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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Restricting rights won’t curb violence

If we could remove firearms from the citizenry, we would not have changed the fact that we do not value human life. By prohibiting drugs and abortions, we fail to get to the root of those problems.

Regrettably, the three are interrelated. We are wasting time politicking and not addressing their common causes. It is arrogant to try to legislate away the tide of complex social ills that have caused so much of North America to remain awash in blood for so long. How have we forgotten King Canute?

We are failing as a species at a behavioral level. Laws do nothing to prevent either real or fictionalized gun violence from being glamorized by ratings-driven media outlets. When we criminalize guns, drugs or abortion and then incarcerate members of our communities, we drive the problem further underground and empower the state to participate in our personal lives.

This is a mental health issue and we are collectively negligent if we shirk our personal responsibility by blaming guns and relying on the state. We should treat this contagion of violence by addressing its environmental causes. If we really want to fight violence, abortion and addiction, the effort must go toward early intervention programs and free and anonymous walk-in mental health crisis centers open 24/7 in every public or private hospital in the nation. This could be similar to the clinic model we used with HIV prevention, which worked effectively to limit that pandemic.

Vilifying AIDS patients and intravenous drug users did not.

This is a mental health issue that we are aggravating with criminalization. More gun laws will further radicalize an already active subculture of extremists and secessionists. They won’t just use guns, because they have bombs and, soon, drones. This is a slow motion national disaster with international implications.

Lawyers, the prison-industrial complex and black marketeers will benefit the most from increased gun legislation, as they did with drug laws. Prison corporations have grown rich off addiction. How much more do they stand to gain from nonviolent gun owners or a new ban on abortion?

The criminal justice system lost the war on drugs the same way it lost during Prohibition and the same way it will lose a war on guns. Our past tolerance of back-alley abortion and transnational drug cartels should guide us before we allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI to dictate more details of our personal lives.

The concept of limiting gun rights is as shortsighted as putting armed guards in schools. When we relinquish to the state any rights, we impair our ability to effectively challenge the growing global police state. Armed citizens are challenging Assad the way Mandela fought the power of apartheid. Guns gave Nicaraguan citizens the means to beat back the Somoza regime and the Contras.

Gun violence, substance abuse and abortion will continue to exist whether we seek criminalization or not. Mass violence unquestionably predates the firearm. We may put our politics or spiritual beliefs before principles and common sense in these debates, but take solace in how fortunate we are to have newly marginalized gun owners, pitiable drug users and distressed pregnant mothers to collectively punish and blame for systemic problems in our nation.

How greedy we are to expend resources on disenfranchising these valuable people.

Logically, we should also work on outlawing religion because it causes violence such as the Crusades and Islamic jihad. If gun rights can be eroded, then so can free speech. People dump babies, numb themselves and kill each other because the primal extended family has been systematically attacked since the start of colonialism. The human race is sick and these are only a few symptoms. If you refuse to see it, you are sick. More laws will not heal us. Chicago has very tough gun laws, but it lost at least 500 souls to gun-related violence last year.

If you are against abortion, don’t have one. Don’t like drugs? Don’t buy them. If you find firearms repugnant, don’t possess them. Do not try to limit other people’s right to choose; it consistently backfires. If one has the right to legal abortion, then one also has the right to have weapons or to ease the pain of cancer. We cannot let criminals, corporations and the state be the only ones with access to effective quantities of armaments and ammunition. Organize against new gun laws because they keep the power elite strong. Fight against new gun laws — or prepare for an intifada in America.