Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hitler. Insurrection, Conspiracies, & Other Nonsense

It would be nice to admit that I haven't been posting as regularly because I'm just so darn busy.  I really do want to continue telling the story of heavy metal in the way I'm telling it, but every time I sit down to do so, other stuff crowds it out.  The last thing I want to do, the last thing I've ever wanted, is to be just one more voice in the shrill chorus, repeating the bleatings of, well, pretty much anyone.  The gun issue, which all should have known would descend to the depths once Wayne LaPierre walked away from the microphone at his press conference a week after the Sandy Hook shooting, has become ubiquitous.  By and large, as a friend complained quite cogently and eloquently yesterday on Facebook, it has been dominated by idiocy, nonsense, lies, and a kind of spittle-flecked hysteria that doesn't make it possible to talk about what is "really" going on because far too many people are aping Matt Drudge and screeching "Hitler! Stalin!  TYRANNY!!!"

First of all, Hitler never said the things all those stupid Instagrams claim he said.  He didn't confiscate any weapons, or pass draconian gun control laws.  As for Stalin . . . I'm not even sure where to begin with that one.

Furthermore, consider the mindset here.  On one side are folks who are saying something fairly reasonable: ten to twelve thousand Americans - our fellow citizens - are killed every year by firearms.  Owning a firearm is far more likely to result in it being used to injure or kill a family member or friend - anywhere from four to twelve times, depending upon the study cited - than to defend against criminal home invasion.  What's being proposed, at least to my mind, are a series of largely cosmetic controls - limiting the number of rounds a magazine can hold; banning the future sale of "assault weapons" which, as many on the right point out correctly, is a media phrase that refers to no real thing (kind of like "partial birth abortion", but I digress) - that do not address the fundamental issue of rampant gun violence.  I also consider the matter of mental health to be a red herring; most of the people who use firearms in criminal activity are neither clinically mentally ill, or were prior to some pivotal event perhaps bringing on a severe depression or other mitigating factor that causes them to threaten or injure or kill.  Far more prevalent is the kind of rampant insecurity among American men that gets reassurance like the kind offered by Bushmaster in its add for the weapon used at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  If you're a man who needs a gun to feel like a man, you might want to put the gun away and get some help.  Like I said a while back - take off your clothes and look down.  If there's something down there, then you're a man, and you don't need a piece of metal that goes boom to demonstrate that to the world.

Then, consider the whole, "Gun control doesn't work!" nonsense.  Of course it does.  It's worked here in the United States.  It's worked fabulously well in Australia and Scotland.  It takes all of ten seconds to find this information - real information about the real world where real people live - that makes that statement a lie.  If you know it's out there and you repeat it anyway, then you're lying.  If you don't know about it, and someone tells you, and you either refuse to check it out, or don't want to, then you're either lazy, or so far inside the bubble that you can't tell reality from whatever fantasy the gun industry has created for you.

Similarly, saying, "Gun laws don't work because criminals don't follow the law," isn't an argument against gun control per se.  It's an argument against all laws, because people who break the law . . . don't care about laws.  When I'm driving down the road at ten or fifteen miles an hour over the posted speed limit - I don't care about the law!  Does that mean there shouldn't be speed limits?

While we're on the topic of ridiculous things - the Second Amendment to the Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with keeping people armed as a check against government power.  First of all, the text of the Amendment makes that a lie.  Second, the actual debates during the first Congress about the Amendment make it a lie; the Amendment is about preventing the creation of a standing army, which many of the founders considered a threat to republican-style government.  And, really, think about it.  If there were a real military coup in the United States and some yahoo somewhere started taking potshots at the soldiers enforcing some dystopian martial law, trust me when I tell you that would last for about ten seconds.  The US military has much bigger things that go boom, so put your Red Dawn fantasies back in the box.

Finally - no one is suggesting confiscating weapons.  No one.  There is no secret agenda afoot to use this as a way to force people to surrender their guns to the government so Obama can become dictator for life, or whatever the nonsense swirling around is.  Your twelve-gauge shotgun, your standard .22-caliber hunting rifle, or even a larger, say .30-.06 or .30-.30 - they're safe.  No one anywhere - not even folks who want far stricter gun control measures than are being offered (like me) - thinks such a thing would either be workable or even legal.

Really, I just wanted to get this off my chest.  I realize the frothing and shouts of "Agenda 21!  Freedom!" will continue.  I realize "reasonable" has, somehow, disappeared from our national dialogue.  Not just when it comes to guns, but anything.  I've now responded to the weeks and weeks of nonsense, and while it won't even slow it down, at the very least, I've tried to make clear that there is hysteria afoot.

It just isn't coming from folks talking about gun control. 

Virtual Tin Cup

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