Of Musings and Wonderings











{April 22, 2013}   America, We Need To Talk
Totally not an excuse to post a picture of these three...

Totally not an excuse to post a picture of these three…

America, there is something you need to know.

I love you.

I really do. I have ever since I could remember. You brought us Disney, and Spider-Man and Batman and Superman and all those other superheroes. McDonald’s and Star Wars. The best holiday I can ever remember was Florida; Disneyland! Universal! And those other places! Western films and the great movie musicals. And that’s just my childhood.

I studied American Studies at University, I’ve dreamed of visiting you for, like, ever. You’ve influenced our culture and many of the words I use are most likely American slang. Awesome, right, dude? I’ve admired you from afar, though I doubt you have ever turned your gaze towards me. I’m just a Welsh girl, after all, and I don’t think you really understand where Wales is, do you?

Wales; that tiny country right next to England.

Wales; that tiny country right next to England.

Some say you’re stupid. I don’t believe that. I stand by the idea that we simply hear the loudest among you, and the loudest tend to be the most obnoxious. You’re simply…misunderstood, right? You’re still young, after all. Still growing, still trying to find your feet. In terms of countries, you’re probably in your teens. Obsessed with films and games and violent and trying to assert yourself. Trying to show the world how good you are. No one can really blame you for that.

And in the past, I have overlooked many of your faults, your mistakes. Love is blind, after all. You are amazing, America. Just look at your icons! Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, James Dean. You have given us music and movies and fast food. Denim jeans! You’re a melting pot, pinching of bit of this or that culture, adding your own dash of Americana. Supernatural, Heroes, Smallville. The American Dream! Every kid can grow up to be President! Superman, the protector of justice. Batman, the Dark Knight. You have given us real and fictional heroes, you have the best stories to tell, always.

chris-consani-american-icons-triptychBut I feel like I can’t ignore it anymore. I can’t just sit back. You’re tearing yourself apart. A house divided against itself cannot stand! You seem to have forgotten. And I know this isn’t you. I know there is a large part of yourself that just stares at the other, amazed. I’m going to stay away from Religion, America, because that’s a whole other post in itself.

But…well…here’s the thing I don’t understand.

Guns.

Don’t get me wrong. I love an action scene as much as the next person. I love a montage as the hero trains up, maybe shoots a few targets. I cheer when the bad guy gets shot. Gun scenes are awesome. But…well, they’re fictional. And they sure as hell don’t make me think shooting actual people is a good way out of any situation. This has gone on long enough, America. Take a good long look at yourself. Look at the victims that have been created because it’s just so damn easy to get hold of something that kills.

And I’ve seen the arguments. Here’s the thing. As far as I understand the situation, people are not trying to take away your guns. They’re not. They’re a huge part of your culture. Not here, so maybe that’s why I don’t understand. But how can you be against tighter gun control? What are you afraid of? That if those restrictions are brought in, you wouldn’t be able to cradle your beloved weapon to sleep at night? Because surely any sensible person, with an ounce of rationality, would see that if you are scared restrictions would stop you having a gun, maybe you shouldn’t have a gun.

How do your kids manage to get their hands on them? Do you just leave them lying around? Because yes, there are a lot of dangerous objects out there that could hurt and harm, but…well, do you leave matches in easy reach of your kids? Prescription pills? Household tools? They’re all dangerous in the wrong hands, true, but it seems like you would keep them away from anyone who might misuse them. You do that, right? You make sure your kids can’t reach a hammer, or anything that could start a fire. I hope so.

And yes, okay, cars kill. People get run over every day and that’s awful. It’s horrible. Accidents happen. And I don’t doubt that accidents will continue to happen if gun restriction is brought in.

But how many more crashes do you think there would be if you didn’t have to learn to drive, if you didn’t have to have a licence? If anyone could just pop to a shop (sorry, store) and pick up a car, drive it away? The roads would become a hell of a lot more dangerous, right? And I’ve seen that argument. That linking between car and gun. So why is a gun any different? Why can just anyone get a gun, if not just anyone can drive?

