Americans, as a group, have a collective love affair with guns.
Yeah, it's a real embedded cultural symbol. Pandering to that phony frontier machismo puts money in the pockets of gun manufacturers and distributors.
I had no idea until after the Sandy Hook massacre that there are people in the USA, otherwise sane and functioning adults, who nonetheless have to have a loaded gun within arm's reach 24-7. Their reaction to incidents where armed assailants kill people in public is simply to have everyone armed, full stop. As you'd expect, they characterize any recommendation for tighter controls on guns (like background checks and waiting periods) as being fueled by paranoia. Obviously talking to such people about a tradeoff between personal freedom and the safety of the community is useless.
What you will never hear, because our news agencies (and yours) tend to shy away from good news, is the number of crimes that are prevented by gun owners.
No one's saying that most guns are used by children to kill themselves or others, or that there aren't instances where gun owners protect themselves against criminals. However, this study demonstrates that guns fired in the home in the USA are much more likely to be used in suicides or homicides than in justifiable self-defense.
And what are our solutions? Oh, right, we don't have any.
Well, I admit the ones I have are likely to seem impractical: Give us your guns, and stop being such hateful, paranoid assholes. What, that's not policy-ready?
But we ignore the power of American gun fetishism at our own risk. Ours is a culture that has been fighting the Civil War for over a century. Cold War triumphalism soothes our guilt over the way we denigrate left-wing politics as "bleeding heart liberalism." Our lack of empathy has long since become indistinguishable from pathology. So exactly how surprised are we supposed to pretend to be when our call for universal gun control is met with outrage?
the mass shootings of black people doesn’t attract much national attention when white people aren’t involved.
Nothing demonstrates less human concern than invoking dead black people just to take a potshot at liberal guilt.
The reason things will never change for African-Americans in the USA isn't that there's too many people like the psycho shooter in Charleston. It's that there are too many like our right-wing friends here, who display a pathological indifference to the problems faced by the black community. Every time someone points out systemic inequities or conditions that disadvantage African-Americans, the voice gets drowned out by a tidal wave of white resentment. It remains to be seen whether white folks in the USA fear race war more than they fear taking responsibility for the prevailing unfairness of social conditions.
Oh right, the liberal explanation of violence (minority violence anyway, if it's white violence it's racist or some such) and every other social ill: poverty, oppression, social inequities etc.
And your explanation is what? Sin? The personal shortcomings of the nonwhites causing the violence? Why, that's just so much more persuasive.
Marx's analysis is still taken seriously. I guess that was inevitable.
I'm not a Marxist myself, but I see a lot of value in analyzing the social context of these issues. The way we define social problems is tied into how we relate to power dynamics and the narratives we find meaningful in explaining the human condition.
the possibility of government tyranny is a major reason for the second amendment
When the Second Amendment was conceived, the former Colonies had no standing army. The new government was wary of the possibility of a military coup and decided to rely on non-professional militias comprised of armed citizens. That's why the wording of the amendment asserts that a well-regulated militia is necessary for the security of a free state. Nowhere did the founding fathers portray gun availability as being necessary to protect citizenry from the tyranny of a democratically elected government.
And that was all well and fine when our farm-boy army was fighting alongside professional French soldiers, who helped us defeat the Brits at Yorktown. But only a few years later, our not-so-fierce fighters were getting their ass handed to them by Indians at the Wabash, and the idea of a standing army didn't seem so bad. Now that militias are not necessary to its security, it stands to reason that the right to bear arms isn't such an urgent matter for our nation.
But as long as you're rewriting history, can I please be married to Cate Blanchett?
For a corrective to your odd view of the history of these things
No, it was your view that needed the corrective. The Second Amendment has a meaning and a context that aren't contained in a bunch of factoids culled from Wikiquote and guncite, and your understanding of the phenomenon of this legislation needs to recognize this historical context.
The authors of the Constitution weren't afraid that the American government would oppress its populace through the domination of a standing army; they were afraid that the army would pose a threat to the state itself. That's why they preferred militias to a standing army, and their dependence on a citizen militia required that their citizens be armed.
Regardless of your position on gun control in 2015, you have to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding the ratification of the Second Amendment. Otherwise you're not really discussing the Constitution.
I acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment did have the concept of armed citizenry being able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government as part of its credo
This is the full text of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution:
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.
The context of the amendment was that the drafters' suspicion of a standing army outweighed their concerns about the ability of a militia to defend the new nation from its enemies. The amendment intended to preclude any politicized patterns of weapon possession that might jeopardize the security of the State.
That's why the amendment doesn't mention the right of the people to overthrow the government that the Constitution was being drafted to establish.
the Pentagon itself was rehearsing such a scenario
I admit that I don't consider trutherism to be anything more than an online shell game: the truther baits his unwary opponent into jumping through hoops for him and providing context for weird factoids, then mocks the opponent's credulity and moves onto the next factoid.
Anyone who thinks that our white overlords in the government-military-industrial complex control every facet of human endeavor should have been disabused of that notion emphatically on the morning of 9/11. It takes a superhuman act of denial to believe that our government, military, and intelligence agencies only conspired to make it look like they were completely helpless and ineffective during the terrorist attack (as well as in the years preceding it), and no one had qualms whatsoever about sticking to that story.
There's a huge problem with the availability of guns in our society. But the worse problem is that the USA has a paranoid gun culture that defines firearms in terms of manhood, security, and power instead of as dangerous items whose use deserves to be regulated in the same way as other such implements. Until after the Sandy Hook incident, I had no idea that there were so many people in America ---otherwise functioning adults--- who had to have a gun within arm's reach 24-7. That's a sickness.
And how does the supposed atheism of scientists correlate with (let alone cause) this increase in mass killings? It's not as if scientists themselves are committing these crimes, so you need to explain what persuades you that the two increases are in any way related.
The New York Times article Percy linked is simply an extraordinary look at corporate America run amok. The gun manufacturers have a lobbying arm that has subverted the legislative process to benefit an industry that is doing an outrageous amount of damage in America.
The NRA wields such power in this country that legislators live in fear of a low NRA-rating come election time. And the gun dealers who would have benefitted from the increased foot traffic that enforced background checks would have supplied knew better than to complain when the NRA put the kibosh on the reasonable proposal. The only dealers the NRA has done anything for in recent memory are the ones selling to gun traffickers, because the organization won't allow legislation that requires dealers to report repeat sales and keep inventory records that can be audited. The NRA is quite literally aiding and abetting the crime that they use to motivate gun sales in the first place.