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.

Advertisements

Fighting for guns and hockey

goonsbox20 years ago I took my impressionable son to a Junior-A hockey game at the newly built Fox Valley Ice Arena. As an associate creative director at a local marketing agency, I’d designed the logo for the team, which was painted 50 feet wide under the ice.

To be sure, I understood little about the actual game of hockey. My experience playing it as a kid was limited to whacking around a farm field ice rink with a bunch of friends. I didn’t really know the rules to the game. Heck, I didn’t even know there were three periods in the contest. After two periods I’d gotten up to leave, figuring the game was over. A friend turned to me and said, “Where you going? There’s a whole ‘nuther period.” So we sat back down in the slightly cold arena and waited for the affair to continue.

There had been scuffles between the players thus far in the match. At one point one of the local team’s players fell over the boards into the box of the opposing team. All the players on that side began jabbing the other player with their sticks. It looked like the attack of a band of crazed goons. And indeed, hockey has long celebrated goonery as a tradition in the sport.

The fight game

Five minutes into the third period, a real fight broke out. Two players squared off just below our seats. Their punches flew and one began to win the tussle. Sweaters were stretched. Fists landed. Then one player began to bleed. Profusely.

A bright red puddle of blood flowed out over the ice. Their skates kicked it up in the air as they continued fighting. Finally the referee entered the fight zone and began to break it up. But the damage was done. My son turned to me and asked, “Dad, do they always have fights in hockey?”

At that period of time, the game of hockey seemed all about fighting. When I mentioned the incident we’d witnessed to so-called “real” hockey fans they all laughed and said. “That’s why we go! Isn’t it awesome?”

Now, it wasn’t awesome. At best it seemed unfortunate. We’d been getting into the game and learned a little about hockey. Perhaps we’d have become fans. But not so.

Change has come

I’m not some naive pacifist. I had my share of fights early in life and had done my share of damage to others on the athletic field by that point. But I still wondered why hockey felt the need to let fighting remain such a large part of the action.

Fast forward 20 years. My daughter’s interest in hockey took off the same year the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Our family enjoyed many games that year, and grew to appreciate the fast, relatively clean brand of hockey played by the Hawks and some other NHL teams. It seemed the game was changing for the better.

Yes, there were still a few fights that broke out. But in the last few years the fighting in NHL hockey has been reduced and nearly eliminated. Hockey has actually become more exciting and watchable as a result. The league even seems to want to protect its players from the effects of concussion. In other words, it is still a sport of strength and speed, but it has eliminated some of the unnecessary brutality.

Brain changes

The paradigm of reduced fighting in hockey may be unpopular with diehard fans longing to see two players beat the hell out of each other. But as in football, the recognized effects of concussions and CTE on pro players is becoming a sensitive issue. Why put athletes of additional risk of life endangerment and brain debilitating if you can prevent it?

Hockey is taking simple measures to make the game safer for all. Either by proxy or intent, the game of hockey as a sport is actually more interesting without the fighting. Throwing down the gloves and tugging on each other’s sweaters always was a childish, immature way to settle actual differences. Playing just as hard and scoring more goals as a result makes the net game more exciting. The game is using its brain to make important changes that protect the players and in some ways, protect the sport as well.

Well, shoot

Guns_1000So let’s imagine the same scenario, yet with a different “sport.” That would be guns. Millions of Americans own guns, and most of them never shoot anyone. Yet 30,000 people a year die from gun violence by suicide or murder, and many thousands more are wounded.

Yet many gun owners seem to think they don’t have any responsibility for these statistics. Using their brand of logic, it would mean that all the hockey players who play the game and do not get into fights have no responsibility for the fights that do break out. Yet we also know that the game of hockey, especially at the pro level, condoned the hiring of “goon” players whose main job was to act as an enforcer for the rest of the team. If one of the star players got hit too hard, the goon would head out on the ice to inflict punishment on the opposing team.

