Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is Santa Claus Giving All the Good Little Boys and Girls Guns for Christmas? Richard Slotkin and Lt. Colonel Robert Bateman Team Up to Give the Gun Right Coal in Their Stockings One Year After the Sandy Hook Massacre

First, I would like to thank those readers who donated to the annual fundraiser here at We Are Respectable Negroes. I was impressed and also pleasantly surprised by the kind notes and monies sent to further my efforts here. Some donations are still trickling in even today. So kind.

I also hope that all of you will have a restful and relaxed next week or so. Please do right by one another and yourselves. I emphasize the last part of that suggestion because many people get caught up in playing a role and forget their mental health and the wise observation that charity starts at home. Be good to yourselves folks. Always take care of you first whenever possible.

I did not write anything about the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. Why? The American people are content to be prisoners of the Gun Right, and to continue to sacrifice their children to Moloch in order to protect their "Constitutional freedoms" and "right" to "bear arms". 

Gun violence is a public health problem. The American people are not willing to hold their elected officials accountable for their political fellatio of the gun lobby at the expense of our collective safety and security. 

While many children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook, and the "national conversation" about gun violence and gun ownership was stillborn even then, (how could it really be anything else?), why expend the energy trying to bring a critical voice to a topic that the American people have surrendered?

Moreover, there are really smart folks writing and thinking about how gun violence in America is a cultural problem that is reflected by broken public policies. I would prefer to listen to and learn from them, and subsequently share their work here on WARN.

When I was shilling for our fundraiser, I mentioned the good work I am trying to do through the site's podcast series.

For example, one of the first guests who sat down and chatted with me there was Professor Richard Slotkin. He is one of the country's foremost experts on America's centuries-long culture of gun violence. Because of the help of some of the friends of WARN, I was able to connect with Dr. Slotkin and talk with him on our podcast series about gun violence, Sandy Hook, and why reasonable gun control policies are verboten in the United States.

I work hard to bring smart and interesting guests (and their insights) to We Are Respectable Negroes. Thus, I have no shame in calling out my/our successes in that regard. I smiled as I listened to and watched Dr. Slotkin on PBS. Again, we are doing something special here on WARN. I have even more essential guests lined up for the remainder of this season of the podcast, and for Season Three as well.

Two is almost always better than one in most positive situations in life. As a complement to Dr. Slotkin's wisdom on gun violence and America's gun culture, I would also like to share the much discussed piece by Lt. Colonel Robert Bateman that was greeted with howls and pain by the Gun Right "they are coming to take our guns away/symbols of embattled masculinity" at Esquire.

He offers several suggestions for dealing with gun violence in the United States. I was especially partial to these two:
Guns are tools. I use these tools in my job. But like all tools one must be trained and educated in their use. Weapons are there for the "well regulated militia." Their use, therefore, must be in defense of the nation. Shooting and killing somebody because they were not "upset enough" over the loss of a college football team should not be possible in our great nation. Which is why I am adding the following "Gun Plank" to the Bateman-Pierce platform. Here are some suggestions: 
1. The only guns permitted will be the following:
a. Smoothbore or Rifled muzzle-loading blackpowder muskets. No 7-11 in history has ever been held up with one of these.
b. Double-barrel breech-loading shotguns. Hunting with these is valid.
c. Bolt-action rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds. Like I said, hunting is valid. But if you cannot bring down a defenseless deer in under five rounds, then you have no fking reason to be holding a killing tool in the first place... 
5. We will initiate a nationwide "buy-back" program, effective immediately, with the payouts coming from the DoD budget. This buy-back program will start purchasing weapons at 200 percent of their face value the first year, 150 percent the second year, 100 percent the third year. Thereafter there will be a 10 year pause, at which point the guns can be sold to the government at 10 percent of their value for the next 50 years.
In our discussions of the sick phenomenon that is mass shootings and gun violence in the United States, I have shared how I am dismayed by the ease at which civilians can have access to military weaponry (whatever the nomenclature or games with naming for marketing practices and for deflection by the Gun Right, a "military style" weapon is for all intents and purposes a "military weapon", and as such should not be owned by civilians), yet by comparison getting a drivers licence is far more difficult.

Lt. Colonel Bateman's suggestions echo my own thoughts on how to deal with guns as a public health issue.

[I have argued that there should be extensive background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun, a license/certificate of sanity issued by a doctor, mandatory training, at least a 30 day waiting period, a limit on the number of weapons that a single person can own, and mandatory gun insurance].

What do you have planned for the holidays? Are any of you buying guns or giving them as gifts to your family, loved ones, or children? Are such gestures misunderstood by those who are not members of the Gun Right and that believe in reasonable and more strict gun control laws?


chauncey devega said...

The almighty framers--sound like superheroes huh--wanted citizens to be equipped w. "modern day muskets", i.e. assault rifles. Will we take the Scalia road when pulse and plasma rifles are developed too? Got to make sure the militia is well-equipped!

Hee haw!

You know my position. It is shared by others--the modern militia is the national guard. If you want to play soldier join up. Folks can have 2 guns 1 pistol and 1 long rifle. No need for more. The idea that a bunch of individuals running around w. guns are some type of guarantor of civil liberties against the modern warfighting and surveillance power of the state is a joke.

kscoyote said...

