A few thoughts on the whole issue of guns, and RIGHT and LEFT:
The so-called Right wing, aided at key points by what passes for the American “left” in the Democratic Party, has done a damn good job of controlling a significant portion of the American citizenry without using overt oppression, but instead with virtually limitless money and repeated lies, by undermining the kind of education that teaches people how to think for themselves, by disparaging scientific and rational viewpoints, and by systematically trivializing what used to be a more objective – but certainly not perfect – journalism. They have succeeded to such an extent that all those people go along with policies that not only are against those very people’s real interests, but are actually also spelling out – here and now – the end of our democracy and even our economy at the hands of the “masters of capital.” Too bad we don’t have the gumption of all those Italians, Greeks, Spaniards and Irish marching in the streets and otherwise uniting together, who seem to be battling their governments’ inane austerity measures WITHOUT the need for guns or by voting phony, so-called “progressives” like President Obama into office. (Progressives! Be prepared to be sold down the river, à la Bill Clinton. At least you knew where George W. and Cheney stood at all times – not with the angels…) Or like those secular-minded Egyptians who are protesting against their new President’s dictatorial decrees.
The way in which the gun issue is framed in the corporate media – and even in many of the so-called “progressive” media outlets – serves only as a diversion and waste of time and energy. The only part of it that makes any immediate sense is questioning the need for any citizen to have automatic or semi-automatic weapons.
And if you say: To fight an oppressive government – then you should have gone to the barricades starting with Richard Nixon, if not LBJ. The militarized local and state police, the National Guard and the Reserves (and the regular military forces if need be) with all their superior weaponry (including tanks, artillery, planes, drones, missiles, bombs and other, known and unknown devices) and excellent training would soon put an end to the struggle by 50% of households – at most – who might defy with arms the rule of The Powers that Be. And I’m sure the POTUS (Democrat or Republican) could call on NATO to assist in suppressing the rebels.
Why is the use of force the first thought in so many Americans’ minds?
The whole “defense of a free citizenry against an oppressive government” argument is based on myth, fantasy and specious reasoning given the facts that actually pertain. Even the AFI (American Firearms Institute) says there are at most 280 million firearms of some kind in the U.S., possessed by at most 50% of the households or about 150 million people (that number includes children.) But there is no definitive information on the numbers or types of weapons in all those households. Moreover, the AFI seems not to have any figures on the size of stores of ammunition possessed by these gun holding households. Or firearms maintenance equipment. Or ammunition preparation equipment and supplies – all of which, for purposes of sustaining a rebellion, are as important as possessing the weapons themselves – because you can be sure that commercial sources of supply would be shut off very quickly by the government.
In addition, one can be rather certain, given the “individualist” – that is, atomistic – tendencies fostered by the economic elite and their minions in the educational system, the media and government at all levels (with Republican and Democrat bipartisanship in the forefront) since 1970 as well as the elimination of national military service, that only a small portion of gun holders would even cooperate together, let alone have received any recent basic training in the rudiments of military force tactics, strategy and maneuvers. For that matter, how many of them would have any theoretical knowledge of guerrilla tactics, let alone practical experience?
As a “reality check”, just look at how long it’s taking the Syrian rebels to topple the Assad government. Without external material support and training (by European and American forces and the CIA), the rebels would be having an even rougher time of it. And remember Libya: if NATO hadn’t provided tactical air support to the fighters against Ghaddafi’s forces, the fighting might still be going on.
If there is a model for opposing an oppressive government, then it should be that of the Egyptian people against the long-term U.S.- and Israeli-supported dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak – a revolution brought about essentially WITHOUT guns.
Seeing all these images of slain children – here and abroad – has made me very angry. Angry enough to become a pacifist…
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(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2012