As is our weekend habit, please do consider this a semi-open thread. I would like to thank the folks who donated to the annual December fundraising drive during its first week. We are a bit behind last year's donation levels so far. My work here--the podcast, writing, and the like--is a labor of love. During 2015, I have expanded the podcast, and my range of writing and other work.
If you would like to support those endeavors--and show a brother some holiday love--please throw some copper, gold, or silver into the Paypal link on the right-hand side of the screen.
The AR-15/M-16 series of weapons are designed as high capacity weapons, using an "intermediate" sized round, made for short to mid range engagement that would enable one person, who is not necessarily a highly skilled marksmen, to deliver lethal and effective fire both in terms of range and accuracy. The civilian and military version of the two series of weapons are fundamentally the same (the military versions may have additional fire selections, but soldiers are usually trained to use the semi-automatic setting as preferable...which is the way that the civilian version actually functions).
Moreover, the popularity of the weapons used in Wednesday's San Bernardino massacre are rooted precisely in how they are "iconic", the same basic guns used by American grunts from Vietnam to the present. It is common sense that such weapons should not be available for civilian purchase.
Of course, nothing will be done to combat gun violence in the United States. Obama will say this must stop. The public's will to have better enforcement of existing gun laws and to expand background checks will be ignored (the Gallup data is very interesting in terms of trends and changes, or lack thereof in some areas, over time). The NRA and the gun manufacturers have the American people--and at least one of the country's two main political parties--in a literal death lock.
Ammosexuals and the Gun Right respond to calls for reasonable gun control with apoplectic rage. They take the symbolism of an American with his or her "freedom stick" fighting against "tyranny" to heart. It is part of their insecurity and desperate belief that they could somehow, in an age where soft authoritarianism is already the norm, stand up against a modern tank or drone. The gun is a demand for relevance, to play some role in a society where in many ways traditional norms of masculinity are obsolescent.
The gun also provides a sense of security. Here, I do not mean against street crime or the random burglar. Rather, a sense that the gun will protect its (white American) owner from the hordes of Syrian, Muslim, "terrorists", black and brown people "taking over" "real America". If a given white person actually believes that white people are facing some type of "demographic suicide", becoming "minorities" in their own country, then the gun, again, becomes the focus of racial, social, political, and personal anxiety.
There will be no reasonable gun control in the United States at present both 1) because of the out-sized power of a very small and well funded lobbying group called the NRA to subvert democracy, and 2) the fetish power of the gun. Reason has a very difficult time defeating magical thinking. Thus, the American people will continue to sacrifice their lives at the altar of the gun gods.