The same principle used to hold true in baseball, where pitchers would purposely throw at the head of a batter if it was judged that some transgression had taken place by the opposing pitcher. It was called getting plunked.

So these quid pro quo acts of violence were supposedly part of the gamesmanship of each respective sport. Fans selfishly cheered such violence, just as they cheer hard hits in football. The players enforced these regimens of accepted violence by refusing to protect themselves. Some played through game day concussions or multiple series of concussions. Football is now having to deal with the consequences and public image of these savage habits.

Paying the price

Because society ultimately does pay a price for escalations of violence. The ravaged brains of former football players and the death of children in America have a parallel relationship. Either we take the most steps possible to prevent such damage or we do not.

We’ve seen for years the debate over gun violence take oppositional forms. Gun advocates say it’s not their fault that criminals get guns and use them to murder. Gun control advocates simply want gun laws that do the most possible to keep guns out of the hands of unstable people.

But the “goons” in this case take a heavyhanded approach to gun advocacy. The NRA is the lead goon, hired by millions of gun owners to promote an interpretation of the Second Amendment that condones business as usual. This is the parallel to pro hockey. The goons know that to keep their job, they have to keep fighting. Those who benefit from the protection of the goons care not to question either the methods or the outcomes so long as their personal rights are protected.

Collateral damage
Spilled bloodThe collateral damage to all this goonery is the lives of innocent people. Many have been slaughtered in elementary schools, movie theaters and college campuses. There have even been shootings on military bases. Of course, the irony there is that military personnel are not typically allowed to wander a military base bearing arms.

As reported on The Blaze.com in a 2013 story, “The question of why military members aren’t armed on base garnered attention back in November 2009 when Army Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire at Ft. Hood and killed 13 people. He was sentenced to death on August 28. Now, nearly four years later, many are asking the same question.

So what’s the answer? It appears this “gun-free zone” type policy can actually be traced back to Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5210.56, signed into effect in February 1992 by Donald J. Atwood, deputy secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush.”

So let’s be clear: the policy to allow carriage of concealed weapons in modern society actually runs against the nation’s own Department of Defense dictums issued by a Republican President. And since that time, and to make matters worse, arguments for the proliferation of guns in public places has been expanded by Supreme Court rulings emphasizing the right to bear arms over the supposedly balanced call in the Second Amendment for a well-regulated militia.

The goons are winning

In other words, the goons are winning. The goons rule the game of gun laws and aren’t going to relinquish their roles easily. There is too much money to be made by promoting rampant gun ownership, because that’s how goons keep their jobs.

Do you get what’s going on? Our own military, an institution that nby profession trains and licenses personnel to handle guns, sees the common sense of limiting that right on its own grounds. As also reported in the story about DoD policy on TheBlaze.com: “The controversial directive  states that “it is DoD Policy” to “limit and control the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel. The authorization to carry firearms shall be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or DoD assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried,” it says.

Ahead of the game

The military is, in other words, “way ahead of the game” when it comes to proper regulation and use of guns. By contrast, civilian America is being forced to live as if there is reasonable expectation of “war on the streets.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. We’re left with the sad claim that guns actually make America “safer.”

By that brand of logic we might arrive at the conclusion that the fights in hockey actually make the game safer. But that’s exactly the logic being used by America’s “gun goons” to make the case that guns are necessary for freedom.

Even language of the debate over guns rights is concussively rife with violence. As reported in a story on on CNN.Com, “Wayne LaPierre, the nation’s most visible gun-rights advocate, rallied supporters on Saturday for a renewed fight against gun control, saying membership is up since the Newtown massacre, and calling the effort to stop new limits a “long war” and a “fight for everything we care about.”

Confessions

In other words, Wayne LaPierre outright confesses that his job is waging a war on everyday Americans. And to that point, more Americans have died on American soil from gun violence than all the soldiers that have ever died in wars on foreign soil.

