Gunsmoke

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

The question of guns and gun violence in America is a multifaceted hydra. Gun control becomes a national imperative as the body count rises. Any mass shooter must be considered mentally ill reeking vengeance for the wrongs real or imagined done to them. But what of those millions of peaceful gun owners? With grandpa’s shotgun over the mantle or a handgun wedged between the mattress and box springs. Never to be moved unless disturbed by the sound of two A.M. broken glass.

Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Godfather, Combat, Have Gun will Travel. Dirty Harry, Taxi Driver, The Terminator, Full Metal Jacket with the eventual slide into Marvel characters and superpowers. A machine gun on your robot hand. The fantasy of truth, justice, and the American way colliding with crime, poverty, injustice, and degradation. Twenty years and twenty hours a week at Burger King or two hundred dollars a night selling drugs? “You always carry weapons cause you always carry cash.”

Romeo was a teenage gang member who murdered during a turf war. We feel sorry for him when he dies forgetting all about the pain that little bastard inflicted on the family of his victim. Something in our simian psyche gets instant gratification in violence and makes it a vehicle of choice. The pie in the face or the double-barreled shotgun blast. The shoot em up scene in Taxi Driver, murder, and mayhem but it is all right. Cause its only bad people being grotesquely executed gangland style. It’s okay to blast Aliens and zombies. Do what your heart tells you, lock and load. As if the violence becometh the plot. “What can we shoot and get away with? Aliens! We can blow the shit out of Aliens! Okay, it was a dark and stormy night. With weird lights up in the sky as I loaded my gun.

Civilization is a voluntary organization. If the membership committee becomes so hostile to a section of society. That section will soon see society as their enemy and will band together for their own protection. Vito Corleone murdered his boss with a handgun, Frank Howard shot Jesse James in the back. Billy the kid shot a man in the outhouse, Matt Dillion shot a man every week just to get the show started. It is so ingrained in our lives as we go off halfcocked. Seeking the bullseye and a reputation as a straight shooter. He’s going to call in the big guns and take a shot in the dark. All volcanoes living or dead have erupted at one time or another. The pressure builds until the center yields and it explodes. It doesn’t make the volcano bad it is only responding to the pressures imposed on it. All pressure must have a vent just as all anger must have a vent.  

This country was built on guns and firewater what has changed to make mass killing a growth sport? What is the attraction to serial killings besides a half a dozen TV shows and books? Serial Killer books are always a best seller. The bombing suspect in Nashville told a neighbor, “They are going to remember me.” No, no they won’t, there is just too much competition and it is getting harder to find new venues. Having lived in the South, I’ve been led to hundreds of trunks to see the good ole boy’s new rifle or handgun. A rich man has a mansion full of exotic cars. A good ole boy shows off his exotic guns. Like smoking, he might not end up a victim of his own bad habit. There is the statistical likelihood that the person most likely to be killed by the handgun is its owner.

The left says, no handguns of any type. No tape guns or caulking guns! My way or the highway take it or leave it Bub! The fire breathers on the right screech, “From my cold dead hands! My god given blah, blah, blah right!” But guns are a reality and eliminating them would only give law enforcement a new Drug War to fight only with guns. Focused primarily in ethnic ghettos rounding up street criminals by the tens of thousands filling jails. Replaced by legions more alienated, stressed models produced in the urban monster factory. Mama used to say, “Good jobs make good neighbors.”

As we have witnessed the rise of capital and the decline in incomes for working people life just gets harder. Living a heartbeat away from disaster, destroying families and terrorizing the next generation of children. Why do we have an opiate crisis? Because people want to medicate themselves from the brutal reality of American life. There is no floor, you can fall just as far and hard as you like. Poor job, poor income, poor futures as couples become roommates with benefits out of economic necessity.

So rather than demand the elimination of guns let us ask those on the right, what is your solution? This is your problem as much as mine. If you don’t want your guns taken away, speak up now or forever hold your peace. Don’t just throw a hissy fit. Do you want to solve the problem or not? You can’t honestly tell me as a responsible gun owner you support a gun show loophole that you could drive a truck through? You don’t seriously expect me to believe you want criminals on the streets with illegal handguns purchased on the black market? You can’t honestly expect us to look away from the carnage. You want to keep your guns? So, you tell us your solution to the problem.

Those locked out of society will hate society. Those who make their lives worthless make all lives worthless. Those who deny access to a decent life makes all life indecent. Eighty-six-year-old Addie Polk shot herself twice in the chest when the sheriff rang the doorbell of her house of twenty-five years to deliver eviction papers. That too is gun violence.

“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”
― John Steinbeck

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