Posts Tagged paranoia
“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. And the pity of it is, that these things cannot be confined to the twilight zone.”
– The Monsters are Due on Maple Street – The Twilight Zone
One of the top “arguments” of gun advocates against gun control of any kind is that it helps protect ordinary citizens from a tyrannous government or government take over of any kind. The most cited example is the Holocaust and the (false) assertion that if the Jewish population in Germany had been allowed to own guns, the subsequent genocide would not have happened as clearly untrained civilians could have defended themselves against the military and thus when members of the SS and other military personnel marched into their homes to apprehend them.
Such an assertion is false and problematic for a number of reasons.
In the event of a coup, the first entity that takes sides is the military because whoever has the military on their side will be able to coerce people and thus has the power. Therefore, in such an event, the government essentially becomes the military and vice versa. AR15s or any of the guns currently owned by civilians are not going to save anyone vis a vis the military might of the government in charge. It was not going to save the Jewish population in their homes in 1933, and it would not save anyone in this country either if such a fantasy scenario were to ever take place.
The truth is that guns on the hands of civilians are simply no match, whatsoever, against military power and especially mean squat when the government has atomic weapons. Heck even today, if the National Guard and armed forces, in some fantasy scenario created by the NRA and other fear mongers, somehow decided to go after people, AR15s would not protect them. I mean really, what do people think they can do in such an even anyway? Shoot their way out of the country?
Such delusions, however, do not seem to bother gun advocates and fear mongers such as Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert who mumbled this unfounded and incomprehensible gibberish the other day:
“[The Second Amendment] is for our protection and the founders’ quotes make that very, very clear and including against a government that would run amok. We’ve got some people who think Sharia Law should be the law of the land, forget the Constitution. But the guns are there, that Second Amendment is there, to make sure all of the rest of the Amendments are followed.”
Let’s debunk and deconstruct this junk
1) The Founders did not intend to place guns in the hands of ordinary citizens and they did not want them to be used in public discourse. It clearly stated that people shall bear arms as part of a regulated militia. As Alexander Hamilton said about a militia:
“A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss.”
The only entity that,
in all its wisdom, decided to extend the Second Amendment to mean that also ordinary citizens can and should own guns is the fucking Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling.
Shooting our way through this country was certainly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. In fact, the founders of this nation created the Constitution and this very Nation to move away from the arbitrary rulers of Europe who used such unenlightened methods as an approach to governance. The use of guns as a tool in public discourse is unevolved, unenlightened and uncivilized.
The founders of this nation wanted people to resolve their problems and dissatisfaction through civil society and democratic means, such as grassroots, organizing and lobbying instead of by shooting opponents or those they do not like or whom they merely perceive as a threat, even though there really is not a real threat emanating from them.
True patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. They have faith in the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law. Since we no longer find ourselves in the 17th Century where citizens had to fight for and stand up to oppressive monarchies, the use of arms in this country to protect against the government no longer applies and is ridiculous at best.
One should always question the actions and policies of one’s government and leaders demanding transparency and oversight But armed revolt? With guns? One cannot keep lawmakers in check by owning assault rifles. One cannot get the Supreme Court to enact policies by pointing a gun at them.
2) It is quite hypocritical, but completely expected, of Tea Partiers and conservatives such as Gohmert to talk about the government wanting to institute Sharia Law (a subtle nod to Obama and his alleged Muslim ties and connections as laid out by terrible human being Michele Bachman) when clearly religious based laws, albeit Christian, are what Conservatives like him want for this nation.
3) I am particularly disturbed by the fact that a law maker and elected official believes that this country, including its Constitution and its Amendments, ought to be protected by guns and by actually pulling the trigger on those who may threaten them.
It is also deeply disturbing to see that gun owners zealously champion the “right” of people to own guns and all sorts of tools of murder, yet somehow seem to have forgotten about all the other civil liberties that are being continuously but surely eroded by the government such as with the Patriot Act and CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), the latter of which would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and certain technology and manufacturing companies to allegedly investigate cyber threats. We see this with Guantanamo Bay and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment.
