Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The castle doctrine - or how we regress to lower forms of life

So this is among the priorities being debated in Madison right now, championed by, well, who else? the NRA-loving Republicans!

'Assembly to Take Up Castle Doctrine'

I swear, there must be people out there chomping at the bit to shoot somebody. The new laws just keep making it easier and easier, almost begging for it.

So somebody comes into your house uninvited, you blow 'em away, and then ask them what they're doing there. Presumably it will then be safe for you to do so.

I remember back in my childhood when a lawyer in my Tosa neighborhood accidentally shot the boy delivering his newspaper.  Folks were pretty traumatized.

But I fear we are losing the ability to be traumatized by our own cruelty or stupidity. Something is really wrong with us, with this culture, when we value the use of guns and the right to do violence more than then right to have decent work, a roof over our heads, decent education for all our kids, to be free of discrimination, to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and have good healthy food to eat.

Interestingly, a lot of these gun rights extremists are also among those who oppose things like climate science, the E.P.A., civil rights, voting rights for the poor and non-white people, quality education for all, a concern for the common good and the good of the commons. Who has taken over my culture? Give me back the one I'm losing, the one where we care about each other, where we are outraged by vast inequities and cruel discrimination, where violence is not the first response to our often unwarranted fears. You are making this world ugly and harsh!

Evolution of the human species does not necessarily mean progress in human compassion, social conscience, or a commitment to the common good and the good of the commons. Right now it feels like this culture is regressing to lower forms of life, as if we learned nothing from generations of war and hatred and discrimination and injustice and indifference to human rights. Something that began to knit us - in the advances in respect for human and civil rights over the past several decades - is now coming undone in the face of fierce resistance from those who feel threatened by those advances in human dignity and integrity.

Friends, we need a new culture. The one that creates concealed carry and the castle doctrine takes us in a terrifying direction. It must be dismantled and a new one created, one more appropriate for the real world challenges of this generation.

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