Our culture of death

Dead children always make people more upset. Dead embryos, dead babies, dead kindergarteners, dead teenagers- because they had their whole life ahead of them. Tears came to the presidents eyes as he made a statement about the killings in Connecticut. All over Facebook discussions are going on about our pistol packing society. Assertions are being made that this guy had to be mentally ill to go on a rampage, that he shouldn’t have had access to the guns in the first place, and on and on.

We put these senseless killing sprees on a scale. This was the second “most successful” gun spree after the one at Virginia Tech. Of course, if we took away all the guns, he could have been even more deadly- like Timothy McVeigh and his truck full of fertilizer bomb which also killed kids and a whole lot of other people and was almost 6x more effective. Or Bin Ladens minions who killed 10x more, but that was the work of 19 people, so on a death ratio they actually didn’t do quite as well as McVeigh who would be the current kill ratio winner with the kill score keepers.

All of this pales to war. When the true professionals do it, the scoreboards have commas. Syria has managed to kill 40,000 people in their little “civil war.” I put that in quotes, because it may be the biggest oxymoron to call any war civil. There is nothing civil about putting a hole in someone- ever. When we look at the numbers of people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, we tend to only look at our casualties, not the enemies. We spend trillions of dollars perfecting and supporting systems that turn death tolls into pinball scores. We’re expected to win, and win big we do. But in the process, all we are ultimately doing is hastening our own demise.

Everyone of us has or had a mother. It’s a common denominator to being human. When was the last time you heard a mother of a convicted killer say, “thank you Mr. Executioner, for taking my child off the face of the planet”? It doesn’t happen. With every death, victim or martyr or child, justified or not, someone is deeply changed- and not for the better.

We’ve been at war for over a decade, in a place half way around the world. In Afghanistan, the way of the gun is the way of life. It’s been a playground of war for generations. You don’t need a concealed carry permit and guns are available as easily as bananas are here- even though we don’t grow bananas in our country. People don’t aspire to go to Afghanistan, unless they are going there to kill. It astounds me that people still want to come to America, where we kill each other off and imprison people at higher rates than any other “industrialized” country. Those of you reading this can rant that “we’re still the greatest country in the world” but, the problem is, one of our metrics shouldn’t be a kill ratio, ever.

I own a gun, much like the pistols used in Connecticut. I’ve always told myself my reason is that because I won’t go peacefully if my neighbors and the State decide that they have a right to round “my kind” up and send them to death camps like what happened to my paternal great grandparents in Germany. As a veteran, I know that I have no chance in hell of stopping the military from doing the dirty work, and even those of us with arsenals are delusional if you think you’ve got a chance against an infantry squad.

But a few months ago, my eyes were opened by a 9 year old in my own home, who had the idea to “see my gun” and had somehow located the place I stored it, climbed to get it’s innocuous hiding kit down, and take it out to…

The keys to the trigger lock were secure in my pocket, but heaven knows, I don’t check my keyring daily to see what’s still on it, and the next time, that minor obstacle could have been easily removed and I would have had a little girl packing 17 rounds of death in her hands and I, her sister, her mother or that innocent child might not be here today. Guns are never a good answer to problems, just an easy one.

And still, despite that experience, and all my rational thought about the subject, I still wrestle with the idea of giving up my gun. My justification these days is the tribe of misfits two doors away, who think nothing of running my block like an Ultimate Fighting ring on occasion. Just last week, the father of the brood was pounding on my parents door begging them to call the police on his own spawns. The number of calls to police are off the charts, but it seems the “no blood, no foul” rule is being applied and the penalties so far are like gnat bites. We’ve acquiesced to incivility as a baseline and set the tolerance bar too close to death for comfort.

The question is, when will each of us say it’s time to aspire to live in Mayberry RFD instead of Mayhem USA?

Did enough children die yesterday to turn our moral compass? In the 40 years since I was in elementary school, our schools have changed from places with open doors and playgrounds, to controlled access buildings with a Sallyport for an entrance?

Think about it, if this is where we’ve come in two generations, where are we headed? To the Thunderdome?

It shouldn’t take dead children to see that we’ve got a culture of death. Commas don’t belong in a death toll, But, keep counting, maybe we’ll get a bonus round before the year is up.

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Gina Kay Landis
Gina Kay Landis

There is dark, and there is light. It behooves us to realize that the violent among us are not in the majority.


“There is dark, and there is light. It behooves us to realize that the violent among us are not in the majority.”

