1. Absence or want of light (total or partial).
2. The quality of being dark in shade or colour.
3. Absence of the ‘light’ of life; death.
4. Gloom of sorrow, trouble, or distress.
However, when I was asked to define darkness for this project, I came to a somewhat different conclussion. Darkness for me, is everywhere. There are all kinds of darkness and dark forces in our world today, but I believe that the most profound darkness that we encounter is the production and distribution of small arms.
According to the Control Arms website; there are approximately 640 million guns in circulation today: adding up to about 1 per 10 people. Throughout the world about 800,000 guns are destroyed every year, but taking into acount that 8 million are made each year, we are left with the fact that for every gun that is destroyed, ten new guns are made. The problem only grows greater, and it doesn’t help that most states resell their surplus weapons instead of destroying them, ensuring the ever-increasing proliferation of guns across the world.
For this project, I wanted to adress this very serious issue. The general population is unaware and moreover, generally ignorant to the problem. I decided that in order to combat this issue, the problem of small arms trafficking and proliferation must be addressed by the use of addvertising the situation. Making a piece such as a poster is can be very effective in this way. It could be posted in a magazine, on a billboard, or plastered along a wall among the many posters for upcoming concerts and events. With more people aware of the issue at hand, maybe we can speed up this process of controling it.
Of course there are many organizations trying to address and combat this issue. Organizations such as Oxfam International, Amnesty International, the International Action Network on Small Arms (I.A.N.S.A.), and of course, the United Nations (to name a few). Treaties are being signed, pettitions are being collected, and campaigns are running their courses. However, even with all the support of this action of controling the trafficking and distribution of small arms and their components, one of the largest most influential countries in the world is still standing back: the United States of America.
Looking at my piece, you see a handgun wrapped in an American flag. It is without a doubt, a definitive attack on the US and it’s policies of gun control. The IANSA website states that from 1993 to 2000, the US was the leading supplier of conventional arms to the developing world, adding upto a profit, of USD 61.5 billion; and in 1999, the US manufactured over four million firearms for domestic sales. This country, which is supposted to be leading our world into the new and possitive future, has over 300 companies producing arms and ammunition, and has the world’s largest domestic market for small arms. There are over 200 million firearms in the private hands of Americans, and what makes this all worse is that private gun ownership in the US, is generally not subject to either liscensing or registrtion. The resale of arms is also unregulated. In contrast to this, Canada has only 5 million small arms in circulation among the general public, and all of those are required to be both liscenced and registered.
In June 2001, the United Nations General Assembly passed a protocol against the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms. The purpose was to promote, facilitate, and strengthen cooperation among States Parties in order to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts, components, and ammunitions. Of the 41 states which have ratified the protocol, and the 32 which have signed it; the United States accountd for none of them, once again standing back and not taking action when such a powerful and wealthy country should be. By neither ratifying or signing this protocol, the US has once again stated to the world that they are not bothered by this issue of the proliferation of small arms, and that they are willing to stand back and do nothing about it.
Concidering how many americans either have guns, sell guns or work for companies that make guns, it is absolutely absurd that the US generally has no policies about controling them. Arms are not registered or liscensed, the selling is unregulated, and the US is unwilling to back the UN and its policies about gun control. A powerful country such as this, with such nationalistic and patriotic citizens, should be be forerunning this campain, as they have such an impact on our world. Instead the average American is ignorant to the issue at hand, and in turn the Canadian as well, as we are so influenced by American advertising and pop-culture.
We are blind to the problem, therefore in my poster, you cannot see the gun, you can only see the flag: a symbol of weath and power and destruction. But the gun is there, and it is a problem. As it says below the image: “There is no flag big enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”, which is exactly what is going on. The US is manufacturing and distributing these large quantities of small arms, both domestically and internationally, and in turn causing deaths worldwide. They are not the only ones doing this, but they are a significant portion of the problem, and if they would only crawl out from behind their flag, and admit that they are only perpetrating the problem, as opposed to leading our world into a possitive future, which they so often claim they are, then perhaps the numbers would lessen, and people would begin to aknowledge and understand the issue at hand. That is the darkness: the proliferation of small arms, and the ignorance that this isn’t an issue.
Looks like this poster was well thought out,
But here's my question; how in the world is the existence/distribution of guns a problem?
Who gets to decide how the sale, use and possession of guns are controlled and by what right do they get to make that decision and force it on others?
Other question: How many times has owning a small arm(pistol) saved someones life?
Just try to come and get my guns and I'll show you why!
*flicks safety off*
Come and take them!
For a rifle or shotgun, you must be at least 18 years old and have a clean background - no felonies, no mental health issues...I confess I don't know all the "disqualifiers" off-hand. I have a squeaky-clean record and intend to KEEP it that way. Your record is checked instantly via a national database.
