General

On the issue of America and guns, from outside the country, it is as perplexing as it must be from within. Yet, at times, an outsider can offer a perspective that is almost impossible to see from within and easy to overlook. What we see is faith being ignored or twisted to support an industry and proliferation of weaponry that is obviously going to cause more people to break the "Do not kill" commandment. We see logic and evidence being ignored - countries with lax gun laws have more violence and death. There are powerful emotional reasons being ignored - mass killings rising in at an alarming rate. So, there is a tendency for we humans to keep "going big" and arguing even though we have seen over and over that appeals on every front fail and the gun violence escalates. So, when faith, logic and empathy aren't winning, perhaps there is a simple switch that has short circuited the brain. We do this deliberately as a learning strategy. These verbal linkages are that powerful. Once in the brain they can act to conflate ideas. If those ideas belong together, then that's great, good teaching! However, if the ideas do not belong together then it can be very bad because unlearning is much harder than learning. So, perhaps the best thing to do is to point out the "short circuit" and hope in some way that seeing it, revealing it, lessens its grip. "God 'n' guns" is the short circuit. The words are similar enough in sound, length and lettering to produce such an erroneous conflation. God says not to kill, guns are made for killing. Once these notions are placed as opposites, "God or gun, pick one" - you may get a sense of healing and clarity that was missing before. I hope so, because it is actually a complex puzzle to solve. In all my experience of these things, finding one simple switch offers more hope than books, novels or long explanations. Godspeed, America, the world needs you to pull out of this tail spin.