America has been sold a “bill of goods” on gun rights

bill of goods

n.pl.bills of goods

1. consignment of items for sale.
2. Informal A plan, promise, or offer, especially one that is dishonest or misleading
It is stunning to hear politicians in the wake of yet another mass shooting say that it is “too soon” after the tragedy to talk about the problem of guns in America.
But it is just as disturbing in the wakes of repeated mass shootings, including 26 dead and more wounded in a Texas church, for God’s Sake, to hear the likes of actor James Woods throwing around shallow opinions about what constitutes responsible gun control.
His defense of the NRA in the wake of these mass shootings was breathtakingly shortsighted.  Woods Tweeted that none of the mass shootings of the last few decades were conducted by a member of the NRA.
NRA shooters.jpg
What James Woods cites as “actual facts” about NRA members never having been involved in mass shootings may or may not be true. But that is hardly the central point in the current debate about gun proliferation in America.  The NRA as spent decades promoting the idea that gun rights should not be restricted in any way. person. Even President Donald Trump, a noted kiss-ass for the NRA and its constituents, favored the recent removal of a law that blocked access to gun ownership for people with mental health issues.
Yet after the Texas shooting, Trump rushed to claim that the shooter was mentally ill.
So which is it? Are we concerned about people with mental illness having access to guns with which they can murder two dozen people in minutes? Or is the NRA correct in asserting that no amount of gun control can prevent such wanton slaughter?
To hear James Woods tweet, the bloody massacre of 26 people in a Texas church is of not the concern to the NRA since no NRA member committed the crimes. At what point do we point out the massive case of cognitive dissonance at work on gun rights in America?
Public emergencies
Consider the fact that mass shootings constitute a public emergency. Cities and towns across America dread the day that violence comes to visit them. Police and government officials set up entire protocols to manage gun violence of any kind. The structure of these protocols is always designed to define who is in charge, and who has authority and responsibility to act in the fact of violence, terror attacks, and other public threats.
The reason why public agencies work so hard to define who is in charge is to avoid confusion during times of public emergency. The parallel goal is to prevent mistakes in the face of terror or violence and manage the risks of even greater harm taking place.
Friendly fire in America?
Even America’s military struggles at times to avoid gunfire from taking out their own personnel. The most famous case of so-called “friendly fire” was that of former NFL player Pat Tillman who died in action not from the bullets of the enemy, but from his own military.
Yet the NRA has been a big proponent of the idea that Concealed Carry laws can prevent crime. The idea behind Concealed Carry is that the presence of “good guys with guns” will somehow act as a deterrent to violent gun crimes. Some gun proponents think the law does not go far enough in that regard. Those gun advocates insist that only Open Carry does the real job of deterring violence. Which means, if you open the pages of that action-based manual, a completely militarized society in which everyone is allowed to visibly carry weapons anywhere they want to go.
False heroes
Gun proponents are jumping on the fact that a couple Texas yahoos chased down the killer of all those people the killer shot up in the church. One of them opened fire before the chase and may have wounded the killer before he got into his car and embarked on a 90-mile-an-hour escape attempt that ended in a crash and his death. Whether he died from gunshot or the crash is not fully apparent. But gun proponents seem eager to claim the heroics of the two gun-toting vigilantes.
Somehow, twenty-six people still died in that church. The killer was walking down the aisles shooting crying babies. Some people struck by gunfire played dead and avoided further attack by the assassin. Who was not, according to James Woods, an NRA member. And that makes it all okay?
The Bill of Goods
The cognitive dissonance at work in all this the Bill of Goods we’ve been sold by the NRA. There is absolutely no substance to the argument that because the NRA cannot be finger-pointed for these and other killings, the organization, its members and the politicians who vote against gun controls bear no responsibility for the wanton slaughter of Americans that goes on every day.
So let’s walk this through in a clear and simple fashion. What the NRA has proposed and still supports is the idea that Concealed Carry laws are a specific deterrent to gun crimes, and that everyday citizens bear the responsibility (therefore) of engaging with any form of aggression they may encounter. It remains the sole right of that individual citizen to determine what the nature and level of that threat may be. There is no call to a superior authority required under this system. It is, in a word, a free-for-all on the streets of America.
Protocols
