MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's the third rail of US politics: Never vote against an NRA bill unless you are in a safe urban Democratic district where people prefer paninis to semi-automatics.
Of course, gun makers, gun sellers, gun show vendors, NRA execs and lobbyists - and so many more - make a fortune off the gun male entitlement fetishism in the US. Meanwhile, as the shooting of women by misogynist men, and the shooting of children in schools, and even the shooting of police officers having lunch, is doing far more to destroy the United States than a terrorist group ever could.
Heck, the gun nuts are terrorizing citizens. How do you think a kid feels when a bunch of guys with AK-47s slung over their shoulders are thumping grapefruit at their favorite store because of its name: Target? Those children are - one can presume - emotionally terrorized by the sight of guys walking around with heavy duty guns. How do their parents explain this to the youngsters: "You see, there are good guys with semi-automatic machine guns in Target and bad guys." "How do you tell them apart," the child might ask. "I can't," the parent helplessly answers.
Of course, the ostentatious open carrying of guns in Texas into just about anywhere is the expected outcome of a climate in which politicians cower in fear that they might be picked off in a primary by the NRA. As a result, they give the gun lobby everything it wants; it's the political version of paying protection money. After all, carrying military-style weapons into Target - or other stores - is akin to saying: "Hey, look at me, I'm a real man and I have a right to scare you half to death because you don't know if I'm a good guy or bad guy, right? So suck on it!" Let's face it; that's the reality of what is going on.
And it is also going on elsewhere, including Arizona, where the gun guys are defiantly buying their lattes open-holstered at Starbucks outlets there.
Now that school shootings, public massacres, etc., have accelerated in the white community to nearly a daily or twice daily occurrence - and have therefore become a mainstream media concern - the "conventional wisdom" dominant media is asking what can be done about people with mental health problems. The mainstream media counters each shooting with a mealy-mouthed question of how that particular shooting could have been prevented.
Jon Stewart pointed out the other day that the NRA has come to the end of the line with its arguments. It now finds that its mantras of wanton fear are running into each other. Stewart pointed out, more or less, that if you have a guy with a Kalashnikov buying a hamburger and "playing" with his rifle, then the cashier could "perceive" it as a threat and pull out a gun and shoot the gun nut parading around with his "piece." That's because the NRA has written into many stand-your-ground laws that even the "perception" of being threatened grants a "law-abiding gun owner" the right to shoot the person he or she perceives as a threat. So, Stewart, argues, the gun lobby has reached the perfect conundrum: it is in the position of debating itself.
Bill Maher, as usual, has a more personal take on the latest gun terrorism from within: If this isn't gun fetishism (as compared to the Wayne La Pierre claim of "gun rights" to protect the gun guys from the bad guys, who are allegedly lurking everywhere to kill them and their families), then what is? Maher points out that gun nuts are more in love with their guns – they feel more of an emotional bond with them - than they do with the people that they are scaring by carrying guns around in public. Hey, that Texan with a camouflage outfit and an arsenal of guns attached to his body just might be a "terrorist," right? Who would know?
Of course, there are now the all-too-pitiful accounts of police officers getting shot while taking breaks from duty – but while still armed - and getting blown away. This, of course, belies the million-dollar spokesman for the NRA, LaPierre, who says, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." In fact, many of the recent mass white shootings have been stopped by alert, unarmed bystanders. Two police officers eating lunch, with guns at their side, have no chance against someone who approaches them unexpectedly.
It is worthy of note that for decades when minorities and women were being shot right and left, the progressive white community didn't put gun control, in general, at the top of its agenda. It only rose to prominence when gun violence became an epidemic in the white community, with Columbine and Sandy Hook being tragic symbolic examples of the gun virus now infecting every nook and cranny of the United States.
As long as the gun industry and the gun lobby were able to keep 30,000 gun deaths a year considered as collateral damage, poor minority communities that were infested with guns largely obtained from gun shows, suburban gun stores and legal personal collections were and are devastated by gun violence (largely due to the economic destitution of the communities). That also applies to a long-term tolerance for domestic violence resulting in women being shot to death. In fact, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation is generally - though not always - a source of power for the man over the woman.
Now, however, the contagion of the gun virus has reached its tentacles into the white community - schools, police, malls, even churches - and the outrage now has yielded to a numbness of inevitability.
After all, these guys are locked and loaded. They have us in a state of fear that al Qaeda would envy.
Consider this, when various ragtag militia groups defended the tax evader Cliven Bundy - and threatened armed US and local law enforcement officials - who backed down? Not the militias. The government forces that were supposed to protect the interests of citizens disappeared - and the militias assumed armed control of local roads without challenge.
Who is more dangerous to the security of the United States? Al Qaeda? Or the gun industry, the NRA and the more extreme gun lobbies, the gun fetishists and the militias?
With approximately 30,000 people in the US dying each year from guns - and the emergence of a militia movement that forces the US government to back down - the question is merely rhetorical.
We have met the terrorists threatening our national security. They are here in the homeland, empowered with legal standing to terrorize.
Meanwhile, this nation spends hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars annually to "fight terrorism abroad" - and assassinates suspected terrorists and civilians overseas with drones - while US domestic agencies let the terrorism within fester without constraint.
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