- A weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel)
You’re the man
You stand above me
Trigger at the ready
Such power in small hands
You are god and I am no one
Things have changed quite a lot since Man invented the gun. Gone are the days of hand to hand combat where you weren’t sure if the person you were attacking or defending yourself from was stronger than you. No longer do you have to worry that they may be a black belt in some dangerous martial art; the gun levels the playing field, and gives you, the holder of the gun, immense power.
You feel powerful, psychologically, as well as physically, safe in the knowledge that you can defend yourself from attack; and if you are that way inclined, attack someone yourself. In the past, there was always a chance you would lose a fist fight or a knife fight, but now you don’t even have to get close to someone to kill them.
You stand, you pull out the loaded gun, and gently squeeze the trigger. Blam! The explosive charge sets the bullet off leaving the gun at high speed; the pointed metal projectile spinning through space with no thought, no intention, no desire. The thought rested with the one who pulled the trigger, it might have been self-defence, wilful attack, an accident, a desire to kill, a need to rid the world of someone who you believed to be evil, a criminal trying to leave the scene of the crime, or the police shouting “Stop or we’ll shoot.”
But the bullet has no such thought; it is but shaped metal, no bigger than a finger, yet capable of destroying life wherever it is sent. Suddenly it finds its target, a human being; and in a micro-second, the metal pierces first the clothing, then it starts to tear inside the flesh, shattering bone where it finds it, pulverising organs indiscriminately. The victim falls. Their breathing becomes shallow, blood pours from the hole in their skin, their body desperately trying to keep them alive. They are but a short time from death. You stand over them, and fire again.
The human is no more; the bloodied flesh is all that remains. You did that. You killed him. For whatever reason he is now dead. He may have stolen from you; you may have stolen from him; he might have been a danger to society. I’m sure you will be able to justify it.
How many people die this way? And it’s all thanks to one man’s invention. One human thought which came up with a hand held killing machine that is now in use in every country in the world. Criminals use them against innocent people, innocent people use them against criminals, and the police and army use them against everyone. In the united states especially, gun ownership is seen as a fundamental human right!
Guns have one purpose. To kill. Do you understand that? To deprive another of his or her life. That is their only purpose.
I’ve seen the police carrying guns in most countries, and how powerful they look. The holster on the belt says “Don’t mess with us, otherwise you die.”
Guns generate fear in others; they make the holder almost invincible, no matter how small they are. It may make the general public fear to do anything wrong in case they are shot, but it doesn’t really stop those who are determined does it? It just means they get a gun to shoot back at the police.
Where will it end? Will we all be forced to carry a gun “just in case”? Are we so afraid of each other? Do we really want to cause each other so much harm? I am filled with sadness as I write this topic, that our species, homo sapiens, has ended up just using our brains for destruction. Before anyone tries to justify gun use, let me remind you, that the ends can never justify the means. We want rid of all gun crime in our city. So what do we do? We shoot the criminals! And the cycle continues…
I understand that people are afraid. They are so afraid of something “bad” happening to them, that they decide to arm themselves. And what happens when someone tries to attack them? It’s kind of obvious. They shoot them dead! Of course they were doing it in self-defence, so that’s all right, isn’t it? In any case the law would probably agree with you, and the police would be happy that there’s one less criminal out on the street.
But what is this really about? Perhaps this is good vs. evil. The man who goes to church every week, and is a “model” citizen (mr good), is attacked in his home by a burglar (mr evil), and shoots him in the head, killing him instantly. This is clearly a case of good overcoming evil wouldn’t you say? Except mr good killed a man. He fired the projectile that span into space before ripping through the flesh of mr evil.
I can hear many of you thinking you would do the same, given the same circumstances. But the more we think like this, the more guns we will carry, and the more people will die unnecessarily. Actually I feel sorry for the burglar, he is not evil (for me there is no such thing as good and evil), he is just misguided in his own thinking. The same goes for anyone who thinks that the only way to live is to steal ultimately worthless possessions from others.
