Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Valuable Values

OK, it's been an entire weekend of listening to people parcel out blame among their pre-existing moral hobby-horses in regard to which of them is most to blame for the massacre in Connecticut. Guns. Video games. Bad Bruce Willis movies. I have my own opinion on all of them, except for the Bruce Willis movies because they don't pay me enough money to see enough of those to develop an opinion. Here's my feeling on all of them. You know what the real culprit is?
Profit. - Charlie Pierce
I love few things more than the constant barrage of noise about traditional values.  Really.  What, after all, does the word "value" mean?  Something is of value if and only if we can reasonably set it aside other things of greater or lesser value.  Otherwise, it is either worthless (of no value) or priceless (outside the set of those things upon which we bestow value).  All that talk about "traditional values" only shows the folks doing the talking have been nabbed and landed, and are currently drying on the stringer held up by capitalism.

Let's face it.  Not just in principle but in fact, everything is up for sale in this country.  We are one gigantic junk yard, filled with people willing to do just about anything to trade for cold hard cash whatever someone else is willing to pay.  Why else would "family" be thought a "traditional value" if it weren't something we were willing to trade, say, to a reality television producer to splatter dysfunction across the nation's screens for titillation and the marvelous frisson that comes from seeing someone's life that is far more screwed up that one's own?  The next time you hear someone talking about "traditional American values", remember they are only trying to part your money from you.

A simple test: What's of more value?  The tens of thousands of very real lives lost to gun violence or the right to own a weapon?  A 2010 study in the Southern Medical Journal, as reported by News-Medical.net reports that having a gun in the home is 12 times more likely to lead to death of a resident or visitor than an intruder.  The evidence is pretty clear, it seems.  You want to protect your home?  Keep guns out of them.

Except, of course, that isn't the story we're told over and over again, by an industry that seeks to profit from our fear of The Other.  We are told over and over and over again that our homes and our families' lives and safety are so valuable, we should invest in a firearm for protection.  Even though the available data indicates that owning a firearm actually increases the danger to those in that home.

So, again - what's really of value?  The lives of those we love or the erroneous aura of protection we get from owning a weapon that is far more likely to be used in a suicide or accidental shooting than to protect our property or family?

Remember.  When you wonder if capitalism can alter our ways of thinking, consider again this simple fact: If you own a gun, it is twelve times more likely to be used against a resident or visitor than an intruder.  We aren't told that, however, because gun manufacturers have convinced us, for their own profit, that owning a firearm will keep our families safe.  

Virtual Tin Cup

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