Simple proof that America is at war with itself

The Chicago Tribune news coverage following the Las Vegas mass shooting included a story quoting off-duty police officers trapped in the mayhem where 59 people were murdered and hundreds more were injured when the calculating gunman perched himself in a tall hotel to take aim with scopes and guns reconfigured as automatic weapons.

Some of the off-duty police officers had also served in the military. Those that had seen combat were still shocked by the scene of women shot through the head and people bleeding out as they lay on the ground wounded or dying from the effects of a man with plenty of ammo and deadly aim.

Combat statement.jpg“I have been in combat, but I have never seen this type of mass casualty,” said police Sgt. Michael Gonzalez.

The Las Vegas shooting may have been massive in scope, but it was just a bump in the pulse of bloody shootings taking place every day in America. There is no more denying the fact. The nation itself has become a combat zone. The United States of America is literally at war with itself.

The statistics of all the deaths caused by gun violence back this up. More Americans have now died from gun violence on home soil than all the soldiers ever killed in combat in foreign wars.

This is the direct product of the murderously blind activism of the conservative Supreme Court that wields its judgements like a weapon of the vigilante ideology favored by both the NRA and the politicians it has bought and sold. The inexcusable complaint that gun control measures are an infringement of the “right to bear arms” is disrespectful to the Constitution as a whole. When people own the right to steal the life of another human being in the blink of a trigger pull, there are no equal rights to that. There is no freedom in America.

Concealed Carry poison

The right to kill has bled into Concealed Carry laws that have poisoned the nature of freedom across the country. Think about it. The person standing next to you could well be packing the cold-hearted tool of your own demise. Say something wrong to them, or conduct some unintended slight that they judge to be a threat to their person, and they can claim the right to shoot you. Right in the head if they feel like it.

It is inconceivable that the Founding Fathers ever intended this to be the presiding scenario in America. In essence, we’ve been drawn back into an era when dueling was used to settle difference, or when gunman lined up in the street (supposedly) to draw weapons and fire. That’s what the NRA has promoted as the safest brand of citizenship in America.

Ignorant claims of so-called “responsible gun owners”

Don’t you see the ignorance of these claims? When laid bare, they have no constitutional foundation at all. They do have money behind them, and people selfish and angry enough at their plight in life to abide such foolishness. Meanwhile supposed “responsible” gun owners cower behind the controversy hoping the band of idiots at the forefront of the “more guns” debate will cover their fearful asses.

Because that’s what rampant gun ownership is all about. Fear. The United States is rife with chickenshits who feel like they can’t walk down the street or mingle with other human beings without carrying a gun on their person. This is the opposite of courageous. It is the parallel of insanity.

The bleeding and dying

That police officer who carried bleeding, dying people off the concert grounds knows now that America is a literal war zone. He saw it with his own eyes. He compared it to what he saw in actual combat, in real wars, and this was far worse.

The Second Amendment needs to be clarified. Re-balanced. We need a hard, strong definition of what a “well-regulated militia” looks like, and how it functions. We should no longer leave that to the addle-brained conservatives on the Supreme Court to decide. They have originalism blindness. They couldn’t muster their way out of a cardboard box if the writing on the inside mentioned guns in any way.

But our gutless Congress and Senate when run by Republicans is even worse. Their long term claim that government is the enemy of the people is the knife to the gut of common sense. If that’s the case, they should commit hari-kiri and get out of office. If you don’t believe in the merit of government, you have no right or ability to serve.

Cognitive dissonance

We live in a combat zone of cognitive dissonance. And innocent people are dying every day as a result. Screw the gun lobby. We don’t need any more evidence to re-write the Second Amendment, or repeal it altogether. The frightening reality is that we’ve seen  Presidents succumb to gun violence several times already. Even that conservative pet Ronald Reagan got blasted by a freeloading gunman back in the day. Gerald Ford was a target too. We lost JFK. His brother Bobby. We lost Martin Luther King, Jr. And we even lost John Lennon.

Imagine that. If Happiness is a Warm Gun, America has burn marks on its holster side.

What will it take for an admission of the combat zone that America has become? Does another President need to become a martyr for the nation to wise up? That might wake up the close-minded. The backwoods and front-office gun nuts, selfish and obsessed with weapons as a sub-culture.

It’s a sickness. An addiction. But like that soldier who comes home to find life at home too quiet, it seems the gun nuts of America fear the quietude they might face if they can’t wave a weapon in yours. That’s the worst angst they can imagine.

 

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At least 50 dead, 400 wounded and what terrorist organization is to blame?

Spilled bloodThis Las Vegas shooting was massive. Death and destruction. A lone shooter armed like a soldier and able to shoot dozens of people in an extremely short amount of time. He killed 47 more innocent lives than the Boston Marathon bombing. He traumatized literally thousands present at the concert as well as millions of people reading about the massacre right now.

At this stage in America’s history, the motivations for shootings no longer matter. They are all part of a long line of public murders that terrorize the nation for a moment and then sink into the lexicon of ‘business as usual in America.’

There will be police reports filed, but to what avail? There were even off-duty police officers killed. It would not have mattered if every citizen at the concert was armed. They were outgunned from the start and mayhem would have ensued if people started opening fire if some sort of martial law shootout had taken place.

There is only one terrorist organization to blame for this state of existence in America. That is the NRA. The constant effort to loosen gun laws and proliferate access to powerful weapons across America is an act of terrorism from within the system. The NRA has twisted and inflated the meaning of the Second Amendment to suit the profit motives of the guns and ammo industry. Millions of people have bought this perverse logic and turned our nation into a corrupt from of government in which the selfish rights and acts of a few dictate the public safety of all.