In other words, the goons aren’t just winning the war. They are committing genocide on the American people by proliferating guns. There are almost as many guns in America, 300,000,000, as there are people. And they’re proud of that fact.

And they won’t give up easily: “The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president vowed in remarks at the group’s national convention that “we will never surrender our guns.” He implored members to step up their outreach to members of Congress as part of a fight against “elites” and others who “use tragedy to try to blame us, to shame us” into compromise and who “want to change America, our culture and our values.”

Yes, it’s the fear of change that drives so much violence in this world. And please don’t stop the genocide, because it’s fear that motivates gun owners to purchase weapons in the first place. It’s a perfect circle of illogical justification and cognitive dissonance.

Statistics lead nowhere

Gun proponents have been pointing to statistics that show gun violence is going down over the last 30 years. That does notchange the fact that there are still 30,000 people dying in the streets every year, and that is far more than any civilized nation on earth.

And, despite the claims of the gun goons, there is absolutely no proof that the presence of more guns has led to less shootings. CNN notes: “Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened,” the researchers say in a summary.

Packs of goons

We do know one thing for sure. America is faced with veritable packs of goons running around claiming the government is out to get them and coming to take away their guns. Every time there is a new mass shooting, gun sales shoot up across the nation over fears that the new rash of violence will lead to more restrictive gun laws. That has never happened, but it doesn’t stop groups like the NRA from leveraging such fears into fundraising campaigns. It also serves the purpose of gun manufacturers, whose profits depend, if you follow the straight line logic of gun sales in response to mass shootings, on loss of American lives.

The most fearful gun goon squads actually call themselves militias. They are not “well-regulated” according to any interpretation of the Second Amenment. A pack of these goons is currently occupying a wildlife refuge in the state of Oregon. If the government intervenes, they will have accomplished their self-fulfilling prophecy. In hockey terms, that’s like a goon punching the referee in the face.

Armed insanity

That’s how insane the game of gun control has gotten in this country. We’re being governed and manipulated by collaborative bunches of goons that insist personal gun rights supersede all other efforts to establish law and order in the country. Even when children die, and mass shootings continue, and America continues to lose more lives to gun violence than any other civilized nation on earth, the gun goons keep shouting that their own personal liberty is at risk. It is both a lie, and it is insane.

So the question remains. Do you want to be governed by NRA goons and their political henchmen? Or do you want to take responsibility as hockey has done, and has football is about to do, and begin the process of making “the game” safer for all to play? Should you really have to carry a sidearm everywhere you go in America to “feel safe?” Or is that notion the product of goons who are terminally insane over the notion that guns equal freedom?

Spilling blood

Truly, there is no excuse for the blood being spilled on the ice of our everyday existence. Old School thinkers want to codify their vigilate version of reality and let the goons do the work of protecting their Wild West fantasies that more guns will keep the peace. Even the violent games of hockey and football are being forced to change to protect their respective sports and the players who engage in them.

And likewise, the United States Military changed its policies for “gun ownership” on its bases long ago. There is no such thing as “concealed carry” for military personnel.

Yet America with its insane interpretations of the Second Amendment refuses to acknowledge that violence as a way of life is harmful to all.

 

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.

A new perspective on the Greatest Generation

The Greatest Generation may be yet to come.

The popular American narrative relative to World War II is that the United States dedicated its troops and might to defeat fascism. We helped lead the Allies to victory over Germany, Italy and Japan.

There is little doubt and volumes written about the merits of that war, and the credit for winning it is given to what is now called The Greatest Generation, known for their sacrifice of life and dedication to a vital cause.

One could argue that necessity breeds heroes, just as it is the mother of invention. When the need arises, Americans are well known as first responders (or as in the case of World War II, best responders.) We shook our fists in murderous fury at the perpetrators of 9/11, yet the people we initially chose to celebrate were indeed, the first responders.

