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A TALE OF GUNS...AND BOMBS (NO EMBEDS)

GUNS...

Whether you like it or not, in the USA, the right to own firearms is guaranteed by the USA Constitution. As long as the 2nd Amendment is the law of the land, then residents of the USA are free to own firearms. As long as the 2nd Amendment is the law of the land, then residents of the USA cannot be prevented from owning firearms. Period. End of debate. But, has the 2nd Amendment become outdated?

If some USA residents love, cherish, and hold the 1st Amendment as being a sacred amendment, then other USA residents love, cherish, and hold the 2nd Amendment as being equally sacred. The beauty of the USA Constitution is this: Unlike, say, the Biblical Ten Commandments, the USA Constitution is not etched in stone. The USA Constitution is a flexible, living, breathing document. The USA Constitution contains a provision for changing it. The Founding Fathers wisely foresaw the need for the USA Constitution to stay relevant to the changing times.

Once upon a time in the USA, during the early decades of the 20th century (circa 1919 to 1933 also known as the Prohibition Era), a majority of USA residents felt that alcohol consumption was a bad thing for society. These citizens felt that the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages should be outlawed. As a result, in 1919, the 18th Amendment was adopted, which prohibited the production, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Much like the illicit drug trade of today (as of 2013), during the Prohibition Era, an illicit moonshine trade emerged to supply the demand of those who still craved to consume alcoholic beverages. The illicit moonshine trade flourished.

Upon reflection, and with the moonshine trade thriving, in time, a majority of USA residents reached the conclusion that perhaps outlawing alcoholic beverages was not such a good idea after all. They came to a realization that perhaps banning alcoholic beverages was doing more harm than good in society. Not only did citizens continue to demand and consume illicit and bootlegged alcoholic beverages during Prohibition but also criminal activities were flourishing as they related to the production, distribution, and sale of the forbidden alcoholic products. Lots of crime, violence, and murder accompanied the production, distribution, and sale of illegal alcohol. Crime lords competed with one another to control this then-outlawed alcohol market. As a result, in 1933, the 21st Amendment was adopted. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment and brought an end to the Prohibition Era in USA history.

Watch (PROHIBITION DOCUMENTARY)

In some respect, the entire Prohibition episode of USA history is being repeated today (in 2013) in the debate over legalizing illicit drugs. Those who favor legalizing the production, distribution, and sale of illicit drugs argue that the drug-related violence and murders between competing drug sellers would stop with the legalization of illicit drugs. They draw parallels or similarities to the way in which much of the violence and murders stopped between competing moonshiners, bootleggers, and liquor runners when Prohibition was repealed.

The chief argument against the legalization of illicit drugs is this: There are far higher costs and more adverse impacts that drug abuse has on society than, say, alcohol abuse or tobacco abuse. These various societal costs include costs incurred by the health care system to treat drug abusers; the costs incurred by law enforcement officials to investigate drug-related crimes; the costs incurred by the criminal justice system to try, convict, and incarcerate those who have been found guilty of committing drug-related crimes.

There are other intangible costs to society. These intangible costs include things such as the of loss education and the loss production due to the preoccupation of drug abusers with abusing drugs rather than getting a good education and engaging in more constructive pursuits. In short, the sentiment against the legalization of illicit drugs is this: If you think that alcohol abuse and tobacco abuse have proven to be costly to USA society, then these costs are likely to skyrocket by a thousand-fold if illicit drugs should become legalized such as cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, crystal meth, bath salts, and so forth. Some would go so far as to speculate that the citizenry's preoccupation with using and abusing drugs ultimately will be the very thing that leads to the collapse of USA society.

Another sentiment against the legalization of illicit drugs is this: There is something unsettling about having the ability to go into the neighborhood grocery store and nonchalantly request to purchase one those medium-sized packages of cocaine--or, say, to see stores shelves fully stocked with cocaine alongside the bars of soap, bags of rice, packages of cigarettes, bars of candy, bottles of liquor, and so forth. The logic behind this sentiment is this: Not all substances are created equal. Some of these substances are highly addictive, and some users have a predisposition for addictive behavior. For those who are predisposed to addictive behavior, their brains keep commanding them to ingest more and more of the substance. Their brains keep commanding them to do whatever it takes to get more of the substance even it means resorting to prostitution, stealing, robbery, and so forth, to get the money to purchase more of the substance. There also is something unsettling about watching or listening to a commercial coaxing and enticing viewers or listeners to try the latest and greatest version of, say, heroin.

There are some who argue that humans are going to use illicit drugs no matter what the consequences are. I get the argument that some humans are going to use and abuse, say, alcoholic beverages, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs no matter what is said to them about any potential harmful effects or debilitating consequences. It is argued that these humans should be taught how to use illicit drugs moderately and responsibly. The responsible-and-moderate use argument turns out to be a very tricky proposition to square. For instance, even when modest amounts of illicit drugs are introduced into the body, for some users, they become hooked or addicted to them. Once hooked or addicted, this category of drug users loses control over the ability to make sound and responsible decisions about the amounts of illicit drugs to use. Once addicted, all notions of logical thinking and rational behavior tend to fly out the window, so to speak. The addictive properties of the substances proceed to take control of the mind.

Once addicted, instead of them using these various substances moderately, substance abusers begin to do whatever it takes to get more of the susbstance for abuse. For instance, some drug addicts resort to robbery, stealing, begging, prostitution, fraud, diverting money from the payment of their bills, and even murder to obtain the money to support their drug habits. Obviously, if illicit drug users had the wherewithal to control the level of their drug use or the wherewithal to quit using illicit drugs at will, then there would not be a drug problem in the first place. For instance, there would be no alcoholics in the world if all alcohol drinkers knew how to control their drinking levels. There would be no nicotine addicts in the world if all cigarette smokers knew how to control their levels of smoking.