While conservatives wring their hands over Muslim influence in America and worry about the potential for Sharia law, they simultaneously ignore the massive carnage being perpetrated in America by gun owners, legal and otherwise. On average more than three times the number of people who died during the 9/11 attacks are killed by guns in the United States each year. That’s 152,000 Americans since 2001 that have died at the hands of the NRA. The complicit politicians across this nation who refuse to take responsibility for the in-house are also to blame. The terror manufactured and carried out is almost treated with a sense of pride by the false patriots who cower behind the supposed power of the Second Amendment.

The reason nothing is done about rampant gun violence is simple. The real cowards in America are those who refuse to admit they are scared for their own lives based on racial fears, gross insecurity toward their neighbors and their own government. They also fear looking stupid in the eyes of the bullies who run the NRA and its insidious tentacles. Thus the aggressive gun components in America are like captives exhibiting the Stockholm Syndrome. Cultlike. Sick and confused.

It’s time to call it what it is: the NRA is a domestic terror organization. And all those who support it, abide it or live without conscience by the lax laws it has created are accomplices in a plot against the sovereignty of this nation.

Republican toothpaste won’t go back in the tube

 

GOP Meme Themes.jpg

Graphic by Christopher Cudworth

 

So, the campaign for President is headed toward 2016, and what have we seen from the Republican side? A whole lot of foaming at the mouth about the state of the nation. Yet it’s a brand of political toothpaste that seems to be causing cavities in the GOP.

alg-donald-trump-jpgFrom the vacuous, poisonous observations of Dr. Ben Carson to the highly corrosive language of Donald Trump, Republican candidates are grinding away at their base. For the American people, it’s like brushing teeth with sulphuric acid.

Yet Republicans keep doubling down as they brush with racism and xenophobia, as if that’s the way to establish a clean and loyal base.

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is rinsing himself with evangelical fervor, and Marco Rubio just hopes his hard smile wins some converts somewhere. But as always with seemingly forthright Republicans, it turns out there might be a little rotten behavior behind that smile.

marathon-man-1976-04-gWe’re faced with a party whose tactics most resemble the dentist in the movie Marathon Man. Cruelty, anger and hatred are the prescription medicines of choice. Are voters expected to lie back and take this? For how long?

America suffered through eight years of the antics of Dr. Clousseau dentistry under George Bush while the sadistic political practitioner Dick Cheney (is that him in this photo above?) called for the power of a Unitary Executive while approving torture as a means of extracting information in Black Sites around the world. All while stockpiling military-industrial money for himself in the back offices of the White House.

dick-cheneySo you see, the Republican toothpaste does not go easily back in the tube. Trump isn’t really trying anymore. He just keeps spitting out bits of his teeth and gums along with his racist, xenophobic brand of Republican “misery loves company” ideology.

“This hurts you more than it hurts me,” seems to be the Trump mantra. And people follow along, because authoritarian patients love anyone that promises their selfish misery is being acknowledged as the American Way.

It’s apparent they had their Wisdom Teeth out long ago.

The New Civil War

FIREARMOn December, 3, 2005, the Opie Radio Show on Sirius XM was discussing the latest in a series of mass shootings. Debate ensued over what actually constituted a mass shooting. “It’s four or more people wounded or killed,” one of the hosts intoned.

This is how the story lead on mass shootings in America appeared in the New York Times under the headline, “How often do mass shootings occur?”

The story lead when like this: “More than one a day. That is how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people wounded or dead occurred in the United States this year, according to compilations of episodes derived from news reports.”

The radio hosts addressed that statistic with a expression of depressed shock and awe. Then they admitted that nothing seems to change the ongoing carnage. “We’ve already forgotten the one from last week. The media just goes out and covers these stories the same way. Then we move on.”

That’s what people do in war time. Unable to deal with the concussive effects of the murderous onslaught every day, Americans have taken to the methods of the World War II call of Britain to Keep Calm and Carry On.

And how ironic it is that all 50 states have enacted Open Carry laws allowing people to tote guns on their persons, and the mass shootings keep on happening. So-called law-abiding gun owners claim it is only madmen and criminals taking to the streets with weapons. But does that account for the angry anti-government militias and racist organizations itching to pick a bloody fight with all those they love to hate.

It does not. So by proxy, law-abiding gun owners have chosen sides in the New Civil War just as residents of slave states had no choice when leaders of the Confederacy lobbied and won the right to expand slavery into Missouri and other newly-won American lands.

That’s how evil works in this world. The innocent get swept up with the evil-doers. They become collateral damage in the fight for control over the ruling narrative. As a result, more Americans have died from gun violence or suicide with the borders of the United States than all the soldiers ever killed in wars on foreign soils.

Which means, we are literally at war with ourselves over gun rights.

Cynically, a pro-gun site called Reason.com, which advocates “Free Minds and Free Markets,” posted this justification for proliferation of guns under the headline, “How Guns Helped Secure Civil Rights and Expand Liberty,” and the subheading, “Firearms played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement.”

The story continued with this bit of misappropriated information:

“For example, guns played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement and its long campaign to achieve racial equality. To illustrate that point, here are three stories from the Reason archives that discuss the ways in which privately owned guns helped to expand freedom and secure civil rights for countless numbers of black Americans.

Why Civil Rights and Gun Rights Are Inseparable:

[A] vast number of nonviolent civil rights activists either carried arms themselves or were surrounded by others who did, including Rosa Parks, who described her dinner table “covered with guns” at a typical strategy session in her home, and Daisy Bates, “the first lady of Little Rock,” who played a pivotal role in the famous battle to integrate her city’s Central High School. Thurgood Marshall, who stayed with Bates in 1957 while litigating the Central High case, called her residence “an armed camp.” Bates herself packed a .45 automatic pistol.