Historical bookends

Those two moments in American history, World War II (1941) and 9/11 (2001) are bridged by a period in American history some self-described patriots would vehemently prefer to forget. We are talking now about the evolution of dissent and protest that began in the 1960s. The social liberations that took place were the result of very public protests against America’s trenchant racism, sexism and discrimination of all kinds. We are about to explore whether the 1960s were also about America’s inability to wrestle with its own insecurities, its penchant for fear-mongering and a nation’s seemingly godly but ultimately misguided tradition of boasting Christian-only values.

Let’s talk about what really happened in the 1960s

We must commence with some basic facts that are demonstrably true as proven through time.

The first is that racism in America persisted even after the nation’s nobly grand effort to stop fascism abroad through the battles of World War II. So while we must thank the generation that fought that war, we must also acknowledge our nation’s failure to liberate our own citizens even as we stood proud in protecting the world. Sadly, America’s own values did little to bring the needed changes about. That meant leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., were forced to take great risks using the words of the bible against people wielding the same book in support of racism–to point out how badly America had failed in its responsibilities toward its own people, millions of whom did not enjoy even the basic rights of citizenship, much less equal opportunity.

It is interesting indeed that in classrooms across America during the 1950s and 60s, millions of schoolchildren were required to recite a Pledge of Allegiance that ends with the words “…with liberty and justice for all” Millions of those kids grew up to take the actual meaning of that pledge seriously, piling into the streets to demand liberty for people of all races and backgrounds. That same generation of people also turned its sights on an unjust war in Vietnam, a violent venture that was initially engaged in fear over communism, and that ultimately evolved into a consuming effort to prove that the military-industrial complex was right in its motives, tactics and increasing commitments of expense and reputation. Thus the Vietnam war was executed to the precise prediction of one Dwight D. Eisenhower– himself an heroic general in World War II–who had warned against the dangers of the military-industrial complex, and what it could do to America.

So we see that the arc of the 1960s was not all about liberal values, nor sexual liberation and freedom from responsibilities. The 1960s were about a generation taking its pledge to the flag and the America for which it stands quite seriously. But instead of being acknowledged for this effort, and its pursuant victories for civil rights and all that has come to represent in freedom for America, the 1960s are maligned by some as a period of social decay and destruction of American values.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The 1960s not actually represented America’s second major attempt to eradicate its brand of internal (racist) fascism, the first attempt being our own Civil War, by a new generation discovering that ideals really mattered.

America had President Kennedy inspiring the nation to fly to the moon, and to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.” Well, what better answer to that question than to stand up for liberty and justice for all. But it appears not everyone believed in those virtues as they were written, or spoken. The represented an inconvenience to a status quo that was seemingly desperate to maintain its self depicted superiority. Thus the tone was set for a struggle over what America represents. That struggle would produce not only violence, but economic and social upheaval.

Turncoats try to kill actual American ideals

Of course Kennedy was murdered in cold blood on that November day in 1963, sending the country into a spiral of introspection and self-recrimination. Some fingers pointed out dark quarters in our nation’s own infrastructure, and many still speculate that figures tied to the military-industrial complex carried out the hit on Kennedy, who actually had the nerve to negotiate a temporary backdoor peace with Kruschev and the Soviet Union, thereby averting a potentially catastrophic nuclear war.

But it may also have been simple lust for political power that killed Kennedy, for some posit that it was LBJ himself that masterminded the unthinkable violence and intrigue of the JFK assassination. That would mean it was an inside job. So many circumstances around the treatment of JFKs body after the assassination and the lone video record of the incident tend to raise more questions than they answer. But even these questions begin to help us arrive at our main point. Because after the JFK murder came the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Are we to assume this was all just coincidence? The odds are too far against it.

