Guns as Sacred Objects

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firearms, Obama Administration

A gun buyback in Tucson, held on the 2nd anniversary of the Tucson mass shooting, has drawn objections from an NRA lobbyist. Why? Because the 206 guns bought by the Tucson police department are going to be destroyed.

Apparently there’s a law in Arizona that says if a firearm is abandoned and recovered by police, the police are required to re-sell the firearm to a licensed gun dealer. In Arizona, apparently, destroying a firearm is some kind of sacrilege.

I say someone should publish photographs of an assault rifle submerged in urine, and watch the Right freak out.

They’re freaking out already because Veep Joe Biden said something about executive orders and guns, and now visions of Hitler and Stalin are dancing in their paranoid little heads. There’s not a whole lot the executive can do without Congress — the Constitution worshipers don’t seem to read the thing much — but what little he could do could be a help. He could for example, beef up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and modernize the agency’s ability to track firearm sales.

He could not, however, unilaterally close the gun show loophole or reverse the law that prevents the Centers for Disease Control the National Institutes of Health from merely researching gun violence. Apparently, such research is sacrilege.

There’s a lot of talk about somehow tracking gun sales to people with mental health issues. Yep, nothing like a Crazy People Registry to further stigmatize psychiatric illness and stop people from seeking help. Also, how far would such tracking go? Would it be limited to people diagnosed with psychosis or extend to things like mood disorders or hyperactivity? You could be talking about more than half of all Americans, depending on criteria.

Truly, often the only difference between someone diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and someone considered “sane” is that only the former sought help and is getting treatment. For example, if we extend the tracking to people with personality disorders or paranoid delusions, the entire staff of the National Rifle Association would be included. The glitch would be that such people rarely are officially diagnosed until they face some kind of criminal charge and the court can order a psychiatric evaluation.

Seriously, I suspect that if you checked, most of the mass shooters going back many years had no prior diagnosis of mental illness.

I’d be the first one to say that someone diagnosed with psychosis shouldn’t be able to purchase firearms. But I also think that someone who already has an arsenal of assault weapons in his basement ought to be cut off from buying more also. And the severely psychotic often aren’t mentally organized enough to make a ham sandwich or find matching shoes, so correctly filling out a background check form would be quite a hurdle for them. Another argument for closing the gun show loophole.

Anyhoo — I highly recommend this opinion column by Eric Gorovitz of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Rather than join widespread calls from across the political spectrum for tightly regulating access to military-style assault weapons, the NRA called for the further mobilization of arms. …

… We can see clearly where this new rhetoric leads. If we must arm the schools to keep our kids safe, how can we extend the “cordon” to protect them when they go to the movies, unless we post armed guards in every theater? How will we keep the “monsters and predators” from the neighborhood playground, without an armed guard atop every slide? Once we’ve secured the theaters and parks, can we leave our children unprotected as they walk, innocently exposed to lurking evil, from one newly-protected haven to another? If we want to keep our children safe, and the only way to do that is by saturating their environments with firearms, how can we leave any place without the benefit of such protection? The armed schools proposal provides a terrifying glimpse into the NRA’s vision for America. …

… The gun lobby’s reverence for the Second Amendment has constricted its commitment to other constitutional principles. LaPierre lamented, without elaboration, “our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill,” prompting cries of foul from dedicated mental health advocates concerned with both the constitutional and the rhetorical implications of such a position. Gun lobby supporters launched an online petition calling for the deportation of British CNN commentator Piers Morgan, on the ironic ground that his commentary constitutes an “effort to undermine Bill of Rights.” In the last week, the gun lobby has revealed spectacular intolerance of the freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment, when guns are at issue.

These developments have shown that in the gun lobby’s America armed guards monitor our movements, the government maintains a database of perceived undesirables, and voices of dissent are eliminated. The gun lobby’s vision for the future has emerged from the shadows and declared itself the new home of American fascism.

Or, they can do what Stalin did and get everyone who disagrees with them added to the Crazy People Registry. The threat of being locked up for “treatment” ought to silence the resistance to the NRA once and for all.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 10, 2013 @10:26 am

    Is the NRA willing to pay for all of the security guards at schools, playgrounds, churches?
    In a word – NO!

    So, the government will have to.

    So, here’s my idea:
    If we want to “disarm” the NRA and Conservatives on their stance about arming every public place, and have them change their position, President Obama should tell them, “Well, since the NRA won’t pay for all of the security guards themselves through private means, and I’ve been looking for a Jobs Stimulus Package that we can get through Congress, to really give a huge positive jolt to the economy, this might be just what I’ve been looking for, so I think that having government pay for that is a GREAT idea! We’ll, of course, have to arm people in the schools in inner cities in URBAN areas. That will help keep violence down in those area’s, too – right? People in the inner cities will be too busy working as armed guards, to go out into other areas with their weapons. THANKS!!! I’ll even name this in your honor – ‘The NRA School Shootout and Arsenal Affirmative Action Stimulus.’ Right after, to pay for it, I’ll name the new Tax Increase, ‘The Wayne LaPierre and NRA School Security Assurance Tax.’”

    Let’s see what happens then.

  2. joanr16  •  Jan 10, 2013 @11:38 am

    Wayne LaPierre likes to rant about tracking mental illness, when in fact there’s a continuum of disturbed mental processes in the matter of guns. This whole “every gun is sacred” mania is, in my opinion, a clear form of mental illness. A bit farther along the continuum, it leads otherwise “sane” people to use firearms when there is a crisis in life– fired from job, college class failed, divorce, lost custody of kids, etc.

    Clearly, obsession with inanimate objects is mentally unhealthy. Reverence for inanimate objects is plain old scary-crazy. Just because the leaders of the gun lobby all appear to be “crazy like foxes” doesn’t mean they’re not, in the final analysis, obviously whacko. So, Mr. LaPierre, if there’s going to be a database of dangerous loons who are still at large, I nominate your name for the top of the list. Well, right after Alex Jones.

  3. biggerbox  •  Jan 10, 2013 @12:48 pm

    It amazes me that the very same people who would explode at the slightest hint of a suggestion of a thought about creating a national database of gun owners are willing to suggest a national database of people with mental illness. They really are not very good at logical reasoning.

    As for the totalitarian aspects of impending executive action, I’d just like to point out that Obama can’t even appoint a head official for the ATF without Congressional approval. I don’t think Hitler or Stalin had to worry about stuff like that.

  4. Swami  •  Jan 10, 2013 @1:32 pm

    joanr16 …Excellent comment and analysis..

  5. Stella  •  Jan 10, 2013 @2:06 pm

    I’d like to see a “well-regulated militia” mean that the only purchaser of guns and ammo is the regulator. Also a hefty tax on both would help. It would be a challenge to explain one’s need for a million bullets to the police, the National Guard, or the ATF.

  6. Swami  •  Jan 10, 2013 @4:08 pm

    They say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, so in that vein, I’d like to present my lastest contribution to the art world. I’ve titled it Piss Ron.

    PS. I had to drink a lot of coffee to create this masterpiece.

  7. joanr16  •  Jan 10, 2013 @4:48 pm

    Swami! Oh yeah you did!

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 10, 2013 @7:10 pm

    Swami,
    Nice!
    IMHO – it needs more a tad more yellow, though.
    But, then, wtf do we Art Critic’s know?

  9. erinyes  •  Jan 10, 2013 @7:16 pm

    OHHHH Swami, you’re going to hell now! (Heaven is, after all, a communist utopia.)



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