Indeed, from the time of Frederick Douglass, who called a “good revolver” the “true remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill,” to that of civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer, who braved the worst of 20th century Jim Crow and declared, “I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom,” armed self-defense has always gone hand in hand with the fight for racial equality in America.

Use of this information to contend that guns played a role in civil rights is to ignore the fact that what Rosa Parks did to protest racism was peacefully sit on a bus in defiance of Jim Crow laws. It also ignores the fact that guns may have been a necessity, not a choice, in black homes to targeted by white racists determined and able to murder all who lived within.

And the second story? It also cites self-defense as a reason to own a gun. But again, it was not guns that led to equal rights for black people in America. It was peaceful demonstrations and white collaboration with black leaders to pass laws protecting black Americans from the patent discrimination and cruelty exacted upon them. One of the primary, peaceful leaders of the Civil Rights movement in America was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and advocate of peaceful activism even in the face of police brutality and aggressive response. Of course, Dr. King was shot dead by a gun, proving that guns are not in any way the cause or protector of Civil Rights.

Yet it is this cynical attitude that guns are the principal force of justice in America that has dominated lawmaking the last 30 years. As a result, gun controls are insufficient to protect everyday citizens, and all the gun proponents can think to do in the event of mass shootings every day is to propose that every last citizen armed themselves or literally face the risk of dying on the streets, in theaters, colleges or even homes for the disabled.

That is not civil justice on any level. That is the New Civil War. And welcome to it.

So what is to be done? First, it must be declared that this is a Civil War in progress. The dominating interpretation of the Second Amendment segregates the call for “a well-regulated militia” from the phrase that says, “the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

That ignores both the context and original unification of those phrases, depending on anachronism on one hand to claim that militias don’t exist in the same form today, thus the right to bear arms must be kept free of the influence of the introductory phrase.

Yet the entire populace of gun owners does constitute a militia. That’s one of the frequent justification for the freedom to own guns. Resisting either a foreign invasion or fighting our own government in the event of martial law are both reasons given for arming the citizenry.

So it is a lie to say that the standing militia should not be well-regulated. At this point that collective militia is clearly out of control and causing a war from within on American soil. We can analyze whether it is angry black inner city residents or angry white disenfranchised Americans that are the greater problem, but that would be moot.

The real problem is that we’ve got a New Civil War on our hands, and everyone is involved whether they like it or not. That’s how wars work. When two sides square off on an issue like mass murders, you know the cause that defies logic has to lose or evil gets to reign.

That’s what happened with the fight over slavery years ago. Right now we’re all slaves to the irresponsible interpretation of the Second Amendment. It is brutalizing and killing every day. On average, it’s about 30,000 people a year. Since 1980 when Ronald Reagan took office and ushered in the neo-liberalism that caused the New Civil War, far more than a million people have died or been injured by gun violence on American soil. That’s a war on Americans, by Americans. The New Civil War has lasted far longer than the original one. That’s a sad fact of history.

To rectify this problem, the interpretation of the Second Amendment must be collectively reviewed and examined in light of ongoing deaths and murder at the hands of a collectively unregulated American militia. That debate needs to start today. 

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The long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots

FIREARMYou’ve heard them say it before. It’s the slogan treasured by NRA members and politicians sucking the smoking hot barrels of the gun industry.

“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

And isn’t that nice? That’s about the best excuse for lack of responsibility ever conceived. It’s in line with a long line of propagandistic utterances used to justify killing in the past.

Manifest Destiny

Let’s consider another trite little phrase used to justify selfish behavior that led to the death of millions. That would be manifest destiny. According to the website United States History, the phrase Manifest Destiny was first recorded in a magazine titled United States Magazine and Democratic Review. That’s where it appeared in this context: “our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions.”

That sounds much like the justification for the establishment of Concealed Carry laws in the United States. And isn’t it fascinating how the supposed freedoms allotted one segment of society is accorded so much favoritism over the rights, and very survival, of another?

Providential perversions

Notice the injection of God into the formula for Manifest Destiny. Always a desperate ploy for approval, the practice of invoking religion (more specifically that of Providence) is designed to raise doubts in the minds of those whose reasons for objecting to the obvious force of will behind a selfish motive. When there is no moral excuse for what you are about to propose, such as killing lots of people to protect your own interests, it is always and forever convenient to claim that God (and country) are truly on your side.

But of course Manifest Destiny was never amounted to more than an excuse for bad behavior disguised as good intentions. It was not a fully actualized ideology in any sense. With its beginnings as a justification and instrument for war, Manifest Destiny kept that purpose alive in the very event of resistance to the practices of primarily white and powerful politicians and their minions.

Hidden agendas

Nature and eternity are foundations of the BibleTo be sure, there were some noble aspirations lurking at the core of Manifest Destiny. There was the belief that the American experiment was indeed exceptional, even vital to the spread of Republican Democracy in the world. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand….”

Those were the words of Thomas Paine. But take special note of his reference to Noah, the biblical character whose ostensible contribution to world history came on the heels of a worldwide genocide by none other than God.

Sorry, Thomas. That less than oblique reference exposes the deep pathology behind the supposed march to freedom invoked in Manifest Destiny. Because when that sort of thinking is combined with any sort of racist or triumphal sense that God is on your side, then things can get warped and dangerous pretty quickly.

Wipeout

So it was that Manifest Destiny served at least as a backdrop for genocide of Native Americans on the North American continent. It was a flood of white settlers this time that wiped out the populations of all those who stood in the way. Our nation has hardly shed a tear for those who died or were displaced by people assuming their supposed natural rights to the land.

