Guns Aren’t for Killing?

Ian Zimmermann


August 20, 2009

When I keep seeing these videos of guns rights activists outside of Obama health care rallies my stomach twists into knots. Sure, Second Amendment activists at these events haven’t yet been acting criminally, but I can’t help but feel that we take for granted our ability to have legitimate, nonviolent, political dialogue in this country – and that these people, who aren’t acting violently, are serving as kindling for radical, violent behavior.

I just finished a book called The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? It lays out the assassination of Guatemalan bishop Juan Gerardi’s in 1998 by a group of right-wing government agents. The murder was allegedly retaliation for Gerardi’s support of the UN and Catholic Church’s attempts to expose human rights violations by nationalist forces throughout the twentieth century.

I’d love to think that I could be capable of doing something to encourage Guatemalans to abandon unfortunate historical methods of dealing with political disagreement; the use of guns instead of words. But it seems that if nothing can be done here in America to keep our political disagreements on the discussion table and away from violent engagements, then it is none of my business to criticize the political workings of another country.

Ian Zimmermann