Nobody deliberately decides to become an alcoholic or a drug addict in life. Except extremely potent and addictive substances, the addiction normally sneaks up on the substance users. The addiction catches the substance users off guard; it catches them completely by surprise. Before they realize it, they are addicted to the substances. To put it another way, in an open and free society such as the USA, there are some things in life that are simply not worth having. The price to be paid for having those things is much too high. It remains for you to decide whether to forsake those things not worth having, say, by pursuing less costly alternatives or substitute activities to using addictive substances.

What is the point of discussing the Prohibition Era and substance abuse amid a discussion about firearms? The point is to demonstrate how the USA Constitution is a living, breathing document. The USA Constitution allows for change and experimentation to adapt to the changing times. Also, much like Prohibition during the 1920's, some have begun to wonder aloud if the right to own firearms isn't beginning to cause more harm than good in contemporary USA society. In association with the production, distribution, and sale of illicit drugs, there has been a corresponding rise in incidences of firearm sales, firearms trafficking, and gunplay.

As I have stated elsewhere, there is no shortage of controversial issues on Earth. Some of these controversies include:

The debate over firearm ownership is but another one of those highly controversial topics. USA residents hold a range of opinions on each of these issues. Their opinions run the gamut from being extremely liberal to being extremely conservative. Normally, consensus is reached in a civilized manner about how to address each of these topics. Without recourse to violence, consensus is reached either through elections (majority rule) or through legal redress in the court system. USA residents usually do not resort to murdering one another while debating these issues, which goes to the very essence of being a free-thinking, democratic, and civilized society.

Why Do Humans Love Firearms So Much?

Why do humans feel compelled to own firearms in the first place? There are several reasons why humans feel compelled to own firearms. Some of these reasons include:

Why Did the Founding Fathers Propose the 2nd Amendment?

Why did the Founding Fathers feel the need to create the 2nd Amendment (that is, the right of citizens to own firearms) in the first place? What were they thinking?

Watch (Second Amendment: The Origins of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms)
Watch

It appears that the Founding Fathers established the right of citizens to bear firearms primarily because the Founding Fathers were motivated by the need to be able to quickly mobilize an already armed citizenry to fight in a war against the United Kingdom--or any other aggressor foreign power--just in case the United Kingdom attempted to invade the USA on a future date. The Founding Fathers equally were motivated by the need to be able to quickly mobilize an already armed citizenry to fight in ongoing conflicts with the Native Americans.

In drafting the 2nd Amendment, it also appears that the Founding Fathers were thinking about and saw wisdom in citizens owing firearms to fight (the military branch of) the USA government if the national military ever entertained the notion of staging a coup, or for citizens to fight the federal government if the federal government ever entertained the notion of suspending the Constitution.

It is important to note the historical realities of life in the USA when the Constitution was drafted. There was a lot of national aggrandizement occurring when the Europeans began to explore the New World dating back to explorers such as Christopher Columbus. There was competition and conflict between the European powers over territorial claims in the New World. The New World settlers also came into conflict with the Native Americans over territorial claims, territorial expansion, and territorial displacement. There was constant bickering, fighting, and exchange of gunfire as the New World was shaped and settled.

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Watch (The American Revolution in 5 Breathtaking Minutes)


Watch (Tea, Taxes, and The American Revolution: Crash Course World History #28 )


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Compared to today, life in the USA was so much simpler when the Constitution was adopted in 1787 (and implemented in 1789). At that particular point in time, there were only 13 contiguous states. The chief means of mass transportation and mass communications were by horses and horse-driven stagecoaches. The USA was principally an agricultural country when the Constitution was adopted. As of 1790, New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Boston, Massachusetts (USA) had grown to become the largest USA cities with populations of 33,131; 28,522; and 18,320 residents, respectively. According to the USA Census Bureau, the USA contained a total of about 4 million inhabitants in 1790.

Watch (WASHINGTON DC / ARLINGTON VA, USA 2011 WALKING TOUR)

The Founding Fathers have been hailed as geniuses for crafting a form of government that seems to be infallible to failure. While drafting the 2nd Amendment, I believe that the Founding Fathers never foresaw the emergence of such events as automatic and semi-automatic weapons. When the Founding Fathers were drafting the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, I do not believe that they envisioned the rise of large metropolitan centers with populations of 500,000 or more residents, not to mention the rise of large cities with skyscrapers and dense populations of more than a million residents such as New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, California; and Dallas, Texas.

Watch (Los Angeles: An Introduction)

When the USA Constitution was adopted, the USA was mostly a rural or prairie country. While the Founding Fathers may have been thinking about fighting foreign and domestic tyranny when they adopted the 2nd Amendment, even in 1790, citizens had additional uses for their firearms in mind. Against this rural or prairie USA background circa 1790, the primary uses of a firearm for households would have been for hunting, to safeguard one's livestock from predatory animals, and to safeguard one's home from the uninvited intrusions of bandits and thieves. A firearm was viewed as the most effective deterrent against wild animals and violent criminals during the 1800's.

Watch (HISTORY OF THE GUN OUTLAW SHOOTERS)

Also, during the 1800's, undoubtedly, some households owned firearms for recreation, hunting, and sports (much like Annie Oakley later used firearms for recreation and sports during the 1880's).

Watch (Annie Oakley)

The Founding Fathers probably never imagined that, at the dawn of the 21st century, the USA would grow to become one of the most powerful nations on Earth with all kinds of nuclear, chemical, biological, conventional, and clandestine arsenals of weapons to defend the country against all foreign attacks by land, air, water, and outer space. Instead of being sworn enemies, the Founding Fathers, also, probably never imagined that, as of 2013, the USA and the United Kingdom would become the closest of allies.

Watch (This Is La Guardia Airport: The Movie/Musical)

Looking at life in the USA at the dawn of the 21st century, it is implausible to believe that the 300 million residents of the USA today would stand by idly and allow the military to stage a coup, or for 300 million freedom-loving USA citizens to submit themselves to a dictatorship or military rule. Asking USA residents to submit to living under military rule or government dictatorship would be akin to asking them to live under slavery, which most citizens would outright reject and disobey. To be sure, I very seriously doubt if anybody in the USA military harbors any thoughts whatsoever about staging a military coup or installing a dictatorship. The USA military loves freedom and democracy, too.

