Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Thu

01

Nov

2007

Silencers are for Guns not People
Thursday, 01 November 2007 02:06
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece called "Another Poster Child for the NRA" in response to a horrific and disturbing account of a young police officer, in a small town in Wisconsin, who apparently went insane, out of jealousy, and killed his girlfriend, and several friends. As one who has the utmost respect for law enforcement, what I found so shocking was that it was a member of the force who committed this crime.

It was never my intention to rant against the National Rifle Association, or law enforcement, but instead call for a closer look at a national ethos which enables, and legitimizes, the use of weapons, and deadly force in lieu of dedicated problem solving.

No sooner did my piece appear than I was besieged with hate mail, most of which came from National Rifle Association members, some from law enforcement, and the military, all of whom mistakenly seemed to think that I was targeting them with my comments. To the contrary, it is the intellectual climate, rife with fear and prejudice, one that provides safe haven, and immunity, for paid assassins while locking up protestors who belong to Code Pink. This newfangled militarism makes one nostalgic for the culture of narcissism.

So, by way of rejoinder: for openers, no one in their right mind would blame any one person, or group, for the outrageous escalation in violence in American society, much of it involving hand guns, in recent years. About a decade ago, then President Bill Clinton said "Every single day there are 13 children who die from guns." How many more children are dying from guns today? Yet, there hasn't been any gun control legislation since 1994, and those who defend their right to bear arms are ostensibly unnerved by the prospect that their friends, the hunters-in-chief, are leaving town.

Why this egregious absence of legislation attempting to stem the proliferation of assault rifles, hand guns, and illegal firearms in the past several years? A virile, righteous, and omnipresent gun lobby has successfully managed to silence their opposition, as has a vice president who, while he may not have the best aim, is himself a devout hunter, and a foreign policy which caters to the hunter ethos. Silencers aren't only being used for firearms; they're now handy ways to stifle dissent, too.

Indeed, the gun lobby has never been in better shape in Washington than it has been under the tutelage of President George W. Bush, so not a peep has been heard from those whose custom it is to speak out against guns, and the rash of violence in our nation's public schools; schools like Columbine, Virginia Tech, in our nation's inner cities, cities like Compton, East Los Angeles, in our nation's workplaces. We've not heard a peep from the usual suspects who would be active in speaking up for more stringent laws to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of our youngsters.

Increasingly, in a world in which the American flag has become synonymous with another four letter word "duck," and yet another "bomb," this is not time to mince words. These folks who equate what they think of as their constitutional empowerment have, for the past several years, had a free ride, but now that a changing of the guard is in sight, they cling to their illusions of entitlement like a leper clings to what little skin he has left. And, to parody the Dylan Thomas poem, it's as if every gun-toting Tom, Dick, and Harry decided not to go "gentle into that night," but to "rage, rage, against the dying of the might."

The gun lobby has managed to exercise that might religiously, and faithfully, to quiet their opposition, over the past half dozen years, because they have been the vocal majority, but that may be about to change, and they may well lose their leverage once the hunters, and Bible-thumpers, leave town. And, faced with the prospect of another Clinton in the White House, and the real prospect of yet again having to defend their right to bear arms, those who extol the virtues of the Second Amendment while ignoring the First and Fourth Amendments may be scared, scared of losing their leverage, scared they may be slipping. Violent crime isn't slipping, though.

We're experiencing what may be called a renaissance in violent crime, and can anyone not ask how it is that a youngster in high school can amass an arsenal in his bedroom which would rival any one might expect to find in a bunker in Baghdad, and how it is that moms and dads are giving Johnny his first gun for Christmas, as well as access to the kind of cache that could decimate an entire schoolyard? Why does it take a shooting at Columbine, or Virginia Tech to wake people up?

No one is suggesting, for a moment, that even if guns were to be eliminated from the face of the earth, random, and heinous crime would disappear with them. Where there's a will to do grave bodily harm, there's always a way.

It isn't use of a weapon, per se, but the abuse of weapons, in general, and the lack of oversight that requires our attention. It's not an issue with an occasional bad apple, in law enforcement, that requires our attention, but a culture in which intellectual lassitude is a way of life. Anyone possessing even a modicum of reason, whether they be a member of the NRA, or the AARP, can see there's a need for all of us to sit down and talk about the proliferation and abuse of legal and illegal firearms, and how to keep guns out of the hands of those who can least handle them, even if they've been deputized to do so.

If it's true, as we hear, that guns don't kill people; rest assured that ignorance does. Awareness, and education, are essential steps in the direction of finding a solution, not sweeping, under the rug, all those who dare to speak up in violation of a code of silence that is as outmoded as it is deadly.

From the beginning of time, the forces of darkness have somehow managed to overpower, and silence, the forces of light. This explains the phenomenon of extinction. And, if things continue at this rate, we, too, will be staring down the barrel of an existential shotgun.

