The violence problem here in the US, as my friend John Wight points out, is due to guns and extremism. A friend who lives in Florida says maybe he needs to start carrying a gun too, since there seem to be serious numbers of crazies out there. I understand his concern. However, will more guns help? Do we really want a society where everyone is packing all the time?
The US was founded in violent revolution. Our ethos of the Wild West Lone Gunman Coming In To Clean Up The Town persists. It’s questionable whether such resolutely moral gunmen ever existed as portrayed and if they did, if you’d want to live next to them. The ethos lives on in movies today about cops and citizens going outside the law to stop killers and cartels. Hey, I like James Bond and Jason Bourne movies as much as anyone, but they’re stone cold killers, aren’t they?
Wyatt Earp never smiled or laughed, pistol whipped citizens regularly because he was a lawman and thus could do so without fear of consequences. He became a vigilante killer after one brother was shot and another murdered, almost went to prison, and later fixed a boxing match. Is Wyatt Earp a good role model. I think not.
[bctt tweet=”Guns and extremism. Our Wild West ethos. But Wyatt Earl never smiled, was vigilante. A bad role model” username=”polizeros”]
I don’t know what the answer is. Becoming ever-more heavily-armed, suspicious, and scared probably isn’t going to help, arguably will make things worse, and probably just lead to more violence. We as a country need to figure out why violence seems so attractive to us, and is often offered as a first solution.