Liars, Gun Control and Money in a Culture of Violence (1), by Jason Martin
Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s overboard and self-assured
Oh, no, I know a dirty word
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Kurt Cobain (2)
Gun control is a hot topic right now. As usual, COINTELPRO is in full force trying to control and define the debate within the narrowest possible field, limiting the questions people ask and presenting loud and obnoxious pundits who are supposed to represent “the people.” We doubt the people are this mentally backwards.
Gun and weapon control has a long and illustrious(3) history. It has never led to any tangible results. Murders are just as prevalent, if not more, than at any other time in history (rates of murder and violence tend to rise and fall throughout history(4)). If history is taken as a lesson, reliance on gun control in the forms of registration of ownership and limiting of the types of arms and ammunitions, has caused more deaths than it has ever prevented.
People are focused on the now. The collective memory of a civilization is very short. I have heard the number 3 years suggested as the average duration of recall for the ordinary person; sometimes it is more, sometimes less. I really don’t know. I only know that it is shorter than it should be.
Each successive generation appears to feel as if they have moved beyond the influence of the problems of their forebears in a poorly defined and mentally retarded concept called ‘progress’(5). There is no such thing as progress. Man is a bit like a hamster in a cage; eventually he always comes full circle.(6) No matter how hard he runs, he’s never going to get anywhere until he learns to step off the damned wheel.
It’s the same dance, just a different tune.
The problems of gun control are best understood if we break down the topic into its main lines of force(7). First we will need to talk about the ‘now’, that is the context of the current discussion. Next we will need to talk about the ‘past’, what has been tried before, finally we will need to talk about the ‘then’, what we can reasonably assume will be the eventual outcome.
The Culture of Violence
Civilizations can be generalized and described by their fixations, what is most prominently displayed, usually in their art and laws. We can say that a certain civilization was a culture of luxury, or epicureanism, greed, or in our present case, one of violence.
Violence is prominently displayed and glorified in most modern works of art. The media of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries consist mainly of film and song, as well as interactive video (games), all of which are portraying or glorifying violence.
Previous civilizations used statues, frescos, vases, whatever was available. Some used literature and so on. The majority of western society’s creative output is in the format of audio and video. The fact that statues, paintings, architecture, books and the like are still present and produced is irrelevant to the discussion; there will always be a niche for such things, but I will be showing samples even from those media which support the main point(8).
The general idea being that because of the prevalence of violence, we tacitly accept it as a natural product of civilization, or a necessary product when it is in fact nothing of the kind. All negative emotions and activities are the direct result of improper and unhealthy social conditions within a society.
Violence in Song & Music
Slut, you think I won’t choke no whore
til the vocal cords don’t work in her throat no more
Texas Chainsaw, left his brains all danglin’ from his neck,
while his head barely hangs on
Blood, guts, guns, cuts Knives, lives, wives, nuns, sluts
‘Kill You’ – Eminem
Most of these lyrics don’t require much explanation, but perhaps I should give you a bit of background on some of their authors. From Wikipedia:
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17,1972), better known by his stage name Eminem (stylized as EMINƎM) and by his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor. … Eminem is one of the best-selling artists in the world and is the best selling artist of the 2000s. He has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone magazine which ranked him 82nd on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The same magazine declared him The King of Hip Hop. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has achieved ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200. He has sold more than 42 million tracks and 49.1 million albums in the United States, and 100 million albums worldwide. […]
His father abandoned the family when he was 18 months old, and he was raised solely by his mother. By the age of 12, Mathers and his mother had moved between various cities and towns in Missouri …
As a child, Mathers developed an interest in storytelling and aspired to become a comic book artist before discovering hip hop. […]
In 1991, Mathers was devastated by the suicide of his uncle. He has a tattoo reading ‘Ronnie R.I.P.’ on his upper left arm. Ronnie was mentioned in the songs ‘Stan’, ‘Cleanin’ Out My Closet,’ and ‘My Dad’s Gone Crazy’.(9,10)
Marshall Mathers is the single greatest rapper of all time.(11) That he chooses to express his talent with such horrible content is regrettable. It would be like Leonardo Da Vinci painting beautifully colored rape scenes. The above quote, from Wikipedia, has some highlights within it, especially about his childhood. I don’t intend to follow the common and intellectually puerile line that people who do bad things ONLY do it because of their childhood, but to point out that people who suffer can often become angry. This is an obvious statement, but one that tends to be forgotten or glossed over in discussions about violence in our culture. It becomes an excuse, even though in some cases, it is only a reason. There is a difference. The content of his songs is part of a movement best summed up as ‘shock rock’ which is akin to ‘shock comedy’, which intentionally exaggerates violent and sexual situations for greater impact(12).
Before you are under the mistaken impression that violence in music is exclusive to modern rappers, let’s take a look at Alice Cooper:
I like to run my body on heavy heavy fuel
I can punch through a wall I can kick like a mule
I got a pocketful of bullets and a blueprint of the school
I’m the devil’s little soldier I’m the devil’s little tool
‘Wicked Young Man’ – Alice Cooper
I am not saying that music simply creates or perpetuates violence; it also reports it, displays it, critiques it. In the above quoted lyric there is one line in the entire song which may indicate that the lyrics were meant as a criticism of the person being described.
I am a vicious young man, oh I am a wicked young man
It’s not the games that I play, the movies I see, the music I dig
I’m just a wicked young man
Without that emphasized line, the song would be much worse.
Play another role
Try and lose control
And stain your soul to red from white
In my mind, oh, a million voices tell me no
It’s prime crime time and I gotta let it go
I’m dangerous like a broken glass
I’m a flesh fanatic psychopath
I can cause you pain and make it last
‘Dangerous Tonight’ – Alice Cooper
‘Dangerous Tonight’, also by Cooper, is a bit less defensible as a commentary on dangerous people. Still one could argue that most of Alice Cooper’s body of work has a bit of a tongue-in-cheek quality to it. I am not saying there is anything intrinsically wrong with a violent lyric, only that it is indicative of a culture of violence. In this part we are going through a quick tour of modern music simply to prove a point. I am not whitewashing or glossing over any details. Many people who tackle the topic are so priggish they just can’t bring themselves to show their readers the full ‘terror of the situation’ and how bad things really are.
I got blood on my hands and there’s no remorse
I got blood on my dick because I fu$ked a corpse
I’m a nasty nigga when you pass me nigga look me in my eyes
Tell me to my fu$kin face that you ready to die
You’ll be a dead mutha fu$ka red mutha fu$ka
Who shot you oh, nigga like you don’t know
Stickin you for your dough while I’m fu$kin your broke ho
You don’t get the picture niggas can’t touch me
because I don’t give a fu$k G I’ll get you touched B
I got choice ripple, my slug’ll take apart a door
there’s enough crazy niggas behind me to start a war
Now I might have to get you kid and split your wig with a machete
I bring beef to niggas and string them up like spaghetti
You ain’t ready, nor can you stand how I’m bringin it
I’m givin it is how I’m livin it so I’m swingin it
Red dot on your head because you’s in mid-range
Red dot on your chest opens up your rib cage
But now I’m on some shit like.. Yo.. smoke this nigga
I’m bout to find out how much guts you got before I spill em
Somebody come and get this mutha fu$ka before I kill em
How far you gonna get wit your dome split fool
Or catch your man strippin because he think his shape cool
But it ain’t so I paint the walls with his blood
Another dick in the mud
‘Bring your whole crew’ – DMX
Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage names DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album …And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single ‘Party Up (Up in Here)’. He has acted in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, DMX published a book of his memoirs entitled E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX. DMX released a mixtape ‘The Weigh In’ as a prelude/promotion towards his album Undisputed (2012). DMX has sold over 30 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling hip-hop artists of all time.(13)
DMX, and much of hip hop music features archetypal scenes of violence. In the above quoted lyric, we see the line “stickin’ you for your dough while I’m fu$kin’ your broke ho“, which is a common theme with variations in media portrayals of violence, but is predominant in rap music, that is, the image of the violent man who, by breaking into a house, kills the husband and rapes the wife, or kills an enemy and rapes his wife, or is going to kill his enemy after some sexual act with the wife, either a) forced on her, or b) because she is ‘a ho’. In this sense ‘ho’ is a form of ‘whore’ but is rarely used with the standard definition of a prostitute, and even then there are shades of implication about the type of prostitute in question(14).
