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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Cold Dead Fingers?" If You Insist (An Unhinged Rant)

Inquisition
Cartoon from Sodahead

[Resurrecting this post, in "honor" of the AZ Governor's asshattery, signing this into law yesterday. It's an insult, and it's open, cynical war against the wishes of the populace. The buyback program was not intended as some sort of statewide inventory clearance sale. They should be so rigorous in the disposition of the creatures at the animal shelters.]

Pardon me, if I am "unreasonable."

But this! The NRA and Koch-Backed ALEC Have Fought Gun Buyback Programs Across Country:
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is threatening legal action if the Tucson Police Department tries to destroy the guns it acquired through a voluntary gun buyback program -- thanks to legislation advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and then passed in Arizona.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut massacre, cities around the country held voluntary gun buybacks: community-wide events where local law enforcement offers small incentives like gift cards or cash in exchange for citizens turning in their unwanted guns. Tucson officials offered $50 Safeway grocery store gift cards (funded by private donors) and collected 206 firearms. But the NRA wants those guns back in circulation...

The public safety benefit from gun buybacks are clear: people with young children (or disturbed family members) can get guns out of their house, unwanted weapons are not sitting and waiting for misuse, and the total number of guns in circulation is reduced in a calm, legal, orderly manner. As Rachel Maddow has noted, gun buybacks are "low-hanging fruit" -- an entirely voluntary, non-coercive program that ought to be politically attainable.

"When your response to the political cliche of low-hanging fruit is something so cartoonishly insensitive, so cartoonishly villainous, you then bring upon us a second political cliche -- you have jumped the shark," Maddow noted
"I am not sure it will produce the ends you desire." This is a quote from Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, uttered by the protagonist.

I quote it here because I think the extreme position taken by the NRA and its thoughtless, knee-jerk apologists is just begging for a popular backlash. And I say this because I'm feeling swayed to switch from being generally neutral on the "gun-control" issue to going full-metal-prohibition.

OK, I exaggerate - legal prohibitions have their own built-in problems with backlash and backfiring. I find, however, that the slippery-slope paranoia that accompanies the resistance for any sort of regulation to be tiresome and annoying.

I personally dislike weapons, and own none and, on a personal level, could give a rat's ass if they disappeared from the face of the Earth. That said, I have a healthy respect for the acquisitive desires of my fellow human beings, a disdain for top-down solutions in general, and a well-earned skepticism as regards the efficacy of legal prohibitions. So I've not been inclined to take a particularly strong position.

But this whining from pro-gun quarters is not producing "the ends you desire." Not with me, and I'm willing to bet that it's pissing off others as well.

As no realistic argument exists that can support the need for large magazines or semi-automatic assault weapons as regards the question of self-defense, it falls to the trope of resisting "tyranny" to justify such arms. This is the heart of the "Second Amendment" argument.

Let's render moot the meaning of "militia." Let's ignore the possible (probable?) provenance of slavery in the crafting of the Second Amendment (oh, but do check out Thom Hartmann if you have a moment.)

I'll concede the political argument to these fantasists, here, for the moment. After all, we live in a particularly contentious time as regards our relationship with the government, the Federal government in particular, and I can excuse the angst that accompanies this.

But if your political participation in the problems of the day is to grip a weapon and bunker in, then you are stumping only for a worst-case scenario, with nothing else up to that. Your reflexive "Othering" of your own democratic government is a self-fulfilling prophesy at best. However un-democratic you might find the situation on the ground (and I share in that sentiment), on paper this is still a participatory democratic republic, and the only reason that our political class is unresponsive and running off with all of the goods is because of the apathy of the citizenry, who have happily taken on the roles of passive consumers. Lazily declaring your own government the "Other" only exacerbates the situation, and frankly the "well-armed-militia Second-Amendment-loving" fetishists have always done this and we need to quit pretending that they give a tinker's damn about the United States of America.