Like I said, accidents happen. But accidents would be reduced if the things causing those accidents came with just a bit more responsibility.

I’m just…I’m saying this for your own good, America. And I don’t think you’ll take any notice. I know you won’t. But it can’t go on unsaid. Not on my part anyway. I love you, and I always will, I just think…well, we’re all going to have to take a step back. Just breathe. Relax. Think for a while about what’s best.

Okay? Okay.

You know…maybe there’s a valid reason, more than just their experiences and powers, why many superheroes don’t use guns. They’re our idols. And we try to be like them in other ways…why not in this one?

Note: I know many, if not most, of the people who read this blog are Americans. And none of this is meant in disrespect. I am serious when I say I love the USA. I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and I thought, well, this seemed like as good a way as any. And I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue. I am always willing to have a discussion about things like this, especially as, like I said, I don’t totally understand. Enlighten me, maybe?

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Well said and I think a lot of people would agree with you over here. Although, I should point out that you do need a license for a gun and take a safety class. I know this from friends and family who own guns and they proudly declare this to help their comparison to a car. It really isn’t as easy to get a gun as the media thinks. They do have waiting periods and certain venues have background checks, but mostly for criminal background. I don’t know if they do mental history, which is a problem.

As for the gun culture, I wish I had an answer. I can’t quite understand why they are so engrained in our culture. Maybe because they’re the tool used to conquer and combine our world? Maybe because for a young country, we’ve been involved in a lot of wars? It could just be that they really aren’t a part of our culture, but the louder of us make it seem that way. You give something to someone and you’ll get a polite, quiet ‘thank you. Take something away and they’ll scream bloody murder. That might be what the world is seeing and building their thoughts around.

In conclusion, why does Black Widow look like somebody got her in the face with a camera flash? Either that or she’s concentrating far too much on how to walk.



Thanks for the clarification. (And for the comment.) How strict is the licensing though? And safety class is a good idea but, well, I’m less than a year out of University and five years out of comp (high school) and I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to remember details about safety classes if I did them. Is it like driving lessons in a way, where you only really have to do them once?
I’m basing this on things I’ve heard, but doesn’t it vary state by state? I know the main problem though, with school shootings especially, is when kids/teenagers pick up their parent’s guns, rather than it being a gun they’ve managed to get hold of themselves. But in reality, I can’t see a way of stopping that except personal responsibility and, like I said above, making sure people who aren’t meant to use them can’t get to them.
That last point is very true. Maybe it’s simpler than that; could be that, well, there’s never been a time when America didn’t have guns. Freely available guns. And yeah, I understand the need to have the right to bear arms in the constitution, but…that applies to when it was written. To me, I guess I just don’t see that as a valid argument now. It’s relative. As for not being part of your culture…it does seem that they are, from this side of the pond anyway. We don’t really have that here. Guns are only really strongly present in movies and TV. Even then, you’ve got something like Doctor Who where they’re present, but the main character refuses to touch them. Saying that…they’re not glorified in the same way guns tend to be, but we have our own problems over here with knifes. I guess, for the sake of argument, it’s harder to accidentally hurt someone with a knife than a gun.
Ha! I think either one could apply. Still…it’s Black Widow! She’s awesome!



