Guns: Horsepower and Firepower Today
by Kathy Custren
Image Credit: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
From prehistoric times to this very day, our human story has included stories about the dangers of dealing with powers greater than our own, and trying to make sense of them. From the first time a human managed to control fire and use it, we have been on the obsessive side when it comes to controlling power and how that relates to our “survival.”
This on-going struggle can be seen in our current narrative that pits the dangers of horsepower and firepower, particularly guns and deaths related to them in the United States. At the time our fledgling country was formed back in the later 1700s, the only horses on the roads then still ate hay, with specialized ownership sometimes seen as hazardous in certain (mostly accidental) situations. The automobile production as of 2013 is 60 million. Gun production in that same year is lower, at 5.5 million. Yet for that same year, deaths involving both guns and cars accounted for nearly the same amount: 32,719 for autos, and 33,169 for guns.
Looking at America's gun and auto privileges, there are many arguments on behalf of the gun enthusiasts, which promote the availability of firepower as a right under the U.S. Constitution. Like horsepower, Colonial-era firepower was significantly different than what is available for sale today. Arms were much harder to obtain, and ammunition was usually a messy, single-load shot that took some effort and skill to muster. Yet, the founding fathers thought ahead to provide for this right to bear arms by citizens, where they did not provide similar accommodation for horsepower. Who knew?
As with most things, and people for that matter, they go by under our radar unless there is a problem. We might call this the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” axiom. Our citizens are less up in arms over arms over the number of automobile deaths, or the amount of spending on even stronger firepower by the military or other government agencies, than the increasing finger that is pointed when random, mass shootings occur.
This is the periscope that rises above the horizon for us to all to point at and argue over, and which causes the 'patriotism' to the forefront. The bottom line is that the danger stories we tell today point to our lack of control where guns are concerned. It is a valid concern, with the numbers being proximate. The image shared from 'Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense' does indicate that we might at least hold both “powers” to a similar standard. Yet, this is only part of the gun and firepower issue.
A large problem for guns, beyond regulation, is usage; and here are three ways to illustrate:
Use/anytime: Americans like to be able to use both their horsepower and firepower at just about any time. There are legal and illegal ways that guns are bought and used (see Conceal laws), which have a somewhat limiting effect, but there are a significant number 'available' at any time. If someone “wants” to use a car or a gun, they will find the means to do so, often by stealing.
Conceal laws: Certain locations have either 'conceal carry' laws or open-carry for firepower. These rules mostly relate to personal protection. Conceal carry is for gun owners who use firepower for personal safety, but it could include to a variety of weapons, from a handgun or stun-gun to pepper spray. In open-carry locations, gun owners may wear their rifles and other arms out in the open, which is seen as a form of both expression and intimidation.
Age/old: Where to old guns go to die? In the case of autos, we can see vast swaths of land we affectionately call 'automobile graveyards,' which is another name for junk yard, where a number of whole or crushed autos sit and rust as a testament to our innovation, consumption, and driving habits. Where do old guns go when the owners pass on? Even the most responsible gun owner or purchaser can easily lose track of firepower. It may not be as much a matter of making sure secondhand shops register properly, and there are some targeted “buy back your gun” programs from time to time. Overall, gun ownership becomes more of an estate issue, such as in the case of divorce settlement or death, which each family must deal with at some time. Old cars may just sit around; old guns, can easily make their way anywhere, whether it is across the country or around the world.
Horsepower and firepower, both, require fuel and ammunition to operate, along with a human mind behind the accelerator and trigger. In fact, many may argue that we have destroyed much of our environment and atmosphere keeping our horsepower on the road. In an age where size seems to matter, the size of the gun problem continues to require action to address, as both the manufacturing and death numbers continue to rise. The real risks to our very “survival” depend on it.
Namaste ~ Blessings!
About the Author
Kathy Custren, OMTimes Senior Editor, is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include education, elements, nature, humanity's cosmic origins, philosophy, spirituality, and wellness. Connect with her community page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and tune in to “What is Going OM?” on OMTimes Radio.