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Watch (Times Square: Manhattan, New York)

As of 2013, life in the USA has become infinitely more complicated when compared to life in the USA in 1790 (or 223 years earlier than 2013). I do not believe the Founding Fathers envisioned that the country would grow to become 50 states with a population of 300 million or more people, not to mention the inclusion of USA-affiliated entities, free associations, and territories. I do not believe the Founding Fathers envisioned that the country would grow to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. I do not believe the Founding Fathers envisioned that citizens would be traveling by air and freeways or communicating via telephone, radio, television, smartphones, and the Internet.

I do not believe the Founding Fathers envisioned that 100 million residents in the USA would be owning approximately 270 million firearms. I do not believe the Founding Fathers envisioned that 100 million residents in the USA would be walking around with the capacity for firing guns at one another, or the capacity for murdering one another with their firearms, sometimes for the most trivial and petty of reasons. From the standpoint of the 2nd Amendment's chief purpose to enable citizens the right to bear firearms to defend the country against a foreign invasion and against Native American attacks, it appears the 2nd Amendment has become outdated given the realities of USA military power and its staunch alliance with the United Kingdom in 2013.

With the 20th century emergence of such events as automatic and semi-automatic weapons coupled with the belief that the 2nd Amendment entitles everyone in the USA with the right to possess any type of firearm that he or she deems fit, I do not believe that the Founding Fathers envisioned the inherent dilemma that they created. The dilemma is this: What happens if the capacity to build nuclear bombs becomes common knowledge, too, at some point in the future? What happens if, say, the technology emerges in the 22nd century to mass produce minature or pocket-sized nuclear bombs? When taken to its logical conclusion, much like the present-day argument that the 2nd Amendment entitles all citizens with the right to own automatic and semi-automatic weapons, it can be argued that the 2nd Amendment also confers everyone in the future with the right to own a minature nuclear bomb. You can rest assured that if citizens possessed these minature nuclear bombs, then someone is going to get into a dispute with another human, seethe with anger, and detonate the bomb as some type of murder-suicide way to settle the score. Another possibility is that some deranged person would detonate his or her nuclear bomb for no apparent reason at all. Does this scenario of every USA citizen of the future walking around with a nuclear bomb in his or her pocket make any sense to you? No, it does not make any sense.

One thing increasingly is becoming clear, and it is this: Millions of USA residents with firearms appear to becoming more of a threat to USA domestic tranquility than the prospect of any type of government dictatorship or military coup. One of the reasons for the 2nd Amendment was for citizens, if necessary, to stage an armed revolt against government tyranny or military dictatorship. Many USA citizens honestly think that they must be armed just in case the USA government should decide to suspend the USA Constitution and proceed to replace democracy and civil liberties with some form of tyrannical rule. The reality is this: It is turning out that millions of distrusting USA citizens with firearms pose more of a threat to societal solidarity than any conspiracy theory about the establishment of government tyranny or military rule. Millions of distrusting citizens with firearms are posing more of a challenge to maintaining societal cohesiveness instead of any rumored fear that the USA government is constantly plotting to establish some form of tyrannical rule over citizens. Some argue that these conspiracy theories about a USA government takeover are spun and spread by those who wish to see more citizens owning firearms.

Michael Jackson - "Human Nature"



Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys - "Empire State Of Mind"



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Gun Violence Is Relative

Let there be no mistake about it. The primary purpose of a gun is to kill. Firearms are designed for killing. The reasoning behind owning a firearm is to be prepared to shoot and kill someone or something with it. At the same time, sight should not be lost of the fact that gunplay and death by firearms are relative events. Deaths by firearms in civil society are nowhere near being the number one killer of humans. According to a 2007 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2,423,712 recorded deaths in the USA in 2007. The study revealed that heart disease was the number one killer of USA residents (that is, 806,156 deaths or 33% of all deaths). Some mainly would attribute heart disease to things such as poor eating and poor exercise habits.

By comparison, the same study revealed that 31,224 (or 1.3%) of those 2,423,712 recorded deaths were attributed to the use of a firearm. The 31,224 firearm-related deaths were broken down as follows:

Homicides ranked 16th as the leading cause of death in 2007. Homicides accounted for 18,361 (or 0.8%) of the 2,423,712 recorded USA deaths in 2007. Closer inspection of the data reveals that 12,632 of those 18,361 homicides were attributable to the use of a firearm (that is, 69% of all homicides). The 18,361 homicides were broken down as follows:

Similarly, websites such as worldometers.info and usarightnow.com tend to suggest that other kinds of deaths (such as tobacco-related deaths, alcohol-related deaths, and abortion-related deaths) are far more prevalent than firearm-related deaths. (It should be noted that, in the case of abortion, there is a great debate over when does life begin, that is, does life begin during the first, second, or third trimester? Some argue that the fetus is not really a human life during the first and second trimesters and, therefore, abortion should not be considered as murder when the abortion occurs during the first or second trimester.) With these death statistics in mind, it is asked, "Why is there such an outcry about firearm-related deaths?" In the grander scheme of things, clearly other causes of death seem to dwarf firearm-related deaths, in general, and homicides by firearms, in particular.

There are several reasons for the outcry about firearm-related homicides. These include:

From the standpoint of firearm ownership by private citizens, I get the argument that sensible and reasonable people need to protect themselves from members of society who choose to behave irresponsibly and insanely (such as those who choose to commit acts of robbery, rape, and murder). I submit that most USA citizens fervently support the right to bear firearms, in part, because they do not believe that the government is capable of protecting them from criminals, murderers, and deranged individuals. If the USA government demonstrated that it could protect its citizens from criminals, murderers, and deranged individuals, then I sincerely believe that more and more citizens would be willing to give up their firearms. I always have felt that if law-enforcement officers investigated, pursued, and apprehened murderers (and those engaged in gunplay with the intent of murdering) with the same vigor, determination, and relentlessness that they tend to exhibit when a law-enforcement officer is injured or killed by a shooter, then many more criminals might think twice before using a firearm to shoot someone with it. For, the criminals would know that, if they shoot someone with a gun, then they are quite likely to be tracked down and apprehened. How is it that there are but a few unsolved murders of law-enforcement officers relative to the many unsolved murders of ordinary citizens?

