[The following article was written by Synthesis Weekly columnist Julia Murphy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She likes it when you ride a bike.]
Land Of The Gun
A gun is a tool, a tool of extraction. It is made to extract life from the body. Whether or not you use it for this purpose, this is what it has been engineered for. There are other tools of similar purpose, simpler and less remote, with a reliance on the inherent physical strength of the tool’s user. However, none of these other tools inspire the same cult or cultural worship that the gun does.
The ability to kill something, a very specific something, from a great distance is a manifestation of power. It also allows the luxury of ignorance. If you choose, you can cap something from 500 yards (theoretically, if you’re an ace shooter) and ignore it completely. â€œThat’s good enough for me,â€ you might say. â€œI don’t need to walk up on that shit and see the whole Faces of Death routine.â€
I sort of like guns, but it’s not an amicable friendship; it’s unwholesome. I don’t want to kill shit, I surely don’t. But I have to say, I’d love to be able to stop something that was about to eat or otherwise harm me.
However, this is sort of where it falls apart. I’ve made it through 38 years without packin’. Shit happens. If you have guns â€” if you carry and use and love the shit out of guns â€” how does that change how you act? Does it make you just a little more cocky knowing you get to play, in the words of PC Danny Butterman, â€œJudge Judy and executionerâ€? Does it make you a little less willing to negotiate?
Recently an article on Yahoo Green featured interviews with some folks who are lucky enough to have homes to homestead about their preparations for what they see as the societal effects of peak oil. The article cites stockpiling weapons as one of the actions these folks are taking â€œto defend their supplies against desperate crowds of people who didn’t prepare.â€
We’re used to thinking in scarcity and fear. It’s what our society requires in order for us to keep our heads down and keep working. The option, as presented by the Man: â€œAnarchy, which would mean chaos and mob rules,â€ when the anarchists I know are some of the most responsible and respectful people I’ve ever met. Interestingly, Ammon Hennacy, anarchist homeboy of the late great Utah Phillips, had a jailhouse conversion with the Jeebus and, follow the logic: True Christianity means pacifism, and governments constantly make war, so to be a real Christian you have to be an anarchist. Interesting.
More leftist rhetoric after the jump.
So what place does violence have in your ideology? I’m not saying you have to buy into my tinfoil-hat survivalist fantasies, but this is an important question. I’m for the seeds and the solar panels and the rediscovery of abandoned skillsâ€¦but the armed stronghold thing, well, that’s just taking a little too much of this failing and toxic culture into what will replace it. By the time we get to that point, maybe we’re all going to figure out that it works better as a survival skill to cooperate than to waste our calories running around trying to waste each other. And people are having these conversations now. It feels tinfoil-hatty, but shit, have you seen the fucked-up schemes the CIA comes up with? Now that’s crazy with a capital C.
For a place to start, see http://transitionculture.org. From the website:
â€œPeople are choosing life and are manifesting that in their lives and their communities. People are starting to see peak oil as the Great Opportunity, the chance to build the world they always dreamt of. The scale of the challenge is huge, and the obstacles are plenty, but there is an emerging energy to succeedâ€¦In towns and cities all over the world people are asking each other â€˜what can we do about this?’â€
It might not be a bad idea for people whose survival skills are primo to go into areas where those skills are less known and offer info-shops, â€˜cause people that know a little bit about how to take care of themselves are going to be less scared, and therefore less violent.
Tags: ace, bike land, butterman, crowds of people, cult, executioner, faces of death, great distance, guns, homestead, judge judy, manifestation, Peak Oil, physical strength, reliance, shooter, societal effects, weapons, weekly columnist