You would’ve thought it was obsolete. You see, we have the power to make it end, although the price is very high. As a Cold War kid, I thought that the next war would be nuclear. I’d been more or less resigned to that fate by the time I entered high school. When it didn’t happen I thought maybe mutually assured destruction (right, Dr. Strangelove?) would end war. Of course it didn’t. Propagandized as just causes, America intervened in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and a vague country called “Terror.” Nukes stayed out of it as we used more old fashioned and nasty ways of killing people. Now Russia, bristling with nuclear capability, is using that threat to keep others out of its war of aggression against Ukraine. Still backed by Trump, Putin is killing women and children and threatening to end the world if anyone tries to stop him.
During this war time, several multiple shootings have taken place here in America. Grocery stores and elementary schools become graveyards even as Americans bray for more guns. Russia need not invade; we will take care of killing each other, thank you. Although the pandemic has driven many people to the edge we had this problem long before Covid came along. Of course, one of the industries to profit from the disease has been the firearm wing. Nobody feels safe and so they buy more guns, creating a deadly feedback loop. No other “developed” nation on earth has this level of private gun violence. The Bible in one hand and the automatic rifle in the other has always proven a deadly combination.
Many of us embrace multiculturalism. There’s no reason we can’t all get along, accepting others for who they are. A nationalistic backlash has unravelled this dream. Violence, domestically generated, if not internationally shipped, has become our hallmark. There are solutions and they aren’t that difficult to achieve. Those who bully their way to elected office have already shown their true colors. Life is cheap when personal aggrandizement is at stake. Guns do have their fascination. The sense of power in holding one is palpable. What if, however, we laid aside our dreams of power for those of the common good? We want to kill others for being born in a different geographical locality than us. To think of it selfishly, supply chains and inflation have demonstrated how much we need those from all over the world in order to thrive. Dreams of power, it seems, quickly become nightmares.