“We’re killin’ strangers, so we don’t kill the ones that we love” – Marilyn Manson
Destruction is fun. We as a species enjoy destruction to the boiling point. What we like the most is a justified violence. Face it, even when you think that violence is the last resort, there is a reason why ancient Romans were so excited about the gladiator fight and why most expensive scenes in the movies are dealing with battlefields.
If the victim is not personified or, even better, painted with disgust, we can finally justify our destructive urges. That is why violence against robots, zombies, Nazis or aliens does not count. Today people are less inspired to justify violence against other people, seeing how most of us can understand one another in some basic human sense, but all it really takes for us to use a fist is a bit of mental gymnastics and also a bit of blindness towards things that make us equal. Recently America faced yet another man who did all the necessary steps, causing one of the biggest mass shootings in U.S. history. That is why there is a time to once again go through everything that makes weaponry such a big topic in today’s political climate.
It is interesting how something so terrible can cause such a usual reaction. With any mass shooting in America, this debate starts all over again with all the same points from both sides.
Gun lovers are talking about how important it is for them to have protection from criminals or the government, insisting that there is nothing inherently wrong with guns themselves. On the other hand, most of the liberal-minded crowd is comparing guns to automobiles, saying that it needs regulation, just like anything else. To me the answer is simple – yes, we need regulation. Only a lunatic will believe that rifles and handguns can do anything against tanks, trained assault teams, jets and drones that are in government hands. As for other criminals – they are the ones, who will face profiling, making it harder for them to buy weaponry. Let me be clear – I would never advocate for a complete prohibition of armament in the United States, knowing how important gun culture is to some of the citizens. All that prohibition will do, just like in the case of alcohol in 20’s and recreational drugs today, is create a black market, sponsoring organized crime and causing wars between criminals at the expense of innocent lives. However, this is not what I would like to talk about.
Remember that little speech about violence in the beginning of the article? Well, we are not as immune to the dehumanization of other people as we think. Just recently left-leaning Twitter users got #punchanazi (punch a Nazi) trending, justifying violence against those, who are to the right on the political spectrum compared to them. The only problem is that, by this definition, pretty much everyone can be called a Nazi with no sweat. It is interesting how the same camp that is fighting for the regulation of guns is admiring violence against political opponents. Let’s not forget the Charlottesville Incident, in which, and I hate to agree with Trump here, there really was violence on both sides. Granted, white nationalists are not exactly the side for any politician to protect, but he is, unfortunately, completely correct.
It seems like today political dispute is becoming an attribute that people are using to step away from one another, painting one another with dark colors, making it easier to call for war. In politics, it is essential to stay away from the crowd and take a look at nuance. In ironic way, it is the opposite of what a political discourse looks like in the modern society with 140 characters limit and hashtags. We are doing it completely backwards and there is only us to blame for it.
The Las Vegas shooter hated everyone and had no issue with taking lives of people who he never knew and probably would never like to know. Don’t let this mentality rule over your political views or, chances are, those political views will rule over you.
Cover illustration by Stanislav Press
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily represent the stance of the Lennon Wall staff or Anglo American University.