It was not my intention this week to write a piece about guns. I had a whole other blog in the cooker bubbling over just waiting to be served but it turns out it’ll have to wait.
As most people know by now on Sunday a 64 year old white man smuggled a fuck ton of guns into his Las Vegas hotel room over looking a music festival and shot a load of people through the windows.
I don’t see why. I mean it literally happens all the time. In 2016 it was reported that there were 1000 mass shootings in America in 1260 days. America has a longer history than most people realise of school shootings the first one recorded in 1764 in Greencastle, Pennsylvania (sorry Eric). On an average day 93 Americans are killed with guns, seven of which are children or teenagers. There’s nearly 12000 gun homicides (that’s actual homicides) a year…
…and surprise surprise if you’re a black man you are 14 times more likely to be shot and killed with a gun than a white man. I don’t have the numbers on how many of these shootings are by police but I would take a rough guess at MOST OF THEM.
So why is this happening in America? How is it that so many people are getting shot all the time? Why do Americans love guns so much? And what makes a single wealthy white man who has by most accounts a pretty cushty life go and shoot a load of people and then himself?
One. This is happening in America because in America pretty much anyone can own a gun. Americans call this their Second Amendment privilege which essentially gives every American the right to bear arms to defend oneself.
Two. So many people are getting shot in America because in America pretty much anyone can own a gun. Americans call this their Second Amendment privilege which essentially gives every American the right to bear arms to defend oneself.
Not to me. And often not to Brits at all but that’s probably because we have a history that pre-dates the colonisation of America and therefore the constitution. The Tudor period is just one example of the powers that be getting it wrong so maybe we are just a far older more cynical nation. Plus we don’t have a constitution. But the Yankees seem to have the constitution bred into their psyche and are raised to believe in their constitutional rights. And gun culture is right up there. So do Americans believe so strongly in their right to bear arms purely because an old document written hundreds of years ago says so?
Again as an atheist who makes a point of not believing words written down by men I’ve never met about life changing things like who I sleep with and how I dress maybe I just can’t understand it. What I do understand is people using something like national pride as an excuse to own dangerous weapons. People will convince themselves of practically anything in order to continue doing what they want to do. America’s gun laws are a perfect example of this.
Why do Americans love guns so much? Is it exposure? The fact that they can? Maybe it’s fear? In Michael Moores documentary Bowling for Columbine one answer to this question comes in the form of a severe distrust of law enforcement/the government. It is voiced that it makes sense to cut out the middle man i.e. the police who carry guns, in defending ones home from crime and carry guns themselves. In this reality the Second Amendment privilege is described as an American responsibility. Ironic that such a patriotic nation would feel so alienated from the people meant to protect and serve it but is it really so surprising in a country that seems to have population control down to a fine art. The American media are famous for product placement and promoting fear and otherness. This is the country that gave us ‘Cops’.
No wonder they don’t trust each other.
So what did make this man want to shoot other people? Only he knew. Eckhart Tolle and Russel Brand site the lacking in human consciousness, the deep pain of humanity spilling out in violent acts all over the world this being only one of them. And they’re right. But when the deeply unhappy people living in America can pick up a gun just as easily as a self-help book we shouldn’t be surprised when they start shooting people.
I mean imagine it you’re having a terrible, terrible day. Negative emotions and energy are flowing over you like a tidal wave. Every where you go something goes wrong, strangers bump into you and don’t apologise, you try to call your friends and nobody picks up or worse they tell you they don’t care about your tiny insignificant problems, the person you love does not love you back and when you get home after consuming what ever it is you consume to make yourself feel better you find yourself with a gun in your hand. It’s something to play with. It’s heavy, it has a function but most importantly it’s powerful and it gives you power. All of a sudden all those people that fucked up your day if they were here right now you would be in control. You would have the gun. What would you do?
Now I’m not implying that everyone who has ever held a gun would kill someone with it but the point is that they could. A gun is an instrument designed for killing and the human mind is a tricksy thing. None of us know where our next thoughts are coming from and we have all found ourselves in situations that are completely out of our characters and said ‘what the fuck am I doing here?’. This man, who knows, he’s retired he’s a gambler he has no family, no children he was probably just bored and thought ‘I wonder what that’s like?’ He’s human. We are all capable of going too far. Was he insane? I doubt it. He probably pursued one insane thought that he could not stop thinking about, that he allowed to consume his entire being, until an alarm went off and he found himself staring at the bloodied bodies of hundreds of innocent people.