There are many such archetypal situations in rap music, and while they could be a topic for psychological investigation in themselves, they are in no way an indictment of the music. What they do suggest, however, is that the images are coming from somewhere, and have become embedded in the minds of our civilization, or at least the current generation, or those who grew up listening to rap music and can understand the shades of meaning in what is being said.
While I don’t intend to spend much more time on the topic, I would like to briefly cover these archetypes.
- Sexual activity with the wife/girlfriend of a victim or enemy, usually in the form of infidelity/seduction or rape.
- Group murder of a victim or enemy. Usually involves torture, sarcasm and making them regret their mistake before they die. Usually completed with a shot to the head, or forcing them to swallow a pistol.
- Drive-by, in which an enemy or victim is caught off guard and summarily executed as the murderer ‘drives by’. Usually a casual killing for various small offences.
- The ‘Is that so … BLAM’ which usually takes the form of the victim acting tough, mouthing off, or insulting the murderer until he has had enough and says: ‘Is that so?’ and casually shoots the victim, in some cases stabs.
Yo, yo.. why you home alone, why she out with me?
Room 112, hotel balcony
How she say Jay you can call the house for me?
There’s no respect at all
She keep beggin’ me to hit it raw
So she can have my kids and say it was yours
How foul is she? And you wifed her
Shit, I put the rubber on tighter
She got you whipped, got your kids
Got your home, but that’s not your bitch
‘Is that yo bitch’ – Jay Z
In many cases, like the one above(15), and the one to follow, these archetypal situations are presented in the form of a) threats, or b) methods of insulting an enemy.
First off, fu$k your bitch
And the clique you claim
West side when we ride
Come equipped with game
You claim to be a player
But I fu$ked your wife
We bust on Bad Boys
niggas fu$ked for Life
‘Hit ‘Em Up’ – Tupac
Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide as of 2010, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Rolling Stone Magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time. The themes of most of Tupac’s songs are the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism, social problems, and conflicts with other rappers during the East Coast – West Coast hip hop rivalry. Shakur began his career as a roadie, backup dancer, and MC for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.
Both of his parents and several other of his family members were members of the Black Panther Party. Shakur was involved in an East Coast – West Coast rivalry after a major feud with East Coast rappers, producers and record-label staff members, most notably The Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy Records.
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the Southern Nevada University Medical Center, where he died six days later.
Shakur lived from an early age with people who were struggling and who were imprisoned. His godfather, Elmer ‘Geronimo’ Pratt, a high-ranking Black Panther, was convicted of murdering a school teacher during a 1968 robbery, although his sentence was later overturned. His stepfather, Mutulu, spent four years at large on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list beginning in 1982. Mutulu was wanted for having helped his sister Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard) to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey. She had been imprisoned for killing a state trooper in 1973. Mutulu was caught in 1986 and imprisoned for the robbery of a Brinks armored truck in which two police officers and a guard were killed.(16)
There are many interesting tidbits about Tupac, and in a way he is the iconic rapper. While Marshall Mathers could be likened to the Mozart of Rap, technically perfect, Tupac would have to be like the Beethoven of Rap(17).
How you figure you can fu$k with me?
Fully automatic type shit
No more pain
Coward ass niggas, cowards
Come put your mouth on this pistol nigga
Come put your mouth on the pistol, no more pain
Close your eyes nigga, do it
Die in the dark, no more pain
‘No More Pain’ – Tupac
The first reaction of a normal person is to recoil in horror at such vivid and violent imagery(18). They must be psychopaths, and evil! ‘Stamp them out!’ But I would suggest an alternative explanation. In looking at the lives and creative output of modern musicians and rappers, it’s not so easy to just dismiss them as mindless psychopathic criminals. Instead, why not ask: is there any kind of situation, any kind at all, when what is being described in such media would ever be considered an appropriate form of behavior?
Again, your first reaction would be ‘absolutely not!’ That is because your feeling in the now is not being informed by your memory of the past. I have heard of many situations that people have been put into which were so completely horrifying, that almost any form of revenge against their persecutors would at least be understandable. I refer to this as the Rorschach(19) Hypothesis.
In the movie Watchmen, the character Rorschach is tracking down a kidnapper. He enters the home and finds ripped clothing and some bones in the fire. He looks outside and sees dogs munching on something ominous. Apparently the kidnapper has killed the child, cut her up, and thrown some pieces to the dogs. At this point Rorschach loses it and hacks the man’s head open with a meat cleaver(20).
What about the stories of horrible atrocities committed in Germany against the Jews, Poles, French? What about Communist Russia? What kinds of situations have arisen in the past that were so inhumane that they would merit an equally inhumane response? How many Jewish victims of the Holocaust ever fantasized about forcing Hitler to his knees, and with glee in their hearts say to him, ‘Put your mouth on the pistol’?
If I were faced with Hitler right now, after reading some of the stories I have read as research for this article, I am definitely in touch with that emotion.
There is a general undercurrent of anger and hatred in our society and there is in fact an obvious reason. Because justice has never been done. We realize, after centuries and centuries of oppression, that we are fundamentally impotent. No matter how hard we try, we cannot shake the oppressive regimes, the genocidal leaders, the banal Eichmanns(21). They keep coming back, they keep torturing and murdering(22) us and they never meet an end commensurate with their crimes; at best they are simply shot, or hanged, or die in a prison. That is to say nothing of the frequent abuses that go on within families. This abuse, as we have seen repeatedly, is sometimes physical and/or sexual and/or emotional.
We see all around us that the executives who lay us off, or scam us out of our savings, live in comfort on their yachts; the leaders who torture us, or ‘extraordinarily render’ us into secret torture facilities, are never brought to justice. We live in a sick, oppressive society, where the best we can hope for is a patronizing pat on the head and a promise to do better, or an explanation of ‘sure, we’d like to send them to jail, but their company is so big, it would destabilize the economy’, so they can just get away with it.
Impotence leads to frustration and then anger, and anger is at the core of violence(23).
This is not accidental; it is intentional. Making people angry is part of the point. It creates a culture of violence which is then predictable. To control a society, you have to know what to expect from them. And the best way to do that is to specifically create situations that only a completely insane person would withstand without a violent and angry reaction. This is NOT some grand conspiracy; this is the typical modus operandi of psychopaths. They don’t get together and plan this stuff; it’s just their natural approach to life and others.
Bill Hicks, a famous stand-up comedian, summarized the strategy in a piece where he has Jack Palance(24) forcing a farmhand to “pick up the gun”. The farmhand doesn’t want to, claiming he knows Palance will “just shoot me”. When he does eventually pick up the gun, Palance shoots him, at which point Hicks, feigning self-righteousness, turns to the crowd and says: “You all saw him. He had a gun!”
While that piece by Hicks(25) was most likely a composite of several different movies and characters, it sums up perfectly how the psychopath thinks. He knows that if he out-and-out kills someone, there will be an outcry against him and it will become more difficult for him to get his kicks. He knows that all he has to do is push someone far enough and they will attack him, and he can, to quote a not-so-famous ghost, “self-defense them to death.”(26) Even wars are started this way; pressure and unfair sanctions are applied to a country that won’t submit, until they get stupid, take some hostages, and then the special forces are sent in to ‘self-defense them to death’.
It’s a universal strategy: back someone into a corner, throw them a gun(27), and wait till they get stupid and try to fight their way out, then kill them.
Violence in Film & Interactive Video
While ‘punishment’ themed films are well received (being one of the easiest kinds of films to produce), revenge themes are far more popular. We distinguish between revenge and punishment because revenge is one human punishing another for an action taken against him. In Law Abiding Citizen, the main character is seen to take revenge for the death of his wife and child. In Taken, a totally awesome Liam Neeson(30) takes revenge for the kidnap and attempted sale into sexual slavery of his teenage daughter. In V for Vendetta, the violence is revenge for personal and political wrongs. Mostly for personal vengeance, for a ‘vendetta’.
