Precipitating Violence

Why, Americans randomly shooting ourselves has become so common the sting that once pierced us, the outrage which once consumed us upon hearing the news, has dulled. That news has gotten short-lived, too.

Quickly now, name the last wanton outbreak of death delivered by an asocial man who’s shattered a peaceful day with his assault rifle. One we’ve foolishly permitted him to possess. Perhaps killings are occurring or will occur while you read this. Doubtlessly shortly thereafter then.

The operational quote is: “We have the means of our salvation within us.” But Americans have become so timid, so docile, we’ve become risk adverse to saving lives. Perhaps even our own.

The generation that raised me and whom I esteemed are all long gone today. They overcame hurdles which would’ve driven us to our knees. Those were tough people. Tough and sensible. What on earth would they have made of the easy availability of war weaponry in current society?

They would not have debated the menace as we have. They would not have bothered seeing both sides. Citing “safety first!” they would’ve infringed into the rights of others with both intrusive feet.

First the obvious. Citizens do not need be among us with assault rifles slung across their backs. Military-grade weaponry isn’t necessary to perform mundane tasks like laundry or grabbing sundries from the local convenience store. In fact, citizens have no need to sling those rapid dispensers of mass death anywhere in our communities.

Second, the people most of us have succeeded would’ve asked this obvious question of civilians loaded for cocaine bear: “What are you afraid of?” Coming from Americans who took to heart FDR’s “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” dictum while preserving American society during domestic calamities then turned on a dime to keep darkness from enveloping the globe, we, their successors, ought have produced gun control opponents that refuse to offer more than calcified pro-gun talking points.

Surveying our present American landscape, let me state we are living in a Boris Vian creation. One further misshapen than any he could’ve developed in his deepest kief and jazz suff.

Vian was a French postwar author. If he’s known to American readers at all, it must be from his best-known title on these shores, I Spit on Your Graves. It’s from his unmoored yet surprisingly perceptive realization of the New World saviors of the Middle 20th Century Old World.

He constructed the above without ever having the pleasure of having stepping foot upon our terrain.
See, Vian, unlike, say, Simone de Beauvoir, never visited America. As did Franz Kafka, another fabulist absent from our shores during his lifetime, Vian took bits and pieces of America collected from all sorts of sources – returned visitors from here, news dispatches, postcards – and fabricated a vision of the place. Of us then.

All things considered we really haven’t evolved much.

Let’s just say Amerika, Kafka’s invention of America, was kinder than Vian’s. The Czech’s narrative was light and goggle-eyed. The Frenchman’s nailed today’s USA back in 1946.

Vian intuited our current love for mindless gun violence against ourselves. The kind reprehensible even after the industrial bloodletting of World War II. Was he visionary? If the visions instigated by peyote with mescal kickers, yes.

Learning of the latest mass murder splattering America in gore before fully absorbing the last carnage, isn’t that our landscape of today? Our country has become a conveyor belt of casual slaughter.

And after each incident we become more and more accepting. Oh, yes. Indeed, we have.

A still unique American circumstance, the search for fame the well-balanced among us regard as notoriety precipitates violence. Pardon the pun, but see it as an offshoot of precipitating gunfire. In firefights isn’t there the phenomena of shooting for shooting’s sake because others are shooting?

Given the preponderance of guns throughout American society shouldn’t we be surprised there aren’t more situations when armed Good Samaritans rush upon a cordite scene yet are unable to discern armed bad guys from armed bystanders? Instead of calm resolution, isn’t this a moment ripe for reacting instinctively?

Either we’ve been lucky so far or we’re one day closer to such incipient violence frequently breaking out.

Are our heedless conveyor killings an American propensity? Aren’t these more than just copycat crimes?

Isn’t there a defect in the present-day Anglo-American male makeups which finds deadly solace in unaccountable mass murder? Instead of horrifying and having the potential killers seek out and rediscover their humanity, doesn’t every random mow ‘em all down incident embolden, um, precipitate, the perpetrator of the next? One could suspect these byproducts of our “All Eyez on Me!” subculture. Its desire to be known and recalled for having done something outrageous.