Not only is gun violence relative but also so is the perpetrator of the gun violence. For instance, in the USA, if a suspected terrorist is the perpetrator of killing societal members, then it is considered a very big deal by the federal government, law enforcement officials, and the news media. Generally speaking, if the perpetrators are black citizens shooting and killing one another in crime-ridden USA neigborhoods across the country, or if the perpetrators are organized crime members and gang members shooting and killing one another, then it is considered par for the course or not too big of a deal. The truth of the matter is this: All human life is precious. The sanctity of human life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs. While to murder someone in self-defense is understandable if it means preserving your own life, no human should be placed in the position of playing God by having to murder another human being. And, for those humans who willingly go into civil society and murder someone, then if found guilty of the murder in a court of law, they, too, should be murdered by the state as a matter of equal and reciprocal treatment. Humans in civil society have got to stop murdering one another. Humans have got to quit the hatred and violence.

It is true that gunplay merely is a symptom of a broader societal culture of violence rather than firearms being the root cause of the violence. The solution, I believe, is to address both the symptoms of the firearm violence in the short run and then address the root causes of firearm violence in the long run. Why are people so angry with one another? Why are people so willing to kill one another? Social scientists need to get to the root of these kinds of questions to find answers.



...and BOMBS...

Running parallel to the debate over firearm ownership by individual members of a society is the debate over disarmament by the nations of the world. The disarmament debate is what I refer to here as the bombs debate. Notwithstanding nations that have committed to abide by the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the general sentiment among nations that do not possess a stockpile of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is this: Other nations possess stockpiles of these kinds of weapons; therefore, their nations also must possess the same kinds of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as a defensive strategy. When it comes to a nuclear, chemical, and biological armament race on Earth, "the kill or be killed" mentality takes hold and replaces the "live and let live" mentality. The sentiment by non-possessing nations is this: The possessing nations have shielded their nations against a military attack by having stockpiles of weapons to defend themselves. Now, we must shield our nations, too, by stockpiling the same kinds of weapons to defend ourselves.

KHRUSHCHEV BLINKED

by Edward E. Bruessard

Now here's a tale
about Cold War foes
It's a tale about Ideology and Empire
and the perils they hold

They once positioned spies
across the Bering Strait
The great USSR versus
the mighty U.S. of A.

I'll give you a yard
but a mile I'll take
Our nation is superior
and yours's a disgrace

Such was the dialogue
yes, they did once engage
Peace was the casualty
for propaganda reigned

Their enmity did escalate
as militarily they grew
Before long they became entangled
in a nuclear snafu

But thank goodness for Khrushchev
who decided to blink
He averted a nuclear holocaust
at least I think

It was for Nikita Khrushchev
who in the eye of a blink
Is it really worth it
the nuclear brink

The Cold War nowadays
is all but over
Who once were bitter enemies
now extend hands to shoulders

What is the moral
of this rather horrific tale
It's better to be flexible
than to eat bombs of Death

Thank goodness for Khrushchev
who was sane enough to blink
He gave humanity another chance
to live, grow, and think

Praise be to Khrushchev
who was sane enough to blink
He gave humanity another chance
to chase immortality's link

Were it not for Khrushchev
who wasn't too proud to blink
The world we now know
may have been destroyed in a wink

Will humans ever learn
that aggression and intransigence are not The Way
The time has come for humans
to live Heaven's Pearly Gates



Watch (Three Men Go to War. Explore the inside Story of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.)


TOTAL DEVASTATION

by Edward E. Bruessard

There's a continuing quest
among the nuclear nations
To reach a point
of total devastation

At first there existed a solemn atom bomb
with a destructive force of 20 kilotons
Now the Earth possesses thousands of bombs
with the destructive force of thousands of tons

They don't seem to appreciate
the birds and the beasts
They don't seem to appreciate
the jungles and the seas

They don't seem to appreciate
the mountains and streams
They don't seem to appreciate
7 billion human beings

They don't seem to appreciate
clusters of whirling galaxies
They don't seem to appreciate
the miracle of living

They don't seem to appreciate
planet Earth at all
All they seem to appreciate
is espionage, war, and destroy

They seem fixated on wreaking
absolute calamity
Whatever happened to the existence of
sweet serenity

Have the last branches grown
on Earth's Lifetree today
Or will humans change
and eventually reside in space

Humans have got to find a way
to everlasting peace
They have got to find a way
to global unity

Each new day is like
a touch of spring
It's so fresh and ebullient
and there for the taking

Humans can make Earth
a place of untold beauty
Deserts can be made to bloom
if they make it their duty

They can have Heaven now
no, there's no need to wait
Earth can be made an oasis
if humans would just awake

So, on goes this asinine stockpiling of arms
as it spirals thoughtlessly and callously out of control
While too little is done to achieve everlasting peace
as they hail SALT and START as precedent-setting goals

It's like an obsession, a madness
to be Number One
Each nation strives to gain an advantage
by producing ever-more-lethal weapons



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Which is the most effective approach to ensure world stabilization and peace? Is it a heavily armed society or a completely disarmed society? On the individual level, are households made safer by arming? On the international level, is the world made safer by the existence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons including the prospect of these weapons inducing human extinction? Obviously, the debate over guns and bombs is a complicated and a thorny one.

One thing is clear, and it is this: The existence of guns has not stopped criminals from committing crimes. The existence of bombs has not stopped nations from waging wars against one another. So, from the perspective of guns and bombs being deterrents to aggressive behavior, on the surface, it appears to be a false argument. Why is it that some humans commit crimes despite the presence of guns? Why is it that some nations engage in wars despite the presence of bombs? Is it due to desperation? poor judgement? overconfidence about success? Is it because humans are innate risk takers who are confident that somehow they will manage to survive the onslaught?

