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American Pursuits

Archival Inkjet on Vinyl



“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” —Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, 1776

“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.” —James Madison, The Bill of Rights: Second Amendment, 1789

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. —Anon.

On carrying a gun in America —

What would the United States look like, be like, if everyone carried a gun? What are we afraid of? Why do we own so many guns?* Do we possess the gun, or does the idea of the gun possess us? Why do we want to carry them while interacting in the public sphere? Is it due to some perceived loss of control? Are we surrounded by a terrible and continuous threat? If so, can we ever act fast enough to counter the worst intensions of those who also carry guns? If not, who or what are we protecting ourselves, or our families from? Does the phantasm of a possible violence done to us, require such an extreme form of personal protection? Is our sense of security directly related to owning 1 gun, 10 guns, or 100 guns? Is more, better? Does the type of gun and the amount of bullets that it fires geometrically correspond to our peace of mind? Does the piece of mind that comes from carrying a gun translate into a more carefree life? Are we really secure or carefree if possessing a gun could lead to a dire and unintended consequence of its use, or misuse? Have we, in some hallucinatory convolution, conflated the right to bear arms, an 18th century necessity, with a 21st century concept of happiness? Is protection, security? Is security, peace of mind? Is piece of mind, happiness? Is happiness, liberty? Is happiness and liberty intrinsic to one’s life? If so, does the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and life for those who carry a gun, trump the happiness, liberty, and life of those who want an America free of gun violence? Whose right is the more unalienable? Whose truth is the most self-evident?

*340,000,000—2012 estimate of guns owned according to the ATF Bureau. 308,745,538—2010 population of the United States according to US Census Bureau.

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