Monday, December 17, 2012

Rise, Lather, Repeat; Thoughts On Newtown Connecticut.

I’m thinking about the recent tragedy in Connecticut. I’m feeling rather down about the whole affair. Once again, a disturbed man with a high-powered, semi-automatic rifle killed and killed again. This time it was a class of six and seven year olds.

We are talking little children, first graders, just a few years out of diapers and one year out of Kindergarten. I am appalled and I am resigned. Even this will not change a thing. The death of 20, middle class, white children will not move the discussion one bit forward nor backwards.

We are already gathering in our respective corners and yelling at each other with the same old tired talking points. Our Conservative (read reactionary) friends continue to fetishize both guns and ammo wanting to spread the love to all corners of the United States. That any person could seriously argue that the Newton tragedy proves the need of more guns everywhere only shows the depths of ideological idiocy some people are willing to go to. They are arguing that we should arm teachers in elementary schools, that we should all further arm ourselves. 

This is insanity. The privatization of public safety has been tried gentle reader and it was an abject failure. The Federal Government put a lot of effort into restoring the monopoly of force on the frontier. It had little choice, vigilante justice in places like Tombstone Arizona was causing outright chaos.

But the left is not getting the job done either. They are not reaching anyone outside their charmed circle. It is an abject failure to take the well know facts about gun violence and fails to make them into a compelling political argument that captures the mushy middle.

The anti-gun forces can’t even get individuals to re-think their personal possession of fire-arms. Seriously why would a middle class mom living in a middle class house in middle class Connecticut even feel the need to own a military firearm?

I ask this as a genuine point of concern. Why did Nancy Lanza feel the need to own an AR-15 Bushmaster? It’s a military grade rifle, the same weapon our troops use in Afghanistan and other hot spots. What kind of threat did threat did Nancy Lanza feel she need to protect herself against? Was she privy to some secret information that the North Koreans really were planning to invade her little patch of heaven? 

While Nancy Lanza had the right to purchase that AR-15, I can conceive of no earthly reason why she would need that damn thing lying around the house. I can conceive of no earthly reason why any person would need such a weapon at all. Deer hunting? What, has Bambi suddenly gone Rambo on us and is packing a Kalashnikov? Oh, it is a pain in the but to track down a wounded deer and deliver the final killing shot? So, your all for hunting as long as it does not take too much effort.

You need the weapon to protect yourself against an over-arching government that may attempt to suppress you via Black Helicopters? Sorry, that ship has sailed. You have no 4th Amendment rights anymore. You and your fellow “patriots” will be crushed before you  can even think of contacting each other to start an action. Your telephones are monitored, your e-mail is monitored, you don’t have a prayer. And even if you and your hunting buddies do manage some sort of resistance, you have no real options against a modern state. If the government really wants to put a hurt on you; it can, and it will. It doesn’t even have to risk sending out living, breathing lawmen; the government has drones, and knows how to use them.

I find these kind of talking points from gun fetishists infantile. Nothing they say makes a damn bit of sense. And even if they are right about people’s right to bear arms, they are wrong about the advisability of most people exercising that right. 

People are just too damn careless as a rule and most should not be anywhere near a small arm. Familiarity does breed contempt when small arms are the subject. Guns are left in draws, under beds, stashed in closets, stored in garages, kept everywhere except where they belong--under lock and key. The thoughtlessness of Nancy Lanza is, unfortunately, very typical. She did not pause to think that having a loaded AR-15, with a 30 round magazine, around her mentally disturbed son might be a bad idea. She did not have the presence of mind to buy a gun safe for her weapons. 

Am I blaming the victim here? No, I’m not, I’m trying to point out how bloody careless many gun owners are. Remember that at Columbine the shooters had ridiculously easy access to small arms too. 

If you own a weapon, as is your right, you do have responsibilities. A true conservative actually understands that rights always come with responsibilities. But our right wing, our Ayn Rand inspired reactionaries, are not true conservatives. They and the NRA are all for the right to bear arms, but they loose the thread when responsibility becomes the talking point. 

Right wing gun-fetishist love running around with their side-arm strapped to their bodies, but they lack any kind of self control or understanding of use-of-force guidelines. And that is how an innocent teen can get shot by a vigilante loon for the crime of walking to his parents house. Zimmerman broke so many use-of-force rules that he became the acme of how not to handle yourself while armed.

Yet the Right Wing would have more Zimmermans running around loose, not less. Tell me, seriously, does that sound remotely like a good idea? Do you really think we need grade school teachers wearing kevlar and packing heat? What is this insanity, and why are we treating it like it is one part of a rational debate?

But that is the “debate” our moron media will give us. In the name of “balance” they will have some Second Amendment ultra, an absolutist ideologue, arguing that we need more arms every where debating some milquetoast NeoLiberal proposing some pointless incremental change. And even that weak sauce of reform will die in the House Of Representatives because the NRA owns the Republican majority in the house (and much of the Democratic minority.) Most citizens will watch this unfold and not do much about it. We have seen this show before and we will be back to watching “Dancing With The Stars” in no time flat.
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