Maybe for some it’s a tough question. What is more important: the right to bear arms, or the right to grow up and go to school without being shot? What would we prefer: the right to own a gun or the right to live in a peaceful, civilized society?
What’s the better vision: the vision of the gun enthusiast – arming elementary teachers and principals so they can exchange gunfire with deranged intruders as the kids (hopefully), take cover from the hellfire of bullets, or the alternative vision of doing everything possible to avoid this scene?
Does the right to own a deadly toy – and that’s all it is, an adult toy with consequences – take precedence over the right to dwell in a nonviolent society?
It may just be me, but if you need an assault weapon to have a good time, or to make you feel manly, maybe something better is missing from your life.
Some claim that our societal decay is caused from a lack of god in the schools, or from too much violence in movies and video games, the latter being consumed by an increasingly disconnected audience. But maybe what it comes down to is just a lack of appreciation (or education) for quality, with less attention or funding given to music or the arts or literature. In other words, everything that leads to a better, more cultured, society. Maybe part of the reason a movie or video game doesn’t succeed without graphic violence is simply a lack of a life-affirming alternative, as well as having minds that haven’t been prepared to appreciate something of higher quality. Maybe guns would hold less interest if our society became obsessed with beauty.
Does this smack of elitism? I think it just smacks of what is better. As we age our taste buds mature. We may still appreciate a hot dog or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but usually learn to prefer lobster or some other gourmet meal as we evolve beyond childhood – unless we never experienced higher quality meals, then we wouldn’t know superior alternatives existed. The same goes for music (one must be exposed to classical or jazz to acquire a taste for it; and then pop tunes just aren’t enough), and literature (literary works being so much more satisfying once popular, page-turning genres are exposed for how meaningless they tend to be). I’ve shot guns. I’ve hunted in the woods and experienced the camaraderie between hunters, and found the enjoyment fleeting and the machismo shallow. Shooting a gun has always felt like an expression of anger, and nothing more, as an amazingly creative world awaits exploration.
What’s more valuable: an expression of anger or one of beauty?
Want to be a man? Evolve. Pick up a book and expand your mind. It’ll mean so much more in the long run. Or listen to Beethoven or Miles Davis and enjoy a sound that is so much more uplifting and powerful than the blast from a gun could ever hope to be; or go to a museum or art gallery and see what we are capable of – of what we can create over what we destroy; or cook a healthy, balanced, beautiful meal to make your body feel good; or refuse to see the next violent, blockbuster movie and spend your money on a foreign or independent film that challenges who you think you are; or leave your rifle behind for a camera as you hike through the woods and maybe see the world through a different lens. Hell, be a man and go see a ballet, if you dare, if you are manly enough to enjoy what is beautiful.