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New Times / Commentary

The following article was posted on January 24th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 26

An Ice Age of emotions on a warming planet

Talking guns is hot right now

BY CHARMAINE COIMBRA

Once again this nation has discharged the looney-tunes world of uncompromising gun ownership. Meanwhile, the planet no longer politely speaks and now hands us looney-tune climate conditions. Rude is rampant. Gun fanatics scream while Mother Earth kicks us like an old tin can. I’m feeling like I might want to resurrect one of those bomb shelters from the early 1960s.

I thought correlating guns and climate change was clever and original until I searched and found a Methodist minister in Wales who begins his recent blog with: “There is an eerie parallel between the gun control and climate change debates. Both involve statistics, ‘evidence,’ and entrenched positions.”

If I wasn’t too busy with life last week, I might have beaten the Rev. Richard Hall to the punch on this written correlation.

My personal statement on guns rides the middle of the road while nodding to non-violent principles. Sport, marksmanship, basic protection—sure, why not? But military guns of damned near mass destructive force? WTF? Are you crazy? Oh, perhaps I shouldn’t ask.

Gun control conspiracy theories shoot from right-wing hips like a DSR-Precision DSR 50 Sniper rifle. And the voices of public health concern are name-called “… anti-gun freedom haters,” “a wussy,” and worse. Fortunately these are silly words and not bullets.

Meanwhile our friend/foe (depending on your point of worldview), Mother Earth, is bitch-slapping the entire planet with a nice kick in the rear end on the North American continent. Reuters recently reported: “The consequences of climate change are now hitting the United States on several fronts, including health, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture and especially more frequent severe weather … .”

This ominous assessment comes from the “Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review,” released this month. (The downloaded report is huge at 1,146 pages or 147 Mb, but individual chapters can be downloaded.)

Reuters reduces the report’s 1,146 pages to: “The report noted that of an increase in average U.S. temperatures of about 1.5 degrees F (.83 degree C) since 1895, when reliable national record-keeping began, more than 80 percent had occurred in the past three decades.

“With heat-trapping gases already in the atmosphere, temperatures could rise by a further 2 to 4 degrees F (1.1 to 2.2 degrees C) in most parts of the country over the next few decades,” the report said.

“Certain positive consequences of rising temperatures, such as a longer growing season, were said to be offset by more disruptive impacts, including:

• threats to human health from increased extreme weather events, wildfires, and air pollution, as well as diseases spread by insects and through food and water;

• less reliable water supply, and the potential for water rights to become a hot-button legal issue;

• more vulnerable infrastructure due to sea-level rise, bigger storm surges, heavy downpours, and extreme heat;

• warmer and more acidic oceans.”

Now I’d bet money that a large portion of the same folks who say unlimited guns and ammo at all costs will respond to this climate change report as a governmental hoax, or some latent communist-socialist-fascist-atheist-anti-Christ in Christmas-minorities’ conspiracy. It’s as crazy as the weather these days.

I wonder if this Ice Age of emotions thought pattern isn’t directly correlated deep within our DNA to the melting Arctic. Does it have to do with the innate realization that our planet is bigger than us and that we do not have dominion except to destroy? If we seek security in the knowledge that we can annihilate others and justify that as an inalienable right, then what have we created?

My counter is to what end must we achieve peace of soul, family, and home? Will we passively deny that our planet’s well-being has nothing to do with our well-being? Do we insist on bringing a gun to Mother Earth’s hurricane party?

The answers are complex and not without the pain of withdrawal. My dream is a positive change. The evidence is everywhere. The warm outpouring of emotion from last month’s depiction of an insane rampage against the innocent over-powered that gunman’s frozen soul.

There are millions upon millions of persons who stand for balance and work for peace. But they are not as easily heard as the piercing voices of fear and paranoia. But there is one great equalizer, and you know who she is.

Charmaine Coimbra lives in Cambria. Send comments to the executive editor at rmiller@newtimesslo.com.