Handguns, at least here, you have to be 21 and have either permission from the Sheriff/Cheif Law Enforcement Officer - OR a valid Concealed Handgun Permit in order to buy, plus the background check.
And I don't complain about any of the above. A fair balance of security and convenience to the customer.
As I've said before, you may ONLY buy guns from a store in your state of residence.
I oppose Brady Campaign ideas like "one gun a month" limits and mandatory waiting periods for one main reason: You should be able to buy more than one a month if you want to...and especially if you NEED to:
Say a divorced woman gets a death threat from her ex. She gets a restraining order (making it illegal for him to even touch a gun besides saying he can't come near her) and a pistol permit to be safe. Good thing too since the ex dosen't give a crap about the restraining order and comes after her in a rage anyway. She shoots him dead, the police come, and it's a safe bet THEY'LL TAKE THE GUN FOR LAB WORK.
It's done right? Wrong...this sleaze has some equally scummy buddies, and now THEY want to kill the woman too! If she could only buy one gun a month, then she's screwed unless the police return hers to her right away (don't count on it).
"The selling of arms is unregulated?"
FYI...a Federally Licensed dealer cannot even sell a gun to a person from another STATE! I find it very hard to imagine that he can sell one to someone from another country.
IMO, I think the gun crime in the UK can be attributed to the old saying "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns" in action. Was the majority really naive enough to think that every criminal would turn in his guns just because they were now illegal?
Is the US also responsible for the recent story of a grandmother who had her arm broken by a band of teenage thugs - and was then ARRESTED for "assault" since she tried to fight back with her bare hands???
I guess when the new "knife amnesty" over there fails in making all the criminals give up their knives, people will point at the US knife industry? Or at least Switzerland (their knives are good enough for MacGyver after all!)...
Blame America all you want, but there's something fundamentally WRONG with any country when you not only have to fear violent criminals, but you also have to fear what the police will do to you for resisting them!
Thank you however for taking the time to read my piece and offer your tid-bit of information.
Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President ..... Here is some points in the debate to show you how misguided Rebecca Peters and her org is...
1. Wayne LaPierre: “So what you have are good and bad confronting each other all over the world … the good people want to be protected and they have a right to own a firearm. And I believe every citizen of the world had that basic human right.”
Rebecca Peters: “There is not a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys in the world. And - that only happens in the movies.”
WHAT?? does she not know about rapists, or evil men like Saddam who had people unarmed so they could do as they wish?? What about Hitler and his registration and confiscation programs...
Remember Hitler's propaganda leader said .." If anyone wants to own a firearm, or use one they should join the SS."
Yeah, Hilter wasn’t distinguishable from Churchill??
2. Wayne LaPierre: "Several years ago I made an ad at the NRA 20 years ago, and I asked American women one question. And I’d like to ask the same question of Miss Peters here tonight. Ms Peters, should you shoot this rapist before he cuts your throat? American women all over the United States answered yes, they wanted to be free.
They wanted to be able to protect themselves, and they didn’t want to do die. And that’s the difference between your philosophy and mine. You disarm the woman being attacked by this guy. I don’t."
Rebecca Peters: "Women need to live in societies that respect their human rights."
What??? did she miss the Sudan where they used MACHETES to kill MILLIONS and the UN tuck tail and RAN!
"Women need to live in societies that respect their human rights."??? Ever try telling a woman who had been raped that?? Like to hear that conversation...
3. Rebecca Peters: "It’s called civilization. Individuals come together. They form societies. They form governments. That’s part of the contract that we make. It’s a long time gone now since Thomas Hobbs described society as being characterized by a continual fear and danger of violent death and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
I have confidence that people coming together into countries are going to operate better than a whole lot of individuals making up their own rules, taking the law into their own hands."
Wayne LaPierre: "Well, I mean I object to describing the American culture as a gun culture. I mean if you’re talking about Lexington and Concord, that that’s how we won our freedoms. You bet those muskets that first defended that freedom at Concord Bridge. If you’re talking about when the UK was under attacked, and called for the United States for firearms, and the individual members of the NRA and our government provided them. You bet, absolutely.
But what we really are is we’re a freedom culture. That’s what we’re about. We’re about the fact that if Ms Peters goes and visits her friend, okay, where there are three babies, and there’s a knock on the door. You hear somebody. Not a knock, but a pounding on the door. And you hear breaking glass. And someone is coming in that house, either in Australia or here in the U.K.
What’s she going to do? What does she propose? Is she an expert in martial arts? What gives her that chance to live? That equalizer is the right to have a firearm to protect yourself. And she’s got no answer for that. It’s global government, some social fantasy. They’re going to protect everybody.
