Liberals who are sticking with their own Glocks

Our whole society--not just the wing nuts--celebrates the "Good Guys with Guns."

January 17, 2013
ARTICLE SOURCE: Socialist Worker

ANYBODY STILL hoping for a sensitive and serious national debate in the wake of the Newtown elementary school shootings probably hasn't heard that January 19 is Gun Appreciation Day.

Is it just me, or does it seem early this year? I've barely recovered from New Year's, and it's already time for making homemade, hollow-tipped ammo and gathering around the family firearm for carols (my personal favorite is "There's Nothing Semi-Automatic About Our Love").

Actually, Gun Appreciation Day [2] is a right-wing media stunt to protest the new momentum for gun control laws that has followed Adam Lanza's massacre in Newtown with a semiautomatic Bushmaster XM-15 rifle.

And Wade Michael Page's rampage in a Sikh temple with a Springfield Armory XD(M) 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

And James Holmes' movie theater shooting spree with a Remington 870 pump-action 12-gauge shotgun, Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle and Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

Sorry to bore you with technical details, but it is almost Gun Appreciation Day.

Reporters have noted the day's provocative timing: two days before Barack Obama's inauguration. It's also two days before Martin Luther King Day, which makes you wonder if gun worshippers want to create an annual alternative holiday for those who don't believe in peace and racial harmony.

.... CRAZY AS he is, we all know that LaPierre has tremendous influence in the Republican Party. Just last month, in fact, some wing nut senator introduced the "Save Our Schools Act" [4] to deploy the National Guard to schools.

Oh wait, that was no fringe Tea Partier. It was Barbara Boxer, liberal Democrat of California, proposing to send troops trained for night raids in Kandahar to kick in lockers in Kansas. So why hasn't Boxer been receiving a fraction of the scorn progressives have been dumping on the NRA?

One reason is the usual partisan hypocrisy of those whose own definitions of Good Guys and Bad Guys are based solely on the capital D or R next to their names.

More important, however, is the fact that many progressives who support limits on guns change their tune completely if those guns are carried by soldiers, police officers or any government agency allegedly serving the public good. At a time when American society has never been more militarized and patrolled, this leaves a gaping hole in the national discussion of weapons and violence.

Consider that 2012, the year that saw mass shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and Connecticut, also saw a celebration of "the greatest manhunt in history," as the posters for Katherine Bigelow's movie Zero Dark Thirty described the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Liberal commentators gushed over the realism of Bigelow's war-nography, just as they cheered every speaker who shouted "Bin Laden is dead" at the Democratic National Convention last summer.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg liberal promoter of gun violence
.... if you want to understand why it's equally foolish to expect gun control laws to have a real impact on gun violence in society, look no further than the domain of the NRA's arch-nemesis, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In the country's most appallingly unequal city, gun control is daily enforced by unconstitutional search and seizures by heavily armed Good Guy police using little evidence beyond the skin color of the suspected Bad Guys. Every case of racial profiling has the potential to end violently--as one did last February, for example, when Officer Richard Haste followed unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham into his apartment and fatally shot him in his own bathroom.

Michael Bloomberg hasn't spoken out once against this type of gun violence, and nobody expects him to. Every police department in the country operates under its own personal "Stand Your Ground" law, and always has.

I realize a neither-for-it-nor-against-it stance on gun control doesn't satisfy that urgent feeling we all had after Newtown that something must be done. But let's drop the pretense that any of the proposed legislation has a good chance of stopping the next shooting. Obama's proposed restrictions on assault rifles and ammo are very limited, which is just as well, because prohibition has a pretty awful track record.

If you want to do something that can prevent future gun violence, how about joining the family of Ramarley Graham in pushing for officer Richard Haste to be convicted of murder? That would put one particular group of repeat volent offenders on notice that they'll be held accountable. And it might help in creating a culture where it's impossible for anyone to think that they're part of the Good Guys with Guns.

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