Considering the strong opposition on the part of some of our politicians to the United Nations Arms Treaty 2013, my dear, sometimes quirky husband was trying to think exactly what it is that makes the United States a special place, and he finally said: Guns. That seemed a little extreme to me, and after a little research I have concluded that it’s not the guns themselves, but the Wild West attitude and defensive paranoia that tout them so highly.
Why are so many of us so afraid? Sure, guns helped “win the West,” but haven’t we progressed as a civilized people since then? Basically, people used guns back then to take what they wanted or to take down people who wanted what they had. Has the rise of capitalism and consumerism obscured the fact that there really is enough for everyone if we could just give up our fear of loss and actually share?
Many, many people believe that this is a special place because we are “free.” Yes, but we also cannot help but depend on each other to some extent and on the roads and bridges and schools and so on that some amount of government has made possible. If we do not work together, ultimately we are not free, but deluded.
“Freedom is not free” – but that no longer means that we need soldiers and guns and a defense industry; it means we need to care about and be open to each other, which is much more of a challenge. And for the same reasons in today’s world the effort has to be international.
If I had a gun, I would be afraid. If my stance is defensive in the first place, some fool will challenge it.