Guns Are America’s Masturbation

The US news at the moment is dominated by the deep and shocking tragedy of the rampage killing on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, where a lone gunman (a 20 year old male) first killed his mother in their home, then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School to randomly shoot 20 children (ages 6 and 7) and six adults dead, wound one other person, and finally kill himself. Total casualties: twenty-eight dead, one wounded.

The acrimonious debate on “gun control” versus “2nd Amendment rights” in the United States has been momentarily reignited. While this particular massacre is the evil work of one particular sociopath, undoubtedly precipitated by a lack of psychological soundness and moral strength completely disintegrating under the pressure of resisting some personal realization too shameful to confront, the fact that such a disintegration could so easily access modern semi-automatic weaponry and use it at will is a searing indictment of the abysmal state of the collective character of the American people.

So long as guns are America’s most fiercely held form of masturbation, there can be no rational discussion of how to keep shooting sports and mental illness separated, nor of the crafting of intelligent regulatory procedures for keeping the public safe from the pathological misuse of guns.

In 2011, I wrote two articles whose aim was to prod discussion toward such a rational solution. But, I have no hope such is possible until (if ever) a major change occurs in the collective character of the American public. The root of the problem is who we are as a people, not what we do with guns nor how we regulate them. We have to be, individually and collectively, a radically different kind of people in order to maintain a safe, orderly, intelligent and minimal use of firearms. Our debates and arguments about guns — “control” versus “rights” — are all excuses and denials because we don’t really want to admit to the root failure, nor take responsibility for it. We just want to masturbate no matter who has to die for it.

Gun Malpractice Insurance
25 January 2011

Gun Freedom, or Owning A Gun The Way The Constitution Intended You To
12 January 2011

Looking back on these articles, I see them as retreats into the absurd in desperation to find some effective procedure to prevent such overwhelming and unnecessary tragedies. One can only hope.

10 thoughts on “Guns Are America’s Masturbation

  1. Manuel: Your masturbation metaphor is striking and biting, but I wonder if it really fits. Self-abuse is abuse of self. It doesn’t kill other people. You are right that there’s a flaw in American life that produces so much gun crime. That the culture and everyone in it be born again better would be a solution, but a rather long term one. In the meantime couldn’t we simply make semi-automatic weapons harder to procure?

  2. Peter, collectively we are too psychologically immature, intellectually dishonest, and morally weak, a combination I would term “societal retardation,” to implement a logical set of procedures to control both the access to firearms and their use (such as eliminating access to weapons with rapid-fire capability). We “simply” can’t do anything about firearms rampages, being who we are. While there is no physical barrier nor law of nature preventing Americans from becoming a gun-intelligent (essentially gun-less) society quickly, that possibility is seen by all as “long term” — or unattainable — because of our brutally clung to mental inertia.

  3. Manuel, I see where you’re coming from, but I think the real issue is not there. The US has always been quite violent–frontier expansion, manifest destiny, empire building (Native American genocide, Philippines, Cuba, Central America for starters, all the way to Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen). It is a very bellicose society and war or invasion is crucial for the economy and its control over global resources. It is the great inheritor of the Conquista and the Colonial era. Guns are just part of the national ethos.
    However, deaths from guns are not even the greatest cause of unnatural deaths in the country. There are deaths due to the auto industry, the alcoholic beverages industry, and big pharma. The US is not just a nation of many gun owners, it is also a nation of many alcoholics, domestic abusers, drug addicts–both legal and illegal. There is good reason to associate these mass killings with abuses of psychiatric drugs on youth, which in turn stems from the decomposition of family life and communal life. These are the underlying problems. Guns were just as prevalent in the 50’s, but not so these kinds of killings. This simple fact is readily passed over because it forces people to examine things in more depth and in their true complexity. I might add that if someone intends to kill someone, he or she certainly does not require a gun.
    This country has truly severe problems, and the latest hysteria about guns diverts the attention. What of the constant killing of civilians in the MIddle East by drone bombing? What about torture? What about the largest prison population of earth? What about TSA abuse, police abuse, the Patriot Act? What about a thousand military bases around the world? What of the half-million children killed as a result of US sanctions in Iraq a few administrations ago. No hysteria about them. Why not? What about the immense population of homeless, of rampant foreclosures, of inner city slums? One can go on and on about the myriad truly grave problems in the US today. It is a very disturbed and inhuman area of the world in so many ways, and no doubt the most dangerous country on earth as regards its negative impact on global security, peace, economic dislocation, and ecological impact of its multinational industrial and militarist corporate activity.
    Back to guns: one of the severe problems in the US is the rapid erosion of civil rights and the militarization of the police, along with the astounding growth of Wall St. and other corporate corruption and corporate concentration of wealth and power: finance, media, etc. The political system is probably irreparably broken; it has been hijacked by big money (see Brzezinski’s books on how corporate power is predicted and planned to do away with civil governments). This merger of corporate power and government is fascism, nothing less. Now, Americans sense this danger to their freedoms, and guns are a symbol of what is left of them. Obviously a shotgun or 9 mm. is no proof against drone bombs and tanks, but the symbolic power and concrete freedom to own guns is very powerful, and it looks as though some Americans are prepared to fight for it. They see the horror of a coming techno-security state, a combination of 1984 and Brave New World, and it is obvious that such governments need to disarm their citizens: Mao did it; Hitler did it, Stalin did it. They will attempt and probably succeed in doing it here. It will not be a cause for celebration, believe me, because it will imply far more than just the patchwork cure for the spotty violent actions of demented and drugged youth. In this sense, liberal sentiment–and sentimentalism is exactly what it is–acts as a “useful idiot” to help usher in the dark times that are around the corner.

  4. You mean that Chossudovsky is either a liar or mentally deranged? He seems to document his articles. Is what he lists as historical events are in fact illusory or fantastical? I don’t refer to his conclusions or assumptions–you may well be right that he exceeds the bounds of good logic.I am not that familiar with his site. I also distrust blanket statements of any sort because they tend to indicate an emotional reaction resulting from an ideological override.

  5. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an extension of the natural right to self-defense and a hallmark of personal sovereignty. It is specifically insulated from governmental interference by the Constitution and has historically been the linchpin of resistance to tyranny. And yet, the progressives in both political parties stand ready to use the coercive power of the government to interfere with the exercise of that right by law-abiding persons because of the gross abuse of that right by some crazies in our midst.–Andrew Napolitano

    “Useful idiots” are usually the first to be executed or jailed by totalitarian regimes. They served their purpose, henceforth they are useless and loud.

  6. Crazy people should not be allowed to have guns.

    You have to be crazy to want guns.

    If you want guns, you shouldn’t be allowed to have them.

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