Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings, called for armed guards in schools across the US. He used this suggestion to argue once again that it is people, not guns, that kill people. In his diary on the Rec List, twigg laments the fact that this argument continues to be cited rather than implementing effective gun control laws.
But if it is people who kill people, why have massacres become so horrifyingly regular? There was a time when armed guards in schools would have been unthinkable. Not so today.
So is civilization itself breaking down if no one can feel truly safe without a gun? It is said that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society and Grover Norquist has many member of Congress pledged not to raise taxes. Does that mean that Norquist's adherents favor the breakdown of civilization? Are we to be reduced to armed groups pitted one against the other? Can we no longer rely on civil order?
The US that I grew up in no longer exists. Taxes were high, but we felt safe in our homes. There were jobs and there was prosperity. And there were no armed guards in schools. My father, who had been a Eagle Scout and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant during WWII in the field. At one point in his time in the military he test fired weapons which left him somewhat deaf in one ear, yet at no time since did he feel the need to own a weapon. He felt that he had fought a war so that we could be safe at home.
What would he think now, with more and more instances of people arming themselves against their fears? I think he might think that the civilization he'd fought to protect was disintegrating, although I can't be sure. I do know that I am beginning to question the health of our civilization. And that health is partly jeopardized by the unwillingness of so many of our citizens to support that civilization through taxes. Instead we are given to believe that we must rely on ourselves for our safety, as in the case where a fire department watched a house burn because its owner hadn't pay a fee. If we feel fear of another individual, we are permitted to carry a weapon that we can use to shoot and kill that individual, as in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.
Instead of courts we now have instant justice, the kind that used to be found on the American Frontier. Guns may give some people the feeling of safety, but they threaten that feeling for many of us. I don't want to see a return to the kind of Frontier Justice found on the edges of civilization and I'm willing to pay taxes to preserve that civilization. And I want those taxes to help regulate weapons so that massacres can become unthinkable.