In the case of punishment films, people are usually killed because of insubstantial character flaws: too much sex, too much pride, and so on.
The third important type – and this is by no means a detailed treatment of genres – is the violent propaganda film, akin to ’60 minutes hate’, referring to the ‘two minutes hate’ broadcasts in George Orwell’s 1984. These usually involve terrorists, or insurgents of some description, malcontents and the like, being righteously slaughtered in the hundreds or thousands by a 1) special commando team, 2) retired paramilitary man, 3) semi-omnipotent superhero, 4) reformed criminal. There are more variations to be sure, but each one tends to be a minor deviation from the main idea of a supernaturally gifted avenger or group of avengers racking up a huge body count in the name of freedom and democracy.
The success of such movies may indicate that naive patriotism of the country is producing them, but I doubt this very much. What resonates so well with society is not the patriotic aspect, but the fantasy of omnipotent abilities to right wrongs(31), whatever those wrongs might be.
The movie Kill Bill is a perfect example of the revenge flick, and was intentionally made in that genre and attempted to push the boundaries of blood and gore in a movie not obviously in that category. The movie is based on a story called ‘The Bride’. A reformed criminal, who has left her former life as a top assassin, is getting married to some yokel dupe because she is pregnant with her former boss’s child. This is the point where we suspend our disbelief that a 120 lb blond could become the greatest professional killer in the world, and then have the scruples to quit for the greater good of her child. But I digress. In Kill Bill, the ‘heroine’s’ former boss, Bill, shoots her in the head just as we learn that the child is his. Instead of dying, she comes out of a coma 7 years later, baby-less(32), and so she starts her rampage of revenge where she shoots, stabs, and dismembers about 74 different people, most of them taking the form of ‘end bosses’ on the other side of hordes of minions and lackeys.
Straw Dogs is a 1970s movie featuring Dustin Hoffman, who moves to Britain to get away from American violence, but ends up in a battle with locals hired to do construction. Get Carter is another 1970s film, featuring Michael Caine, who plays Jack Carter, an amoral London gangster who returns to Newcastle to investigate and then avenge his brother’s murder at the hands of local mobsters.
One of the best examples of the revenge flick is Carrie. Carrie is a shy girl with few friends, who freaks out at her completely unexpected first period (menstruation, not class). Her classmates taunt her by throwing tampons and sanitary pads at her. Her gym teacher ends up having to explain menstruation to her because her mother never did. She is then escorted to the principal’s office where he continually refers to her as ‘Cassie’, demonstrating how overlooked she is by the bureaucratic authorities to whose whim she is enslaved and unable to do anything about.
Later, her mother Margaret, a mentally ill and fanatical Fundamentalist Christian locks Carrie in a closet, telling her that the “curse of blood” is punishment for sin.
After being mocked in class for her positive critique of a poem written by school hunk Tommy, who defends her, one of the girls, Sue, who feels guilty for taunting Carrie, convinces Tommy to ask her to the prom. Meanwhile Chris, the main antagonist of the story, convinces her boyfriend to kill a pig and collect the blood and set it up over the stage at prom. She rigs the election of Prom King and Queen so that Carrie and Tommy will win.
Eventually Chris’s plan succeeds, and Carrie is drenched in pig’s blood right at her ‘crowning achievement’. What they don’t realize is that Carrie has ‘supernatural’ powers, and when the shit hits the fan, no one makes it out alive. All the bad people are sufficiently killed in fairly satisfying ways, including the principal and the teacher, Mr. Fromm.
In Carrie we have a rather well thought out picture of the nature of the problem within society(33), and rightly so, as the movie was based on a Stephen King novel.
Carrie features the ‘oppressive tripod’ of 1) family members, who have themselves been driven mad by their own oppression, 2) the authority figures who are shown in two shades, a) the feckless and incompetent bureaucrat, and b) the sadistic teacher, and the oppression of peers, or the mob of uncaring people that surround and trap you and from who you ultimately cannot escape, who are themselves split into a) people who got carried away in the moment but aren’t intrinsically evil, and b) the sadistic minority pulling the strings in a situation and instigating the oppression and torture of other members for spite and entertainment.
Video games follow the same essential templates as modern violent movies, from ‘Assassin’s Creed III’(34), to ‘Splinter Cell’ and even ‘Grand Theft Auto’(35). With special mention going to ‘Modern Warfare’ and the like, which place people in the roles of paramilitary officers.
You’ll notice this part of the article is a bit skimpy, because unless you’ve been living under a rock, I should be preaching to the choir at this point. The only thing that I would like to draw your attention to is not so much that there is violence in movies, but that despite what many people say about violence, it is rarely ever mindless or irrelevant: it is a highly relevant symptom of a deeper issue.
The next issue is the importance of understanding the quality of the violence. When you go to the doctor and say ‘I feel pain’, he is going to ask you for details, type, quality, location and so on and so forth. I don’t think people even realize what they are saying when they say ‘There’s too much violence in movies’. Those types of people never actually watch the movies(36).
A low level of violence is suspicious, like a slightly elevated temperature. An irrational level of violence, out of proportion to anything that could be expected, is a bit like a rampant infection and a raging fever: something bad is happening inside the body and you need to figure out what it is, fast.
Our past is a holocaust
As with Saint Dominic, Arnaud’s reaction was to arrange death and destruction of those responsible for his humiliation. The murder of one of his monks, Pierre de Castelnau, from the Abbey of Fontfroide, provided a pretext, and soon the crime was pinned on Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, although there was no evidence against him, and no trial was ever held, despite Raymond’s request for one. Pope Innocent III, after meeting with Arnaud, started preaching a formal Crusade against the people of the Languedoc, and also issued secret orders to his notary Milo to the effect that Raymond should be destroyed whatever he did.
If you look back into history, all the way back to Rome, or even further, you will see war, after war, after war(38). You will also see a consistent series of directed slaughters of populations. We all know the big ones, like the Cathars, the Armenians, the American Indians (North and South America), Africans, Poles, Jews, Cambodians and on and on. A paranoid person would think that someone is trying to kill us. I happen to be just such a paranoid person.
The goal of good people is to create a society and government of peace and goodness so we can get along with the business of living. There are lots of fun things to be doing, and we’d like to get to that, if only we could free ourselves from the constant battle to maintain our freedom. The average person is so busy fighting against being taken advantage of at work, in the stores, on the streets, in the courts, and in the voting booth, that they have time for little else.
Did you ever stop to wonder what the goals of evil psychopathic people are? Their goals are actually very similar to our goals, except they come from a bizarro universe where down is up and left is right. They want to create a system of government that establishes their right to rule over everyone in perpetuity. The average evil-doer is so busy trying to take advantage of people in the workplace, in the stores, on the streets, in the courts, and in the voting booth, that they also have time for little else.
The problem for evil people is that good people have this nasty habit of not being happy while being oppressed and exploited. Where the two diverge, and why evil may eventually triumph over good is in this: Good people want to do more things than evil people. Good people want to enjoy life, and take their enjoyment from creative endeavors, like art and science. Evil people want to oppress good people. That is what they work day and night towards. All forms of enjoyment for evil people center around the exploitation of good people as a form of entertainment or slave labor. You’re either a gladiator in the ring, a whore on the bed, or a servant in the kitchen. Good people want to do things, and evil people want things done for them. Good people are too busy. They are fighting a battle on multiple fronts, and are stretched too thin.
“Item, because it is daily seen what disorders do grow and are likely to increase in the realm by the increase of numbers of persons taking upon them to teach the multitude of the common people to play at all kind of weapons, and for that purpose set up schools, called schools of fence, in places inconvenient, tending to the great disorder of such people as properly ought to apply their labors and handiworks: therefore her majesty ordereth and commandeth that no teacher of fence shall keep any school or common place of resort in any place of the realm but within the liberties of some of the cities of the realm; where also they shall be obedient to such orders as the governors of the cities shall appoint to them for the better keeping of the peace, and for prohibition of resort of such people to the same schools as are not meet for that purpose, upon pain to be punished by the said governors according to their discretions.”
