I have to admit I’m not a massive fan of American’s and their culture: the idea that unbridled capitalist greed is the way to power and influence, has led to a society that’s become too controlled and corrupted by wealth for my liking. But watching thousands of American people die every year is both maddening and horrifying. Is it that American lives aren’t worth very much?
I’m English and live in England, and it seems the only news drifting across the Atlantic from the USA these days, is the mass slaughter of Americans by Americans. And it appears the reports we hear are just the very worst cases. Looking at an article from the BBC the other day, unbelievably, mass shootings (four or more deaths) occur virtually every day in the US!
In any other advanced, democratic state, these levels of mass murder would cause total outrage and be considered utterly unacceptable. I’d go further by saying a nation can’t even call itself a civilised, stable, advanced state if its citizens are just going around blowing each other’s brains out on a daily basis. Surely that’s rule number one for any orderly society – killing each other is probably not a good idea?
Now we all know why this only occurs in the United States and not elsewhere – gun control. From what I gather, there’s this ludicrous law that gives people ‘the right to bear arms’, which for some reason American’s think is a sensible, important right, that’s fundamental to their ‘democratic freedom’? The result is people popping down to their local shop and buying guns like we Europeans might nip out to grab a pint (litre) of milk. Beyond ridiculous.
Apparently, this situation stems from the US constitution, specifically the second amendment. I’ve not really researched the details (no point, it’s obviously wrong), but isn’t there a clue in that title? An ‘amendment’ suggests something has been changed from an original. So why do Americans see this as something written in stone – the second amendment needs further amending.
In reality, I’d guess America’s love of guns is really a cultural thing: history, upbringing and education. I also realise ingrained cultural norms are hard to shake off, hard to see beyond, but for someone from the outside looking in, gun laws in the USA do seem like utter madness.
Humans are one of the few instinctively social animals, and from an evolutionary standpoint, being social offers numinous advantages that increase the chances of survival (not being killed) for each individual within that social group. At it’s simplest, it’s “let’s all watch each other’s backs”. All human societies are based on this, from families and tribes to city states and nations. It’s gone from “you keep an eye out for lions whilst I pick these berries” to “we’ll all pay a fee and employ some specialist protection guys (an army), so we can all be safe and go about our work”. OK, it’s other people (nations) we fear now, but it is not about killing those within our own group, that’s not social! Being social is about an ability to protect each other, not dismissively distributing an easy means to kill one another as and when it takes our fancy. Fundamentally wrong, completely irrational.
Why would any nation state facilitate an ability for it’s citizens to easily kill each other?
Americans often say they own a gun so they can defend themselves. Defend themselves from what, another gun? Surely bullet-proof armour would be a better defensive option? What’s really being said is “I don’t want to be shot, so if I shoot them first …”, or I’ll kill anyone that tries to kill me. No … If you don’t want to be shot, don’t allow people to carry guns. Why is that idea not simple to understand? No guns, no shootings. No guns, no nut-case with a trivial grievance, armed to the teeth, walking in to a school and murdering innocent little children.
But then perhaps the lives of American children aren’t worth as much as English children, or French children, or Spanish children, or Swedish children, or …