To me variation of human experience can be a wonderful declaration of existence, I feel it is what separates us from most other species. Unfortunately, our culture appears to be in the process of destroying many of us along with our various expressions. We are an increasingly armed society bent on self-destruction. Did you know that yearly we murder over 34 times the amount of people in the United States than the combined totals of Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland by the use of handguns alone! (Embassies and foreign crime reporting agencies, F.B.I. Uniform Crime Report, 1992, 1994 foreign statistics to be released mid-1996). In those aforementioned numbers not included are the other murders by different gun types or the 18,000+ that take their own lives yearly by the use of firearms (The National Center for Health Statistics, latest figures). Usually left unmentioned in gun control discussions are the countless thousands of others that have sustained paralyzing injuries, who live daily with deficits and pain that most of us can only vaguely imagine. It is time to set aside our own personal/political agendas and to see plainly that the rampant use and easy accessibility of firearms in the United States is an epidemic. Many of the weapons in the American Portrait series were seized during the commission crime, the rest are from private collections. I ask you to read the full writing of Article II, The Bill of Rights, and ask yourself, are we all part of the "well regulated militia" mentioned there?