Updated: Jul 6, 2018
What I’m about to tell you shouldn’t (in a perfect world) trigger any overly emotional responses.
If it does it’s only because the problem that I’m trying to describe is real.
Nevertheless if you are a sensible gun owner, you might find it refreshing if not enjoyable.
Good Guys With Guns
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) - Polish painter and playwright was a law abiding owner of a handgun. He kept it in his desk drawer and didn’t really give it much thought until the Nazis invaded Poland on the 1st of September 1939.
Witkacy thought things might be a little grim for a short while but the allies would help eventually as they promised earlier.
It was only after the Soviets attacked from the East about a week later when he finally decided to exercise his right to bear arms.
On September 18-th 1939 Witkacy unlocked his desk drawer, picked up his handgun and pressed it against his own head.
Witkacy's death is a vivid example of private gun ownership in the context of modern circumstances. It would be hopelessly optimistic to think that a bunch of Sunday shooters with their hunting gear should succeed against the modern military’s full arsenal. We’re talking tanks, drones, nukes and things we are not even supposed to know about! And let's not forget about the training. An average Navy Seal or a Marine could disarm the whole team of gun holding rednecks while naked and blindfold.
In this light all the ritualistic posturing is just a “make believe” and has nothing to do with reality or with who we really are as citizens. Furthermore it brings about rather grim consequences in the real life and reminds me of holding on to a dangerous animal that we don't quite know how to tame.
Why Are Guns So Important?
As someone who didn’t grow up in the United States I’ve been more than a little bit puzzled by the relationship many of my fellow Americans have with guns. Forgive me but I don’t think that even the most avid gun enthusiasts should expect me to suddenly come around the idea of private gun ownership as one of the defining characteristics of who I am. There is no doubt that the Second Amendment is a valid measure to secure the citizens’ independence but only if it’s 1700’s and the available weaponry doesn’t go beyond a musket or a cannon and the militias really are well organized as specified in the Constitution. Please note: the hypothetical situation for which the Second Amendment was devised never occurred afterwards and very likely never will. Today the best way to secure independence is voting but sadly less and less people exercises this right.
To me exercising the Second Amendment comes across as a ritual to commemorate the dramatic historical events of the past in the same way reenactments do but the relationship people have with guns in America reaches far beyond that solemn observance. It isn’t merely a cosplay. This “reenactment” affects our daily lives in ways we never thought it should.
Who Are you?
It seems that too much credit is given to a little device comprising of a metal tube, a handle and a trigger mechanism when it comes to defining the virtues of a nation. It’s almost as if owning an object and fetishizing it, could make us better and more complete as citizens and as humans. Could it be because we look at it backwards: from the side of the tool instead of the side of the person who holds it? Would you let a hammer or a screwdriver define you as a person?
It’s not owning a fire arm that should uphold the spirit of rebellion against tyranny and it’s not the Glock that can change even the most cowardly snowflake into a courageous defender of "all that is good". Owning the tool itself doesn’t cut it. Knowing how to use it and when to use it is where we can prove what we are capable of. It’s not the right to own a gun that makes us who we are but the intrinsic content of our character. Many ordinary people from countries other than the US still remember having to pick up the gun and fight their oppressors. But it was when the question of the weapons' legality didn't mean squat. They just got guns through the underground channels and fought.
A right to own guns is not a basic human right but a rather bizarre and whimsical luxury. If the government indeed became tyrannical, all human rights would disappear and the gun ownership would reveal itself for what it rally is: an expensive cosplay (see: tanks, drones and nukes).
Only in context of personal defense in persistently threatening situations owning a gun is, in my opinion, plausible. Living in a persistently threatening situation however shouldn't be a default for anyone. Letting it go only because "since I own a gun it's OK" doesn't bring any positive change.
By All Means Be a Rebel
We are who we are regardless of the tools we use. If the circumstances call for owning a gun then, by all means, get one but for crying out loud, don’t make such a big deal about it! Some of us might be tired of gun barrels being waved in our faces for no practical reason. It's unsolicited and rude! It's creepy!
The Revolutionary War rebels owned their guns in the same way one owns a toothbrush. They certainly didn’t seem to want to "have sex with their guns", bless their weapons in churches or collect more of them than they can ever hold up.
If we think we would feel vulnerable and hopeless without a gun, then it might be time to rethink our approach to life and accept that this might be our mental baseline to start with: being vulnerable and hopeless. From there we would have to start to work towards being the best and the strongest person we can be and towards acquiring the best tools to help that person transpire without becoming DEPENDENT on them.
The rebellious spirit doesn’t begin with the gun. It begins with you and me! Once we have that, a tool is easy enough to get if needed. And there is a whole spectrum of tools, other than guns, that can be used to fight or to build.
The rebels of the Warsaw Uprising in the 40’s didn’t have guns until they woke their spirit of rebellion and organized themselves to acquire the arsenal to beat the occupying forces with. A little hint: it wasn't just guns. They obviously didn't have a right to own these weapons but that's the very thing: when you are oppressed by a regime, such luxuries are out of the question so you just GET THE DAMN GUN and fight.
The same went for the American Revolutionaries in the 1700’s. They didn’t come with the guns attached to their arms like some kind of human/gun hybrid superheroes and the guns never were the primary or the most effective tool of resistance. A lot more can be done when we think outside of the gun barrel.
One More Thing
No one EVER said that the private gun ownership should be banned in the US just as
no one ever called for banning fishing rods, kayaks, tennis balls and toothbrushes.
We just have to make sure to enable rules that prevent crazy people from mass shooting children if that is not too much to ask...