Guns, America & Apple Pie

“There are no dangerous weapons. There are only dangerous men.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

When H. Rap Brown said violence is American as apple pie, many dismissed him as a simple violent black malcontent with dreams of overthrowing the establishment and getting even with “whitey.” But a cursory glance at basic American history, will indisputably validate Brown’s conclusion. America was founded by the gun. We have all read about the shots heard around the world. It was taught to us as kids by ABC on the nostalgic Saturday morning cartoon interlude, Schoolhouse Rock.  We learned about the how the minutemen were “were ready and on the move.” The lesson was reduced to animation and included a nice little song with a bridge that something like this;

Take your pow horn, take you gun, report to General Washington.”

While this certainly was not an exhortation to the senseless violence that happened in Las Vegas, it is certainly evidence of the driving impulse of the American psyche. Truthfully, the conservatives have a point when they talk about the importance of guns in staving off tyranny. (Wow! I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day…lol) The point is that, right or wrong, in the American context the gun is the solution to all problems big or small. After all, what other means could we use to carry out God’s will of Manifest Destiny? If it’s good enough for Marshall Dillon, Wyatt Earp and Mo…oops! I mean Charleton Heston. Then why shouldn’t be good enough for the everyday American citizen. I do believe that guns are a check against absolute despotism. That’s the only thing I have in common with Thomas Jefferson other than a love of black_________…lol.

According to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) report, Americans own more guns per capita than residents of any other country in the world. While we can’t argue that gun violence is high in America, we can argue the context in which this violence occurs. Let’s run it back. In instances of mass shootings, the person is either: (1) off (mentally ill), (2)racist (see number 1), or (3)trying to carryout some inane political statement(see 1&2). To liberals, this will be yet another argument in favor of further gun control laws. The logic goes something like this. If it’s harder for nutcases to get guns, then there would be less events of mass shooting like Vegas. This imbecilic argument fails to take into consideration the number of illegal guns already in rotation on the streets. According to gun,  86% of juveniles in correctional facilities are reported to have owned a gun at some point, all of which would have been illegal weapons for the juveniles to own. 65% of juvenile offenders tend to own three or more illegal weapons and firearms. Additionally, according to a Bureau of Statistics study, 40 % of firearms recovered from criminal activity were obtained from an illegal source.  So what registration law or restrictive process will prevent the Stephen Paddocks of the world from obtaining a weapon?

In the black community gun violence is as predictable as nightfall. In economically depressed areas, people don’t respect gun laws. They somehow seem not so concerned with barriers to obtaining firearms, since they can usually get them whenever they want them. The only people that respect gun laws appear to be the elderly, law abiding, & unarmed. The saying is amazingly prophetic. In the black community, you can get a gun before you can get a good education.  Thus, if there is no possible way to stop the Stephen Paddock(s) of the world from being armed, then why should we make it difficult for his victims to obtain firearms? Dare I say, if casino security was armed and located in the appropriate places, the body count would possibly be a lot lower than it is. The fact that this nutcase was able to pick off 59 people tells me that casino safety was not a high priority. The point here is that gun violence requires human agency. The question is what is the mens rea of the person using the weapon? Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice gave more credit for her safety to her father’s shotgun than to Bull Connor’s Birmingham Police Department.

In America, guns are us. From the movies, to the music, to the state, guns are inextricably linked with our collective national psyche.  Granted, no one should be walking around a community with scud missiles, landmines, weapons grade plutonium or high advanced weapons. But mass shootings are not open licenses for gun control legislation. Like the first amendment, there are far too many grey areas upon which to place restrictions. True gun control  means changing our culture. It means changing our national identity. It would require us to dial back the constant indoctrination of might makes right arguments. It would require us to demythologize George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Nathanael Greene. It would require us to seriously examine the true motivations for 100 years of constant warfare on foreign soil.  Like Chuck D, once exclaimed, most of our heroes wouldn’t appear on no stamp. In order to change our gun culture, America must come face to face with her demons, instead of singing hollow praises to her non-existent angels. I am not optimistic that this will ever occur. We are who we are and that’s who we are. And if we are a culture formed in the barrel of a gun, then we must come to see mass shootings as a consequence of our national deformity. Like, share or subscribe to the blog. For more articles like this one go to

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