2As some of you know by reading this column, I’m an anglophile. My kids bear British first names and along with our flag the RAF flag hangs in my home.
So given the recent political tumult in the UK regarding the Johnson resignation, I’ve had a chance to talk to several British friends in the UK, a couple of them in Tory (Conservative) politics.
After we finished dissecting the news and the upcoming leadership fight in the Conservative Party, one of them exasperatingly asked me, after he had read about recent mass shootings in the United States, when we Americans were going to do something about our “gun problem.”
I responded that one, we didn’t have a gun problem, we have a people problem. And two, the spectre of the gun falls over American history as the sword and longbow fall over British history. It is intrinsic to our nature and culture. It is mom and apple pie.
Muskets were used to keep our ancestors alive as colonists hunted during the long winters of early Virginia. They enabled us to fight back against the depredations of the French, Indians, and later the Redcoats, winning us independence. Men carrying the Peacemaker and the Winchester 73 opened up the West. Troops armed with the Springfield rifle kept the Union together and along the way rid this continent of slavery. In the hands of lawmen, Colt firearms kept frontier cities safe. Held by American soldiers, infantry weapons like the BAR and the M1 Garand saved the world from tyranny three times in a century and liberated places like Dachau. In the right hands American guns are a force for good.
In America free people with guns are ultimate guarantors of our individual freedoms. They help to protect our homes, property, and family. Possessed by responsible Americans, guns are no threat to any innocent citizen.
The problem is not with the guns, as they logically have no power of independent action. The problem is with the modern hands. For several decades a sickness has stalked this land, a malady brought upon us very intentionally by those who wish us ill and who live amongst us. This plague saps our will and our virtues and spawns the kind of people who use guns to take innocent lives.
It is a bacillus worse than any virus, because masking or injections will do nothing to stop it. Its symptoms are a rabid hatred of our institutions and heritage. It is a profoundly masochistic nihilism that cares not for human life in the womb or after. It separates its victims from the fellowship of other Americans by grievance. It tells the disaffected, especially young males, that to destroy is validating, to kill is to gain psychic revenge on family, school, or society.
It takes the gun, a tool of legtimate defense, and perverts its use to wound and murder. Guns, nor any other inanimate object, are not at issue. That’s what the Brits don’t get.
A predominant culture that goes out of its way to undermine basic American virtue and tradition is the issue. Until that is reformed, soul sick men will consistently use guns to kill numbers of others. We can’t wish that away. We can hope though that one day our culture progresses to a point where we hardly produce alienated young men capable of such horrors.