Which is why after mass casualty events gunmen’s names should be spoken sparingly, if at all. Maybe if gunsels considering their own carnage saw authorities keeping perpetrators of the prior ones anonymous, it might discourage a future few from killing strangers for nothing and themselves dying for less.

In other advanced nations just one gun rampage suffices to jolt the populace into what too many aghast Americans would wrongly state are “draconian preventative measures.” Those foreign societies, lands where lives are truly valued over fetishized liberty, ban then confiscate the instruments of death.

The best part of that decision is its widespread compliance. Personal pronouns are heard pejoratively. Emphasis on and belief in “we” undercuts the extreme selfish, shortsighted, stubborn America notions of freedom to be dangerous or free to be a threat to society.

For non-Americans, just one disaffected young man fulfilling his yearning for indifferent rampage through a high-capacity/high-velocity weapon against schoolchildren, shoppers, worshippers, the defenseless in general, is motivation enough for them to stem, or at least make true efforts to stem, any future cascade of rapid murder. But here in the States owing to our adherence to the Second Amendment, a right we’ve perverted, jeopardizing the whole must take a backseat to individuals’ desires.

No matter how possibly murderous. That preference ought to be seen as insane.

Earlier generations of Americans would’ve determined just that. Amazing how clearer sighted we were then.
Three or four decades ago, one nutso loner bearing an AK or AR who emptied clips into family, friends, or neighbors should’ve roused absolute strangers into coalescing into commonsense responses. The kind that would’ve led to denying ownership of then removing scything guns from civilians nationwide.

Aside from hue and cry erupting from the nascent 2A absolutist set, the vast majority of gunowners would’ve gladly aligned themselves with these edicts. An assault rifle is one gun even Charlton Heston might’ve approved of having pried from his still warm pliant fingers.

The national gun organizations today shrilly demanding every American to buy several guns yesteryear retained their rationality. Those respective leadership councils would’ve scoffed at peacetime Americans outside the purview of the Defense Department lugging around assault rifles. If only because that sight is ludicrous.

Same with all those men overcompensating for their apparently shaky masculinity. A full shoulder holster accompanying sidearms on both hips only weakens by burdening. These don’t confer strength.

Taking it further, if the fallback reason to have an assault rifle is use in hunting, it reasons to ask what game? Certainly not ptarmigan.

Before “gun mania” street-swept America, having a gun was a rather lowkey distinction. Then as now, hunters certainly didn’t bray about the tool enabling them to harvest game or acquire a trophy. If anything, if one listened, far more was said about the stealth needed to stalk the prize as well as acquire the right shot. Don’t go by Elmer Fudd. Hunting is a real skill.

And if a homeowner felt it necessary to maintain a pistol in his or her premises, he or she seldom broadcasted this. Wasn’t one likelier to hear the belief they were unnecessary or the material possessions inside that address weren’t worth the inherent risks? Or best of all, more could go wrong with a gun than without one.

Even the past era’s gun organizations soft-pedaled personal protection. Rather, they extolled the Hemingwayesque pleasures of being in idyllic forests or fields with a long barrel. And instead of cajoling gun ownership for the mere sake of having, they promoted gun safety, marksmanship, conservation. Three attributes little heard today.

It shouldn’t be any surprise but most gunowners, hunters especially, are astutely diligent regarding their implements. They know how dangerous those things can be. Rare is the owner who fails to secure his or her weapon and allows or commits some mischance with or through it. When that happens it’s regrettable news.

Of course, some readers may “do some research.” They’ll cherry pick figures from a search engine. Through them they’ll learn of a tragic number of accidental or careless discharges and suicides by guns.

Those are lamentable results. However, America is unique.

Our country is overwhelmed by more guns than people. The real revelation concerning such numbers is given the human-guns ratio how few of us don’t accidentally maim ourselves or succumb to our despair and kill ourselves.

With all that iron floating around it’d be easy.