Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hypocrisy & The World's Largest Arms Dealer

A Culture War Debate

The Democrats are starting off their second term, not with a focus on jobs, class disparities, union rights, poverty, low wages or continuing foreclosures – but with the ‘deficit’ and now, gun control in the U.S..  I.E. the culture war. 

Let no crisis go unavailed.  The slaughter of the little white innocents in Newtown, CT has led to putting some spine into the Democrats on their side of the American culture war.  Hence Obama’s suggestions to control the gun trade within the United States.

I say ‘within’ because the United States is the biggest gun dealer in the world.  By 2011, the last year for which there are figures, the worldwide percentage of U.S. weapons sales to other countries had reached a near-monopolistic 78% ($66.3 billion in weapons sales), with the Russians coming in a distant second at 5.6% ($4.8 billion).  Saudi Arabia, a reactionary, anti-female kingdom dominated by fundamentalist Sunni clerics and oil billionaires, is one of the leading recipients of these weapons.  The Pentagon is the biggest arms dealer and broker/shill for weapons in history. Obama’s recent focus on Chinese ‘militarism’ pointed out that they ‘might’ have 400 inter-continental ballistic missiles.  The U.S. has 10,000.  We could go on, but you see the point.

No limits are being discussed there, of course.  In fact, the ‘happy’ co-incidence that the Democrats and Republicans made a deal on their self-created ‘fiscal cliff’ was based on not cutting Pentagon or Homeland spending one iota.  That was the main motivator for a deal.  So our well-armed SWAT teams and police departments in every city in the country are in no danger of being deprived of their weapons.  

Shit runs downhill.  Or should I say, violence runs downhill.  The U.S. is a most violent society – for a society ostensibly at peace.  The U.S. has the highest homicide rate of any ‘advanced’ nation, thought violent crime has been going down in the U.S. for some time. 16,000+ died by homicide in 2011.  It is the second leading cause of death for young people, and the leading cause of death for African Americans.  Of all regions, the southern U.S. is the most violent, which figures.  Nevertheless, twice that number – around 32,000+ in 2011 - die by suicide in the U.S., though this does not approach the numbers in Japan or Russia.  This is a statistic that is most alarming for former soldiers.

Our television, films and video games are all saturated in violence.  As I have said before in an essay on TV cop shows (reviewed below), the .45 handgun is the most common ‘leading man.’  Mirror or accelerant, this is no accident either.  Our love of ‘hunting’ has resulted in hunters shooting other hunters – and also ‘legally’ shooting endangered moose and wolves here in Minnesota.  The clowns are even having gun accidents at gun shows – 3 in the last week.

The number killed in ‘mass shootings’ is statistically small.  Schools are statistically safer for children than their home or the streets.  The greatest danger regarding guns, as Tom pointed out below, is in accidents and homicides within families or among those who know each other.  People with poor impulse control, conflicts, mental problems, anger issues or depression should not have guns in their home.  It is a public health issue. 

It is also a political issue.  Suicides do not use semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines on themselves.  Most murders are not committed by these weapons either.  The recent wave of killings of black kids in Chicago was unlamented by the national media – but assault weapons were not the norm in these shootings. Nor does the media focus on police shootings - 43 shot dead by cops in Chicago in 2011 alone.  So why the focus on these weapons? 

I think the secret reason is that the government does not want large numbers of people to have weapons approximating those held by the police, the secret police and the army.  Would some single civilian have a chance against a trained SWAT squad storming his house?  Of course not.  No matter how many rounds, or bullet proof vests or weaponry that individual has.  It is ridiculous.  However, if thousands of people suddenly have decent weapons, it becomes a different issue.  It comes down to the issue of disarming your own population – not for health issues, or crime reasons, but for political reasons.  Which is why some working class people are worried.  The inordinate fear of ‘crime’ is legitimate in some neighborhoods, but certainly not in all. 

Another consideration is the possible use of weapons by fascists.  In any situation of social unrest, fascist elements would use guns against unions, picket lines, against left demonstrations, against individuals, against occupations, against African Americans, Jews and Latinos. The left does not want to be disarmed, nor can it ‘trust’ the police at all times.  After all, the police many times work with the right.

I’d certainly support the majority of suggestions Obama made about gun control, which seem to be all common sense - especially allowing scientific study of the issue, better logs by dealers, real background checks, tougher gun show requirements, etc.  I don’t support the ban on large magazines and assault weapons unless that ban also applies to our local SWAT squads, police and the domestic military.  Then we can start working on 'downsizing' the Offense Department and the Department of Homeland Insecurity.  After all, what’s fair is ‘fair.’

P.S. - Obama recently visited Minneapolis and was quoted as saying, as he stood before an audience of policeman, in essence "we cannot have a situation where the 'bad' guys are better armed than the police."  What happened to the little martyrs of Newtown?

Red Frog
January 20, 2013

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