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."I am not sure it will produce the ends you desire." This is a quote from Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, uttered by the protagonist.
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 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.