My friends Jim and Lisa have a good post up over at Ranger Against War discussing the recent Colorado shootings I was fulminating over in the preceding post.
And - though it's not really the subject of their post - something came up over there that reminded me of a point of American politics that has always driven me fairly batshit.
That's the whole mythology centered around "Second Amendment Rights".
Now I'm not going to kid myself that Americans will ever give up their private firearms. We've had a pash for them since before we WERE Americans and that's not going to stop now.
And as a guy with two shotguns and a rifle in the gun safe, well, that'd be pretty hypocritical, anyway.
But that's not what bugs me.
The thing is, we WILL pay a price for private firearms. A blood price, different in causation but no different in effect than the one we pay for being able to get from Portland to Seattle in three hours, or for being able to eat food that other people prepare.
Those activities carry not just the risk but the certainty that at some point the brakes on the truck behind us will fail and the e. coli will lurk inside the hamburger. A statistical percentage of us will die, or be maimed, or injured, because of those things we want, and we accept that without a murmur because we consider our lives richer because of those things.
So with private firearms.
But automobiles and supermarkets are a practical necessity for our modern lives. We don't have to invent justifications for them.
We don't hunt for survival any more. And the chaos inherent in a vigilante society is why we armed and empowered policemen and soldiers.
So our private firearms are really just toys, and it's hard to find a reason to keep a deadly toy around the house. We certainly would let our kids play with an exploding Etch-a-Sketch, would we?
So the people who build bunkers around private firearms for a living - and, yes, I'm looking at you, National Rifle Association - have to fill their sandbags with pure-D, 100% straight-from-the-feedlot bullshit, and the stinkiest of the pile is the one about how Our Guns Will Defend Us From Tyranny!
But here's the things that make this utterly ridiculous.
1. The vast majority of the people in the U.S. who keep and bear arms are politically anywhere from mildly conservative to foaming-mouthed-Michelle-Malkin-wanking wingnuts. There's a relative handful of armed liberals in this country, and we tend to be a rare and lonely breed; there is no Liberal Militia.
2. Let's be honest with ourselves - the New Deal breed of U.S. nanny-state authoritarian is as dead as the dodo. Any "tyranny" that will arise in the U.S. in some future scenario will be wrapped in the flag, quoting Ronald Reagan, and carrying a cross.
3. All those wingnuts will lay their customized-fully-auto-AR-15s at the feet of this dictator like the goddamn freikorps. Even the "moderate conservatives" will be unlikely to take to the hills to resist the New Corporate Overlords, because
How have all those liberty-givin' guns done with that, anyway?
5. And with the red-meaters goin' all fascists those of us liberals, those who would fight, will be as helpless against their U.S. Army and the new freikorps as the old Rotfrontkämpferbund was against the old SA and their stahlhelm buddies. Not to mention that
6. To be a guerrilla fighter is to die. Silly movies aside, regular troops kill dozens of irregulars for every trooper they lose. Look at the WW2 statistics for the partisans in the occupied Soviet Union, for the maquis, for the Yugoslav and Greek partisan bands. The sorts of people who make good guerrillas are tough, brutal peasants whose "good life" sucks hard. Pampered Americans raised on television and McDonalds? We'd be lucky if one in a thousand of us managed to survive more than a week and bit more than wing one of the "oppressors" before buying it.
So...nope, the whole "guns keep us free" trope?
I loves me my old Lee-Enfield rifle. I still enjoy going to the range even though I no longer hunt with it.
But it's a toy. A luxury.
A toy that can kill one of my fellow Americans at half a mile.
And if I want to keep it - and I do - I should be willing to act the adult and stop coming up with ridiculous bullshit Wolverines! fantasies to make my case.
ISTM that the problem here is that we want to have our guns and our nobility, too.
We let people like the NRA promote these ridiculous fantasies when we know full well that we're not going to use our firearms to fight a desperate guerrilla war against the Nicaraguan or Chinese occupiers, or to overthrow the fascist dictator we elected in a fit of Limbaughism.
They're our toys, our security blankets, and our hobby.
And so that we may enjoy ourselves people will have to die.
We should have the balls to say that straight out.
In fact, I just did.
See? Isn't that simple?