By Charles Mercieca*, Ph.D., TRANSCEND - Over the past few decades, the United States has emerged to become the most violent nation in the civilized world. This did not happen overnight. In fact, we can trace this nation’s source of violence to the draft of its Constitution, which has now emerged to become the nation’s dangerous enemy. Jesus of Nazareth described the human being as homo hominis lupus, which may be translated as man is his own worst enemy.
Enactment of US Constitution
Although the US Constitution was written in good faith, a couple of centuries later a small segment of it has become malignant and it needs now to be removed.
We know that when one develops a cancer, such a malady becomes a threat to one’s life and needs to be taken away.
The more we delay removing it the more it may spread beyond hope before we know it. The malignant tumor in the US Constitution is found in the phrase: the right to bear arms.
The Founders of the US Constitution decided to insert such a phrase because of their times. At that time there were no airplanes, no trains, no busses, no radars, no telephones, and no facilities for communication.
Circumstances Fully Changed
Confronted by such facts, these Founders saw it wise to insert that everyone in the nation has a right to bear arms and that such a right cannot be infringed. Once the people left their town they would be the only source of their defense and safety.
Over the past 300 years, the circumstances fully changed. Today, this nation has many airports, plenty of trains and busses, in addition to telephones, mobiles and radars that control every inch of the entire nation.
This means that the constitutional phrase referring to the right of everyone to bear arms everywhere is no longer applicable. Instead of abrogating this malignant phrase or replacing the word “right” by the world “privilege,” some leading sources in the nation continue to fight for such a “right.”
As a result, there are millions of guns and military equipment in the hands of tens of thousands who have often used such weapons to kill many people from every walk of life and profession, including little children, like we have seen in December 2012 in Newton, Connecticut.
We have witnessed there six teachers being killed along with 20 children ages 6 and 7 in just one morning. Such episodes in the United States take place periodically. Ironically, some states even allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus on a daily basis!
Money Behind Bizarre Actions
In order to understand the tremendous opposition we face from a number of sources when it comes to updating the US Constitution as to make it more relevant and safe, we have to comprehend other sources as well.
As a Capitalist nation, the philosophy of this country is based on making money without limit from any source possible. The manufacture and sales of guns and other weapons have emerged into a lucrative business.
We have eventually developed a mafia type of society that would justify anything if it generates money.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has quite a few millions of members all of them owning guns and other types of weapons. This organization makes tens of millions of dollars yearly and uses most of this money to finance those running for political offices and who promote strongly the right to bear arms.
Each time we have massacres by private individuals, the gun makers and dealers, instead of proposing strict gun control laws, they advocate that every single American should be equipped with guns for self-defense!
It Is About Money
All that you need in the USA to purchase and own guns along with all kind of weapons is merely money. Some time ago a few teen agers in California were asked as to whether it was difficult for them to purchase guns.
The answer was quick: We do not need any permission or license to get all the guns we want; we need only to have money since we can purchase guns like a piece of candy! Since everyone in the USA can carry legally concealed weapons, when it comes to the safeguard of the American people both the military and the police force are rendered helpless and hopeless. They are totally incapacitated.
We may here understand why during the decade of the eighties, Blessed Pope John Paul II said in Mexico that world peace would come but only after two of the greatest evils of the 20th century are gone.
He stated that these two great evils are communism and capitalism because both advance their causes through the exploitation of people. Shortly after communism collapsed and the world took a sigh of relief. Then capitalism moved forward to dominate the world through the exploitation of people and the human resources.
Following the massacre of six teachers and 20 little children in Newton, Connecticut in December 2012, President Barack Obama vouched to do his utmost to have the US government ban assault weapons.
This is expected to take place hopefully in the early part of the year 2013. Still, the US President is experiencing opposition from a number of Senators and Congressmen to have such a ban become a law. Although this would be a step in the right direction, the safety of all Americans would require by all means some kind of control over the excessive manufacture and sales of guns as well.
Culture of War Nation
We may begin to realize how the USA is fully built on the culture of war whose real goal is to generate endless money. The more violence is created within the USA and around the world, the more the capitalists in this nation, through the weapons industry and the military industrial complex, become capable of generating unlimited money. Scholastic philosophers, headed by St. Thomas Aquinas, tell us: nemo dat quod not habet – no one can give something that one does not have. As a rule, we give others only from what we have.
All of this explains why the United States seems to have made it a point to try to equip as many nations as possible with all kind of weapons and military equipment.
This is not motivated from a genuine concern for such nations’ safeguard and security. It is all instigated from the offered opportunity to bring as many countries under full control through the creation of fear and the consequent need for what is termed to be “self-defense.” This is fully verified by the fact that the USA today has military bases in more than 146 nations.
Weapons and Military Equipment
Ironically, while such countries as China and Japan would offer other nations assistance in the areas of medicine and education, the United States would offer to these same nations assistance in the provision of weapons and military equipment, along with the building and training of a national military unit.
