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Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

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  • Ed Pearl
    Merry Christmas. I m caught in the middle of getting my Earthlink status changed to bulk (1,500 on my list), unfortunately, during the Christmas holiday.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 25, 2012
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      Merry Christmas. I'm caught in the middle of getting my Earthlink status
      changed to bulk (1,500 on
      my list), unfortunately, during the Christmas holiday. Until they get back
      to work I'm limited to 100 a day.
      So, I'm sending this out, primarily to list-serves, but also to a couple of
      dozen friends, new and old, who I
      think will appreciate this timely, inclusive essay, reflective of my own
      thoughts. I hope you'll pass it on.
      I wish all the happiest of Christmases
      Love, Ed

      From: earthactionnetwork@...
      [mailto:earthactionnetwork@...]
      Sent: Monday, December 24, 2012 9:45 PM

      < <http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/436-2nd-amendment>
      http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/436-2nd-amendment-
      rights/15200-focus-celebrating-the-prince-of-peace-in-the-land-of-guns>

      Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

      By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog

      24 December 12

      After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press
      conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true.
      Except the only world that was ending was the NRA's. Their bullying power to
      set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the
      massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at
      a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop
      owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest
      show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared
      Loughner.

      So here's my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

      These gun massacres aren't going to end any time soon.

      I'm sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it's true. That doesn't
      mean we shouldn't keep pushing forward - after all, the momentum is on our
      side. I know all of us - including me - would love to see the president and
      Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND
      semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We
      need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to
      regulate the ammo, too.

      But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will
      certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg - it is virtually
      impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of
      murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won't really bring
      about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem
      we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That
      did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

      In fact, let's be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so
      he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used
      were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an "assault"
      weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him
      seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook
      school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that
      morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that
      did.

      And here's the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The
      killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto
      the school grounds - i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns
      a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police
      officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns
      sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine
      High School the day of that massacre and he couldn't/didn't stop it.)

      I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a
      bunch of well-intended, necessary - but ultimately, mostly cosmetic -
      changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have
      guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns - mostly hunting guns - in their
      12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same
      violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games
      (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun
      murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don't kill
      each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we
      should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

      I'd like to try to answer that question.

      We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of
      violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn't
      attack us. We're currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often
      killing civilians.

      This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded
      on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each
      other in a civil war. We "tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter," and we
      rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate:
      every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or
      a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15
      seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

      We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death
      penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of
      letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are
      uninsured and thus don't see a doctor until it's too late.

      Why do we do this? One theory is simply "because we can." There is a level
      of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves
      into believing there's something exceptional about us that separates us from
      all those "other" countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the
      same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We
      think we're #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in
      science and 25th in math, and we're 35th in life expectancy. We believe we
      have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any
      western democracy. We're biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand
      and take what we want.

      And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of
      us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal
      results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we
      get all "sad" and "our hearts go out to the families" and presidents promise
      to take "meaningful action." Well, maybe this president means it this time.
      He'd better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

      While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask
      that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating
      factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence
      than most anyone else:

      1. POVERTY. If there's one thing that separates us from the rest of the
      developed world, it's this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in
      five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of
      those who aren't poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There's no doubt
      this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If
      you don't believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is
      making $50,000/year, what are the chances he's going to break into your
      home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

      2. FEAR/RACISM. We're an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike
      most nations, we've never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn't an invasion. We
      started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get
      why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in
      World War II). But what's our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the
      casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be
      amassing too many Tim Horton's donut shops on both sides of the border?

      No. It's because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period.
      The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live
      in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home
      invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the
      freckled-face kid from down the street - or is it someone who is, if not
      black, at least poor?

      I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-
      create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of
      the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and
      put away your guns.

      3. THE "ME" SOCIETY. I think it's the every-man-for-himself ethos of this
      country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing.
      Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You're not my problem! This is mine!

      Clearly, we are no longer our brother's and sister's keeper. You get sick
      and can't afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on
      your home? Not my problem. Can't afford to go to college? Not my problem.

      And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn't it? Take away
      too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to
      live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate
      reason to be in fear? I don't.

      I'm not saying it's perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my
      travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking
      care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental
      health help. And I wonder - why can't we do that? I think it's because in
      many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but
      rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an
      integral part of the whole. And you help them when they're in need, not
      punish them because they've had some misfortune or bad break. I have to
      believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is
      because there's less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most
      are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that
      makes it harder to kill one another.

      Well, there's some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don't
      forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will
      tell you that, if you can't nail a deer in three shots - and claim you need
      a clip of 30 rounds - you're not a hunter my friend, and you have no
      business owning a gun.

      Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!
      --
      You are currently on Mha Atma's Earth Action Network email list, option D
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      "War's never a winning thing, Charlie. You just lose all the time, and the
      one who loses last asks for terms. All I remember is a lot of losing and
      sadness and nothing good at the end of it. The end of it, Charles, that was
      a winning all to itself, having nothing to do with guns."

      --Ray Bradbury, from the short story "The Time Machine" 1957

      _____

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