Guns: Pimping for a dirty business
You have to give America's increasingly extreme political right great credit in one area.
Its propagandists, the ones it has right now, are the best at flaying facts and selling disinformation since things went belly up for Joseph Goebbels 1945.
The best of the best –- or, from a moral standpoint, worst of the worst -– are those who directly serve the makers and peddlers of military-style guns and other people-killing devices, the profiteering promoters of murder on a massive scale. In that, too, they have much in common with Dr. Goebbels.
They get great help from our cowardly politicians -– which is to say almost all of our politicians -– and from an equally cowardly press and a whole bunch of ignorant suckers among the American public, but that is largely a testament to their skill.
In late March, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went farther than is usual for a U.S. official in admitting that our country bears substantial responsibility for the growing power and brutality of Mexico's drug cartels. Specifically, she admitted the obvious fact that demand for drugs in this country fuels the growth of the mobs and the less-known fact that the drug gangs get the bulk of their weaponry from suppliers in the United States.
The second piece of information, on weapons, was confirmed by Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Defense.
Clinton's statement may have taken what passes for courage in American politics, unpleasant truths being widely regarded as untouchable. Few facts could more clearly demonstrate the political power our elected officials have granted those who produce and promote violence for profit.
Although there was little or no coverage in the establishment media, a couple of other people in the new Obama administration already had made such acknowledgments. The gun racket had anticipated Clinton's admission.
Fox Propaganda, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and various other screaming sociopaths were ready, of course, but their rants were predictable and dull. Everybody who can walk and chew gum had to have known in advance what they would say: Weak-kneed liberals apologizing to criminals, what we need is armed troops standing three feet apart along the entire border, it's all the fault of them furriners, and look-out-folks-they're-gonna-take-your-guns-away.
When it comes to carrying water for the murder businesses, those people are useful, but minor players. The gun nuts go elsewhere for the authoritative word on what they should think.
Their secret decoder rings are set for the National Rifle Association and dozens upon dozens of Web sites and blogs narrowly aimed at the kind of suckers who have bought into the fictions about impending gun confiscation and the need to be prepared for a socialist or fascist coup.
(Beck, for one, doesn't seem to know the difference between socialist and fascist, and it's a good bet that a high percentage of those who take him seriously are equally in the dark on that point and many other points of fact.)
So I looked in on several of the aluminum hat gun nutter sites, the ones that carry articles, and sometimes ads, about what body armor to buy and where to buy it, and rant after rant about the dire threat of a dictatorship of the left. The official position of the death peddlers became obvious within half an hour. The “talking points” had to have been distributed before Clinton's statement got it's brief flurry of coverage.
In a nutshell here they are, without most of the boilerplate rhetoric about “Mainstream Media's huge disinformation campaign to demonize the American gun owner,” etc., etc., ad nauseum:
-- The attempt to slow the flow of weapons to Mexican criminals will, as Michael Gaddy of LewRockwell.com assured his readers, morph into 'the war on guns'” planned by President Obama. (Fact: Obama has always taken a “moderate” -- that is, rather weak -- stance on guns and gun control.)
-- Obama administration people are pushing the idea that the weapons going into Mexico are coming from America's private gun owners. (Fact: No such claim has even been implied, let alone stated. Absolutely nobody, other than the wing nuts, is talking about individual American gun owners shipping their weapons to Mexico.)
-- And -– booga booga booga -– the real supplier of weapons to the drug gangs is the U.S. government, using the Mexican government as a middle man. (Too absurd for any rational person, but readily believed in the gun worshippers subculture. Government conspiracy, doncha know.)
In the hands of Gaddy, who describes himself as an army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada and Beirut, that translates to, “Our corrupt government, cooperating with Mexico's equally corrupt government, has embarked on a campaign to deprive American citizens of the means to defend ourselves from tyranny, screening their own involvement in arming violent criminal drug cartels.”
(One could assume from Gaddy's fantasy that Barack Obama is not only a secret Muslim and a citizen of some other country but also a secret employee of the drug cartels, specializing in armament.)
