As far as the evolutionary process is concerned, man is still fairly low-down on the totem pole. While the planet is billions of years old, and the first humans came on the scene millions of years ago, the concept and actuality of civilizations came into being maybe, only about 10,000 years ago. Evolution in the development of civilized behavior takes a very long time. I can’t help but think that historians a thousand years from now will look back and say- a thousand years ago, in the 21st century, man was still so primitive and barbaric, that people actually ate the flesh of dead animal carcasses. How cannibalistic. And they also constantly engaged in the ultimate failure and folly of the human condition-which would be war. (That’s, of course, presuming that we don’t destroy all life on the planet before the 31st century, a very definite possibility.) So as I said, we still have a lot of evolving to go through to get beyond the prime motivators of human behavior in today’s world; which are fear, paranoia, greed and lust for power. Despite this, I thought I would take a stab at proposing some rational, sensible, and pragmatic solutions to some of the overwhelming problems facing us today.
Take guns. Please. (Taken from Henny Youngman’s opening line in all his comedy acts- Take my wife. Please.) As I wrote previously, if civilized society was thinking rationally, the only guns in existence would belong to the military and law enforcement officials. Who else needs guns? Hunters, who, in slaughtering defenseless animals treat these animals as if they were inanimate objects, instead of living creatures whose desire for life is just as strong as humans? While hunting might have been justified centuries ago as a means of putting food on the table, such is not the case in this day and age. Hunters don’t kill animals for food anymore. They do it for “sport.” Instead of being benefactors and protectors of the animal kingdom, humans are too often their slaughterers. There are a lot of good people out there working very hard to protect animals, especially endangered species such as elephants. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of bad people who continue to slaughter elephants for their ivory tusks, as well as, just the “sport” of it. When we recognize that animals are not inanimate objects, but living creatures that strive to maintain their existence every bit as much as we the people do, maybe then, mankind can shift from a killing to a benefactor status. After that, mankind might even evolve away from being meat eaters, and put slaughterhouses out of business.
People will say they also need firearms for protection. After all, there’s a very nasty criminal element out there just waiting to rob, rape, pillage and kill if one is unarmed. And you can’t count on the police because more often than not, they will show up after the fact, when the damage has already been done. Which is all true. However, this is where the fear and paranoia set in. Gun owners will refuse to be dis-armed because they’re afraid that the events of any morning could result in another shoot-out at the OK Corral. Yet only a small percentage of the population is ever a crime victim. And the vast majorities of these crimes are simple robberies. Yes, people will be murdered, women will be raped, and the mentally unhinged will perpetrate mass killings like the recent one in Connecticut. But those are still the exceptions to the rule. The vast majority of the population will never fall victim to a crime. That’s why despite the wide-spread proliferation of guns, more than half the population in the U.S. are not gun-owners. And even if one owns firearms and get into a shootout with some low-life, there’s no guarantee that the victim will prevail. Especially since the criminal will likely have more experience with the use of weaponry.
The vast, wide-spread proliferation of guns in this country makes it all the more easy for criminals to undertake their nefarious deeds. There’s an estimated 300 million guns in circulation in the U.S. which makes it that much easier for those bent on being a professional criminal to thrive in their chosen profession. After all, why pay black market prices for weaponry under risky circumstances, when one can just waltz into Wal-Mart, or any other gun establishment, and pay lower prices under safe conditions. The feeble background checks that may be required are hardly a hinderance. And even these aren’t required if you buy at gun-shows or from a private party. Yes, even with strict gun-control, if a criminal is absolutely determined, he or she will likely be able to obtain firearms in the black-market. Or steal them from gun-owners. But we don’t have to make it so much easier for them with the widespread proliferation that currently exists. However, even modest proposals for gun restriction or control are usually met with incredibly fierce opposition from the fear and paranoia populace. And, of course, leading the charge against even modest gun control is the good old NRA, perhaps the most unsavory large organization this country has experienced since the KKK.
Well, when I started writing this piece, I hadn’t intended to make it all about gun control. I guess I got a little carried away with the topic. I mean, there’s a vast scope of very serious world problems that require urgent solutions as well. Perhaps topics for another blog. (I can only write so much at one setting. That “senior thing” again.) In a sense, however, what I addressed today was really not about guns, but about where we are as a society on the evolutionary stage. Still pretty far down, it seems. Still making bad, irrational and dysfunctional decisions based on fear, greed, paranoia. And in the case of world leadership, on a never-ending lust for power. I guess we’ll have to wait another thousand years or so, and see if mankind is capable of evolving to a higher, more rational level.