Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guns and culture.

I started writing this particular post over a week ago, but found the acceleration of time which comes with an approaching yule too intrusive to continue, so it simmered in my drafts folder awaiting revival. And, sooner than expected, here we are.

On that day, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas used his halftime slot to weigh in on the perennial polemic of America's gun culture. Result? Tweeps go apeshit in a manner unseen since the recently concluded, culturally bruising presidential election.

Scant days later America is further traumatized and desensitized by twenty dead toddlers and the latest armed malcontent.

Last week, the gridiron couldn't escape the pall of the public murder-suicide involving a player and his girlfriend. This week, first-grade schoolrooms make an even more shocking pallette. Yet another gun-related tragedy breaks the collective heart of people everywhere, and also, spurs a recurring loop of righteous indignation as the obdurate NRA lobby braces for more heat.

Michael Moore's 2002 docu-treatise "Bowling For Columbine" remains on point in the face of sanctimonious invocations of the 2nd constitutional ammendment. This 18th Century edict is what enshrines and justifies American rights to bear arms today.

It's worth noting, that when said parchment was penned, little was deadlier than a musket and a reload. This elementary school assailant had a Glock handgun, a Sig Sauer, presumably for his second hand, and a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle. Superfluous, considering  one man has only two hands.

Societal history of weapon proliferation is mostly understood. What is harder to accept, in 2012, is the imperative to protect every individual's inviolable right to wield death.

There are some fantastic opinions bouncing around. "Arm all teachers," "More guns." ... Really? Has the United States become a society of double-0 operatives with licenses to kill?

Special dispensation, while people still get locked up for selling Cannabis seeds and certain kiddie bon-bons remain verboten.

Kneejerk logic sure speaks loudly. It reveals social fears which deeply underpin the constitution rationale. Immutable defense of gun ownership rights reminds me of the intensity around other hot-potato topics, like voter registration, affirmative action or institutionalized Confederate flags. Hmmm.

"They want to take away our culture. Take back America."

It's no accident that the G.O.P., clearly based in Southern State traditionalism, is aligned firmly in favor of firearm freedom. What else does the old-guard have, if not weaponry, to lend some sense of security to its phobias?, though, in fairness, there are also Democrats who dearly defend a damsel's right to a Derringer.

This isn't just political. Pandora is out of the box. The die is cast. American culture is John Wayne, Smith, Wesson, Bonnie and Clyde. Here, the shooting of a leader can morph into romantic lore. Honest Abe, himself felled by a gun, is the Spielbergian subject of big Oscar buzz. Stand Your Ground makes a legal defense but somehow it's tough to find French Brie de Meaux outside of a Zabar's or a Dean and DeLuca delicatessen.

 Which further fuels my lament. More Limburger, less Luger.

If that seems light, and cavalier, please consider these are words, not bullets. They are meant to stress a cognitive dissonance.

Yes, we all reflect our varied histories but, as times change, it's in our best interests to ammend and update strategies in going forward. This is as true for community as it is personally.

Besides, whatever their use, continuing to treat guns as sacrosanct offers greater opportunity to unstable, trigger-happy personalities, the criminally motivated and the violently inclined. The grief we feel over the Newtown massacre was inflicted by an individual who was all of the above. Legal guns were his tools.

To be sure, it's not only the U.S.A. where this argument rages. Canadians acquire guns too and manage to defy the national stereotype on occasion. And Jamaica, my island of origin, has its own peculiar, illbegotten enamorment with the steel bore. Unsurprisingly, politics is culpable there as well.


Even One Love talisman Bob Marley, who famously, but figuratively, Shot the Sheriff, and survived a gun-blazing Ambush in the night, curiously assessed some replicas.

Impossible to know for sure what ran through his mind in that moment, but informed imagination tells me he would've given a thoughtful Rasta response to any question of gun culture ...

... "gun culture? guns nuh have no culture."


  1. It always amazes me that so many Americans think that banning firearms is taking away their rights, America, you're supposed to be a leader in the civilsed world but you can't pop to the shop for a carton of milk without strapping a gun to your hip?

    Arming teachers? How many teachers want to nurture life with one hand and have the means to take it away with the other?

    The only people who should have guns are the police and the armed forces but getting many people to agree with that is like getting an alcoholic to admit they have a drink problem.

    Getting the people who police cigarettes and alcohol to also be responsable for guns speaks volumes.

    If someone doesn't have a gun, they definitely will not shoot anyone.

  2. People on both sides of the debate in the U.S have their heels dug in. I have no idea what would ever alter the minds of Americans who feel they have a right to own guns. Sad, really.
    On another note, did you change your Twitter name? And you're not following me? Breaks my heart...


  3. This goes to the very core of America - alongside a couple other issues-that-will-not-go-away - we watch and pray.
    New twitter handle @officialApophis designed to make Stargate fans feel welcome and tag along with the asteroid ... soon come with the follow - can't have any more broken hearts.


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