I have used the scenario of the bank robber in another topic, but this time imagine he has decided to steal from an armoured car. He knows the guards are armed, so he arms himself. The van stops, he pulls down his mask, jumps out of the car and runs towards the guard. He shouts “Get your fucking hands up where I can see them;” but unbeknown to him, there is another guard to his left. The guard removes his revolver silently, aims, and fires. The robber goes down. Hooray! What a hero the guard is. He has saved the precious money! The wonderful, amazing bits of paper he is prepared to kill for. The would be thief lies dead in the road; blood oozing from his wounds. The guards congratulate each other for saving the money.
The robber pulls down his mask, jumps out of the car and runs towards the guard. He shouts “Get your fucking hands up where I can see them,” but this time he sees the guard to his left removing his revolver; he aims and fires. The guard goes down. He grabs the money from the guard and runs back to the car. What a result! He got the money! The wonderful amazing bits of paper he is prepared to kill for. The guard lies dead in the road; blood oozing from his wounds. The thief drives off quickly, happy to have completed his task.
Guns are so quick. No time to think. Use it if you have to. Just like a computer game.
Except this time it’s real blood, real screaming, and real agony.
So now we all know that the almost self-explanatory purpose of guns is to kill. They do not discriminate between right and wrong. They just do exactly what they are designed for. K-I-L-L. So just before we finish this topic, is it possible that someone can answer a question that has been troubling me for some time? Why do they keep making them?
The leaders of most “civilised” countries want peace and harmony in society, so why do they permit companies to keep making guns? It seems like a no-brainer to me.
You want to cut gun crime, but you arm the police, allow companies to manufacture guns, and in some countries allow people to buy them legally. Surely you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if people have them, they’re going to use them. It’s like trying to get rid of cocaine on the streets and then allowing people to make it legally and then allowing people to buy it. Somewhat contradictory, wouldn’t you say? But maybe it’s just me!
People go to work every day in gun factories throughout the world, making the bullets and the guns that fire them. How do they feel about what they are doing? Do they think they are doing work to further peace and harmony in the world? Who do they think they are helping? Perhaps to them it’s just a job, a way to pay the bills and nothing more. But I can’t see that. Surely they must recognise that the output of their work may be ending life somewhere, whether used by the police for “good,” or criminals for “evil.”
How proud they must be, as another “piece” rolls off the production line, ready to be bought for a few measly pounds. How proud the owners of the gun factories must be to see such booming sales. I can see the boardroom presentations now.
“Due to the unprecedented levels of fear our products have created, sales are steadily increasing. As we have seen in the last quarter, a high level of gun attacks has meant that more people are arming themselves against gun attacks resulting in increased sales.”
The other directors applaud the sales director and give him a big fat bonus. After all, this is strictly business.
Man has always been violent, but before guns, people had a chance to survive, now it’s over without any contact. After all, what use is thirty years of martial arts training against a skinny youth armed with a 9 mm automatic pistol?
Guns redefine power. You no longer need muscles; with just one tiny movement of the index finger you can release a bullet. For me, that’s a pretty scary thought, but for some people, it makes them feel powerful, it gives them a super strength they never knew before. It makes people fear them, respect them and obey them. The gun compensates for feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness. It redefines who they are, or at least who they want the world to think they are.
Don’t worry it’s just a game…
Have you ever owned a gun? Have you ever fired a gun? I have. I don’t know when the first time was, but it was probably when I was a small child! Not a real gun of course, but a “toy” gun, bought for me by my parents. I used to love playing “cops and robbers” and other children’s games. “BANG BANG! YOU’RE DEAD,” we would cry or “STOP OR I’LL SHOOT.”
Looking back it all seems so innocent, just children playing with toys and their imaginations. It’s just a bit of harmless fun, isn’t it? “Why should we stop children having fun?” I hear you say. “It’s just make believe. It’s not real.” But it is real.