It was superior weapons that won the day. The white man’s guns were far better than the weapons of the Native Americans. But that’s where the interesting junctions of past history and current propaganda converge. If we simply take the modern phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and apply it to the execution of Manifest Destiny against the millions of people slaughtered in the forests and plains of North America, then our nation began its history with thick layers of blood on its hands.

Cowboys and Indians

Indeed, the entire “cowboys and Indians” mantra rests deep in the psychology of all those abide by our nation’s oral and visual history. The days of the Wild West where gunman roamed free with handguns to engage in gunfights on the streets is also rife with symbolism. These were supposedly “free and independent” gunslingers. Yet their nobility essentially constituted martial law, or worse yet, vigilante justice.

We even had a “cowboy President” in George W. Bush who hailed from Texas whose idea of foreign policy was to shoot first and ask questions later. The Iraqis were the Indians according to this narrative, so we went in with guns blazing.

The real Wild West

How convenient then that America has begun its evolution back toward the day when people walked around with guns strapped to their hips on holsters. But wait a minute! The real history of guns in the Wild West is something entirely different. Many towns had strict laws about checking your guns before you could walk around freely. it simply was not true that everyone walked around all the time carrying weapons concealed or openly. Civilization and our Constitution demanded an entirely different dynamic.

FlagSolarSee, the Second Amendment recognizes the importance of civility first, gun rights second. It reads like this. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

As the Old West vitally recognized, the phrasing of the Second Amendment does not specifically guarantee the right to bear arms at all times. It guarantees the right to own guns. And it guarantees to bear Arms as needed. But it does not guarantee the right to willfully impose those purposes in all circumstances. The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance.

Unhinged beliefs

The term “shall not be infringed” has been interpreted by gun zealots as an unhindered right to keep, show and use weapons in any circumstance. But our own history from none other than the Wild West shows that wielding weapons outright was not originally encouraged or tolerated. That entire notion is unhinged from reality. Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good

Gun control is the key basis for salvation for one good reasons. Guns are designed for one purpose, and that is killing. Their presence presages violence and actions that would not occur in circumstances where guns freely carried were not present. The unhinged claim that guns actually “prevent” violence is a sociopathic response to the reality that people do indeed kill people.

Extremes

Gun proponents will call this definition extreme, but the trail of excuses used to define unhinged gun laws is a form of sociopathy. Sociopathy is defined as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocialoften criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.”

Extreme? Hardly. Let’s look at this claim in reverse to understand how accurate a term sociopathy really is for gun proponents who will not listen to reason on the issue of gun control.

306523_3795453241128_1825138197_nFirst, gun proponents love to claim that it is only criminals that abuse guns. But of course, the first time any person abuses the use of their gun in acts of violence, aggression or calculated murder, they instantly jump over to the condition of criminality. Let’s not forget that pet slogan of gun proponents: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It defines the quick-trigger mentality gun proponents love to claim as a potential prevention measure against gun violence.

Thin veneer

We instantly begin to see that the defense of guns as a mode of protection is a very thin veneer. The excuse to defend supposedly “law-abiding” gun owners turns out to be a paper-thin and fragile excuse for the concept of unrestricted gun ownership. If you do not consider the instability of society in general, then the idea that all gun owners will obey the laws is an acceptable defense of the right to keep and bear arms at all times. But that is demanding that we consider our gun laws in a void, absent of human frailty and obsessive characteristics that we know exist not only in criminals, but in all of society.

If you study ancient and modern societies with any sort of objective assessment, you note that our world is comprised of a competitive, often dismissive lack of order.

And, if we do our moral duty as Christians and actually read the Bible to consider the impact of all the discord, lies and sins that constitute evil, it should be evident that guns are not the ultimate solution to human conflict. In fact they contribute to the problem in massive ways. More than 10,000 people in America die each year from gun violence. Many more are wounded or maimed.

Quite the opposite

Guns are not the solution to society’s problems. That would be forgiveness and love. The Bible does not mince words about this. The Bible does not encourage us all to take up arms in the event that we’re confronted by evil.

