Overestimation Of The Effectiveness Of Killing Of The Enemy (As A Conflict Resolution Strategy) As A Part Of Human Nature and Legacy of Human History

U.S. annually spends on its military needs as much as the whole world combined – in 2012 we spend $682.5 billion (in comparison with China – $166.1 billion, and Russia – $90.7 billion).

Gun violence takes upwards of 30,000 lives a year and injures another 75,000. Federal funding for research (of the reasons of gun violence) is less than $200,000 a year. In contrast, public health research on motor vehicle accidents – which also claim 30,000 lives each year – receives close to $4 million… There is a proposal in Congress to allow for $10 million in research funding, but it has no chance of making it – our Department of Health and Human Services prohibits any of the funds from being used, and I’m quoting directly here, “to advocate or promote gun control”. That means even if I had money to do the research it would be a crime to talk about the policy implications… When Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona, an armed man was preparing to shoot the person he saw with a gun. People at the scene said, “Wait, the guy with the gun is a good guy!” Unarmed citizens had disarmed Jared Loughner. The man with the gun has said that, if he reacted more quickly, he would have shot the wrong guy…The way to reduce the number of people who die from gun violence is to prevent them from being shot in the first place… Background checks and finding people who are prohibited from owning firearms and preventing them from acquiring any reduces their risk of committing crimes that involved firearms by 25 to 30 percent. There is also good evidence that regulating the market makes it more difficult to acquire firearms for illegal purposes.
“Up in Arms – Interview with emergency room doctor Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention research Program at the University of California, Davis”, New Scientist, 28 Sept. 2013, p. 30 – 31

Pistol owners’ fantasy of blowing away home-invading bad guys or street toughs holding up liquor stores is a myth debunked by the data showing that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense… 337,960 nonfatal violent crimes were committed with guns in 2010.

Michael Shermer, “Gun Science (How Data Can Help Clarify the Gun-control Debate)”, “Scientific American”, May 2013, p. 83

American leadership (the representatives of the financial or political elites) and American masses both have the same addiction to weapons (decision makers to macro weapons – for global wars, and ordinary citizen – to individual weapons – for shooting one another). The more intensely and extensively American military forces arm themselves against enemies abroad, the more regular people do the same inside the country out of fear of and hate for each other. What a remarkable unity and solidarity between the rulers and the population. Can this be a sign of democracy? Or, to the contrary, is it a sign of totalitarianism?

Among the cultural causes of American addiction to weapons the fundamental seems to be the collapse of people’s ability for a democratic discourse with otherness (with dissimilar people). Today, not only those at the age of 25 are much less humanistically educated (in liberal arts) but those who are 45 years old. They cannot talk rationally with people with other worldviews and life styles – for them it’s psychologically easier to scandalize and fight. They don’t have enough verbal and cognitive skills to try to establish a rational communication. The disciplines like psychology and sociology, or serious art hadn’t touch their minds and hearts, but instead they‘re overdosed on militaristic propaganda, violent videogames, detective serials and rock concerts. Their intelligence has become only technical, instrumental – based on technical professions, but as human beings most Americans today are naïve and not self-reflective, like children, and intellectually awkward. By the efforts of commercial (entertaining) art they have been made addicted to fun and immediate emotional pleasure. For them, to be serious means to be able to catch job amidst joblessness, instead of being able to think about life disinterestedly. When they can’t avoid serious problems they quickly become frustrated, angry, and are ready to pull out judgmentalism, hate and guns.

Among the psychological and financial causes of American addiction to weapons is the obsessive fear of other people. If you are very lucky your weapon can by chance defend you in concrete situation but more often it will endanger you even more. Using weapons in the international or personal conflicts creates more problems on the long range – it mystifies the weapon use, stimulates in the gun-worshippers unconscious bravado which pushes them to use weapon again and again. It transforms adults into adolescents with their tendency to self-assert and self-impose through fighting to prove that they are no sissies: so, they provoke fighting because of their social inferiority complex (inevitable in their age). Big boys in high rank uniforms are prone to be psychologically underdeveloped – too willing/rushing to use force, fascinated by high-tech weapon-toys and impatient to play with them at the expense of the lives of the low military ranks. Propaganda of militarism becomes a commercial propaganda – the way to stabilize career success of the “generals”, of the makers and producers of weapon systems and to enlarge the military-industrial complex in general. To this it’s necessary to add the ontological inferiority connected with consciously or unconsciously traumatic loss of maternal object in childhood – then the idea of weapons becomes a kind of a pacifier for adults who were traumatized in childhood by this loss and didn’t have enough symbolic objects later (including intelligent and analytical words) to soften this basic deprivation.

Religious cause of American addiction to weapons is idolatrous regression (regression to idolatry) of the very human spirituality. People who believe in weapons are, psychologically believers – the believing function in them is stronger than the rational mind. It doesn’t matter that the military strategists “think hard” when they elaborate and sharpen their strategic and tactical concepts. It is their very motivation (behind their “calculation”) that is the problem – they function as psychological fragments, not as “holistically balanced” human beings. Their “thinking” is about “application” of their desires and dreams to reality, not about understanding of their (unconscious) intentions behind their desires and emotional reactions in general. People on whom life of others depends, be their “our enemies” or other people on American streets exposed to gun violence, are not too self-reflective, they didn’t read books about self-reflection and they didn’t go through psychoanalytical procedure (where they could learn a lot about themselves as human beings and become analytical towards their own feelings and axioms of life). They are technicians of using force, not developed individuals. Addiction to weapon is a form of idolatry – belief in supernatural power of the idolized weapon to protect us. People who believe in weapon don’t understand that it is not another person, whom they are ready to kill with orgasmic feeling of wiping up the very essence of the evil, who are the danger to them but circumstances of this person’s and their own life from their childhood – family poverty, an uneducated parents, authoritarian atmosphere in the family, ideology glorifying consumerism and violence, etc.

The prejudice that animosity is a result of the existence of the enemy and not the other way around comes from the far past when our ancestors didn’t understand the systemic – not the personal nature of human violent desires. Our ancestors identified transgressive behavior with personal will of the transgressor (perceived as Hollywood movies’ “bad guys”), not with the system of living suggesting to people to behave in a certain way, for example, to compete, risk, achieve victory and be proud of yourself. It is only from 18th and especially 19th centuries that the concept of systemic influence (on the individuals) of super-individual and super-collective norms of thinking and behavior became better understood. Individual and collective killing comes to us from the times before people understood the real origin of human behavior. To think that the “bad guys” are reasons for human problems and conflicts is outdated – “villains” are created by the very conditions of life which makes us susceptible to ideological (propagandist) scapegoating suggestions. This outdated picture of the reasons for clashes between people is especially harmful today because of the excessive destructive power of the high-tech weapons. The higher the might of the weapon is the stronger is the urge to use it – people love to be obedient to mighty idols. In a moment of shooting somebody you feel great, but later it can return to you. Look at the high level of “friendly fire” in modern warfare! The stronger the weapon is the higher probability of accidents.

High-tech weapons, be it a machine-gun or drone rockets are as outdated as a dagger embellished with diamonds. How stupid we are that we cannot resolve international and intra-national conflicts and cannot make our own people less desperate and fearful – by the power of human mind instead of using mind of power.