More guns will NOT make us safe! But, Outlawing guns won’t either!
We Americans suffer from a medical condition called ‘Anosognosia’. This medical term best explains the American
gun violence problem as well most other problem we fail to respond to between
people and nations of the world. Simply
defined, Anosognosia is a human mental condition where one who suffers from a
mental disability -- is unaware of that disability. Another way of saying this is ‘one who
suffers from a lack of insight or awareness.’
In every published article or news
interview one side points to the amount of guns Americans own compared to other
nations. And only the US has this level
of violence. There are however, other
groupings of people with a higher level of gun per person, with significantly
lower gun violence. Military bases even restrict access to firearms and
ammunition except during war time. And,
rarely are these weapons turned against their fellow American. Gun training could account for this, but I’m
guessing something else is at play…responsible gun ownership and behavior. In the military there is also a mental belief
that soldiers are dependent upon one another for their own survival. The key word being ‘dependent’. In this context, it should be clear what contributes
most to gun violence in America. We
believe we are independent of one another. This belief extends to our
propensity for military engagements abroad. This human invented concept of
‘independence’ is our greatest mental flaw.
In real life ‘independence’
is an illusion – a lethal illusion that disconnects us from reality both as
individuals and as a nation.
Our national worship of ‘Independence’ is not new, and it is
certainly not limited to Americans. But
it is profoundly etched into the American psyche starting with our federal
system of government. How this simple but flawed mental concept relates to gun
violence and mass murders will become clear soon if you keep reading. And, so
will the cause of many other problems Americans face (immigration, income
inequality, drug abuse, obesity, dropout and divorce rates). This
simple answer is documented by science AND
consistent with the beliefs of every major religion. Here’s the science.
It is an irrevocable fact that our health, thoughts,
prosperity and survival are irreversibly dependent on so many factors it would
take hours to list them all. But our learned mental disconnect from the most
important factors can be listed. And they are painfully self-evident to anyone
not suffering from Anosognosia.
Our greatest disconnects include
(but are not limited to):
#1. The Environment: Few
things have been more damaging to humanities long term survival than our belief
that we must conquer nature. Nature can make life short, brutish and
uncomfortable. But so does war and poverty, and we haven’t taken the necessary steps
to conquer these. The environment is our life support system. It consists of a
very thin and fragile biofilm covering our planet that is protected by a number
of non-biofilm factors (gravity, earth’s polarization, our ionosphere, and
don’t forget the life giving energy from the sun and the gravitational
influence of the Moon). Within our biofilm every drop of seawater, speck of
soil and liter of air contains thousands if not millions of life forms. Some
may cause human illness and death but 99.9% play a vital role in our survival
or contribute positively to the chain of life that makes up our planetary life
support system. We rightly see our
homes/houses as our refuge from nature but then turn the outside of our property
(the yard) into an unnatural environment to improve our homes appearance. We
rely on harmful chemicals and non-native species to create the appearance
someone ‘lives’ there.
2. Our bodies: While we may
be ‘spiritual beings’ our existence for now depends upon a relatively
complicated but well organized lump of organic matter that requires specific
constant inputs and expulsions to survive. Until we find the means to move
beyond this ‘lump’ form we should probably take care of it. We seldom do.
Overconsumption and malconsumption sickens us, debilitates us, and too often
kills us prematurely. And increasingly we demonstrate little interest in
boosting the physical capacity of our adaptable, auto-repairing organic lump. This
degenerative capacity slowly accelerates its usefulness, usually so slowly we fail
to perceive it until it’s too late. This lump depends on many things. Kept healthy, it can be an incredible tool for
building a better world and even our capacity to form constructive mental
concepts that sustain and nurture nature all life - like the concept of
3. Our loved ones: Time
commitments to work and the time we commit to the gadgets we use for
transportation (cars and trucks), communication and entertainment (cell phones,
TVs and computers…) is time we don’t spend face to face or hand in hand with
those we love, and others who need love, who may someday come into our schools,
our places of worship or our place of employment.
