During my entertainment career I have lived in New York and Los Angeles. In both states my American friends used to laugh at me because I didn’t own a gun. I used to argue with the Yanks. My stance was, if there were no guns. there would be no shootings. Their response was that it was their right and what if one maniac had an illegal gun?
The point is, if guns were illegal, I highly doubt there would be one mass murder shooting (four deaths) per day in the United States. That is the unvarnished logic the gun lobby cannot withstand. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of pandering to the National Rifle Association. To hell with lives no matter what age- votes and full lobbied coffers are what counts.
My ex-father-in law was the sheriff of Niagara Falls, New York. He had a plethora of weapons in his closet stash. I asked him why he owned so many guns as a police officer. His answer was simple- the people outgunned the cops. Therein lies the deadly circle of gun violence in the United States of America. We don’t have that problem here, thank God. Violence begets violence. Paranoia begets paranoia.
The 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Not to be too facetious, the last time I checked King George III of England has no plans to invade the United States.
Yet having lived in the States I came to realize that gun ownership is not just a right but an innate part of our southern cousins’ culture, and that is what Canadians and most world citizens fail to understand.
I suspect if the founding fathers of the Unites States knew of the continuing gun violence today, they would never have instituted the 2nd Amendment. It is painfully obvious that the amendment was enacted as a direct result of England’s on-going bullying of the colonies regarding taxation without representation. Further, the right to bear arms was also inclusive of ordinary citizens to protect the fledgling nation from future British incursions.
But in a strange manner our American friends retained the amendment long after the British threat had dissipated. So, the question is, why has the United States maintained the right to bear arms including automatic weapons? As a historian, my opinion is that the settling of the Western United States (post the Civil War) is the main culprit.
The propaganda endemic to Americans regarding the threat of supposed savage Indians induced all to have an itchy trigger finger, and the hard cold fact that the thirteen colonies had a relatively easy time of it regarding independence thanks to an ocean, inflated their ego to the point that the threat of violence was sufficient to preclude attack.
Yet in Canada we didn’t have the same paranoia as our western nation was usurped from First Nations. The seminal fact is Canadians (although underhanded) did not see imperialism as the driving factor as it was in the United States. Hence, weaponry was required to subdue adversaries. Hence, might is right. That unfortunate ethos has spilled into the foreign policies of the United States as well. American imperialism has never ceased from The Louisiana Purchase to Iraq and Afghanistan. The bottom line reverts to Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy, “Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far.” The problem is, that is the exact same attitude that has resulted in American machismo ending in endless murders through guns, legal or not.
So many of the heroes of the Federalists during the Civil War were guilty of mass murder of indigenous peoples and this too warped the mien of Americana.
Think about it, slavery was abolished yet it was proper for abolitionists to arm themselves to the teeth to slaughter the rightful owners of the land. From this bewildering perspective we have seen this thinking carry over to this century only it is the very citizens of the United States that are armed against each other. Ergo, if everyone has a gun, I should too.
How many dead adults and children do we have to see before America realizes the folly of their constitution? There is no other country in the world that has this problem. To my friends in the United States, I ask of you, does it take an automatic weapon to hunt a deer? Why do you require such destructive machines of death? Is it because it is your right? Tell that to a five-year old lying in a coffin. For shame.
Examine your history. Be honest. America, you are a great nation and our best friend. You are better than this.
By Ben Guyatt
Ben Guyatt is a comedian and published author. Visit his website at www. benguyatt.com