She’s not going to be there at the scene of the crime. She’ll be in London or New York or somewhere else. That victim will be there, and that’s who I’m concerned about. And that victim ought to always have the choice, whether in the UK or the United States. Rwanda, by the way, how many millions died by machetes? She talked about Rwanda when the UN tuck-tailed and ran. Millions died by machetes. You bet a lot of those individual people in Rwanda would’ve liked to have a firearm there. It’s a freedom we’re talking about."
In parting you need to do some reasearch... by the way this was taken from a debate between
Rebecca Peters who heads up IANSA and Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President... TRANSCRIPTS of the debate...
to quote directly from your writing: "There are over 200 million firearms in the private hands of Americans, and what makes this all worse is that private gun ownership in the US, is generally not subject to either liscensing or registrtion. The resale of arms is also unregulated. In contrast to this, Canada has only 5 million small arms in circulation among the general public, and all of those are required to be both liscenced and registered."
switzerland.. every man is forced into military service for 2 years.. upon resignation from the armed forces every man is given a rifle. care to take a guess as to what their crime rate is.. home invasion, random shootings, anything. it is next to nill. because everbody knows that everybody else is armed.
the constitution of the united states has a portion called the bill of rights, these 'rights' have long since been determined as boundaries that will not be crossed.. the one pertaining to this argument reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed
the part that people get hung up on is the second half, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.. attourneys and courts of law have argued over if a position of a comma changes the meaning.. but it is quite clear, comma or not, what is being said.. the right of the people to keep and bear arms (to own and use) shall not be infringed. period. end of subject there. a well regulated militia being neccesary to the security of a free state. americans will fight for their right to be free, we will unite against a common enemy to secure what is a moral cause. we do not take part in UN resolutions because to do so would be a counter to what we as a country have set up, just as i would not ask you to give up one of your basic rights (you will forgive me that i am not up to date on canadian rights) you have to accept that we are not willing to give up ours.
i would also say a shift in perspective is needed, guns dont kill people.. i can set a fully loaded colt 1911 in front of you and without someone to weild it, it will not go off.. guns are not the problem, its the people with the guns that are, and not every man who owns a gun has killed someone.
However, the amount of guns, and the use of guns, I believe, is getting out of control. It might be different, if as you say in Switzerland, everyone was required to have 2 years training and experience in the matter. Then, everyone with a gun would know exactly what it is they are doing with it, and fewer mistakes would be made. Where I live, I know that most often when guns come into use it is more of a visual threat than something to be actually used... however, once they are confronted with another gun (by police or another civilian) that is when it turns bad, because people panic ... they do not have the training or experience, only adrenaline and fear.
I am not asking you to "give up one of your basic rights", I am merely voicing my opinion on the subject, which is both of our rights. I dont expect everyone to agree with me, and I do appreciate the coment as any kind of fedback is useful and interesting. And yes, it does need some work, as it was written months ago and I have done more research since, and all these coments are definitely aiding me in finding what parts of my work need some revision and more attention.
Over the last few years it has become apparent that small arms have been on the increase. I remember a few months ago when two people got shot in drive by shootings within the same week... both were shot with pistols.
The USA is not only giving itself problems, they extend to well outside it's borders to other countries. Their huge social problems are being spread among the younger generations of other nations. They have a grip on all of us, even if it isn't through their lack of policies regarding small arms.
And on a artistic note, your piece is very powerfull. I've never seen anything quite like it.
Society is under huge stress to suport itself economicaly and socialy, increased gun crime is only one crack out of many.
Thank you again for your comments, its really nice to get some intellectual feedback on my work, I mean, I showed this to one of my classes, and I guess the topic just seemed too loaded to talk about, no ones really given me any feedback or comments really on anything bit the aesthetics of the poster, so I really appreciate it
I am 21 years old and have never been offered drugs. I have never witnessed a drive by shooting, or any shooting for that matter. I have never seen hard drugs in real life (I did willingly trying marijuana once when I was 16). I have lived all over this country and, when compared to other countries, we barely have a drug problem at all. Perhaps you are referring to our legal drugs? Still, I haven't seen much problem there either.
As for the gun issue, I am just not seeing these immense problems. Perhaps the background checks aren't intense enough, though I have heard friends explaining the great length they had to goto to attain a firearm. However, I believe it is my right to own a firearm if I please. I have no history of violence or a criminal record of any kind. This gun would be for only one thing, to keep my family safe.
Why shouldn't I be allowed this weapon?
I guess I'm just tired of people bashing my country. It has been great to me. I can get affordable health insurance, purchase a gun if I decide it's right for me, get a great job without any college education, and say anything I want about any government official. Of course we have our problems, but that's not to say that we aren't a great country.