Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On Guns

Many on the Right often kick and scream and cry about how the government is out to disarm the population.  For myself, I am not a gun-owner.  I believe that hunting should only be done when you're really hungry in the woods and that a free-for-all attitude about deadly weapons is inappropriate to a civilized society.  That doesn't mean I begrudge gun-owners their right to legally and responsibly own one, but I do take great issue with the childish arguments that are often flung my way by them to justify what seems to be infantile thinking and unjustified paranoid fear.  It is those usual arguments that I'm examining today.

 Leaving aside the logistical impossibility of doing so by force in a nation as huge and chaotic as ours, nobody from the President on down on any official level has advocated legally confiscating a damn thing. The whole thrust of the gun-control argument has been that guns, as deadly weapons, deserve at least as much regulation as we already accept on cars, which outnumber guns in terms of how many people die from cars.   We established legally-sanctioned rules for the road and for cars that people accept every day, and yet nobody's complaining that they can't buy a car because of these rules.  Why not for guns?  This is not an unreasonable argument -- calling it an "infringement of liberty" is unwarranted. Nobody's trying to disarm law-abiding citizens, we're just trying to make it harder for criminals to walk into a gun show or a Wal-Mart and walk out with enough firepower to take out an innocent family.   Gun advocates would rather make it easier for criminals and lunatics to do so -- because, after all, the profits of the Gun Manufacturers are far more important than the lives of human beings, to the Regressive mindset.   As for the BS "more guns = more safety" argument -- that argument is proven wrong by the facts.  More guns means more dead bystanders, as has been proven time and time again.  

Every pro-gun argument I've heard boils down to either "I have the right to have one and you can't stop me" (an argument that's laughable when you hear it from a two-year-old in a grocery store) or "I need my gun to keep me safe" (which is paranoia, at best, when the facts show that more people are killed by guns already in the home than by break-ins and, once again, is what one would expect of a toddler crying for its binky). Either way or together, these root arguments show their advocates to be emotional children raging because they want a shiny comfort-toy.  All the grown-ups in the proverbial room are saying is, "you can have your toy when you can use it responsibly."  And yet the Tea Party objects to such a statement.

A favored pro-gun argument in its purest form is that "Laws are no good, because criminals break them".  That's an Anarchist argument and entirely unrealistic in a civil society. It also doesn't answer the question of why anybody could think it's a good idea to make it easier on criminals rather than harder.  Sure, there will be many who find ways around the law...but then the law makes a concrete example of those who break it.  Having no laws results in these sorts of behavior becoming rampant and commonplace...making our nation look more like Somalia than the USA.  How anybody can think it's a good idea to turn our nation in Somalia, where there are no restrictions on guns, no real government and everyone stuck fending for themselves in a region of out-of-control violence is beyond me.   It’s that image -- an American Somalia -- above all that the Teabaggers are advocating when you get right down to it.

The assumption that a gun is the only means by which to protect one’s self and family is also complete nonsense. Never mind that people are statistically proven to do better in protecting their loved ones with a few self-defense courses and some prior planning, rather than giving into what's clearly paranoid fear on their part.  As these fear-filled souls hold onto their guns as if to a baby’s binky, let's go for a moment to the bigger fear that their posts express:  That of a Totalitarian Government coming to power.  

The 2nd Amendment reads: "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."  Standard Regressive 2nd Amendment arguments completely ignore the entire first half of the amendment.  

The Militia was a part-time enlistment-service -- hardly "the entire citizenry" as so many Regressives like to claim, but rather closer in form and function to the modern day Army Reserve , where you had to sign on the dotted line in order to be counted as a militiaman -- and was arguably the backbone of Revolutionary Defense against foreign invasion.  It was never intended to be used against our own government. Every time that idea's been put to the test (Whiskey Rebellion, The Civil War), it's been proven both legally and practically to be untrue.  

If we, the citizens feel oppressed by our own government, we still have it within our power to reshape the government with our vote -- but then that requires the skill to think critically about what those with the microphones are actually saying.  If we keep parroting what the pundits say, we’ll never be able to use the weapon of first resort -- the Vote-- effectively. This is what the moneyed powers-that-be who sponsor the Tea Party want most.

Think for a moment like those who'd want such a Totalitarian Regime: it's far easier, far more effective and far cheaper to achieve the goal of a full totalitarian regime by (1) widening the economic disparity between rich and poor so that the majority of people are too busy putting food on the table to behave like citizens (2) undermining public education so that the majority of people don't have the skills to think critically in order to mount an actual, effective defense and (3) inundating the media -- including social media -- so much nonsense and propaganda that the majority of people can't tell truth from sound byte.  Military and police force won't even need to enter into it.  We'll already be enslaved, guns or no guns.

If you really want to protect your rights, your best weapon is a good lawyer, not a gun.  When a person is falsely or erroneously arrested, a lawyer is what will get you out of the jam.  A gun will ensure that you spend an even longer time in prison.  Guaranteed.

The Tea Party likes its rallying cry about guns being confiscated, but the truth is that the gun-control argument is really only about licensing and insuring:  There's nothing reasonably objectionable about that -- particularly since we already have it in regards to cars after years and years of reckless drivers proving that while a single person can be responsible, groups of people are statistically unable to do so.  Mandatory background checks, gun licensing, safety courses, registration and insurance makes it harder for criminals to get their hands on weapons while still preserving the right of law-abiding citizens to buy guns if they feel it necessary. Gun Control, rather than infringing on law-abiding citizens, forces illegal gun trade further into the black market, where prices invariably go up as the risk of arrest goes up. Criminals will then have to pay more for illegal guns, making it economically less viable to commit violent crimes. And frankly, if people really want to have a real assault weapon so badly, they’re free to join the military where they can play with deadly weapons to their hearts’ content.

In conclusion, the Regressive arguments on behalf of guns have boiled down to paranoia and parroted sound bytes lacking in factual basis.   The 2nd Amendment isn't going to help anyone in regard to defending our liberties – since shooting cops  and soldiers only provokes an escalation in oppressive police and military force .  Preventing the very real degradation of the 4th through 8th Amendments is far, FAR more important when it comes to defending American Liberty.   OWS --even with getting distracted and defeated -- did more to protect our rights than the NRA ever will -- because they accurately assessed the root of the problem and outlined the peaceful and proper means of dealing with it.

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