Of Guns & Control

America sure does love its guns. 

Well, some of them don’t, but those are just the bleeding heart liberals that don’t understand the necessity of deadly force when an intruder comes for your loved ones.  Could happen any minute now, so we gotta be prepared. 

The simple, ‘violence begets more violence,’ never crossed anyones mind I guess. 

The issue is complex and I don’t mean to make light.  Many people have lost their lives due to America’s stubborn refusal to take a good hard look at not only why guns are such a problem in the US, but how they became one.

To state my position, I am on the extreme side of the gun control law.  I think they should all be taken away, every single one. 

Having lived in Japan for nearly six years now, a country where about 2 deaths occur annually due to gun violence (one of the lowest, if not THE lowest, in the world), I see how the policy of, “No one gets to have a gun.  NO ONE.” really works.  Not even the cops carry guns. 

So, for my money, the answer is to take the guns away from everyone.  And I mean, everyone.  Take the hunting rifles and the game pistols, take the concealed carry weapons and full on machine guns.  Take it all. 

Why would that never happen?  Because America has been raised in a state of constant violence and it’s all people see now.  Thugs killing cops and cops brutally beating suspects, or even innocent civilians.  School shootings, bar shootings, drive by shootings.  The list could go on and on. 

Americans just love to get riled up and shoot people. 

The funny thing is, I actually thought I could be a cop for a minute.  That was another in a long list of life decisions I did not think through to its conclusion.  The reason I would have failed at that job is because I never could have pulled the trigger on an actual human being, and if I did, I would never have been able to live with myself.  Regardless of the reason I would have killed the person, I still ended a life and that makes me a murderer. 

I am sure a cop would say that I only say that because I am naive.  I am and I shall remain that way.  Guns and violence I leave to you then.    

Here is the bottom line:  Guns are a tool of death.  Their only purpose a guns serves is to end the life of someone or something.  While they may be used in practice just to hit targets, that is a warm up, a preparation, to deliver death more efficiently.  I have shot a gun once and it terrified me.  I am sure over a long enough time line I would grow numb to that feeling, but I don’t know that I would want to. 

The truth is though, America established itself in the world through violence.  The world wars put America on the map for good, and we’ve used war and our talent for it to propel ourselves to the ‘top of the heap,’ if you will. 

Now look around.  How many video games are all about shooting people, how many movies and television shows do we have where people get offed and we don’t blink, how many ads/films/television shows do we have glorifying the life of being a soldier.  The reality is nothing like that though, but it sure looks cool in those ads, right?

Since moving to Japan I have never once seen an army/navy/air force/marine commercial.  They have these things (albeit under a cute name that makes it seem like it’s not a ‘real’ armed force as per the agreement after the American occupation), but it’s not cool to be in it.  Walking into a bar in this country and saying, ‘I’m a soldier,’ gets people to slowly shift to the other side of the room. 

But America loves their soldiers.  They love their war.  They love ‘fighting for freedom.’  That wonderful idea that America cornered the market on, yet they are only one in a long list of countries that have freedom… yet most of those other countries don’t need to promote violence and its perpetuation nearly as much as the US does in order to ‘maintain’ it. 

The reality for the United States is that it was a country founded on violence and has never gotten beyond that.  They took their land violently (admittedly they didn’t corner the market on this either), then they built their reputation through the war machine (the very machine that saved them from financial ruin), and have since never put down the mantle of, “Greatest Armed Forces in the World!” 

Perhaps there is something to that title and all the love of guns…

To point to a rather odd source though, and excuse me for the geek-out here, but Thor said it nicely in the first Avengers movie.  By building larger weapons as a defence you are also calling out to those who would rise to such a challenge, telling them you are prepared for a higher form of battle. 

So robbers in America know they need a gun.  Why?  Because the person they are going to rob likely has a gun.  For every step we take to defend ourselves, those who would attack are going to take a step further.  The question is, when will they allow people to install missile home defence systems? 

