America is the land of the free, but are we too free? There is something inherent within our nature that makes us literally want to kill each other. The only countries that are more violent than the U.S on average earn less than $2 an hour. What is it about the nature of this great land that causes such a proclivity towards violence?
The same fear that America felt after hearing about the horrific mass shooting in Aurora is the same fear that is omnipresent in the projects of Marcy Ave. in Brooklyn, the row houses in west Baltimore, the 8th ward of New Orleans, and countless other ghettos in the good old U.S.A.
You can’t show any fear, so the fear turns to anger. People become angry at their situation and the sense of helplessness. Angry at the government, because everywhere you turn you see how much the people who are in control care about you. From the liquor stores to poor schools. From the teachers that tell you you won't amount to sh*t, to the media pundits who say everyone that looks like you deserves to be there.
Combine that anger with limited opportunities to improve your living conditions, a jail system that serves to punish you for life, and easy access to guns and what you have is the equation for an urban warzone.
America is a country with no shortage of urban warzones. What James Holmes did was horrific, but it happens almost every day in America. Ironically, The Joker said it best. If an I.E.D blows up a solider in Afghanistan, or 35 people die in the hood over a weekend, then it’s cool because it’s part of the plan. That’s what we're used to, so figure that’s how it’s always been and how it will always be.
But let the same thing happen in a place where violence does not normally occur, then it becomes a national travesty. Well I say that no matter where it happens, it’s a travesty if one person is taken from the face of this Earth.
So how do we prevent another tragedy from happening? Do we make gun laws stricter? Should we take away our Second Amendment right? No, studies show there is little correlation between gun related homicides and strict gun laws, which should be obvious. If my goal is to murder you, why in the hell would I shoot you with a gun that can be traced back to me?
Most guns that are used for illegal purposes are obtained through illegal means, so stricter gun laws will do nothing to prevent homicides. What will happen as a result will be the incarceration of more impoverished young men and women, thus further destroying the communities the laws are aiming to protect.
So how do we end America’s obsession with violence? Since evidence shows that demographics (race, gender, education, income, ethnicity) play the key role in the link between firearms and firearm related incidents, the answer to ending gun violence in America and optimizing liberty is by addressing education, income gaps, social norms, and behavior of the people – especially males between the age of 17 – 26.
Once those key issues are addressed, everybody can have access to a gun without the homicide rate being heavily affected. We have to realize we are an Empire, and in an Empire, people must be exploited. That exploitation leads to violence.
So it’s up to us as a people, the true rulers of this country, to decide if we will continue to allow thousands of James Holmes to terrorize the communities of those exploited in this country.
Garvey Ashhurst is a young up and coming poet, songwriter, and blogger. He is the reason that the system is afraid of a black man in a library. His aim is not to be Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Ghandi, but he hopes to make them proud by keeping their ideals alive through his lifestyle. He hopes that one day young brothers will one day say I want to be the next him.