The children may know they haven’t really killed someone, but how are we supposed to teach our children to live a peaceful life when we actively encourage them to simulate violence? Is there not enough violence in the world already without using violence as a play activity?
I used to play “cowboys and indians,” which in the real life past, was american cowboys brutally killing native american people, and the native people retaliating by brutally killing the cowboys. Nice game! How about cops and robbers, where I pretend to be a policeman and I chase you and kill or capture you? What sorts of games are we teaching our children? How can we expect their minds to be repulsed by violence when it is actively promoted everywhere!
Please think on this for a moment.
I cannot understand why we are encouraged to play these games for although we adults see them as pure fantasy, the only difference between them and reality is that the guns can’t kill or harm anyone, the thought behind the game is the same: “BANG BANG. YOU’RE DEAD.”
Parents may argue that it’s a violent world out there anyway and this is just a harmless bit of fun, but since when has violence – real or pretend – ever been truly fun? Maybe you think you’re preparing them for adult life, but let me ask you another question. How can we expect to break the cycle of violence if we are indoctrinating children from a young age that violence is acceptable?
Children’s minds are like sponges, and they soak up everything from their parents and other teachers. If a child is told that it is ok to pretend to kill someone, why wouldn’t they think it’s ok? Admittedly most people who play cowboys and indians do not grow up to be mass murderers, but the seed is planted.
It’s time to unplant the seed
Maybe there is someone to blame for all this. Maybe it’s mr colt who invented the revolver in the 1800’s; maybe it’s the parents who let their children pretend to kill people; maybe it’s the computer games companies who make violent computer games; or maybe it’s the governments who say it’s ok to defend yourself with a gun. It could be the man who works in the factory making bullets who is to blame. It could be that educators are to blame, or the american media companies who insist on making the most violent tv and films possible, or perhaps our ancestors are to blame, or maybe it’s just that having learned about violence and guns we want to continue to be violent because actually we get a buzz out of it! Let me tell you about my limited experiences with real guns.
I first bought an air gun which fired real pellets when I was about fifteen or sixteen. The first thing I remember was how it felt. Somehow the handle just fitted my hand like a perfect glove. It seemed to be a natural extension of me, and I felt powerful. I sat in my back garden shooting at anything. Tin cans, the fence, the trees, when suddenly I saw a pigeon sitting on a branch. I fired at it and hit it I think, but in any case, it carried on flying so I don’t know if it died or not.
Over the next five years or so, I had other air guns and (very) occasionally would fire at friends feet if they were visiting, resulting in lots of laughter.
The first time I fired a real gun was very different. My friend had been in the army and was pretty obsessed with guns. He took me into the woods and showed me how to load up a 12 bore shotgun with two cartridges. He then hung a piece of tissue paper on a branch and asked me to fire at it from many metres away. I was shocked that it was completely destroyed afterwards. “That’s what it will do to your insides if it hits you,” he joked.
We then proceeded to go rabbit hunting with two other friends. “If anything moves” he said, “pull the trigger, and make sure it’s dead, after all we don’t want to have to go after it to kill it. We can’t just leave a wounded animal to die.” I thought it strange that on the one hand he was happy to violently take the life of another animal, but was concerned it shouldn’t suffer. (I think having its life violently ended is suffering enough, don’t you agree?)
We walked for ten or fifteen minutes when suddenly something shot out in front of me.
Without a thought, my “hunter’s instinct” took over, and I pulled the trigger. Bang Bang, went the shotgun as it recoiled against my shoulder.
Someone shouted over: “Did you hit it alan? Where is it? Did you kill it?”
I walked over to a rabbit lying on its side, still except for very fast breathing. Its eyes were still. Its legs were still. I stood there transfixed, unsure what to do. “If it’s still moving kill it” shouted my friend. So I reloaded my gun pointed it at the rabbit, kind of looked away and fired. The rabbit stopped breathing.
My friend came over and picked the rabbit up by its back legs and said “This things pumped so full of lead it’s got more holes in it than a colander. No ones going to want to eat that.” Everybody, including me, laughed, and he tossed the dead rabbit into a bush.
