This coming weekend I am faced with having to put a pistol to the head of my two pigs. When I talk to others about it we talk of the necessity of the killing, and how they’ve had a good life, which they have. I do not pick up a weapon lightly, and I do not kill anything with apathy; rather, I put the pistol to their heads with antipathy. I take a life, and I do it trying to be morally consistent and with respect for the finality of the act and because I live the way I do: I eat meat.
The recent slew of shootings is the opposite of respect or for that matter the understanding of the finality of death. These shootings are the symptom of, not the prelude of, the lack of understanding and dismissal of the respect that is necessary to take a life with purpose. These shootings are a symptom of how we as human beings have lost the understanding of the price of taking a life and replaced it with ignorance and fear, false empowerment and cowardice.
These shootings are allowed by apathy and a lack of antipathy for killing not because we are not capable, not because our leaders are not capable, but because we are unwilling and our leaders are unwilling to call the shootings what they are: our own responsibility. I kill my pigs, the pigs that I have watched grow and play with the understanding that I am responsible for their lives, but also and more importantly my own: I kill my pigs because I eat meat, not because I like to kill.
I remember when the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) motto was “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation”. This was almost a virtuous, an understandable goal. Now, the illustrious association prefers an excerpt from the constitution: a motto that was changed in 1977 to the one the N.R.A. still uses: “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.” Mr. LaPierre leads the charge against a massive majority of this country’s populace who must endure and endless stream of shootings because a minority of people scream about concepts that they seemingly do not understand: rights.
What strikes me about the motto is the allusion to rights. But rights are actually restrictions, not guarantees. The use of a constitutional amendment is important, not because it is an excerpt of the basis of this country’s laws, but because of the word “amendment”. The term amendment alludes to change, to alteration: by its very wording the constitution is to be changed: the very thing the NRA led by LaPierre fights rabidly against.
The NRA is now nothing more than a terrorist organization belying their stated goals of protections of rights by their endless siege upon the safety and security of the persons in this country. They now hold this country hostage by disallowing amendments not only to the constitution concerning gun law, but to their obvious lack of antipathy towards killing: it seems they simply like to kill. With this in mind, I must hold a gun to kill the food that I will eat: I hate killing, but I am morally responsible for what I eat. The NRA supports the opposite: they kill because they immorally support concepts that they either do not understand or refuse to understand.
To the NRA I ask: “How many more times must we say “one more…”?
And the answer that they seem to give is: “As many times as it takes.”