*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

America worships death.

Yes, the most recent of many shootings.  If you are an American, I do not hate you, but yes, I hate your country and I hate your 'culture'.  America worships death.  What should I think?  Here are some thoughts I have put out here and there.  They are copy/pasted, so don't expect an essay.
Massacres happen far less often, and with far fewer casualties, if the weapon is less 'effective'. If I have to have a massacre at the school where I teach, let it be while in Japan where the man will only have a knife.

Incidentally, Japan allows hunting, whatever you think about it, but the gun control is strict, and handguns, automatic and semi-automatic long guns are banned outright. There is also a mental health interview before licensing. This is a culture with some wound up and crazy people, but the gun-murder rate is even lower than Canada's. Go figure.

Gun control means a lower gun-murder rate. Anyone who'll argue against that either doesn't know what they're talking about, is lying, or is a victim of 'truthiness'. I have no time for any of these collaborators in the deaths of children, women and men.

If I were American, I would leave that hole if I could; as I would if I were Albertan. I can barely tolerate what Toronto's become, in the ridings which won't go Conservative. Sadly, though my family can live in Canada and Japan, due to marriage and parentage, I am not happy with the conservatism in either. Still, happier to send my children to school in either than in the US.

Countries with or without gun control more stringent than the US should have the same proportion of murderous personalities, but you don't kill lots of people with only a knife in your hand, or even with single-fire weapons. The stats on massacres around the world confirm this. Hell, the stats on murder rates confirm this. You may even fail to intimidate someone if poorly armed, especially if outnumbered.

Who knows what one would do, though we ought to be humble enough to expect we'd do no better than most people have, but knowing a small amount about how poorly people wield edged weapons from martial arts training, I can imagine taking on someone with one (though I don't presume to be certain). Much less sure of myself, I can imagine trying to get the jump on someone who might get just one shot off before I reach him with something heavy, as most people fire poorly. But if he can get a magazine off... I don't think I could be that brave, and it doesn't matter as he'd get at least one bullet into to me. As for the NRA argument about other civilian gun owners having fire-power to take him out? One: it has never happened! Two: civilians panic-firing is supposed to reduce the bloodbath?

Canada, sadly and unlike in my youth, now has nearly the same social and political culture as in the US. Yet, it has a murder rate a fraction that of the US. It's pretty damned hard to kill many people with the weapons that are legal there. The day we get American gun culture is the day I stay the hell out of N.America entirely. I already have stayed out of the US for a decade. Media, politics and 'foreign policy': it is a culture of death.

As for my "culture of death" comment, yes, it's provocative. Not to ask you to agree, but when I say it what I have in my mind is: the fact that TV and movies are not rated for adults when showing murder and torture (death), but are when showing physical love (life); that romantic or physical love between consenting adults must fit narrow sexual and racial norms (50% of Louisiana believes inter-racial marriages, as is mine, should be illegal - you can imagine what they think about same-sex unions...); that America's government, courts and military have thrown out everything decent in the Common Law tradition; and that exporting death abroad is the norm, as is sending your children to help do it.  Let's not even start on the enslavement that is America's income-disparity.

I guess I am a radical: I do not believe an American life is worth more than an Afghani one, I do not believe a hetero one is worth more than a queer one, I do not believe a financial speculator is worth more than a blue collar member (quite the opposite), and I do not believe that 'ignorance is bliss'. I also don't see anywhere in the New Testament that gives 'Christians' a right to kill. Maybe Canada is just as perverse as America, but I take some comfort that it doesn't have the power to make others' lives hell (except that we collaborate with America...).
I have met more fine Americans than poor ones. I have stood up for Americans in my social groups in Tokyo getting $#!+ on by other nationalities thus: "Give him a break. The ones you hate don't exactly travel or learn another language." But I am sorry, I am not impressed by the mere words in America's constitution when I look at the realities of its history, recent and older. If America is ever going to live by the sentiments of the 'Founding Fathers' there are two things it will have to get rid of: empire and plutocracy. I am not hopeful: Rome managed neither; Britain managed one.
 Or, as Andrew O'Hehir  put it:
Moving backwards from the evidence here, I would suggest that these atrocities tend to occur in a culture with numerous fundamental problems: one that is economically divided and socially stratified, with a dark undercurrent of male anxiety and anger, one where high-powered firearms with no legitimate uses are far too easy to find, where the social safety net has been shredded and decent mental-health care is not available to all, and where our experience of the world is increasingly as a shared media spectacle. Does that sound familiar?


  1. "I am not impressed by the mere words in America's constitution"

    I know, but there it is. Once it's in, it's in, apparently. Looks like they're stuck with it :(

    If only there were some sort of method for affecting change or, say, 'amending' the original document. But the Constitution's the Constitution, and that's all there is to it.

    1. The 'right to bear arms' is in a "well regulated militia": no different a political right than what Canada has. The NRA reading is wrong, no matter who they bought on what bench or in what seat.

  2. Hate is easy and almost effortless.... There's plenty to go around and it's less trouble than thinking.

  3. I posted this response on Billy's most recent post:

    "I like guns. I like shooting them and can safely handle them. I, however, DO NOT and would probably never own a gun. I know when I go to the shooting range, I rent my guy and buy my ammo for use there. I don’t have to worry that my house is going to get robbed and my gun end up in wrong hands. I don’t need my nephews poking around my house when they visit and decide to play with something that can kill. I CHOOSE not to own a weapon because I can’t carry it with me 24/7 to make sure it does not get misused. I do however like that I can at anytime, go down to the gun range and fire for fun.

    I am not in a rural environment and I have never been hunting for food, but my stance on owning a gun if the purpose is to hunt (for food) may change. For now, owning a gun in not an option for me. I wish more people were thinking through possible scenarios before purchasing guns. Instead of just deciding that they should one just cause…"

    It seems that no one is thinking of the bigger picture, as society as a whole. It seems like people are just acting like brats because more control should be put on guns. The frequency of shootings and deaths from guns is going up and will continue to do so. A close friend of the family was murdered and his wife shot by THEIR OWN SON! The guy is on trial right now but he was known to dabble in substances, was going through a job loss, splitting with his wife and acting really strange. Yet not a single family member thought to do something about the guns or make sure they were kept away.

    I am a firm believer that certain types of guns should not be allowed to be owned, PERIOD. I am also firm that anyone with a criminal past should never own a gun. And that you should have to submit to a mental health screening, gun safety course and prove you own the proper storing units for your ammo and weapons before even being allowed to purchase a gun. And that, much like a drivers license, should have to be renewed periodically. But I am part of the minority so that's just me blowing off hot air.

    1. I agree entirely. There is no society where people are entirely unrestrained. Not even anarchic parts of the Horn of Africa. By definition, if there are no restraints at all, it is not a society. On the other hand, I would not have as many restraints put on me as the Japanese have, for so little personal satisfaction. I should have been born in Scandinavia.