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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/26/12

Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun

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If you are looking down the barrel of a gun, you would need to have serious mental issues not to want to have your own gun, loaded and aimed back, ready to fire. And, of course, to fire it.

This reaction surely accounts for the rants I've read in numerous places, that we should, in general, be armed with guns, in accord with one absurdly loose interpretation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution--that document written before Gatling guns were even invented, at a time when the population of the U.S. was around four million, or close to 1/80 th of what it is today.

Such a reaction is not unlike wanting to kill bare-handedly the assailant or rapist of your sister or your mother. I sure as hell am of this mindset myself.

More graphically, if attacked by a male mugger (it always seems to be a male, I note anecdotally), I would make a supreme effort to relocate his family jewels into his nostrils, or something at least equally unpleasant.

Which is precisely why society needs sensible rules. We can't carry on anything called "civilization" without a set of guidelines to control our baser instincts.

I have been reasonably obsessed thinking about John Holmes, whose extraordinary, debased and deranged act shocked the country, and no doubt much of the world. More brilliant than most of us, coming from an "above normal" background, the man's motive can only be speculated on, perhaps forever, given our government's secrecy and routine deception of everyone on just about everything. While it would be wonderful for society to have more than speculation in developing an intelligent reaction, I would argue that even without hard facts on "the causation" of this event, certain "self-evident truths" come to any reasonable mind.

My earlier personal responses included: 1) Now is the time to buy stock in Netflix--no one will be going to the movies, with the idea ticking in the back of their head that some nutcase might waltz in and blow them away at any moment; 2) We have here a perfect argument for ending the death penalty, as we need to study this loonytune until we know every nook an cranny of his brain and genetics; 3) This may well have more effect on America than 9/11, because 9/11 was akin to another violent movie on tv; the Colorado shooting is something that could actually happen to anyone of us and is easy to visualize (as opposed to 9/11); 4) What kind of drugs was this guy on? 5) Was Holmes merely reflecting what he saw, in his relative intellectual brilliance, of all that is going on with America , in terms of how we treat people around the globe?

Of course I don't know Holmes' motive, assuming he actually had one, and I have serious doubts that any of us ever will.

But coming back to the view down the gun barrel: While this vantage point does grab one's attention, a valid and warranted attention, it does not go nearly far enough. And without more, such a view can only be held in a narrow or closed mind, the deadliest mind of all.

Pulling back to a more removed and objective level, the kind we need for running society in a rational and civilized fashion, a thousand questions come to mind. I previously addressed the need to imprison and study this deranged individual. Understanding that, assuming we ever do, we can begin to think clearly about preventing such happenings in the future. By looking for those causes and taking preventive action--even if they call for an overhaul of society and evaluating our relation to ourselves and the rest of the world--we might have serious hope of changing the world we live in for the better.

Yet even without understanding Holmes in every gory detail, we should proceed objectively and without emotion to ask if more guns in a theatre   wouldn't simply increase the number of nutcases "packing heat" around us.

We should be asking if guns are even needed in urban areas, and what would happen if they were made illegal, with steep penalties for having them? What if they were, say, ten times more difficult to get than walking into a local store and freely purchasing whatever happens to be your weapon of choice?

We should ponder seriously if our military escapades overseas aren't the perfect example of violence against innocent people, setting the stage for further events like the Aurora shooting.

We can and will of course wonder what we would do in a similar situation as that unsuspecting audience was in. Would we have the brains, time, or ability to do anything but eat more popcorn?

Pondering these questions leads me to this: We have been sent a warning shot over the bow of the U.S.S. America, dramatically clarifying that we have utterly and completely lost our moral compass, and have no bearings whatever, beyond perhaps dollar signs.

It is as if we know we are going for a ride on the ill-fated Titanic, with societal permission to take all the guns and ammunition that we want. Gold too, should we care to haul it aboard.

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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)

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