Monday, July 11, 2016

America is Reaping the Wirlwind

As many as twenty assault rifle bearing “patriots” marched in the Black Lives Matter parade in Dallas, TX last week, their guns slung over their shoulder or across their back, exercising their Texas right to openly bear any gun they wish. When the shooting broke out, eventually felling twelve Dallas police officers, killing five of them, the police initially confused these “good guys, exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, for the attackers, even arresting two of them (one carrying without a permit, earning himself a misdemeanor). They were, after-all wearing gas masks, camouflage gear, and bullet-proof vests. Why wouldn’t they be suspect in a charged environment like that? It is a tribute to the training of the Dallas police that none of them were shot in the confusion.

And of course all the gun carrying patriots rushed to the aid of the police and helped run down, and gun down, the shooter. Of course they did. That is the theory behind allowing every testosterone-energized male to have a gun in public; so they can take out the shooters. Didn't Donald Trump say that if there had been more gun-totting patrons at the darkened concert theater in Paris the gunmen would have been shot forthwith?

Of course the Dallas’ pseudo-patriots did not run to the aid of the police or other citizens. Of course their "massive show of force" did not stop the carnage. Of course they did not turn their endless firepower on the active shooter. There is no evidence that any of them fired a shot. Why? Because carrying assault weapons and displaying them has nothing to do with the maintenance of a well-ordered militia; nothing to do with maintaining order of any kind. It has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It is a macho thing; an excuse for boys who grew up watching too much of Rambo, or spent their youth playing fantasy games on Xbox, or listened to too many macho country western songs to convince themselves that they would lay down their lives for freedom. Well, they had their chance – these men who sit on the back of their shiny pickup trucks, under a provocative banner challenging the government (I presume) to come and take their guns from them – and they ran away as quickly as those who had no weapons.

We are hell-bent on self-destruction in this land, not just those who are weekly blowing holes in shooting ranges, but every citizen who enables them by electing gutless officials who are afraid to stand up to the NRA; by glorifying violence in our media, our sports, our movies, our literature.

Since 1776 the U.S. have been involved in at least 104 deadly conflicts, according to a list in Wikipedia, a great many of them on our own soil, against those who originally had possession of the land we now call our own. Over the 240 years of our existence a deadly conflict has been begun every 2.3 years. And we call ourselves a “peace-loving” nation? But the loss of life through those conflicts, great and tragic as it is, pales beside the gruesome history of murderous conflict of citizen against citizen. Increasing from a trickle at the nation’s outset, personal violence has now become the norm in many of our urban centers. And the weapon of choice has long been the legally (or illegally) possessed fire arm.

We cannot hide our heads in the sand any longer. We cannot deny the truth about ourselves. We are a violent people and we are reaping the whirlwind.

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