The reality is, guns are big money and the whirlwind they create after someone uses them in a maniacal way only makes them all the more popular.  The armed faction of the States rise up and shout that they need their weapons to defend their loved ones!  To defend their homes!  It’s not their fault that some other person used their gun in the wrong way, that isn’t what they are planning on doing!  And so the guns linger, and more innocent people die. 

Well, I have the answer for you all:  move to Japan.  You can go to a convenient store in Japan, get out of your car with it still running (keys obviously in the ignition) and the windows down, and you will never think twice about it.  It would never get stolen.  You think I’m kidding?  I’ll take a video of it.  People do it every day.  They also put knee high fences around goods that are high priced and leave them out over night.  Does crime still exist?  Yes.  They have the Yakuza and everyone knows to stay away from them.  If you are stupid enough to confront them, especially with a weapon, sure, they will kill you.  Still, they know that no one is going to come at them with a gun and as such the number of times they, or any person in Japan, has even threatened someone with a gun is almost zero. 

So America can kick and scream and say, ‘it can’t work!’ all they want.  It can… the question is about the kind of people your country produces.  Sadly, the answer to that is not a fun one to think about in the end. 

39 thoughts on “Of Guns & Control

    • I do. I very much do. Alas, some people dream of the day when they can shoot a burglar in righteous dignity, thus becoming a legal murderer. Too many people think it’s just a game, or that guns are a toy we’re trying to deprive them of. It’s sad really.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was fantastic. I agree with you entirely, and I realize reading it how hard it is for me to say such things here in America, because I’m called unreasonable and uncompromising. It’s expected that I hedge with, “look, I don’t think we need to take away ALL guns, but…” because otherwise nobody will take me seriously and I get treated like a nutjob. Take away all guns? That’s a constitutional right! But yes: all guns. I agree.

    Our attachment to firearms is definitely cultural. It was only 240 years ago – just three or four generations – when our government oppressed us so much that we had to bear arms against them. And then colonizing the Americas, we relied on guns for subsistence and defense – there was no sword culture in America like there was in Japan. I think I understand the psychology of America, but you’re not allowed to carry katanas in Japan anymore. Not even just in case a ninja attacks and you need to defend your family. And Japan has a longer history with swords than we do with guns.

    Tersh and I talk about this a lot and she points out how impossible it would be to actually enforce. Even if guns were banned, how we would get them back? The military would literally have to go pry them from the cold dead fingers of the people in Texas, which in a sense, is exactly what they want, as it would justify their needing them (the government is oppressing me! I must rebel for the good of the Constitution!). I think your throwaway line at the end about what kind of people the country produces is the real problem, and it ISN’T nice to think about. The reason gun control works in Australia and Japan and Ireland but it wouldn’t in America is because Americans are culturally homicidal, and because guns are just that much more deeply embedded in our society… and because the rich and powerful gun lobby won’t let us even when the majority of Americans want to see at least some changes (https://medium.com/@CAPAction/here-is-how-much-money-the-senators-who-voted-against-gun-reform-received-from-the-nra-63607c42093b#.fjt4qit3w).

    Liked by 3 people

    • 1 – yes, it is funny how living in America forces you to hedge your bets at times. Being on the extreme of any topic causes your argument to be disregarded entirely. I used to do the same thing a while back. I was even on the other side of the fence. However, having lived in a country where there is next to no threat of violence or crime being inflicted on my person by a weirdo with a weapon has taught me that it’s cultural brainwash. The culture of America has Americans convinced that having a gun is a good thing, a necessary thing, and something that cannot be lived without.

      As a final thought, I think there is a sick part of this where people really want a chance to kill someone. We are so inundated with gun violence in all mediums that people really fantasise about shooting another person, and they don’t want that dream to die. They will be a hero after all! The big bad wolf comes to take their little ones and they fill him full of lead like Clint Mother F’ng Eastwood. BLAM! And they don’t even have to go to jail for it! Yay! But they hide behind, “it’s to protect my loved ones.”