4. Our community: Our homes
are seen as not only an escape from nature, but from an increasingly
unfriendly, sometimes hostile, social environment we perceive largely from
listening to the news and interacting with others close to us who may have
points of view that make us annoyed, angry, indifferent or uncomfortable. We
prefer being with others like us, instead of learning from and enjoying the
company of others who are not.
5. Our Government: At best we
believe that government is inefficient. At worst, it’s dysfunctional or
conspiratorial. We have forgotten that ours is a government of “We the People”.
It is not some ‘thing’ or cabal in Washington DC, the state capitol, or city
hall. It is an institution that we have chosen by place of residence, and by voting
(AND not voting –which is a vote for the status quo) to be responsible for
things around us. Rarely are we active citizens between elections.
6. Our Politicians: Because
their mouths are moving, we assume they are lying. And, if they have the
courage to tell us what we need to hear, we won’t vote for them. We rarely feel
connected enough to them, even though they ‘represent’ us, to tell them what we
want, need, or value most. Usually our closest connection to them is during
elections when they ask us for donations or during troubled times when we
protest against them.
7. Science and facts: Our
minds look for patterns and find ‘evidence’ that may or may not be real. We
pray in hope that a higher force will save us from ourselves. And some make up
other beliefs to explain random events or their previous prejudiced views.
8. The heavens: Both physical
and spiritual. For as long as humans have existed humans look up in the darkness
and saw the majesty of billions of stars, many concentrated in a dense path
across the sky and, occasionally, a few that streak across the heaven. And we
wondered, ‘how did we get here?’ and ‘why are we here?’ Now we look up and
consider ourselves fortunate to see electric lights or the calm sky muted by
smog or light pollution. We are now even nonchalant that our species actually landed
on and returned safely from the moon.
9. Other peoples: We separate ourselves
from nearly seven billion other people by divisions of sex, race, religion,
ethnic group, age, political party or country. But, in fact, we are all essentially the same
children of nature or nature’s God. We all have the same needs and human
vulnerabilities. But we devise different customs, looks, preferences, rules and
ideas that divide us even further.
And then! And then we wonder why we feel like
‘something’ is missing in our lives. And
then marshal the audacity to wonder why some people grab a gun and mass murder
other sentient beings claiming they felt “disconnected” or were visibly and
physically unloved by anyone within reach or sight.
It’s not a tragedy that we have seen
a spike in mass killings in the last twenty years. It’s a miracle that far more
people haven’t done it. Now, with increasing access of all humans to means of
mass murder previously restricted to national governments, perhaps its time to
grasp and act on the concept of our local and global interdependence.
Nearly 70 years ago most people in the world realized this
reality. They created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A paper document intended to list most of the
human needs essential to reducing violence between peoples and nations.
There is plenty evidence and even reason NOT to be is reason
optimistic. Research shows that optimists are less likely to achieve their
goals because they are less likely to analyze the barriers to be overcome. And,
pessimists are less likely to act. What’s missing is commitment. A commitment
to analyze the barriers, the devise and implement plans of action, to overcome
them. To do this effectively we must
first recognize our interdependence… and while we can strive to be less
dependent on others and other things, we will never be independent.
And, in today’s modern
world of increasingly powerful and affordable technology all people are
becoming increasingly connected. In economics, environment, Infectious diseases
(nature’s or man-made), computers (information, communication, cyber-crime…)
Transportation (people, goods and services) -- all of which carry the potential
for great global good or catastrophic global harm.
Independence is a debilitating
and increasingly lethal myth. The sooner
we abandon it, the sooner we can build a just, sustainable and fulfilling
heaven on earth, were gun violence is a rarity instead of a predictable daily
expectation. Without this transformation of belief the highly desired concept
of security will continue to be just an illusion.