It is not well understood to what extent guns and bombs have deterred outright barbaric human behavior on Earth. The case can be made that, if guns and bombs did not exist as a check against the lawless members of society, then those humans bent on lawlessness would be running around Earth and committing all kinds of unspeakable and horrendous acts.

From the standpoint of nations, I get the argument that it is vital to maintain a standing army. I get the argument that a need might arise to repel a charismatic, deranged, and despotic leader. This nefarious leader might emerge on the world's stage on some future date (for example, another Adolf Hitler type of leader). This nefarious leader would entertain delusions of grandeur with grand designs on conquering the world at all costs even if it means millions of deaths. Much like Adolf Hitler, this nefarious leader would be eager to go to war with other nations in an effort to conquer them.

It is argued that a standing army is vital for another out-of-this-world reason. Some argue that humans must be prepared to fight just in case ill-intentioned extraterrestrial beings one day might decide to invade and try to conquer Earth.



...AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

I do not know which is more formidable--the task of convincing private citizens to abandon their firearms or the task of convincing nations to abandon their stockpiles of bombs (including their nuclear bombs). One thing is certain, and it is this: It makes little sense for law-abiding citizens to disarm if criminals remain able to conceal, possess, and use firearms. Similarly, it makes little sense for one nation to disarm if the next nation continues to stockpile bombs. Such a scenario would be akin to inviting an aggressor nation to invade and conquer the disarmed nation. What assurance is there that every citizens (including the criminals) and every nation on Earth, unilaterally and in unison, would agree to disarm? Will someone cheat? Will some households and some nations feel compelled to maintain a secret stockpile of weapons? Clearly, the message that the world seems to be signalling right now is, "No can do on giving them up...it's full speed ahead with possessing the guns and bombs". The fear of being double-crossed or deceived is a very powerful one to overcome. Sometimes being deceived can have life or death consequences.

When it comes to guns and bombs, there are no easy or clear-cut solutions to this quagmire. Firearm advocates very well could be right in their contention that firearms are what make societies civil. On the individual level, some firearm proponents argue that the mere prospect of an all-out exchange of gunfire or the mere prospect of being shot and killed in retaliation for a transgression is precisely what keeps most people from descending into a state of lawlessness. On a societal level, proponents of armaments very well could be right in their argument that weapons of violence are the main reasons why peace exists on Earth. Some armament proponents argue that ferocious weapons of violence are the very things that foster peace on Earth and cause nations to keep their aggressive tendencies in check. There is no way of really knowing whether an absence of all kinds of firearms on Earth would lead to more incidences of human barbarism or fewer incidences of human barbarism unless Earth became a weapons-free zone.

When it comes to guns and bombs, a lack of trust is one of the main reasons why a solution is difficult to achieve. On the individual level, law-abiding members of society do not trust the law breakers to do the right thing; therefore, law-abiding citizens are not willing to give up their firearms. On the international level, one country does not fully (100%) trust all other countries to reciprocate in disarming; therefore, no country is willing to give up all of its stockpile of conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Humans and nations of today also do not trust humans and nations of the future to do the right thing by refraining from engaging in outlandish behavior.

Humans have to make some tough choices at the dawn of the 21st century. These choices include:

  1. Both citizens should be permitted to own firearms and nations to own conventional and unconventional arms.
  2. Citizens should be permitted to own firearms but nations should not permitted to own any conventional or unconventional arms?
  3. Citizens should be not be permitted to own firearms but nations should be permitted to own conventional and unconventional arms?
  4. Both citizens should not be permitted to own firearms and nations should not be permitted to own any conventional and unconventional arms.


Watch (10 Biggest Empires In History)


Watch (Visualizing Empires Decline)


Watch (Chapter 17: The Evolution of War)


Watch (History of War - Fahrenheit)

After perusing this website, it probably comes as little surprise for you to discover that I favor the fourth choice. I believe that, so long as guns and bombs exist, the taking and destroying of life remain distinctive possibilities. If guns and bombs do not exist on Earth, then it would be impossible for humans to kill one another and destroy life on Earth with guns and bombs.

It strikes me as primitive, unsettling, disturbing, counterproductive, and unhelpful for each human and nation on Earth to be walking around armed to the maximum. It would be akin to a living Hell on Earth. It would be the very opposite of Heaven on Earth for the living. Instead of arming themselves to death, it seems so much simpler (and cheaper) for humans to disarm themselves to life.

I know that many firearms owners would call me naive. They most likely would argue that 21st century humans are living in extraordinary times. They would argue that these extraordinary times are punctuated with a "kill or be killed" mentality. The firearms owners would argue, "It's better for the criminal or aggressor to be killed than me." They most likely would argue that it is pure fantasy and wishful thinking to expect criminals to change their ways anytime soon. They argue that it would be irresponsible and foolish of them to yield their firearms while criminals with firearms are running amok in society.

My point is this: Instead of ramping up the killing by putting more and more firearms into the hands of more and more humans, the time has come for humans to start de-escalating and rolling back the "kill or be killed" mentality.

In 1787, the main purpose of the 2nd Amendment was for citizens to revolt against and repel a foreign invader or to repel Native American attacks. As of 2013, humans have strayed far, far away from the original purpose of the 2nd Amendment. USA residents are using their firearms for everything except repelling a foreign invader. The following list shows some additional and perhaps unintended uses that USA residents have found for their firearms besides the original intent of repelling a foreign invader:

While some of these firearm users might use the firearm to commit a home burglary, most of the firearm users cited above have little to zero interest in breaking into someone's home. The typical USA police blotter does not speak about the discharge of a firearm in relationship to a home burglary. The typical USA police blotter speaks about the discharge of a firearm to settle a dispute, to commit a suicide, an accidental shooting, a gang-related shooting, and so forth. Who knows what other unintended uses humans will find for their firearms in another 200 years from now.