jesus-blackConsider Psalm 121: 7-8 for starters: “The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Jesus was even more succinct on the issue: Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. …”
Lo and behold, the supposed right to keep and bear arms looks like an extreme denial of faith in the context of scripture. Because if you do not trust the Lord to keep you from all harm, and you do not find capacity to love your neighbor and your enemy, then you are living a lie in the face of God’s commands. Guns are actually a denial of God’s power and authority in this world.
The problem with the lie that guns are the solution to violence and social problems is that this meme has been disturbingly confused with the call to patriotism and national protection. But again, at the heart of this claim there is deceit as well.
We know from a long line of public statements by radical groups on the Right and the Left that mistrust of the government is a key reason why so many people want to keep and own guns. At the heart of all this is fear. The Second Amendment has been interpreted by many to mean that keeping guns is necessary to keep the powers of our own government in check.
Thus wildly formed “militias” project their own worst fears on the national interest. They contend that the government is indeed coming to “take their guns” and that it is the right to bear arms that keeps our country free and independent. Some have even claimed that the reason nations like China would never invade America is that there are so many guns they could never accomplish the task of going door to door killing its citizens.
Wild West in the Middle East
abu-ghraibOne could argue that point well enough given the Wild West state of Middle Eastern countries in which martial law and terrorist groups reign with impunity. Yet when the United States invaded Iraq without direct cause in 2003, it was to overthrow a dictator and install order in a country where it was feared terrorism already existed. Instead we drew very well-armed and creative terrorists to a nation where they now rule the day.
So that’s the model upon which gun proponents in America want to base our Republican democracy. They would rather have their guns and act like terrorists against their own country than work to establish a reasonably balanced right to bear arms in which people are not at constant threat of being murdered by citizens with perverse motivations and weapons to match.
Mass murderers
Because that’s where we stand today. The shootings and mass murder keep adding up. When the white supremacist gun owner with a vendetta against black people sat in church for an hour before opening fire and killing nine innocent worshippers, apparently no one noticed that he was carrying a gun. So much for the claimed value of Concealed Carry laws. And had the other worshippers all been carrying guns, would any one of them been capable of pistol-whipping the shooter there on the spot? In church? With God present?
The ultimate cynic might now claim that it was obvious God had no reason to protect those people from evil. There is still such deep racism toward black people in America that there are those who likely welcomed the attacks. Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize and claim those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purpose.
Just as ugly were the attempts to politicize the event through claims those murders were not an attack on people of color, but were instead an attack on Christianity itself. That’s the big Talking Point these days for Meta-Christians seeking to own the authority of Christianity for political purposes.
An unholy alliance
How desperately sick it is that the very people willing to politicize these murders tend to be the very people who side with gun zealots to get elected. If ever there was a case where phony Christians had blood on their hands. this was it. Those politicians that refuse to engage in reasonable discussion of gun controls, who claim cynically that “more guns” would have prevented these murders, are directly responsible for the deaths of those killed by sociopath who shot people dead at close range.
If you are one of those people who engage in sick excuses and propaganda such as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” then the blood of all those murdered by handgun and other gun violence is on your hands as well. Don’t you get it? It idoes not matter if
Don’t you get it? It does not matter if your own gun habits are law-abiding or not. If you support a falsely romantic vision of a Wild West for the New Age, you are part of the problem. Your politics are corrupt. Your religion is confused and perverse. Your notion of patriotism has more in common with terrorism than national pride. You are part of the long trail of sad excuses uttered by gun zealots.
And you have blood on your hands to show for it.

It’s actually Open Carry they’re really after

By Christopher Cudworth

National approval for Open Carry is next on the agenda of the American gun lobby. Wait and see.

National approval for Open Carry is next on the agenda of the American gun lobby. Wait and see.

I saw another sign banning Concealed Carry the other day. It was posted on some street barriers in anticipation of Cruise Night at a nearby town. You know the sign: A picture of a handgun with a red circle and a slash through it. 

Right now it is legal for some organizations to post one of those signs. If you run a church or conduct a community event where weapons might not be welcome, you can request or demand the right to ban weapons on the site. 

This must rankle all those people who think Concealed Carry is the answer to all our social problems. After all, the laws passed in all 50 states are supposed to guarantee the legal right to pack heat, right? What’s the real point of banning guns anywhere? If you can’t take your handgun into church and someone decides to shoot the place up, how are you going to defend yourself? 

False Premises

That’s the premise of Concealed Carry. The idea that other people might be legally carrying weapons is supposed to be a deterrent to criminals who might otherwise choose to pull guns and open fire. 

Only deterrence is just an imagined protection. There’s no real proof that the idea of other people carrying guns is any real deterrent to people angry enough or bored enough or frustrated enough to pull out guns and start shooting at people in public places.

False Logic

The supposed logic of so-called Concealed Carry doesn’t bear out at any level. Let’s face it: the only real deterrent to anyone about to shoot up society is another person with a weapon openly displayed and aimed at their head. 

thSo thinking it all through, it’s actually Open Carry the gun lobby is really after. Concealed Carry was just a stepping stone Open Carry becoming the norm in society. We’ve already seen gun-obsessed people strolling through towns and cities with rifles over their shoulders, daring anyone to protest their presence. 

Fantasies and Delusions

Open Carry is what they really want. It’s time to force the gun lobby to admit it. Concealed Carry is no real deterrent to illegal use of weapons. Only Open Carry can do that. Otherwise the shooter figures they can outdraw anyone in a gunfight. That’s what the Hollywood movies and all those hardass gun instructors like to teach. Shoot first and best and you survive.  

It’s all based on fantasies and delusions. Everyone figures they’re a faster gun and better aim than everyone else. It’s like the opposite of winning the lottery. With Concealed Carry, the odds of being shot are growing bigger every day. It’s a fascinating phenomenon, and the fact that more civilian Americans have died from gun violence than all the American soldiers that have died in foreign wars is no deterrent to the gun lobby. They just want more, more, more. 

Stand Your Ground Foolishness

Along with Concealed Carry, the worst news for people who appreciate freedom from violence has been the invention of the Stand Your Ground laws. Such laws were supposedly created to give people protection with the right to “defend” themselves in situations where they feel threatened. But guess what? Stand Your Ground laws are proving to be a bad, bad idea. Studies by the American Bar Association have shown that Stand Your Ground laws actually result in an increase in homicides rather than a decrease in gun violence. The American Bar Association report recommends the laws be revised or in some case repealed as a result. 

An article about the report in the Lansing (MI) News states the following: “The task force also suggests that the laws (SYG) only apply if the aggressor shows a weapon before deadly force is used, and recommends that judges give juries more detailed instructions on when a “stand your ground” claim can be used.”

Now a normal person would read that paragraph and say “Good, they’re going to roll back the Stand Your Ground laws because it promotes gunfights.” 

But a gun advocate will likely look at that statement and determine that the better solution is to remove all need to conceal weapons. Let Open Carry be the rule of the day and criminals will really be deterred from attacking. 

Except continuing escalation in the militarization of society is turning the process of enforcing the law from a police action to a military strike against those trying to outgun them. 

