I have resisted either thinking or writing about this recent carnage in a Connecticut school where a disturbed young man decided to spray bullets from a high-capacity semi-automatic gun into a school full of children and teachers. There is no guarantee how long the media will cover this story given its short attention span and its careful monitoring of the “trending” news items. But I did want to clarify some self-righteous blather out there about gun control, second amendment, freedom and liberty. This is even among the so-called elite. Follow for example, this recent debate between Ta-Nehisi Coates (TNC) and Jeffrey Goldberg.
I cannot understand why Jeff Goldberg has convinced himself that he will stand up for some people to bear arms, even though he confesses that he is repulsed by the idea of shooting an unarmed animal, or for that matter discharging a weapon himself. He also informs us that he has never really lived or grown up around a lot of guns and generally is not a gun enthusiast. But he is keen to play moderator between the warring factions of gun-rights advocates and those who are calling for gun-control. What makes him qualified then to understand the need for others to bear arms or be a spokesman for them is unfathomable to me. His conviction is based around the sanctum sanctorum of the 2nd amendment which is anachronistic if not antideluvian in this day and age. On the other hand, I find Ta-Nehisi Coates’ arguments much more convincing and informed by personal experiences as recounted here when he says, “I grew up in a situation where violence was a fact of everyday life. Violence waited for you when you walked to school. Violence waited for you in class. Violence waited for you on the way. Violence waited for you on the way to football practice. Beatdowns at the bowling alleys. Shootings at the roller skating rinks.” So when he says he doesn’t really care for guns it would make sense, because he grew up around them. With his portly self, Jeff Goldberg instead looks like he grew up around a lot of “rugelach” and “challah”.
I recount all this because my young nephew who engages in some leisure writing has been engaged in this spat recently. He has convinced himself that he is a libertarian. Anyway, like Jeff Goldberg, also not having grown up around any guns, his libertarian streak advocates for assault weapons and I’ll leave it there. This made me think about the general dissonance and paradoxical nature, and hypocrisy of the opinions in this area. Well, to be fair to Goldberg, even he looks askance at libertarians and their hands-off approach on gun control, when he says, “Yes, I know that some libertarian purists believe that the government should not have any role to play in the regulation of gun-ownership, per their reading of the 2nd Amendment. I just can’t go there, however.”
Dissonance and Paradox:
How is it that the very people who stand up for the rights of people to bear arms, will deny women the right to choose what to do with their own reproductive decisions?
How is it that this very people would consider any attempt or discussion of reforming a health care system which everyone agrees is crushing under its own weight as instituting “death panels”?
As TNC points out in that debate with Jeff Goldberg, the NRA was originally founded with the principal purpose of gun control and as described by UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, where, “in the 1920s and ’30s, the NRA was at the forefront of the gun control movement. The NRA helped draft and promote, in state after state, laws that restricted the ability of people to carry guns in public“. They were joined by the Ku Klux Klan in disarming freed blacks who bore arms so that they could protect themselves from the tyrannical oppression of a white majority government. However, today, NRA and gun-rights advocates typically trend with secessionists, survivalists, Confederacy nostalgia, and a lot of white supremacists. The perfectly coiffured Wayne Lapierre knows who his supporters are, and does not hesitate in spreading fear amongst them. The racist roots of gun ownership and gun control in this country are well documented by historians – “Slave possession of firearms was a necessity at times in a frontier society, yet laws continued to be passed in an attempt to prohibit slaves or free blacks from possessing firearms, except under very restrictively controlled conditions. Similarly, in the sixteenth century the colony of New Spain, terrified of black slave revolts, prohibited all blacks, free and slave, from carrying arms.“