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Guns and Faith

July 27, 2012

“Most important, only those with the  guns and the faith have the authority to impose their demands on the world“-Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival, p. 22.

The world is not safe as long as people have passion and access to arms. The, former, of course, is impossible to stifle, and why would we want to?  Our passions and faiths are what make life worth living. The latter, however, can be stopped but, for some unfathomable reason, it won’t. The sad thing is that those that believe in something extreme….usually take up arms, figuratively and, sadly, literally. And that’s when things get dangerous.
Of course, this isn’t to suggest that simply because a person is passionate that they’re going to become a raving lunatic. Extreme devotion to faith can lead a person to be blind, and to see the world from only their point of view, thus eliminating other’s views. A person who is power hungry and is given a weapon has the potential to be dangerous to society, as it’s difficult to talk down a gun pointed at you. A person with an extreme passion and access to guns, therefore, is the most deadly, dangerous and unreasonable force imaginable.

Crosses at the scene in Aurora, Colorado. Sourced from CNN.com

The shooting in Colorado left innocent people dead and a cold-blooded killer reaping his 15 minutes of fame. Those who are pro-guns wave their rifles and argue about the 2nd amendment and that the guy was a psychopath, unlike the average American. Those who are anti-gun bemoan the 2nd Amendment. But, as a recent Liberation blog article read:
“…Et pourtant aucun politicien n’a le courage de lancer au Congrès une discussion nationale sur la disponibilité des armes.”
In other words, no politician is brave enough to start a real discussion about guns. Not even the president.
The reason, I feel, that the government won’t reneg on the 2nd Amendment, is that America’s position in the world is completely based on power–a power, that is, that is drawn from our military might. Our advanced weaponry. Our prowess at stomping across the globe and wreaking carnage “if need be.” Eliminating the right for citizens to bear arms would be an awkward stance for the government to take, when despite all our do-good charity organizations and efforts we’re known for violence. As much as I love Law and Order and CSI and any crime show, every time I see advertisements for a new cop-detective-murder investigation show I can’t help but roll my eyes. Americans, in short, have faith in violence.
As Chomsky points out, people with guns can impose their will on the world. Take this at whatever level you will, and it remains the same: as a country, America can more or less make the world do it’s bidding because we have the ability to, say, bomb a country to smithereens. And since we’ve shown that we’ll go against majority rule (as was the case in bombing Iraq, where the rest of the world largely opposed us), who’s to say that we wouldn’t go whole hog  and do something extremely irrational? On a smaller note: a man wielding a gun can get people to do his bidding. In the case of James Holmes, his wielding a gun in a crowded movie theatre meant that people were helpless, trapped, and served to fulfill his terrifying Batman fantasies. It’s kind of like a game of Simon Says, only no one is laughing.
Chomsky seems to suggest that faith, too, can make others do one’s bidding. I think in certain cases, yes: think of the people who follow cult leaders. At first, they’re not neccessarily being physically threatened in any way, and yet they still do as “Simon Says.” But try as the pacifist in me wants to believe it, I sometimes question the old phrase, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  I believe that words are stronger-after all, can’t we sometimes talk people out of doing bad things?-but they only apply to logical, rational, sane human beings. I don’t think a thousand words would have talked James Holmes out of staging the massacre at that Aurora movie theatre. Point-blank: some people you can’t just rationalize with, and when those people have power or access to power (read: weapons)  it makes a situation impossible.
People will always believe in something; religion is not going anywhere, nor is our devotion to other ideologies. As I stated before, we need something to make us tick. But guns? What purpose does a gun have in modern life? Guns don’t have to exist, so why don’t we just stop making them? I know it’s not that simple, but sometimes the answer to an complex question can be found by asking the simplest of questions.
Links:
1. http://washington.blogs.liberation.fr/great_america/2012/07/tuerie-daurora-lam%C3%A9rique-et-les-armes.html
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