To expound upon irresponsible and stupid acts, take the game of Russian roulette as a case in point. The game of Russian roulette represents an irresponsible and stupid use of a firearm. Also, there are some members in civil society who intentionally raise dogs such as the pit bull breed to be vicious and malicious fighters. On rare occasions, these pit bull owners allow their vicious and malicious pit bulls to aimlessly wander the neighborhood streets. On rare occasions, these vicious and malicious pit bulls attack (and kill) innocent passerbys. The irresponsible pit bull owners can be likened to the irresponsible suicide bombers who blow up buildings and cars and kill tens and hundreds of innocent men, women, and children in the process of trying to make some point or another. In another unintended use of a firearm, sometimes law enforcement officials have to come to the scene and shoot the vicious pitbull simply to end the attack upon the innocent. The point is this about unintended uses of a firearm: I do not think the Founding Fathers ever imagined that police officers would have to be dispatched to go shoot the berserk pit bulls of irresponsible pit bull owners.

In my lifetime, I have noticed that firearms increasingly are becoming an easy way for humans to resolve disputes or to settle old scores with one another. When I was a child, during the 1960's, fisticuffs were the weapons of choice to be used for fighting. If you lost the fist fight, then you would go sit down somewhere and lick your wounds. In most cases, you and your combatant would become friends again in another month or so. Occasionally, a concealed knife might be produced during the fist fight, but it was rare for a knife to be produced. Almost never was a firearm produced during a fist fight. Nowadays, as of 2013, if two parties happen to get into a heated verbal exchange or physical altercation, they almost immediately threaten to go get their firearms to resolve the dispute. If one party loses a fist fight, the loser almost immediately threatens to go get his or her firearm to settle the score. In USA society, firearms slowly are replacing diplomacy as the chief means of conflict resolution.

In essence, instead of USA residents using their firearms to repel a foreign invader, USA residents have begun using their firearms against one another (to commit acts of murder and attempted murder) or using their firearms against themselves (to commit acts of suicide and attempted suicide). I am certain that the Founding Fathers would be shocked beyond their wildest imaginations to discover that USA residents would be training their (2nd Amendment) firearms on one another. The intent of the 2nd Amendment was not for USA residents to be murdering one another with their firearms in acts of domestic violence, and so forth. The intent of the 2nd Amendment was not for USA residents to be committing suicides with their firearms in acts of depression, and so forth. The Founding Fathers do not appear to have considered the irrational and irresponsible uses of firearms in civil society and the concomitant adverse impacts. A similar scenario exists with present-day biotechnology and quantum science. The emphasis tends to be placed on all that's wonderful and great about biotechnology and quantam science with scant attention paid to prospective irrational uses to which biotechnology and quantum science could be put.

What appears to be happening with guns in the USA is this: Each successive generation of USA citizens seems to be producing a more lethal subculture of marauding behavior. For instance, the gangsters of the 1800's such as Jesse James (born 1847), Billy the Kid (born circa 1859), Al Capone (born 1899), the team of Bonnie (born 1910) and Clyde (born 1909), and so forth, were replaced by various organized crime families during the 1900's. During the 2000's, street gangs appear to be replacing organized crime families to rule the marauding underworld. With the passage of time, the benevolent uses of firearms as imagined by the Founding Fathers gradually appear to be morphing into more malevolent or sinister uses in civil society.

Firearm owners argue that it is naive to expect criminals voluntarily to give up a life of crime and intimidation especially if those criminals know that law-abiding households do not possess firearms. However, my contention is this: There could be some legitimacy to the counter-argument that producing more firearms and arming more citizens are exacerbating the societal gunplay problem instead of ameliorating it. The counter-argument is that society, in general, is being made less safe by the existence of more firearms rather than it being made safer (just as it is argued that the world, too, is being made less safe by the proliferation of more bombs). The counter-argument is that arming more citizens becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: More firearms merely beget more violence and mayhem. There could be some legitimacy to the counter-argument that guns, in fact, are major contributing factors to acts of human barbarism.

I am not so much anti-firearms as I am anti-killing. My motive strictly lies with putting an end to gun violence and murders. My motive is not to curtail individual freedom but to increase the peace and to decrease the carnage and the number of murders by gunplay. I merely am seeking to bring an end to this blind and senseless violence and killing.

I realize that it is easy for some members of society to oppose firearm ownership when their daily lives are far removed from the specter of firearm violence. But, for those who live in a crime-ridden neighborhood whereby their own loved ones, family members, next-door neighbors, and so forth, constantly face real threats of being raped, brutalized, robbed, sodomized, beaten, shot, or murdered by a criminal, then one quickly begins to acquire a newly found appreciation for firearm ownership. I realize how those who live in a crime-ridden neighborhood fervently might support firearm ownership if they are convinced that the firearm could prevent their loved ones, family members, next-door neighbors, and so forth, from being raped, brutalized, robbed, sodomized, beaten, shot, or murdered by a criminal.

An ill-intentioned person with a firearm represents a classic case of the one-bad-apple-spoiling-the-bunch syndrome. That is to say, when one law breaker uses a firearm to commit a crime, then law-abiding members of society begin to feel that they need to obtain a firearm for self-protection. As more humans break the law using firearms, then more citizens feel the need to possess a firearm for self-protection. Before long, Earth becomes awash in firearms (that is, the entire barrel of apples becomes filled with firearms).

I agree with the argument that firearms per se are not the problem. It is argued that it is the ill-intentioned human holders of those firearms who are the problem. I agree that if firearms were to be removed from the human equation, then acts of murder probably would continue to be committed. The murderer simply would use a different type of weapon. The problem really does reside with those who are intent on harming and murdering others. The core of the problem really does reside with the "Man In The Mirror". Humans really do need to wake up, snap out, and break free of the blind spell that seems to be commanding them to go forth into the world and kill one another.

