I called my buddy Terry yesterday to catch up on what it is that friends call to catch up on, and he poked me in the ribs about the new Georgia gun law.
I hadn’t heard about it, and he figured I’d already have written about it in this blog, fulminating as usual about guns. Or better yet, to use some humor to poke holes in pompous politicians who will exploit any issue to gain access to perceived power.
I’ve thought about it for a couple of days now.
Read what I could about Georgia gun laws.
My truth is this.
There are real problems we face as human beings, real problems that we need to have an opportunity to address. But as long as the smoke and mirrors of money and power distract us we will never be able to act on those opportunities.
When we decide to look upon others as people instead of as The Other, we will be able to stop living in fear and begin to solve the collective problems we face. Only then.
Until then, all we will be able to do is arm ourselves in fear of that Other with more and more sophisticated weapons.
It makes perfect sense; we have to be able to defend ourselves, our families, our friends, and we need weapons to do it. How else?
And each man, full of himself and his own power, has to be able to do this, looking with suspicion and loathing at each neighbor, awaiting only that moment when that Other will strike.
Ready, waiting, armed, powerful. Nobody is going to mess with MY family, not while I’m breathing.
Each man, city, county, nation, waiting, armed. Waiting for that moment when he can rise to the ultimate occasion, fighting for family.
Each man in his private reverie savors these dreams of heroism, patriotism.
Waiting. Armed. Dangerous.
Waiting for the Other.
This is the world we give our children.
Is this world we want? Because this is the world we increasingly create. We teach them the world is dangerous, because it is, at least in our own fear. We teach them the Other is to be feared because, at least in our own minds, he is.
I am surrounded in this coffee house right this minute by dozens of them, of Others. I’m relatively helpless, on crutches with a broken leg. I’m in Florida, so I can be relatively certain that some percentage of Them are armed as I write.
To understand what drives the new law in Georgia, all you have to understand is that the only way I can feel safe in such an environment is to be armed myself. Somebody could go bonkers at any moment and where would I be then? I have both the right, and the duty as a man to arm myself and accept that responsibility. It's not safe out there, wherever there are Others.
That is the fear driving the Georgia law, and that is the fear I refuse to accept.
And those who arm themselves to the degree possible under that law, and then push those laws to arm themselves even more, wrapped in the flag of the United States, clutching a tattered copy of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution of these United States, continue to push our future into extinction.
Not extinction by some remote cosmic probability or from a vengeful God, but by our own hand.
It is not the grand gestures that change us, not the wars and cataclysms. What changes us as people, as human beings are those decisions we make each day. By each, by one.
And each day we decide we fear the Other, therefore we must arm and conquer and preemptively invade, we choose for our children a world less safe.
History teaches that there will always be someone better armed than we each. Eventually. And then someone better armed than them.
The Georgia law gives great satisfaction to those who live in fear, and live in absolute denial of that fear, and move by each choice to a world more and more armed to the teeth with each trembling hand clutching a weapon.
The world will begin to heal when we can admit that fear, confront it, and begin to embrace the Other.
Until that time, there are some 223 “modern armament manufacturers” worldwide (the count varies, but there are a bunch) that will continue to do very well, thank you very much.
And these many manufacturers of armaments will use what power and money they have to ensure that we each remain fearful of each Other. And the politicians fall in line, creating lines on maps and exploiting differences in the shape of an eye, or the color of skin, or a line of mountains between people more the same than different.
And we let them. And we encourage them. And we hold them in office to protect and defend.
Well T, I’m sorry.
I couldn’t be funny. There are those gifted in that area and I salute them, and wish they were here to carry on; Sam Clemens, Will Rogers, George Carlin, a long and brilliant line.
And I think about all those others who have written about the same thing, about getting along with your neighbor and treating others as we would ourselves be treated, and I am well aware my simple voice pales in comparison.
But still, I won’t be stilled. Because I am one, and I do believe we can become better. And we don’t need more and more and more armaments to do it. In fact, we need to find a way to have fewer and fewer. Though I don’t pretend to have insight as to how we might accomplish that, I do know that the Georgia law does not help.