Last updated: October 3, 2017 at 18:30 pm
During the times when I was still a child, growing up in King Street, Williamsburg, my opposite neighbor, Dan, was no role model to be looked up to by the average youth. He worked as a laborer in the sugar estates, did odd jobs here and there, smoked cocaine and stole whatever he could steal. Because he was my neighbor, I would sometimes have a little chat with him, and he considered me a “friend.” One day, in a leisurely conversation, Dan related to me that he wish you had a machine gun “to open fire on everyone around him.”
At the time, that was not a scary thought; it was something to laugh about, because, in the then small and poor country of Guyana, South America, getting one’s hands on a simple revolver was an almost insurmountable task. Ordinary citizens didn’t have the right to bear firearms. And even prominent businessman had to go through a long, drawn out process.
So Dan’s sentiment of getting his hands on a machine gun to open fire on everyone was a bit of a joke.
It wouldn’t be so much of a laughing matter though, if Dan lived in the United States of America.
Here’s another story that puts things into perspective. If a man gets so upset with his neighbor that he wished to blow his car up while he was sleeping, but acquiring a bomb was a hard task and he didn’t know how to make one, then chances are, his thoughts would be diverted and no one would get hurt. But if he had a bomb at the time, his neighbor’s car would be in serious jeopardy.
I was looking at the Democratic Presidential Debate on CNN tonight and the topic of Gun Control came up.
Gun Control in America today is a very controversial topic. The American Constitution states that “every American of legal age reserves the right to bear arms.” On the other hand, there are so many lunatics in America that giving everyone the right to bear arms is a bit of a scary idea. But this policy is not simply the “whim or fancy” of any man or woman in government; this policy has its root in American history.
British colonization of the United States was one marked by repeated military conflicts. On arrival, European settlers had to fight off the native American Indians. They were in constant conflict with each other with pockets of violent outbursts. For this reason, every man, woman, boy and girl had to arm themselves and prepare to defend themselves and their families against ambushes and sudden attacks.
The conflict between the European settlers and the Native American Indians resulted in the defeat of the Native Americans by the Europeans who had more advanced and powerful weapons. Peace agreements were later made with concessions given to the natives. Consequently there are many “reservations” marked out as belonging to the natives in America.
But America’s military troubles doesn’t stop there. Some years later, European settlers started to rebel against their king, the then King George of England. They cited “oppression and tyranny” as their reasons and the revolutionary war slowly erupted. The revolutionary war cost the lives of millions of Americans and British citizens and was said to have set brother against brother and father against son. In the end, the British were defeated and the founding fathers of America drafted the “Declaration of Independence.”
During the revolution war of rebellion against the British Crown, Americans found it critical for every citizen to bear arms. This was because the war was literally fought at “their front doors.” Americans had to stay on the guard and defend themselves against ambushes and deadly attacks: attacks which were sometimes carried out on civilian towns.
The policy of “the right to bear arms” was later reinforced during the civil war of America. This was the war in which President Abraham Lincoln endeavored and succeeded in abolishing slavery. This was one of America’s deadly wars and also set brother against brother and friend against friend.
America is a country which, inspite of a legacy of productivity, spirituality and peace, has been at war almost continuously.
But while it was justifiable for European settlers to bear arms for the purpose of self defense during the molding of America, I don’t think it is a healthy recommendation today for many “mentally unhealthy” and sometimes “psychopathic” Americans.