Tuesday, August 18, 2009

guns and the nuts who carry them

A faithful reader suggests it might be productive for me to offer my thoughts on this story:
PHOENIX – About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday — the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.
As you can see from the photo down on the right, your humble blogger is familiar with firearms. I'm comfortable around them, I grew up around them, I own several of them, and I like to take them out and shoot them from time to time. Some of my best memories of growing up revolve around my Dad and Granddad taking me out target-shooting. I support the Second Amendment, and in general I oppose most gun control measures.

So that's my starting point here. And my initial reaction to this story is along the lines of: just because something is legal doesn't mean it's a good idea (along with the corollary: just because something is a bad idea doesn't mean it should be illegal). As a recent example of this, the First Amendment does indeed allow a person to use the word "nigger" when referring to a black person. This does not mean it is a good idea to do so. The linked-to blogger (a regular commenter over at Barry Green's House of Right-Wing Crazy) wears his ignorance and hatred and faux-victimhood as a badge of honor, and gets his thrills by oh-so-rebelliously inflicting slavery-era insults upon those segments of humanity whom he can readily identify as being "below" him. These folks are easily identified by virtue of their skin pigmentation.

Legal? Yes. Likely to advance the cause of civilization? Not even remotely.

Likewise, carrying a gun to a presidential event may in fact be legal in Phoenix, Arizona. Is any good likely to come of it? I think you know the answer to that one.

One further point, though. Those people in the story carrying guns aren't looking to advance the cause of civilization. They are trying to assuage their own personal feelings of powerlessness in the face of the ascendancy of certain points of view which they find extremely frightening ("socialism" being the most charitable of these fears -- among other fears which are far less charitable).

But I also suspect that another, more sinister purpose -- though perhaps not well thought out -- is to provoke a confrontation in which they can be portrayed as the victims. For example: "Obama's brownshirt thugs attacked me, arrested me, and took away my assault rifle -- even though I was simply protesting his fascist policies in full compliance with all the laws!" This, the fantasy goes, will inspire thousands or millions more like-minded patriots to take to the streets bearing firearms, which in turn will result in either: (a) a bloody civil war in which all their fantasies of minority-directed vigilantism will come true, or (b) the removal of Obama from the presidency, to be replaced by someone more palatable who will -- in comparison with Obama -- reduce (even further) the tax burden on the wealthy, reduce (even further) social services for the poor, increase (even more) spending on defense and law enforcement, and increase (even more) the tax burden on the poor. This, in the fevered minds of these decidedly unwealthy, gun-toting protesters, is called "Liberty".

6 comments:

Gleemonex said...

Once again, my incoherent sputterings and general feeling of "No good can come of this" find expression ... beautifully done.

Anonymous said...

I read about this incident and an interesting comment from the Secret Service was anywhere the president is attending is considered a federal site and there are no firearms allowed on federal sites. They did also comment that this guys with the rifle was not reasonably close the the president. DT

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