However fantastical the scenario is, and however realistically they hold the position, the fact is that they are stumping for insurrection. Ignoring all of the levers that are made at least ostensibly available in a participatory democracy, they instead disown their own government, declare it an enemy, and prepare for their apocalyptic fever dream. This is a sort of psychological bromide that would be harmless and laughable if not for the daily collateral damage that accompanies a society awash with guns.

Keep this up, and continue to refuse to budge a bit on the "gun-control" question, and my neutrality, and the neutrality of many others that you unknowingly count upon, may not hold. And I, for one, will look away if the ends you do not desire involve your oh-so-macho cold dead fingers.

6 comments:

  1. (SIGH) As usual, anti-gun rant authors always flail against the 2nd Amendment, then mock it, then argue that it's irrelevant, then concede that all-powerful governments with unarmed subjects at the government's mercy might, in fact, be a problem, then give up and revert to admitting that they really don't like guns and, therefore, nobody should own one in their opinion and then blame all of the violence in society on guns, instead of the evil intent of evil human beings. Not surprizingly, exculpatory facts like the one about 500,000 (+) Tutsis people were murdered in Rwanda via the use of machetes, is steadfastly avoided. In anti-gun rants, avoiding references to alternate means of committing murder is "en re'gle" lest the reader's mind stray from the mental rut of blaming murders on that inatimate mechanism that is capable of throwing modern spears at a high velocity. Even glancing references to more deadly and horrible means of mass murder, like the use of gasoline to commit mass arson, are avoided like the Titanic II will avoid icebergs! The fact that gasoline is sold to anyone over the age of 15, criminals, mentally ill and street protesters, alike, is never discussed. Background checks for gasoline will never happen, we all know that. Even if it did, it would never stop the siphoning of gas tanks, would it?

    With all due respect; there's not much new in your rant. The false flag technique is not new, either, although you did add a twist. Instead of claiming to be a gun owner (or the more common claims of "sportsman", or "hunter") who somehow supports the 2nd Amendment but who fully supports full-throated gun control under the title of "reasonable restrictions", you changed the false flag to the claim of being "neutral". Now, THAT was different (even if a minor change). I'll grant you that.

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  2. Anonymous, thanks for reading, and for taking the time to leave a reaction.

    Perhaps I am not terribly original here, but you'll forgive me if I take such criticism with a grain of salt, seeing as how you're relying on the old "guns don't kill people, people kill people" trope ("...blame all of the violence in society on guns, instead of the evil intent of evil human beings.")

    The thing with that bumper-sticker philosophy is that gun regulation, and the registration of guns, is actually about the people behind the guns. It's silly to insist that we're trying to regulate morally neutral "inanimate objects."

    While, yes, there are many ways to kill people, it's still a fact that guns are an obvious "go to" item when such a thought crosses the mind (gun violence in America attests to this fact.) So it is not an unreasonable response to attempt to keep track of those who wish to have one on hand, and it is absurd to use this reasonable response to feed paranoia.

    And since we're on the subject - if it's so damned easy to kill people without guns, why all of the hyperventilation about government registration (and, I imagine, "confiscation.") There'll still be plenty of tools around to kill in the name of your freedoms, by your own admission.... or is it true that guns are really the most efficient?

    Which is it? You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

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    1. In terms of violence in society, in general, let us be honest. We, apparently, have violence problems with three primary demographics (as compared to the rest of the world). Since I'm white, I'll start with whites. There seems to be a real problem with a few suburban white male loner types who happen to be failures in school, failures in the workforce, failures in social settings, etc. and who have fairly wealthy, but socially disconnected parents. These particular losers (fortunately, small in number) simply crave attention (good, or bad) and get it by shooting up schools, theaters, malls, etc. in order to get on TV. TV, of course, is happy to oblige and we get endless stories about these creeps after they have done their deed and killed themselves. Is it any wonder that the TV attention inspires the next 'attention whore' psychopath? A cynic would conclude that (pro-gun control) TV executives provide gratuitous coverage simply to encourage the next incident, in order to push gun control. There is circumstantial evidence for this, but not conclusive proof,....yet. Many of the mass murderer shooters seem to have had a bit of a history with mental disorders and/or psyciatric medication ussage. As horrible as these crimes are, these events pale in comparrison to the sheer body count in the other two demographic catagories, namely; inner city black gang members and inner city hispanic gang members. World-wide; by far the worst crime rate for murders involving firearms occurs in El Salvador and in Jamaica. El Salvador has 56 firearm related murders per 100,000 people. Jamaica is not far from that number. By comparison, the US has about 4.5 firearm related murders per 100,000 people and is ranked 28th in the world for that catagory. Incidentally, the US is by far the leader in civilian firearm ownership (about 300 million weapons in private hands). Guns are absolutely outlawed in El Salvador and in Jamaica.

