Monday, April 16, 2012

The days of the "Wild West" are over...

...and the answer to reducing violent crime in America is NOT to have every citizen strap on a Colt .44 to be ready to respond whenever evil-doers are afoot. In fact that is a formula to increase violent crime (assuming that your definition of the term includes the death of innocent civilians when the pistol-packing vigilante acts rashly). So why is the NRA, aided and abetted by ALEC (if you don't know who they are, google it because you need to know), still promoting laws that permit unfettered access to firearms without any reasonable restrictions to prevent tragic situations like the recent death of Trayvon Martin?

OK, I'll tell you why, and it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment, although that adds a nice appearance of legitimacy to the movement, or a "well-regulated militia", or the need for citizens to "not be a victim" when confronted by someone who may do them harm, or to prevent a crime before it happens. No, it's none of those or any other possibly legitimate reason, it's for one reason and one reason only: PROFITS.

Guns and ammunition are big, big money makers. Of course the serious players are in the international gun-trade business arming nations to conduct war against one another (or against their own citizens) but the money to be made from domestic gun sales is nothing to be sneezed at. And the gun makers have created a lucrative domestic market by convincing millions of Americans that the only way to be safe in today's world is to own a gun, or several guns, and lots of ammunition. And they've organized an extremely effective lobbying campaign to enact legislation, at the state and federal levels, to eliminate reasonable and necessary restrictions on who can own a gun or the type of weapon or ammunition that is available to them. To my way of thinking, this is insane.

John Wayne is dead (Good rest his soul) and the last thing this country needs is a bunch of wannabes packing heat so they can be ready to shoot when they happen upon a perceived "bad guy". That's not justice, that's vigilantism and we don't need to return to that as the system of justice in our country.

I'm not opposed to gun ownership, in fact I have a couple myself, but advocating for unrestricted access to unlimited types of weapons and ammunition is just wrong, no matter how rich it makes a few manufacturers and their minions. And promoting legislation that removes any liability from the unnecessary use of deadly force with a firearm, as in the "stand your ground" laws written by ALEC, promoted by the NRA and passed by many state legislatures, is totally insane. It has to stop!

There's something terribly wrong with a culture that allows an industry to garner huge profits at a cost of the deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent victims every year. And yet the march toward unfettered, unrestricted and uncontrolled gun ownership continues to be promoted in legislation, in the courts and in the press by an unholy alliance of special interests groups, capitalist cronies and outright lunatics, none of whom give a damn about what is right for the nation and all of it's citizens. From their point of view, the "wild west" where everyone packed a pistol on their hip and justice was determined by who could draw the fastest seems to be the ideal civic state. (Except maybe we shouldn't let Muslims have guns - that would be dangerous; oh, and maybe Hispanics and blacks couldn't be trusted with them either. I'm sure there are others, but you get the idea.)

The carnage will continue, and get worse, if the special interests continue to have their way in matters of gun control.

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