observations and opinion
The American Republic has been in trouble for a long time. The seed of that trouble is a public decision to be stupid, a choice to ignore the truth over and over again, about so many realities.
No truth is more consistently ignored than that the gun industry has successfully altered the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, so as to make gun ownership sacred. More sacred than any other thing or right.
Today, one person’s right to own and carry a gun, overrides every other person’s right not to live in fear. That is just true. That is just a fact. It was a true fact in Las Vegas, it was a true fact today in San Antonio, and it will be just as true a fact when the next gun massacre happens.
To love the United States is to have a broken heart. It has made its people slaves to the gun industry and slaves to fear. Until it faces the unpleasant truth about itself, and resolves to change, America cannot overcome any of its problems.
When I say here that guns are “the last right any American will have” that is another obvious and predictable truth: no other Constitutional right can survive in an armed camp. It is already impossible to sue gun makers for the harm their product does; the US government cannot study the harm guns do – by law. Soon enough, it will be impossible even to speak against guns. Seriously, just keep doing nothing America, and that day will come too.
Below are quotations from earlier articles at ThinkAnewActAnew about guns.
The right to bear arms overrides life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
These feel like dark days for America. Dark days not just because these gun massacres seem so frequent, but because Americans seem so inured to it all. Americans just don’t seem to give a good goddamn that the law is crazy, that they’ve let the law become crazy. Americans don’t seem to care much that crazy people don’t have to break the law to get a gun – they just have to OBEY it, to get a gun, to go kill people with.
These are dark days in America because on the subject of guns, in particular, the quality of public discourse is beneath stupid. It is criminally, wantonly, depravedly indifferent to the lives of the American people.
And by “lives” I don’t just mean keeping one’s life, but how a person lives her or his life. Every time a person has to walk through a metal detector to do anything – anything – they are reminded not that they are safe, but that they are NOT safe. They are one person’s bad mood and itchy trigger finger away from being shredded, to having their child or grandmother die in a pool of blood and horror. And they are reminded that their “pursuit of happiness” is secondary, subordinated, to someone else’s right to bear arms. And that, you know, is the real craziness of it all.
from “Charleston and the Fine Art of Doing Nothing” June 20, 2015
The historical parallel to slavery
During the first half of the nineteenth century, the United States slowly made slavery impregnable. Indentured servitude was undoubtedly recognized as constitutional within the States when the Union was re-formed in the late 1780s – that was a price of keeping southern States in the federation. However, only an extremist in the late 18thCentury believed that slavery might expand. Slavery was an unpleasant and obviously immoral economic reality – a political problem to be corrected by the new Union.
What the Founders didn’t know in the 1780s was that mechanized textile manufacturing in England would create a rapacious demand for cotton, which the South could only meet through labour-intensive farming – work for which there were too few willing white hands. For this and other reasons slavery became hugely profitable for the southern States in the early 19th century. And so, slavery became sacred. The ideology of slavery was born out of the economic value of the practice.
Soon the idea hatched that slave owners had a right, outside of their own States, to take slavery into federally created territories and new States. Free States were compelled by the courts to enforce the owners’ rights. From the cotton dollar was born a theory, which became the poisonous root of a new “country”, the Confederate States of America. And we all know how that turned out.
One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War, another industry – guns and ammo – has hatched an ideology and constitutional theory which has infected the mind of America like a parasite, devouring or at least incapacitating the thinking organ. The ideology is so well heeled and so widely held, that Americans have actually come to believe some interesting things, such as:
Imagine if the Founding Fathers had decreed that every citizen had the right to draw water from his own well. Would that mean today Americans were not entitled to public reservoirs? Perhaps Ben Franklin thought that everybody ought to be able to keep a donkey in his house. Imagine life in most American cities today if the National Donkey Association loomed over the land. And remember, friends, that the aforesaid donkey-owning well-water drawing citizen was intended, at the start, to be a white person with a penis. Nobody else had a say.
If the U.S. Constitution actually said what the gun lobby tells us – that guns are sacred – then guess what: there’s a way to change the Constitution. That mechanism, the constitutional amendment, is the reason that non-white people with vaginas can vote now. An amendment actually shouldn’t be necessary, because well-regulated militias are the only place in which an American can bear arms (bear, not own, they said back then). But okay, let them have their theory; let’s just throw the damned Second Amendment out.
The greatest American who ever lived, arguably, said that he and his fellow citizens had to “disenthrall ourselves” from the “tired dogmas of the past.” Rarely, if ever, has that been more true than in today’s United States, where seemingly everyone has fallen prey to the idea that the country was intended to be an armed camp. The guns and ammo business has infected the entire country with the idea that guns are sacred. Disenthralling is in order.
from “Three Hundred Million Gun Nuts“ January 15, 2014
Every adult American is responsible, but some more than others
Just after Paris, I wrote that while not every man commits rape, most rapists are men. It is the special duty of men to recognize this violence as something they must work to stop.
Similarly, just as Germany had to admit it spawned Nazism, so too Islam must admit it has given birth to modern jihadism. Not every German was a Nazi, but Germany took responsibility for what some of its people did and works still – 70 years after – to prevent a recurrence. This is a reasonable expectation of Muslims today and tomorrow. It’s not fair but it’s reality. We cannot be in denial.
So too the United States must admit that it has spawned a blood soaked epidemic of gun violence, feeding personal and political and cultural terrorism. Not every American is guilty of it, but every American is responsible for fixing it.
The false pieties and empty prayers of cheap liars in expensive suits do nothing but bathe themselves in a slathering glow of phony sentiment. Republicans (and some Democrats too) who kneel before the gun lobby like rent boys in an alley, have spawned evil in America. Shame be upon them and everyone who says #notinmyname about gun violence in the USA.
from “Islamist and Republican Jihad in San Bernadino” December 4, 2015