The comments on the Lansing News website led off with this insightful screed (sic): 

Taxburdened20111 hour ago

 
“Obviously an article written by a progressive.  The right to own weapons is guarenteed by the 2nd Amendment, quit trying to change our right to own weapons and to change the constitution to your ideolical views, just for once, will you?????  Doubt it, but I still comment on it!  Only the criminal will subvert this right by not owning a weapon legally.  Most, if not all non-criminals will own a weapon legally and registered.  We have nothing to hide, all we want is something to protect ourselves from idiots like yourself who happen to to want to take our right away Mr. Brian Smith! Is that your purpose in this article Mr. Smith???
 
All told, the process of the militarization of society is a self-fulfilling prophecy for people so afraid of government and society in general that they believe the government is trying to take away their guns and their rights. But when even the police feel like they have to act like an army to keep society under control, the idea of a “well-regulated militia” as proposed in the Second Amendment has been outstripped by the selfish interpretation that gun rights are absolute, literal and untouchable.
 
Open Carry is next
 
Watch and wait. It will probably be just a matter of weeks before Open Carry legislation is introduced at a national level. The timing is just about right, with November elections coming around the corner. Probably Congress will throw a bill like that into the hopper, forcing Democrats who vote against it to go on record. There’s precedent for Open Carry at the state level. Organizations such as Opencarrytexas.org are already on the case. 
 
It’s a sad case, mostly, with people dying every day from gun violence, and gun advocates insisting that the only way to stop gun violence is to hand out more guns and brandish them like cowboys in the streets.
 
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Only it’s much worse than that when it comes to guns in America. The escalation of gun weaponry and accessibility of military-grade guns in the United States is not just insane, it is politically criminal and the absolute result of misinterpreting the Second Amendment to mean that “well-regulated” means no regulations at all.
 
If we had followed the same logic with environmental protection rivers in American would be on fire these days as they were in the 1970s. But we developed some common sense and the EPA has protected us from far worse consequences. 
 
So you can see the comparative paradigm at work here. We’re at a critical point in the gun debate where more powerful weapons is having a toxic effect on society and yet the gun lobby cries wolf in trying to tell us it’s not that bad, and that more guns is the price of progress in a civilized society. 
 
Except it’s really uncivilized, what they keep proposing. The insane logic never ends with these people. It never, ever, ends. 
 
 

How the NRA is planning its coup on America

The goal of the NRA is a coup on America

The goal of the NRA is a coup on America

The CEO of the National Rifle Association , Wayne LaPierre and his NRA militia hid away for a few days while the shock of the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shootings died down.

28 Innocent Dead. The NRA does not care. Gun rights are more important than human life.  

But let’s not forget that word, died. Because 28 people died when a young man armed with assault weapons and multi-cartridge handguns trudged through an elementary school shooting everyone he could find.

Makings of a coup

And what is the NRA’s response? They huddled for a few days behind silence and a hurriedly torn down Facebook page to avoid public outrage. In other words, they were afraid to face the immediate consequences of the policies they support. Afraid. Fearful. Fear. That is the method, the foundation, the mission, the policies and the leadership of the NRA. Fearful zealots who cannot think of life without guns. It’s like an addiction, protected by a language of name-calling and hate designed to shout down opponents of the weapons free-for-all the NRA supports. It’s so interesting how fear and aggression fit so well together in the agenda of the NRA.

Out of their foxhole

After a few days spent cowering in their PR foxholes, the NRA finally sent their CEO and spokesman Wayne LaPierre out on the balcony of the weapons palace occupied by the NRA and shouted to the people, (in paraphrase), “The answer to gun violence is more guns! We must put armed volunteers in every school to protect the children. We’ll call it the National Shield!” In other words, the NRA wants to take over control of our public school system from top to bottom. To brainwash America into thinking guns supersede law in providing justice and protection for American lives.

Some supporters screamed back at the figure on the NRA balcony,  “Arm the teachers!” and others yelled “Arm the kids!”

Call it what it is: An attempted coup

In most nations, especially a few banana republics south of North America, this used to be called a coup. All that was missing for Wayne LaPierre to put on the gaudy military uniform with the spangly epaulettes. He could have twirled his mustache a few times, put his arm around a comely companion and shouted, “We are your protectors! Let us rule the nation together! We are the ones who truly love you.”

Huddling behind the banana plants

Behind the scenes at the NRA dictatorship, way behind the banana plants, deep in the back rooms of their stench-filled plantation, that smacks of death, the powers that be must have been fiercely active in planning their friendly-looking coup. And how cynical it is: “Protect the kids.”

You can just hear the conversations as the Duke of Ammunitions and the Esquire of Assault Weapons each made their pitch to LaPierre, the benevolent dictator whose only goal is to carry out their wishes of the weapons manufacturers and protect the cartels now running the gun culture that has supplanted America’s formerly free democracy. It’s almost as bad a lie as the organization called the US Chamber of Commerce, which stands against the very nation and citizens it purports to represent by fostering business practices that abuse the trust and welfare of American Citizens and small business owners.

In the Second Amendment We Trust

The NRA, meanwhile, has completely lost sight of any element of the US Constitution but a literal interpretation of the Second Amendment, and then only does the NRA abide by a part of the phraseology, preferring to conveniently ignore the phrase “well-regulated militia.”

But like biblical literalists who have turned the Book of Genesis into a science textbook and weapon against rationality and science, the NRA has taken the literal interpretation of the Second Amendment and made it into a religion. We might daresay go a step further, and call it a cult of gun worship.

