I do not like guns. In fact, I dislike them with all my heart, which usually adores things with a passion, and is eternally enthusiastic and falls in love with ideas and dreams faster than I can keep up, and certainly faster than I can carry them out.
My question is this: whomsoever was it who first had the idea to invent a machine to kill another person?
Now, who came up with that?
That’s the part I cannot fathom. To think that someone somewhere – of all the thoughts and plans a human can think of – decided to act on the idea to make a killing machine.
Had they not ever watched Blue Planet II? Or studied the pocket on a cat’s ear?* Or observed a baby’s eyes turning from blue to brown over days and weeks? Or marvelled at the way scars heal and bodies mend? Or been welcomed home by an overjoyed dog after a long day at work?
I can’t reconcile such tiny yet wondrous human joys – so generally available for those that watch out for them – with a mindset determined to make a gun.
How can they go together? It takes so much energy to have an idea, and one fuelled by fear and hatred must weigh so heavy, and deplete your emotional resources. Imagine being driven forward by the idea of killing someone.
I did a little research, through clenched teeth. Richard Gatling was the first person to invent a rapid fire gun in the 1860s. His reasoning was that he could see how many men were lost to diseases on the battlefields of the American Civil war. Thinking to invent a machine that could do the fighting of a hundred men, his idea was actually to save lives by sending fewer soldiers into battle.
Well! What am I to think of that?
I still dislike it. What bad intent can follow good. I wish he’d crumpled up his designs and thrown them on the fire. That might be because I have never experienced war. I’ve had the great good fortune of being safe and warm and loved, for most of my life. I’ve been betrayed, horribly, but not in danger. I’ve been hurt, but I’ve never fought for my life. I’ve been harassed, but not attacked. I am one of the lucky ones with no need for a gun.
I’m thankful for this, and perhaps it gives me a slant on the whole issue that is largely innocent – even childlike.**
The privileges of peace don’t pass me by, and I know that one day they might not be mine anymore. Anyone’s life can be torn apart in any moment. I’m sure we are all of us usually just a few decisions away from violence.
Nevertheless, I want to stand up for this position of peace and idealism. Why not? The world, full of weapons and rage and steel, is so quick to get us down. It’s so easy to succumb to the battle cry of the need to bear arms, and the urge to eliminate enemies.
Consider for a moment the way flowers turn to the light, and leave your guns at home.
*The casual name for this anatomical mystery is Henry’s Pocket, an excellent premise for a children’s book if ever I heard one.
**But not, I tell you, childish.
Thank you to Annie for lending me her flowers. Xx.