-- But the main story, put forth by one Ralph Weller of Gun News Daily, who claims to know all this because he “lived and worked in Mexico in a border town for about five years,” is that all of the assault rifles, machine pistols, hand grenades and other murder tools in the hands of Mexico's drug pushers are from “Europe, China, Russia and South America” or “they came from illegal arms manufacturers in India or Pakistan.” Take your pick, apparently; the two theories about source are presented separately within the same essay.
For added spice, Weller's piece charges that, rather than weapons going from the United States to Mexico, the opposite is true, that “illegal full-auto weapons and grenades” are flowing along with drugs from Mexico to this country. That creative claim appears to be unique to Weller at this point.
Weller's article, which carries no attribution for any statement and not a single checkable fact, has been picked up by more than a dozen other right-wing and/or gun nutter Web sites that I saw. I'd be very surprised if there aren't many more I didn't see. Those I got into all presented it as absolute proof that arms are not going to Mexico from this country and that the claim is just groundwork for a government attempt to seize Americans' god-given guns.
I tried to find reliable information on Weller's identity and background, but biographical information, other than a brief paragraph he apparently wrote, doesn't seem to be available. There was another Ralph Weller, a ranking executive of Otis Elevator Co., but he died in 1995, and I could find no link between him and the above-quoted water boy for the gun peddlers.
Most of the gun-nut sites push the idea that President Obama is a very busy man, hatching a great plot to take all guns away from all American civilians.
In truth, Obama is very timid about taking on the gun nuts. If you check his positions and statements going back to his days in the Illinois Legislature, it becomes clear that he's never called for a ban on guns, never even hinted he wants handguns made illegal. He has –- take a deep breath now -– suggested that handguns should be registered and that assault weapons and armor-piercing ammunition should be permanently banned.
Obama, to the horror of the gun nuts, also has suggested (nothing more) that we should return to a prohibition against carrying concealed weapons and the closing of a loophole that allows private sale (including at gun shows) of all kinds of weapons and ammunition without any record or registration of the weapons and buyers.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, the NRA, which speaks from Olympus in the minds of those who dwell in the gun-nut world, created a wholly fictional claim that Obama had a “ten-point plan” to alter the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The NRA said Obama will “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns” and also “ban the use of firearms for home self defense.”
The aluminum hat crowd believes that with greater certainty than it believes the sun rises in the east.
When Ralphy, the young hero of a wonderful movie titled “A Christmas Story,” got his first, greatly anticipated message from Little Orphan Annie after he at long last received his secret decoder ring, he was outraged, and threw the ring away.
The message: “Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine.”
It's a great pity the wing nuts and gun freaks, not to mention members of Congress, don't have the same ability to recognize and reject business-sponsored crapola.
Lest anyone mistake me: I grew up with firearms.
My father lived for fishing and, especially, hunting. It was his great passion. But he lost a leg to a careless fool of a hunter when he was 18, and his “good foot” carried a piece of a bullet lodged there thanks to the idiocy of yet another careless hunter. Neither of the people who shot him were in his hunting party at the time of the incidents. He would not tolerate the slightest carelessness with a gun of any type, and twice that I can recall, he chased people from the field on the sheer strength of his anger -– no physical threats made or implied.
I owned both a rifle and a .410 shotgun by the time I was 11. I gave up hunting in my late teens almost entirely because of the dangerous behavior of other hunters. I continued to target shoot now and then for many years. I have nothing against well-behaved hunters, certainly nothing against people who use guns for target shooting, skeet and other non-lethal sport. If it were convenient, I might be one of them.
But as one who spent many hours of my youth in the field, I can see absolutely no legitimate civilian use for military-type semiautomatic and automatic weapons, let alone bazookas, rocket launchers and other types of iron designed specifically for the killing of human beings. The same goes for armor-piercing ammunition. I'm somewhat ambivalent on handguns. There obviously are many people who should not have them, and a considerable body of research shows that, despite NRA propaganda to the contrary, a vast majority of innocent citizens who think they can defend themselves and their homes with such weapons are deluding themselves and asking for trouble.