh, it's for self defence against that armed foreign scum in my area,' would probably be as good an excuse as any - if one were needed at all. In this instance, a foreign-born man of questionable background and allegiance misused his 'right' to freely buy guns and ammunition, and then turned them on people who were giving no thought to self-defence, only pleasure and companionship. It was a class action against random, representative victims not personally known to the attacker: implacable, irrational; the restraints of human fellowship thrown aside; death as the expected end for both attacker and victims. Paradise for him - hell for the rest.

Apart from the tragedy (as I see it) of acting on a mere belief, it all seems very self-centred and selfish of the attacker. Why did he think it correct to be so grossly self-important? On what spurious authority could he self-select his own martyrdom? Wasn't it basically a very 'look at me' thing to do? 'I am the chosen one.' 'I decide who can live.' 'My standards are correct, and any deviations sicken me and merit death.' This is the thinking of the obsessive narcissist. And any society or dogma that encourages such dangerous delusions has flaws in it that urgently need to be addressed.

So whom do I blame? The attacker, first and last. He did it. He was full of prejudice. He didn't care about the ones he hated.

But there are secondary people to point the finger at.

Those who warped this man's mind, and instilled heartless intolerance, and inspired him to kill. Either by poisonous whispers in his naïve ear, or by presenting him with inflammatory words and images on the Internet that he swallowed whole.

Those who gave him the tools for this mission. The guns. The bullets. Retailers who must have known what automatic weapons are really for.

Those who have consistently and fiercely upheld the 'national right' to carry arms, when the existence of armed police everywhere - plenty of them - ought to have rendered such a right obsolete. Why have armed police officers at all, if the private citizen can shoot away at will?

Those who have preserved ideas that differentiate between people, and claim that some people are inferior, or perverted, or simply 'not like us'. When we are really all like each other.

I don't buy the idea that the gun is a just lump of metal and entirely innocent. That the attention should not be on owning a gun, but entirely on the mental attitude of the person who picks the gun up and pulls the trigger.

But if the gun weren't handy, the person intent on killing would have to find a different weapon, and might not be able to kill at all. Whipping out a gun is too easy, too likely to cause harm. What else can you do with a gun but fire it? It has no other purpose than to shoot a bullet into a body. Which will at least wound, and may cause death. A gun is an absolute sanction, an all-or-nothing device. It threatens death, even if unloaded or a fake. It's therefore a potent status symbol for people with power and control delusions.

'But it has legitimate uses for bird-scaring and hunting,' some may say. Well, clever sonic devices will scare birds. And I'd prefer to see amateur hunters banned completely. I want more wildlife. I am for guns being only in the hands of professionals: soldiers, policemen, marksmen. With strict guidelines enforced. The ordinary citizen doesn't 'need' a firearm. It's not a toy, nor a symbol of manhood, it's a horrible, dangerous killing device. It certainly shouldn't be available to the general public, any more than explosive, poisonous or radioactive materials should be.

It's odd how weapons - specifically guns - still have such a strong attraction. You'd think that the well-known results of gun-play would put all sensible people off. I'm guessing that for a man, a gun confers power and authority, adds to his sexual status, and consoles him with the thought that if 'they' offend him once too often, then he will blast away and be done with the whole problem. Well, I think that's the mindset of weak people. Of inadequates, who can't engage with whatever bothers them. Flawed human beings, in fact.

A pity there are so many of them around - and you never seem to know who they are. They sit carefully on their wobbly concerns. They are secret people, secret assassins.

And how often it is, after some outrage, that their family go into denial. 'He just wasn't like that.' 'He was so kind-hearted and considerate, so clever, everything to live for.' 'He was my son, I knew him so well.' You hear this over and over again. No parent ever admits that their children keep their thoughts hidden from them - for reasons that seem good to children - because that would be so shameful. So when the child commits murder, that cannot be borne. It didn't really happen.

It looks to me as if a lot of people in the USA - and most other parts of the world, in all fairness - are in denial about guns and the mental state of many of their citizens. Vulnerable minds and killing weapons seem to get together far too easily, and only an amendment to the Constitution will force a change.

Meanwhile, who is safe?


  1. Depressing, is it not, that a gay rights group (The Pink Pistols) responded by encouraging the LGBT community to arm themselves... as if that would have made an iota of difference.

  2. Sigh. I'd hate to get caught in the crossfire.



You must be registered with a proper blogging platform if you wish to make a comment. I have had to deny access to completely anonymous commentators.

This blog is public, and I expect comments from many sources and points of view. They will be welcome if sincere, well-expressed and add something worthwhile to the post. If not, they face removal.

Ideally I want to hear from bloggers, who, like myself, are knowable as real people and can be contacted. Anyone whose identity is questionable or impossible to verify may have their comments removed. Commercially-inspired comments will certainly be deleted - I do not allow free advertising.

Whoever you are, if you wish to make a private comment, rather than a public one, then do consider emailing me - see my Blogger Profile for the address.

Lucy Melford