      The solution? Well, should we prohibit white males with serious mental disorders from owning firearms (or buying gasoline)? Yes, by locking those people up. Should we prohibit violent black and hispanic gang members from having access to firearms, or gasoline? Yes, buy locking those people up. On a related note; black inner city activists in Chicago who demand that all people (including law-abiding whites, etc.) be stripped of their rights, because of murderous black gang members can't be trusted with guns will only inspire anti-black racism. Instead, let's go after the violent individuals (black, white, or brown). It's far easier, because there are far fewer of them and they're harder to hide than a firearm.

      As far as an all-powerful government using its modern weaponry against us...it's only a matter of time and we are in real danger (look at the murders committed by governments against their own civilians in the 20th Century, alone). In the 18th and 19th Century America, the people could have anihilated the Army, if there had been a need. Then again; the Viet Cong had no tanks and won no major battles, but they won the Vietnam War. Just sayin'...

      ...and using gasoline to defend yourself against a home invader is not a good idea. A friend of mine had much better luck using a firearm.

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  3. Honestly, there isn't a whole lot you have to say there that I would substantially object to (outside of your rather loose treatment of "demographics" and, more importantly, your us and them-ing" of the government, *my* government, OUR government - did you even read what I wrote in the post?)

    At the same time, you really haven't made much of a case as to why gun regulation would be a bad idea. We can do all of the things you say, and regulate, too. And we *are* talking about regulation, not confiscation, so you're still good on the "home invader" front...

    Honestly, I really do think it boils down to an emotional investment in the coolness of those bang-bang toys. I get that. Some people thought lawn darts were cool too, I'm sure.

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    1. I just read how that scumbag, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, has been quietly sneaking in all kinds of extra backdoor draconian gun control crap into the current Senate "gun regulation" bill. As with Obamacare, stupid senators from both sides often vote on bills WITHOUT reading the damned things. You see; someone offers "reasonable" regulations (not in my view, but that's the assertion) and then that is taken as a "green light" to dogpile the bill with every rabid firearmphobic's wish list. They are are practically in an orgasmic climax, hoping to get what they've dreamed of for years. It's actually a good thing, because it will torpedo what little chance the bill had. Gun Control is a political minefield. As stupid as senators are, they know what can get them kicked out of office.

      With all the Senatorial behind-the-scenes, "let's sneak this shit in" sleezy intrigue going on with drafting these bills, do you see why 2nd Amendment supporters are mistrusting of "our" government? Hell, the entire Bill of Rights is a mistrust of government, enshrined in writing.

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  4. Mr. Petro
    you are full of a very large bag of the proverbial s**t and like most liberal democrats, have missed the point altogether. there should be a law that would prevent options such as yours from ever making it into the media printed or otherwise. the hogwash you spout shows you don't know enough about the subject to have an opinion, nobody deserves to have to listen (read) this type uneducated rant. just because you can type and spell (or use spell check in my case) does not mean you have anything worthy to say so zip it up.
    Brock

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I welcome all reactions and points of view, so comments here are not moderated. Cheerfully "colorful" language is great. I'll even tolerate some ad hominem directed against me... each other, not so much. Racist or excessively abusive comments (or spam) will be deleted at my discretion.