There are many forces which wreak havoc on our culture and undermine the well being of our citizens. In order for our way of life to survive, Americans must remain vigilant and steadfast in an ongoing battle against elements, both internal and external, which by their very design, eat away at the fabric of our society and undermine its values. Financial “Maddoff-ism”, political “Lieberman-ism”, media irresponsibility http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m9d29-Meet-the-Press and Tea Baggery are all self imposed and unconsciously self loathing symptoms of our inability to co-exist in an economically and culturally diverse society. While this is not an exhaustive list of our national ills, getting bogged down in these issues leaves little time, energy or resources to adequately confront the dangerous external threats which lurk beyond our shores (i.e. Terrorism). As if to intentionally exacerbate the damage caused by these self imposed cancers, our country has turned those who publicly amplify and exploit these melanomas into celebrities of iconic status! The Fox News Network, Dick Chaney (a douche bags douche bag) , Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sara Palin and the entire cacophony of right wing gasbags (carnival barkers) are, in and of their regressive selves, mere pimples on the buttocks of our enduring Democracy, but for the license we give them (media irresponsibility) to widely disseminate their destructive voices. That being said, the amplified and widely distributed message of a carnival barker doesn’t change the fundamental fraudulent character (carnival barkery) of that message!
The danger multiplies when the carnival barkers adopt a message which has also been promoted by some of the more respected voices and institution (main stream media) within our society. The more respected voices who have propounded these messages have done so without subjecting the underlying premises which support these messages to intellectual rigor, or even basic common sense analysis. As a result, the carnival barkers, typically displaying neither common sense nor a thirst for intellectual rigor, are provided with validation for their (always) self serving claims. While there are several examples of these needlessly destructive messages to choose from, many of which are technically true (in the most technical sense of the term), a particularly timely example of this very destructive messaging is on display with respect to America’s love affair with fire arms! Whenever a serious attempt is made to address America’s out of control homicide rate, you can count on a bevy of self-serving politicians and carnival barkers voicing the popularly held, yet intellectually vacant notion that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”! Could we be any stupider? While that statement is technically true, it is also completely misleading and astoundingly cavalier regarding its implications for America’s astronomically high murder rate! It is technically true that guns don’t kill people, but it is also undeniably true that people kill people, most frequently with guns! America is the most violent of all industrialized nations and our hand gun murder rate far out distances that of any other civilized society! In America, we place greater legal restrictions on video games and rap music then we do on the fire arms that will be used in violent acts perpetrated by those influenced by video games and rap music! Now that’s just plain stupid!
Many politicians (of both parties) argue that a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects a citizen’s right to own a gun and that no government restriction of this right could or should survive constitutional scrutiny. The fact that many of these same politicians demonstrate no real fealty to the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment undermines the sacrosanct position they claim to hold with respect to that same Constitution’s Second Amendment. Their embrace of the Second Amendment, in light of all the death and destruction an over abundance of guns has caused in our society, is purely for political (frequently partisan) advantage. Recognizing (but failing to understand) the pro gun culture of millions of Americans and how they can easily be manipulated for political purposes, the aforementioned politicians exploit these Americans by misleading them into thinking that only they and not their (intentionally mischaracterized) anti gun political opponents will protect their gun rights. It is the relationship between our national love affair with guns, the complete embrace by far too many of our politicians (almost the entire GOP) of the counter factual (also known as the stupid), the aforementioned gasbags and the constitutional misinterpretations by the Supreme Court (a defacto organ of the GOP), which has combined to complete this circle of death and destruction! By providing this already toxic union (guns and the stupid) with an improbable, illogical, unfounded and completely unwarranted constitutional blessing, we have retarded the rationale for the drafting of said Constitution! We have united the stupid with high powered killing machines! It’s really hard to argue that this union is what the founders had in mind when they sought to ensure domestic tranquility!
In order to better understand our national attraction to guns, perhaps we should explore why so many Americans find gun ownership essential to our way of life. The notion that Americans are drawn to guns because we fear being invaded by some hostile country just doesn’t survive the “smell test”. America’s geography, its friendly relations with neighboring nations and a vast and unparalleled military strongly suggests that national security isn’t a serious concern. There are some Americans who believe that an armed citizenry is the only way to protect our freedom against a heavy handed and oppressive federal government, but when one considers the unlimited resources and the overwhelming fire power our government possess (i.e. Waco, Ruby Ridge and the MOVE house in Philadelphia), this oft state, David can defeat Goliath-esk, rationale also can’t be taken seriously. An armed citizen or group of armed citizens may be able to momentarily hold the federal government at bay, but we all remember how violently and decisively those sieges ended. Since we can rule out national security concerns or the maintenance of our liberties as the motivations for our national gun lust, perhaps we are driven by a fear of crimes being committed against us by other Americans. In a breathtaking display of the stupid, as soon as there is some horrific mass shooting in a school, shopping mall or office building, some craven and pandering politician (usually a Republican) will appear before our fawning, uncritical and irresponsible media poodles and opportunistically suggest that if all the bystanders were armed they would have been able to defend themselves and foil the criminal plot. Almost without fail, their brought and paid for http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m11d11-Killing-Two-Birds-with-One-Gemstone media supplicants provide a platform for all these “if only everybody had a gun” knuckle draggers while failing to comment on the sheer stupidity and intellectual bankruptcy inherent in that claim. Not only do government statistics constantly demonstrate that more guns are used against their lawful owners during the commission of a crime then are used to stop or defend against a criminal, but the most recent mass shooting occurred on a military base where everybody had a gun!
