The sanctity of the Second Amendment: ROFL

Dear America

I have tried to be polite on this issue, although I admit in a couple of recent posts I was starting to lose it. But given that today’s shooting in San Bernardino is the 352nd gun massacre in the US this year (  it’s clear even the faintest hint of subtlety is too much in the face of your blind belief that America Knows Best, so let me give it to you straight.

When the rest of the world is not plain gobsmacked by your outrageous and unforgiveable stupidity in allowing the slaughter of innocents, we are laughing at you. Yes America, you are a global joke.

A sick joke, certainly. But when we see you up there telling us what’s wrong with world while your own citizens run amok, how can we take you seriously? Why should we take you seriously? You can’t keep your own country safe from its own citizens. Who are you to make judgements about the rest of us? We watch you, and we laugh at your effrontery.

I feel sure gun lovers would like to shoot me for saying ‘allowing’ the shooting of innocents, but what else can I call it? The ‘guns don’t kill’ argument is one of the most spurious pieces of justification floating around – and there are many. Yes, a gun on a shelf is inert – but what la-la land do you live in? Do guns in America exist in a vacuum? Clearly not, and whether you like it or not, you cannot go on pretending they do. It is time – way beyond time – to deal with what IS, rather than trotting out a piece of philosophical double-talk that has no bearing on the entirely demonstrable fact that human behaviour is irrational, unpredictable and bears no relation to Disneyland. And the equally demonstrable fact that unrestricted gun ownership does not stop mass shootings.

I should also point out that however much you pray for the victims and their families and nod your heads in sage sorrow over the aberrations of the mentally ill, the rest of the world is shaking its head at your hypocrisy. If you were truly sorry, you would move heaven and earth to make sure that the mentally ill – children – the momentarily enraged – can’t easily get their hands on a lethal weapon to act out their fantasies.

As for the ‘protection’ issue – can you not get it through your heads that if nobody carried a gun, you wouldn’t need guns to protect yourselves against people with guns? I suppose, to give you your due, this is fairly unimaginable in a country where you can buy a gun like a pound of butter, but that alone is enough to give the rest of the world the horrors. It is sick, America. Sick. Certainly organised crime would still manage to arm itself, but since when is organised crime interested in breaking into your house (where, I should point out, responsible gun owners keep their weapons beyond reach in a locked box), shooting up movie theatres and malls or spraying bullets around schools?

And believe me, the rest of world is not fooled. This isn’t about constitutional rights. It’s about the power and money tied up in gun manufacture and sales, and the macho thrill apparently inherent in gun ownership. ‘Don’t take our guns’, you say, like children clutching their favourite toys to their bosoms. Which would be pathetic if the consequences weren’t so deadly. 6,717 Americans died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So far this year alone, more than 12,000 Americans have died in America as a result of gun violence.

During an interview on ABCTV (Australia) in 2013, Larry Pratt, then President of the Gun Owners of America, was unimpressed by the absence of Australian mass shootings since the introduction of new gun laws in 1996. We’re not interested in being like Australia, he said. We’re Americans.

Well good for you. Being American in this context isn’t something I’d be boasting about.


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24 Responses to The sanctity of the Second Amendment: ROFL

  1. I completely agree, though actually at least around here, it’s not all that easy to buy a gun. It depends on where you live. Laws vary widely from state to state.

    • I’ve just been reading the Washington Post on the subject. The northeast is the least violent area of America, although this is apparently due to the demographic as well as the restrictions on ownership. But only 47% of Americans are in favour of tighter gun control, according to Gallup. That’s what I really don’t understand.

  2. In fact, people with guns kill people. Guns do make it easier but on their own they’re not much likely to happen. There’s something wrong with us. I suspect it’s a revolution getting underway and it’s being led, pushed, whatever by the radical right. We cannot keep going on “business as usual” and the second amendment envisions a “well regulated militia” not this mayhem. I was going to emigrate to ‘stralia, but you need a lot of money to do that. 😦

    • Is it a revolution or an implosion, driven by the radical right’s utter determination to protect its wealth and power against all comers at whatever cost? Do they even recognise the cost, which is after all paid by the ‘little people’ who I suspect are not quite human? (Our previous PM had the same blind spot.)
      ‘Straya has its (glaring) shortcomings, but it’s a pretty good place to live. I’m sorry you didn’t get here. 😦

      • I’m sorry, too. Now I’m trying to write myself to Switzerland. Meanwhile I’m living in a remote little town where most people still think “Conservative” means individual rights and “Liberal” means the loss of them. Of course, that’s wrong, too, but it’s an illusion I can live with. Everyone here has guns and when I walk the dogs I hear shotguns. Then I see Labrador retrievers dash across the ponds for ducks or geese. Hunting season will soon be over. At least here people’s lives are not run by lies and illusions. They are run by weather and seasons and crops and animals and the votes of the people down here don’t count for much. The radical right — I personally believe they are all owned by a sinister international organization. The fact that we seem to have twenty? people competing to be the Republican candidate says something — among the things it says is “For the love of god, get rid of that Black guy and DON’T let a woman win!” I don’t like the woman who’s running (I think she just wants to win; I don’t think she has what it takes to lead) but … a lot of times I’m glad I’m 64 (nearly) and can’t live another lifetime to see our education system bottom out completely. It’s nothing but a propaganda machine. I hate it more than I can begin to express.