I believe you have to take a test on safety, maintenance, and firing with getting a high grade. I’m not a gun owner. I have swords, daggers, and axes, so I don’t know the details. It probably varies by state and I learned a little about it in Florida, which has a ‘stand your ground’ law. Basically, you feel threatened, you can shoot to defend yourself. Most people have gun lockers or keep them unloaded, but all you need is one person with an angry kid who doesn’t or knows where the key is. One of the big problems from the Newtown, CT shooting is that it revealed a horrible mental health system that adds to the gun problem. People without a criminal background and are undiagnosed with mental illness can get a gun. Though, anyone without a criminal background can get a gun to help commit their first crime, which is unstoppable right now.
People are very touchy on changing the laws even though they were designed that way. The second amendment was made in a time where we didn’t have a standing army and I wonder if it would be made the same if our founding fathers knew the weapons of today. With the knives, it’s also harder to go on a killing spree when you have to get up close and personal. The gun does bring a lack of connection to the target for some people. I wouldn’t blame media too much. I grew up with a lot of action movies and I’ve never wanted to shoot anyone.
Black Widow is definitely awesome even though I thought she was so-so in Iron Man 2.



The American national anthem sings… “And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
My uncle lives in Phoenix and is terrified of being robbed by “blacks and mexicans” and other people from other lower socio-economic groups than himself. He has four handguns and two assault rifles. Since having a heart-attack, he’s been told to walk. When he walks around his white, suburban neighbourhood, he carries a handgun and spare clip.
I asked him once, what is so great about a country where you live in constant fear of losing your life and your possessions? His answer was…”America is still the greatest country in the world.” It’s hard to reason with such fervent patriotism. Yes, the US gave him a job, a mortgage and a comfortable life… that he lives in constant fear of losing. That’s no kind of life. It’s a very bad trade.
The two gun massacres we’ve had in the UK, perpetrated by Michael Ryan and Thomas Hamilton,in Hungerford and Dunblaine, were both committed by people with access to weaponry, through gun clubs. I’m sure if we’d been able to trot down to the supermarket and buy ourselves semi-automatic weapons,we’d have had a fair few more. But two in thirty odd years… think about it. The U.S. probably had two last month!
The bottom line is, nobody needs an AK47, M16 or a handgun unless they want to kill other human beings. If you want to hunt, get a shotgun or a hunting rifle… and melt down all the rest. Of course, that will NEVER happen. The arms trade is big business. And big business has a vested interest in keeping things as they are. If Obama tried to outright ban assault weapons and automatic handguns in the U.S. they’d be another civil war. In fact, it’d be the quickest way to get himself assassinated.
I’m sorry America, for a country that is so good at mythologising and eulogising it’s own culture, your gun story is rubbish. It’s one that only fills me with horror and disgust, like a bad slasher movie.
The last, and I’m glad to say, light-hearted word, goes to that inimitable Welsh Band – Goldie Lookin’ Chain.
“Guns don’t kill people – rappers do!”



And a very British ‘here here’ to that!
I mean everything I said about how much I love America. And I do think Americans show bravery…but it seems they have more cause to. I admire the strength that is shown when terrible events happen, but I find myself questioning why they were allowed to happen in the first place. I have a friend who lived in Kansas City, and she said she’d wake up hearing gunshots, because of the state line there. The gangs jump back and forth. It’s no way to live, really, hearing gunshots throughout the night. It’s amazing how much people will be willing to put up with though for, what you said, they see as the greatest country in the world.
My ex actually had guns, a couple of rifles (air rifles, maybe?), for shooting rabbits. (That had moxi. He lived out in the country and did it for the people who owned the stables, so a) the rabbits could be put out of their misery and b) so the horses didn’t get affected) He set up a few targets and we did some shooting. Yeah, okay, I actually enjoyed myself. But I admitted to him I could never point that at a living creature. Cans and targets in a wide open space, fine. It was fun. And I’m a good shot. But I wouldn’t be comfortable with guns in my house. My mum made my brother get rid of his air rifle when he brought it home, and I completely understand why. And they’re air rifles! Yes, they’ll bloody well hurt – and worse – but they’re nothing compared to most guns. I can understand why guns are such a big part of their culture – survival in the west probably wouldn’t have been possible without them – but nowadays, one bad guy with a gun counts for a lot more than a hundred good guys with guns. And accidents happen.
I almost forgot about GLC. Almost 😛



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