Wow. If that doesn’t prove my point, nothing does. “[T]ending to the great disorder of such people as properly ought to apply their labors and handiworks.” Or to put it another way: “Get back in the fields and plow!” I would point out that the prevention of training in weaponry is not outright banned(40) in the above text. The law is a zoning law; it’s not an out and out ban on combat training or weapons possession, but a restriction on where and when such a school can exist! They always come at this stuff sideways; it’s the psychopathic way of doing things.
The next bit from the same document is just as disturbing:
“Item, her majesty also ordereth and commandeth that no person shall wear any sword, rapier, or suchlike weapon that shall pass the length of one yard and half-a-quarter of the blade at the uttermost, nor any dagger above the length of 12 inches in blade at the most, nor any buckler with any point or pike above two inches in length. And if any cutler or other artifices shall sell, make, or keep in his house any sword, rapier, dagger, buckler, or suchlike contrary thereunto, the same to be imprisoned and to make fine at the Queen’s majesty’s pleasure, and the weapon to be forfeited; and if any such person shall offend a second time, then the same to be vanished from the place and town of his dwelling.”
These laws were not about firearms, but about swords, daggers, and bucklers (a kind of hand shield, a bit like brass knuckles, but covering the hand and part of the wrist). Notice also the familiar rhetoric: “… because it is daily seen what disorders do grow and are likely to increase in the realm”(41).
This kind of legislation has filtered down into the present day. For instance, you cannot own a switchblade in most western countries, or if you can own it, you cannot carry it, regardless of length. As a general rule you cannot own any knife with a concealed blade that has a function to automatically deploy. However, you can walk into any grocery store and buy a meat cleaver, or a butcher’s knife. Limb-cutting saws are little more than short flip-out swords with nasty teeth. The spirit of these laws is about banning the access to certain types of weapons. In the old days, you weren’t allowed to have longer swords, or bigger shields with bigger spikes, than those possessed by the military and guards. You could have weapons; you just couldn’t have equivalent weapons, making them essentially useless for resisting tyranny(42), which is after all the point of the laws.
Well, since this is about gun control, let’s skip forward to the American Revolution and Blackstone.
“The English Bill of Rights 1689 emerged from a tempestuous period in English politics during which two issues were major sources of conflict: the authority of the King to govern without the consent of Parliament and the role of Catholics in a country that was becoming ever more Protestant. Ultimately, the Catholic James II was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution, and his successors, the Protestants William III and Mary II, accepted the conditions that were codified in the Bill. One of the issues the Bill resolved was the authority of the King to disarm its subjects, after James II had attempted to disarm many Protestants, and had argued with Parliament over his desire to maintain a standing (or permanent) army”.
American law has always been, and certainly was at the time of the American Revolution, influenced by the laws of England.
“Whereas the late King James the Second by the Assistance of diverse evill Councellors Judges and Ministers [read psychopathic elite] imployed by him did endeavour to subvert and extirpate theProtestant Religion and the Lawes and Liberties of this Kingdome(list of grievances including) … by causing severall good Subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when Papists were both Armed and Imployed contrary to Law,… That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law…”
Later, in about 1765, William Blackstone wrote his Commentaries on the Laws of England which describes the right to be in possession of arms as a natural right, i.e., a basic human right to defense.
“The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c.2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”
Of course, an astute reader will see how the above paragraph is ultimately useless. When you say 1) allowed by law, and 2) under due restrictions, and then follow that with 3) when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient, you find yourself in a Catch 22. Because of the laws, you cannot possess weapons “suitable to their condition and degree”, because the society and laws are already insufficient. Or are made insufficient elsewhere, as noted by George Tucker(43) on his Commentaries on Blackstone’s Commentaries:
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Amendments to C. U. S. Art. 4, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government” and ,whoever examines the forest, and game laws in the British code, will readily perceive that the right of keeping arms is effectually taken away from the people of England.” Blackstone himself also commented on English game laws, Vol. II, p. 412, that the prevention of popular insurrections and resistance to government by disarming the bulk of the people, is a reason oftener meant than avowed by the makers of the forest and game laws.”
I would naturally add to that, laws restricting the size, type, and quality of weapons of any genre under the guise of the protection of the population(44).
The definition of insanity, or so I have heard, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome each time(45). Weapon laws do not a) prevent crime or b) prevent criminals from acquiring weapons. They are in effect useless for the stated purposes. All-out bans have never succeeded; tightly controlled legislation has never succeeded. If you ban guns, people use knives; ban knives, they’ll use hatchets. As it turns out, murderers will use anything in a pinch to achieve their aims, and they don’t tend to obey the laws, register their weapons, or any of that nonsense. The only people who actually do that stuff are the already law-abiding citizens who have no murderous intent, in general.
From what we have already seen, weapons control legislation is old, probably even older than the Tudor example cited. I didn’t dig very deep for more information because this was supposed to be a 1-2,000-word article on the broad strokes of the situation, but as you can see, it has progressed far beyond that and we really haven’t even gotten to the meat of the matter.
That is always the danger when you write about a complex topic, so I hope my readers will forgive me for not including all the details and all the facts from every corner of the world. These are just my opinions based on my personal life experiences, experiences and observations that I have made and tried to explain in as reasonable a way as I can find. In the end, the universe lives beyond logic, and at least one step beyond reason; that is why we have so much trouble figuring it out.
William Rawle, a Pennsylvania attorney and later District Attorney appointed by George Washington after the American Revolution, condemned England in part by describing their codes for the protection of game as “arbitrary”. He said that although they “boast so much about their freedom”, they give those freedoms only to Protestants. They ensure their right to bear arms, but that this “right” in practice is only reserved for a select few, an elite class of armed people who serve the government’s agenda. He said:
“No clause could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”
Flagitious means criminal, in case you were wondering, because I had to look it up as well. Here Rawle describes the attempt in any way to disarm, or I would argue, effectively disarm their population as criminal; it’s “flagitious”. He states that it can only be made under some general pretense(46). That pretense, such as school or public shootings, or a rise in crime, cannot actually justify the abridgment of the right, though it is still used to do so, because as we have already established, laws cannot prevent crime, and criminals do not obey laws restricting arms. This is proved because a) it is obvious, and b) we can investigate a newspaper in any country and find a host of reports on crimes that weren’t prevented by the laws against them. That you cannot restrict all the arms, or even most of them, and if you were to do so, in similar fashion to the restriction of alcohol during the Prohibition Era, all manner of home-made firearms would begin to be produced (actually, under the current legal restrictions, this is already the case) thus making the law again irrelevant until after the fact(47), in which case the person is dead and we are right back where we started.
But this is exactly what we are seeing: what these men were writing about. Game and hunting codes and regulations that effectively negate the 2nd amendment, effectively remove the ability to keep and bear arms of “suitable condition and degree”. They effectively nullify any practical use of the right, at which point, you might as well not have it at all.
The 2nd amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” as ratified by Thomas Jefferson (there are two types of Americans; those who love Thomas Jefferson because of his writings, and those who love him because he was the greatest president ever). It doesn’t say the right to keep and bear hunting rifles, or any such thing. It says “arms”, plain and simple. Additional restrictions make the amendment useless by ensuring that no person can “keep and bear” arms of any grade equal to or superior to the highly advanced and high-powered weaponry used by the traditional arms of government: the police, the intelligence agencies, and the army.
Now there have been many arguments about the wording and the use of the word militia, which amounts to so much hair-splitting and semantics it will drive you mad. I’ll leave that off as I feel it has been satisfactorily debated and shown both by reason and Supreme Court decisions to apply to all citizens equally. But it is fundamentally obvious that the 2nd amendment was added for two purposes, neither of which has to do with hunting or personal self-defense. The first reason for an armed population was to discourage invasion and raids, and the second was to discourage government tyranny.
There is an interesting side note here that I should mention. William Rawle, appointed by Washington as the District Attorney, was the prosecutor in the post American Revolution Whiskey Rebellion, or ‘Whiskey Insurrection’. The story runs a little like this: The Whiskey Rebellion was a tax protest in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers, who were American Revolution veterans, began using their surplus grain and corn in the form of self-produced whiskey as currency for barter. So Congress imposed a whiskey tax. Wow, this was such a good idea; they had just fought a revolutionary war over a tea tax, and the government that they replaced those bastards with just went ahead and instituted a whiskey tax. You can’t make this stuff up.
