Guns Don't Kill People
"Life is not a contest! ... no matter how well or badly you live,
no matter how smart or rich or attractive or famous anyone
happens to be, everybody dies. Most of what happens is beyond our
control, so we can try to do some things gracefully, and be kind
to each other when we have a chance."
In a world of chaos
And a time of confusion,
They say that
Guns don't kill people,
That people kill people
And they must be right
For all I have known
In this life of suffering and woe
Is vicious mayhem
Shot through the eyes and tongues
As power from the barrel of a gun
And through the bullet
Or the bomb
Or the mine
Or the gas or napalm
Or toxic microbes or deadly molecules
Or cosmos splitting atoms
Drafted for the cause of the greater good
Did the dirty deed
It was the filthy mind
And hardened heart
That caused the event,
Those horrendous episodes
Marking humankind's progression
With such momentous milestones ...
And yet who among us is free
Of the passions and commitments
That rue our days?
Our cultures thrive on violence,
But soldiers cannot afford the luxury of hate,
So pols and clerics and journalists
Are seemingly nourished by venom!
Entrepreneurs and teachers, police and medicos
Vehemently divide and subdivide their worlds
And lawyers have become the new casuists
For the modern inquisition
Into true belief!
But for indisputably abominable malice
Go no further than the nearest woman scorned!
Mothers-in-law and divorcées
Are just the latest iteration
Of tribeswomen torturing incapacitated warriors!
Anything but that!
But consider their pathetic plight,
They always have such fine excuses
For boiling a man's brain inside his skull!
For feeding him piecemeal to vermin!
For exsanguinating him with a thousand cuts!
For immuring or enslaving him
Until he is no more!
Certainly they do ... and don't we all?
Is there anyone, even the criminally insane,
Who cannot rationalize his conduct?
Who does not explain his behavior?
Who does not justify himself?
And perhaps some are more logical than others,
But don't they sound just like us?
And look just like us?
And act just like us?
Are we so filled with a death wish,
Paling our other torrid lusts,
That we seek the extinction of life as we know it?
As a former footslogging trigger-puller,
I've seen lots of silver bullets
But never a magic bullet that worked!
There is no miraculous fail-safe
Since whatever the mind of man can devise
The mind of man can penetrate or pervert,
So the mechanical safety
Of moral and physical discipline
Is the only fix I've found
For our ubiquitous intolerance ...
If we do not makhe psychic space and private room
For us to accommodate each other,
Then we will find our desperate wish fulfilled:
We shall all be proved incontestably right,
"They made a trophy to the honored dead with their arms and
armor, and when this memorial had decayed away, we had not
forgotten war, but only the glorious battles of our past."
by Bock Pauldron
... who is a Vietnam War veteran, a social worker, and freelance
writer; with works published in professional journals and