Obama, guns, and history
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"For the next year I am going to see if it is possible to also include the positive things that happen as well."
Herewith my first entry and it is the mention of Obama on gun control.
Yes, it is just one small drop in the bucket and it is a big bucket to start filling but his action is significant. We will see with time how this plays out with history, but thank goodness he did it. May those that follow do likewise.
The fact that he got emotional about it certainly does say something positive as well.
As the author points out, they willingly take their shoes off at airports. They accept the necessity of "no-fly lists" in the name of national security (especially if the names on the list sound foreign). I'll bet everyone one of them prefers to get their prescriptions filled by a licensed pharmacist.
I think it is disingenuous to dismiss the emotional reactions to incidents like Sandy Hook or the Charleston church murders or San Bernardino as "hysteria." It's also irrational to call the outrage felt when people die of gun violence in their own homes "hysteria."
You know what is irrational? Reaching for a gun to win an argument. Resisting any and all attempts to make guns child-proof or accident-proof. Expanding the places you can legally have a gun to include places where people's inhibitions will be down and their judgment impaired (bars!), and public spaces where there is no reason to expect violence -- I was going to say "like schools or movie theaters" but wait! We now expect violence in such places. Only guess what? Not from the government -- no one expects the Army to come marching in to the next showing of the new Star Wars film and start pointing rifles at people. Oh no, its people who have been exercising their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms that keep showing up at movie theaters and health clinics and shooting other people dead.
Well, actually, you can't anymore...not that the louder and less sensible gun owners want to acknowledge that. (The whole concept of 'protecting yourself against an invasive/tyrannical government' with weapons you can legally own and have in your home has been ludicrous for decades.) And mandatory background checks at gun shows is a very reasonable idea. Heck, requiring the equivalent of a drivers license (a gun operator license?) which would at least mean gun owners would be exposed to the concept of gun safety is an idea worth looking into.
But by the same token, presuming that guns are the problem is wrong. Consider that spree killings (as opposed to serial killings) are a comparatively modern phenomena. And they may be increasing in frequency (although I'd need to see the facts to verify that idea). Why? What has changed in modern American society that makes this sort of action happen more often? And do people actually think that someone who is bent on killing a lot of people in a very public manner will stop simply because a firearm is not available? The use of guns is a symptom of a deeper cause that may well be far more dangerous if left untreated.
The ability to kill a lot of people with a firearm has been available for decades. The recent spree killings are far more recent, which means whatever the cause, it's not simply that the method has suddenly become available.
Spree killings, as far as I understand them, are about one person demonstrating their dominance and power. It's founded in a hunter/prey dynamic -- a dynamic that we all but revere in our culture. There is a direct connection there between the person who shoots, and the person who dies. Something that is emotionally satisfying to the shooter.
So, if guns were hard to come by, would such a person go for poisoning a town water system? Not likely. They might go for making a bomb, but since bombs have a higher chance of killing the would-be bomber I expect they'd think twice. Plus, bomb are associated with evil foreign terrorists and suicides -- so not exactly the ethos of the spree killer. Arson, maybe.
But pretending that the guns themselves don't play a role in the the problem of gun violence is useless. They are not neutral objects. They are tools designed with a specific purpose and inherently lethal. We tend to regulate the crap out of things that could be called inherently lethal -- toxic substances, explosives, etc. But guns get a pass. It's nuts.
The whole concept of 'protecting yourself against an invasive/tyrannical government' with weapons you can legally own and have in your home has been ludicrous for decades.
That suggests the Second Amendment is obsolete.
It is simple math if a shooter is stopped when they reload is it better that they stop to reload after 6 shots or after 30? I understand that we can't totally stop murder but why are we so eager to make it so easy?
Edited to ask: Why do you thing that spree killing is a modern phenomenon? Humans have not fundamentally changed. It is technology that makes it possible. Charles Whitman was a trained Marine. After killing his parents he took a small arsenal to the top of a clock tower and picked off his victims one at a time. He needed some skills to become the first American spree killer. That and a brain tumor. Today no skills are required to run up body counts much higher than he achieved. It can be argued that restricting the number of bullets any magazine can hold is no infringement of anyone's 2nd amendment rights. Requiring liability insurance is not in any way restricting anyone's 2nd amendment rights. Yes, it might make it more expensive but no where in the Constitution does it say you are entitled to afford to do everything you want. The 2nd amendment is an after thought in a document intended to, "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" Just like the 18th amendment it can be repealed if that is the best way to promote those goals from the Preamble.
I'm not eager to 'make it easy', which is why I support constructive changes such as mandatory background checks at gun shows, and licensing for gun owners. I'm not sure about liability insurance, but I'm not per se opposed to the idea; it may well be worth implementing. Gun control and gun ownership are not mutually exclusive ideas, no matter what drivel the NRA is promoting these days.
All of the Amendments, by definition, are 'afterthoughts', and I can think of all sorts of ways that many of them could be repealed in order to 'promote the goals of the Preamble'. You certainly could as well. I suggest that it's a dangerous road to go down, particularly when many of the Amendments (such as the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth) are already effectively non-existent in many circumstances.