Naturally the farmers had no intention of paying any such tax, and violently opposed any official attempting to collect said excise. Eventually a U.S. Marshal was sent to serve writs on those who had not paid the imposition. More than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of General John Neville, the tax inspector, which caused Washington to respond by raising 13,000 troops and marching them to Pennsylvania to suppress the insurrection. Luckily there was no actual fighting, as the men went home, and in the end only 20 were arrested and prosecuted by Rawle, most of whom were acquitted or pardoned.
The most interesting thing is that right after the end of the American Revolution, the so-called elites of that movement had already begun to suppress public unrest by force and enforce taxation that was frankly unfair under the circumstances. This is the exact reason why there was a 2nd amendment to begin with(48), and exactly why the United States government has spent so much time and effort to wheedle it into irrelevancy.
As an interesting aside, the tax was next to impossible to collect and was later repealed under my personal favorite president, Thomas Jefferson.
Unfortunately, I’ll need to make one more digression to talk about Thomas Jefferson and the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by the 5th United States Congress in 1798. At that time, Jefferson and James Madison, as a response to the ASA, created what is called the ‘Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions’, also known as the ‘Principles of 98’. Now, the ASA comprised 4 laws: 1) it extended the required residency time before being considered a citizen from 5 to 14 years, 2) it authorized the president to detain, imprison and deport any person he deemed a “danger” to the United States, 3) allowed the government to detain and imprison any citizen of a foreign nation we were at war with, and 4) restricted speech criticizing the government (The Sedition Act). The text of which is here summarized and abbreviated:
That if any person shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty; and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advises or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years.
Whatever happened to the 1st Amendment? Again, I couldn’t in my wildest dreams make this stuff up. These guys were shameless.
You will also notice how consistent this Act is with such modern legislation as The Patriot Act. Same dance, different tune. Same people doing the same things since the beginning, and even further back, in England, in Rome, in Greece, in Babylonia. Same dance, different tune(49).
The ‘Principles of 98’ refer to the American political position that individual states could judge the constitutionality of central government laws and decrees, and could refuse to enforce laws deemed unconstitutional. … The term derives from the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions written in 1798 by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. This vocal segment of the ‘Founding Fathers’ believed that if the central government was the exclusive judge of its limitations under the Constitution, then it would eventually overcome those limits and become more and more powerful and authoritarian. They argued that formal limiting devices such as elections and separation of power would not suffice if the government could judge its own case regarding constitutionality. As Jefferson wrote: “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” [Wikipedia]
Of course, by this time it had already become apparent that the government instituted after the American Revolution was dangerously leaning towards becoming “as venal and oppressive” as the English Crown that they had all fought so hard to get away from(50).
It’s truly sad that the road that was followed culminated in the Civil War, though it isn’t directly relevant enough to the discussion here presented to merit more in-depth investigation. In a sense, the Civil War, for whatever reason, though it was hardly about slavery, was the first real application of the 2nd amendment, and it was an utter failure.
At the end of the Civil War, James Garfield said that Jefferson’s Principles “contained the germ of nullification and secession, and we are today reaping the fruits.” Even though previously, Abolitionists had wanted to use those same principles to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In the end, it’s the person applying the laws that matters most, and not really the law or the principles involved. A psychopath can take even the most benign legislation and use it to oppress his political opponents.
But let’s get back to the topic at hand.
In order to understand the 2nd amendment properly, you have to understand republicanism, as opposed to the modern day Republican Party. Republicanism is, at its heart, a value system stressing liberty and natural rights; that is, rights belonging to all people by virtue of being a part of the human race. These rights are referred to as inalienable, or human rights. Republicanism is about civic duty, about the works that must be done to see that a civilization thrives; it also strongly rejects corruption in any form.
Republicanism is not truly democracy, because it asserts that there are some rights that cannot be voted away, and warns against the “tyranny of the majority” or ochlocracy, which is Greek for ‘mob rule’. It recognizes that rights are easier kept than recovered, and that the majority can be cowed with fear and give up rights to charismatic and corrupt leaders, which only leads to disaster (essentially what we are seeing today). These were ideals greatly influenced by Alexis de Tocqueville, who warned that “modern democracy may be adept at inventing new forms of tyranny, because radical equality could lead to the materialism of an expanding bourgeoisie and to the selfishness of individualism. In such conditions we lose interest in the future of our descendents … and meekly allow ourselves to be led in ignorance by a despotic force all the more powerful because it does not resemble one.”
These writers in the 1700s and 1800s were writing about the possibility, or inevitability, of what is actually happening today in the United States. Republicanism was, in essence, a movement with the intent to prevent such occurrences by locking in essential freedoms into the Bill of Rights, thus establishing inviolable rights. Unfortunately, they failed to see the amount of progress that would take place in modern warfare technologies, which essentially makes the 2nd amendment impracticable because it is in no way reasonable for every citizen to own a tank, predator drone, F16 and a couple of cruise missiles.
Of republicanism, J.G.A. Pocock writes that its “values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded in property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia); established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion); and the promotion of a monied interest …”
Herein lies the key to the idea within the 2nd amendment. It was intended to be a contrary method to the maintenance of standing armies, and the oppressive nature of such institutions. This harkens back to what de Tocqueville said about “a despotic force all the more powerful because it does not resemble one.” Because we don’t realize that the clever trick pulled in the 20th century was to split the concept of a standing army into 3 main components. A paramilitary police, or within the United States, several paramilitary police branches armed with advanced weaponry, tanks, crowd control devices, and special training, all under the direct control of the government, as opposed to traditional police or a constabulary which is a purely local institution. The second arm is that of intelligence agencies, which are both paramilitary and clandestine in nature. The creation of a new consolidated and centralized police intelligence bureau called, insultingly, the ‘Department of Homeland Security’ is an exemplar. Finally, there is the traditional standing army which itself has split into many different branches: the Army, the Navy, the Airforce, and the Marines (they are kinda special(51)), which are themselves split up into core components like the Rangers, Special Forces, SEAL Teams, Force Recon, Scout Snipers (MOSs) and so on and so forth. It is important to note that the paramilitary police units that exist in every city in the country recruit heavily from retired military. Also note the proliferation of ‘security firms’ (a fancy term for mercenaries), which recruit from these military units as well, and I would remark only on this by quoting Machiavelli:
I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. Thus it was that Charles, King of France, was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand; and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth, but they were not the sins he imagined, but those which I have related. And as they were the sins of princes, it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty.
I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain is not skilful, you are ruined in the usual way.
And if it be urged that whoever is armed will act in the same way, whether mercenary or not, I reply that when arms have to be resorted to, … the republic has to send its citizens … And experience has shown princes and republics, single-handed, making the greatest progress, and mercenaries doing nothing except damage; and it is more difficult to bring a republic, armed with its own arms, under the sway of one of its citizens than it is to bring one armed with foreign arms.
Rome and Sparta stood for many ages armed and free. The Switzers are completely armed and quite free.
What we are seeing is essentially the Hydra of Greek mythology. All attempts to check government power have met with the splintering off of new organizations, the OSS to the CIA, to the NSA and FBI, the ATF and the DEA(52). This is, in a sense how they have gotten around the problem of the militia vs. the standing army, by creating many small standing armies, ostensibly tasked with different mandates, but all essentially defined as “a group of well armed, trained men, on permanent hire and answering to government authority.” Full stop, man. You’re an army, doesn’t matter what you call yourself, because a rose by any other name is still a rose.
This is not a bad thing. Standing armies are more successful than militias. The Gauls went the militia route; the Romans went the standing army route. Look who won. The military is like a gun; it is a tool. It is not good or evil in and of itself, and in many cases, it is more good than evil. But it is used for evil purposes by governments. The Founding Fathers were a naive attempt to “take away” the arms of the government, thinking that would work. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Limiting government powers is about as useful as gun control. That is, it’s not useful at all.
