Guns and Good

These past few weeks have showcased the pathetic and the tragic. A young man with a head full of childish fantasies carries a powerful lethal gun over state lines to a demonstration/riot with the idea that he would protect the property owners in the city. The reality of the crowd’s energy pushes out the Marvel comic book imagery stacked up in his fantasy world. In his panic the boy pulls the trigger and takes two lives and nearly three. Across the way an actor is also handed a lethal weapon and was allegedly told it was a non-lethal. The actor in handling his ‘non-lethal’ weapon, appears to have created an event that drives a very real bullet through a colleague robbing her of her life and a family of a mother and spouse. The gun separated from its lethal nature seems to be the problem here. 

As a young boy, I got access to my first 22 rifle and in my child’s mind it was ‘good’. When that young boy that was me finally shot and hit a rabbit, the panicked look in the dying rabbit’s eye’s felt to me complex and way beyond my initial Sense of Good. Growing up on a farm as a young person, and later hunting, I felt the complexity of an animal’s death for our dinner table. My adult Sense of Good had been informed by the early experience of lethality, finality, and conflicting feelings. The complexity was engendered by being the lethal force behind the gun that I was using. In short, I began to lose my child’s innocence with the death of that first rabbit. The idea that complex issues can be either completely good or bad is reserved for young children. As adults we are no longer innocents and these issues are no longer simple. I think treating guns as ‘bad’ accomplishes little more for good than treating guns as good which, as we can see, causes immeasurable human damage. As an adult, I can no longer fit lethal weapons into my first child’s Sense of Good. However treating guns as anything but amoral machines strikes me as profoundly immoral. The damage these amoral weapons do in the hands of unskilled or immature children and adult/children is clear as the body count raises in our culture . The Good Decision discipline requires we educate and inform our personal Sense of Good as we mature. Between good and bad lies complexity and adulthood. Being an adult means laying aside the misperception of one’s own childish innocence and dealing with complexity. Three vigilantes in Georgia, a child man in Wisconsin and an actor in New Mexico are in the process of learning these hard lessons. Unfortunately, the child/man in Wisconsin who was given an opportunity for atonement by his jury is now being pursued and groomed by the predators or our political universe to set aside the lessons of adulthood. The reason The Good Decision anticipates the clean binary of yes or no to critical choices with the four Pauses is we need at least that much time to prepare and educate our real time Sense of Good to responsibly address a complicated life full of complex decisions. 

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