“The Second Amendment is our True Protector,” LaPierre could be heard to preach, based on the idea behind the National Shielf program. “I recommend we use this opportunity of a gun massacre not to retreat, but to charge the front lines of resistance against our holy cause. In fact if we have to knock down the walls of society and take the very children we seek “to protect” hostage, we must do it, because the Second Amendment is our God. Raise these children in sight of guns their whole lives and guns will become normal to them as Jesus and Sunday school. If we can’t require God in schools, we’ll give them guns instead. We’ll put the fear of God into them that way.”

Guns and God. God and guns. The NRA can’t tell the difference. Perhaps they’ll even try to change the Pledge of Allegiance, NRA style: 

I Pledge Allegiance to the Guns,

of the United Armory of America,

and to the weapons for which they stand,

one nation, hiding behind God,

with Second Amendment rights for all.

Every good coup deserves to rewrite history

Yes, every good coup deserves a revised Pledge, to replace the namby-pamby version that went before. The victors do get to rewrite the history, after all.

And if the NRA continues is revisionist stance on America’s history, conveniently ignoring the phrase “well-regulated” whenever they utter the words militia, that’s what we’ll all become in the end. An unregulated militia mimicking a society. Our rights not to own guns will be overwhelmed by their everlasting presence. Even conservative leaders such as George H.W. Bush have been fed up with the NRA for years, as evidenced in this letter of resignation sent in 1995, objecting to the slanderous approach of the NRA in maligning federal agents.

Zealots and their supposed Holy Wars

It’s almost like some Americans can only see God and Country while looking down the shiny blue barrel of a repeating shot weapon. How interesting that the zealots are winning this apparently holy war, when during the day when Jesus lived, he made sure the zealots knew the real kingdom of God was not made for power on this earth, or weapons of murder or destruction, or even political rule.

So the NRA truly is on the wrong side of God, and forever shall be if their method remains to indoctrinate and brainwash the culture at large into weaponry as the holiest of rights.

This has all the makings of a coup, indeed. Unless somebody pulls a coup on the dictators first, before they try to take absolute power.

 

America’s gun problem ultimately requires a peaceful solution

Guns were designed for one thing

Guns were designed for one thing

Back in 2008, which seems like a couple decades ago in today’s 24-hour news cycle, I published an article titled America’s Gun Addiction on Yahoo!, then waited for the requisite hateful commentary of gun addicts calling me “naïve” and other such nonsense.  I never proposed to take away their handguns and assault weapons, but that’s all they could read from it.

Instead, I was simply asking people to consider whether they are addicted to the notion of owning and using guns. Reasonable question, given the proliferation of gun violence in America. And yet people do not seem to get the message that gun violence has a cause, a purpose and a political consequence. Let’s examine these three notions together, and do so a bit provocatively. This is to draw attention to the fact that we are traveling down the road of an escalation in gun violence that some contend will mitigate itself when we reach some stasis where the number of guns in society simply cancels out its own violence. But at what price, and how many lives along the way? And when that stasis of violence cancellation is reached, what will it truly say about our society when have created a culture where equality is defined by equal threats rather than equal rights?

The realities of gun fascism

To draw nearer the truth of where that journey is taking us, we must indeed go another step further, and add a new proposal.

What we have in America is a growing form of gun fascism wrought by the never-ending cycle of gun violence supported by cries for even more guns to solve the gun violence problem.

“Arm the citizenry!” has become the rallying cry of gun advocates and the NRA, and what a disturbing breakdown in logic that really us. But no real surprise. Yet we need to recognize that democracy has a hard time breathing when the air of logic is sucked out of the room by the irrationality of one cause or another.

Fascism depends on a circular logic designed to suck all the air out of discussion and dissent, you see. The strategy of fascists is simple: win the fight by claiming that the cause of our problems is actually the solution. Then repeat your argument often and loudly enough until people come to believe it.

Unless you don’t choose to.

Radical authoritarian nationalism

To call our gun culture “fascism” might seem un-American given our nation’s history of gun obsession, but the description fits. Fascism is defined as is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. That describes our gun culture perfectly. Those of us who don’t really feel the need to own guns, and who don’t knuckle under to the hot desire to use them are being told, in so many words, that we are naïve, stupid and un-American for having such rational feelings. We’re told to “get with the program” or get shot. There is no in-between.

The not-so-well-regulated militia

We have now reached the point where gun culture has far surpassed the meaning of the Second Amendment with its call for a well-regulated militia. If our so-called “militia” is indeed a force of privately armed citizenry, then who is really doing something about the use of both legal and illegal weapons to shoot and kill dozens of innocent citizens? The gun advocates tell us the cops can’t stop it. They get there after the fact. So the gun fascists tell us the “only way” to stop gun violence is to give everyone a gun. Many would seem to be happy to make it a requirement of citizenship. “That’s taking real responsibility for your own life,” they tell us.

Instead of acknowledging the egregious state of affairs the Connecticut school shootings represent, the gun fascists such as pro-gun Senators just hide away for a few days and then emerging spouting the same gun propaganda they always spew at us. They go on telling us that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

That is a fascist, propagandistic statement designed to control and manipulate the thoughts of a nation by confusing the ability of people to place responsibility where it really lies: on guns as a tool of death and destruction. Such propaganda is a radical controtion of fact that completely ignores original purpose and design of guns, which is to kill.

The fact that we use guns for “sport” is only a deferral of the original design. It does not defer the nature of their original intent. Guns are weapons designed to kill things, and forever shall they remain so. Trying to shift the blame away from that fact is just like saying that people didn’t design guns, the guns designed themselves. We know that is not true.