The Founding Fathers of the United States weren’t all-knowing, all-seeing gods; they made mistakes and miscalculations, and we are paying for them today. They were naive. We are naive. What you don’t know can and will oppress and kill you.
The opposition to the 2nd amendment is naive to think that banning the guns will aid to guarantee them the only right that no human actually has: the right to life. If nature teaches us anything it is this: you are gonna die. If you aren’t shitting your diaper in some assisted living facility while your kids squander their inheritance, you’ll die in some war, some car accident, some natural disaster, by some disease, by some misapplied prescription drug, by any number of things. You can’t guarantee the right to life. There are too many natural and unnatural, intentional and unintentional ways to die.
The pro-2nd amendment people are naive as well. Having an AR-15 on your wall and an endless supply of NATO Green Tips(53) will guarantee just about diddly squat with a Predator Drone drilling you and your whole extended family while you work the grill on a Sunday afternoon.
Without equivalent firepower and equivalent reconnaissance capabilities, you are a snowcone’s chance in hell, regardless of your numbers, of putting any noticeable dent in a modern military.
The reason to fight gun control is not so you can fight the government; it is because it’s a right paid for in blood. Never give it up. Those who trade freedom for safety will receive neither, and deserve neither. The freedom to own weapons is not the same as the freedom to murder people. The reason for the Bill of Rights is to prevent idiots in times of peace from giving away what was won in times of war. Won by other people, I would point out. It isn’t even their right to forfeit(54).
What Gun Control Is Really About
Every so often, a group of psychopaths gets so powerful, because very stupid people decide to trade freedom for safety, and this elite becomes so entrenched and complacent, so rapacious, that the people become angry enough to start a revolution, and then in steps a group of ‘conscientious’ elites, there to support the people and ready to seize power the moment the fighting has stopped.
I kid you not. Look at Russia: 40 million dead due to ‘Communism’ (aka dictatorship) and no one did a thing. The system collapsed by itself; it rotted from within due to pathocracy. Look at China. You think they really had revolutions? No, it was one group of psychopathic elites taking over popular movements to get food and freedom, and using them to attack another group of psychopathic elites because of a difference of opinion.
People do rebel, but they RARELY rebel in a true revolution(55). Or at least they haven’t for thousands of years, because a long time ago the elites of the world learned how to mold and control the population, and regular normal human beings are too slow to act. I am not saying there couldn’t be a natural completely honest revolution against psychopathic elites; I am just saying that the minute any revolutionary tendencies are detected they will either be 1) immediately crushed, or 2) immediately infiltrated and taken over.
Look at the French Revolution and ‘The Terror’ that followed.
Gun Control USA has 3 objectives: 1) the current elite wants to prevent the people from being used against them by opposing parties of the same type, so they want to limit and control the access to quality arms, and 2) they want to create lists of names of each honest person who owns a gun should they need to root them out. They won’t just show up to seize your guns; they will antagonize and abuse you until you have no other choice but to take up arms against them, then they will ‘self-defense’ you to death. 3) They divide people over the issue; by controlling the presentation in the media, they maintain the polarity between two sides, divide and conquer.
We’ve already seen a bunch of weapons legislation, but let’s start looking at that legislation as applied, and why and when it leads to more deaths than it prevents. You thought I forgot about that statement earlier, didn’t you?
The Nazi Weapons Act of 1938 essentially classified guns for ‘sporting purposes’(56), which is ridiculous to even state. Yes you can use them for that purpose, but no, that is not what they are for. Secondly it required all citizens to register with Nazi officials and have a background check. This gave Nazis unrestricted power to decide what kinds of firearms could or could not be owned by private persons. Types of ammunition were subject to control too.
On November 9th, 1938, The New York Times reported: “The Berlin Police President, Count Wolf Heinrich von Helldorf, announced that, as a result of a police activity in the last few weeks, the entire Jewish population of Berlin had been disarmed with the confiscation of 2,569 hand weapons, 1,702 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment.”
On November 11th, The New York Times reported: “One of the first legal measures issued was an order by Heinrich Himmler, commander of all German police, forbidding Jews to possess any weapons whatever and imposing a penalty of twenty years confinement in a concentration camp upon every Jew found in possession of a weapon hereafter.”
People often ask why the German people didn’t do anything about the Nazis. Maybe because they didn’t have any arms, or only had guns for ‘sporting purposes’.
Finding out which Jews and political dissidents owned guns wasn’t too difficult for the Nazis, because the Liberal Weimar Republic had passed a Firearm Law in 1928 requiring registration. One of the first things the Nazis did when they took over was grab that list and kill or imprison the people on it.
Other European countries had similar laws, and when Nazis invaded them, the first thing they did was raid the police stations and get the lists.
The New York Times, on July 2nd, 1940, wrote about France: “Military orders now forbid the French to do things which the German people have not been allowed to do since Hitler came to power. To own radio senders or to listen to foreign broadcasts, to organize public meetings and distribute pamphlets, to disseminate anti-German news in any form, to retain possession of firearms – all these things are prohibited for the subjugated people of France.”
Gun registration benefits only two types of people: tyrants and foreign invading generals. It doesn’t prevent crime, and as a general rule, in countries with very restrictive laws, a significant part of extant gun crimes are committed by illicitly purchased weapons.
Americans, though they may not always explicitly say this, are coming from this gut felt memory of what happens when peace inevitably fails, which it always does. In ten thousand years we haven’t had a single generation of total peace; there has always been someone, somewhere oppressing and taking advantage of people and populations.
After the horror of World War II, the already extant feeling in American citizens of the need and right to keep arms, especially after the Civil War, and predominantly in the South for reasons beyond the scope of this article, was carved into the very soul of every soldier who returned from that war, of every person who read about the atrocities committed by those madmen. The cost was too high. 65 million people died to defeat Hitler, and we wonder if he could have been stopped much earlier if say for instance the Polish and French Resistance had had access to quality, non-sport weapons; or even if the German people and Jews had as well? How successful would the Kristalnacht have been if the Jewish population had whipped out Uzis (they weren’t invented then) and blasted the oppressive psychopathic bigots attempting to lynch them?
It all comes down to Musashi in the end. You see you can’t win. With guns, there’s death; without guns, there’s death. Guns aren’t the issue. But as Musashi said: It is false to die without drawing your weapon. It’s better to die on your feet than die on your knees, because if history is any teacher of any lesson it is this, the armed and the un-armed alike get slaughtered, but the progress of hate and oppression is slowed when the victims fight back, even if they eventually lose, and that is at the core of the American ‘Gun Religion’ as that pusillanimous poseur Bill Maher so sarcastically put it. This can be best summed up with a famous quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn:
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? … The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If … if … We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
I am not saying Solzhenitsyn is right; in fact, I think in the end, the arrests and oppression still would have happened. But how much happier would he have been on those long cold and lonely nights in his cell remembering with relish that perfect moment of pure violence in retaliation for oppression. To a people completely denied justice for thousands of years, of ill and violation upon ill and violation, it must seem the sweetest smelling balm for an old wound that may never heal. That craving is the fertile soil in which grows the ‘Culture of Violence’.
Tying it together
A parade of horribles is also a rhetorical device whereby the speaker argues against taking a certain course of action by listing a number of extremely undesirable events which will ostensibly result from the action. Its power lies in the emotional impact of the unpleasant predictions; however, a parade of horribles can potentially be a fallacy if one or more of the following is true:
The action doesn’t actually change the likelihood of the ‘horribles’ occurring. The ‘horribles’ could be unlikely to occur even if the action is taken, or they could be likely to happen anyway even if the action is avoided. This is an appeal to probability, and can be viewed as a non sequitur (logic) insofar as the action has no causal relation to the ‘horribles’.
The argument relies solely on the emotional impact of the ‘horribles’ (an appeal to emotion).
The ‘horribles’ are not actually bad.
A parade of ‘horribles’ is a type of hyperbole, because it exaggerates the negative results of the action, arguing that, If we do this, ultimately all these horrible things will happen.
The current argument for gun control is a ‘parade of horribles’. They are a series of tragic events, mass murders, that are attributed to the proliferation of semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The arguments are nothing more that hyperbole.
