Today a story broke by the National Post where a 4-year-old toddler grabbed a loaded gun being shown off by its owner and killed a woman at a backyard BBQ. It obviously wan’t intentional, but it is just another lost life out of stubborn ignorance. Say what you want about that story, but the N.P. ran a very interesting info-graphic inside this article that I found very intriguing. First of all there is not a direct correlation with gun ownership and people killed by firearms. Take a look at Finland for example. There are almost enough guns in the country for 50% of the populous to be armed and yet there are only 24 gun related homicides in the entire country per year. Then you look at the USA where there’s double the weapons so you would figure we would have double the homicides but no, we have 10,129 gun related homicides per year, an increase of 1,010,500%!!!
This made me think about the difference between the USA and Finland. There has to be a cultural reason why Finns decide to only use their guns for target practice or hunting, and Americans decide to use their guns for killing. Is there a more lax policy on drugs? Are there less gangs? Are there more opportunities for advancement? Is the gap between the rich and poor thinner than ours? Are guns harder to get? Are there magazine restrictions? Are Finnish people nicer? Should these be the questions that our government asks before adding another policy? Personally, I hate guns. I don’t like being around them, and usually I don’t care for people who talk about them, and massage them, etc. etc. I also usually find that people with guns are scared pussies who don’t know how to fight, and if you say that to one of these gun owners what do you think they do? They pull their gun out and threaten to kill you.
Now after saying all that you would think I want the USA to be gun free, to strip all the weapons away from the citizens and only let the government, police force, and armed forces carry guns. HELL to the no. Another problem is we have lost confidence and respect for our government and the police force it manages. Politicians are constantly proving themselves to be crooks, we’ve been in a ridiculous war for the past decade, and police brutality is more apparent than ever. I think it’s important for citizens to police their government and I think the balance of power in the present is skewed towards the politicians more than towards the people.
Many people would read that and think “yeah, we should show our politicians who’s boss with our guns!” Nope. Wrong again. What we need to do is the opposite of what many of our enemies do – we need to act CIVILIZED! Do you want to live in a country where your belongings are only safe if you have a wall around your house, a bulletproof Tahoe, and armed personnel and CCTV watching your every move? If so move to Central America, Mexico City, or parts of South America or the Middle East or the Soviet Union, or a gated community in Houston, Texas.
Personally, I would like to live in a country where people have the promise of a better future for themselves and their children. This would not need the protection of a firearm for every citizen because every citizen would be focused on getting a job, buying a house, having 2.5 kids, and maybe getting a new car every few years. This “utopia” used to exist. I’m not sure what happened, the easy thing to do is blame the baby boomers – but at the same time those baby boomers have raised us and put us through college and many of you reading this are probably living with them right now. I do believe there is a great deal of wealth lost in the system right now. You have people living longer than ever and they are all saving for retirement. This money is held up in a few corporations in the stock market and is not out being used to create small business or make the daily transactions that really fuel the economy. Meanwhile, those large corporations are finding ways every year to A. not pay taxes B. outsource the jobs (leaving another poor American & taking those wages out of our economy) C. replace workers with technology. Meanwhile you have more and more people going unemployed but they still need to eat, still want things, and many end up diving into drugs and alcohol. Well, when you have nothing and you need something what do you do? You steal. You rob houses. You break into cars. You deal drugs. You join a gang. And many of these things involve and perpetuate gun violence. And then the rich build fences and get CCTV.
So once again, I’m not saying guns cause this, in fact that’s another problem our society has across the board is that we always try to find one answer. Got a rash? Take this ointment. The ointment makes you tired? Drink some coffee. Coffee makes your teeth brown? Try some whitener. Teeth whitener hurts your teeth? Take an aspirin. Too much aspirin hurts your stomach? Pepto Bismol. This is the same way we treat our problems. Guy shoots up elementary school? Reduce large magazine clips. Isn’t is fucked up that the reason they do this is because it gives people a fighting chance to survive while the killer reloads?!?! So we have decided to allow people to shoot up schools as long as they only kill 5 and not 20? What kind of logic is that?
My friends, it always comes down to money – and that is fucking disgusting. You want to know why your life isn’t going so great? Because someone else cares more about money than human life. Period. Just look around you. The diamond trade. Oil. Drugs (both illegal and legal) At least illegal drug dealers will admit their product is bad, meanwhile you have companies that could save a whole continent from AIDS but instead they let people die every year because it’s good for their bottom line. The prison system. Monsanto. These motherfuckers are in charge of the food supply and are poisoning our Earth in the process. The list goes on.
Now, I wish I could give you an answer on how to change such a large beast. It comes down to personal choices. 20 years ago no one gave a shit about the environment. But the youth saw a problem and even though many of their parents and grandparents thought we were silly for caring, we do, and most of us will think twice before throwing a soda can into a trash bin. I say this with great sadness but I don’t think anything will change until the baby boomers are gone. This includes most of the people in my life who I love and respect and that is why it makes me sad, but they are also the ones who continue to hold all of the power, and continue to police industry, government, and the environment in antiquated ways. I’m positive we would not b e at war if it were up to people under 40. I’m positive we would have single stream recycling in every city if it were up to people under 40. I’m positive there would be better healthcare options if it were up to people under 40. I’m positive there would be less corporate greed and reach if it were up to people under 40. The list goes on and there’s a few things you can do to jumpstart change. #1 Vote with your money. I have not shopped at Wal-Mart since 2003. I don’t miss it. I don’t care that I spend an extra $9 a week on groceries because I fucking hate everything that company stands for. If you insist on buying bulk and getting a good deal there is an alternative called Costco. It’s as cheap as Sam’s but they pay their employees well. If you want to see more Made in USA products – buy more Made in USA products. If you want more organic food – buy more organic food. Personally, I’m doing my best to grow as many vegetables as possible this year in a backyard garden. I’m not putting any chemicals on the lawn – we are going au natural, because I don’t want to add to the polluted groundwater problem. Walk more. Bike more. Think of your efforts as a way to offset all of those people who don’t give a shit. You don’t like guns? Don’t buy them – but also don’t partake in violent video games or action movies. You want to end the drug war? Call your congressman. Move to a pot friendly state. There won’t be some epic change that fixes this system – that’s the old way of thinking, the route to change is by making small individual choices every single day. Then the market will correct itself. And these choices are contagious. And the next generation will grow up with these changes and they won’t be choices at all – they will just be the way things are done.
I promise you my daughter will always be looking for a compost pile or recycling bin before she throws something in the trash. She will know where her food comes from and what it means to eat meat. She won’t waste water and she will live an active lifestyle. She will take part in political rallies and she will make her voice heard when she wants it. She will be accepting of all people regardless of their race or religion or orientation. She will do this because I will teach her to do this, even if it means I have to make changes to my own life – because it is our job to make sure the next generation is not only better off than us, but more evolved than us. And I hope you do the same. Because if your backwards-ass offspring ever gets close to my daughter with a gun, I will show him why people prefer killing with a gun over a fist. It’s easier, it takes less thought, and it’s quicker. 3 things I won’t take into account.