Is it chocolate deprivation that is at the heart of all gun violence today? We shall examine that possibility in just a moment.
But first, take this Alex Jones guy. He goes on a gun rant every time he gets a camera in front of his face. Alex starts out acting like a fairly nice person. Rational even. But when you raise the issue of gun control he just about loses it.
“The megabanks that control the planet brag that they’ve taken over…They’ve taken everybody’s guns but the Swiss and the American people, and when they get our guns, they can have their world tyranny while the government buys 1.6 billion bullets, armored vehicles, tanks, helicopters, predator drones–armed now in U.S. skies being used to arrest people in North Dakota." --Alex Jones as quoted with Piers Morgan on MSNBC.
That's called going a little unhinged. Of course, Alex Jones may be right about the craziness of defense spending. America is absolutely nuts spending so much of our treasure on weapons of war and mass destruction. We can't seem to stop. The weaponry on our streets is a great example of "trickle-down ideology." Given his proclivity for all things "trickle-down," the noted conservative President Ronald Reagan might have been proud, had he not been the victim of gun violence himself. Call it trickle-down ricochet.
The Alex Jones Solution
Where Alex is unhinged is in his proposed solution. He wants Americans to "arm up" and fight the government if it somehow decides to try to unarm its citizens. America spends more on sophisticated weaponry than the next 17 nations on earth combined, and Alex things he and his NRA buddies are going to form militias and fight it out on the streets with our own soldiers?
Let's step back and take a full look at this situation. Because it appears Alex and his ilk are suffering some sort of logic deprivation brought on by a severe shortage some major chemical in the brain. For lack of sophisticated neurological testing, let's use chocolate as the substance that must be missing from our logic formula in America.
The Frozen Hot Chocolate Cure
So here's the cure for Alex Jones and his buddies. What he needs is a Frozen Hot Chocolate from Graham's 318 in Geneva, IL. Basically this drink is dark chocolate shavings mixed with ice and swirled into a nice, thick consistency that turns it into a drinkable chocolate bar. If you're in the area, you've got to try one. It delivers a feeling of optimism and euphoria about life that everyone should experience.
In fact, you cannot drink a Frozen Hot Chocolate from Graham's 318 without feeling better about the world.
There is therefore a fairly good chance that given the choice between drinking a Frozen Hot Chocolate and grabbing a Bushmaster gun and shooting up a grade school, most people will choose the Frozen Hot Chocolate over mass murder. But first we have to give them the choice. And currently we're doing a piss poor job of it.
The madness of moral dichotomies
See, Frozen Hot Chocolate is really good. Shooting kids with a Bushmaster is really bad. So given the choice, even people with a few problems on their plate will choose good over bad, if you offer it to them at the right time. Even people with mental health issues typically respond if they're encouraged and supported to make the right choices. But if they're discouraged and ostracized and marginalized by a society that does a crap job of investing in its neediest citizes, people get all unhinged. Then they either act like Alex Jones and scream a lot or else they buy a weapon and shoot up a school out of anger at the world. Or both.
So we need to start a "chocolate for guns program," or "guns for chocolate," whichever you prefer. Chocolate is a metaphor for social conscience and paying attention to the needs of people in civil society, especially those who are unstable or may be made unstable by the ready availability of lethal weapons. It works both ways, you know.
Our building insanity
Symbolically, chocolate for guns may be our only hope. Because the solutions the NRA is proposing, like adding more guns in schools as a means to protect against the risks of guns in schools, is by definition pure madness.
That's called escalation. It's the Cold War of Criminality in America. Fueled by economic and racial fears, the Cold War of Criminality is basically America pitting its own worst instincts against each other. People who want no gun laws actually seem to want no laws of any sort when it comes to guns. They prefer vigilante justice, which is how the Stand Your Ground law came to being in Florida. And look at what that wrought. A calculated murder in cold blood by a man who took the law into his own hands. Because he had the right.
Vigilante justice is not what the Second Amendment means by the term "well-regulated militia." Nor is it what the Second Amendment means by guaranteeing the "right to bear arms." The right to bear arms is only a right if it is defined by the legal and purposeful use of guns, and that those laws are not circumvented or overwhelmed by the degree of violence designed into the type and function of the weapons available for ownership.
That is, we must regulate a militia or we will have an unregulated military on our hands. In fact that is right where we sit at this moment. There is literally war in the streets of many urban areas. Meanwhile, the backwoods of America are being occupied by bands of often radical gun zealots training themselves to fight the government in case they decide the government has grown too powerful for their particular tastes. Alex Jones is absolutely a figurehead for these types of fears.
So what's the solution? More chocolate? Less guns?
Even chocolate consumption should have its limits. All things good are best in moderation. Otherwise your pleasure becomes your obsession. Then your obsession becomes an addiction. Then addiction forces you to get defensive toward anyone who tries to limit your obsession, and thus your addiction comes to own you. Your every action is a defense of your status quo, which is warped by obsession. That is why guns and drugs go so well together. One habit enforces the other.
Symbolically, chocolate may be a great alternative to guns, but even chocolate has its limits. Too much of a good thing isn't good any longer. We can't control our urges.
That brings us to gun control in general. See, the Second Amendment was originally a good thing, in its full context. Which means enforcing the "well-regulated militia" part.
The idea that guns had a role in society was written into the Constitution because our nation was so young that it couldn't even make up its mind whether to have a volunteer army or a bunch of paid soldiers to defend the freedoms won by fighting the British.