Fortunately the 1960s were a time of idealism as well as the enactment of the painfully evident cynicism that rained death on the decade. There certainly were an abundance of people who thought they knew better the direction the country should take. Conflicted men like J. Edgar Hoover, who could not confront his own identity with any degree of honesty, and so pursued anyone who breathed a sniff of truth while evidencing flaws of their own. Hoover had the goods on Kennedy, for sure, a devout philanderer if there ever was one. But Hoover had the goods on everyone, and that turned into a corruption of its own sort. But that is how America operated then and likely continues to operate in many respects today. As a nation we simply cannot bear to unearth the fascism that undermines our own government. There are people who make millions and billions of dollars off the murderous guarantees of military profiteering, violent deregulation of markets, insider trading, health care exploitation and limitless extraction of resources without tax or compensation to the nation. That is the inside game. But it all starts with flawed personalities and frankly, a form of psychopathy that at once disgusts and seems to fascinate Americans just the same.

The byproducts of exceptionalism

Our collective psychopathy is why America raced off to fight a war in Afghanistan Iraq rather than face up to its own tortured foreign policies that once funded the very people we now had to go kill. Saddam Hussein. Osama bin Laden. Manuel Noriega. All these people, like it or not, were once “friends” who became enemies once they recognized the hypocritical state of American virtue.

And just look what the nation has chosen to do: fight the so-called War on Terror. As one pundit expertly put it, how can you fight a war on terror when war itself is terror? We require double-speak to cover up our patent greed and imperialistic desires. But the purported protectors of American integrity like to point to a phantom ideal called American Exceptionalism as the reason why we should be able to do what we want, when we want, to whomever we want.

Our trickle-down brand of exceptionalism resulted in Iraqi citizens being hung up on metal bed frames and tortured with electrocution, because we needed to know more about who our enemies are. It is a vicious cycle, and a selfish game for selfish gain.

Time to look within

Well, it seems like we should start to look within, does it not? Is that not what the Judeo-Christian God tells us to do. Secular humanists seem to know more of such inner light as those who claim to be on the side of religion. So let us take a look inside America to see what we can find out about concepts like The Greatest Generation. How we once fought for good, and how we do that at home as well as abroad.

For starters, America can’t seem to get around to admitting our own flaws, and that causes us to lash out in anger at those who point them out for us. America goes out out of its way to invent enemies when we can’t find them organically. The CIA is good at that, for example. They’ve created four decades of boogeymen to fight on behalf of America because it feeds their system of beliefs, which are the same arcane, ascetic and conservatively-inspired beliefs that told us America was perfectly in the right while chasing all over Vietnam shooting and bombing human victims while defoliating millions of acres of land using a chemical we called Agent Orange. Or was it Clockwork Orange? It’s so easy to confuse the two.

It’s really only a question of scale, which is how people behaving like self-justified thugs see fit to castigate and kill those we fear for being ideologically different (and sometimes defiant) of American aims. As if our aims were the only aims that matter.

That’s what some people in America genuinely believe: that only their beliefs matter. But that is precisely why racism has been allowed to persist for so long in America. Those of us raised by the parents from the Greatest Generation do recall, however, the often “colorful” yet uncomfortable jokes about niggers and spics and chinks and fags. These are all dehumanizing terms, and their horrific power remains intact today, obscured perhaps by political correctness, the liberal attempt at correcting the problem without truly recognizing what the problem is. Which is the fact that some people refuse to change and will use any means possible to prevent you from making them change. It is all a self-protective device to feel superior to someone, somehow.

Deconstructing American exceptionalism

That is ultimately what so-called American Exceptionalism is all about, for it has become a political ideology expressed in conservative, and not progressive terms. Therefore it is has become less and less about America’s tradition of charity and leadership in the world and has become more about our will to imperial doctrine. And that’s a shame, because it is true that America often leads the way in freedom and democracy.