Why aren't we just calling this the "Shoot-em Up Game," as parallel to the "knockout game?"

Justin M. White said...

I think there would have to be some modifications to your "maximum guns per person" idea. My grandfather pointed out to me once that he has 9 guns and never bought one of them. And all of them, including his grandfather's pistol (the rest are shotguns and small rifles), are going to me one day, and these laws would not subject me or someone in my position to any background check, mental evaluation or waiting period. Even though I have no plans to buy myself a gun at any point, at that time I'll be the owner of several guns, and not really wanting to part with any of them for sentimentality's sake. I'd be willing to have some of them rendered inert, but I doubt collectors of antiques or heirlooms would feel the same way I would, as it would turn their historic tool into a mantelpiece, in their eyes. And even I would prefer to keep them intact, as I won't be buying any ammo for them anyway unless I decide to go shoot targets with a .22 for fun.

Gable1111 said...

This is a sad story, but indicative of what this gun "debate" is really all about:

"In Conway, S.C., Sheila Gaskin is still trying to save enough money for her grandson’s headstone. Last Christmas, 2-year-old Sincere Smith swiped his father’s loaded pistol off a table, and accidentally shot himself in the upper chest. He died hours later from his wound. Gaskin’s visits to her grandson’s bare gravesite are a daily pilgrimage."

"Everyone knows where Sincere’s father, Rondell Smith, is. After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, he was sentenced in August to five years in prison. Now behind bars, he keeps a journal documenting his grief. Every memory he has of Sincere counts as something to reflect on. He thinks often of driving with Sincere, and looking back at him in the rear-view mirror, he tells HuffPost during a call from prison."

What happened here is like so many of these incidents, where they don't charge the parents or whoever the "responsible gun owner" is with a crime, because the thought is that, the "loss of a loved one is punishment enough." To do that is to have empathy for the survivors, including the errant gun owner.

But this just goes to show that racism is really ingrained, that a father who is suffering with his loss, as a result of his neglect, as much as this man apparently is, is accorded no such empathy that whites routinely are. When was the last time, or have you ever, heard of anyone white, and most of them are, who are in the same situation, end up in prison? You don't.

This also illustrates the dog whistle the term, "responsible gun owner" really is. Its another term for a white person. You cannot be black and be a responsible gun owner. And to say it plainly, they see the intent of the second amendment as giving rights exclusively to white folk to own guns to protect themselves against blacks. Therefore, the second amendment does not exist to protect people like Marissa Alexander, or to define this father as a "responsible gun owner" afforded the empathy to grieve in the wake of an accident like this that caused the death of a loved one.

kokanee said...

Nikki Giovanni was on DemocracyNow! on Monday (12/16/13). Regarding Obama's statement on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, she had an excellent retort:
Obama: And on this anniversary of a day we will never forget, that’s the example we should continue to follow, because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We
have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved and valued and cared for. And as we do, we can’t lose sight of the fact that real
change won’t come from Washington. It will come the way it’s always come: from you, from the American people.

GIOVANNI: I think we need leadership. I thought that was a pitiful statement the president made. Washington certainly does make changes, and usually
they’re negative changes. Washington says take off your shoes before you can get on an airplane. Or Washington says we’re only going to have, you know, so much fluoride. Washington makes changes. So why is it, when it comes to gun control, all of a sudden it’s "We need the American people"? No, we need leadership. We need the president, and we need our
senators, we need the people who care, to be as strong in their views as the NRA is strong about wanting every American on Earth to have a gun.
Obviously guns are a bad idea. They’re an idea
of the 18th and 19th century. They’re just not a 20, 21st century thing. You know, they’re just not necessary. It’s just not the way we do that. And we need leadership. And I’m tired of watching the people that say they care bow down to the people that we know don’t.

Watch or read the entire interview here:

and here:

chauncey devega said...

We have to be precise here.

1. Scalia and other strict constructionist types believe that we should take the framers at their word. Of course, on guns this does not apply. The framers said "militia" intentionally. Today's militia is the national guard.

2. Muskets are muskets. The framers were writing about weapons that could be fired by trained users about 3 or so times a minute, maybe a bit faster later in the 19th c. They were not writing about assault rifles which are a specific class of weapons developed at the end of ww2 whose current versions include the m16, ak or their "civilian" equivalents. Those weapons are order of magnitude more powerful.

3. What if the constitution said each person was allowed one knight and horse? those were the "tanks" of their day. by implication would you reasonably argue that each citizen should be allowed an abrams series mbt?

4. We have talked about the af-am tradition of self-defense and guns on the podcast. We also talked about the Gun Right's fixation on distracting language such as "assault rifles" vs. "semi-automatic rifles" and the silliness of that talking point. Do check them out.

No one is talking about machine guns. That is another distraction thrown out their by the Gun Right.

I also have a great guest coming on in the new year who has written extensively about the af-am tradition of armed self-defense in the context of Jim and Jane Crow.

Should be a great talk.

chauncey devega said...

Yup. Which is why I say folks should join the National Guard. There is a standing military now in the U.S.. If you want to join up have at it. If it actually serves to "protect" our liberties is doubtful at this point. But that is a separate conversation.

chauncey devega said...

There should be a collector's license clause. But, it would have to be carefully written and defined so that folks who just want to have arsenals of prohibited weapons don't abuse the loophole.