Why I choose the Gun, by Gen. Peter Van Uhm

A very interesting talk regarding the role of guns – and weapons in general in our world. To have an organization that usually specializes in art (painting, dancing, poetry, etc.) have a soldier be invited to their forum is to me unprecedented.

This talk was enlightening; the gun as a weapon of peace? One of my first thoughts went back to a saying by George Carlin that I had learned while in college.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity

Isn’t that what a gun was originally made for? For fighting? If not guns, think about the origins of every weapon created by man. The sword/bladed weapons come to mind. Can weapons be used as a method of peace?

Just to play the devil’s advocate, oppressors and tyrants throughout history have used the term “peace” to enforce their own version of hell. But there is the flip side that some of these methods have indeed created peace. An example would be the conditions that the Mongol Empire created when Genghis Khan and his decedents came into power. There is a maxim that states: In the Mongol Empire, an old woman can travel between two villages at night carrying water without the fear of bandits and thieves. 

The argument that the immense fear that the Mongols had created the peace; the safety that any woman could enjoy under Mongol rule. What this was General Peter Van Uhm meant by using the gun as a means to peace?

As someone who is a practicing Aikidoist and aspiring martial artist in general, how do we fit in this paradigm? In Aikido, non-violence above all else and we shall never do harm to an opponent. If they get hurt from a Kotegaeshi then that’s fine but killing and maiming is out of the question. Then there’s the other side of the spectrum: killing – which is basically what war is composed of.

Can guns be used for peace? Sure, but who is doing the shooting, who is getting shot at, and why are both parties fighting each other; that’s the question. As the saying goes: It’s not the gun that kills, it’s the person . As Gen. Van Uhm explains: there are those people who picked up the pen, dance, and sing as their contribution to a better world. I picked up the gun.

What I will pick up to contribute to the world remains to be seen. So what do you guys think?


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