Guns and Self Destructive Behavior

From my experience guns are a drag. They primarily hurt and kill people and animals, seemingly for the sake of sport more than any good reason. To me the argument that it’s not availability of guns that is the problem, but rather the individuals who abuse the privilege, is not a viable argument.

My experience with guns: I learned to shoot a 22 rifle when I was 13 years old on a farm in Pennsylvania we visited during the summer. It was fun to line up the sight with a tin can 50 feet away and try to blast it off the fence.The son of the farmer, whom I learned to shoot with was accidentally shot and killed by his friend with the same rifle two years later.

A guy I went to high school with lost his father in a barrage of gun fire in Umbertos Clam House in NYC in the early 70’s. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was mistakenly executed along with two other innocent people.

A colleague of mine in New Jersey had a neighbor who, in the heat of an argument with another neighbor over something petty, pulled out a shotgun and killed the neighbor.

I had a gun shoved in my face once in NYC at 2 AM down near the jazz club Slugs back in the 70’s. Even if I had been carrying a gun I doubt I would have had time to pull it out and use it. Thankfully I lived to tell the story.

The most recent incident in Newtown is one of 5 major massacres to take place this year. Our brother and fellow musician Jimmy Greene lost his 6 year old daughter along with 20 other families. What the hell was the shooter’s mother doing with a legally purchased assault rifle and two high powered pistols?

I can’t think of one redeeming quality that guns possess. It seems like they wind up in the wrong hands an awful lot of the time and wind up impacting everyone’s  lives. The current policy is not working. Gun control laws are more lax than ever,are dictated by powerful lobbyists in Washington, and in some states you can carry a gun if you are 18! Remember how emotionally stable you were at 18? (or 21 for that matter).

In Colorado you can carry a weapon on university campuses. What the hell do you need a gun for? In case your biology teacher attacks you?

There are too damn many guns out there, and they are too easy to obtain.

“It’s the individuals, not the guns”, claims the right pro-gun contingent, the same group who is advocating massive spending cuts to entitlement programs for services to the mentally challenged, poor and middle class. A disaster waiting to happen!

The only thing I come up with in trying to make sense of all this is that we as a country are in denial about how self-destructive we are. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing because  we are a sickly overweight society uneducated in healthy eating and proper exercise regimens. Fast food is big business and creates huge business for healthcare providers.Our public schools and infrastructure are deteriorating at an alarming rate, yet the main concern from congress is about the deficit our children will face. New York City was half underwater during the last hurricane, and we still refuse to become proactive in some kind of world effort to curb global warming or even acknowledge fully that man has had some roll in the situation.

I don’t know. folks. I knew heroin addicts that took better care of themselves than we are taking care of ourselves in this country. It is embarrassing. We are capable of more and deserve better. The current gridlock in government does not bode well for any dramatic or expedient solutions to these problems. We as a nation are just too divided in the way we look at the issues.  Being a teenager in the 60’s we practiced compassion for our fellow man. Something has gone askew!

Freedom to do, act, and think as we like is fine as long as it doesn’t impact on the rest of society.

On a brighter note, I’ve just returned from a concert/dvd recording in Vitoria, Brazil with a wonderful band of young musicians who are carrying the torch. These guys are sensational! They all play great, write inspired arrangements, and have a sound and concept all their own. The core of the band consists of the 3 Rocha Brothers. They are some of the most resourceful and creative young people I have encountered in a long time. It is encouraging to see young musicians playing music on this level in such a professional and passionate way. Brazil is a happening place, very family oriented, humanitarian, lovers of music and art, and their economy is flourishing. Worth considering.

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