NEW MODEST PROPOSAL
It is what the Irish author, poet, churchman and satirist Jonathan Swift would no doubt call a melancholy object to read the many articles in the public prints concerning gun murder, or to see the news items about school shootings. The seemingly pointless murders of young people and children can indeed be dispiriting events. When we come to investigate the numbers of shootings in the United States that cause death and terrible injury, we become even more despairing. No wonder that so many people wish to review the laws relating to gun ownership, and how defensively groups such as the NRA and pro-gun lobby politicians react in the face of such dismal happenings. Thoughts and prayers are not enough to cope with the impact on families and communities.
But is this really how we should look at such events? Surely, we are looking at the situation in quite the wrong way. Our horror, our despair, is quite misplaced. Our sadness and pain at such things should transform themselves into an entirely different emotion: one of calm acceptance. The enormous amount of gun-related deaths and injuries in these United States points towards a truth so blindingly obvious that we simply cannot see it. It must perforce all be a part of God’s plan for Americans. In fact, the seemingly irreconcilable themes of Evolution in the Darwinian sense and unquestioning and literal-minded Faith in the Divine come together here in unexpected, even astonishing harmony. What some might call a Darwinian principle underlying our Manifest Destiny is at work here hand in hand with Divine Guidance. Our daily experience of the world is telling us that such atavistic European ideas of the “sanctity of life” and similar outworn liberal notions are something we should by now have outgrown. Away with these feeble maunderings! Let us embrace the truth of our existence here! When President Trump said that he could shoot someone in the street and lose none of his support, he was articulating an idea of prophetic intensity, quite consistent with the wisdom of his presidency.
Make it more difficult for people to buy guns? Rubbish! I say: give everyone in the country a gun and make it mandatory to wear it at all times. Indeed, there are some more enlightened parts of the USA where this notion is already being put into practise in small, hesitant baby steps..This is nothing other than the logic of the situation. When a child reaches the age of eight, give him or her a revolver. Perhaps it should be of a small caliber at first, a .22 say, and as he or she grows older – if he or she survives – give the teenager a bigger gun. By age 25, everyone should be carrying at least a 9mm automatic, or a .357 Magnum, by law.
Furthermore, children should be taught at home and in school not to tolerate any teasing or slights. Any such behavior should be met with the maximum force of retribution. This simple principle should be carried on into adult life.
How would such a scheme be financed? The national purse should be able to supply the demand, but any shortfall could be made up by charging for ammunition. Nevertheless, bullets should always be affordable. Discounts could be given for people returning the spent cartridges to the ammunition suppliers; the more spent cartridges, the greater the discount, as clearly, here is a person who is endeavouring to carry out the Divine Will and evolutionary logic. And in any case, we know that there are enough guns in the country to equip every citizen many times over.
Murder and manslaughter should, of course, no longer be criminal activities, but applauded as acts in harmony with the natural working out of our National Destiny. People should be encouraged to avenge with extreme prejudice any death or wounding of a family member or loved one as part of our duty, part of our heritage.
This course of action would naturally lead to an extremely high number of corpses. The obvious answer to the question of how to cope with such numbers of deaths is to eat the bodies while they are still relatively fresh. This would be a first-rate way of feeding the poorer sections of our community. To those who recoil from this solution, I say: consider the ecology of the planet and the impact of cattle farming on the production of dairy products and beef. Eating our dead would mean fewer beef cattle being farmed, and thus decrease the toxic gases produced from cattle, or the destruction of forest needed to graze cattle, and hence be a step towards saving the planet. Also, the skeletons of the deceased could be ground down into bone meal for fertilizer for our needy fields. Of course, some lingering sentiment about treatment of our loved ones would need re-education. Furthermore, funeral parlors would need to integrate new practises into their profession. It should not take long for our undertakers to learn the rudiments of butchery; the hygienic treatment of flesh and organ meat for preparation for the table.
The result of this proposal should be ultimately that only the most ruthless and quickest on the draw – that is to say, the fittest - will survive. The writer Djuna Barnes once wrote that Americans are a fierce and sadistic people hiding behind radiators. Now we must come out from behind the radiators with six-guns blazing! The times demand it!
Perhaps some may find this proposal distressingly inhumane. I submit that it is no more so than our present situation. Indeed, calling this idea inhumane is simply a failure to understand the reality of our times. Those who luxuriate in such outdated notions should be the first to be culled.
If anyone thinks that I write from a selfish point of view, be assured that I have no connection with any gun manufacturers, or stock in any company making weapons, so I would not personally profit from this proposal becoming official policy. But if we fail to recognize that this is what the logic of our situation demands, then we are doomed to the misery of living with murder and mayhem without understanding that it is the inevitable direction of our historyand has been, ever since the first white man killed the first Indian. Let us embrace our ineluctable fate. And may the last one standing be a worthy inheritor of the world thus created.