“Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire; threaten the threatener and outface the brow of bragging horror” – Shakespeare (King John 1595).
Given the National Rifle Association announcement that Congress should fund guns in “every school that wants it” as uttered by the NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre the above intone by the bard Shakespeare seems quite apt.
From what I can see the term “fight fire with fire” comes from the 19th Century where US settlers would start a fire in order to stop an otherwise raging inferno in its tracks. It didn’t always go to plan though and there are references of back-fires causing mayhem and untold damage in their own right. So fighting fire with fire or in this case guns with guns runs the real risk of backfiring.
Reflect on the following notional headline “Dangerous dog mauls children to death in playground” and the likewise notional (made up for illustration) following response from the National Dog Association “Place a dangerous dog in every school to protect our children”. Any reasonably circumspect, sane and rational person would see the last statement as being rather myopic and utterly ridiculous. Indeed the person suggesting such an idea, in the UK at least would be hounded out of any office that they held. That person would become a pariah in society and an example of everything that is sick and in need of healing within that society.
It follows then that the notion that you can fight guns with guns in the hope that only the good guys kill the bad guys is absolutely outrageous. How very wild west! Would I like my child to go to a school that had a gun touting security guard, absolutely not! Not withstanding the danger associated with rightly vetting the security guard, there’s also the message of fear that our children would inevitably imbue. Children, having receptive minds, would become desensitized to the horrors of guns and the untimely deaths that they render to countless individuals. Nature and nurture would suggest that subsequent generations would be initiated into the horrors of the gun culture.
Repel the madness of the US 2nd Amendment, as soon as is practical, as it’s a sign of a nation that’s still in the grips of an anachronistic frontier past. The US needs to come of age and embrace compassion for its citizenry. The United States is way above a basket of other civilised nations in terms of deaths by guns per capita of population. The idea that guns should be allowed to flourish in any civilized society reflects badly on any nation, least of all the USA that promotes itself in civilised terms.
I’ll leave you with a few words by Gandhi – “Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”.
Fight fire with fire at the peril of our children. Fight violence with love and compassion and our children have a future without fear. Each popular movement for change starts with the outrage expressed at the individual level. Make your individual voice heard and fight against the socially debilitating proliferation of guns.
My sincerest thoughts and condolences to all those associated with the horrors of Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, USA.