Posts Tagged gun lobby

“Let’s Not Demonize a Man’s Tools”

“In the wake of the horrific Orlando shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people and saw countless others injured, “Pink Pistol“, an LGBT self defense and gun rights organization, issued this utterly ridiculous statement:

GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols.

Demonize a man’s tools.

Wow.

Now we are hurting the feelings of guns, it would appear.

This is nothing but the old spiel about how it is not guns that kill people, but people that kill people.  Which is bullshit and a fallacious, not to mention overly simplistic, argument.

While it is true that it was a person who picked up the gun and made the decision to mass murder those people, it is  easy access to guns that is ultimately allowing such mass shootings to take place in the first place.

I have said this before and I will repeat it again: banning guns does not make us a less violent society. It is just that guns allow violence committed to be more brutal, more violent and bloodier. It is much harder to mass murder people with knives and machetes than it is with guns, especially assault rifles.

So while it is true that people carry out the attacks, the tools used to carry out those attacks do matter. If they did not, then we would just not regulate arms or ammunition of any kind at all. Then ordinary citizens could own tanks and grenades and machine guns and missiles and nukes. Because ‘hey, it is people that kill people’, right?  And not missiles/tanks/bombs.

Wrong. They are banned because overall they pose a public health and safety concern and therefore must be regulated. Like food and pharmaceuticals and safe child seats and clean water and air etc. All those things exist becasue of regulation.

Now it was about time that gun follow suit and also got banned. Overall, the cost of public gun ownership is too high and does not justify the rather meager benefits.

At the PBS Newshour last week President Obama assured a concerned audience member that he or Hillary do not “want to take away [our] guns.

That is when I realized just how utterly powerful the gun lobby has been in this country that no matter how horrific the gun violence incidences, including the mass massacre of children,  no one, no one, is willing to stand up to the NRA and even suggest the radical notion that maybe we should consider banning all guns while reexamining the validity and benefit of the  Second Amendment on American society today.

“We dont want to take your guns away” is not the right answer Mr. President. We have to ban guns. That is the only way we will significantly reduce gun violence. It doesn’t matter that people can still get them illegally. Being able to get something legally versus illegally makes a huge difference in terms of the number of guns circulating. Making something illegal just makes it harder to obtain. It is no ‘no big deal’.

And fuck the Second Amendment. Really. It was written for a different time and for different reasons and for a different peoples and a different America and the only reason it is being cited by gun nuts as a right today, is because of gun manufacturers and the  gun lobby leading to the misguided interpretation of the Second Amendment by our equally misguided Supreme Court. 

It seems like we are just going in loops: a shooting happens, some hack steps forward whining about  why “the good guys” like them, who allegedly use guns responsibly, should be “punished” for the mistakes of others, saying trite shit like ‘people kill people, not guns blah blah blah’, just so everyone shuts up like they had a point, just so we can repeat the same discussion next time around. And again. And again. And again…and then we wonder why nothing changes. 

Thing is: there is no such thing as responsible gun ownership. That is a myth. Guns are tools designed to kill. They serve no other purpose. A responsible, decent person doesn’t need guns in their everyday life to begin with. And  I have this suspicion that anyone who thinks they are a decent guy who needs to own guns to get by, is secretly hoping to have to use them one day.

Finally, background checks (and mental illness checks) don’t work: Mental illness reporting and “checks” (whatever that is supposed to entail) are a gross violation of a person’s privacy and with it dignity. And background checks don’t work because a lot of the shooters did not have police records and thus a negative background. The Sandy Hook shooter had a clean background and would have fallen through any kind of radar and so would most of the mass shooters of late. None of them had shady, criminal backgrounds. They were not the “wrong” people to own a gun, until they were.

So background checks don’t really do anything but give people on the other side a false sense of security and that someone is being held accountable here, when in reality these checks are so pointless in reducing gun violence, we may as well save ourselves the money and not bother with them at all.

And mental illness checks will do nothing but add more stigma to mental illness, further demonizing the already vulnerable, stigmatized mentally ill who, by the way, are more likely to be the victims of violence than its perpetrators.

The only way we can and will put an end to this fuckery is by BANNING ALL GUNS. Everything else is just self aggrandizing bullshit while pandering to the stupid masses and the damn gun lobby that’s turned gun ownership into a virtue and necessity via vile propaganda, lies and scapegoating.

If we don’t stop “demonizing” that man’s tool, the gun, as PInk Pistol put it oh so romantically, then nothing will change and we’ll be having the same discussion for another 50 years. 

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Quote of the Day

I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater and then just a few months later 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, that the absurd gun laws in this country would change, but nothing has happened.” […] “The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. […] More guns doesn’t mean less crime, as the NRA repeatedly tries to tell you. It means more gun violence, more death and more profits for the gun manufacturers.”

Piers Morgan, on his last day at CNN, where he was bullied and fired from his job thanks to the NRA and gun lobbyists who did not like the all too sane message about the terrible gun industry and gun culture that he was delivering.

Great America. Now go hire some conformist, gun aficionado in collaboration with the NRA so that we may have more Sandy Hooks and Aurora, Colorado mass shootings.  Twenty children were brutally massacred because guns have become ubiquitous symbols of our landscape but that was not enough of a wake-up call for our cowardly politicians and so-called leaders as clearly there are more children and innocent bystanders to be massacred so that some greedy jingoists with a nervous trigger-finger and paranoia about some government take-over and end-of-times scenario can distribute and carry more guns.

Women cannot get abortions because aborting a fetus is murder and life is scared blah blah blah but the same people who make the argument about valuing life have no problem seeing guns distributed to every man, woman and child so they may take lives at any time under the auspices of  “self defense” of course, while those who die innocently, such as the children in the Sandy Hook shooting are brushed off and pitied as unfortunate victims of everything, but guns.

