Diseased Mind as a Weapon

By Mark Antony Rossi

I overheard a woman saying to her girlfriend that the internet was like the Wild Wild West. I disagree strongly. I wish it was more like the OK Corral. At least there would be a sense of adventure exploring and taming the unknown and defending values that support the modern work ethic.

Instead the Internet is often a colorful clown car for sensitive types who know how to dish out dirt and dysfunction but cannot handle the slightest challenge without resorting to name calling and ideological attacks. Serious problems require serious investigation with the promise that such inquiry may lead to a serious solution.

Time and time again I have tasked with providing advice and commentary about writing, politics and present day issues while a member, moderator or founder of various Facebook writing groups. To my dismay I often discover an unsilent majority of immature mud throwers whom react faster with their fingers than their minds can consider context or perhaps another viewpoint.

The main problem in this electronic arena is people feel more powerful spewing nonsense without immediate consequence unlike than in their real lives where language has impact and actions beckon accountability. Hence it is difficult to exchange healthy opinions or vital facts when most feel pressed to engage in street theatre for the benefit of friends and family.

A perfect example is the gun debate which sadly has degraded into the ultimate theatre event in America. It is entirely possible and practical to be a gun supporter and gun owner, such as myself, and believe some regulation and background checking is useful and not an infringement on liberty.

But often on the Internet the sensible position of intelligent moderation is deemed a “wishy-washy middle” and you are attacked mercilessly by the two extremes. This has happened to me on a number of occasions. I am a combat veteran and very familiar with guns. But until someone shoots at you — you won’t understand why their presence is important or why their regulation is needed.

The first extreme are gun banners whom conveniently delete the US Constitution’s 2nd Amendment from their memories as they pursue a science fiction agenda that seeks to remove guns from every law-abiding citizen; yet naturally has no plan on how to stop dangerous criminals from stockpiling them.

The second group are the gun supporters whom are so paranoid about any common sense approach to safe usage and storage that they sound like a classic stereotype of a gun crazy person. I believe in gun ownership and support hunting but I will not be convinced gun rights are in jeopardy because gun locks are being promoted, or gun education is required or a background investigation is warranted. And when is a machine gun needed for hunting or home security?

We live in a period of history where just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. As with reckless super science — weapons must be utilized with ethical common sense. My fear going forward is our technological ability is beginning to outstrip our moral capacity to make decent decisions to protect the community. And we tend to forget the diseased mind is an invisible weapon capable of killing with any instrument or poison available.

We arrive at zero common ground when gun abolitionists are lost in the fantasy of a gun free world that is still filled with violent people with murder in their heart. And if we somehow magically manage to eliminate all the other weaponized ways to kill people like knives, razors, axes, hammers and automobiles — you will still be dealing with an unrefined human condition that will use its fists to beat you to death.

We arrive at zero social safety when gun supporters object to any and all sensible guidelines and minor restrictions regardless of how big or small their implementation will have on future gun massacres. A life saved is still worth the effort. Why should repeating mechanisms be sold? Why shouldn’t gun locks be mandatory devices upon the purchase of handguns? Why should the mentally ill still be allowed to purchase a weapon? How could any reasonable person side against a background check?

As a military veteran I urge gun supporters to reserve their romantic feelings for their significant others. There is no room in romance for guns and this aberration is both unhealthy and unwise. Guns are necessary in a democratic state where the individual has a historic legacy and legal permission to defend against a government gone rogue. However; this protected privilege should be governed with the utmost of respect. While I oppose gun abolitionists as impractical idealists I would not mock their genuine concern that guns pose a unique danger to society. They do pose a danger. And no amount of bumper sticker philosophy of “guns don’t kill, people kill” will ever erase that final truth..

Be a gun supporter if your must ( I am) but don’t live a lie in order to advocate for something inherently honorable. Guns can be dangerous. So can people, especially our mentally ill citizens whom are often ridiculed, abused, ignored and only taken seriously after they mass murder their way into our television screens. If the nation put as much attention into treating mental illness as it does endlessly debating gun control I honestly believe mass murder by gun would be a horrible memory of the past.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York.


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  1. O K R Sivagnanam says:

    Guidelines and restrictions are meant for the law-breakers who are insensitive to the seriously law-abiding people!
    Yes, the diseased mind is more dangerous than the weapons themselves!
    A gun in the hands of a sensible person is no more a weapon in its strictest definition!

  2. There should be no more need for gun abolition in mass debate today than there should be argument in favour of what in the US is known as the second amendment. When we reach the point of either being strenuously argued in social media, or indeed in the local coffee shop, we have become the very thing we fear. The diseased mind. Growing up, in England of farming stock, it was common for us, and by us I mean we young people, to roam the fields in search of rabbits or foxes, with our .22 rifles, or even our Webley pellet guns. There was no argument for or against guns. This, in spite of the fact that our homes had been bombed and many homes still owned .303 rifles and/or captured Lugers. There was no gun debate. It was accepted that we owned guns, and used them for the hunting of small animals. Sometimes a youth might even bring out a parents service revolver and shoot at tin cans. Social media, and the cacophony it makes has created a stridency once lacking in usual society. To argue that all guns be banned is to be appraised of the requirement for guns in normal society. How else is one to put down a suffering horse, or a cow or other large animal humanely?
    The problem we now need to deal with is the lack of morality or decency on social media. To put one’s point in 320 characters or less, to weigh in to a discussion into which one has not been invited, to hide behind the curtain of anonymity, that is the real danger in society. How easy it is to bully, to slander, to libel, and to demoralize another. It takes no guns, just a wish to annihilate with a machine-gun barrage of mostly illiterate words.
    A more effective argument to engage in would be to question the addictive nature of social media in which one is free to do anything one wishes to another human being and to care not one jot about the end result. Without ever using a gun, one sets about with malice to humiliate, enrage, and/or destroy another human being. There is no ‘amendment’ save the one so many hide behind. That of “free speech”. Free speech. One might argue that to be racist, xenophobic, or religionist is protected by an amendment because it is the right to free speech. When words are bullets, aimed at the defenseless simply because one can. One sees daily the broken souls crying out on social media to the rataplan of bullets from machine-gun keyboards. There is no gun ‘debate’. There is only the noise, the cacophony that is social media. Until we begin to moderate our own senses, to begin to return to a moral society, we will instead return to the animalistic, where free speech is as corrupt as those who send their words indiscriminately into the hearts of those less able than you or I to either defend ourselves, or to retire from the arena and go our own way without harm to others.

  3. Thanks very much Graham to add your perspective to a complex debate often unfairly booked down to false simplicities.

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