The Barbarism is the Problem

Like everyone on the planet with a beating heart, another chink has been notched out of mine. This chink a bit bigger, deeper, and more bloody. The damage is real, lasting, and irreversible. My heart cannot take much more before it must take action to protect itself.

I am crushed by the domestic terrorism in Uvalde TX this week. I have no words that can add to the outpouring of grief. I have no expressions to comfort the devastated families. I have no wisdom to stem the tide of domestic terrorism and gun violence in this once great nation. What I have is pain, fear, and hopelessness. How does one effect change with that?

I simply cannot accept that the Republicans like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and others, that do not support legislation to stem domestic terrorism and gun violence, want to see one more person killed (see, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/05/25/us/gun-control-republican-senators.html). Taking their humanity for granted, what is driving the lack of common-sense gun regulation?

America has slipped into a semi-liberal democratic period where government in Washington DC is fundamentally broken. Doing the right thing, actually being elected by and representing the people is no longer the norm. The result is that outright barbarism, violence, and loss of innocent life is secondary to the demands of powerful interest groups like the NRA. The pretext of 2nd Amendment rights is merely that — pretext.

The consequences of our broken, illiberal democracy will eventually result in America becoming, if we are not already, a third-rate nation. Economic and military power only go so far. Most Americans have not travelled internationally. And those that have tend to go to well know tourist destinations, live in their little tourist bubbles, and observe little of the rest of the world. I have traveled quite a bit and spent quality time getting to know other societies and cultures. One thing is clear — America is different in a bad way.

When I am driving in America or walking downtown, I am always conscious of the potential for violence. It is omnipresent in America. One can never truly relax in public. This is what leads misinformed individuals to say idiotic things like “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (see, https://www.npr.org/2012/12/21/167824766/nra-only-thing-that-stops-a-bad-guy-with-a-gun-is-a-good-guy-with-a-gun). What stops a bad guy is to not have a gun in public!

I recall walking the streets of Tokyo at 2:00am or Seoul or London or Vienna and more at a similar hour. These are all places with close to zero gun violence. It makes a difference. Walking around in those countries day or night I do not have this edge about me. I can relax and not worry about becoming the next victim of some random, senseless act of violence.

The barbarism and political corruption that permits these daily acts of domestic terrorism and gun violence to continue in America will be the very downfall of America. More than economic issues, cultural issues, political divide, people will not long live under the constant threat of violence. As American hardens those with the means will relocate to civil, safe societies. Those without the means will be left behind with no choice but to further “arm” themselves for the inevitable violence that will find them some day. What a horrible place to live and what a sad outcome for a once great and powerful nation that saved the world from violence and atrocities happening outside its borders.

God save America from itself — if it’s not too late.

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Gary O'Brien

Gary O'Brien

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