The one thing I don’t understand about the American gun push

Be careful what you wish for.

Be careful what you wish for.

I understand that guns, in large part, created modern America.

I understand that an armed citizenry was a fundamental aspect of American independence.

I understand that an armed citizenry is a final defense against an oppressive State.

I understand that if there is even a 1 percent chance of your kids or wife being accosted by an armed person, you want them to be able to defend themselves.

I understand that gun ownership is part of the fabric of American freedom.

I understand that gun ownership rights are written into the Constitution.

I understand that America is a fearful country, that it feels terrorized on multiple fronts, and that owning a gun is one way to dissipate that fear.

I understand that if an enemy has a gun, you would want a gun too.

I understand that guns have always played a significant role in American history, particularly during Independence, during the push into the American Frontier, during the Civil War and during America’s modern invasions into other nations.

I understand that it is hard, perhaps impossible, to ignore all these factors and the impact they have on individual and collective emotions, particularly fear.

But there’s one thing I do not understand.

I do not understand how the NRA’s and many others’ aim to arm every individual in the country would lead to a safer state.

Consider the situation: you are walking down a busy road in New York, or through a neighborhood, where everybody, every single person around you, has a loaded weapon somewhere on their person.

The check out girls in the supermarket. The bus drivers and taxi drivers. The office suits taking lunch. The guys just hanging out on the curb. The mothers walking with their babies. The daughters shopping for earrings. The sons going to the movies.

All armed. All carrying loaded weapons. All “protected.”

And just as important as their weapon is their attitude — each individual knows he is armed, each knows everyone else is armed, and each knows that if it comes to it, they have the right to shoot first and ask questions later.

I ask: would you feel safer or less safe in this situation?

Would you be happy hanging out, or allowing your son or daughter to hang out, in a neighborhood like this?

If an event does occur that gives some of these individuals the impulse to pull out their weapon, are fewer people likely to get hurt, or more?

Now ask the same questions about a neighborhood where nobody in the street is armed.

Over to you, America.

Saturday: So much better than Sunday


Sunday – day of rest, day of barbecues, day off work, day of sloth.

We have long been conditioned in the West to relish Sunday as a day free from the stresses and headaches and meetings and politics of the usual Monday-Friday grind.

Sunday is a lot like a special offer on beers – buy six get one free.

Except that it’s not.

I would like to argue that Saturday is actually the day we should cherish and enjoy, for one excellent reason: we know we have another one tomorrow.

For all of Sunday’s restful pleasures, they are tarnished with the knowledge, certain, however hard we try to relegate it into our unconscious, that tomorrow it’s all over, this day of lounging and lazing, of doing the stuff we really want to do in life, will be gone, that in 24 hours we’ll be back at work, confined physically and mentally within four dour walls, and that that’s going to last for at least five days until the glories of Sunday return once again.

It’s like cracking open that free beer, anticipating the sparkling fizz as the boozy liquid hits your tongue, only to find you’ve been fobbed off with an insipid, flavorless beer lite freebie.

With Saturday, you get all the pros of Sunday, without that one glaring fact hovering like a giant cloud of doom on the horizon.

Clearly there are historical reasons at play here. Christians, Protestants specifically, turned the Jewish Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

I’m not going to debate which it should be – that’s for more Biblically knowledgeable people than me.

But I will state that I’m with the Jews on this one, simply because a day of rest, if you’re doing it properly, should not be lined with the fear of imminent work.

Of course, this applies in a society in which we only get two days off each week, a social abomination if ever there was one.

For those of us not lucky enough to be spending five days a week, 40 hours a day, doing what they believe they were born to do, this is nothing short of slave labor – however “voluntary” it may be.

(Of course it is not voluntary if you want to have any kind of disposable income)

In short let’s all start looking forward to Saturday a bit more, can we? Let’s start planning our barbecues and parties and family occasions and day trips to the beach on Saturday.

There’s nothing better, I find, than doing what you love doing, knowing you can still do it all again tomorrow.

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