      No. It’s to protect your toy. And that toy is killing a lot of people, so it’s time to give it up, little Timmy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes. So much yes. I cannot stand the glorification of the military. Then we turn around and hide the fact that, when those ‘heroes’ come home, we let them rot. Why? Because their part in the drama is over.

      Yet we must honor their sacrifices, even if we don’t agree with the conflicts that our government sent them off to engage in. They are the defenders of ‘freedom’ … such a loaded gun that idea is.

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    • Thank you so much for the constant blog love and support.

      If what America really wants is to be, ‘great again,’ (shivers), they first need to address the fact that they haven’t been great for a while and then think about why that is. It isn’t one political party or the other, it’s the collective ignorance of the populace.

      Open your eyes, move out from your comfortable bubble and see the world, then think for yourself about what you truly believe. Turn off the damn TV, it’s only making it worse!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with the sentiment, but the sad reality is that, in America, one has to hedge one’s bets in this way because the real change that is needed seems so impossible given the state of affairs.

      People in America love guns and violence so much that they can’t let it go, so we have to settle for just turning it down a notch when even that is going to leave us with a constant buzzing in our ears.

      While some change or any change would be nice, the reality is the big change is what we really need.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not trying to stir the pot, but do you really think it’s just that simple? There are a lot of factors you are glazing over. How diverse is Japan? How many various religions, ways of life, cultures are there trying to exist together and understand one another? How free is Japan? Ok- so no one has any gums but what else don’t they have? I do not know the answers to these questions but they seem like important factors to consider when you suggest taking away all guns for everyone. What about those who manage to get things illegally and the black market? Supposedly the shooter had some mental health issues. That should not be a go to excuse by any means but does Japan take better care of this health issue than the US too? I’m legitimately asking not trying to be a smart ass or provoke a fight. I just think there is a lot to look into.

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    • Thank you for your comment. To address your questions point by point:

      1 – I never said it was simple. It would be impossible given the fever for weapons and self armament that has been an obsession in the US for nearly two centuries.

      Nevertheless, it is a necessary change if America truly wants to be the ‘progressive’ country it claims to be.

      2 – Diversity in Japan. It depends on if you are talking about ethnic diversity or cultural diversity, because the answer changes. As to ethnic diversity, America is going to be more diverse by default because it is a country that was founded on hostile takeover. It’s entire population came from overseas at one point or another. It’s also only got about 200+ years of history, whereas Japan has nearly 2,000. The diversity issue is not what bring weapons though.

      Australia is as ethnically and culturally diverse as America and they have a ban on firearms. Ireland does too.

      It’s interesting that you are equating, in at least the way you pose the question, that the reason people have to arm themselves is because we are ethnically or culturally different and until we understand each other, we need to keep a gun just in case.

      Part of the reason people have a hard time living in American and ‘existing together and understanding one another’ is due to fear and intolerance. Part of that fear comes from the fact that so many people are armed and the threat of violence is very real. I think it would be easier for people to understand one another and get along if they were force to put the guns away and really talk.

      3 – How free is Japan? Hmmm. I have to try and be gentle with this answer. I am a history major, and as such I know quite a bit about American propaganda. That said, I would point you to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqOYBabXmA

      Start watching at about 3:10 seconds. It’s a bit over the top and inflammatory at points, but one major thing he points out is about freedom.

      Many Americans live under the somewhat silly belief that we cornered the market on freedom. That no on is as ‘free’ as America. This is a lie. It’s something history teachers and television sell to us.

      The majority of the world lives in freedom. There is very little overt oppression left in first world countries. So, to answer your question, Japan is as free as America. In some ways it’s more free. In other ways it’s less. It balances out.

      I assume from the follow to that question you are trying to say that they might have taken away their guns and given them oppression of some sort in its place, but that is not true.

