People saying they want no gun control are merely deluding themselves or lying. No one, doesn't want gun control. It's all about how much control that is in question and if what we have in place now, is enough.
Or enough in just the right ways.
Which we don't. Time to wake up kids. So much lately is really about how we perceive guns. And that, has got to change. But how do we do that?
With altering our perception of guns.
If you want to own a gun for hunting, then take a hunter's safety course. I used to help teach them myself when I was a young teen. I was myself in the military. As a teen I was in a local police sanctioned gun club, and on our high school's rifles team through high school. I used to reload, studied combat shooting. I know something about guns.
I've forgotten a lot about them actually as I'm no longer interested in needing to be proficient in them as a career. But I've been involved with them and the Martial Arts for as long as I can remember. I don't just mean hand to hand, open hand, or one on one fighting. Look up "martial" if you need to.
I have a degree in psychology in awareness and reasoning division, phenomenology, with an interest in systems and processes, and psyops. Also espionage and studied the old KGB tactics for years and how it affected MI6 and the CIA, as well as those associated histories. Also, how they affected general populations. So sociology and propaganda, politics and history.
I also know something about the issues surrounding guns.
Any informed talk about guns needs to consider the psychological, sociological, economic and such issues and yet, they seldom do. Myself, I've owned guns all my life since I was a teen and I've never had an "accident" such as we're seeing so much of now a days in children senselessly being harmed, family members being damaged or killed and just too many innocents "accidentally" being harmed, maimed or killed.
Now if you want another kind of gun than one just for hunting (for hunting think handgun, bolt action rifle or shotgun, with possible exceptions for special situations), you should be able to go to a gun range and just get to shoot whatever you want.
Rent it for an hour, shoot all you want, pay for the targets (oh hell let's throw the targets in for free in the gun's rental), but really you're paying for the shots. After all, those aren't cheap. We very well may need more of those types of firing ranges. I do wonder how many people might be happy to shoot but not own. Even if it's some, it's something.
If however you want to actually own your own gun and maintain it at home, then you should have to take an appropriate course to train you in its use, care and storage for what you want it for: target or home protection. You should have to take a course specific to that range of gun type, cartridge type, number of shots in the magazine or cylinder, and so on.
See? This is all building an import, a respect, an understanding of the danger and impact a weapon has on human beings and those around them. This isn't nothing It's important to understand, this is not a damn toy. It's a tool, a weapon, that is inherently designed to take life and so needs always to be treated as such. People are far too cavalier anymore with them. Too many shots on TV and in movies. Too many people dying in video games, films and media, for make believe and for real.
But when people die, they are dead and it affects a ripple effect of people around them and at times, a nation, or the world.
Should you want a gun for more intense purposes as in concealed carry, you should have to take a course specific to the type of carry that you are considering (under penalty of law if you are later found to have exceeded that license), and you should have to regularly update it... annually.
I might even say update it every five years which is ridiculous (although then you'd have to take a longer course). And of course you'd have to apply with your local Sheriff's department for a concealed carry permit and have them background check you and issue it or not, as might be appropriate.
That, is for a citizen.
If you want anything beyond that as in a professional license (private investigator, personal protection specialist, etc.), you are into another professional category entirely and that's for another blog.
The Government should pay for all of this if it's a right and yes, I see conservatives cringing. But hey, you can't have everything. This is adulthood, pal. Pay up or shut up. And if the citizen has the right, someone has to pay for it. As per the conservatives whining, as most citizens couldn't afford all this it would have to be covered by all citizens.
Because if things go wrong, after all, we ALL end up paying for it!
If the country overall wants to have guns, then we all have to be covering the cost of that. Again, you pay for the shots at the range. Again, those things are expensive. Again, it takes regular practice on all of this.
If you think you can just buy a gun for home or carry and you're good, well...any professional will point out what a child you are being. If not a mental defect. How ill informed you are is bordering on delusional.
The Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee us guns. But come one, let's face it....
LIFE WAS DIFFERENT BACK THEN! And again, that's another blog entirely.
Let's talk about emotions for a moment or two.
A couple of things frequently associated with gun incidents... like anger and hate.
Sure guns can be fun, people can and do even love them. But if you have positive emotions about guns and you are doing positive things, then we have nothing to talk about. Right?
However, if you have negative emotions and you do negative things with guns... well, that is when we do have a problem and that is what all the controversy in America is about right now. And exactly WHY we have to do SOME thing about all this.
We have seen mass shootings because of hate, because of paranoia, crimes committed due to mental health issues. Most people want to do something about it. Many, mostly on the right, don't and mostly because of the slippery slope argument, and because of other arguments where they rationalize doing nothing about, painting themselves into a corner just because of fear and emotions. Behind all of this however is power and money, greed and fear, pushed onto Americans by the NRA.
There are however some people offering sane and rational discussions of the gun issues in America including those things mentioned above.
We are now regularly seeing children killing siblings accidentally and shooting their parents (maybe accidentally, though one wonders with tongue in cheek about that at times). After all some parents kind of deserve to be shot. Karma, right? We see these killings and maimings in the media all the time anymore.
Look. I don't myself actually hate ANYone. It's just not in my nature. So. Can I still be an American Mr. Conservative Right Wing Nut Person? And yes, we have wingnuts on both sides of the spectrum, but honestly, the most dangerous and most often they are on the right, conservative end and of late have become ubiquitous.
My grandmother used to tell me when I was young, if ever I said I hated something, that:
"We don't hate anything. It's a very strong emotion. It takes up a lot of energy. We just don't have enough energy in our lives to live properly and still hate." What a great view on life, right? Yeah, she was pretty amazing. We should all be so lucky as to have a Grandmother like her.
