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Research & Thoughts

A Violent Society

Revisiting a blog I wrote in 2012


Guns seem to be everywhere lately and though innocent people, people who don't carry guns, have been dying, no one wants to do anything about it.


But violence has a long history in this country and many believe that to have freedom we have to accept risk.  But does it have to be at the point of a gun?


They say there have been 700 anti-Muslim attacks since 9/11.  But we can look farther than that to see images of intolerance in this country.  The real problem seems to be people that are lunatics can get guns.  These are smart lunatics, too, for I'm told they can outwit the psychological evaluation questionnaire they are supposed to complete before getting a weapon.  Maybe they're just smarter than whoever evaluates the questionnaire.


Smart.  Like Mark David Chapman, who gunned down John Lennon by shooting him five times in the back.  In the back.  I don't know a more horrifying act than killing peaceful people, like the Sikh recently in Wisconsin.  But we understand, at least, the anti-Muslim sentiment and how a whacko can make a turban-esque mistake.  


Be different in America at your own risk, right?


No, shooting innocent people because you're mad at a few radicals is never an answer.  And yet it seems the chosen outlet in this country, one that no one is trying to do anything about.


What was Lennon's crime?  It's hard to imagine that this happened to him, even today, 40 years later.  World-class peacemaker who wanted everyone to live together, completely accepting each other.  But Chapman, whose name I wish I could forget, was a born-again Christian who took offense to Lennon's utopian sentiment in Imagine.  


Chapman was a Beatle fan until Lennon's innocent comment about Beatlemania being too big in 1966.  Many Christians took offense—at 13, I was one, and that allowed the emergence of the Monkees who recaptured that innocence that the Beatles outgrew.


I had to mature into John Lennon myself. As I rediscovered him with Imagine, I learned that most of my favorite Beatle songs were Lennon songs.  One of my wedding songs was his, but I didn't know he sang it when I picked "Love is Real."


But it's interesting, now that I think about it.  It seems Lennon's "anti-Christian" comment was a defining moment in time in many ways.  It allowed John to reach out beyond the Beatles.  But it also made early Beatle music my favorite, and I never could figure out why my husband, who is older than me, preferred late Beatle music.  It's because he became a fan after that comment, when he wasn't before.


Chapman, on the other hand, turned away from the Beatles and never looked back.  He became Christian.  He allowed the song Imagine, and the man, eat away at his soul.  He wanted to make a name for himself and he thought Lennon was bad for the world.


Did he take a psychological evolaution to get a gun?  Doubtful.  How about Oswald or Ray or Sirhan?  Why was violence seemingly born in the 60s?  Because the hippie movement that blossomed also gave birth to its opposition.

Unless we realize we have a real problem in this country with racism and religious intolerance, this violence will continue.  Who will be next?  You?  Me?


I'd like to see guns completely purged from the U.S.  Barring that, the FBI profilers need to sit down and create a fool-proof questionnaire … problem is, can we really deny someone a gun because he answers questions wrong?

But then what can we do?  Just keep putting up with the freedom to be killed by a lunatic?  What terrible new event awaits us?


They like to say guns don't kill people.  People kill people.  But how will they kill if you take that gun away?  Bombs?  Maybe.  Knives?  Doubtful.  You won't kill too many in a theater with knives.  


Guns are easy.  Too easy.  Just ask Yoko Ono.


Update: I post this as Trump's Proud Boys are roaming the streets with guns, looking to create the violence that could start another  Civil War. Because do not doubt that Trump's only way to save his own skin is to at least have a part of the country he could still be president of. Fortunately, for all his blow-hard words, so far, are all empty. DO NOT give them something to shoot at. We only have a little more than a month before we have a new president.

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