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On Prejudice, Vigilante Justice and the Frightened Search For A Scapegoat That Has a Fall Out All Of Its Own

Zimmerman Trial Enters Jury Dissertation Phase

1) Consequences: When you equip people with guns and instill fear and paranoia in them and encourage them to go out there and take “justice” into their own hands and “stand their ground“, someone’s gonna get hurt. This shit doesn’t happen in a void. “Stand your ground” laws have very real life and death consequences and one of its unfortunate victims today, among many others, is a 17 year old black boy named Trayvon Martin who is buried six feet deep in dirt and who will never live his life – all because he was black and some racist, unevolved swine in the form of George Zimmerman thought he was guilty of something, being black and all.

2)  This verdict makes a mockery of the justice system and justice itself, because this it not only sets a legal precedent but also tells us that Martin was, rightly, executed for “walking while black”, even though he did no wrong and that it was ok for George Zimmerman to racially profile, stalk and execute an unarmed teenager. 

3) “They always get away.” These were the words George Zimmerman uttered as he followed and later shot Trayvon Martin.

Ask yourself this question: If Zimmerman had seen a white youth walking in the rain that evening, would he have seen him as one of ‘them,’ someone about to get away with something?

Racial bias reverberates in our society like the primordial Big Bang. Some years ago, Rev. Jesse Jackson made the point in a dramatic way when he acknowledged that he feels a sense of relief when the footsteps he hears behind him in the dead of night turn out to belong to white feet. Social scientists who study our hidden biases make the same point in a more sober way with statistics that demonstrate that we are more likely to associate black people with negative words and imagery than we are white people. It’s an association that devalues the humanity of black people — particularly black youth like Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman probably saw race the night of February 26, 2012, like too many others would have. Had he not, Trayvon probably would be alive today.

Now I am not saying we should incarcerate people for hidden biases and prejudices. However, the point is that race played a role in this. A lot of people say it is not about race, but about a child dying, and that is not true. It is precisely and only about race.

George Zimmerman was out to get someone, “them”, who always get away with it. And he did. The police told him to stay put and he did not listen, he got out to get “them”. The difference between Jesse Jackson and Zimmerman is that Jackson didn’t murder anyone based on that prejudice. Thinking something and acting on it are two different things and motivation in a court of law only matters with respect to the outcome. If Martin was alive, no one would have dragged Zimmerman in front of a court of law for having prejudiced thoughts. He was dragged there because his prejudice ultimately prompted him to go after Trayvon Martin and murder him.

For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. And the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fall out all of its own. 

Martin was a brown man and that is why he is dead today. If he was white, he would be alive. That is all we need to know and care about, everything else is just semantics. Not to mention that if people had followed the trial, they would know that Martin was the one on trial all along. Even the defense used race as a defense: “he was black”, “he smoked pot”, he did all these black things ipso facto he deserved to die somehow. That’s been the gist of the defense’s argument.

4) George Zimmerman murdered a child in cold blood and he wasn’t even found guilty of manslaughter. That is not justice. Getting out of your car, armed with a gun, to follow a teenager for no reason is reprehensible.

According to Wendy Dorival of the Sanford Police Department, the protocols under which  neighborhood watch groups operate specifically instruct volunteers not to follow  suspicious persons since that’s the job of trained law enforcement personnel. On the night Trayvon Martin was killed, the police even advised him that it was not necessary to get out of his car to pursue the suspect, yet Zimmerman ignored them and still pursued and stalked a black teenager.

This shows premeditation and racially informed pursuit which ultimately lead to Trayvon’s death. Zimmerman had a choice,  which is to not get out of the car to get “them“, but he chose to grab his gun and get out to pursue a kid for the sole reason that the child was black and thus clearly suspicious in Zimmerman’s eyes.  Had Zimmerman stayed in the car and waited, Trayvon Martin would be alive.

5) The trashing of Trayvon Martin’s character who had just been walking home and minding his own business is disgraceful and repugnant. He died not knowing who Zimmerman was and why he targeted him and jumped out of his truck in the dark of night to follow him. How was he supposed to know Zimmerman was neighborhood watch, as far as Martin was concerned Zimmerman was just criminal trying to mug and/or hurt him. 

6) The fact that people had to march and protest and bring immense media attention to the issue just to get him charged and subsequently prosecuted  is, by itself, evidence enough to the extent to which race played a role. As Michael Moore putHad a gun-toting Trayvon Martin stalked an unarmed George Zimmerman, and then shot him to death… DO I EVEN NEED TO COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE?

7) The sad truth is that if Zimmerman had shot a deer without a hunting license he would have received more punishment.

8) Unarmed  teenagers have a right to public space – without  owning armed  citizens any explanation as to their equal right to the sidewalk

9) Racism harms people, even if it is casually muttered by chubby cheeked chefs in the from of Paula Deen. When you casually make racist remarks, you have to remember that such casual statements contribute to the kind of “othering”  and dehumanizing mindset under which George Zimmerman acted. A mindset that prompted him to follow a child, a black child, at night, presume he was guilty of something because he was black and trying to “get away with it” and then subsequently shoot him.  This is why Paula Deen’s remarks and sweet-toothed racism are so dire: they add to culture of hate, paranoia and prejudice with deadly consequences for those who have to endure them, such as Trayvon Martin and his family.

10) To paraphrase Jermaine Paul, how much of a better world would it have been if George Zimmerman had offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night, instead of acting on his suspicions, fear, paranoia and prejudices and shoot him to death. 

11) This was a sad day for justice but a great onr for the gun lobby.  A great day to be a murderer in Florida. A great day for white supremacy.  A great day for vigilante justice.

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fall outs. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices.  To be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. And the thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fall out all of its own. For the children, and the children yet unborn.”

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