Despite the fact that so many of them hate everything I stand for, I have always had a certain fondness for people who want to change the world. A lot of the time, they’re driven by high-minded ideals and a belief that a single person can make a difference. They step up and ignore all the naysaying thrown their way and push through, trying to make this world better.
That doesn’t mean some of their ideas aren’t bogus, though.
Take the “new” metal called Humanium. I call it “new” rather than new because the metal isn’t some new alloy created by metallurgists. No, it’s a metal made from melting down guns.
What if every time the police confiscated guns, those weapons were melted down and remade into something that benefited the people and communities who had been hurt by gun violence? That’s the premise of The Humanium Metal Initiative, a pro bono campaign from Stockholm creative agencies Great Works and Akestam Holst, which devised a business development strategy to brand melted down guns as a new precious metal. The project, which is now making metal from guns in central America, is the winner of the advertising category of Fast Company‘s 2018 World Changing Ideas Awards.
The ad for the program shows a new assembly line in progress: You see government authorities collecting guns and sending them to a foundry where they’re deconstructed and melted into steel bars stamped with an invented periodic symbol that reads “Hu” for Humanium. The goal is to show how Humanium is “the world’s most valuable metal,” says Johan Pihl, a creative director at Great Works. “That is based on the metal’s capacity to help heal the wounds from illegal firearms in developing countries.”
It sounds awesome. However, it’s based on a faulty premise.
The whole premise is based on the idea that guns are the problem. They’re not. Not in any way, shape, or form. The problem is bad people who are far too willing to use violence against their fellow man. It’s a mental thing, a human thing. It’s not a gun thing.
Take a look at London. They’ve done pretty much everything one can do to wipe out guns on their streets. Meanwhile, not only is gun violence up 42 percent, but the city also has more murders than New York City. While they’ve gotten a lot of guns off the street, crime continues to soar. So now they’re having to take issue with knives.
When you have violent people, you are going to have a problem. It won’t matter that you’ve banned a weapon. Even if you keep those violent people from getting that weapon, you don’t stop the violence itself. Instead, you simply force them to find a new weapon.
In the case of Humanium, the problem is that they’re taking guns and melting them down with the belief that it somehow makes the world a safer place. It doesn’t. At best, this project will simply force the violent individual to use a different weapon.
When someone doesn’t wish to impose his will on another, no weapon is too dangerous. Hand me a nuclear weapon, and any hazard to my fellow man will be from ignorance, not malice. Meanwhile, a violent felon can be dangerous to others with just his fists.
Humanium sounds all great; take the guns and melt them down to make new stuff with it. It sounds almost Utopian.
Yet it won’t actually do anything about violence, evil, or murder. It just lets people pat themselves on the back, pretending they actually accomplished something, even when they didn’t.