To my mind it makes sense that if this man had not been able to get hold of these guns then the people he killed and injured could have carried on with their lives. You could argue that he may have got them anyway, I mean, people still get shot in countries like the UK where we have much stricter gun laws. American gun supporters state that the UK is the most violent country in the EU (well almost in the EU) claiming that violent crime rose after the gun ban of ’97 using this as an argument to keep guns in the US. However I have to point out here that in a country with so many guns knocking about, an estimated 300 million (that means they don’t know how many there actually are) they are probably much easier to obtain illegally too. There is also an implication that guns are most commonly used in self defence in America and not in homicides, suicides or accidents hardly at all. But what is that based on? What they said in court? And how is it relevant? If someone is shot by a gun and killed the fact that they were killed by someone defending themselves does not change the fact that THEY WERE KILLED.
Reality is that the man in question was not under indictment or convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment of more than one year, had not been declared ‘mentally defective’ or been in a mental institution, was not an illegal alien, he was a US citizen who if he was addicted to an illegal substance probably didn’t tell them that at the gun shop when purchasing his weapons of mass destruction. He walked into a shop and legally bought a load of guns.
Then he killed a lot of people with them.
So why are guns still so easily accessible in America when there is so much evidence to suggest that they shouldn’t be? Why does nobody want to address the armed elephant in the room?
Ever heard of the NRA?
The National Rifle Association began in 1871 and its aim was to ‘promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis’. It was essentially a sports club (if you count shooting things as a ‘sport’) then it branched into hunting (killing animals for ‘sport’) and eventually went into training. Now it trains all US police officers how to use their firearms (or kill black people for ‘sport’) and also trains millions of civilians how to shoot things too.
Then it got political.
The NRA is the leader in defending second amendment rights which translates as the defender of the gun in America. It’s well known that the NRA uses it’s influence in Congress, particularly the Republican party, by giving donations to members of the House who do what it wants. It was a huge Trump supporter in the run up to the election with it’s financial support to the campaign in excess of 30 million dollars. The NRA gets most of it’s money from the gun industry and basically acts as a front man to take the heat when incidents like this happen. Instead of shouting at the people that make the guns we shout at the NRA; bypassing the main part of the argument which should be why are there so many guns???
So the NRA and the gun industry are a huge political and financial power and they want to sell as many guns as possible, the NRA even receive one dollar for every gun that one gun manufacturer sells who is predicted to sell at least one million guns a year. That’s a million dollars in the elephants pocket. Of course they don’t want stricter gun laws.
That’s why the media and the ‘President’ are busy talking about hotel security and tragedy instead of addressing the main problem. Hilary Clinton (yes the one that they DIDN’T vote for) has come under fire for being the only politician to have the balls to come out and say what’s not being said. She’s also launched an attack on the NRA itself. No wonder they gave so much money to Trump, the last thing the NRA wanted was another Clinton in the White House.
I think the most upsetting thing is that it’s normal now. Since I was a child I’ve heard of countless shootings, massacres and gun crime in America. There have been so many that there are readily available statistics on where you are mostly to get shot. We are used to it and Americans are used to their guns, they want their guns and even believe that they deserve their guns. They have been told for centuries it is their birthright to go out and shoot guns so how do you go about changing a whole nations non-sensical attitude to something that is non-essential, completely ego-based and dangerous? Even if the American government tried to make owning guns more difficult do you really think they could succeed? The powers that be over the pond have sided with the gun. The NRA and the gun industry are just as powerful (if not more so) than the Government.
Is it really so surprising that we are here again?
This is where I side with the spiritualists. We need a new approach to human consciousness in order to stop acts like this from happening. Even if we were to ban guns now unless our approach to life alters the devastation will continue. A change in how we approach life and our treatment of ourselves and other humans must happen at some point to prevent us destroying ourselves. This isn’t an over night fix and it has to be voluntary. Every individual has to want to change, listen and develop.
How do you tell a nation they can’t kill each other when it’s government is busy destroying the Middle East with American bombs and troops? How do you retrain a national mentality that what they’ve been taught all their lives is now not OK? How do you teach Americans that guns go bang?
It’s like taking a dummy away from a baby. There will be tantrums. But instead of throwing toys they throw grenades.
Janna Fox is an actress, writer, yogi, aerialist in training and creator of many things. She started blogging for The New Establishment in February 2017 and her pieces are published every other Wednesday. Janna also contributes to sex blog Hitting the Spot. For more information please visit www.jannafox.com