This brief essay is my effort to make sense of the gun ownership mentality. If you consider a liberal to be one who believes government is for people, rather than corporations or parties, and that every action must be considered in light of its effect on the wellbeing of people and protection of citizen’s economic and intellectual freedoms, then of course it is written from a liberal perspective.
Gun ownership is counter-indicative of a mindful person seeking spiritual maturity. As a practical matter, it is reasonable to assume that, if a person was taught that it is okay to hunt for sport, the person will assume it is a right to hunt for sport. You probably know all of the reasons … Bible; Constitution; it is a man thing.
But, let us examine gun ownership. The Bible was written hundreds of years ago. While the authors may have been inspired by God, we know now that they necessarily embodied that inspiration through the lens of their worldview. The authors may not have realized how self-aware animals really are, or the effect too many hunters would have on their numbers. Had they, it is likely they would have at least advised moderation, as we see in many aboriginal societies.
It is about the same for the US Constitution. I feel pretty sure it is an inspired document, but it was embodied by people at a time when all we had were muskets. They had no way of knowing that the average person would have access to the killing power of today. Given the surveillance technology we have today, armed defense by a well-armed militia against an oppressive government appears to be an impracticable solution that would be far too costly in life and property. We have plenty of examples of this from other countries. Better an intelligently orchestrated response from the public before such a government becomes possible, but after, if necessary. We saw this as the Peaceful Revolution that brought reunification of Germany in 1990. Simply put the idea of a modern-day armed militia makes no sense today. The framers of the Constitution could not have foreseen our current civilization, but did design mechanisms into the Constitution to support informed decent.
From the humanitarian-liberal perspective, the trump administration appears to be leading us along a path reminiscent of dictatorships in other countries. At the very least, Trickledown Economics produces a form of feudal system in which the corporate leaders are the dukes and lords and the workers are the serfs. Witness the continuing polarization of haves and have-nots.
The people with all of the guns are also the ones supporting this new dictatorship. The constitutional argument of keeping arms to protect citizens from an oppressive government seems to be working out as keeping arms to support one.
We are not the same people as those who wrote that God gave us the world to do with as we want. Civilization has advanced far beyond what was normal belief when the Bible and the Constitution were written. What may have seemed right back then may not make sense today. Just as a person is expected to grow wiser with age, so is a civilization expected to become more civilized as it matures.
Consider the Research
The Gun Violence Archive reports that there were 58,598 incidents in 2016 involving guns. 15, 056 resulted in death, including 3,793 young people (age 0-17). While there were 1,970 defensive uses of a gun, there were also 2,196 unintended shootings. (1) (2) Too often, a gun bought for protection ends up being used to harm or kill a loved one.
There is considerable collateral damage resulting from gun use, as well. As I was writing this essay, a wildfire was started near here by people target practicing in the woods. The statistics are not well established, but the evidence is clear that shooting in the woods starts fires way too often; fires that have taken life, homes and wildlife. (3)
A bullet from the average hunting rifle will travel a mile with deadly killing force. I remember in my naive youth as a deer hunter, that at times, there were so many people around, trudging through the woods or partying in undesignated camp sites, that there really was no safe direction to shoot. Once, I remember, a young man stepped out of his car along the highway and a deer hunter’s stray bullet came over a large hill and hit his hip. He died. I do not know how they manage it today, but back then, we were not allowed to picnic, hike or camp in the woods during any of the hunting seasons.
Our population is such that we really cannot afford to have people with such killing power shooting their weapons in the woods. These days, the woods are probably someone’s back yard. Our growing population is also putting a lot of stress on wildlife. Game management people tell us that hunters pay for managing the wildlife for us, but it is more like tying a deer to a stake and calling it sport to shooting it. Self-delusion at best.
