MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF TRUTHOUT AT BUZZFLASH President Obama with VP Joe Biden
Let's not mince words, with his issuance of 23 executive orders related to reducing gun violence, President Barack Obama is putting his life on the line.
The National Rifle Association is in the business, along with other even more fringe gun advocacy groups, of ginning up the base into a froth of hysteria. In this case, the gun lobby – as it is known – has been "warning" the white males psychologically in need of guns that Obama is going to confiscate all their firearms – and this nonsensical but highly incendiary charge has been caroming around the gunner universe since before the president was sworn in.
Timothy McVeigh was no anomaly. He just happened to succeed in killing 168 people in Oklahoma City. There are an unknown, but presumably large, number of pro-gun, "Turner Diary" reading gun fanatics out there who are fueled on high octane paranoia – and believe themselves the valiant patriots of a gun-toting white Christian male America. They are homegrown cousins of the Islamic Jihad movement, imbued with the conviction that killing in order to save the sacred gun culture is an act of martyrdom, not a crime.
On Truthout yesterday, Thom Hartmann wrote a trenchant insight into the Second Amendment and how it was originally crafted to placate Southern states who wanted to maintain armed militias to hunt down slaves and ensure a pro-slavery paramilitary. Hartmann describes the historical context of the Second Amendment:
By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South. Blacks outnumbered whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings. As Dr. Bogus points out, slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.
If the anti-slavery folks in the North had figured out a way to disband - or even move out of the state - those southern militias, the police state of the South would collapse.
Now, we have our first African-American president and the heritage of the "slave patrols" is returning with a vengeance as the gun lobby stirs up white males fearing for their loss of power in society into a frenzy.
The 23 executive orders proposed by President Obama include many that are aimed at reversing the NRA's thus far successful excerpts to limit the ability of law enforcement to reduce and solve gun crime and violence. Obama is also proposing to once again allow government research into gun violence, which the NRA has successfully strong armed congress to prohibit. In addition, Obama is ending years of the NRA's emasculation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms by appointing a permanent director, which the gun lobby has resisted.
The executive orders are, in general, geared to be pro law-enforcement, pro-crime prevention, and pro-public health. They are only a start, but as firmly and publicly presented by Obama an important step. But the NRA will whip up a storm of virulent and bellicose opposition to Obama's executive orders, with menacing language that will fall just short of calling for an armed rebellion.
Somewhere, perhaps in many members of the gun cult, the idea of Jihad for the cause of armed white males will result in an effort to shoot the president.
That is, in fact, the chilling -- potentially -- lethal threat that Obama faces in taking such a forceful public stand on reducing the toll guns take in our society. Even if the most significant actions he mentioned today (an assault weapons ban, a universal background check, etc.) face unlikely passage in the House as long as the Tea Party is dominant.
For the moment, Obama – who BuzzFlash at Truthout has criticized many a time for being too conciliatory toward right wing loonies – has shown us a profile in courage, one in which he is putting the lives of the American people above his own.
It shouldn't have to be that way, but it is given the dangerous Jihad of the gun lobby and culture.