By W.D. Noble
By now, most of you know that a gunman (possibly with an accomplice) shot and killed nine people (wounding several others, including a U.S. Congressperson) at a political gathering in Tucson, Arizona.
In spending the last few hours reading the missives on both sides of the political spectrum, plus their voluminous comments, I’m left to ponder what’s not being said – not just the lack of reason, but the huge holes in all this verbiage which ignore the elephants in the room.
This rank ignorance actually bespeaks our reaction to the 9/11 terrorism. We wasted a lot of breath, accusing one group or another, demonizing their ideologies and demanding ‘justice-at-the-end-of-a-rope’ – without doing what was really necessary: Evaluating our own culpability.
The Pornography of Firearms
America is a nation which, from the very beginning, was and is defined by firearms. We used them to hunt; to kill the original occupants of this land; to kill each other. We killed British soldiers by the wagonload, and when they gave up and went home, we killed each other again, first in small numbers (the Whiskey Rebellion comes to mind); then in massive numbers during our Civil War thanks to our uniquely American inability to compromise and our improvement of the technology of small-arms.
We took that culture out West, where we resumed killing natives; shooting game for their horns and skins (leaving the rest to rot in the sun) – and when all else failed and boredom (plus a liberal dose of alcohol) set in, we resumed killing each other.
Occasionally, in order to keep a lid on things, we’d stand one of the more-egregious perpetrators (or several at a time) on a wooden contraption with a rope around their necks – and kill them, too, for the high entertainment of the people in a region. Bets were normally taken on who’d die last, as evidenced by the final twitching of extremities.
Never quite satisfied, we did something our German relatives across the pond would do some ninety-odd years later, and improve the technology of legal killing. As with so many things American, ours was bush-league and amateur in scope; our electric-chair was an ungainly, expensive, and crude device; our gas-chambers only held one or two people at a time.
All the while, the killing went on – in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s, while we experimented with another of our inane attempts to legislate morality (by way of forbidding the manufacture and sale of alcohol), the nation descended into an orgy of automatic weapons-inspired murder by rival gangs protecting both turf and the means of illegal alcohol production.
(Eventually, the government did one of the few sane things it did in the 20th century, telling the Second Amendment fools to put a sock in it while they passed two regulations on same – the general-public were no longer allowed to purchase automatic weapons without severe licensing requirements, and we no longer allowed firearm sales to children.)
We lost our common-sense in the decades which followed, along with our very sense of self – the ultimate Prodigal Nation – to the extent that it’s now easier to buy ammunition in most American cities than it is to buy booze. Everyone who wants a gun can buy one. (Hell; I’ve got several. There’s a difference, though. I’m not crazy – but again; I digress).
Our fixation with firearms – bordering not only on worship, but also on a form of outright lust – is easily combined with our popular culture. From childhood, we’re inured to the effects of the bullet: Movies, the new technology of videogaming; magazines; advertising – is all steeped in an orgyistic/orgasmic culture of violence. In this alternate-universe we’ve created for ourselves, both big, muscular men and tall; big-breasted/round-hipped women aren’t objects of respect for any reason – they’re objects of sexually-tinted violence; using fantastic weapons to blow opponents, male and female alike, into pieces.
Want to run your own gang? Go to the video store. Buy one of any number of games. Form a gang. Go steal cars; deal drugs; gain points and other positive ‘rewards’ (like more big-breasted women). You ‘win’ this game not for being or doing good. You’ll never find a videogame called “Homeless Shelter Volunteer IV”.
Go to any newsstand (I know; print-media newsstands are becoming thin-on-the-ground in every American city; we gave up reading a long time ago) and find a copy of Shotgun News. Open it to any random page. Look at the ads. You’ll be seeing an Amazonian model with some fantastically-equipped firearm. Sex sell, and it sells nowhere better than to the American gun-owner, who has been pseudoreligiously indoctrinated in the twin beliefs that his penis will be imbued with some magic and his ‘god given rights’ affirmed – if he only drops another $1,500 on that new automatic rifle.
So, it’s small wonder, with a pornographic environment surrounding the gun-trade, that Jared Loughner became seduced. His YouTube site, full of death-metal music, disjointed ramblings and flag-burning, was ample proof. Those who encountered him likely dismissed his behavior – in a nation full-up with crazy, one more card-carrying member of the club is easily lost in the crowd.
The Irresponsibility of Language
Turn on any radio. At all hours of the day or night, you’re going to hear crazy-talk. It’s literally impossible to ignore.
Don’t like radio? Turn on the television. Glenn Beck. Bill O’Reilly. Rush Limbaugh. Ken Ham. Idiocy abounds. Beck calls for the poisoning of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Limbaugh, calling for ‘second amendment remedies’ to the current administration.
Sarah Palin – putting crosshairs on people she doesn’t want reelected, and making comments like, “don’t retreat; reload.” Sharron Angle, stating flatly that “…people are really looking to those Second Amendment remedies.” Michele Bachmann, saying that she “…wants people armed and dangerous” to the government. Only in America – and third-world shitholes like Liberia – do firearms have a respected place at the negotiating table of politics.
Charles Pierce, in his book, “Idiot America” said that there was a difference between a lovable crank and a genuinely dangerous person – because when a crank took to the airwaves, he or she doesn’t care if their ideas are accepted; the current dangerous crop of pseudojournalists have assembled cult-followings – primarily from the worshippers of war-and-firearms-pornography. “They spew bilious nonsense from 600 stations at 50,000 watts each”, said Pierce.
That’s the difference. With influence far beyond their numbers and a message which is both irresponsible and dangerous, their language has planted the seed in hundreds, if not thousands of heads across America.
The lot of them have blood on their hands.
The Apologetics of Cowardice
Martin Luther King once said, “one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.
You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”
The Left, for all of the rhetoric regarding ‘hope’ and ‘change’ has abandoned the field without so much as a peep. Anyone with the ability to connect “A” to “B” can see that the Right, with its hands clean and a shiteating grin on its collective face, can point to Loughner and the thousands like him to follow and say, “See! He’s just a lone crazy! Our hands are clean! Clean; I tell you! Now go away!”
Incredibly, the Left will meekly say, “Oh! All right!” and walk away from the best clear chance to do something about the nation’s hardon for weapons and its inability to solve a problem without violence.
Some time ago, I said that if the Right perceives that it’s going to lose an argument, it pulls a metaphoric .357 Magnum from its back-belt and pumps six rounds in the chest of Reason. I’ll go one better here – they’ve not only done that, but they’ve done so in the relative safety of arm’s-length surrogate warfare.
Why dirty one’s hands when it’s possible to get the blind, halt, lame, and crazy to do it for you?
I’ll say this again – it’s time to pick a side. We can no longer be, as Professor Walter Herbert said, ‘a nation of weeping executioners’ – people who blubber their concern for the demise of the nation, but who do nothing at all about it.
We of the Left have engaged up to this point in the apologetics of cowardice – we’ve every clear excuse; but no reason – for abdicating morality to the thugs with the .357’s.
Don’t be surprised if, one random afternoon, you’re caught in the crossfire.