They are a trick; you can’t really address them because they are so horrible that in the moment, almost any contrary response will be rejected because it will ‘seem’ as if you are trivializing the suffering of others.
Crime in America is different from crime in Europe. But each country does have its horrible crimes. America is a ‘Gun Culture’, and guns feature predominantly in media, literature, and obviously crime. If we were a knife culture, then stabbing deaths would be more prominent in the public’s eye. America is also very large, with a very large population, and this is not a simple problem of arithmetic. You can’t, for example, multiply the population of Britain by 5 for a day and expect to see an equivalence of crime committed. Large population dynamics over the course of time lead to different criminal manifestations that are in some cases similar, but in others not. In a certain sense, the British see themselves to be above getting blood directly on their hands. In a sense, you could compare the Americans to the British by saying that Americans are a bit more like Klingons(58) and the British are more like the Romulans(59). One chops you up with a Bat’leth(60), the other quietly poisons you during dinner.
Piers Morgan is a quintessential Brit: snide, snobbish, and supercilious (actually those all mean the same thing). He, and most of the anti-gun people, are interested in a parade of horribles argument because they know how emotional populations are, and that they can use it to attain their ends. His interview with Alex Jones was perfect theater. Alex Jones is a conspiracy Pied Piper, playing his song to lead the children to the river to be drowned. Normally I can’t stand the man, but for once in his career, he hardly lied once. That’s the appeal of such a man: he uses the truth not so much to tell lies, but to present it in such a way that he makes any person espousing similar views look like a mad man. It is 100% COINTELPRO. It’s such a thorough setup, I imagine they might bump him off to ‘prove’ he was a good guy, thus immortalizing him in the minds of people everywhere. My greatest fear is that if revolution ever did break out he’d end up a general or something, shouting repeatedly: “1776 WILL RISE AGAIN…!”
Piers Morgan’s arguments are emotion-cached in dispassionate rationalism that is little more than fantastic hyperbole, and represents a calculated authoritarianism that will ultimately lead to everyone’s downfall. The United States was founded on the principal of inalienable and unmodifiable rights. Society needs to be protected from its calm and apathetic tendency to give away rights during the times they don’t need them, and then to bemoan the loss while other people have to fight and die to recover them.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, and we need to find out why and treat the problem, not the symptom. The excuse that ‘they’re just crazy people’ is getting a bit old. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark(61).
The Truth, with a capital T. What people want, need, crave. It’s not revenge, it’s not revolution, it’s not violence. They want justice. They want an apology, not just of words, but the ‘let me show that we’ll never do this again’ kind. Government is necessary. There will always be an elite bunch of rulers on the planet. In a sense we need them as much as they need us. But they don’t respect us, or fear us, or understand us; they are so preoccupied with their little games and schemes that they can’t see the massive cliff that we are heading for.
What people need is for the authors of their suffering, the rapacious, the unrepentant and psychopathic leaders of our country, to be brought to final legal justice, judged by a jury of their peers in accordance with established law. The system is broken; we need to fix it, not try yet again to institute a completely new one. People don’t need or want scapegoats, or the occasional token politician sex scandal, or a violent revolution. We want real justice for real crimes. And there have been many real crimes.
This article was first published on SOTT.net, 25 January 2013.
- A play on the song: ‘Lawyers, Guns and Money’ by Warren Zevon, and the Sci-Fi show Farscape‘s play on that title. I played around with the title a bit; some ones that I decided against are: ‘Gun Control won’t Help you Hit the Target’, ‘The Fear and Loathing of the Pyschopathic Elite’, and ‘How many Gun Legislators does it take to Screw you in a Lightbulb’.
- My generation’s equivalent to John Lennon.
- “illustrious”, but using the wrong word is rhetorical and totally more fun.
- This is complicated. Right now there is a general trend down in violent crime, but this is linked to reactionary thinking that treats crime and politics with a short memory. There are ups and downs. This is just the calm before the storm.
- This is opposite to the truth; the mistakes of our forefathers is what got us here in the first place. This is why we should treat the politicians and pundits all the more sternly because the mistakes they make today will have far-reaching consequences.
- The image of the hamster running on his wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere.
- These topics are complex; in order to talk about them, we have to simplify them a bit. There are a lot of simplifications to come, but I have tried my best not to make it so simple it becomes irrelevant.
- Actually I really didn’t have space to show everything. Books, and in some cases their movies, that could have made it in are Fight Club, Moby Dick, Count of Monte Cristo, Hamlet, A Time to Kill, The Great Gatsby, True Grit, etc. The list is quite long. Art/paintings depicting violence from most genres even including my beloved Frank Frazetta, and art styles like Guro (Japanese Snuff Art) that I wish I had never even heard about.
- Don’t misunderestimate what I am doing here. I am not hauling out the tried and true: He had an horrible childhood, and that’s why he’s bad. Sometimes those things are a reason, not an excuse.
- If you don’t agree, you are provably wrong. Probably also a communist. And you hate puppies.
- The question we should ask ourselves is why. John Vorhaus in his book The Comic Toolbox explains that comedy is about truth and pain. We exaggerate things, but at the core of any good joke is the truth, and the pain.
- Prostitutes are sorted by the specifics of their occupation as well as how they practice it. Ho’ usually indicates that the type of prostitute is forced or coerced into prostitution by a strong male, or Pimp if you will. She is usually a streetwalker, and kept in check with abuse and drugs. That is the worst meaning, however it is not absolutely; how you say it and in what context can indicate shades of meaning too complex to explain here. In order they are 1) subjugated prostitute, 2) a woman without self-respect who uses sex to keep or please a man who is actually beneath her in station, 3) a sexually loose woman, 4) a bitch. There might be more … but you get the point, right?
- This one is less direct violence. What kind of person would be talking to some guy explaining this if his intention wasn’t an aggressive one? Sometimes, violence is implied instead of overtly stated. This is the cornerstone of rap style, the implication and metaphor and the analogy.
- To continue the analogy, Biggie would be like the Liszt of Rap.
- I wanted to include many more songs, from Tool, Silverchair and other famous bands as well as a larger cross section of the various genres. I didn’t have time or space, but the quoted samples are indicative of the whole and if you would like to research more, you can.
- Rocschach is a comic book character created by Alan Moore for the DC comics miniseries Watchmen, that was later made into a movie. Rorschach is listed as the 16th greatest comic book character of all time. He is best remembered for the very iconic scene where he has been arrested and imprisoned with many criminals that he himself put away previously. One of them tries to “shiv” Rorschach, whereupon he throws the boiling oil from a deep fryer on the guy. He then exclaims: “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me!”
- The movie version of the story is not the same as the one in the comic, according to my memory, but I couldn’t be arsed to watch the movie again just to verify this niggling point. Take it with a grain of salt. In the comic, Rorschach handcuffs the guy to the stove while he denies he’s done anything wrong. Rorschach pours kerosene all over him and then tosses him a hacksaw, implying that if he wants to escape, he’ll have to cut off his hand to do so. He sets the place on fire and leaves. This is tightly connected with some interesting points made by Frank Herbert in the Dune series. Which is also about revenge.
- This is a reference to Hannah Arendt who, in reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, coined the term “the banality of evil.” To her, the important question was whether or not “evil” was radical or simply a function of “thoughtlessness” which is a pertinent concept when dealing with gun control, and the thoughtless mechanical rhetoric of the reactionary pundits in the media. Arendt has written on many topics directly pertinent to this issue, including On Revolution and On Violence. She mainly distinguishes between violence and power. Although most pundits will claim that violence is the extreme use of power, Arendt differs, and calls them anti-thetical, that is completely opposite, mutually incompatible. When governments lose their legitimacy, violence becomes the artificial means towards that end. Violence is only found in the absence of power. With this in mind, she shows how Bureaucracies are the most fertile ground for violence since they are, in their essence “rule by no-one” against whom to argue or complain. Because it is just a servant following “the rules”, whom you can’t argue with or appeal too.