Two of the biggest lessons of the Prohibition Era were these:

  1. You cannot legislate morality. The implication is this: Even if the 2nd Amendment on some future date was to be repealed in an effort to stop firearm murders, most likely there still would be some humans who choose to murder other humans. If one human is determined to kill another one, then there is little that can be done to stop the act of murder. Schoolteachers, however, can teach morality to students. Parents can teach morality to their children. Both parents and schoolteachers can teach children the difference between right and wrong. Murder is wrong.
  2. Where a demand exists and if there is money to be made, then a market will emerge to satisfy that demand (hence, the chief reason why prostitution often is referred to as one of humankind's oldest professions). In other words, even if the 2nd Amendment one day was to be repealed in an effort to stop firearm murders, there will be those who will continue to demand firearms. These citizens most likely will succeed in obtaining the outlawed firearms because suppliers will emerge to fill the demand.
    • A similar scenario already exists with the USA's illicit drug trade. Although the USA has outlawed illicit drugs, USA citizens keep demanding illicit drugs, and it so happens that the drug cartels are the ones who emerged as the dominant players to supply that demand. If the drug cartels had not emerged as the dominant players in the illicit drug trade, then you can rest assured that someone else would have stepped forward to fill the void. Substance abuse in the USA is pervasive. Substance abuse is big business. As is currently the case with the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, all over the world, there is a ton of money to be made from the production, distribution, and sale of both prescription pills and illicit drugs despite the existence of numerous anti-drug laws. According to some of the latest estimates, the worldwide retail value of illicit drugs is worth about $400 billion per year. This $400 billion figure, in part, explains why drug smugglers are unrelenting in their efforts to get those drugs to USA markets. In a democratic, open, and free society, the Prohibition Era in USA history has demonstrated that the "War on Drugs" cannot be won as long as the demand is there for the product and there are billions of dollars at stake.

    • The Latin American governments cannot win the War on Drugs nor can the USA. In this light, for those members of society who insist upon engaging in the production, distribution, and sale of illicit drugs, the best that Latin American governments can hope to do is to persuade the feuding drug cartels to make peace with one another and operate their trade peacefully without the attendant violence and killing. The best that Latin Americans governments can hope to do is to convince their youths not to use all kinds of debilitating substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The best that Latin Americans governments can hope to do is to demonstrate to youths the dangers and the harm that alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse could cause to their physical and mental health. (These best practices for Latin American governments also apply to the USA.) On a personal level, substance abuse and addiction ruin lives. Substance abuse and addiction destroy family relationships, friendships, and job performance. Substance abuse and addiction tend to lead to financial ruin for the abusers. In some instances, substance abuse and addiction cause death. There are additional societal costs resulting from substance abuse and addiction.

    • I oppose the War on Drugs with all of the attendant gun battles and death of innocent civilians. I oppose drug legalization, too. I oppose incarcerating or imprisoning those who are caught producing, distributing, selling, or possessing illicit drugs. I favor anti-drug measures such as assessing huge monetary fines against those who are caught producing, distributing, selling, or possessing illicit drugs. I favor anti-drug measures such as seizing the assets (including the cash, bank accounts, and personal property) of those who are caught producing, distributing, selling, or possessing illicit drugs.

    • And, to complicate matters further, for those humans who have little education or who have few job opportunities in society, getting into the illicit drug business has proven to be financially lucrative for many of them. For many, not only does the illicit drug business provide a path for them to earn money to obtain the basic necessities of life (that is, food, clothing, and shelter) but also the illicit drug business provides them with a path to obtain a taste of the good life. The illicit drug business seems to be tailor-made for those who happen to be poor and uneducated. However, despite the good pay, the illicit drug business has proven to be a violent and lethal business. A sad, unspoken truth is this: Sometimes the drug cartels are the only entrepreneurs to offer these shunned and unemployed young adults an opportunity to make money.

    • While nobody wishes to see humans become addicted as a result of using all kinds of stimulants and depressants, if it were not for the firearm violence and the murders, many might look upon the drug trade more favorably. If the drug cartels and drug dealers would sit down with one another, divide up the market, and agree not to engage in any type of violence, then many would find the drug trade a lot more acceptable. After all, generally speaking, substance use is the product of consenting adults.

      • The problem appears to be this: Some participants in the drug trade cannot seem to resist the temptation of cheating or becoming overly ambitious. When these types of undesirable behaviors emerge, the enforcers are dispatched to restore order. When the enforcers are dispatched, the outcome is all bad. Usually, those involved in the drug trade do not murder members of society at large. They usually murder one another as they compete with one another for territory and market share. On the other hand, drug-related firearm violence and murders do appear to be escalating. That is to say, not only are the participants in the drug trade killing one another as they compete for territory and market share but also they have begun killing one another's family members, too. One unforeseen and unintended consequence of the illicit drug trade has to be the huge demand for all kinds of firearms by participants in the drug trade as they wage war against one another.

      • Despite the firearm violence and murders surrounding the drug trade, sight should not be lost of this simple fact: The drug cartels cannot be blamed if people cannot seem to get enough drugs. The drugs cartels cannot be blamed when people decide to use drugs. The drug cartels are merely supplying the people with the very product (drugs) that they want and demand. The people keep demanding and are willing to pay good money to have all kinds of drugs available for them to use.

The present-day drug demand-and-supply episode in USA history reduces to one gargantuan, tangled web of a mess. This web is not easily untangled. When it comes to things such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs, guns, and bombs, humans simply cannot seem to get enough of these things. Until humans stop demanding these kinds of things, there always will be those who are willing to supply them if there is money to be made. The supply will stop when the demand falls and when it becomes no longer profitable to produce, distribute, and sell a given simulant or depressant product. Until the demand for drugs eases, my advice to the drug cartels would be to keep a low profile and to operate their business quietly and peacefully without the violence and killing. The violence and killing only succeed in provoking public outrage and backlash against them especially when innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire.