Handguns are popular expressions of the Second Amendment. Shooting targets for sport is fine, but beyond that, the fact is that handguns are only useful for killing. When people living in the city talk about owning one, they usually claim the need for protection. The often-cited supporting arguments for this trace back to a study that has been shown to be so poorly design, it is worthless. (2) In fact, gun ownership appears to be used like a magical amulet warn to ward off evil spirits. Gun ownership is a fear response, and to surrender to it is to surrender to our human’s fears, rather than sound reason of our spiritual mind.
Let us not forget the horrible damage bullets often do to the victims who survive. (4)
From the perspective of mindfulness, gun ownership, hunting and righteous killing are demonstrably beliefs based on human instincts, rather than informed understanding about the nature of reality. That is one example, but there are many others. For instance, similar arguments can be made about the need of a society to care for its citizens. Society endangers some of its citizens by simply flourishing, and as such, has an enduring responsibility to the victims of our prosperity.
In another example, it does not really matter if climate change is cause by people if it is true that people can moderate the change by moving away from fossil fuels. Right now, in the Trump government, decisions are being made to support corporate captains, rather than the greater good of the community. Whether or not climate change is real, is it worth endangering our children’s future in the long run just to benefit corporations in the near term? Fact is, studies indicate that going green makes economic sense. From Counting up to green: Assessing the green economy and its implications for growth and equity: (5)
- Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity (the share of employment in green jobs), annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Projections for the next 10 years suggest continued jobs benefits from green intensity.
- States with greater green intensity have generally fared better in the current economic downturn.
- Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For everyone percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
- Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. Although it represents only 10.8 percent of total private employment, manufacturing accounts for 20.4 percent of green jobs.
- Green jobs go beyond the renewable energy industry. For example, nearly 50 percent of jobs in the water industry are green jobs, and the sector has opportunity to grow not just overall but in green intensity.
Based on content structure analysis, the Seth material arguably originate from a personality existing outside of this aspect of reality. (6) While most of the material seems to support the need for mindful living, one bit of advice stands out for me. Seth described the one true sin as being the violation of a person. (7) (8) In Ethics as a Personal Code for Mindfulness, (9) I suggest Do not violate as the ethical principle on which we might build a personal code. The foundation of a cooperative community is such an understanding.
- Gun Violence Archive. gunviolencearchive.org/.
- DeFilippis, Even and Hughes, Devin. “The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Ownership.” Politico Magazine. 2015. politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/defensive-gun-ownership-myth-114262#.VLhsjS42d6I.
- Gabbert, Bill. “Researchers study ignition of wildfires by rifle bullets.” Wildfire Today. 2013. wildfiretoday.com/2013/12/05/researchers-study-ignition-of-wildfires-by-rifle-bullets/.
- Calabrese, Erin, et al. “The Journey of a Bullet.” NBC News. 2017. nbcnews.com/specials/journey-of-a-bullet.
- Pollack, Ethan. “Counting up to green: Assessing the green economy and its implications for growth and equity.” Economic policy Insitute. 20012. epi.org/publication/bp349-assessing-the-green-economy/.
- Cunningham, Paul F. “The Content-Source Problem in Modern Mediumship Research.” Rivier University, Department of Psychology. The Journal of Parapsychology, 76(2), 295-319., 2012. rivier.edu/faculty/pcunningham/Publications/CunninghamJP_Fall-2012-Vol-76-(2)-295-319.pdf.
- Jane Roberts Learning Center. sethlearningcenter.org/.
- Roberts, Jane. The Nature of Personal Reality. Amber-Allen Publishing and New World Library, 1974. ISBN 1-878424-06-8.
- Butler, Tom. “Ethics as a Personal Code for Mindfulness.” Etheric Studies. [Online] 2016. ethericstudies.org/code-of-ethics/.
Co-Director, Association Transcommunication (ATransC)
Author Your Immortal Self: Exploring the Mindful Way
Webmaster: atransc.org, ethericstudies.org
Contact via ethericstudies.org/contact-tom-butler/
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