Although the main stream media would like us to believe otherwise. 

Turn off the TV, and the world instantly becomes a safer, more balanced place. 

Marc Delaney
Marc Delaney

Well, here is my 2 cents…. I cannot even consider giving up my guns (except for assault rifles. No one needs an assault rifle).   I come from a military family and also served, so I am familiar with guns and the need for protection. Do I believe in any war since WWII, not entirely. However, I do take this topic a bit personal because it really irritates me that I am “not allowed” to be prepared to protect myself or my family with equal force against criminals outside of my home.  Anyway…. Why is everyone so shocked when there are still criminally insane people about??   We will never be rid of the criminal minded in society. There will never be a Mayberry. Some people just ain’t right.   The gun laws, right to protect or right to carry laws are too strict. *NEWSFLASH* Decent people follow laws, criminal minded do not. At every mass shooting in this country, how many people shot back? The reason schools, colleges, movie theaters, etc are targets for mass shootings is because the criminals know resistance will be slim to none. These mass shooting criminals are cowards. How many mass shootings are there at gun shows? Target ranges? Hunting grounds? Or other venues where guns are known to be.  The US began with the urge to be free of a repressive gov’t, to live, die and protect yourself as you want.  Today we keep hiring more gov’t and passing more laws to remove the responsibility and liability of life from the individual.  So what do we get?  We get an enormous adult daycare with a bunch of helpless individuals. Is the answer more laws?  More police?  No, the answer is to give the individual the right to protect oneself and others when the time comes.   *Of course, convicted criminals and mental patients should not be allowed to carry. And if you don’t want to own or carry a gun you don’t have to.*  No matter how many more people we disarm or how big we make our police force in this country,… Read more »

Dave O.
Dave O.

Vigilantism? Is that really our solution? Give everyone a gun and trust that the right people will gun down the wrong ones?

Marc Delaney
Marc Delaney

True. There are a whole bunch of incompetent, fearful people. Partly this country’s fault though. We have been promoting this way of life and thought for 50+ years.  You know the, “have everything done for you” and “let someone else handle it” attitudes.  As we continue to write laws limiting the responsibility and liability of the individual the more incompetent and fearful individuals become. The focus should be on the individual taking care of themselves not just for gun laws but for many things; otherwise people get lazy and lose interest. The truly interesting part is that this is a psychological issue. The thought of everyone carrying makes people really uncomfortable, because there is too much unknown. They won’t know most of the people with guns. They would much rather know the people. So they give gun carriers a label.  They say “criminals” or “police” carry guns. This gives the guns an identity. This is more of a clean way for the emotional part of the brain to process the situation. The ironic part is, people also know if a “criminal” confronts them with a gun they have no protection. Yet somehow people are still ok with this.  I think it has to do with the amazing power of denial.  They just don’t think it will ever happen to them or their loved ones. However when it does happen, they start crying for gov’t or others to protect them; very odd way to think if you ask me. Also, why are you trying to make protecting yourself, and in this case students, just an awful, awful thing? There is no question who is wrong when an individual walks into your classroom shooting people. You do understand that wanting to carry doesn’t equal wanting to shoot people? Deranged minds want to shoot people. Law abiding citizens do not. However, law abiding citizens should be allowed to protect themselves and loved ones. As I said, not everyone needs to carry.  And I seriously doubt that everyone would carry.  I know people that never want to carry.  However there are people that want to take… Read more »

John Ise
John Ise

From another blog, “Where’s the DMV for guns?”

I take self-defense seriously. But getting a gun should be at least as hard as getting a driver’s license. A citizen who wants a gun and a concealed carry permit should go through exactly the same training and recertification as a cop would… it’s easier to get a gun as a citizen than as a cop.
No brainer.

Marc Delaney
Marc Delaney

Now that is a good idea.  



If it helps you make the transition, David, the social-scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that keeping a gun in your house makes you and your family less safe from violence. Virtually every gun owner thinks this doesn’t apply to them, and they’ve all got lots of reasons for believing that, but they’re virtually all wrong. 

Our gun culture is part of the problem. Fortunately, gun culture is, slowly, on the decline (and gun-related violence is on the decline, too). The sooner good people who participate in gun culture recognize they’re making a small but real contribution to the problem, the sooner we can speed this process up.

Marc Delaney
Marc Delaney

Would you please post references to the “social-scientific evidence”  that “overwhelmingly shows” and not just state that is does?  I am open to all information and ideas and would like to read it.