By Hani Hamdan, Engage Minnesota
Arms and liberty. There is an accepted connection between the two, a connection perpetually repeated by pro-gun pundits. Soon after the Sandy Hook tragedy, pro-gun activists took to the airwaves and the internet in a frenetic frenzy, warning the populace that their freedom is at stake and that they should stock up on all kinds of weapons before it’s too late, especially borderline-illegal heavy duty artillery that is just waiting to be outlawed by nature.
The frenzy worked.
So spectacularly so that weapon sales spiked high enough for me to say that the biggest beneficiary of every mass shooting appears to be the weapons manufacturing industry itself.
Sure – the solution is not a sweeping arms ban and I’m not here to defend such a ban. In fact, I’m all for being able to purchase a deterring weapon for safety when one has good reason to feel threatened in his/her home. However, I’m just not seeing the connection between liberty and guns.
First of all, since the writing of the Second Amendment, government has grown far more physically powerful, quantity and quality wise, than any militia within the US is capable of opposing. Recent years have seen many militias dismantled and apprehended by government forces with relative ease.
But the truly revealing fact about the disconnect between guns and liberty is that the government has already stripped us, the heavily armed people of the USA, of some of our most basic rights as a free people. Ever hear of the NDA Act that was signed by the president in 12/2011? It literally allows the military to detain any US citizen inside or outside of the US indefinitely and without due process. It’s currently being challenged by a few congressmen in order to allow for a “trial”, without stipulating a maximum length for detention or the kind of trial (could be a military tribunal). It is even said that some Americans are already detained under this act. It is, right now, law.
And how about the fact that the government is currently, and has been for a while, recording and storing every phone or internet conversation, every post, every e-mail, and every text message we send or receive? They may not be monitoring our conversations in real time (which they do whenever they so wish), but when they need to use our recorded communications against us years later, they’ll know where to look.
Have our weapons done anything to stop this? In fact, has any gun enthusiast done anything substantial to try to stop it even without using weapons? Here’s a list of the plaintiffs currently suing the Obama administration for the NDA Act, AKA those who are actually doing something about it:
Chris Hedges: an American journalist, author, and war correspondent. Self proclaimed liberal. Not a gun enthusiast.
Daniel Ellsberg: a former United States military analyst who does not have a YouTube channel flaunting his machine guns.
Noam Chomsky: an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, and activist. Probably the most soft spoken favorite target of conservative pundits. Can’t imagine him hurting a fly.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir: a member of the Icelandic Parliament, and she’s fighting for you, red blooded American with a semi automatic.
Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen: the founder and Executive Director of RevolutionTruth, an organization dedicated to restoring bla-bla-probably-never-fired-a-weapon-in-her-life.
Kai Wargalla: a student and activist who is involved in the Occupy Movement. Enough said.
Alexa O’Brien: who founded usdayofrage.org, which endorsed and helped organize the September 17 action to Occupy Wall Street. Will probably never be a guest on a conservative talk show.
I do not see a gun enthusiast on the list. So not only are weapons not doing anything to stop the government’s continual erosion of our civil liberties (because weapons really can’t), but weapon lovers are largely warming the benches as they pretend to be the only “real men” out there with their camouflage suits and beer.
Until I’m proven wrong, my gut feeling about gun lovers is right: they love guns because they love grown up toys. The only freedom they defend is the freedom to buy guns as an extension of the freedom to buy toys. There is nothing wrong with loving toys and God knows I have my share of toy obsessions, but if it’s liberty we seek, our options are the courts, the streets, and the media. Guns are not on the list simply because they are evidently not capable of forcing the government to give us freedom.
So instead of showing off your weapons on Youtube as if you’re the champion of liberty/manhood, why don’t you actually do something about the erosion of civil liberties by calling your Representative and demanding an end to the NDA Act?