One can only hope that it isn't loaded.
More from this author:
Following in the Footsteps... (6326 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The manic warriors, in Washington, are at it again, only now they've found someone who can manage more than one syllable at...
Worldwide Open Season on the Press (9393 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl On an otherwise quiet street in Istanbul, this morning, a 53 year old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent was gunned down...
On Hillary's announcement... (5469 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl You may have read the transcript of a speech given by George McGovern in The Nation last week in which he rightly...
An Open Letter to "The Decider" (5833 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl While the odds are probably better of getting a response from Santa, there are a few things I'd like to say if you can...
"Notes from the Undergrown: State of the Oilman Address" (5808 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The president's speech last night was more important for what it didn't say than for what it did. In an address that could...
Related Articles:
An Open Letter to the People and Government of the US - James Petras (8793 Hits)
by James Petras (And a Reply to the FARC) On a November 9, 2006, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-Peoples Army, (FARC-EP)...
Terrified Soldiers Terrifying People (8373 Hits)
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily FALLUJAH, Iraq, Jan 8 (IPS) - Ten-year-old Yassir aimed a plastic gun at a passing U.S. armoured patrol in...
Presidential Presence - Holding the Hands of the People vs. A Distant Wave of the Hand (5348 Hits)
by Carolyn Baker Below the equator, it is now autumn, the end of summer and the beginning of winter. During the month of February, the nation...
Iraqi People to White House - Leave! (5550 Hits)
by Michael Collins You may have missed this. I did.Most Iraqis Favor Immediate U.S. Pullout, Polls Show Leaders' Views Out of Step With...
Gun Control: It’s not about Banning Guns (5908 Hits)
by Robert Fantina With the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech fresh in the minds of the world, many nations are looking at the culture of...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (3)add comment

Jimmy Montague said:

Jimmy Montague
If ignorance kills people
From your last post:

>While one often thinks of Charleton Heston when thinking about the NRA, in this age of the cowboy, any gun-toting madman will do just as well..

>Hopefully, the terrible event that took place in Wisconsin today will compel us all to examine empowerment by weapon, as well as an issue increasingly swept under the table, that of police brutality, and abuse of power. We know we've arrived when the "authorities" who shot the off-duty deputy sheriff to death themselves face review. We have become far too accepting of fatal shootings by on-duty police officers just as we're far too tolerant of those who think it's their constitutional right to bear arms, even when, increasingly, it's at the expense of innocent life.

>This officer who fired his gun, and took the lives of six isn't the only poster child for the NRA; each of his victims is, too.

And from your current post:

>It was never my intention to rant against the National Rifle Association, or law enforcement. . . .

If such a rant was never your intent, your rhetoric shows that your fingers at the keyboard have escaped control of your brain. And thus I conclude that if ignorance kills people -- and I won't argue the point -- then you, Ms. Stahl, must surely be a mass murderer.
 
November 01, 2007
Votes: +0

Tom Johnson said:

0
Hello, What are you thinking?
Sorry for the loss of innocent lives, but “stuff” happens. People die. Get over it. Even if you could get the drunk drivers off the roads, cars would still kill. I do not like policemen, but life without them would be much more problematic.

What would you do if some crazy vicious type broke into your house and started killing your family? Lay down and peacefully let him kill you?

Guns are designed specifically to kill efficiently. I own a few. Being a Viet Nam veteran, I have already killed… for nothing. (I should have gone to Canada). But if some deviant were to break into my house and was threatening, I would not hesitate to kill him/her with my guns and I would not feel guilty afterwards.

The regulations you would like to propose would restrict gun ownership to the honest. The crooks would ignore the laws, and continue to sell them to kids.

As for the dark forces you mention, I plan to meet them, with my guns drawn.

Tom
 
November 03, 2007
Votes: +0

Bob said:

0
School shootings
Please don't use school shootings as a ramp to gun control...Columbine, Virgina Tech, and other school shootings...Are you aware that not one of the shooters in these cases had ever participated in a Gun or Hunter Safety program? It's not about getting rid of the guns, it's about responsible gun ownership. I gave my son a .22 rifle for his 6th birthday. Crazy? No, my son has been shooting at the range and and on the farm since he has been 4. He can field strip, clean, and assemble any rifle I have, and better than most adults I know. His friends were playing cops and robbers and he lectured them on the dangers of pointing guns at people whether or not they were fake (toys). I am not saying everyone should give one to their 6 yr old....unless they are willing to take the time to teach them respect for weapons, and proper handling and use. But I think most won't, they are either too busy, too lazy, not properly trained, or too liberal...
When you take the guns away from law abiding citizens, you get rising crime...thats a fact.

Since Australia's 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%.

After enacting stringent gun control laws in 1991 and 1995, Canada has not made its citizens any safer. "The contrast between the criminal violence rates in the United States and in Canada is dramatic," says Canadian criminologist Gary Mauser in 2003. "Over the past decade, the rate of violent crime in Canada has increased while in the United States the violent crime rate has plummeted

According to the BBC News, handgun crime in the United Kingdom rose by 40% in the two years after it passed its draconian gun ban in 1997

So do your best to pass tight gun control laws so you can feel safer...and note that it's only a feeling...you can sleep well at night knowing that the criminals have turned in all of theirs...

 
April 03, 2008
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top