Right-wing gun advocates are using a dishonest fear campaign to fight gun control reform
Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School back in December, President Barack Obama has promised to take action by introducing tougher gun control laws. Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden with heading up a task force to come up with recommendations for comprehensive gun violence legislation. Biden’s recommendations are to be released this Tuesday, but in the meantime second amendment advocates have come out to play.
Nothing seems more synonymous with American domestic policy than fear and overreaction. Americans have a habit of overreacting to everything. When a sport’s fan gets hurt in the stands, they erect giant nets to protect them from hockey pucks and footballs. A rock gets thrown from a pedestrian overpass onto a car, fencing goes up across the land. I remember when I was younger; there was a kid with a toy gun who was shot accidentally by a cop. What ensued was a national campaign to ban toy guns (and keep the real ones).
Conservatives and the far right know full well how to take advantage of America’s fears when it best suits them. In fact, I would say fear is their premier instrument of choice. They use the fear of debt, the fear of terrorism, the fear of communism, the fear of God, even the fear of minorities to dictate the national discourse.
After the deaths of nearly 3 000 people on 9/11, they preyed on peoples fear of terrorism and their insecurity to invade two countries and spend $1.4 trillion on the war on terror. That equals $467 million per death on 9/11. When Obama wanted healthcare reform, we were given the fear of socialism and death panels. As a result, Universal healthcare turned into Obamacare.
Above all else, nothing brings out the fear mongers more than the fear of an unarmed nation. Facing new gun control legislation, right wing radicals across the country have begun to fight back and fight dirty. If these gun advocates are to be believed, the ban or removal of assault weapons and/or high capacity ammo clips among civilians will lead to the coming of Hitler in the land of the free.
The NRA, Fox News, Alex Jones and Gun Owners of America among others have all claimed recently that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. This belief could not be more untrue. All German citizens were banned from possessing fire arms due to the surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler rose to power thanks to a popular nationalist movement; after he took control he eased gun laws a little before deregulating it completely in 1938.
The only Germans not permitted to carry guns were of the Jewish faith and other oppressed minorities. If you are among those who believe that an armed Jewish community could have prevented the holocaust, you clearly aren’t familiar with its history.
The common right-wing claim that guns are needed in case a tyrannical regime takes over in Washington is as ignorant as believing that armed African Americans could have prevented slavery. First of all, southern blacks tried armed resistance several times and got slaughtered, but that’s beside the point.
When an oppressive regime gains power, the dictator must first control the military. Do you think if Obama seized absolute power he would be able to turn the American military against their own people? Even if they did do you believe civilians carrying rifles would be a match for America’s tanks and stealth bombers? We need only look at the recent Arab Spring to know what I’m getting at.
The dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt were brought down with peaceful resistance. A few deaths occurred during some protests but fatalities were minimal. Now take a look at Libya and Syria; two countries that took to armed resistance instead. Tens of thousands of deaths, one conflict is still raging after two years and the other might still be going if NATO had not stepped in.
Of course, peaceful resistance does not always work, but I challenge anyone to find me an example of an armed internal revolution where a dictatorship was replaced by a democracy (without external help). For Americans thinking of the revolutionary war, that doesn’t count, that was a war against a British occupation… Star Wars doesn’t count either.
The second amendment was fashioned because of public opposition to a standing army and was passed back when the weapon of choice was a musket. Two hundred years later the United States has the world’s most powerful standing army, has as many guns as there are people and over 30 000 Americans die every year with the instruments that were meant to protect them from foreign invasion.
The fear of an unarmed nation has led indirectly to more civilian deaths by guns than all American conflicts put together. You would think something would finally start to make sense in the heads of guns advocates, but unfortunately either their minds or their wallets are possessed by various gun lobbies.
I know that banning assault rifles and limiting ammo wouldn’t bring down gun violence overnight, far more is needed. You need a license to drive a car or catch a fish, why not to own a gun? Universal healthcare would properly diagnose the mentally ill and help them get the treatment they need. Most importantly, it is essential that the right-wing stop the lies and fear mongering.
Fear has a tendency to cloud the mind to the point where people lose their ability to think clearly. They overreact and do things they would not ordinarily do, which leads to the same mental health problems that are responsible for these mass shootings to begin with.
After all, if you’re so paranoid that you feel the need to keep an M-16 by your pillow because of a fear of government, perhaps you shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.