      As to illegal guns, they get them even with no gun control, so how is having gun control going to make this worse? The number of violent crimes where an illegally obtained gun holder is taken down by a registered gun holder is so minuscule as to be non existent. So the argument, for me, that “we need to allow guns because other people get illegal guns and we need to protect ourselves from them” is a non-factor. Guns aren’t used for this purpose nearly enough to warrant the other deaths the create.

      Mental health wise, Japan’s health care is better than the US. Again, this has to do with America’s love of money over progression. Other countries progressed in their dealings with health care to ensure the support of all their people. America wanted to let the insurance companies stay rich. Just like they want to let the gun lobby stay rich. It comes down to money in that aspect. Capitalism made us rich, it also made us very morally poor.

      I hope my response didn’t sound inflammatory either, or combative. I honestly think a large part of the problem is that most American has not progressed socially or morally nearly as much as the world around them and a large part of that is due to greed. Guns, drugs, health care, the list could go on forever.

      America needs to find a way to become the greatest social nation, not just the most armed and dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the very thorough response! I truly do appreciate it. I in no way meant to consciously equate cultural diversity with a need for guns. Truthfully I come from a strong , republican, gun-toting family and so the issue seems sensitive but I am legitimately trying to work my way through what I think not what I have been raised to believe and that is why I asked the questions. In addition, I have taught in very rural areas where hunting is life, and for some families legitimately their main source of food still in today’s world, yet at the same time try to teach a world lit based curriculum and open their eyes to the world around them. First hand info from someone like you can help me in that endeavor,not just for myself but for those whom I teach. It’s never too late to stop learning and asking questions, and so I thank you for your help.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome. The thirst for knowledge is the hallmark of a good teacher, so I applaud your open minded pursuit of true belief. Finding one’s own thoughts amidst all the pressure from the world trying to make up our minds for us is a difficult task. I wish you a pleasant journey through that!

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  3. I agree with a lot of the thoughts you expressed. However, the problem is moving the conversation from a theme of “what should we in the US do” to the question of “What CAN we do seeing as that one third of American households have guns and all of them want to keep them, and most of them vote?” Then the solution becomes not so easy. Americans simply aren’t going to vote this problem away. Ever. So if we limit ourselves to thinking about it this way, we have no solution at all. Looking at more likely solutions, assault weapons bans, bans on magazine capacities, taxes on ammunition, a more consistent enforcement of background check requirements, and things like that may help to reduce horrible incidents, while still keeping violent crime high and accidents plentiful. Those problems may never be solved by Americans without some serious cultural change.

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    • That cultural change is the crux. Americans need to wake up a realise that they have fallen far from the top of the ‘progressive nation,’ ladder, despite how much they love to thump their chest about being the, ‘greatest nation in the world!’

      America is a nation that is rich in greed and individualism and poor in social progression and welfare.

      That ‘me, mine!’ mentality is what makes any positive change nearly impossible.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand your points. I’m a gun owners. I don’t have then because the boogeyman is it there. Nor do I need to kill a thug who will kill me first. Some responsible people have been taught to respect the guns. We have a
    problem here with the criminal system making criminals more violent in prison. People who have issues in life can buy a gun and kill 50 people. Not every gun has an owner like this. Do I need an assault weapon? No. But they are sold here. All things illegal here have a huge resale market. You can take everyone’s registered gun but most of us aren’t committing crimes with them. Knives and cars are used in far more crimes as well. Violent crime is a social issues legislation can not cure.

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  6. Absolutely loved this. The US is obsessed with “stranger danger” and seeing danger around every corner. Unfortunately a large section of our economy needs people to be fearful. So glad I found your blog

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  7. Great article. I’m in Portugal right now which is also very peaceful. Part of it comes from the relaxation on drug laws. Just a thought. This, of course, doesn’t make a difference in rural areas. But, it isn’t in rural areas where the U.S. has problems either.

