Moreover, Alex Jones' pro wrestling promo for a second American Revolution, Drudge's invocation of Hitler and Stalin in linking gun control to President Obama, and this screed by James Yeager (a gun rights "advocate" that threatens to murder people if "gun control" legislation is enacted in the United States) are further encouragement for how reasonable citizens can so easily dismiss the mental health of the "gun rights" crowd with such relative ease.
The Gun Right's standard bearers are unhinged cartoon characters who are not truly interested in the Common Good. However, these people are so very dangerous because they have the arsenal with which to carry out their paranoid fantasies of defense against "persecution" by a "tyrannical" government.
These same folks also have a very powerful network of lobbyists who do the bidding of the gun industry, and have mastered emotional appeals through the the language of "rights" and "freedom" in order to keep their corporate masters' tills full and overflowing with gold and treasure from the blood of children.
While taking a careful account of the crazy factor common to the Gun Right in the Age of Obama, we must not forget that the gun is a tool which has been used by freedom fighters, revolutionaries, and tyrants alike. As I discussed with Professor Ann Little in our most recent podcast, whatever we make of its semiotics, the gun is ultimately also a symbol of masculine power, the phallus, and control over life and death.
I like to share pithy bits of writing when I come upon them. I was reading Lost Battalions by Richard Slotkin (whose great interview with me about American identity and gun culture will be featured on WARN's podcast series this upcoming week) when I came up the following letter from Private Sidney Wilson, a black soldier serving in the United States Army during World War One, to the draft board in Jim and Jane Crow era Tennessee:
If afoads to the soldier boys wich you have sint so far away from home a great deal of pledger to write you a few line to let you know that you low-down Mother Fuckers can put a gun in our hands but who is able to take it out? We may go to France but I want to let you know that it will not be over with untill we straiten up this state. We feel like we have nothing to do with this war, so if you are thinks it, just wait till Uncle Sam puts a gun in the niggers hands and you will be sorry of it, because we have coloured luetinan up here, and thay is planning against this country everday. So all we wants now is the ammunition, then you can all look out, for we is coming.
He is no Rob Williams. The political philosophy is not fleshed out here; nor, does it rise to the level of political ideology. The anger is raw. His heart is real. But, this brother's understanding of the power of the gun, and both its practical and symbolic meaning, cannot be discounted.
Is this letter funny or sad? And how must white elites have been shaken up by how practical concerns such as the Civil War and World War One necessitated the mobilization of black men in wartime, when the latter would learn the lethal arts and then come home and demand their full citizenship rights (again and again and again)?
It is no wonder why the Racial State has repeatedly gone to such great lengths to oppress black and brown folks who had found the dignity of the gun and a uniform. We had paid our freedom dues; those who owed us the check would do anything to renege on payment in full. And eventually those same elites were bent (if not broken) as they made a tactical retreat and surrender to the inexorable demands of the Black Freedom Struggle during the Cold War.
As I am fond of asking, what is Sidney Wilson thinking about the United States today as he either looks on from the afterlife, or walks among us reincarnated?