“Decommissioned I” is the first in a series of anti gun culture protest pieces. The goal of decommissioning guns and transforming them into powerful, startling blue sculptures is to get guns off the street. Proceeds from the project will go to the support of gun buyback programs.
My art is motivated by a deep antipathy towards the tolerance of high levels of everyday armed violence and“Stand your Ground” vigilantism in the United States.
It is not just mentally ill individuals, but our culture that kills people everyday. Our inward looking, provincial attitudes that stop us as a society from listening to the rest of the world which finds American attitudes toward guns to be incomprehensible.
Creating and owning artworks that question the gun culture may be only a small step towards making our society more enlightened and progressive, but I believe that if all reasonable people who love their children more than some abstract, outdated right, work in their own ways, using their own talents, it may be possible to shift public opinion.
America’s 18th century frontier mentality lies at the root of the problem. But the Constitution was intended to be a living document that talks not of God given rights, but of democratically agreed values. Just as we no longer have the right to own another human being, we should not have the right to endanger innocent lives because we entertain the fiction that everyone should be able to take the law into their own hands.
In an armed society there can be no trust. Our police become ever more frightened and hostile and so the militarization of the police escalates. Most private gun ownership in the world is for sport, not self-defense. The first step we should take towards getting back to that in the U.S. is to ban military style weapons. Step by step let’s try to deescalate the arming of American citizens through changing cultural attitudes.
The more immediate concrete contribution I can make is to support gun buyback programs. Such programs do work and of course if only one life is saved through my personal contribution I will feel that my art has been worthwhile.