posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 01:27 PM
I love ATS, but I've never felt moved to start posting until reading the pro/anti gun discussion today.
I'm in the UK here, but I know many Americans and have visited the States a couple of times - my experiences of Americans are fairly uniform and
similar to that of my British friends, so I'd like to dispel a myth. Europeans and British people do not hate Americans. We don't hate the American
model of freedom. It is true that American policy was unpopular during the Neo-Con era, but the hearts and minds of Europe have always been with the
American people themselves. I have found Americans to be loud and sometimes obnoxious by Euro standards, but I have also found them to be warm,
welcoming, kind, thoughtful and generous. I've barely met an American I didn't personally enjoy the company of. Here in Britain we love 'can do'
people, and America is literally founded on it.
However, discussions like this one remind me of what I consider to be the major failing of the American attitude - the insistence that the US way is
always the best. In Europe every country has it's strengths and weaknesses, but there is - to my mind - a concerted effort to actively assess one's
own national qualities and failings with a view to bringing in ideas and concepts from elsewhere that are proven to work. For instance, Americans who
have never visited Britain would, I think, be surprised by some of the ideas we borrow from your culture.
Americans, with the greatest of respect, seem to find this concept difficult. Without wishing to change the course of debate, socialised healthcare is
a good example. My own life has been saved by this service, and lives in my family too. When my American friend developed appendicitus, he was amazed
to discover that our service would treat him - a guest - completely free of charge. I cannot understand why freedom loving Americans would be opposed
to sharing the burden of care to protect the health of their fellow Americans. But that's for you to decide, that's just my opinion.
Anyhow, with regards to this debate, I believe Americans are blind to the real harm slavishly protecting the Second Amendment does to their culture.
We have guns in Britain too, and I believe firmly they have good practical uses as I come from a rural place. I do not believe that ordinary Americans
need to have the right to stockpile military type arms virtually at will.
My reason? Freedom. As I stated before, my experience of America and Americans is one of good, honest, hard working people. All societies have bad
people, criminals - people who want to stamp all over your normal life, but they are a tiny minority. I know almost all Americans are good people, so
why the need to be so afraid of each other? I don't believe you are truly free when you feel the need to sleep with a loaded revolver in your bedside
drawer because of what a countryman might do to you. I know the answer to this is 'well, it might happen one day', but so could a lot of things -
but it's much more likely to happen when a criminal breaks into your family's home carrying because he thinks you might have a gun, and knows the
cops certainly will. Fear is not freedom, it never has been and it never will be.
True American freedom, in my opinion, comes from being able to critically assess situations and challenge ingrained beliefs. If you were truly free,
society would welcome discourse over whether the way we've always done things is still the right way to do them. Are the needs and concerns of 1778
America the same as those of 2012? You probably wouldn't use a medical document from that era, so why a law? You can change long held beliefs, even
central ones, as long as they remain in the spirit of the original.
I know guns in America won't go away, and banning them outright is literally impossible, but I really think you folks needs to start considering
where all this is going for the long term. I don't have the solutions as I'm not an expert, but given guns are useful for professional things like
farming / hunting / sport and - although I don't agree - home protection, isn't it time to start limiting people to weapons appropriate for those
tasks? I'm really not sure anyone needs an AK.
Anyhow, I mean this very faithfully, so I apologise if it offends. I just don't like seeing good Americans hurt or killed because of - what are in my
opinion - very outdated laws.
Peace, and my sincere condolences to those affected by this recent tragedy.