I asked her once (we were Catholic) back then when I was young and still innocent:
"What about Satan? He's the greatest evil thing there is so, can't we hate him?"
I knew I had her that time. I was beaming inside with pride and integrity.
Then without skipping a beat, she said:
"No, not even Satan." She was the greatest person I knew.
So... I don't hate. I have experienced strong dislike, to be sure and some people definitely earn that. Lately and frequently for Republican and conservatives speaking out in the media, or running for public government office...there's plenty of foolish people out there to have a strong dislike for.
When I studied martial arts as a child I was taught that you never get mad in a fight. Strong emotions make you blind to something, they make you stupid. If you get mad you have already lost the fight, they would tell us. Always remain calm, methodical, and think. You are rational, you evaluate, you act appropriately to the situation as it unfolds.
If anything you do your best to enrage your opponent, to make them dumber, to make foolish moves. Because while they are mad, they cannot think as clearly as you are thinking, if you remain calm and sensible yourself, that is.
They also told us you should win the fight within the first five to nine seconds or you've already lost. Although you should continue to try to win, if that happens, obviously. What they were saying is that winning is in the before time, in seeing it coming, in diffusing it before and then in winning it as soon as it begins, if it even gets that far. Then you are the true victor. The Warrior of Peace. For Peace.
The greatest warrior is one that has won the battle before it begins, Sun Tzu tells us.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
It's always best to have seen the situation coming and end it as it begins, if not sooner.
It's better to run away from a fight, than to be responsible for killing someone I was told in Karate. Be called a coward our Sensei told us, as long as we avoid killing someone. But if they do try to kill you, allow them to go to the next life before you. Once engaged in battle, win, even though in some ways you have already lost. But that is the difference between the short game and the long game.
Because that is what we were being taught, back then, to kill (for me, beginning in fifth grade). If you kill someone it is your responsibility in that they did not know you have that killing knowledge. They are at a disadvantage in their ignorance, they do not fully understand o have all the information they need to save their own life. Therefore if they die you did it, it was in your hands.
We were taught back then in 1965 to say to them before engaging in a fight, three times (however fast you had to say it) that: "I know Karate."
Then at least they were forewarned and it was then up to them to continue. What I discovered in practice however was that it didn't really work. It seemed to embolden them. It just was something which was better than nothing, better then giving them no warning or information whatsoever. They never believed it, they thought it was a ploy, or they didn't or couldn't understand it.
When I later found and studied Aikido they taught us when someone attacks you, they are not your enemy. We do not see things in that way in Aikido. They are merely your practice partner. You are in this together. You are both human beings. You remain calm.
You try to educate both yourself and them in hopefully being, in practicing being, compassionate beings. If they aren't then perhaps in their interaction with you at that time they may learn to be. At least a little.
In several fights I have had in my lifetime, because of how I acted during the fight, in having been victorious mostly at the end of the situation, the other person, even though they had started it all, learned something and actually remarked upon it.
One time I threw a guy down during a fight. He was a stranger bigger than me, who picked a fight with me for no reason I could figure. Half way going down I reached out and grabbed him, I kept him from striking his head on the concrete sidewalk. I had showed my superior fighting skills and my superior compassion in protecting him from himself (or from me) and he was quite aware of it. It would have been hard not to be.
As I helped him to stand again, he could have attacked me but he recognized that I could have killed him simply by not acting to save him. There was a look of stunned surprise on his face, and appreciation. He asked me: "Why did you do that?"
I said: "I didn't want this fight. You started it. If I hadn't stopped your fall, it would have killed you." That led to a discussion. We then parted, never to see one another again. But he left me with a different view on life. That was obvious. He walked away seeming somehow, changed.
Everything is a learning experience. Or you are doing things wrong. When you come up to someone in a situation such as that:
First you do your best to see their orientation.
Then you show them your orientation.
Then you release them and let them go on their way.
Needless to say depending up on their "orientation", the letting them... "go on their way" may mean into their next life. Which very well may actually just be letting them leave this life.
In Aikido, much of what happens is up to the other guy.
And so it is in life.
Guns, make this very hard to do. Due to the density of the energies involved, it speeds everything up. We need to be very aware of things much further ahead of time than in a non weapon confrontation. This has been the case ever since the first indirect weapon was put to use. The rock, the sling shot, the spear, and finally the arrow. Then came the gun, massively beyond the capabilities of the arrow.
Much of warring is misunderstanding, or a lack of compromise, or lack of reason or understanding to compromise. Lack of compassion, perhaps on both sides.
No compassion means damage done by all to all around the situation.
Getting back to guns we need education, orientation, massive more respect for them than we have seen of late. We need understanding and compassion for everyone around any gun, ever.
When you then delve into things like bombs well, you can see the progression there and the need.
It is massive.
So. Is there anything we can do about the gun situation today?
Yes. Of course there is. We just need to do it.
Finally, remember the paraphrased words of President Lincoln from his 1838 Lyceum address:
"Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."
When you consider such people as are in the NRA and our conservative right wing with its potential presidential candidates like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and others in the current 2016 Republican candidate run, consider these further words of Pres. Lincoln:
"It is to deny what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion as others have done before them. The question then is, Can that gratification be found in supporting and maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others? Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or a presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the lion or the tribe of the eagle. What! think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen. Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such an one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down."
Perhaps only we can bring ourselves down.
How about we just don't do that? Let's think, let's work together to evoke positive change in all the right ways. Against fear, against hate, and against our biggest foes of greed, political disinformation and ignorance.
Yes. Of course there is. We just need to do it.