Thursday, January 31, 2013

Devil's Advocate Part II

¡Hola!, Common-Sensians!

In Part I I talked about how a firing range *slash* gun shop visit left me partially traumatized and completely confused.  Why does a significant segment of the U.S. population feel the need to procure military grade hardware?  Obviously a 40 mm machine gun would purée a deer and an AA-12 automatic shotgun is nothing but overkill against home invaders. 

The legality of open carry / closed carry gun ownership also had me totally perplexed.  So, let me get this straight: it's perfectly legal to display a holstered pistol while standing in a Burger King in Eagle, Colorado, but if you get caught with a derringer shoved into your boot you'd need produce a concealed weapon permit?  What the f#ck is this, Bizarro World?       

Whenever I heard gun enthusiasts wail "But the Constitution's Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms!" I'd always respond by saying: "Yeah, but you do know that was adopted back in December 15, 1791, right?  Hey, if you wanna start working on that bitchin' vintage musket collection, then by all means, go nuts."

Since nothing about this made a lick of sense to me I began to suspect that I was missing some key puzzle piece.  After the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, I wanted to try to know why many American had this "cold, dead hands" attitude towards gun control. 

WARNING: obligatory history alert.  

This all goes back to the American Revolution in which thirteen North American colonies railed against what they considered to be the tyrannical and illegitimate rule of King George III.  The rebellion succeeded, in part, because the local militias were armed to the teeth with comparable weapons.  This led constitutional contributors like Patrick Henry to state that a "citizenry trained in arms was the only sure guarantor of liberty" and Noah Webster to maintain that "an armed populace would have no trouble resisting the potential threat to liberty of a standing army".

Ergo, when the Constitution was being tweaked a few years later, a clause was included which gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms, thus enabling another rebellion if need be.  In modern parlance: if the government becomes too corrupt and abusive, they want the freedom and ability to shoot these folks right in the pie-hole.  It's kinda like insuring the ultimate democracy reset button.

Although at face value this appears to be an obvious case of bat-shit paranoia, lets just follow this line of thinking to its inevitable conclusion.  Back in 1776 all a willing Patriot had to have in order to participate in revolution was a trusty flint-lock.  Nowadays, you'd need to have a lot more firepower to deal with the hypothetical minions of tyranny.  Police, for example, come equipped with riot gear, tear gas, Glocks and Heckler & Koch MP5s.  The military has body armor, M9 pistols and MK 17s, M1 Abram tanks and Blackhawk helicopters.

So, what gun, enthusiasts are saying is that they want to right to remain competitive in the arms race against their own government in case it becomes so degenerate and corrupt that it turns on its own citizens.

So you're probably thinking the exact same thing I am: "What kind of sad, paranoid, tin-foil-hat-wearing bullshit is this?"

But then I dug a bit deeper.  First up, I decided to humor loony du jour Alex Jones, who recently created a petition on the White House website to deport ex-pat British journalist Piers Morgan for his public anti-gun stance.  After the petition drew 104,000 signatures, Jones was invited to appear on Pierce Morgan Tonight.   During his bombastic, cringe-worthy and ultimately truncated segment, Jones essentially performed the equivalent of a verbal curb-stomp on the flummoxed host.


After watching this "debate" my initial reaction was: 'Man, this guy's a complete and total lunatic!  I wouldn't want guns in the hands of paranoid kook like that either!"  But then I made the mistake of digging into the meat of what Jones was ranting about. 

And let me tell ya, folks, a strong case can be made for the nutbars.  Don't believe me?  Well then follow the links...
  • Elements within the American government once humored a plan to stage fake terror attacks on its own citizens in order to drum up public support for an invasion of Cuba.  Mercifully John F. Kennedy (arguably the last U.S. president who wasn't completely under the thrall of corporate taskmasters), personally rejected Operation Northwoods outright as totally unconscionable.
  • Although that particular scheme was never greenlit, many believe that the U.S. government compelled Israel to attack the USS Liberty as a pretext to war with Egypt.
  • It's a proven fact that the C.I.A. staged very real and very lethal terrorist attacks in Italy during the Cold War in order to discredit leftist regimes.  Indeed, the details of Operation Gladio are pretty stomach-turning.   
  • The Gulf of Tonkin incident was totally blown out of proportion, giving Lyndon B. Johnston carte blanche to take his nation into war in Vietnam under false pretenses.  That bloody conflict dragged on for years and cost fifty-eight thousand loyal and oblivious servicemen their lives.    
  • Compelling evidence suggests that the Bush Administration knew full well that Saddam Hussein didn't have any WMD's before going to war in Iraq.
  • Under the Clinton Administration, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 allowed major financial institutions to freely engage in credit default swaps, a particularly heinous con game that would have been considered illegal gambling if an aggressive campaign of deregulation hadn't made it all kosher.  This created the perfect climate for the 2008 Market Crash which effectively destroyed life savings and evicted scores of people from their homes all the while sheltering the "too big to fail" criminal financial institutions with bailouts to cover their losses.  Honestly, the more you look into the government's complicity in this crisis, the more sympathy you begin to feel for gun owners.  P.S. Rolling Stone journalist and professional muckraker Matt Taibbi has done some tremendous work shedding light on this sickening spectacle.  
  • Exploiting the fear, anger and paranoia that was rampant after 9/11, George W. Bush passed the Patriot Act which gave the President sweeping powers of surveillance and detainment .  Not only was this extended by Obama, his National Defense Authorization Act kept Gitmo up and running and also makes indefinite detention of U.S. citizens a very real possibility.  
  • This also gave way to the United States publicly sanctioning torture (er, sorry...enhanced interrogation techniques) as a valid method of information extraction for the first time ever in that nation's history.    
  • Given recent developments, U.S. citizens can now be killed abroad without the benefit of due process.  For added convenience, this now be accomplished via the tidy abstraction of remote control.  As a side note, drone strikes have a hideous record of killing innocent civilians
  • Via sanctions, indiscriminate bombing and  illegal warfare, the U.S. government has directly and indirectly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women and children.     
  • Also, if the government is supposed to protect its citizens why does it have such a deplorable history of safeguarding us against such patently harmful things like antidepressants, DDT, flouride, bottled water, and even water bottles, for f#@k's sake? 
And just because we're up here in good ol' innocent Canada, don't think for a moment that everything's hunky dory.  We've seen plenty of evidence that paints the Harper government as patently undemocratic, indulging in such distasteful practices as election fraud, environmental plunder, corporate toadyism, suspension of human rights and the wholesale disillusion of our national sovereignty
    Faced with such pervasive and overt madness, the "gun nuts" are starting to look downright rational in comparison.  To quote psychiatrist and academic Thomas Szas: "Insanity is the only sane reaction to an insane society."  In fact, my appraisal of Jones's performance on Pierce Morgan Tonight has softened considerably.  If he'd ventured into that studio and indulged in a civil give-and-take debate, his prime-time appearance would likely have gone largely unnoticed.

    Besides, why is it socially acceptable for people to lose their shit over a football game or a reality T.V. show but it's verboten to exhibit any sort of passion over the state of this dystopic Brave New World that we're blissfully leaving to our children?

    EPIC   I sincerely wish that everything I'd just written about was complete and total hogwash.  If things were that simple then I could blissfully subscribe to Jon Stewart's recent and brilliant gun control dissertation with a clear conscience. 

    FAIL  Pro-gun/Second Amendment proponents will always be regarded as ignorant f#@kwits so long as they let chuckle-heads like this speak for them:


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