This contrasts starkly with the protocols of emergency and terror management standards all across America. Police, fire and other paramilitary organizations involved in the protection of public safety all have well-established systems of authority and even processes firmly structured to share andr delegate authority in situations of true emergency or terror.
That means there’s a big hairy gap between what the NRA is advocating as the correct interpretation of the Second Amendment as it relates to the life and liberties of everyday Americans. The NRA conveniently ignores the first and qualifying phrase of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state…” in favor of the more selfish and individualized interpretation of the second phrase, “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Lopsided interpretations
Constitutional originalists should be aghast at the destruction of that sentence as a wholly vested expression of law as it pertains to gun ownership. But the Supreme Court in its conservatively lopsided obsession with ‘personal rights’ has been an enabler to all people like James Woods who refuse to be held accountable for anything but their own selfish interests.
As a result, we do not have a “well-regulated militia” at all. That intention of the Founding Fathers has been tossed on a junk heap of Twitter-infused jingoism equating unrestricted gun rights with real freedom in America.
This lie has been exposed over and over, but it has been repeated so often the layers of gun fetishism cannot even be peeled back. This fetishism for guns is rampant as John Lennon pointed out more than forty years ago in his song Happiness is a Warm Gun:
When I hold you in my arms (oh, yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (oh, yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (oh, yeah)
Because, (happiness) is a warm gun, mama (bang bang shoot shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (bang bang shoot shoot)
The security about which Lennon sang is, in reality, the massive insecurity of gun fetishists whose fearful worldview insists that only guns provide real protection from harm in this world. They must lie to themselves and even call the government itself a threat in order to sustain the pathetic lack of trust they have in fellow citizens.
Shallow concerns
In the end, this is what it’s all about. James Woods laid bare the shallow concerns of the selfish, insecure fears of an American populace that cannot manage to function without a finger on the trigger and while packing heat. But despite what James Woods says about NRA members, their fingers share the pressure of every trigger pulled in violent acts against fellow Americans. There is blood on their hands despite the fact that no supposed NRA member is doing the physical shooting. The NRA and its members have created, sponsored and supported the lack of accountability in the legal destruction of the first phrase of the Second Amendment in favor of a second, far more selfish interpretation that says bearing arms “shall not be infringed.”
Tell that to the thousands of first responders, the police and other emergency workers who do abide by the authority of a “well-regulated militia” in America. That’s how our public servants function, by the authority vested in the structure of a well-regulated militia.
But the NRA boldly ignores that fact, favoring instead the ugly vigilantism and unrestricted access to guns for those well-beyond the selfish political party we call the NRA. The organization and its supporters wash their hands of crimes every day in order to protect their supposed status as “pure” gun owners incapable of such violence. The fact of increasing violence by the police toward the public is is a direct result of the NRA’s wanton disregard for the safety of all citizens in America. The police are simply in the line of fire of the cognitive dissonance wrought by wanton disregard of the “well-regulated militia” phrase in the Second Amendment.
Moral perspective
For moral perspective, we can turn to the tenets of the Christian faith to debunk the seflish, deceitful lies of the NRA and its terror-driven impact on human life.
Jesus confronted all those that he perceived to ignoring the works of evil or worse, misleading the easily deceived into dreams of power and authority where it was not warranted. Jesus also condemned those who twisted the law to serve their own purposes, and who created stumbling blocks from legalistic ideology that prevented people from seeing or encountering the truth. All these are characteristic of the sins of the NRA.
Way back when, Jesus branded people like these “hypocrites” for lording themselves over others. He called them a “brood of vipers” for their calculating ways and chastised them for the offenses they imposed on the culture at large. Jesus would not, in other words, like the NRA or James Woods one bit.
James Woods and the NRA are selling America a hollow “bill of goods” on gun rights versus true freedoms in America. They have lied by method of exclusion, and they are avoided responsibility for gun violence by method of inclusion.
Hypocrites. Brood of Vipers. All of them.
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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.

 

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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