The main ideas behind the gun stuff is anti-government. No, actually, that's not quite true: the main idea is fear, followed closely by an inadequacy that screams Freud . . . but let's leave that aside for a moment, and take these true believers as seriously as they take themselves. So: the idea seems to be that the second amendment exists to keep the government in line, and gun ownership is more than a right, it's a patriotic duty. Well, that's fine back when the country's army and police forces were a citizen militia, when it was the duty of the citizen to bear arms to help safeguard the fragile social contract, to actively participate in the policing of the state.
Today, the right to bear arms has taken the aspect of resistance, as opposed to the co-operative aspect of the citizen militia. The idea seems to be that "the government fears an armed citizenry" (verbiage taken directly from the bumper sticker of an F-150 that always seems to be commuting back to Louisville at the same time I do), and that, as long as we all have guns, we will keep the government "honest". The government has gone from being "us" to being "them".
For a moment, let's assume that we can all agree on what it means to keep the government honest, which we clearly do not. If we depend on our guns to control the government, then we are making two related errors: one, that our government can be broadly influenced by the level of force our "armed citizenry" can muster; and two, that those who bear the brunt of our violence would be the people repressing us.
You can be sure that the guy running around with the store keys hanging off his belt doesn't own the joint. In the same way, you can be sure you won't be shooting at real power. Just who do you expect to be prying your gun from your cold, dead fingers? That police officer keeping you from waving your guns around at your teabagger rallies may be the government's proxy, but he is NOT the government. As a matter of fact, the average police officer is more conservative than not (except, tellingly, when it comes to the subject under discussion: many, if not most, cops are pro-gun control). He (or she) is just a working stiff, trying to get home alive to live his version of the American dream. Incongruously, the knife's edge of what the teabaggers fear are the very law and order types they celebrate. As for the left, how can you claim you are fighting "the man" for the benefit of "the common man" when your guns are pointed at "the common man", not "the man"? The people who really run this country won't show up at your door with weapons - they have people that do their dirty work. The people between them and the muzzle of your gun are very much like you, no matter what you claim your politics to be. They are the ruling elite's shock absorbers, isolating them from the bumps in the road - and you, friends, are never more than bumps in the road to them.
"So that's the way it has to be", you claim . . . "you're either with us or against us". "Unfortunate collateral damage," maybe. Or, the old "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" nugget. Okay, fine. That's how revolutions normally run, it seems. But do you think your guns are really going to make a difference?
Let me clue you in to a little secret: THERE ARE ALWAYS BIGGER GUNS. AND THE GOVERNMENT HAS THEM. Got yourself a little stash of nines? They'll show up with the SWAT team, all sniper rifles and night vision scopes. Pull out your AK, and they'll show up with tanks and flamethrowers. Get yourself a seriously strapped posse, and they'll whip out their joysticks and fire up the Predator drones. There's always more weaponry, and the government has it. Talk about insurgencies all you want, but at the end of the day, insurgency is only as successful as the masters will let it be . . . you could go all Israeli on an insurgency, and it wouldn't last long. Or, it would only last as long as it takes to kill the insurgents. As long as you make violence the game, then those capable of the most violence will win. And no man, no group of men, is as versed in the art of violence and domination than the historical pillars of state and capital.
Indeed, the next war for independence will not be fought with muskets. And you're just as fucked if you're trying to fight it with an AK. Who do you think did the most for the black civil rights cause: King or the Panthers? We lefties fetishize the Panthers' revolutionary chic just like the teabaggers fetishize their guns . . . but ultimately, it is will, not violence, that wins the day. Beyond that, if you still think your AK is the ultimate fashion accessory for the next revolution, you're an idiot. "Lawyers, guns, and money?" Leave the guns at home, pal.
Ask the Chinese what it takes, since they apparently know: cash and computers. Kim Jong Il shakes his fist at Sam with some missile tests, the Chinese get into Pentagon computers. Who's gonna make you paranoid? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad talks about vanquishing the infidels, and the Chinese buy up huge chunks of our national debt. Who really keeps you up at night? I'm not advocating another bogeyman for our nightmares, but I am pointing out that the distribution of power is becoming (at best) tangentially related to weaponry on the macro level . . . and as above, so below.
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I've been pro-gun control most of my adult life. I have lately come to count myself in the "guns don't kill people, people do" camp. The places that resist gun control most strenuously (the wide-open west, rural areas, etc.) probably don't need gun control. Gun control is not a bad idea in places like Baltimore, D.C., Detroit, etc., where people support it. See how well that works out? Guns aren't the problem, people shooting people is the problem. Gun control should always be considered a stopgap measure, a treatment a symptom rather than a solution to a problem . . . which doesn't mean it can't be useful in places where people are shooting each other at a ridiculous rate.
Unfortunately, guns have become fetishized, not just by the far right, but also the far left. They have become symbols far beyond their practical measure, both to those who want them and those who would rid the world of them. In the end, guns are just another silly obsession that distracts us from what is really going on.