I actually don't agree the the 2nd Amendment was an afterthought -- any more than the 1st Amendment was. Like the entire Bill of Rights, it was put in to forestall the kind of high-handed liberties rulers tended to take with their subjects in the name of their own authority. And yes, I think the "right to bear arms" was originally conceived of as a legitimate right for a people to resist tyranny, by arms if necessary. At the time, such resistance had a recent and well-proved example in the revolution that created the United States of America, so it is easy to see why it is there.
But that is not the situation we have today. Today, we have people who hold onto their guns in the name of the right to resist tyranny, but who have no intention of using them in a revolt. Instead they just use them against other people. Frequently, their own friends, family and neighbors. They don't need to worry about the government invading their house and taking all their stuff, (unless they're dealing drugs). They don't need to worry about "self-defense" to the extent that would require an assault rifle. Mostly, they don't need to worry about being attacked in the street or while they are at the movies. At the most, they need a rifle when they go hunting, and/or a gun in case of a break-in. (What are the statistics, I wonder of home invasions stopped because of a gun, vs family members shot by a gun because someone thought it was a home invasion?).
So that vaunted right to resist against a tyrannical government with arms becomes a little laughable. If they want to fight the government, they need a computer, not a gun. If they want to have a weapon for self defense, they don't need military-grade weaponry. And the Second Amendment is a pretty poor excuse if what you want is a basement full of AK-47s or the ability to shoot at targets on a firing range. It's not there to protect people's hobbies. I think people need to give some hard thought over what the right to resist tyranny actually means.
In a largely rural society, the population was not dense and some of the true natives were belligerent. Well-regulated militias of volunteers who may or may not have owned personal weapons existed to be the first line of defense against belligerents. Before the revolution, the Crown had literally disarmed such bodies of citizen soldiers -- more neighborhood watch -- and colonists, which led to much colonist suffering, especially rural colonists suffered loss of property and life in frightful, often brutal ways.
Now we have lots of law enforcement. There are few, make that minuscule, numbers of gun incidents where the private armed citizen needs to or succeeds at guarding his personal safety with his personal weapon. Far more are the incidents of innocents dying, of children killing themselves or others out of ignorance, or of the presence of a gun in a home being an outlet for expressed anger in the heat of the moment.
It is contemptible for gun suckers to claim a need for guns for self-protection. Judging by the murder by gun statistics, American wives and girlfriends must be the most dangerous humans that ever walked the Earth. More of them are victims of gun violence by husbands and boyfriends than are "criminal" strangers by "responsible" gun owners. The gun has perverted the word "protection" when it comes to female lives. Don't they matter?
Private gun ownership is no deterrent to crime. And it is no protection from it either. It just turns normal civilians into armed killers more often than ever before.
The NRA, I've seen it argued, is now a terrorist organization promoting fear to propagandize for more gun sales. It may or may not be true, but in response to NRA prodding, America is flooded with death-at-a-distance devices that even a well-regulated militia has no need of.
What? Is it true there are as many guns in the hands of people in America as there are people in the land? Yes. Yet, crime has not been deterred by their gun ownership. Only spree killings, mass murders, drive-bys, road rage killings, and murder of women by men who supposedly love them is what has increased.
Don't tell me we need more guns to address those gun deaths. Tell me instead that we love our children and our spouses, even our neighbors, more than we love our guns. Then I'll have faith in humanity to end this sick death cultism centered on the worship of guns.
Today, we have people who hold onto their guns in the name of the right to resist tyranny, but who have no intention of using them in a revolt.
On the contrary, they fantasize constantly about taking up arms to resist tyranny. Are they naive? Yes, but so were the Black Panthers who expressed the same views about guns in the 1960s. In both cases, these fantasies have served as an outlet for deeply felt political frustrations.
There is no point in trying to reason with the leading gun partisans. They have to be out-organized and overpowered by political means. This will probably take another 5-25 years of attrition, ending in a sudden overwhelming defeat of the NRA and its allies. They are rhetorically aggressive and intolerant of dissent because they know that they are a dwindling minority faction and time is not on their side.
Why do you suppose we don't have the terms "knife violence" and "unarmed violence" in circulation, expressing our deep concern over them?
I have another question but this one I can't answer. What does the NRA have to say about this?
Please follow the link, then appreciate the ghastly irony of the quote below.
On Facebook, a user in Mississippi named Audy McCool, who is also related to a Michael McCool, posted about what appears to be the shooting.
“Just can’t rest replaying this horrific unimaginable disaster need lots of prayers for all family members involved,” he wrote.
Just four hours before the fatal gunfire, the same Facebook user posted a meme implying that President Obama was responsible for increased mass shootings in the U.S.
There's no satisfying gun crazy idiots.
Their is a difference between the Black Panthers of the 1960s and today's armed terrorist groups. The Black Panthers worked to feed and educate the children that the government wrote off because of their skin color and economic standing, they took up guns for self protection. Today's white terrorists are well to do and are taking up weapons because they fear losing the privileges that have historically come with pale skin.
It's a collective, group fantasy, in the same way that a cult compound is s group fantasy. But I hope whatever the government does to resolve it errs on the side of minimal loss of life.