By Jack Perry

The deadliest nation on earth

March 4, 2018

People around the world are shocked that the same weapon that has been used in nearly every mass murder event in the United States remains legal to purchase today after the last event in which 17 kids were shot and killed by a gunman using this weapon.

Be that as it may, people should not be shocked that this weapon remains legal to purchase in the United States. After all, the United States doles out weapons freely to regimes around the globe or terrorists trying to oust governments the United States does not like. The United States itself is awash in guns. There are roughly 300 million privately owned guns in the United States. That we know of. That doesn't count illegal guns or ones made before anyone started counting. Arms manufacturers in the United States count on both domestic and foreign sales to boost that bottom line and, indeed, it is buoyed by blood.

The United States calls this "freedom". That means not just the alleged "right" to purchase this weapon but also the "right" to use this weapon against people throughout the Middle East to allegedly defend that right. At this time, "freedom" in the United States means the use of horrifying levels of violence and excusing it when it colors outside of the lines with the blood-red crayon. That being, when a mass shooter opens fire on a school, the United States considers that "collateral damage" that goes along with the so-called right to own this weapon. Just like when the United States military blows up a school, hospital, or wedding party with its guns, that's also "collateral damage". I'm sure that brings comfort to the dead in both cases.

When the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was written, repeating firearms did not exist, much less semiautomatic ones. No one could have foreseen the rapid advances firearms and even military weapons would make in a scant 100 years or so when the Gatling gun made its appearance and heralded the dawn of automatic weapons. People in the United States argue this point incessantly and as they argue, mass shootings happens and another 17 to 60 people die. But also, while the United States argues the finer points of "foreign policy", cruise missiles and airstrikes are launched and thousands die. Can it not be seen right here and right now that violence and the weapons that make it possible have spiraled out of control here?

It has become far, far, too easy to kill people. For one thing, at the time the Second Amendment was written, the ability to lay waste to entire cities did not exist. Cannons of the era could shell cities but the difference between 1700s era cannon and United States cruise missiles is as enormous as the difference between a crack in the sidewalk and the Grand Canyon. The difference between a Brown Bess musket and an AR-15 is the same comparison. If anyone claims these are the same---and gun rights advocates do---I dare them to fight a duel armed with said Brown Bess musket against a trained gunman with an AR-15.

For that matter, to those who say the United States has some authority or right to intervene in the Middle East, I dare them to go live in a Middle Eastern city that sits in the bulls-eye of American airstrikes. Let's see them assure themselves that because they're civilians, the airstrikes will miss them. Just like the right of people to buy AR-15s won't result in the deaths of kids in a school, right? These things are linked. When you justify or excuse killing for any reason, it becomes that much easier to do it or overlook it next time. When you do not react with shock and horror and put away the weapons, you insure their use again. And again.

It was said in Ancient Greece: "Boys throw stones at frogs in sport, but frogs die in earnest." In the United States, AR-15s are sold as rights, but children die in earnest. The United States launches airstrikes as foreign policy, but innocent civilians die in earnest. No, I don't see a difference between dead children in the United States or the Middle East. Both are crimes of horrifying regularity caused by the action of the United States government over there and the lack of action by it here. Millions are dead and the world is far from the perfection promised by the United States government trying to justify all those deaths it inflicted. Hundreds are dead in the United States thanks to the AR-15 rifle being a "right" and, yet, genuine human rights within the United States have drastically decreased, not increased. The only thing that increases in both cases is the death toll.

For a future to be possible, we need to understand that if an individual right harms the vast majority, it isn't truly a human right. We've been sold the lie of individualism for quite some time now. This is the reason why America thinks one man having over $100 billion dollars is okay as millions starve worldwide. This is why America thinks cheap oil so they can drive cars with V8 racing engines justifies killing thousands of people in the Middle East. America is stuck in a cult of individualism and the entire world suffers the harm of it. Individual rights to food, water, shelter, medical care, clothing, religious belief, security, love, and well-being must be protected. But when an individual "right" outside of those parameters threatens the rights of the individual I just mentioned, we must address that quickly and without haggling. No one has the right to harm another or, by his or her actions, cause harm to befall another. 

There is another word for individualism and that word is this: selfishness. It is nothing but selfishness to sit atop $100 billion dollars as people starve to death. People say, "But it's his money!" Oh, is it now? Did he snap his fingers and manifest it out of thin air? No. But again, how does that statement deny what I said? Does "his" overrule "our" when the difference is life and death? I can apply the same argument to the AR-15 and United States foreign policy. Does the "right" of one man to own an AR-15 overrule the rights of people gunned down by this weapon? Does the so-called "freedom" of the United States overrule the rights of thousands in the Middle East to remain alive? 

When children snatch toys on the playground, say "They're mine!", and refuse to share and let other kids play with them, the parents punish them for it. But when this same behavior is manifested in American business and government, it is applauded as wise. How can this be? You punish your children for this behavior then reward them for it as adults? What does this, therefore, teach children once they enter adolescence and become cognizant that what you do is not what you told them when they were little? And I draw this comparison because kids just got gunned down because of adults clutching AR-15s and saying, "They're mine!" So, too, with these so-called rights that only work for a handful of individuals over the entire world as a whole.

Many Americans have grown far too comfortable with selfishness and it has grown far beyond the mere consumerism that is bad enough in and of itself in costs to the planet and the human family. Our selfishness is killing thousands weekly. We don't need AR-15s. We don't need V8 muscle cars and monster pickups the size of military vehicles. We don't need to intervene in the Middle East. We need to put down the selfishness and confront the real terrorists on this planet. See, that wasn't ISIS that went and shot all those kids in Florida. That was just some regular American. Who are the real terrorists? You tell me.

*Jack Perry is a writer who lives with his wife in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. When talking about the ambitions and goals of the United States government, Jack warns: “Always Assume It’s A Scam.” Jack writes, bakes bread, and is a Path pilgrim and wayfarer of this world.

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