Friday morning once more provided us with a reminder that we live in the United States where nearly any person with a score to settle can have access to weapons made expressly for the purpose of killing people. I am hardly an expert on a subject that many get highly emotional over. However, I would like to point you to articles by a couple of highly respected observers of the American scene, Juan Cole and Bill Moyers.
I will offer a couple of excerpts here, but please use the link to view the entire article.
Then House speaker Tom DeLay and his Republican majority (along with a few pusillanimous Democrats) made sure that the assault weapons ban was not renewed in 2004, and he was backed in this atrocity by the National Rifle Association. NRA-backed Republicans and some Democrats have kept it off the legislative agenda ever since. Although some NRA leaders have sometimes said they wouldn’t any longer oppose an assault weapons ban, these statements are likely merely for public consumption. We know who killed the ban in 2004. The question is what the lobbyists say privately when they meet with Congressmen to bribe or threaten them.
What is worse, having these powerful weapons freely available is an excuse to further militarize local law enforcement and to “up” “security” in public spaces. Tolerating criminal weaponry means we have to get rid of the Bill of Rights. You can’t have freedom of assembly if the assembly has assault weapons. Police have to be as well or better armed than the gun nuts. And so peaceful protesters get attacked by police in assault gear, as though they were Marines landing in Tripoli.
Look, folks, with Citizens United and other rulings of the Supreme Court, it is clear that the United States has formally become a plutocracy, and with the failure of all campaign finance reform laws, we are stuck with our so-called representatives actually being paid agents for a handful of big corporations.
Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and perhaps as many as 300,000 gun-related assaults in the U.S. Firearm violence costs our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns.
So why do we always act so surprised? Violence is our alter ego, wired into our Stone Age brains, so intrinsic its toxic eruptions no longer shock, except momentarily when we hear of a mass shooting like this latest in Colorado. But this, too, will pass as the nation of the short attention span quickly finds the next thing to divert us from the hard realities of America in 2012.
We are fooling ourselves. Fooling ourselves that the law could allow even an inflamed lunatic to easily acquire murderous weapons and not expect murderous consequences. Fooling ourselves that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a “well-regulated militia” be construed as a God-given right to purchase and own just about any weapon of destruction you like, a license for murder and mayhem. A great fraud has entered our history.