Literalistic intepretation of the Second Amendment

So how has America’s gun culture become a form of fascism? Our gun culture takes a literal interpretation of the first part of the Second Amendment and exaggerates it to the point of an absurd and often bitter selfishness by essentially ignoring the phrase “well-regulated militia.”

Rather than accepting that “well-regulated” means logical control of those weapons so that the citizenry at large is safe, they cry in fear at any restriction of the so-called freedoms, and then take forceful political action to impose their will on the nation as a collective. “Don’t take away our gun rights!” the gun culture screams. It is the hallmark of gun fascism to hide behind the protection of the Constitution. Yet gun fascisms literally takes away the rights of others every day, with more than 50,000 gun incidents annually in America, and no less than 9,000 deaths a year as the direct product of gun violence. Whose rights are really being violated here?

No less than three 9/11 tragedies per year

We lost over 3,000 people in the 9/11 tragedy. Then our nation’s president (who is known to have ignored warnings about the pending attacks) declared a War On Terror, then proceeded to launch two relatively aimless and unbudgeted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, costing the nation trillions of dollars, many more American lives and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan. America has gone to great expense fighting its so-called War On Terror, yet three times as many people die in America from gun violence every year as died in the 9/11 attacks. What’s wrong with this picture.

The bully pulpit of American exceptionalism

The terrorists who committed the crimes in New York knew they were picking on the world’s biggest bully. America is a bully, yet a rather philanthropic one, if you take into account or practice of nation-building after we whack a few other bad guys. That makes us the “exception” you see.

But according to the rules of bullydom, no one is allowed to hit us first. We’re always the ones who get to hit first. If someone hits us we label it “infamy” or “terrorism” or “an act of war.” Well, duh. Sometimes America can be exceptionally stupid about its place in the world. So yes, we are exceptional in some ways.

That is not hating America, by the way, to criticize our nation’s propensity for stupidity at times. That is giving the nation tough love, and we need a dose of it on the issue that is killing our kids, which is guns.

Let us repeat for emphasis: within our own borders we lose three times as many people to gun violence each year as we lost when terrorists flew planes into buildings on 9/11,.

Meanwhile the gun proponents try to tell us it is all the price of freedom.

Nope. This is fascism and a brand of terrorism on our own soil. If we can’t seem to think of any other way to control it than giving out more guns to our citizenry so they can “defend themselves,” we have literally lost the fight for freedom. We certainly can’t shoot our way out, although some might like to try.

False myths and fascist wishes

How long do we really want to lie to ourselves about the open-ended terrorism of gun violence that rips through the fabric of American culture with a seemingly unrelenting pace? Gun fascists tell us to “wise up” to the fact that things will never change. There are 200 million guns in America now. We can’t get rid of them all.

More fascist mindset. It only wants its selfish aims to be fulfilled and uses the false myth that guns bespeak independence and authority.

A last measure of peace, and why America is not anything like a “Christian nation”

That mindset of current day gun fascists would greatly surprise the person known as Jesus Christ, whose instructions to “love your enemy” certainly did not mean to shoot them first and love them later. Yet that is the message of the gun culture we’ve created, a product of the fascist propaganda pumped out by the NRA to support its own commercial clients. America’s freedoms are being sold up the river so that gun and ammunitions companies can make money, and so that people who own guns, legally or not, can be exonerated from culpability for their misuse, at any level. It’s very sad. America is very sad right now because of it.

So we live with a form of terrorism and a fascist strain of a faux branch of government to boot.

The fact is, the way things are now, we could all be shot, any moment of our lives. The gun culture tells us this is inevitable unless we arm ourselves. Such is their interpretation of “freedom.” But it is certainly not in line with the notion of freedom espoused by Christianity, upon whose values some of our nation’s foundations were partly based. That brand of freedom shows personal discipline in resistance to violence. Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibited Christian resistance to violence. And what happened? It got him shot. But the solution was not to arm protestors. The solution was persistence in the face of prejudice and violence.

“Do not suffer the children to come to me”

If a nation dominated by guns is all we have to offer our children, that notion of a “city upon a hill” is all but lost.

Tell that myth to the little children shot in the latest tragedy, and to the millions of other children now asking their parents whether they will be shot at school next week. If we follow the logic of the gun fascists, our city on the hill must automatically become a fortress. The notion is simply medieval.

Jesus once warned his disciples, “do not suffer the children to come to me.” He wanted all to know the sanctity of true freedom, which is not borne on threat and self defense, but on love, charity, understanding and yes, education to the perils of evil in our world. We do need to watch out. But our first priority should be prevention, not vengeance in return for vengeance.

Echoes of vengeance

Today parents are at pains to explain to their children that the Connecticut shootings were just an isolated incident. That’s the advice being given by psychologists.

Tell your kids it’s okay. Tell them they’re not at risk. Assure them the bad guys will not reach their schools.

In other words, lie to them now, and hopefully you’ll never have to explain why that lie was so false. Some lies appear vital to the sanity of a nation at risk. It’s true in war. It’s true in supposed peace as well.

America was turned rotten from the inside out by people who have gone about preaching freedom while creating an iron curtain of weapons inside our own borders, an imprisonment of our imaginations. We’re all captives to limits placed on our imaginations when it comes to the true meaning of democracy and freedom. Yet nothing can kill the imagination quicker than the report of a gun. I’ve heard it in my own quiet neighborhood, the product of a domestic quarrel down the block. Yet I didn’t run out to Walmart and buy a gun. That’s illogical.

Yet that gun report did rattle the minds of those who live nearby. The sound of that guns has had a chilling effect on the notion that we are free to live in peace and harmony. Guns are everywhere, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

At least that’s what they tell us. It’s up to us whether we choose to listen or not.