18 August 2009

Arrest the Gun Rebels!

Now it's personal.

In 1939, my grandfather, whom I never met, deprived my mother of a father from the age of 6 years old because of a deranged man with a gun who walked into his office, demanding his job back and when he didn't get it, he killed my grandfather before turning the weapon on himself. As a kid I could tell when the yahrzeit came because my mom would stand at the kitchen sink, around dinner time, and the loss would hit her hard. We said nothing, were more absorbed into the absence, its own memorial.

The moral of the story for us was that guns of any kind were banned from our house. Squirt guns, cap guns, bb guns--whatever your pleasure. They weren't allowed. It was a red line rule which we occasionally tried to break with squirt guns and you always knew it was in violation. Over the years, my mom's trauma turned from quiet sadness to disgust and in this later stage of her life, anger.

We were talking Sunday about this current insanity: American citizens showing up armed with weapons at rallies where the President of the United States and Members of Congress are exercising their democratically elected obligation of talking to citizens about policy changes for Health Care Reform. Showing up with guns and in the case with Arizona the other day NOT BEING ARRESTED!

The desire to fulminate about this outrageous, anarchistic rebellion against law and order is great. I can barely restrain my disgust with a segment of our republic--however small or large--that believes this is their right. It's not. And I'd like to see our President order his Secret Service and whatever security services he has at his disposal jail these amoral thugs immediately. That our leadership in either party cannot resoundingly condemn this is arguably one of the greatest signs we have of an impending leadership collapse in our country.

Our prisons are more crowded than most developed nations. We have a higher murder and violence rate than most developed countries. We also have an erroneously perceived "God given right" to carry weapons, the most delusional reading of the U.S. Constitution which at this point is openly threatening the Office of the President and Congress. How much more clear can the threat be before leadership acts and sends a clear message: in a democratically elected republic, the citizens who elected its leaders don't have the threaten violence?

I'll be the first person to admit that President Obama inherited a government in disorder and a nation drunk on war and violence and television and entertainment and the internet and any other distraction you can think of. I'll be the first to admit that the President has inherited a "bi-partisan" system that doesn't work and instead goes running to the cable networks and bloggers so that each office holder can position him or herself for his or her own self-aggrandizement and so therefore can't get it all done right away. I'll be the first person to admit that as the nation's first African American President he can't move too aggressively, act too angrily, or push too hard in one direction or another because the country is polarized enough as it is.

But let me ask this: Which side of America do you stand on when you live in a land where people show up with weapons at events with the President and Members of Congress?

Forget Blue States and Red States. These people have spinning lies for over a year about the President of the United States. He's not a Muslim. He was born in America. He's not a Socialist. But told over and over and over again, they're now backing up their lies with the threat of violence.

Madness is breaking out in the United States of America. These violent rebels should be jailed and never be allowed to carry weapons again. Are there any breaks on this train wreck? Can we expect real leadership from the President and our elected officials on this? Or do we brace ourselves for the next memorial, when some child weeps as evening falls, because we sat back and did nothing when someone shot mother or father for trying to serve the nation?


HW said...

Amen. The guns at political events is a scary thing indeed.

EK said...

Actually, it is their right. There were no shots fired, and according to the linked story “no crimes were committed.” What they wanted was to exercise, openly, their Founding-Fathers given right. If they caused violence or even sought to cause violence then they should hopefully have been jailed to the limit, but what kind of justice do you seek by jailing those who exercise a Constitutional right and harm no one?

As you mention, there’s a lot wrong with our national culture focusing on petty things instead of doing what we used to do: invent, produce, build, export, cure polio, go to the moon, win a war totally, etc. In the current state of affairs and probably for a while we are and will be paying for our sins. This is natural. The people realize it. They realize they screwed up and they’re scared. They don’t want it to continue and they’re letting the politicians know they care. People are losing jobs. People are losing money. People are losing houses. People are losing their accustomed lifestyles. Some people don’t want to lose their country too. But they see it happening, one dollar added to the debt at a time, one freedom or choice taken away at a time, one more government job and one less private job at a time. These people don’t want revolution, they want truth and justice. They want to hear, "we’ll insure 46 million people, but teachers and police will be paid less." Or "we’ll insure 46 million people, but instead of taking home $40,000 a year you’ll get $37,000 doing the same work." It’s not that they want to K the P (don’t want to hit algorithm and get a knock on the door- and also maybe some nuts do and should be locked up forever). They want honesty and to be heard. In this case, they really want to be heard, hence the guns.

If you want to get rid of the second amendment, then you want to live in a different country, because this would not be America without the second amendment. Could you get rid of the second commandment? Not ignore, erase. If you think it could be possible, would it still be Judaism if you got rid of the other commandments, too? The same goes with the Constitution. If there is no second amendment, what is there to protect our other rights? If the government gets rid of the second amendment, it’s reached a level of fear of its citizens, and if it’s that afraid of its citizens, you better believe it won’t stop at #2. This is not the case now thankfully, but if it were, your blog and my response would be toast. So I hope you will change your mind about the “rebels”. Please continue to denounce violence but don’t condemn those who would defend your free speech.

In the land we inherited from our forefathers, if the government is not serving the interest of we the people, what can we do? For now, and God willing in the future, protest. In peace. With guns.

Andy Bachman said...

EK. Walking around with a gun has nothing to do with health care and nothing to do with getting one's job back. The 2nd Amendment has been misread for a long, long time. And the supposed "right" to walk around with a weapon is a classic example of that misreading. Violence and intimidation, especially when it comes to race (and I don't recall people showing up with guns at Bush rallies the last 8 years) is deeply encoded in this debate.

By the way: I'm not proposing getting rid of the 2nd Amendment any more than getting rid of one of the 10 commandments, to use your analogy. But in Judaism, as in Constitutional Law, we "interpret" those words. And I don't read "assault weapons" and "guns at Presidential rallies" ANYWHERE in the 2nd Amendment.

We simply disagree.