This is the final weekend for the New Orleans Art Show: Prospect 3, and one of the most interesting exhibitions would have to be Guns in the Hands of Artists at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. The images and texts speak for themselves.Jonathan Ferrara’s statement regarding his own work Excalibur No More is most telling: “I have never owned a gun and thought it would be a difficult and cumbersome process. It actually took about five minutes.” “After finding the gun online, the seller brought it to the gallery and I gave him the money and he gave me the gun. That was it, no paperwork, no receipt, no record, totally legal. It blew my mind. Of course, I had to engage in a fifteen minute conversation about the 2nd Amendment with the seller.”
As much as the people of the United States might like to focus on their guns, let’s not forget that chemical weapons are also part of an historic past. Smallpox-infected blankets were given to Native Americans as part of a virtual genocide in the 18th century. The U.S. government is also known to have used chemical weapons in World War I, developed a biological weapons project under Franklin D Roosevelt and doused pretty much all of Vietnam with Agent Orange. And then of course there’s the use of nuclear weapons.
And so…what if the United States government had decided that chemical weapons were worth the amendment, and not guns, in 1791? A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear chemical weapons shall not be infringed. Is this what they would be fighting for now? Would it be the National Chemical Weapons Associations (NCWA) rather than the National Rifle Association (NRA)? Would mentally crazed individuals be running through campuses spraying nerve gas? Would so many others be collecting various strains and keep them loosely locked in bedroom closets? And would the U.S. government send aid to Syria, in the form of canisters, when people were killed by gunfire instead?
I have to admit that it is hard to write my blog today. I cannot process in any way what happened yesterday in Connecticut. I don’t know how it is possible for someone to kill children one after the other, putting not one bullet into each tiny person, but several into every one of them, every last one. It makes me think that maybe the Mayans were actually right, that this really is the end of us, that the apocalypse has arrived, not with great storms and collapsing fault lines in the earth, but in us, dumb, staring at each other, wondering how we really got to this. And we did. The fact is that there are people – millions and millions of them – that will actually continue to support the right to bear arms as it is stated in the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They will say that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people, that guns have nothing to do with it. They will actually say that. And they will believe it. They will actually fucking believe it. That isn’t politics. That’s suicide, pure and simple. Guns don’t kill people? Really? How would that lunatic have killed 20 kids without his damned guns? How fucking stupid can you be? Anyway, yeah, the Pain and Guilt step of suffering grief, instructs that, as the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs – as tempting as they might appear at the moment. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase. Does it ever. But to get through all of this insanity, I recommend that you look within as much as you can bear and maybe listen to The Great Destroyer by the American group Low. When I go deaf/ I won’t even mind/ Yeah, I’ll be fine. The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino) is required viewing, reminding us that war kills everything in body, mind and spirit. This one’s nothing but pain and guilt, horribly, beautifully so.. I also encourage you to delve into the writings of the great philosophers like Arthur Schopenhauer: They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice…that suicide is wrong, when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person. And don’t stop at Schopenhauer. You must keep going. Read as much miserable philosophy as you can bear.
Most important of all, do something. Please. Sign a petition. Write a letter. Speak your mind, damn it! Fight these monsters right to the fucking end. Do it! Really, do it. Or else you have to just watch the world go to its damned and terrible end.