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Americans don’t know how to handle guns

By Catherine Meeks, Ph.D The Macon Telegraph It has been said that, ‘the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.’ How would new eyes help us face the challenges of economic shortfalls, educational deficits, environmental issues, health and wellness problems and negative political expression that foster a lack of civility? How would new eyes help us to move ahead to building bridges across some of the land mines that are generated by self absorption and greed? The development of a new way of seeing could lead to finding a new set of social and political priorities that reflect the needs of all people instead of having so many items placed on the agenda by powerful lobbyists. For instance, see the results of the powerful gun lobby in getting more relaxed rules in terms of carrying weapons to public places and displaying them as if we were still living in the era when folks wore guns before we had police and armies. Back when we traveled by wagon and had to fend off attacks by wild animals and other dangers. What in the world is the matter with us? We are already one of the most violent nations on Earth. We obviously do not know how to handle guns in a proper manner because, if we did, our statistics would be better. Why do some folks feel the need to make such a big deal over owning guns these days anyway? There are a lot of hard questions before us in regards to this issue and we might find that it is a good idea to begin asking some of them. There are too many folks who think of themselves as rational about most things but feel the need to carry a gun. Why? Quite frankly, I would prefer not to be around people who think they need a weapon as they conduct their daily business. How is a gun going to be a part of the day’s routine transactions? Through what lens does one see the world when carrying a gun everywhere? What do we think about our fellow citizens that makes it seem necessary to be prepared to kill them at a moment’s notice? Where do we expect to go with this idea of being armed and publicly displaying those arms? There will be some readers of this column who cannot get the point that I hope to make, which is that we need to begin to think of new ways to view ourselves and to solve our problems if we intend to keep moving forward to a place of better prosperity and peace. The daily doses of negative rhetoric that come from too many sources and our natural human capacity to become polarized, make the potential for violence even greater in a country that is already violent. It does not make sense. For those who speak of wanting their country back, I wonder what country they are wanting back? Do they want a country with the frontier, or is it one that is just mostly free of diversity? What country is it that has been lost? What is the idea of how to get it back? Is having an armed citizenry the plan? It is difficult to believe that anyone can believe the only way to be a powerful person is to have a gun and to carry it with you everywhere. Personal power has never rested in externals and the effort to find it in the ownership of a gun or any other material possession leads to a place of great disappointment. I understand that a gun can be harmless, but when it is empowered with rage or fear that harmlessness changes and new eyes might help us to see that.

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