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Gun Envy

by SAUL LANDAU

My country, a unique example, is the only nation to experience periodic massacres of people by killers armed with automatic weapons. When relatives of massacre victims gather to plead with legislatures to prohibit sales of such weapons, other citizens irately rise up to defend “our second Amendment rights.” The Amendment  states:  “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.”

Second Amendment arguments about having regulated militias, which we don’t have, get used as pretexts for fear. Hunters do not get threatened by gun control laws because they don’t use assault rifles or submachine guns – or at least they should not use them if Bambi is to have any chance and hunting is really a sport.

My former neighbor, however, not a member of any militia member or hunter, boasted to me that he had 25 guns in his apartment.

“Do they make you feel safe? I asked.

“Absolutely,” he replied.

“How so? You can’t shoot more than 2 at a time.”

“Guns give you a feeling that no one will mess with you.”

“Guns make me feel stupid,” I replied. “You can’t discuss anything with them. You shoot or you bluff that you’re going to shoot. And the other guy can shoot you.”

The discussion broke off. My neighbor like millions of my fellow citizens was frightened and guns made him feel more secure, as they do for gun owners throughout the country who spend time cleaning and polishing their weapons, their manhood.

The arguments of pro gunners refer to fear of unknown intruders who would enter their home to assault and rob them, or other haunting characters who would harm them if not for their possession of lethal weapons.

In other words, judging from the public testimony of many on this issue, Americans are scared, beset with worries about those they don’t know, and assumptions that “out there” many armed people would do them serious harm if not for the protection guns offer.

If having the right to own these protective weapons also means that crazy assassins can also acquire firearms, so be it.

 

 

The police, of course, do not provide sufficient or timely enough protection against the unknown potential assailants we see on TV or read about in the news. FactCheck.org reported that we have had “130 school shootings since Columbine that resulted in at least one student or school official being killed or injured.” Police got there after the shooting ended.. http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

 

Ironically, many police chiefs want gun control because they think limiting access to weapons would reduce the possibility of more massacres like those we’ve had in various parts of the country.  Many top cops advocate serious control on gun sales. But, say some on the left and right, such government control would allow the oppressive state that commits murder around the world (in the name of freedom and democracy, of course) to possess a monopoly on arms in the United States, the very entity that tried to use gun control to disarm the Black Panthers and other left groups,  and murdered one of its leaders (Fred Hampton).

NRA heavies and old-fashioned gun lovers see gun control as bowing to the liberal-radical namby pambies. They demand unlimited access to all kinds of guns to “protect our families.” Ironically, most gun deaths occur inside gun-owning families when wives kill husbands or husbands shoot wives, or when one of the two use a gun to commit suicide, or allow a child to find and use it in the house against a parent or sibling, or on other kids.

Guns amount to a cultural cancer in US society, an almost incurable, albeit disease fostered by gun-makers, the NRA and the TV-Hollywood combine.

In one its latest sales pitches for gun violence, “The Gangster Squad,” well-known actors (Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin) team up to advocate cops using gun violence — without the police badge –as the only way to attack organized crime. Indeed, the entertainment formula uses gun violence routinely as the ideal  (if not only) method for resolving disputes.

Kids have shootouts, with toy guns, as they play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians, and wait for the day when as adolescents they can own real guns.

The hunting-as-good-sport lobby concurs on the value of rifles as vital means for whacking Bambi and similar creatures who have done them no harm. I went deer-hunting as a student in the Wisconsin woods and stared in horror as a group of drunken hunters opened fire at an alleged movement in the bush. No one saw whether it was a cow, a human or a deer. They just blasted away at the place where the apparent movement had occurred. Luckily, they only hit bushes and trees.

Friends who have gone duck hunting wait for the winged creature to soar from the march and blast away at them with shotguns, hoping that the birds will fall from only one pellet and not get obliterated by or ridden with metal – makes for gritty eating. The ducks have no weapons with which they could retaliate or defend themselves. Some sport!

The President has proposed background checks on all gun sales, and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Timothy McVeigh, a Christian and army veteran, would have qualified for gun purchases, but he didn’t use guns to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building. The gun issue goes beyond US law-making capacity. It goes to reforming an old and established culture of guns and killing, one that the President helps shape every time he sends out a murderous drone on a “target” to kill  an un-indicted person in another country. Obama might honestly admit : ”I’m not one to change US culture, and truthfully guns r’us.”

Saul Landau does not own a gun, but has made over 40 films, including FIDEL and WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP, available on dvd through cinemalibrestore.com

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SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

CounterPunch Magazine

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