Such big men, you stand
guns raised skyward
waiting for the moment,
then watch birds, graceful
fall silently to earth
That’s all I remember about that trip 11 years ago, but I never picked a gun up again. The power of the shotgun really scared me. I, a weak human being killed another creature, for what? Sport? Having a laugh?
Having a sunday morning out with the lads before the pub opened for lunch?
I was utterly disgusted with myself, and still am, for taking the life of that rabbit. Up until then, playing around with guns was never going to really hurt anyone, but here was I, holding the power of life or death in such small hands. How was it that our worlds collided?
We both got up on sunday morning and had breakfast. The rabbit had no plans for the day really, I would guess, but I did. Shooting in the morning, followed by drinks in the pub, followed by a meal at my friend’s house, followed by an evening at the pub. All in all, a fun day out. The rabbit didn’t know my plans. He just carried on with his daily routine until he walked across my path at the exact time I was walking past with murder on my mind. An unfortunate meeting for both of us. He, because he lost his life, and I, because I had to carry the guilt around with me for many years.
Do I blame the gun manufacturer or my friend for giving me the gun, and urging me to go shooting with him? I could, but ultimately the responsibility lies with me. I chose to go that day. I chose to load the shotgun. I chose to pull the trigger. Everyone has a choice. I chose never to pick up a gun again.
Guns: Tools of the mind
What is a gun? It could be a pistol or a rifle, automatic or manual. It could fire pellets like my air gun, bullets like a rifle, or cartridges that spray small round balls everywhere when fired, like a shotgun. They are made of metal, have a firing pin, and sometimes come with a silencer. That is about the sum of my knowledge of guns.
I know they are used by different people worldwide. Terrorists, armies, criminals, policemen, householders, jealous lovers, mass murderers, hunters, and sportsmen. I know you don’t have to get close to the person in order to hit them; in fact some rifles are able to fire bullets in excess of a mile. That means I can sit and pick out my target without ever having to see their face except through a telescopic sight. The result will be the same (shattered bone and ripped open flesh), but the effect on the shooter will not. Detachment is the key word here.
In fact, the gun removes any kind of physical connection, unlike stabbing someone which means feeling the blade going in, or strangling or punching someone to death, which requires a physical connection with the hands. That’s why shooting someone is easier, because you don’t get the intense emotions associated with hand to hand combat where you and your opponent (or victim) are exchanging energy constantly.
With a gun, there is a coldness like the metal it is made from, a non-emotional tool for getting what you want. Whether it is to kill an enemy of the country, or kill a man for his wallet, it makes no difference to the gun. It is always ready to do your bidding. The bidding of your mind.
So what I want to talk to you about now is what thoughts appear in your mind that allow for the possibility of using a gun. Let’s start off with a few examples to get you going shall we? How about food, revenge, government sponsored war, anger, paranoia, disease of the mind or robbery?
BETRAYAL: You see the man with your wife. You feel the anger rise up inside you. You feel the betrayal, the lies, the dishonesty, and your ego cannot take it any longer. You feel hurt, confused, and angry. You confront them in bed, raise the gun, and fire.
WAR: You have the enemy in your sights. You know he is your enemy, because your government told you so; and because he’s wearing a different uniform, you do not question, you aim the gun and fire.
FOOD: You see the animal, standing in the forest. You want to eat meat so you raise your gun and fire.
ANGER: He’s said some horrible things about you, you can’t listen to them anymore, he’s hurting your self-esteem, you’re not going to take that. You raise your gun and fire.
DISEASE: You hear voices in your head; they are telling you to kill her. The only way to silence the voices is to do it. “Go on, do it,” the voices urge, and you aim your gun and fire.
GREED: I want your wallet, and your car keys. Give them to me right now or I’ll kill you. The man refuses so you raise your gun and fire.
CONTROL: The man will not conform to society, he is a trouble maker, he is stirring up other people, who may start to question the regime as well. He needs to go. You set out to find him. You find him, aim your gun, and fire.