- Here I mean to indicate the senseless slaughters, crusades, persecutions, and inquisitions throughout history. Kings, Popes, and Generals, as well as Politicians who have killed on such a scale that simply hanging, shooting, or imprisoning them is insufficient in the minds of their victims to compensate. The very mentality of non-victims, with their ,you should be happy with what you got” ways of thinking only exacerbate the problem, leading to anger and ultimately violence not simply against the perpetrators but the so-called “innocent” but actively apathetic bystanders [sic].
- Hannah Arendt said as much as well. Though this is, in a certain sense obvious.
- Jack Palance was an American actor who commonly played cowboy roles. He was an excellent villain and played the hired gunfighter in the movie Shane.
- American stand-up comedian and satirist.
- This is a reference to the character Bob from The Dresden Files, which was based on a series of books.
- And egg them on.
- Most of which are explored through meta-horror films like Scream and Cabin in the Woods. They are not so much rules, but conventions per se. Any genre can be seen as serving the preconceived notions of its audience. What hopes do they have, what fantasies, what needs, and how does a text or movie serve as a vehicle for their personal exploration of the desired/presented themes. What questions do they ask? And this will determine the answers that they are given, because it determines to a degree what they want to accept.
- The neck of a jock (strong, muscular, etc) is usually a point of lampooning. Look at the necks of some football players and body builders, they are large and prominent, so “de-necking” is like removing the secret source of their power, so much of which is obviously derived in part from their necks.
- Qui Gon!
- I am not entirely suggesting a narcissistic basis for these desires. The level of omnipotence is inversely proportionate to the amount of personal power felt in real life. Truly omnipotent heroes, or nearly omnipotent heros are more likely to appeal to someone who has little or no power. This is partially why children respond so well to super-heroes. Few people in the world have such few rights by comparison, as children.
- It’s later revealed that the baby was saved and is being raised by Bill. Throughout the first movie, she doesn’t know this, and thinks the baby is dead.
- In my humble opinion, Fiction is the last vestige of truth. I find that some of the greatest insights and ideas on the human condition come from Fiction, and the exposition of experience found therein.
- This is by far one of the best games for those who like intricate killing choices. Whereas most games are point and shoot, this game requires mastering complex controls to learn and execute various methods of assassinating bad people. You do have the option of killing regular people, peasants, shop keepers, and brothel workers, but this is a poor strategy within the game. Plus it’s a bit sacrilegious, like making a Pride and Prejudice themed porn. It’s the quickest path to hell, only slightly more repugnant than letting your children watch the teletubbies.
- In College, I had a friend who played this game constantly. He was a quiet, nice and respectful guy and a brilliant car mechanic. However he was obsessed with stealing cabs and beating the cab drivers with a baseball bat in the game. He did nothing else in the game. We figured something was bothering him when we came over to his house to find him locked in his room surrounded by soda cans and a sheet of paper filled with score marks. Apparently he had been on an eight hour straight bender, and racked up an impression cabbie body count.
- Watching a movie is more like reading a book than you think. Lots of people see movies, few people ever watch them. In the end, I don’t know why, there is just as much information in a movie, it’s just visual and iconic.
- It really is important to recognize that 65 million (some say 72 million) people suffered injury or death in this specific struggle with Germany. Those are both military and civilian casualties. WWI saw 37 million casualties, however estimates vary widely, still the low end estimate from direct conflicts is about 15 million. Generally once you get past 1 million people, it’s really gone too far already.
- You will also perceive, if you really think about it, what it would take to cause 100,000 casualties in a population using only swords. I don’t think people really appreciate the level of violence required for something like the Crusades, or the Invasion of Gaul, or the Peloponnesian War. Many people have drawn out the obvious paralells between our current unilateral strategy and that of Athens in the Peloponnesian Wars. The Wars were so long that Grandfathers, Fathers, and then their Sons were sent off to fight.
- Having a gun, knowing how to use a gun, is for the most part the smallest component of gun related close quarter combat (CQB). Firing and moving tactics are difficult to put into effect without a lot of training and familiarity with moving and shooting at equally mobile targets. Many people master loading a gun, and shooting at a stationary target while they themselves do not moving. The same is essentially true for swords. You might practice fighting a wooden dummy, or facing off one on one, but you don’t really know anything of combat use until you take it to the level of simulated warfare.
- Of course not. They very rarely explicitly remove a right. They simply make it impossible or prohibitively expensive to practice your rights.
- Dissatisfaction with the government is always attributed to some intrinsic fault in the person or section of the population that is dissatisfied. Governments always blame their victims. Hmm, who does that remind you of? Uh, psychopaths.
- You can’t own, use, or train to use equivalent arms and ordinance. If you were to try, they will arrest you. I am not arguing for the ability for you to do so. The idea of a private citizen with a cache of cruise missiles, predator drones, and a couple of nuclear weapons is out of the question. The right to keep and bear arms is essential, but you should understand that the average citizen could never afford either the time to train with, or the money to purchase, arms to ,bear” that present in any way a significant danger to an established military or government.
- St. George Tucker (1752 – 1827) was a lawyer, professor, and justice of the Virginia General District Court and later was appointed to the Virginia Supreme court. He supported the emancipation of slaves, proposed legislature and produced pamphlets to that effect. .
- This is a bit of a Catch 22, because of the nature of modern weaponry, you really can’t expect the people to actually allow you to possess a nuclear weapon. Or even to possess semtex, or rocket launchers. It’s just not practicable. What we need today is to refine the 2nd amendment to take into consideration that when some genius invents a Death Star, it’s pretty well established that you can’t own one, but if he invents an automatic laser rifle, you so totally can.
- This is a pithy saying, not the actual definition which is different for various contexts, such as the legal definition, which is that a person is incapable of discerning between right and wrong. Other definitions include being excessively foolish or irrational, which is in line with the pithy version.
- Evil people are very subtle and prefer coming at you sideways. As Jayne said in Firefly: “Hell, I’ll kill a man in a fair fight. Or if I think he’s gonna start a fair fight.” This is pre-emptive legislation. It’s all very Clauswitz.
- What I mean to say in more detail here is that the usefulness of gun control laws are only seen once a perpetrator is caught, perpetrators of crimes have to actually perpetrate the crime first. People call for the legislation as a protection of themselves while they are still alive. But this never works out the way they’d hope.
- If you actually read the Constitution you will realize why the bill or rights was created. The Constitution of the United States essentially sets up a nearly oligarchic republican government, the Bill of Rights is a collection of “corrections” to the wording of that document in an attempt to protect inalienable rights.
- I can’t repeat this enough, there is nothing new under the sun, everything that is happening now, has happened before, and will happen again.
- Again, actually read the Constitution and you will see what I mean. Then read the Bill of Rights.
- The Marine Corps in the USA is seen with a kind of reverence and respect, even by people not in the Marines. I don’t think I could explain why.
- A police state needs lots of police.
- The SS109/M855 NATO Green Tip, often considered as an Armor Piercing Round by gun enthusiasts. Which is not entirely true. They don’t actually pierce armor necessarily. On this basis, the Green Tip, or SS109/M855 NATO rounds, having a penetrator steel tip, are more or less exempted from the definition in USC 921(a)(17). It does have punch through, but was designed more for penetration at longer distances.
- If you don’t take advantage of a right, then what you have to say about it is pretty much useless. People who never bother to exercise their freedom of speech by saying anything meaningful, shouldn’t try to take it away from other people cause all the shouting makes them uncomfortable.
- This would require quite a bit of historical analysis to get this fundamental truth across. Since it’s not the main point of the article, it will have to be treated later.
- The idea of the gun for “sporting purposes” and referring to them in that way actually aids the arguments against guns. Guns are not toys, they are dangerous, deadly weapons; yet there is still your permanent Constitutional right to own them for your protection, both personal and national. < – Notice the period.
- As in mind, not ESP.
- Klingons are boisterous, violent, loyal and honorable to a fault. They were originally modeled after the Mongols, or possibly the Huns, but at later times took on a more barbarian hordes character a la the Celts or Gauls.
- Romulans are cunning, opportunistic and bureacratic. Strongly modeled on the Roman Empire, Romulans are duplicitous, but diplomatic about it.
- The mean looking curved sword wielded by the Klingons. LMGTFY.
- Words spoken by Hamlet in his eponymous play about revenge.