Even better than humans engaging in counterproductive pursuits and running afoul of the law in the first place, it is preferable for the peoples of the Earth to heed the wisdom of King Solomon when he advised the following:

     05 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not;
neither decline from the words of my mouth.
     06 Forsake her not, and she shall
preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
     07 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get
wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
     08 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she
shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace
her.
     09 She shall give to thine head an ornament of
grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
     10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings;
and the years of thy life shall be many.
     11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom;
I have led thee in right paths.
     12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be
straightened; and when thou runnest, thou shall not stumble.
     13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go:
keep her; for she is thy life.
     14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and
go not in the way of evil men.
     15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and
pass away.
     16 For they sleep not, except they have done
mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless
they cause some to fall.
     17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and
drink the wine of violence.
     18 But the path of the just is as the shining
light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect
day.
     19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they
know not at what they stumble.
     20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine
ear unto my sayings.
     21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep
them in the midst of thine heart.
     22 For they are life unto those that find them,
and health to all their flesh.
     23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of
it are the issues of life.
     24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and
perverse lips put far from thee.
     25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine
eyelids look straight before thee.
     26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy
ways be established.
     27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove
thy foot from evil.

Excerpted from the Holy Bible (King James Version), Proverbs: Chapter 4: Verses 5-27

I believe that the time is come for humans to stand down their weapons. Humans must move forward to embrace a future of Heaven on Earth for the living, not move backward to more primitive and uncivilized modes of living. Time will tell if humans are capable of rising to the disarmament challenge. I remain optimistic that humans, indeed, can rise to the disarmament challenge. Humans are resilient and wise. Humans are capable of rising above their flaws. For instance, centuries and millennia ago, bondage or slavery was a commonly accepted human practice. Nowadays, at the dawn of the 21st century, most humans on Earth abhor any notion of human bondage.

When it comes to firearm ownership, I advise the rest of the world not (and I repeat, not) to follow the USA's lead. My hope is that life on Earth never reaches the point whereby every human being feels the need to carry a loaded firearm for self-protection. It would be a sad commentary on the state of human civilization if every human felt the need to walk around Earth with a loaded firearm. The potential exists for a human bloodbath if everyone carried firearms. I believe that it would be both unwise and foolish for humans of today, or for humans of the future, to choose to carry firearms. It would be utter madness.

When it comes to firearm ownership, to curb the disproportionately higher number of gunplay incidents in the USA relative to other Western democracies, it might be expedient to adopt more stringent firearm ownership measures while simultaneously not eroding the 2nd Amendment. One of these more stringent firearm ownership measures would be to treat firearm ownership much like vehicle ownership is treated throughout the USA. Much like the present-day Department of Motor Vehicles, there could be created, say, the Department of Firearm Ownership. Much like citizens must obtain a license to drive a vehicle, each firearm owner would be required to obtain a license to own a firearm. If the holder of a firearm cannot produce a license of ownership, then the owner would be issued a ticket and compelled to obtain an ownership license. If the firearm is sold or otherwise transferred to a new owner, then the owner must obtain a bill of sale or a bill of transfer and record it with the Department of Firearm Ownership. In turn, the new owner must register the firearm with the Department of Firearm Ownership and obtain a license of ownership for it. To maintain a good firearm tracking and chain-of-custody system, say, each year, the owner of a firearm would be required to renew its ownership license with the Department of Firearm Ownership for each firearm owned (perhaps including an admistrative processing fee). Lost and stolen firearms should be promptly reported to the Department of Firearm Ownership. Much like vehicle owners found driving without a license and proof of insurance, those residents found possessing a firearm without a valid ownership license and without current proof of renewal would be subject to pay monetary fines and even possibly to spend time in jail depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense (for example, possession of an unregistered stolen firearm).

For, as the saying goes, when you play with fire (that is, weapons), then someone is bound to get burned (that is, injured or killed). This saying reflects or echoes the lesson of recent human history that occurred in places like Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki during World War II (1939-1945).

Watch (The Story of the Third Reich Part 15 of 15)


Watch [Hiroshima & Nagasaki 1945 (Nuclear Bomb)]


Watch (Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Victims' Voices)


Watch (Nuclear Weapons: A Visual Timeline)


Watch (World Battleground, 1000 Years of War in 5 minutes)


Watch [The United Nations: Then and Now (Sir Brian Urquhart)]

There is another saying or adage that goes something like this: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". At the dawn of the 21st century, perhaps a more relevant adage for humankind is the one that goes something like this: "Everything [bad] can be justified until it happens to you". In other words, if you do not wish for anyone to do harm to you, or to take things from you, then you should not do harm to others or take things from others. For instance, if you do not wish for someone to come scrawl graffiti on your house, automobile, or clothing, then you should not scrawl graffiti on the property of others.

There is one final adage that goes something like this: "A hard head makes a soft behind". In other words, all of this violence and fighting very well could lead to the downfall of humankind. If humans continue travelling down their current path of killing, then it very well could lead to the extinction of the human species. That is to say, the violence and killing very well could spiral out of control and escalate into the outbreak of another global war except this time around it could become a global nuclear war. I always have felt that diplomacy, compromise, and mutual respect are preferable to the guns-and-bombs way of living and conflict resolution.



BEYOND PLANET EARTH

If the human species should manage to survive or avoid extinction, which I believe it will, then space awaits the arrival of the humans. The prevailing view of scientists is this: The Universe is approximately 15 billion years old. The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Human beings are approximately 200,000 years old. Civilized humans are approximately 10,000 years old. In the grander scheme of Existence, humans are infants. There is a lot more for humans to see and do on Earth and in the Universe, that is, if they should develop to become mature enough and wise enough to avoid self-extinction.

Watch (The History of the Universe in 10 Minutes)


Watch (Benny Benassi featuring Kelis, apl.de.ap, and Jean-Baptiste, Spaceship)


Watch (Mehmet Cemal Yesilcay, Qun [DVD "Spaceflight" available at Deluxe-Shop)]


IN PURSUIT OF POSITIVITY AND BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD

Michael Jackson - "You Rock My World"



Earth, Wind & Fire - "Happy Feelin'"



Maze featuring Frankie Beverly - "Love Is"



Minnie Riperton - "The Edge Of A Dream"



Maze featuring Frankie Beverly - "Twilight"



Marvin Gaye - "After The Dance (Instrumental)"



Watch (The World in 2050, Future Study Presented by Frank Appel)


Watch (The Strange New World of Nanoscience, Narrated by Stephen Fry)


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