REVENGE: He killed your brother. Now he is out of prison, he must pay for causing you to suffer. You follow him home one night, stand silently behind him, raise your gun and fire.
FEAR: You hear a noise downstairs. You reach for the drawer by your bed and remove the pistol. It’s dark as you creep down the stairs: “Who’s there” you call. Suddenly you see a man hiding in the dark, you raise your gun, and fire.
Shall I continue? There are a hundred other examples of times when the mind will reach for the gun, which is the ultimate silencer of life. Can you think of a scenario, where if you had a gun, you would use it? You may think not, but given the right situation you just might.
I say you might, because without the right thinking processes in place, there is always a chance, a slim chance, that you feel justified in terminating a life.
The key words we need here are compassion (a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering) and love. If we cultivate compassion for others and develop love for everyone on the planet, no matter what their background or thinking we can start to put the guns down and the manufacturers out of business.
I have often contemplated writing the following letter.
To: A. Global Gun Manufacturer
My name is alan, and I am a human being like yourself. Whilst I appreciate that you and your family need to eat, I have become increasingly concerned that you are not in a business that actually helps – let alone furthers – the human race. I would like to ask you why that is.
Maybe you don’t care that tens of thousands of people are killed by small arms fire every year. Maybe you know people want to kill each other, and you realised they needed someone to help them “facilitate” it, thereby providing a very valuable public service? Maybe you have a great awareness of the need for population control, and given that most people in un-developed countries do not use contraception, have come up with an ingenious way to keep the numbers down?
Given you probably know that I was not being serious in my last two statements, and you know I am aware that you are just in it for the money, answer me one question. Do the words love and compassion mean anything to you?
Do you realise you are helping people to become killers? You may say you do not fire the weapons, but deep in your heart you sincerely hope people become violent, because, if they all become peaceful, then you may have to sell your mansion and your ferrari, and you wouldn’t want that would you?
So given that I know you want violence to continue, in order for business to boom, why don’t you do the world and everyone in it a favour, and turn your attention to making products that benefit the world, not destroy it?
Many people have said to me that guns are essential to ensuring the peace and stability of the world, but I have to disagree. Guns make the world violent, by giving people, who need help to work through their problems and their thinking, a one-handed outlet for their emotions.
People are affected by the desperate psychological need for status, power, and greed amongst other things, and guns help them to fulfil these desires. You may also say you have a weapon for self-defence, and if you don’t have one, a robber may kill you, but that is your need for power over the robber, in the same way he has a gun to have power over you. He might try to kill you, that’s true, but keeping a weapon “just in case” just perpetuates the violence. After all, if you have a gun, you are already planning for violence to take place; maybe not today or tomorrow, but some time in the future.
So give up your guns. Break them right now. Take a stand for humanity. Show you care what happens to the world by sending a letter to an arms company. Ask your friends to show some compassion please, and most of all, please don’t condition your child into believing that guns and gun play is an integral part of the human race, it isn’t. The place for guns to stop is with every new born child.
We need to start to put guns behind us. That means no toy guns, no cops and robbers games in the school yard or computer games in which the only objective is to “kill” things.
I can hear some of you laughing saying things like “You’ll never get people to do that,” or “they’re just harmless kids games, I think you’re wrong,” and that’s ok; but please, I beg all of you to start to show love to each other, as humans belonging to the same species, and stop using guns.
This appeal also goes out to anyone who works in a gun factory anywhere in the world. You are helping Man destroy Man. Please find other work. You may be poor and need work to feed your family but believe me, thanks to the work you do millions of people will suffer. Think about it. We use guns because they are there, not because we need them.
Let us start to use our amazing minds to get what we want not by ripping flesh apart with metal, I can only think we will surely destroy each other, if we do not – which may be good for the arms businesses, but bad for the human race.
Whose side are you on, a greedy faceless corporation, or all of humanity’s? If guns were necessary, we would have evolved with them already built in.
The choice is yours.