Posted by: Michael George Daniel | January 9, 2008

You Are Not Entitled to a Gun

You are not entitled to a gun. No one is. That is the simple fact of the matter. From an ecological point of view, guns make no sense. From a moral point of view, guns make no sense. From a human point of view, guns make no sense except in an insane world. That would be a world in which the overwhelming majority of people have no clue that ecologically, humans have overrun the planet. As a result of having overrun the place, we are in antagonistic proximity of each other all the time. We compete for resources because the carrying capacity of the world is inadequate to hold us all. Yet we think we must produce our way out of the present time. Our insanity is our belief in economic expansion. Our insanity is our belief in some future cargoist solutions in the form of mysterious new technologies, or better yet, a messiah. We believe things can’t be better or different and instead listen to preachers that tell us our physical manifestation is a test and salvation will be had some time in the future at the hand of some unseen, all powerful God. Our insanity is a belief in guns and a belief in armies and a belief in the need to defend our selves and a belief in the lies told by those in charge that use these instruments of destruction and somehow rationalize their use despite the simple, clear fact that these devices and their use is immoral and wrong.

There is an all-powerful force at work and it is called overshoot. We have so far exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet, so polluted and denuded it, that there is scarcely any alternative but crash and die-off. Indeed, this will be the hand of God if you want to think of it that way. From a spiritual perspective it might be fine to shrug our shoulders and accept this destiny recognizing that even though countless, priceless species will be lost forever, there will be others to take their place. Someday. In millions of years.

The point is though, we as humans also represent the leading edge of consciousness in the universe. We might put that consciousness to good use. No pressure here, but why not look at it?

The energy of the Bhutto assassination arrived today on the front page of the newspaper. It was so sad, so maddening, so overwhelmingly sorrowful to defy description. I was reminded of that phrase, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. What bullshit. Guns in the hands of people kill people. People pull the triggers, but it is the gun or the bomb or the missile that does the killing. As long as we keep distracting ourselves with conversations about who or what is doing the killing, we won’t even be talking about the right thing. As long as we think we are entitled to or need or in any small way can justify guns, bombs, bullets, missiles, armies, tanks, etc., in the vernacular of true environmentalists, we are fucked. Neither you nor I am entitled to a gun.

Killing that takes place in the insane context of complete disconnection from the relationships we are in with each other, to other living, sentient things, to objects, to the earth and to the universe, to God for that matter, is murder. It is wrong and immoral. To say that guns don’t kill people implies that there is some justification for guns. It goes as far as a sense of entitlement, at least to those that make the argument ‘guns don’t kill people’. It assigns blame to someone else for violence and allows the existence of the killing machine. It implies an entitlement for that machine, an entitlement that does not exist.

My father said to me that Ron Paul’s political view point that we should get out of Iraq was an oversimplification. Maybe some things are simple. Thou shalt not kill. But he has a point. The moral question is not simple, whether killing should ever be condoned, in the name of political expediency, in the name of democracy, or in the name of ecology, is a difficult issue. But should we invade another country and butcher them? Should we occupy their land after doing this? Should we steal their resources? It seems to me, the answer is pretty simple. No, we shouldn’t.

My Dad and I didn’t have the courage to continue that conversation. Just in the few seconds during the exchange, I sensed that he felt some anger. I tried to say something about Paul’s platform, that perhaps it was not an oversimplification because what we are doing in Iraq is simply a disaster. In the moment that I spoke and saw his face tense, I realized something. I realized that I am angry with my parents. I’m angry because they don’t seem to want to see the denial, don’t want to admit the wholesale slaughtering of people, the obfuscation of repugnant acts by control of a so-called free-press, the outright lying. They just don’t want to see it. They’ve earned a happy retirement and shouldn’t have to feel any responsibility for what is being done around the world in the name of their country. And I am angry with them for this. My father, I believe, senses this, senses my anger. And he is hurt. Hurt and angry himself, at me, for holding him responsible for these grotesque sins. This is deep stuff. There aren’t any easy answers and it certainly isn’t simple. I am glad to have seen some of this, it will help with our relationship.,

Institutions, nations, groups, religions, have been justifying murder for a long time; maybe around 6,000 years, maybe longer. I would say that at some time before the beginning of recorded history, i.e., 6,000 years ago, that killing took place too. But it wasn’t murder. Prior to our emergence into a patriarchal society, it has been argued that humans lived in community. These societies recognized, even honored, the relationship of each of the nesting parts to the whole. The smallest insect to the dirt it becomes to the plant that grows in it, to the animal that eats the plant. To the carnivore that eats the animal that eats the plant. To the human that eats both and is aware of what it does. Humans who question and seek answers to our place and purpose. To the planet in the solar system in the galaxy in the universe, ever expanding while ever being swallowed by itself in the form of black holes. When killing was done in this context, with innate knowledge of this context, it was not murder. But we have forgotten that perspective, had it conditioned out of us. Here’s the point: thou shall not kill is an over simplification. It ignores the fact that we have rationalized murder in support of an illusion of political and economic gain. We look away when it is in the name of freedom and democracy. We deplore the use of violence, yet sit idly by while those that can, for whatever reason, twist reason into justification for killing that is out of any context of relationship; disconnected from the ecological relationship that underlies everything. This is murder. No one is entitled to murder.

No one is entitled to a gun. Yes they exist, yes they have been put to a variety of uses, but no one is entitled. And when guns are used for murder, killing without any regard for the relationship, they should be taken away, and there is no right for anyone to have them. Perhaps there is a use for them, if they were used in support of this ultimate relationship in which we exist. But I have a feeling we could do without them. And we certainly aren’t entitled to them.

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