Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Massacre Observations: Donald Trump's Conspiracy Theories and America's Assault Rifle Fetishes

On this Monday, the first day following the Orlando Massacre, the political script is developing quite predictably.

Donald Trump is rumor mongering, suggesting that Barack Obama is a traitor to the United States and that, "We're led by a man who either is not tough, not smart or has something else in mind". Trump, not one for subtlety, even goes so far as to suggest that President Obama has some type of special knowledge and insight into "Trojan Horses" from ISIS who seek to do the American people harm.

Mass murder in Orlando, Florida is political hay for Donald Trump...and he is only getting started.

Liberals, progressives, and others who understand that gun violence and mass shootings are a public health problem in the United States will hope that the Orlando massacre will lead the mass public to have a "Eureka!" moment where the country's leaders finally enact reasonable gun control measures that include banning military weapons such as the AR-15 from civilian use. This will not happen. The National Rifle Association's pockets are too deep; the gun manufacturers are too powerful; the ammosexuals are a loud, braying, politically active, and dangerous faction in the American body politic. 

After every mass shooting in America, the ammosexuals will trot out their tired talking points about how "inanimate objects" don't hurt people, it is people who shoot people, and that a "good guy" with a gun will stop a "bad guy" with a gun. Such claims do not hold up to critical scrutiny. Nor do they offer comfort to the dead and their families in places such as Orlando or Newtown. 

[Right-wing gun fetishists also have a new talking point online. They claim that Omar Mateen was a registered "Democrat". I do not know what this has to do with Mateen's decision to kill at least 49 people in an Orlando area nightclub late Saturday night/early Sunday morning.]

In response to the United States' macabre ritual of mass shootings by people armed with military weaponry, I offer up a basic observation. The AR-15 and other assault rifles are working exactly as designed. 

Military journalist CJ Chivers explain the form and function of the assault rifle as:
It is this: Assault rifles, whether we are discussing the original mass-produced items (the MP-43/44) or the design patterns that followed them (including the Automatic Kalashnikov and AR-15 lines and their many offspring), were conjured to form solely for the task of allowing men to more efficiently kill other men, with firearms that would be smaller, lighter in weight, more tactically versatile and require a lighter per-man effective ammunition load than the infantry rifles that preceded them. That much is beyond reasonable dispute. From there, conversations diverge.
I would add one more qualifier. The modern assault rifle is also designed so that a person of average to below average height, weight, and strength can become a proficient killer with a minimum of training.

The so-called "freedom musket"--what the Right-wing ammosexuals have christened the AR-15/M-16 family of weapons--is excellent at murdering Americans. Quite a "patriotic" weapon, is it not?

What narratives are you seeing develop--or not--in the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre? Where do we go from here?

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