So the Second Amendment talks about having a well-regulated militia with freedom to own guns because it was in the nation's best interests at the time to have people own weapons in case the British or the Mexicans decided to give America a poke and threaten our sovereignty. America was not very clear about its future, however. Even at the time we were quite equivocal about what the word "militia" even meant.
What it means to be "well-regulated" and a militia
The reason the term "well-regulated" was inserted in front of the term "militia" in the Constitution was to qualify the idea that not all militias are automatically disciplined, nor best suited to serve the interests of the nation. At the time the Constitution was written, America had spent some time learning that volunteer armies were not always reliable. Volunteers fight when they have the time and the will. But sometimes, when the going gets tough or the cause seems not worth the risks involved, volunteers cut and run. That happened quite a bit in America's early military history, and all the way through the Civil War. Desertion has always been a problem for military organizations, but it's worse when people don't understand the full import of their commitment, or its affects on the operation (and the nation) as a whole. So the goal of having a well-regulated militia was to have an armed citizenry that could function militarily on behalf of the nation. Militias that aren't well-regulated (as in, disciplined, commissioned and committed) can be a really bad thing for everyone involved.
The forefathers also considered that the opposite one day be true. That someday the citizens might need to protect themselves from the tyranny of government. So let us consider the status of that dynamic as it is perceived today.
Conflicted militias and better guns
The USA got so busy fighting other wars--and paying soldiers to fight them--we forgot all about those "volunteer armies" we called "militias" until sometime during the Vietnam War, when we'd conscripted so many young men into service and sent them to their deaths in tropical swamps that even President Nixon said "enough" and converted the armed forces to an enlisted or volunteer organization. Somewhat ironic, considering the success of the draft in World War II. But we'd lost our way in our military aims.
Meanwhile, weaponry technology kept getting more and more sophisticated. We may have been unsure as a nation how to fight our wars, but we were pretty clear about what it took to fight them. That meant inventing more and more ways to kill people, fast and efficiently.
The vaunted AK-47, a military grade, single-handed killing machine, is just one example of the furious attempt to create one-man armies. And it's worked.
Millions of one-man militias
Now we've emerged into the 21st century where the meaning of the word "militia" is being translated to mean harboring weapons to fight against the very government the Second Amendment was designed to protect.
Given the power of the weaponry now available to the common man on the open market, we now essentially have millions of one-man armies. The proof of this statement is in the mass killings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, the Denver movie theater and the Newtown elementary school. In each of these cases a one-man militia targeted highly-populated areas and opened fire with weapons capable to be used in combat and war. There was nothing Second Amendment about their aims. The right to bear arms was not the issue. The ability to kill at will was the issue. That was the only discernable aim of their actions. To wreak vengeance on a world that had somehow mistreated them.
Personal gun autonomy
The Second Amendment was never intended to protect that level of personal gun autonomy, but the interpretation of gun laws and free access to military-grade weapons in America has created millions of individual militias, and the odds that some of them are emotionally unstable are pretty good.
One could also argue that the brand of weaponry now available to these individualized militias is itself a form of emotional instability. The mere need to own that grade of weapon speaks to deep personal insecurities. We hear racist statements bound up in defense of gun ownership. We hear fearful anti-government rants. Those fears are being roundly expressed now by the likes of Alex Jones, the spittle-throwing gun ranter who seems to think the only rights that matter in America are the rights that protect guns. That means the Second Amendment is being turned against America in a fight to determine if every man and woman alive deserves to be their own army. It's that simple.
30,000 people a year die from murder and suicide due to guns. It makes no sense to say that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" when a gun is used to do the job.
Gun proponents like to argue that thousands of people a year are killed by means other than guns. Car accidents. Medical mistakes. Yet cars were designed for transportation, not for killing. And doctors try to save lives, but sometimes they make mistakes. But death by guns, whether intentional or unintentional, is a nature an extension of the purpose for which they were originally designed. And that is for killing.
The fact that guns are used for sport shooting is only coincidental to their function.
So the fault with gun violence lies not just with criminals or the deranged who do the killing. It plainly rests with absolutely everyone who owns a gun, because all guns are capable of killing someone. That is not coincidental. It is a fact of their purpose and design. So-called "responsible gun owners" therefore need to get on the side that advocates control of weapons that by design flaunt responsible usage in a non-military environment.
The chocolate solution
We are not being facetious in saying that the only way to cure our gun problem in America is to supplant one obsession for the other, as in guns for chocolate. The metaphor serves to illustrate the problem, which is people transfixed by their defense of the right to own any or all weapons of their choice.
As we've seen, the Second Amendment was not designed to guarantee the right that every person should become their own, personal militia. The plain fact is that the Second Amendment is now inadequate, outstripped by the power and techology of guns in the modern age. It is false logic to contend that the rights to bear arms should not be infringed in any circumstance. That is precisely where the mass killings are coming from. No sane person can even comprehend the purpose of such weaponry in civil society. So people go insane using it.
Those with mental health issues are even less capable of determining or controlling their actions when pressed by stress or emotional difficulties. The issue therefore is not about about insane people getting guns. It is about the fact that the level and type of guns now available to average citizens is criminally insane. That reality by itself produces insane actions, resulting in more death.
Symbols may be our only weapon against too many gus
We know the arguments will persist, that Second Amendment "rights" shall not be infringed. Yet claiming that guns are the most important aspect of citizenship in America is yet another form of insanity.
That is why chocolate consumption--though symbol for the reduction of gun influence in America, is an apt metaphor for real hope. The playful expression of the absurd to deal with the absurd notion that America can go on escalating powerful gun weaponry and not account for the lives that it is costing us every year is the real delusion. And that ain't so sweet.