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  9. Ok here it the problem (I’d like to start by saying that I am personally threatening no one) what you must understand is that Americans and not willing to give up guns. There is no argument you could make that will suffice and any action toward this will be met with force and rightfully so. We get it you’re afraid of freedom, good for you stay in Japan. If you can’t handle a gun and can’t protect yourself you are not a intellectual seeing to the heart of the problem, you are a coward.

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  10. It is a known fact that the United States was founded on upon war and violence and that the citizens that live here have grown quite fond of firearms. I know that you mentioned that it would be almost impossible to eliminate all firearms in U.S. but it is also implied that it would be an effective way to reduce gun related incidents when looking at the statistics of Japan where guns cannot be owned. However, the issue isn’t a simple manner and guns cannot be conveniently removed from society. The process of taking away all guns would be very strenuous especially when our society has come to rely on firearms for protection. I personally do not own any firearms so I cannot argue from the perspective of someone that solely uses guns for sport. However, it would be a morally wrong decision to take away all guns, as it is being inconsiderate of those that really use them for personal uses for hobbies such as hunting or shooting at a range. This again applies to those that may need a firearm to protect themselves when they are actually in danger. Considering the fact that a society where there are absolutely no guns available to anyone is impossible, even if gun control is pushed forward in society, people will still find ways to get their hands on firearms to cause the same issues. The problems that are associated with guns have much to do with how our society regulates who can wield these weapons. In an article by Elizabeth Chuck “More than 80% of guns used in mass shootings obtained legally” the author makes it clear that 82% of the guns that are used in mass shootings are obtained legally. Background checks that are required for buying guns are not effective and those that should not have firearms are legally acquiring them. Instead of trying to take away all the guns in our society, the first step of solving this problem would be to consider the fact that guns aren’t even thoroughly regulated when sold which it makes it hard to blame responsible citizens who do use firearms for their protection. It was very interesting to see gun control from your perspective but as you emphasized in your blog, the main purpose of having a gun is not to end the life of someone else. Guns can be used for protection and I believe that this issue can be more efficiently resolved when imposing stronger regulations on who can legally obtain them.

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  11. I respect your opinion that all firearms should be banned Pro Gun Control however, I disagree with your stance on this topic. If guns were never made America wouldn’t be what it is today. Sure America was started through violence but that’s because the men who started this country were brave and stood strongly for freedom and what they believe for. If guns were banned in America crazy people would still come up with other ways to kill people and criminals would still get firearms illegally. Guns should not be banned because the way this country is headed I believe I will need my firearms to protect myself in the future. The right to bear arms is the Second Amendment in the US Constitution and rightfully our government can not come back on what our 4 fathers created. Trying to actually go through the process of going to homes and taking guns away would be harsh. I know several people who have said “I would die before I let the government take away my second amendment.” I believe many other gun owners would fit into the same boat on that statement. How would the government even go about taking away guns when over 80 million people in the US own guns? That be an insane process. If America’s gun laws are so bad maybe respectfully move back to Japan.

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  12. I also see your ideas on gun control but I would also respectfully disagree with you opinion. The request your seeking for diminishing all guns in america is nearly impossible, our country was founded on firearms and the quantity of weapons in America are beyond extreme. you talk about machine guns being in America but machine guns have been banned in America sense 1986, all other weapons fall into the same characteristics and uneducated people talk about how they are “military grade” but the definition of military grade is self reloading and has a trigger, so that means just about all guns are military grade pistols,shotguns, rifles, just about all guns are so are they actually military grade if all people have access to it and its standard to be manufactured with them. Guns are a part of America and guns are also a way of life for some people they depend on guns to get them a meal for the day and for some they need them to defend there family there loved ones when someone has intentions of hurting you, you have to take action and fight for yourself. America needs guns and the government cant take them away even if there was a law no guns aloud, it just couldnt be done

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