Still, those who insist on their right to have a gun rely on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as authority for their claim, so let’s read the Second Amendment.
“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”.
It seems pretty clear, if one is to be guided by a common sense definition of those words and the historical context into which they were written, the right of the people to keep and bare arms was necessitated by the circumstances then existing in the land what would later become America. Our nation’s founders understood that, give the many hostile forces their new nation faced, having a well regulated Militia was essential if America was to remain the Free State which they were contemplating! If one were to consider that America had no standing army at the time that our nation was formed and that the indigenous population was hostile to being occupied and terrorized and that large African population didn’t want to be kidnapped, enslaved and terrorized and that the British army could invade at a moment’s notice, the notion that all citizens should be required to keep and bare arms seems as reasonable as it was necessary! Today, America has the world’s largest, best trained and equipped military, the C.I.A, the F.B.I., state and local police forces, the National Guard and the Coast Guard. Also, we’ve practically killed off all the Indians, the British now are our most dependable ally and slavery has been against the law in America for more then 150 years. Given the absence of the threats that were of concern at the formation of our country, it seems America has all the well regulated Militia it needs!
While many of the concepts the Founders enshrined in that wonderful document endure to this day, many are no longer applicable! These men lived all their lives in a world where women and the non-white had no rights and they made no provision in any of their founding documents for such rights. That undeniable fact, when coupled with the broad acceptance of the corrective Constitutional Amendments which have been ratified over the years, reveals the self serving partisan foolishness of those who contend that the Constitution is not a living, breathing document. The “so called” Originalists (Justice Scalia) seem to dispute the notion of a living Constitution and they think America should be guided by the intent of people who existed in an agrarian, slave holding and extremely sexist society. The Liberal Examiner doesn’t dispute the notion that many of these Originalists can harmonize their thinking with that of the founders because they emanate from the same reservoir of antiquated and regressive non-thinking (white supremacy), but why on earth would our advanced society want to emulate the mindset prevalent at that time? We’ve come a long way since the mid 1700s, why would intelligent people want to turn their intellectual or moral clock back to those dark days? Today’s society is no longer agrarian and neither tolerates slavery (the 13th Amendment) nor legalized sexism (the 19th Amendment), why would we want to embrace the thinking associated with a time that embraced both?
Today, our culture is on the cutting edge of the space age and is in full embrace of the information age, while the founders of our great nation were just coming to grips with gravity and had no full understanding of electricity! The Liberal Examiner imagines that the founders would be appalled by the enabling and pandering politicians http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m12d18-Pro-Life-or-Pro-Birth who suggest that today’s mass murderers were using a Constitutionally protected devise in the commission of their crimes, when it’s clear that none of today’s automatic killing devises were imagined when the Constitution was drafted. How could they possibly have contemplated an Uzi when they had not yet even invented the revolver?
Logic and common sense seems to indicate that America’s fixation with guns isn’t about the “intent of the founders”, or any of the other factually discredited explanations offered by the guns rights crowd. This is about what it’s always about in America and that’s money! There are more guns in America then there are people, and we show our disrespect for our nation’s founders when we use their wise and necessary words to protect the profits of the powerful gun industry! Imagine the Founders revolution at the notion that a vast segment of our political establishment, a political establishment they started, would be so enthrall to the all powerful gun lobby (NRA) that they would ignore the well being of the citizenry. These politicians take an oath to protect the well being of the American people and instead they protect the profits of an industry which provides the machines by which Americans kill other Americans! What ever happened to the much ballyhooed notion that the Constitution was not intended to be a suicide pact?
This is but one the destructive consequences to our culture where a major political party has embraced the craven and extremely partisan “facts-notwithstanding-ness” that is at the core of the Palin/Limbaugh/Beck “axis of stupid”! In an environment where facts are reduced to minor inconvenient technicalities, those who embrace this mindless mindset are free to argue anything http://www.examiner.com/x-21075-Baltimore-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m9d1-Say-anything-or-just-the-facts-maam , “facts-notwithstanding”! Thus, human killing machines which couldn’t possibly have been contemplated by our founding fathers over two hundred years ago are said to be enshrined as a Constitutional right of all citizens, notwithstanding the fact that the reason for which gun ownership was originally required no longer exist and hasn’t existed for over a century! Would any reasonable person have assumed that the one shot musket of that day would have evolved into the rapid firing death machines in existence today? The wise men that founded this nation and drafted its founding documents were amongst the best educated and most learned men of their time (they would be appalled by the stupid). They would have rejected the “facts notwithstanding” approach taken by many of today politicians, particularly where that approach would threaten the domestic tranquility of the new nation which they had founded!