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  • Writer's picturePhilip Drucker

Communique "Guns = Death" 4-12-2021

How is it we have come to a point in your society where it is normal for persons in their cities, on the streets, even in private homes where persons in uniforms, any uniforms are entitled to shoot first and skip the Q&A because they didn’t want to hear about it in the first place?

Let me make myself crystal clear. Law enforcement at every level is dangerous. Lives can be lost in the blink of an eye and I am under no illusion that the officer on the street puts his or her life on the line every time they clock-in for another day (or night) of work.

I blame no one for any individual incident, but I do blame everyone for letting it continue. There is no reason for anyone to die during a routine traffic stop. Unfortunately, we have become a society that no longer finds conversation, argument, debate and rational thoughts with our fellow human beings the “go to” solution to what divides us.

A horrible, self-serving and inhumane misreading of the 2nd Amendment have made our streets unsafe for everybody. Not the part about owning a gun mind you, but the part where owning a gun can solve all of your personal societal problems. I am reminded of children to whom we would say “use your words” rather than physically act out in ways intended to hurt the recipient of our unhappiness, confusion, frustration and fear.

Today, it is a pity the lines between good guys and bad guys have become so blurred that it is hard to tell whether the guy in the uniform is really the good guy. The potential for violence baked into the basic relationship between officer and suspect has become so deadly (on both sides) that the very fact the bystanders to the George Floyd murder (yes, that is what it is) filming and then trying to intervene when they see a man with his knee on another man’s neck, crying out for assistance while several fellow officers stood by and did nothing is unusual much less tolerated in any manner imaginable is surely a sign of a sick society.

One that puts both the officer and the victim in positions of disgrace and/or degradation that produces anything but the desired outcome and effect of what should be an opportunity to begin a learning and yes, even healing process where we affirm our rights to live life free from hatred, fear and unnecessary violence?

Isn’t this what we want the police to do? Keep us safe? But not just “us” but everyone? The suspect included? How does it benefit anyone to promulgate a process by which no one, and I mean no one is safe from harm and the use of deadly force? Why do we continue to put in harm’s way officers and yes, innocent people in a continual dance of death that recently aided by the forces of hatred and lack of reason is spiraling out of control?

Ask yourself, why do we keep putting officers and civilians in harm’s way for something as simple as a traffic stop? And, importantly why is it we can’t if necessary, find a better way? The problem is if we admit we have gone awry at this basic level of interaction the solution would be to begin a series of policy changes and programs meant to de-escalate the potential for violent and far too often deadly consequences. The simple answer? Remove lethal weapons of any kind from where they are not needed.

This is key to a sane, sensible and responsible solution to the clearly out of control amount of violence on our streets and yes, in our homes. The evidence is clear and our response should be stop the violence with the only rational policy being no guns = no bullets = no death by gunfire. You can argue with me all day, but math doesn’t lie.

If you are on the “side” of law enforcement, hear me out. What would happen if every time an officer of the law, a policeman knew that it was illegal for a civilian to carry a concealed weapon? A handgun, or an assault rifle? That these unnatural and wholly inappropriate “rights” supposedly granted by the 2nd Amendment were exposed for what they are.

Ways of making persons afraid of one another, unable to solve our differences through the simplest methods, beginning with having a couple of honest conversations, some, but not all about race, you know, mediation?

Talking, listening, explaining without blaming, responding verbally without fear of retaliation, where are all of these elements of de-escalation that we seem to never see? Certainly, they do happen on a regular basis, and because there is “no harm done” we don’t see it TV (wall, maybe Cops) and so we wonder, what else is out there? What potential harm is waiting for me, my family and loved ones?

Should law enforcement from both sides be about who is and who is not coming home tonight? Or, can we do better? Must we do better? Will we do better? The answer is yes, yes and yes, but it is going to have to start at the roots of our problems with an honest discussion in able to produce honest and effective solutions. Otherwise, these issues about life and death will continue to haunt us, plague us, and inevitably, destroy us.

Let’s have that discussion about racism, deadly stereotyping and discrimination. Let’s have that debate about the effects of poverty, wealth inequality on criminals and crime. Let’s have that talk about righting the wrongs of our past, and not extend them, recently in the form of voter suppression laws aimed at minorities.

Can we have a civil discussion about taking guns and weapons of all shapes, sizes and quantities off the street? Can we lose the nonsense about bearing arms to defeat the “deep state” when the problem is already in the wide open? Gun manufacturers selling death for profit? The useless promulgation of fear tactics by politicians to further divide us? White supremacy as an “American” institution worth keeping, or at least not “cancelling” as if we owe our greatness to racism, whatever that means?

Can we confront what has openly become wild eyed, wholly misplace fear, hatred and anger toward our sisters and brothers, all escalated by the potential for quick, lethal and recently don’t worry about it, no second thought violence as an answer? Remember George Zimmerman? Does killing the best witness to a murder strike you as a way to run a society?

I believe we can, but not when one party is at even the potential for a moment in time on the receiving end of a shotgun, a hidden pistol, an assault weapon made to kill and nothing more. But you know what? It’s going to take courage, starting with the raw courage to voluntarily disarm ourselves.

The bravery to be part of the solution. To keep people alive. Anything else is mere window dressing and will extend the cycle of grave violence we find ourselves mired in. You want to drain the swamp? Stop telling yourself “my guns are cool”. They’re not.

If you don’t own a weapon, don’t buy one. If you own one, don’t buy two. That assault weapon you own? Turn it in. You don’t need it. Nobody does. That, to me would be the actions of a great person in a great society and for my money is currently the least we can do. But don’t do it for me, do it so the officer on the street and the motorist stopped for a broken taillight will see their families tonight, and every night. We don’t need guns to do that. We need to get rid of them. Now.

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In 1990, Chief Justice Warren Burger stated that “The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies—the militia—would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.” Notwithstanding, the love for guns is so intercalated into the DNA of so many Americans, particularly some politicians, that until one of their loved one’s life is claimed by a mad man with an assault weapon, such as an AK-15 rifle, we will not come up with sound gun-control laws in our country. Dr. Jaime Carlo-Casellas

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