I hate to say that. It pains me. But I look around me and it keeps coming up–I see bullies on youtube attaching humiliating signs to their children and making them stand on busy street corners to be shamed, I see it in our houses of legislative process where grown men and women seem to have no problem name calling and blaming the other guy for accomplishing nothing and I see it in the behavior of average people who cannonball in a public pool splashing and yelling while children and their moms hide their faces for cover or loudly straighten out a fast food worker because their Super Sized items were not super enough.
Who are these people? They are us. Even if we don’t act this way ourselves we do nothing to stop them. That failure is seeping from every pour of our American culture and it’s hurting us. Some of the ways it hurts us are profound like how we export our violence around the world in the biggest act of bullying.
We spend more on munitions, weapons of mass destruction and the military than any other nation. We outpace China times four on military spending. Now before someone tells me this is about “protecting ourselves” I’d like to ask; from whom? We’re the ones with all the weapons, wouldn’t we be the ones to fear? On the global stage we’re bullies. I don’t think the blog is the place to make this case because it’s been made so skillfully so many places. All anyone has to do is google defense spending, war, drones, or nearly any other search engine about the United States aggressive, armed to the teeth military to see this is true. We even tell other countries if they try to compete and gather weapons we’ll blow them up. What’s our reason? We can have them because we keep the world safe, they can’t because, well, they aren’t us. I think most every American knows this. Yet it still goes on. What does that say?
Then we come to the Second Amendment which does not say anyone can have as many guns as they like with big, fat magazines designed to kill dozens of people in seconds. It says individuals can have guns for the purpose of forming a militia and the Supreme Court interpreted that to mean individual gun ownership could not be banned. Nowhere does the Amendment or the ruling suggest gun ownership is without limits. I get that you enjoy target practice, you feel like a macho super hero owning big ass guns with giant clips but do you understand that making them widely available ends in death for hundreds of innocent people, many of them children? I’ve said that only to be met with silence or the argument that these mega guns somehow make the world safer. There is no evidence to support that.
There is plenty of evidence that high powered weapons with 30 bullet magazines can kill twenty children in seconds. That evidence is present in every sigh and tear forming in the eyes of every resident of Newtown where a person very few even knew shredded the small bodies of little children in their classroom. Despite it, not one thing has changed. I can’t believe it, yet it’s true.
Those little kids deserve more than a country so busy pandering to bullies that they cannot create the will to say what needs to be said to anyone so self interested they bully others without considering the harm they do like the National Rifle Association. We need to say; “No, no you can’t have what you want because it hurts others.”
The argument that owning and carrying a gun makes you safer doesn’t hold up because it’s not true. If you own a gun you are four times more likely to die from a gun than a person who does not own one. Like all irrational belief systems those who want guns do not want to be bothered by fact nor do they care about the unspeakable harm their irrational wants and fears cause others.
That is why we must be a country of laws not one which bows to the loudest, most angry or wealthiest but to the best interest of our nation. We are the most violent country on earth not in a war on domestic soil. That means that you and your children are safer wandering around most places in the world as compared to your own back yards–literally.
It seems to me that we accept as a cultural norm that we fear people with power and give in to bullies. When one percent of the nation controls its wealth, when those who want to pack around high caliber weapons even after twenty babies are shot dead and when we continue to spend ridiculous amounts of money on weapons as more children sink into poverty- then my friends we have to face it–bullies are running the show.
It’s evident in reality television, on youtube and in the news when we show grown men slapping babies on airplanes and alleged adults having toddler style meltdowns because they did not get their way. This is our culture. We cannot feign surprise. The facts add up to show us the truth.
So now it’s up to us. These guys have been hoarding the money, packing the guns, yelling, screaming, insulting and intimidating for years and we can’t expect MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow to do all the work of getting our lunch money back. It’s time to look the bullies in the eyes and say the one thing they fear most; “No! you can’t have all the money, you can’t have giant guns because you think it makes you look cool and you can’t tell me I’m un-American because my version of this country’s values include compassion and an open mind. No more. Now sit down and think about what you’ve done and come out only when you’re willing to share and play nicely with others.”