Rhetoric, Guns, Military Buildup, Chest Pounding: Are We Safer?

When I was a kid we had a strange and lonely man who was being cared for by his daughter’s family. I certainly cannot fault the daughter but my experience with this sad old man was that he would wander down the street in his stripped pajamas scraping his worn slippers over the sidewalk many times a day, day after day. He would go half-way around the block, avoid the hills and never cross over at the intersections. I knew this old gent had been a gunner in the Navy during the war and deserved far more attention in his waining years than he was getting. It was sad but all the younger kids in the neighborhood were told to avoid this man as if he was dangerous.

Then I went away to college and when I returned the next year for a visit, my mother explained that there was a new family in the neighborhood which had an adult son who wandered around at night and was caught looking into the windows of the houses on our block. I don’t recall ever seeing this person on my short visits (one was an entire summer, though) but the concern for his peripatetic wanderings caused my parents to start locking the front door.

It is important to note that this was the first time in over eighteen years that the front door was locked. I had never even seen a key to the house and now I was forced to carry one in my pocket. I remember not too many years before that we went away to Arizona for a week or two and when we returned home we were surprised to see the front door wide open (we had a screen door) … it seems we forgot to close it before departing on our vacation.

Now I read that a nanny has slaughtered the young children in her care and all of Manhattan is on alert.

When I was a youngster back in the halcyon days of television westerns, I often became frightened to think that such a violent period could have existed in this country. I didn’t want to have a pair of six-guns strapped to my hips, always being careful to avoid any fights or confrontations that might have me slapping leather with a hired-gun in a black hat. The growth of civilization was making it safer and more pleasant to live in this modern world. But then the idea of inducing fear into the population for political gain became the base-line of one of the political parties and the organization and lobby for guns that kill people became so sacrosanct that neither party wants to confront it. You could cut someone off at an intersection and they might pull a legal handgun and blow you away … and then, under some interpretations of the law, be considered within their rights and escape any sort of legal retribution.

That’s a comforting thought, right?

Of course the reality is that the world is very much safer than it was a century back—safer from weapons; safer from diseases; safer from tainted food; safer from wild animals—but there are those who profit from convincing the people that they are not safer. Shame on them.

What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s