Saturday, December 22, 2012

NRA Admits Failure

Yesterday on the news, the NRA suggested that the government should put armed guards in every school to protect our children. This statement is, without doubt or confusion, an admission of failure.  

The failure is so clear that even sensible gun control detractors understand.

There are two important things to know about this failure of the NRA executive statement.

First, it is idiotic. Only a person or group suffering from severe delusions, or attempting to support a totally unreasonable position would suggest a solution that:

a) costs Billions of dollars.  About 100,000 schools * salary of $20,00 a year = 2 billion dollars - and then you need to add, probably 50% for 'administrative costs' - and God only knows how much more for legal costs. That's not counting private schools, after hours work (overtime), nor universities and colleges.  It's also not accounting for the fact that some schools have very small campuses and could (in theory) be covered by a single staff member - but others are huge.  And if you pay them more - you might get better quality staff.  Duh.

b) ignores the fact that the school killings were not just pre-meditated, they were planned, sometimes weeks in advance.  What 15 year old boy would NOT have the common sense to know that the first thing you do, if you want a free hand, is to kill the 'sleepy guard' who has guns, but has never had the need to use them on the job.  And what chance would the sleepy guard have against a juiced up, maniacal 15 year old in body armor with an assault weapon?

c) Or, if you, a deranged 15 year old, have no access to guns - simply break into the office of the sleepy guard who never uses them anyway. This proposed solution puts more guns in schools, where they can be misused, stolen, mishandled (accidents do happen) and where they present an image of killing power to all staff and students. A solution that would, in all likelihood, cause more deaths than it prevents. It also puts people 'who have physical power' in a school, with our children, where that power can easily be abused without firing the gun.

Second, the position of the NRA highlights a simple failure of democracy in the USA.

The position that every US citizen has the right to bear arms is based on simple concepts and understandings.  that:

No citizen can trust their governments.
No citizen can trust their corporations.
No citizen can trust their police.
No citizen can trust their neighbor.
No-one can trust anyone in authority.

Thus everyone needs the right to a gun to protect themselves and their rights.

This failure of trust is at the foundation of the so called 'democracy' in the USA.

Elections are not fought on the argument that our leaders can move our country towards a better world.  They are fought on the basis that 'that politician' (your opponent) cannot be trusted.  The planet is round, our world does not have 'sides'. But our democracy forces us to take sides, to view  members of governments, and candidates, as possible enemies.

Candidates promise to 'cut taxes and government spending', on the assumption that all governments and all government spending cannot be trusted.  Thus all taxes are bad. The assumption that it is not possible for governments to 'do good things'. Note: This assumption will extend to the spending on gun toting guards in schools as well. What goes around, comes around.

No candidate attempts to present a vision of government that, in the words of a famous Canadian, are designed to "make the world a better place".  (Tommy Douglas "Courage, my friend, it's not too late to make the world a better place.”)

If any politician dares to present a better world - they will simply not to be trusted.

Democracy has become distrustacy.

There is, simply, no attempt by any level of government in North America (Canada included) to 'make our world a more trusting place'. If our world was a more trusting place - governments would be more open and honest, corporations would be more open and honest, police and military would be more open and honest, even our courts of law would be more open and honest.

But our design and implementation of our so called 'democracy' specifically inhibits attempts to make things better.  At the same time, while encouraging distrust, it encourages secrets, which encourages lies.

How did this come to be?

This is not the fault of the NRA. It is not because of the NRA.

There is an interesting parallel to health.  Our so called 'health systems' are actually medical systems.  Medical systems look for problems.  Healthiness is ignored.  If you are 'healthy', your doctor doesn't want to waste time on you - there are too many sick people.

The only healthy people who have medical expert attempting to make them 'healthier' are elite athletes.  And in those cases, the focus is not actually on improving healthiness, it is on improving speed, strength, reaction time, etc. even at the risk of decreasing overall healthiness in the short term or the long term.

No one studies healthiness. No doctor has time to try and improve healthiness.  There are no PhDs of Healthicine - the arts and sciences of health and healthiness. 

The Hierarchy of Healthicine is a framework of healthiness from genetics, to nutrients to cells, tissues organs. It extends beyond the body, the mind, and the spirit to our communities.  Our families, our churches, and our various governments.

Our 'democratic election' process is designed to search for and high-lite problems, not successes. Our news reporting systems emphasize conflict, not success, exacerbating the problem. People actually 'fear' successful governments, on the assumption that 'reports of success' can only be a dangerous lie.

This ignorance of healthiness extends from our genetics to our communities, including our governments and the NRA.

How healthy is our government? What are the parameters that define a healthy government?  How might a healthy government improve the healthiness of their citizens from their genetics, to their nutrition, to their many communities?

At this time - these questions are mute, not moot. No one asks about the healthiness of government, all parties are interested in finding the 'illness' of government, so they might be elected based on the strength of their opposing views.

And the NRA statement speaks this nonsense clearly. They suggest MORE control, by putting armed guards in schools - and they claim that somehow this might give us more freedom.  It does not, more control generates more distrust. We don't need more adults to control the children.  We need to teach our children how to behave like adults.  We are all children.

We need more trust.  That's the foundation of freedom.

Let't take a fundamental look at the 'stated goals' of the NRA in this situation.  To make our schools (and other places) safe for our children.  We are all children.  We all need all of our places to be safe places.

Are our places safer if everyone has a gun?  Or if no-one has a need for a gun?  The answer is clear.

Where there is no need for guns, that place will be safe from guns.

If the NRA wants to work for the safety of all, they need to work towards a society where trust is higher than distrust. Where guns do not exist - in most places - because there is no need for guns.  Guns might still exist as toys - I'll admit they can be fun toys. But we need to work toward a society where guns, as weapons, defensive or offensive, are simply not needed.

We might ask, after all this discussion of healthiness, about the healthiness of the NRA?  The hierarchy of healthiness extends to communities and the NRA is a community.

How healthy is the NRA? 

It it is important to note that healthiness is not measured by illness.  Healthiness is not the 'opposite of sickness'.  Healthiness is about balance, has many components and is always in flux.  Rocks are not 'healthy'. They do not change, there is no balance.  Neither is a political position that is totally inflexible and immobile 'healthy'.

The response of the NRA to the school shootings is not just unhealthy, it is sick. Sickness, however, tends to be concentrated in a small part of a possibly healthy body - unless it becomes large enough to present danger to the entire body.  It is possible to have a cold and be perfectly healthy otherwise.  It is possible to cut your finger, and be perfectly healthy otherwise.  If you break a leg - it might have more of an effect on your overall healthiness, but take care. It's not difficult to imagine a situation where, a broken leg might cause an improvement in someones overall healthiness. It is possible for the NRA to be healthy, and have some sicknesses at the same time.

A measurement of the 'healthiness' of the NRA is independent of their position on guns or gun control.  But we don't even know how to measure the healthiness of our diets - much less the healthiness of our communities.

We don't know if the NRA is healthy or not. We don't study healthiness.

The right to guns, is lower on our priorities than the right to food, shelter, water, the right to medical care when we are sick, and the rights to travel and assemble freely, the right to safe schools. It is lower than the right to pursue happiness. If anything, the right to guns, is a sub-item of that right.

It's time to put our priorities in a proper sequence.

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness. 

to your health, and your freedom,
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: