FROM THE MAILBAG

2 08 2014

obama-gun-controlI received the following response to my July essay, “The Second Amendment.”  I was in the middle of a lot of other things when I received it, so I published it, gave a brief response, and promised more later.  My comments and responses follow the text of the letter.

Interesting take on the 2nd Amendment. If England would have had better gun control laws then the revolution would have never happened. If England would have taken the rifles from their citizens and allowed only the Soldiers of the Crown to use them, our nation would have never been born.

I find your post, in all honesty, hypocritical. The reason is simple, you speak of how the Farm was brought down by the FBI and the CIA – a shadow government. Yet, you speak of only allowing the government and criminals to own guns – for they are one and the same in many cases. What happens when they come for you?

What should happen when the “well regulated militia” turns on the people? Gun violence is a sad thing. Loss of life of any kind is a sad thing. Could it be a governmental attempt to make the people so sick of guns they want to give them up? I own guns. I rarely hunt. I serve my community in many ways. However, I would use my guns to defend my family if someone invaded my home or community. I am thankful for the officials and service men and women of any stripe that keep our streets and communities safe. I pray they never turn, but we see them take orders all the time against peace-loving Americans all because some politician thinks they should be stopped. Meanwhile, drug lords are carrying out tactical manoeuvres in our cities and small towns.

It is certain, some people and corporations shun personal responsibility and it is up to our court system to hold them accountable.

In a society that glorifies violence, death, lewd and lawless behavior – what should we expect? In a society where the love of money has driven corporate greed – our environment will suffer. What to do but to get back to a simpler time. We can’t. We are addicted to convenience, entertainment, and pleasure. We call those things freedom – but they are only tools of distraction to numb our minds into lazy living and satisfied existence.

The letter was signed, “Patriot.”  The given email address was incomplete, but I easily found out that my correspondent had sent his (I presume) missive from Maury County Hospital, which is local.  I felt that a letter from a neighbor, even an anonymous one, merited a response.

The first thing I have to point out is that my “reader” didn’t read me with much comprehension.  He seems to think I want to take peoples’ guns away, when I specifically said,

As the “war on drugs’” failure to curb marijuana use proves, government regulations will not necessarily prevent people from doing what they passionately want to do.  I think we need to ease the climate of fear that causes people to feel that they need to carry weapons.

I spoke humorously of “bullet control,” but recognized that it is not “a political reality” at this point, because of rampant fear and mistrust in this country, amply illustrated by “Patriot’s” letter.  I think I should  have taken widespread (and, in my view, justified) distrust of the government and big business into account when suggesting ways to cool down the fears that cause people to want firearms for self-defence, however puny a gesture that may be in the face of the government’s overwhelming monopoly on force and big business’s dominance in the courts, against which firearms are no defence at all.

Let’s go through Patriot’s letter, paragraph by paragraph.

Interesting take on the 2nd Amendment. If England would have had better gun control laws then the revolution would have never happened. If England would have taken the rifles from their citizens and allowed only the Soldiers of the Crown to use them, our nation would have never been born.

Abolishing gun ownership in 18th century North America was not even a remote possibility.  Guns were tools that many people needed on a regular basis to provide food for themselves and to protect themselves from the irate native people from whom they had stolen their land.  Gun use was effectively “controlled” by the fact that even the pistols of the time were large, difficult if not impossible to conceal, and only fired one shot at a time, requiring at least half a minute to reload.  That effectively prevents the kind of mass shootings that we are experiencing these days.

As for the other assertion, historical “what ifs” are way too slippery and speculative a subject for me to spend any time discussing them.

I find your post, in all honesty, hypocritical. The reason is simple, you speak of how the Farm was brought down by the FBI and the CIA – a shadow government. Yet, you speak of only allowing the government and criminals to own guns – for they are one and the same in many cases. What happens when they come for you?

If the “shadow government” brought down the Farm, it was done subtly enough that firearms would have been no use whatsoever in preventing it.  Indeed, if we had been brandishing weapons, we would probably have gotten the Branch Davidian treatment. “You hippies got automatic weapons?  We’ve got helicopters and artillery!”

Non-violence is not just a tactical decison for me.  I am personally committed to being as harmless as I possibly can be, and in generally lessening the amount of harm that gets done in this world.  Harming others creates more harm, not less.

“When they come for me”?  If they come for me, they’ll have me so outgunned, if I have a weapon, that “resistance will be futile.”  Some people would rather die on their feet than live on their knees, but my take is, if you’re alive on your knees, you may have the opportunity to stand up again.  I think our government’s reach has far exceeded its grasp, and that gap is likely to keep on growing.  If the government rounds us all up, then they have to take care of us, or kill us and dispose of us, both of which are big, expensive, messy jobs.  As long as they can simply exclude us from power and ignore our protests, they will take the easier, more economical approach.  I don’t think our government is going to be “overthrown.”  I think it will crumble, and crumble slowly at that.  We won’t be taking over the government, as Mr. Gaskin liked to say, we’ll be taking over the government’s functions.

What should happen when the “well regulated militia” turns on the people? Gun violence is a sad thing. Loss of life of any kind is a sad thing. Could it be a governmental attempt to make the people so sick of guns they want to give them up? I own guns. I rarely hunt. I serve my community in many ways. However, I would use my guns to defend my family if someone invaded my home or community. I am thankful for the officials and service men and women of any stripe that keep our streets and communities safe. I pray they never turn, but we see them take orders all the time against peace-loving Americans all because some politician thinks they should be stopped. Meanwhile, drug lords are carrying out tactical manoeuvres in our cities and small towns.

Patriot, the “well-regulated militia” was, as I understand the intent of our founders, supposed to be the people. Revolutions succeed best when those on whom the government depends to enforce its will lose faith in the government and join the resistance.  That’s what happened in Eastern Europe, for example.  And no, that didn’t turn out to be the triumph of democracy so many of us hoped for, but it was, overall, a whole lot less violent than it could have been, because there was nobody left on the “other side” to fight.

No, I don’t think the epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings in this country is a “government attempt to make the people so sick of guns that they want to give them up.”  I don’t think the government is smart enough, or powerful enough, to pull all that off and make it look random. The shooters in every case have been psychopaths.  Generation of that psychopathology is not, in my opinion, an intentional government plot, although I think it is a result of our governmental/societal social policies, which place the highest value on money and things, and devalue deep connections, both with other humans and with the healing energy of the natural world.  This results in a lot of crazy people, some of whom get violent.

You “pray (the police) never turn” (on the people, I presume), but at the same time you”see them take orders…against peace loving Americans…because some politician thinks they should be stopped.”  All I can say there is, I thoroughly understand your ambivalence.  My own choice has been to be kind and friendly with every police officer I personally interact with.  They are, indeed, in a difficult position.

I’m not sure what you mean by “drug lords are carrying out tactical manoeuvres in our cities and small towns.”  The “drug epidemic” in this country is a complex issue, involving a natural human urge/need to “get high,” the virtual disappearance of experiential spirituality, and a wide range of psycho-social-economic issues.  It’s a far more complex topic than I have time to delve into here.

It is certain, some people and corporations shun personal responsibility and it is up to our court system to hold them accountable.

I agree with you.  I just wish the court system wasn’t so lax about holding corporations, especially, responsible for their misdeeds.  If corporations are “persons,” how ’bout the death penalty for them when they commit murder?

In a society that glorifies violence, death, lewd and lawless behaviour – what should we expect? In a society where the love of money has driven corporate greed – our environment will suffer. What to do but to get back to a simpler time. We can’t. We are addicted to convenience, entertainment, and pleasure. We call those things freedom – but they are only tools of distraction to numb our minds into lazy living and satisfied existence.

I could hardly have said it better myself.  Indeed, we can’t “go back to a simpler time.”  We have changed and grown, and the ways that, traditionally, worked, work no more.  We can, however, evolve into new, more appropriate traditions, and go forward to a simpler time–or attempt to cling to our “distractions,” as you put it, and go extinct.

I feel both your fear and your good will, Patriot.  I certainly understand your fear, becausethe same things are rumbling in the background of my life, and I have to work at it to keep them in perspective.  I hope you find a way to keep those fearsome things in mind, but in perspective, that works for you.  I believe that we can work together to create a saner world.  Thanks for getting in touch!

music:  Jackson Browne, “For America

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9 08 2014
FROM THE MAILBAG « Holsinger for House

[…] posted a revised and expanded version of my May essay on “The Second Amendment” on my other blog, “Deep Green […]

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