But we lost focus somewhere along the way, and waltzed into Iraq (for just one example) under the banner of American exceptionalism while completely failing to anticipate what it really takes to accomplish democracy, much less protect that country’s antiquities or its people. In fact we rather grossly set about plundering Iraq’s oil resources under a thinly guised contract that said they should pay us back for invading their country. We did them a favor, we assured them. But it’s always about the aims, folks. Which is another word for money.

Killing our own, and not just euphemistically

Even at home, we aim to kill our own. There’s even been a slogan invented to describe that phenomenon. And listen to it: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Have you ever heard such pathetic double-speak? As if guns were ever invented to do anything but kill. The fact that they are used for sport is but a valorous distraction. Remember that when protestors against the Vietnam War swarmed the campus at Kent State, they encountered fearful yet gun-bearing militia, who shot four students dead. And what did it prove. That guns don’t kill people? That is a dark-hearted farce.

We know that the NRA holds enormous sway in American politics whilst hiding behind an interpretation (a rather liberal one, ironically) of the Second Amendment that blatantly ignores the phrase “well-regulated” in relation to the term “militia.” This is known as selective intelligence. Or perhaps that’s too forgiving a term. You could substitute “stupidity” for intelligence and get the same result. That’s how euphemism works.

We should also point up the fact that the NRA was instituted in the same year as the Klu Klux Klan. That is likely no coincidence. It illustrates that any organization with a conflict of aims at its heart does require considerable force to uphold, and look at how those two organizations have managed to survive, and even thrive. The KKK has long used God to justify its racism while the NRA choose to ignore the term “well-regulated” whilst promoting its considerable lust for term “militia.” Both organizations have made claims to stand for what’s right in America.

Is idealism dead? And if so, who killed it?

The 1960s did expose the ugly sides of such organizations, but there’s one hard, fast rule in politics: Ugliness never quits. And so the NRA and KKK, and organizations like them, right on up to far right political parties in many instances, have plotted and planned in concert for four decades, carefully conducting back door meetings to establish allies with religious factions whose interpretations of scripture are conveniently hateful, discriminatory and conflicted. And so the claim to God, Country and Flag has been co-opted to the controlling interests of our most fearful factions in America.

A word about the power of words

America has become a nation where politics is being used increasingly to enforce the aims of those who bear the most fearful, controlling and self-righteous aims. It is not surprise then, that they have become most cunning and deceptive in their use of words.

We need only look at the term Citizens United, the euphemistic organization that took its case to the Supreme Court in a fight to establish the right of corporate personhood. Some portray the case as an heroic act to protect free speech in America, when in fact action essentially sold out the value of free speech to giant, moneyed and often faceless conglomerates with no responsibility to reveal their motives or identify. Citizens United was essentially the legacy of J. Edgar Hoover, writ large. But how is that the rights of individual citizenship, which were written into the Constitution and protected by the courts for more than 200 years, were suddenly erased in a period of a few months. It is because a group of activist judges beholden to such interests felt they were suddenly much wiser than the Founders were about what it means to be human.

A great generation, in deed. 

And that puts an exclamation point on the real purpose of the 1960s, and how that period was a step in the right direction for America. But that step has since been waylaid by jealous, angry souls who cannot admit they have flaws, and thus cast aspersions and project their own worst tendencies into all they distrust for questioning, and thus refining, the real legacy of America.

We should remember perhaps the ideal so familiar to Christians that the divine force we call God seems to see value in our personal and collective trials, and that Christ and Ghandi and every moral being who ever walked the earth do too.

But for America, it is up to us to recognize that the foundation of this nation is not based on one religion or one creed, but on tolerance, acceptance and equal rights for all those who believe in honest, forthright aims. The Greatest Generation is the one that upholds those virtues. It may be seen that a current generation succeeds in fulfilling that dream, or it may be that a future generation will earn the right to be called our greatest yet, by having learned to appreciate in full that citizenship, and individuality, and equality in the laws of the republic shall forever be the highest aims of human endeavor.

Now that will be a great generation. In deed.