      • A lot of Americans seem to hate Obama but (again from the outside) he seemed like a guy with the right instincts who was thoroughly stymied by the radical right faction in Congress. Whether they’re owned by an international organisation – I’d say there were enough home grown ones in the US to make that unnecessary. It’s all about money, and that’s where the wealth is. Our own representative of the species was ousted by a coup from within his own party, who realised the public hated him with a passion. We don’t like elitism!
        Our education system is still fairly reasonable I think, but there are increasing numbers of things worldwide that make me glad I’m 72 and won’t live to see civilisation disintegrate completely.

  3. lifelessons says:

    Just crazy-making. But the majority keep agreeing with this craziness!

  4. there’s not much likely to happen…sigh.

    • Or is it the modern equivalent of the fall of the Greek and Roman Empires? The frightening thing about that is that the fall of America would wipe out the world financially.

      • I think there is a counter-revolution going on, too. Never before has a candidate done what Bernie Sanders is doing. He has no big money behind him. He is truly a grass-roots candidate and he is neck and neck with Hilary. If he can mobilize the young as Obama did, well? That will be a revolution. It’s going to be a scary year with lots of bullshit.

  5. momshieb says:

    Thank you for this post! As an American, I am so incredibly happy to have someone from “outside” help me to point out the insanity that is going on here! Thank you.

    • I’m glad you think it’s OK. I hesitated to post it for obvious reasons. But I’ve come to believe that vast numbers of Americans just don’t realise that what they are living with and accepting as a sad but inescapable part of the human condition is really a human atrocity. At least to the rest of the world. It’s frightening what you can come to accept as ‘normal’. From where I sit, gun ownership is not freedom, it’s licence. .

      • Beth says:

        A large number of people SEE it, but there is such vicious opposition when anyone mentions gun regulation that people feel silenced. I’ve written to elected officials before only to then see pictures on their websites of them surrounded by guns. They know who they need to appease to get votes. It’s as if ANY gun regulation = a direct threat to remove all guns from everybody and leave them naked and defenseless and quivering in their shoes – which, of course, is idiotic. There is no regulation at all in this state and schools (including elementary and middle schools) aren’t open on the first day of hunting season here, so enculturation starts young. Anyone at all can buy any number of assault weapons and ammunition without alerting anyone. There is a place that a phone call is made to at the time of purchase, but the information on it is so limited as to be useless.

  6. Some years ago, John Oliver made all their arguments look ridiculous (you can find his three part series on YouTube) but the Americans still seem to have this inability to acknowledge that countries with tight gun controls have fewer gun deaths.

  7. Beth says:

    Since the writers of the amendments were fully aware that times would change and expected that in response the laws and amendments would need revision, the whole second amendment argument is a ridiculous reason not to take responsible measures to reduce this problem. We are insane, Helen. There is an amazing inability to see how we got to this point and it seems that it will take the whole country falling apart before we actually do the things that need to be done to correct ourselves.

    • It’s particularly ridiculous when you think that the NRA only became political and started concentrating on ‘the rights of the individual’ in the 1980s, and reinterpreted the second amendment accordingly, in a move that was so cynically about money it beggars description.
      If only, just for a week, people could see how immoral and unbalanced it looks to the rest of the world… Can’t see it happening, though, particularly when, for example,the NRA lies in its teeth about how Australians feel about our gun laws. We DON’T feel our freedom has been compromised. On the contrary, we have the freedom to live without fear of mass shootings, for which we are incredibly grateful.

  8. gpicone says:

    You are so right! Hubris always gets us in the end.

  9. Guns are big business in America, which is why individuals in the revolving door of American Government run companies like Halliburton that make blood money whenever war is declared. This is why Bush enacted the Patriot Act, Marshall Law and the joke of Homeland Security. This is why we sell weapons to Syria. This is why the sheep Obama hasn’t done a goddam thing but talk. A majority of Americans want better gun control, just as a majority of Americans never wanted to start a war.The government of America is serving the needs of a select few and NOT the American people. The American people, their land, their health care, their wages, and their education all got swept under the rug long ago.

  10. The NRA seems to have a stranglehold that defies all attempts to break it. And actually, according to the Gallup Poll, only 47% of Americans want tighter gun control. I guess the other 53% like their guns too much, for whatever reason. Or have been conned into believing NRA propaganda.
    Do you think Obama is really a sheep on this one? I think he’s done what he could, Any changes he proposed were blocked by Congress.

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