Incidentally, or ironically, the government being given all sorts of rights and powers in the name of national security – such as did happen after 9/11 and the creation of the patriot Act and subsequent legislation – is precisely what preceded the 6 million genocide in Germany. After the burning of the Reichstag, the finding of a scapegoat and instigation of fear, Hitler was able to ask people to give him full power to “protect the public“.
Citizens not being armed had nothing to do with it. The genocide occurred not because Jews didn’t have guns to defend themselves. It occurred because people, out of fear and paranoia, handed all their freedoms, and with it rights, over to a genocidal murderer who, much like Wayne LaPierre, knew exactly what tunes to sing and what kind of alarmist rhetoric to use to get people pumped up and boiling with paranoia and rage, to the point of committing genocide.
So this idea that gun ownership advocates have about the US being like Nazi Germany and that as citizens we need guns to protect against our Hitler, which for Republicans these days is a black man with the name of Barak Obama, is ignorant, uncivilized and pathological.
The real threat, right here, right now, is not a government take over, Sharia law, terrorists, Muslims, hurricanes, activist judges, black people, street gangs or any of the other scapegoats the NRA has been manipulating the public into fearing. These things do not plunder the Constitution or pose a threat to the very fabric of society. What does pose a threat to America, however, is the enemy within.
The NRA’s response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary – and any other mass shooting in the country for that matter – has been one of massive scapegoating: women, teachers, video games, the entertainment industry, hurricanes, terrorists, the doorman at the school, and the mentally ill. Everyone and everything but guns, gun owners and gun lobbyists who have spent years easing gun regulationsmor across the country making it possible to obtain guns easier than a car — were responsible.
More specifically, The National Rifle Association, which is the nation’s largest gun advocates lobby, attributed the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to “school free zones,” arguing that “genuine monsters” (other than the proponents of gun ownership galore that is) are attracted to schools because its administrators and teachers are not armed.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA low life and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said. He urged Congress to “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.” La Pierre shoveled out blame far and wide, going after reporters for glorifying killers like Adam Lanza, violent movies, video games, and music videos. He tore into gun safety advocates for exploiting the tragedy for “political gain,” targeted President Obama for underfunding police initiatives in schools, and said that the media demonized “local gun owners” and spread “misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next violence is a new cycle away.” “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural of man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization,” he said.
Now it is the fault of law abiding citizens who don’t sleep with assault rifles under their pillows that this happened? Clearly, according to the NRA, they asked for it since not owning a gun is an invitation to being gunned down and shot in places you ought to feel safe. This is the same garbage rhetoric used in rape culture where the victims become the accused and are told that having behaved or dressed in certain ways provoked and justified, or at the least made it “understandable”, why they were assaulted and raped. That is a very disconcerting position to take as it is incredibly manipulative, twisting the victim/perpetrator position around, thus indirectly assign blame to victims for the atrocities committed against them rather than trying to find ways to minimize such atrocities and violence and thus really change anything about the status quo.
Scapegoat and Round up the Mentally Ill While We’re At It
La Pierre also called for the nation to create an “active national database of the mentally ill”, a brilliant idea that not only will not violate any privacy laws (HIPAA), it will also most definitely not lead to further stigmatization and marginalization of people with psychological disabilities – whom he apparently lumps in together with violent criminals – and discourage care-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment.
I don’t even know where to begin. Twenty families are burying their children in this holiday season, children who will never experience life and all its wonders, not to mention the psychological trauma the parents and families of those children will experience for the rest of their lives because of the actions of a criminal with easy access to weapons of mass murder, and all the NRA can come up with is basically blaming the victims and their parents for the outcome? Citing hurricanes and the media and Hollywood and the lack of tools of murder?
La Pierre and his supporters are nothing but disgusting, contemptible, frightened, small-minded fear mongers who are placing the alleged rights of a bunch of people to own tools of murder and mass murder above the life and safety of people.
