The gun violence that is occurring at an ever alarming rate has followed the course of action taken by those who would allow the unlimited access to guns of nearly every type to people who hold extremist views about the 2nd amendment and who think their personal freedoms supersede the needs of society to sustain legitimate actions for civil order.
There’s a scene in the movie Clash of the Titans where a jealous Zeus, portrayed by Liam Neeson, orders Hades to release the Kraken sea monster. The monster then proceeds to destroy everything in its path as it goes after Andromeda, the daughter of Cassiopeia who boasted how much more beautiful her child was than Zeus’ daughter, the goddess of beauty herself, Aphrodite. Once released the Kraken will destroy everything in its path, forcing the citizens to take Andromeda from her mother and surrendering her to the Kraken. But before the Kraken reaches Andromeda, Perseus comes to the rescue with the head of Medusa to turn the ravaging monster into a harmless lump of stone.
The concept of a raving monster being released by an emotional response of some powerful force seems apt today to describe the lunacy and mayhem that our society is exposed to with the senseless slaughter of innocent people almost daily at the hands of those who have easy access to the powerful destructive force of guns. But unlike the mythical characters in the Greek tragedy we have no Perseus or single human sacrifice that can instantly alter the deadly course we have allowed this monster to take, either directly or through our failure long ago to prevent its release from the dark recesses of human fear and ignorance.
Behind the powerful interests of the gun lobby with extremists in leadership roles at the National Rifle Association (NRA), this monster claims a constitutional right to exist. It comes from so-called patriots who have abused the concept in the 2nd amendment to bear arms as members of a militia to unchecked purchases of deadly weapons by individuals who have twisted historical statements of the founding fathers so they can arm themselves to the teeth. Professing their right to defend themselves against an abusive government, their support of guns, with the least restrictive terms for gun ownership in any civilized country, has resulted in the numerous deaths of innocent men, women and children.
Coupled with this and the culture of violence that seems to pervade our society is the argumentative view first espoused by Ronald Reagan back in 1980 that government is the problem with society today with too many regulations. This over-simplistic view was elevated to a religious status by some who felt any and all government regulations were a threat to their personal freedoms. This combination of force and fear has been played out by people who have lost connection with reality, engaging in mass shootings that seemed to take off in the 1980’s but only became part of the national conscience following the Columbine High School killings in 1999. Since then, and especially following the election of our first black President, who has been portrayed as a socialist Muslim in the minds of those so-called patriot groups, the number of such mass shootings are occurring almost exponentially.
With fear and uncertainty about their futures in an economically strained society, too many Americans have fallen prey to those voices that advocate extremist views about their constitutional rights. The dread that the government is slowly depriving us of our rights is misguided by those who seek to capitalize in a market where death and destruction are often the outcome. Unlimited numbers and types of firearms in the wrong hands has allowed the U.S. to be ranked number one in mass murder shootings.
There are of course legitimate concerns about government overreach that we should all be cognizant of but we have in place a system that addresses these concerns IF and only if the public is properly informed and acts accordingly. But powerful free-market forces in this country have enabled a consumer society to focus more on their own self-serving needs rather than as members of a community who share common goals. By distracting us from what serves us all best with what personally serves our own individual needs we have begun to make choices that react to conditions after the fact rather than take necessary steps to prevent the calamity that comes from choices made out of fear and ignorance. We have allowed the release of the Kraken gun monster that now sweeps across this land to devour innocent children in schools and innocent people who shop and go to entertainment venues.
Rather than make sound choices to reverse this unfortunate reaction out of fear and ignorance we have become paralyzed by those same voices that assured us how much safer we would be if guns became less restricted in society. Their talking points become even louder in hopes of drowning out a reasonable debate about enacting sane gun control measures. Fear is at fever pitch by claiming that any sensible limitations on who may purchase certain weapons and how many is somehow seen as an attack on 2nd amendment rights. To portray societal efforts to collectively ensure their own safety and well-being as a violation of a constitutional concept that never was is an absurd argument, motivated by the self-interests of the gun manufacturers and their out-of-touch supporters.
What becomes holy for these extremists are certain values they affirm are immutable and uncompromising when in fact they are simply human-created ideas and ideals that are often paranoia-based and serve the interests of those who tend to be disconnected with mainstream society.
What we make we can undo. But by allowing others to convince us that certain views are unalterable and ensconced in tradition and that any change will be the undoing of civilization as we know it disregards the fact that similar fears about ending slavery and allowing women to vote never became a reality.
The demands of individuality today have distanced us from the spirit of community that all civilized nations rely on to succeed. True, the character of our community has evolved into a multicultural dynamic as opposed to earlier homogenous societies of the American colonial era. This requires greater effort to make the parts fit and can often be frustrating. But it becomes a slippery slope when we allow the shallow mentality that breaks us into subgroups and promotes an us against them state of mind, that almost inevitably leads to chaos and a breakdown in the necessary social order to sustain us as a people.
The head of Medusa is not available to us and clearly at the loss of hundreds of innocents to crazed gunmen, a single human sacrifice will serve no good to destroy this destructive force. It will require something more complex that at present is bound up by political gridlock. The will of the people who support sane gun control measures has been over ridden by powerful self-interests that make excuses for their convoluted sound bites. But the electorate themselves are to be held accountable too by succumbing to their fears rather than to choices that have proven reasonable in other countries around the world. Common sense is once again a victim to an irrational emotion locked up in the darkness of those who blindly follow the likes of Wayne LaPierre at the NRA and their legislative cronies who depend upon the gun lobby’s financial support.
Be a voice for the victims of gun violence. Stand united to oppose the gun industry and their handmaidens at the NRA
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