Tuesday, August 7, 2012

America's Dark Shadows: Aurora, Sikhs and Guns by Michael Vlahos - The Globalist

This is one of THE most useful essays I have ever read about guns and America.  I learned a great deal from this man who is neither pro nor anti gun, one who simply describes why things are the way they are and why they cannot change.

America's Dark Shadows: Aurora, Sikhs and Guns by Michael Vlahos - The Globalist

I wish I could write so eloquently about Climate Change


  1. I think he missed something here. True no regulation will bring about an end to the violence we've witnessed of late but he seems to have forgotten a few things. Fifty years ago in this country such events were unheard of. When I was a kid no one carried a gun to school or even after school. Armed robberies were a rarity. And why you might ask? Because back then there were unwritten rules of society which were more powerful than any law. It was considered unfitting or cowardly to meet an opponent behind the school with anything more than your fists. And the worst outcome was a black eye and having to explain the embarrassment later. Doors always seemed to get in the way if you know what I mean.
    Somewhere along the line things changed dramatically. The factors I can only guess at. For one our moral codes in entertainment were dropped. There was the increase in drug use. There was easier access to guns and the stigma against their use all but disappeared. And at the same time our turning away from mental health. There's been a shift from the fear of consequences to a lack of respect for the peace and social order that was once cherished.
    I don't think there'll be a law to change this but a shift in attitudes might. Whether we can regain our moral compass remains to be seen.

    1. Excellent points. The author explains why American feel about guns the way they do but does not explain the changes in the last 30 years that make such tragedies as Arizona, Aurora or the Sikh Temple an almost weekly occurrence.
      I agree that the violence in video games and in movies has enured people to violence. Even in the gun-happy days of the "old west" there were rules. Including check your gun into the nearest store or saloon when you are in Dodge.
      The increase in drug use is a symptom of a far greater problem in America and spreading to many other countries with similar economic problems such as Russia. And it is the illegality of it (and hence profitability) that creates the gun violence.
      It truly is all about attitude. But attitudes do not change out of the blue. They are driven by events which are driven by policies which are driven by money.

    2. I'm seeing a shift in Canadian gun violence. We've now witnessed a mall shooting in Toronto and gang violence in Vancouver. Which makes me wonder. I haven't seen any changes in the gun laws there or any big push by some gun lobby.
      And it's interesting to note that the states here with the most lax gun laws have the highest rate or murders and suicides. The exception being Chicago but there the guns are brought in illegally from outside.
      Just wonder how Russia and Ukraine deal with the situation.

    3. Murders here and in Russia tend to be paid hits that are never solved because everything is too close to the top and is either political or business corruption. Weapons plentiful for hunting, even in Soviet times but pistols etc are from the military, I think and readily available to the right people. Or just beat them to death.

    4. "Fifty years ago in this country such events were unheard of. When I was a kid no one carried a gun to school or even after school. . ."

      The following are but two of a long, long list at Wikipedia, 3 History of School Shootings in the United States

      February 2, 1960: Hartford City, Indiana Principal Leonard Redden shot and killed two teachers with a shotgun at William Reed Elementary School in Hartford City, Indiana, before fleeing into a remote forest, where he committed suicide.

      August 1, 1966: University of Texas Massacre Charles Whitman climbs atop the observation deck at the University of Texas-Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31 during a 96-minute shooting rampage.

      Incidents are listed from the 1700s to the present.

    5. I read the list and basically most of it appears to support both the author and Demeur.

      Other than the blowing up of a school in 1927, the first real modern school attack with multiple random senseless killings was Texas in 1966. After that they increased every decade.

      Most of the shootings prior to 1966 were ordinary murders many of which which could have occurred anywhere. They were individuals taking justice into their own hands for perceived wrongs with specific targets. Even the students had specific targets.

  2. It is an interesting essay with some elements of truth to it. However, I find it weakened with conclusion jumping and way overdrawn.

    "'Citizen and state' is the most contentious creedal element in national identity, and is itself argued through the symbolic venue of killing with a gun."

    I don't buy it. Neither Jared Loughner nor this Holmes character was making a symbolic statement about guns or politics. They were trying to satisfy a very person need. They were acting out their own psychotic fantasies and seeking attention, demanding to be "somebody" out of sick and sickening inner terror that they were/are just one among many. To them, that was weakness, impotence, failure — in short, they feared being a nobody.

    "Pro-gun and anti-gun sectarianism remains the deepest fissure, a split almost, in our national identity today."

    I strongly disagree. It's an issue about which pressure groups people have extremely strong opposing views. A large segment of the population is ambivalent and vacillating about guns and gun rights — a big reason why there is no consensus on what to do about limiting gun rights. A big reason why few politicians want to lead the charge for more gun control in the wake of another shooting incident. They know an ambivalent, vacillating public is liable to shrink away when the going gets rough and, worse, could even turn on them if sufficiently bombarded with pro-gun propaganda. They know that because it's happened to other politicians who fought for greater gun control in the past.

    If there is a "most contentious creedal element in national identity" it race. More generally, the biggest dividing problem is intolerance against people who are different: racial minorities, first of all, then sexual orientation, ethnicity and socioeconomic strata. Conservative Republicans and their strategists have become masters at intensifying and exploiting these potential divisions for their own political gains The gun rights issue is only one of the divisions in their repertoire. It has big potential and is an important part, but far from the biggest and most potent.

    Citizen and state is a big talking point but rings hollow. It's code for a lot of things that go right back to fundamental human rights, constitutionally guaranteed rights, race and the desire of a segment of society, 28 percent to a third, to enforce repression and restriction of those rights on "different" people they feel must be controlled, must be kept in their place. It rings hollow because while they whine and bellow about out-of-control gummint and endangered individual rights and freedoms, they seek to limit those things for people they are prejudiced against, and they are all about using the power of the state to do it.

    1. "Neither Jared Loughner nor this Holmes character was making a symbolic statement about guns or politics. They were trying to satisfy a very person need...they feared being a nobody".

      I don't know. I am no psychiatrist. You may well be right.

      "A large segment of the population is ambivalent and vacillating about guns and gun rights".

      Are they not caught "between the individual and the state" as the author suggests? Any sign that "the state" may push them one way will tend to make them to go the opposite? Which is why the author believes nothing will change.

      And I totally agree with your last paragraph. These people love big government; the rich because it diverts tax money to them (wealth redistribution upwards) and the rest because they are basically authoritarian in their outlook, not democratic. Government should tell us what to do, not them.

  3. There is no doubt that this person have written really intelligently about Guns


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