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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 10,068

Journal Archives

The entire Amendment follows the word "militia." Of which we have none.


The pro-gun take on the Second Amendment is self-contradictory. It claims to rest on strict construction and "plain meaning," and then promptly ignores the fact that the entire Amendment deals with militias. Which were important when America didn't have a standing Army, and now are irrelevant.

So much for strict construction and plain meaning. We'll take out the first half, and focus on "bear." We'll ignore the fact that self-defense weapons were something our forebears kept in their homes and barns. We'll pretend the intention was for people to bring guns to courthouses and parks and schoolyards. We'll pretend that nothing is different about modern weaponry and modern living that the Founding Fathers could not have conceived, that "armed society is polite society."

And it's all delivered with a pseudo-rationalist tone and airy declarations that people simply don't understand how gun violence has nothing at all to do with guns. People would simply commit drive-by knifings and schoolyard chainsawings and mass baseball battings, you see.

There's no reasonable question about the fact the Second Amendment was intended to protect American's ability to be prepared to fight wars and keep the peace, at a time when local militias were the only means to do that. We don't live in that world anymore. Our militias have become police departments and the military. That's where our citizens "bear arms."

There was never any intention in the Second Amendment for Americans to walk around ready to shoot each other in the supermarket should they feel threatened. There was no intention that rightwingers be prepared to fight it out with the United States government if it got out of line.

The American gun lobby has carefully constructed a dense mythology around the Constitution and the role of firearms and firearm violence. It was never anyone's intention that everyday citizens walk around on the lookout for crime, or dispatch criminals to protect property. To go on armed "neighborhood watch." It has a silly catchphrase or garbled statistic or a disingenuous bit of illogic for every situation. Now we're told that the fact the ATF can't keep American guns out of Mexico because 99% of the process is protected by our own laws is actually a secret plot by President Obama to make people THINK we need better gun laws.

The legal reality is that our shiny new ultra-conservative Supreme Court has since found an individual right to bear arms, so there we are. The word "militia" has been erased. Thank you, NRA. But it's not where we started.

And the argument that we "can't" change gun laws because it's politically problematic is another gun lobby red herring. We can't until we do. We all understand why gun proponents want to wait until the latest in the endless line of American mass shootings fades away to talk about it. But the intervals are getting shorter, and the blood is getting deeper, and it's getting harder to pretend that keeping our country brimming with easily bought and sold firearms of every description has nothing to do with it.


It's a fascinating lie to protect shady American gun sellers.

So, the reality, as the article points out, is that it is virtually impossible to stop gun traffic into Mexico, because most of what constitutes gun trafficking is actually legal, thanks to the overwhelming success of pro-gun lobbyists. ATF agents, already hampered and largely defanged by the relentless "jackbooted thugs" campaign carried on by the NRA, went as far as New York to try to get the obvious trafficking they were witnessing prosecuted. But they couldn't. It's not illegal for an 18-yr-old to, say buy $20,000 in weaponry, repeatedly, on the theory it might be for "personal use," and then sell them all the next day having "changed his mind."

So, the reality is that gun laws are so weak that Mexico is flooded with American guns in a process that essentially isn't illegal, because gun rights are so broad here. That's what's actually happening. ATF can't arrest anyone because you basically would have to witness someone saying, "Here, let me illegally traffic this firearm to you, hahahahahahaha!"

The conspiracy theory cooked up to deal with this is a gob-smacking piece of cognitively dissonant genius. It's just so bald-faced nuts that it makes perfect sense, if you just invert reason entirely. You just have to believe that law enforcement agents never wanted to do their jobs, bust people and stop weapons trafficking -- how naive! Nooo, they wanted to FAIL, so gun trafficking would get bad, so we'd all THINK we needed better enforcements and / or legislation. Because law enforcement agents think like that, and readily agree to engage in complex conspiracies involving deliberately letting their comrades be murdered, just to please President Obama and his secretly anti-gun stance that he has never revealed in speech or policy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHA!

Wow. This is exactly the same flavor of proving-something-via-its-utter-nonexistence that NRA President / gibbering nutwad Wayne Lapierre introduced a while back, where Obama has been soft on gun control, BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BE HARD ON GUN CONTROL!!

It's perfect logic, if you're insane. And the best part is yet to come. You see, as soon as it sort of sinks in that the ATF was actually (gasp) trying to do its job, and not pretending to not be able to do its job in order to ... TAKE OUR GUNS! someone will be tempted to suggest that maybe we need some kind of database to track gun sales, instead of those boxes of forms the article talks about agents having to painstakingly review by hand. Or, maybe there could be some kind of limit on large sales to individuals. Or something. Anything. But they won't be able to, because as soon as anyone tries, a trillion screaming NRA acolytes will shout ...

AHA! WE KNEW IT! Look at the gun grabbers, using the ATF's "fake" failure to stop guns from going to Mexico to falsely try to justify laws to actually stop guns from going to Mexico! !!! !!! !!!

So at last we scrape down through all the crazy slogans and pseudo-logic, and unending hysteria about jack-booted G-men coming to take Grandma's shotgun and we see what's really most important to the mega-powerful gun lobby in America.

Gun-running to Mexico. All of this nonsense, from Lapierre to Issa, and this galactically impossible non-scandal, is aimed at protecting gun shops that sell a hell of a lot of weaponry to mules headed to Mexico. It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Nothing to do with self-defense, or hunting or target shooting, or a Swiss-like ideal of every citizen being prepared to defend the homeland.

Gunrunner profits. That's what matters here. That's what all the screaming and sweating and false visions of gun-stripping apocalypsi are about. They knew people were wondering why there is a steady river of arms flowing from Arizona directly to Mexician drug lords, and got worried someone might eventually want to do something about it. So we all got Congressman Car Thief Issa's epic hearings, the first attempt to hold a USAG in contempt of Congress, and the "Fast and Furious scandal."

But no talk so far of doing a single thing to stem the flow of illegal American guns. Because once again, when it comes to firearms in America, crazy works just fine.

Because they know religion is just culture, babbling to itself?

Very few people, if not indoctrinated at a young age, can hold on to stories written by a bronze-age goat-herding culture, explaining the universe and morality in terms of burning bushes and god-impregnated virgins.

If the political movements calling themselves conservatism or Christian fundamentalism in America today thought for a moment that an omniscient being was watching them and judging them on the basis of the empathy supposedly taught by Jesus, they'd burst into flame out of pure shame. These groups worship a god as stupid as they are, because all the notion of god is to them is an imaginary inflated version of their own deluded egos and self-induced ignorance.

But I don't know that it's ever been any different. Monotheism, and in particular Christianity, despite its morally reasonable sounding roots in the strangely Eastern philosophy of its central figure, has always been first and foremost a power structure. First thing they did was adopt and rename everything anyone had ever liked about a spiritual or mystical view of nature. Then they threw out women, and sex, and replaced them with an image of their ideal leader -- a single male Authority, angry, stupid, and vengeful. And set up a comprehensive system of force to maintain it.

I respect belief and a spiritual approach for those who choose to embrace it. But this cow is not sacred. It was a lie when it was first told, and it's a lie today. I think there's only so far you go with a lie, even with the best intentions.

But I don't think this repellant assault on intelligence, knowledge, equality, and peace, has anything to do with belief. It's a propaganda framework used dishonestly by people who at their core don't believe for a moment in any kind of moral order or a just universe.

By their fruits we shall know them.
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