Feb 22
Students Rallying After Shooting

(2/22/18) Guns are in the news—everyday—but now the kids are marching and something positive might actually come out of this movement.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy believed that gun violence was a public health crisis. When you consider that over seventy thousand are injured by guns yearly and upwards of thirty thousand are killed, you’ve got some numbers that are approaching those of the flu season, especially this current flu season.

We’re not about to get overly political, but we will take the position that gun deaths are a public health crisis and that doing something is long overdue.

We know that doing nothing isn’t working.

We also know that when Australia outlawed assault rifles mass murders ended.

We know that guns are the only problem in America in which the solution most often put forth is more guns. The solution to drunk driving isn’t more liquor and the solution to the opioid crisis is not more opioids.

And if you have a gun in your home, the chances of a homicide, suicide, or accidental death involving that gun increase. Statistics tell us that having a gun does not make us safer.

I get the feeling that there’s some big money behind guns because people like to blame everything but the gun, e.g., violent movies, violent video games, and mental illness. But Japan, Canada, and England all have video games, violent movies, and mental illness. They just don’t seem to have mass murders. Could it be that the difference is that here in the US we have easy access to weapons of war?

If ammunition had been tracked as well as Sudafed® is being tracked, the shooting in Aurora, CO would never have occurred.

In America, for every 100 people there are 101 guns. That’s the highest per capita figure in the world. Most of our guns are in the hands of less than 30% of the population. Gun profits are upwards of $15 billion per year. There are numerous places online you can get all the figures.

Today our children are out marching and they are highly motivated. They’re going to accomplish something. They’re going to accomplish something their parents haven’t been able to do. We live in interesting times.

But I’m here to tell you something that, most likely, nobody has ever told you before.

It’s something that I learned and learned well, because it happened to me.

Feel free to share this. I’m a very private person, but I’m about to open up to you. So, pay attention. It’s quite edifying.

Friends know me. Some know that at a very young age I was hired by our government to kill people. I was good at it. I have killed many human beings.

When I returned from war, I sold all my guns. I never wanted to fire another gun, or kill one more helpless creature.

However, suffering from chronic PTSD and in therapy at the VA, my therapist picked up on the cloud of guilt I’d been living under. It seems that a 19 year old can’t go out and murder a lot of people and then sleep very well 30 years later.

Some don’t call that murder, but I was a hired killer. It was murder. The Vietnamese people were fighting for self-rule; something every nation has a right to.

He asked me if I liked eating game. I said, Yes … I loved it. Venison, duck, pheasant.

He suggested that I return to hunting and replace those kills (in Nam) with better memories of a kill.

I had to think about that for a while, but while I did, he hooked me up with a local native who took vets hunting. He was a Lakota and he hunted only with a bow. I was told that he brought down more ducks than the vets he took with him who used shotguns.

I agreed to go out with him and it was an amazing time. He got a deer right away. I didn’t even get to pull my bow back. I watched him kneel over the deer and talk to its spirit, and later, while he skinned and butchered the deer, he told me that he thanked the deer for the hunt and assured her that he would use all of the animal, from the skin to the hooves. He was finished in less than an hour, and we carried everything back to the car.

So I decided to take up hunting again, and here is where it gets interesting.

Most know that I am a pacifist today. Most know that I write about health and wellness and I’ve done this for over 20 years without taking a single cent for my work. Most know I am an inveterate volunteer, that I have a big heart, and even though I once loved fighting in a ring (martial arts) I just don’t have it in me to hurt anyone, though I have taught self-defense. Many people who know me personally are aware of this. I am a pacifist.

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’m sure most of you have heard some form of this:

If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail. [Ref]

I was out hunting pheasants with my loving dog, Bruiser (part border collie part springer Bruiser and a chick.spaniel . . . so we called him a Jerry Springer Spaniel). He was a natural hunter. When he found a pheasant, he’d sit and stare. I would tell him: “Go get ’em!” and bingo, pheasants would all jump into the air.

However, one day, he got more interested in mice than in pheasants. He was constantly going over to one spot and sticking his nose deep into the grass. I started getting angry. I told him to get going; to go look for a pheasant. He’d take off, but then stop to stick his nose into the grass.

I got really angry. And it was then that I realized that as I yelled at my pup, I was pointing my shotgun at him.

I was pointing my weapon at my loving dog because I was angry and because I had a gun in my hands.

I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to that day. About guns, about anger, and about myself, the pacifist.

We are a nation that teaches by example. We are one of the few industrialized nations that still have capital punishment. Our politicians tell us that war is the last choice, but we’ve invaded other nations long before using up our other options. The cure for everything is violence. Violence is a part of our national spirit.

If your only tool is a gun then every problem looks like a target.