A quick glance at the entire recorded history of civilization over the past 6,000 years show us continuously and systematically that violence breeds violence and more violence breeds more violence.
Some of the leading and most influential individuals that had great impact on the evolution of history provided solutions to many crucial problems through peaceful dialogues.
They were all adamant in their condemnation of violence of any kind for they were fully convinced that violence makes everyone a loser and no one a winner. Mahatma Gandhi advocated that we can overcome all kinds of problems through peaceful means, as he demonstrated in his opposition to the mighty British military force in his nation of India.
We should always keep in mind the admonition Jesus of Nazareth gave to his disciple Peter when he took out his sword to defend his Master Teacher. Jesus warned Peter saying: Put the sword away for he who kills by the sword will die by the sword.
If Jesus were to address the United States at this stage of history, we should not be surprised if he states loud and clear: Put your guns away for those who kill by the guns will die by the guns. The fact that in the USA people can buy guns like pieces of candy with no required license is rendering gun ownership to become highly abusive and notably dangerous.
National Priorities at Work
Where does the USA put its top priorities when it comes to national expenditures? If actions speak louder than words, this nation has regularly put the bulk of its money not on the health care, education and housing facilities of its people, but on the manufacture and sales of weapons and the systematic promotion of wars.
The USA has some 900 foreign military bases that consume billions of dollars monthly. This is totally wasted money, which is being taken from the vital needs of the American people to their very own detriment.
The numerous military bases the USA has in countries across every continent, demonstrates its thirst for the potential creation of upheavals and conflicts.
The presence of the military has never served in history to provide food for the hungry, to furnish house facilities for the homeless, to give medical assistance to the sick, and to help schools with needed educational equipment. The military by its very nature exists to promote violence, which is supported by the government regardless of the consequences.
The United States has emerged to become the only nation in history that developed the habit to use its military around the entire world to control as many nations as possible from every aspect conceivable.
This nation has put itself constantly above the law. While it does what it likes and no one is expected to stop her, it continues to dictate to other nations what they should and should not do. For example, it’s all right for this nation to have thousands of nuclear weapons and to use them as it pleases even without warning.
At the same time, while it allows countries like Israel to have an unlimited amount of nuclear weapons, the USA prohibits a number of nations, including Iran, from having even one single nuclear weapon.
This nation needs to keep in mind that if one nation claims the right to have nuclear weapons, every other nation on earth has the same identical right. If the USA was not deeply trenched in the culture of war, it would have taken drastic steps long time ago to develop an international program of disarmament and arms control.
Theoretically, the United States could still devise a good way in taking such a step toward disarmament and arms control. But in practice things are entirely different. As stated earlier, the USA is a capitalistic nation that puts top priority on making money without limit.
To this end, every step taken would become justifiable, even if it involves the destruction of the infrastructure of cities and the massacre of numerous innocent people. When the USA was asked about the number of civilians that were killed in Iraq, the answer was simple: We do not keep a count on such an item since we view that as collateral damage!
Curbing Military Expenditure
If 50% of the military budget were to be cut off, the USA would still remain militarily the most powerful nation on earth, as pointed out by former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. This nation could then use most of this “wasted military money” to eliminate from the surface of our planet plenty of suffering and misery.
However, when violence becomes a standard policy of a nation, especially in its foreign affairs, it would be somewhat difficult for the world at large to develop trust and confidence in such a nation.
In his farewell address to the US Congress, President Dwight Eisenhower said clearly: Remember that all people of all nations want peace, only their government wants war.
The American Addiction to Violence and Wars
Unfortunately, this well-inspired US president was never taken seriously to this day. Still, we may continue to move forward with determination until we set up a solid ground for the creation of a genuine and lasting world-wide peace. Unless the United States makes peace rather than war as top priority, it may soon cease to be a world power, before we even know it.
Needless to say, there are many sources that continue to encourage the American addiction to violence and wars. All those responsible individuals and organizations that remain silent when confronted with US foreign war policies, share in the guilt of all those that promote violence and wars.
Clergymen need to advocate our sacrosanct moral obligation to promote love and peace among each other instead of hatred and wars. Lawyers ought to demonstrate that the promotion of violence and wars constitutes a violation of human rights.
Teachers at all levels of education should make it clear that all human beings, regardless of where they come from, are morally obligated to promote policies of harmony and peace.
And all law-abiding citizens are to communicate periodically to their government officials to remind them that they expect to see from them policies that would lead to the solution of all the problems we face through healthy dialogues and never through wars of any kind.
This would enable the USA to become the most peaceful nation on earth in due time.
*Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – President, International Association of Educators for World Peace, Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament.
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University.
-Hon President & Professor, SBS Swiss Business School, Zurich.
-Member, TRANSCEND-A Network for Peace, Development and Environment.
**Image: The Statue of Liberty | Credit: Elcobbola | Wikimedia Commons