Fear, Nationalism, and the Second Amendment

It’s easy becoming downtrodden with all the news in the world. It’s understandable becoming immobilized with fear. Fear of violence, fear of being detained in a foreign land, all around fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time are all valid concerns.

As travelers, however, I believe it’s our duty to remain mobile. It’s our duty to spread love, light, and knowledge, educating others about where we come from. Perhaps, more importantly, it’s our duty to learn. Learning about where someone else comes from is achieved by listening.

America’s Second Amendment in Other Countries

One of the recurring themes I encountered during my travels in Peru was one of opposition to the right to bear arms. It is illegal in Peru for the general public to own guns. While on the topic of such matter, I expected to hear a sense of injustice or frustration from the Peruvian national I was speaking to. I heard no such thing. In fact, this man had no qualms with the law in his country and didn’t act any more insecure in his safety than most Americans I know.

One night, an older gentleman from South Korea sat with me in the garden of my hotel, Mama Simona Ollantaytambo. Aside from not knowing where he was (dude thought he was in Chile, but that’s another story), he willingly shared his life of traveling with me. His adventures included mandatory military time, also known as conscription. It’s a thing in countries like South Korea and Israel, even mandatory for the women of Israel. This gentleman’s accent was heavy and I talk fast, so I’m sure he and I were slightly lost in translation. But it wouldn’t take a translator for me to understand the part where he criticized America for its second amendment, citing a safer and more structured society without people owning guns.

Opinions and Politics

Without digging too deep into politics and isolating my readers whom might disagree with the above, I will simply state that I hold an aversion toward guns. I have my reasons in which I expect others to respect as much as I respect their reasons for supporting the right guaranteed to most American citizens. The two above encounters made me ponder even deeper my nationality, its history, and its current political state.

The more isolated the world becomes or exclusive we become as a nation, the closer we get to hate. The divisive acts we are beginning to see at an unprecedented rate will become the norm. I believe it’s our job, as travelers, to create a less divided world. We must erase the boundaries created by the current administration. The dangers of extreme nationalism rhetoric are alarming and evident.

“What difference can I actually make?”

I think a lot of us are asking ourselves, “What can I do? What difference can I actually make?” We don’t have to travel to the Middle East or even across an ocean. Sometimes, the biggest difference is made right in our own backyard. Sometimes the biggest modification we can make starts in our very own homes, in the mirror. Changing our reaction to opposing opinions or choosing to include rather than to exclude is a start. Simply listening is one of the most powerful things one can do even if you can’t understand every single word. The difference between listening and disregarding is potentially the difference between life and death.

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