There is just something indescribably vile about a proponent of unregulated access to guns. This was an opportunity for the NRA to grow, to advocate responsbile gun ownership and regulations like, for example, creating a national database of gun owners and requiring gun registration and other institutional controls similar to car ownership and operation. Instead, all they could come up with was shameless scapegoating, deflecting of responsibility and advocating the discrimination of vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill, who are, frankly, more likely to be victimized by violence than to perpetrate it.
Mental Illness Does NOT Equal Violent Behavior
The final straw, of course, was calling for a national database of the mentally ill. Not a national database of gun owners, but of the mentally ill.
Ok Heinrich Himmler.
What will be next? Round them all up into so called sanctuary districts, for their own protection of course, or make them wear some kind of a plaque on their garments so they can be easily identified?
What is outrageous is that not only mental illness is being equated with violent, criminal behavior but that all people with mental illnesses – which covers a broad spectrum of disabilities, most of which are not violent – are being lumped together as this one entity society must be aware and scared of. The reality is that there are millions of people suffering from mental illness who would never engage in such a vile, inhumane act of mass murdering children.
Someone who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, after, hmmm.., let’s say having been a victim of violence with guns, or a school shooting, is technically considered as suffering from a mental illness. Someone suffering from depression and anxiety taking medication is considered an individual suffering from a mental disability; a person suffering from severe anxiety is considered mentally ill. To lump these people together with violent criminals – who may or may not be mentally ill, – becasue remember, not all people with mental illness are dangerous, and not all killers are mentally ill, meeting standards of psychiatric diagnosis – is as low as it can get and the height of irresponsibility and inhumanity.
La Pierre played quite expertedly into the irrational fears and scapegoating mentality of the minuscule minded gun wielding, Jesus and cross hugging citizens of this nation by making references to those evil “killers, robbers, rapists, gang members” who have “spread like cancer in every community across our nation” and from whom we need to protect ourselves by owning an arsenal of assault weapons and other tools for mass murder.
The truth, of course, is that the only cancer having spread through society is the policies the likes of La Pierre and his organization of unregulated gun ownership advocates and the mindless tools that follow them advocate, believing that the answer to the problems of crime – or any problem for that matter in society – is arming every man, woman and child with all sorts of weaponry and sending them off into the world, as if guns – instruments aimed to kill – make us safer.
Imagine the principal of Sandy Hook had been armed with an assault rifle and after the first shot was fired and people were running around in panic she had jetted out of her office with an AR 15 shooting into a crowd of children running in panic. According to the NRA, that would have been the solution, which, of course, is another comforting lie.
Living in a society with ordinary citizens armed to the teeth like guerrilla fighters, taking justice into their own hands, like George Zimmerman, and shooting into a crowd with moving targets, does not make us safer. This Dirty Harry and John Wayne mentality is only good for when the zombie apocalypse or another end-of-world scenario – mostly to be found in science fiction – is upon us. It is not the route rational people in a civilized society held together by the rule of law and the Constitution they allegedly trust in, ought to embark on. We do not want to send our kids to school with the likes of George Zimmerman prowling the halls.
NRA’s Response to the Carnage at Sandy Hook At a Glance:
1) Create a police state – TSA style security at every corner. A George Zimmerman in every neighborhood. I mean, we are all totally grateful that he protected us from the evils of a 17 year old child holding candy and we clearly need more of that.
2) Arm every man, woman and child with assault rifles like they were Snake Plissken. The more guns and tools of mass murder lie around, the safer we all will be since human beings are totally not prone to irrationality and rage over something like someone cutting them off on the freeway or giving them the wrong look at the grocery store etc.
3) Scapegoat everyone and everything for this: Women, pacifists, the mentally ill, video games and movies, entertainment industry, the doorman at the school…everyone but gun owners and the gun – a tool solely designed to take lives, nothing else. Apparently the gun is a very misunderstood tool for murder.
Great America. Moving towards a plutocratic police state one gun wielding, Jesus chest-thumping, fear mongering, bigoted patriot at a time.