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Guns Don't Kill People...

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

A person but not a gun killed some more people yesterday. This is a weekly event now as the serial nature of this epidemic takes more and younger lives. In looking at the place and death of young people, a school is becoming more likely location as the immediate forensic cause of death is a bullet.

“ The Declaration of Independence may have freed us, but Mr. Colt made us equal.”

The quote was purported to be an advertisement for the Colt Peacemaker, a six shot revolver handgun that was easy and quick to load, accurate and fired a high caliber bullet with better than average range compared to other handguns.

I’ve seen this quote a few times…“Guns don’t kill people, people do… then why put guns in the hands of people?”

“A cadet will move quietly into the armory sign in for his rife immediately clear the chamber with the muzzle pointed up say ‘’clear” and move from the armory, Upon return of the rife the cadet will hold the rifle at carry arms move quietly to the armorer, clear the chamber in front of the armorer while the muzzle is pointed upward clear the chamber and say “clear”, the serial number is checked against the one signed in for by the cadet. The cadet leaves the armory quickly and quietly.”

The statement above is my memory of what I did each week during my four years at military college. Now, here is the most interesting part of the story… the firing pins (the piece of steel that strikes the back of a cartridge to fire the bullet) had been removed. All of this safety for a weapon that could not shoot.

There is a malaise that we walk in I’ll call The Ignorance of Interdependence. This conditional illusion is that I can be independent and choose what I want to do with no semblance of expectation from anyone or anything—my God given right to be independent. It is what it is, don’t tell me what to do, no one is the boss of me. Or as John Wayne’s character said in one of his moves…” don’t ever apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.”

There is a tenant in twelve step programs. Being sick and tired of being sick and tired. This means I can’t not use the substance nor can I stop using it.! A bottomless pit. We are in a bottomless pit.

In Zen we address ignorance as a state of consciousness that impedes our ability to see the moment clearly the interrelated conditions and variables that we see, hear, touch, smell, taste and think about.

You know this and often use it yourself in describing life. It goes something like this. You know that because you’ve had the bad experience of “X”... I see things differently. My old wounds are opened every time I see something similar. I must be aware and do things to reduce the cause and the effect on me.

Ever heard of the Upstream Downstream Imperative? It goes something like this. There is a condition that is becoming noticed by more and more people. People gather and talk about it. Then the condition grows as more variables are noticed that enable the condition to “worsen.” two lines of thought unfold. The up-streamers (U) and down-streamers (D). The “D”want to clean up the conditions on hand and the “U '' want to prevent the cause from occurring. You see the dilemma because folks want a single solution and certification to boot.

In my view there are two ways to solve the problem using the either or technique. One is to get rid of guns and the other to get rid of people. Absurd you say? So we could by law give everyone a gun from say five years of age or stronger four year olds. Then let nature take its course. This would enable us to reach a point where there are fewer people alive to use the guns and some compassion for maybe not using them to arise, just because someone breaks in line.

The interdependent approach (IA) would be to do both D and U with enough resources to to reduce cause and effect. This enabling begins a way of life that is preventive and interventional.

The first precept of a person following the Middle way of Buddhism is to do no harm. Which of course is the essence of the Hippocratic Oath. Beneath this oath is the argument I have been making here. We must not just see or think we are interdependent with others, but experience it as the priority way to reduce suffering. It is a universal deep sense of compassion enabling loving kindness.

We see a similar lack of this way of life in people who don’t believe in face-masks, immunization, racial issues, education, equality, and religious variations. That is, we create conditions upstream that have the impact downstream. The theme song here is… “Its’ Human Nature and It’s not my Responsibility Anyway and so Why Bother.”

The amount of change necessary is too much, I’d have to stop doing something to get something else I want. In other words I want easy fixes not hard choices.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired…


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