Thursday, 7 January 2016

Lone Rangers...

 I used to play cowboys and indians. I’d get up each morning, slip into my jeans, check my waistcoat, put my cowboy hat on my head and strap on my twin holsters and guns. How I loved those guns with their silver bullets – kpaow, kpaow, bang, bang, you’re dead. Hi -Yo Silver awaaaaayyy!

Of course it was all play. I just wanted to be the Lone Ranger for a few hours. Nobody really got killed; there was no blood, no agony, no grieving families and friends to attend to. I defended my camp with boyish enthusiasm, but my guns were just toys, as lethal as a stick of liquorice or a sherbet dab bought from Smedley's corner shop.

Now, I look back on those days fondly, but also with a sense of unease. I spent so much time tracking down and shooting my baddie and goodie friends in play I wonder what would have become of me if, later in life, I’d had access to real guns. Would shooting people, killing them even, have seemed perfectly reasonable, particularly if they had encroached on my territory or been bad, giving me reason to shoot?

I read about the spree killings in America, so frequent that they hardly register any more, and dismiss them with a shake of my head in dazed bewilderment. How so great a country, a country purportedly built on freedom and respect for others, can allow these massacres to keep happening over and over and over again is almost unbelievable.

Today is the 7th of January. To date, just seven days into a new year, 147 people have been killed by guns in the USA and in the last 10 years 280,024 (well over a quarter of a million people) have been killed by guns in the USA. To put that in perspective only 24 Americans have been killed in the same period by terrorists. It would seem that America has a much more deadly enemy that ISIS and all the other terrorist organisations intent on destroying them, and that enemy is themselves.

Of course these deaths include suicides, but without access to a gun – so much easier than that bleeding to death in a bath or jumping in front of a moving train – I wonder how many people may not have taken their own lives.

It seems that nothing will ever change. So many Americans totally believe in their right to bear arms, so many of them want guns in their homes and want their children to know how to use them. Just how many Lone Rangers are there in America and how many baddies are there for them to kill, and are they really baddies? One person’s bad man can be another person’s saviour. It’s all about what you believe and think.

Looking at the gun situation in America and knowing that it isn’t going to change, is probably only going to get worse, I’m horrified. No wonder the president of the USA sheds tears at his hopeless inability to make any real difference. How must he feel as a leader? How must he feel as a father and a human being?

I have no answers, I have no wisdom to impart, all I can do is sit on this tiny island of ours and pray to any god that will listen that it never comes about that my neighbours will one day all have guns in their homes. With the state of parking on our road it would only be a matter of time before the shooting started – and no, I’m not joking. It doesn’t take much to light a fire in a man's mind and a man with a gun... well suddenly you have kpaow, kpaow, bang, bang, you’re dead and Hi -Yo Silver awaaaaayyy!

1 comment:

  1. Stephen Mcaleer on FB
    Yeah, suicide figure should definitely count. I think Americans want to keep their guns for a lot of reasons: (1) they think it is about freedom from the state and constitutional rights (2) they don't want to wait for police response to emergency calls - mistrust of police (3) they think all black people want to rob and kill them - the racist views of many (4) they are fed with a diet of very professional propaganda from gun companies and the NRA.