texshelters

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

Pistols, Politicians, and Paranoia

In Current Events, Guns on March 31, 2012 at 20:38

91058529-stand-your from img.allvoices.com

People that obsess about guns and see them as the main solution to disputes are fear-filled paranoids. They make life less safe for the rest of us and now have fewer legal restraints to stop them from killing those who scare them. Just look at the rise of shootings in Florida since their stand your ground gun law passed.

justifiable-homicide-since-2005 from http://www.progressflorida.org

As a nation, most people are okay with gun ownership, and most people want some regulation. It is imperative that we fight laws that allow the shooting of people without cause and because of baseless fear and paranoia. Those laws have become known as the stand your ground laws.

Responses to a survey on gun regulation by the North America Research Center (NARC) at the University of Chicago indicates that the NRA and Republican legislators across the nation are out of touch with most Americans when it comes to gun regulations. So, who are all these gun laws allowing us to shoot each other for? Who benefits from deregulation and elimination of ownership restrictions, back-ground checks, and certain types of weapons and usage, and who is pushing these laws?

Table 1 Public Support for Measures to Regulate Firearms, 2006

% for Prohibiting
Gun Use When Under the Influence of Alcohol                             91 %
for Limiting Sales of High Power/50-caliber Rifles                     85 %
for Limiting Sales of Semi-automatic Assault Weapons             82 %
for Criminal Background Checks for Private Gun Sales              80 %
for Police Permits to Purchase Guns                                                79 %
for Stricter Gun Control after Terrorist Attacks                             76 %
for Illegal Gun Sales to be Punished More than Illegal Drugs 54%

Source: 2006 General Social Survey, n=1364

The NRA has fought any regulation of guns, including the sensible ones listed above that have overwhelming popular support. And the NRA, the corporatist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their conservative legislators are behind the stand your ground laws passed in 21 states.   Self defense laws are already on the books in every state, and stand your ground is a justification for murder. These laws give vigilantes permission to kill. We didn’t need these laws anymore than we needed a preemptive war against Iraq in 2003.

In the same University of Chicago survey, only 11% of respondents called for a ban on all handguns. So why are some Americans so afraid of loosing their guns even when few people are calling for a ban?

Stand your ground laws are for the politicians and the paranoid

Whatever happened to life in the common refrain from the Declaration of Independence,  “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness”?  According to the NRA, ALEC, conservative legislators and individuals all over this nation, life just isn’t as important as the right to shoot people you are afraid of. Those groups are behind laws that allow us to follow, hunt, and kill others and are the real threat to our security.

These laws are not about self-protection; the passage of these laws is dependent on our fear and misanthropy overriding our compassion and value of life. They depend on the fear of crime promoted through our mainstream media, politicians and groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America.

The NRA has paid lobbyists and lots of money to fire at politicians who don’t move lock step with their positions. While supposedly supporting the safety of gun owners, the NRA has made it easier for criminals to own guns. A law restricting large capacity ammunition clips such as the clip used by Jared Loughner to kill six people at Congresswoman Gifford’s rally over a year ago was block by the powerful NRA lobby from even getting a hearing in Congress. A law to close loopholes that help criminals skirt background checks when purchasing weapons at gun shows was also blocked by the group. And because the NRA depends on controversy to exist, they promote guns with ever extreme laws.

It appears that the property before life crowd has won in the United States. And in some of the most controversial cases, not only did people stand their ground, they chased after those they fear.

In one case, a man went free who chased down and stabbed a person who was looking suspicious near his property. Then there is the case of Joe Horn, 61, who saw two black men entering a neighbor’s property. He called 911, and the dispatcher told Horn to stay put and wait for the police to arrive. However, he took justice, and his shotgun, into his own hands and killed the two men. Horn’s life was not threatened, and neither was his own property, but Horn was cleared of homicide.

These laws have also been invoked in cases of bar fights, gang shootings, and road rage incidents to let those that killed others, whether by gun, knife or bat, go uncharged. In these cases, the killers were partially responsible for the situation in which they found themselves in (in bars, in gangs, or in a road rage situation where you can drive away) but still felt justified to murder.

When is it okay to take a life? Why are so many judges ruling it’s okay to go after someone not on your property and kill them? Why do so many people in the U.S. think that’s okay? The next time, just disagreeing with a paranoid gun handler will be enough for them to feel justified to kill you. And no, not all gun owners are paranoid, just the ones that will chase you down and kill you because they are afraid. Let’s hope you aren’t the next person on their list.

These laws make anyone willing to kill because they are afraid the judge, jury, and executioner.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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The Lie Behind “Cultural Marxism” and a message to foolish Republican Nativists

In Current Events, Economics, History on July 29, 2011 at 18:12

The term “Cultural Marxism” is used in an attempt keep fear of communism alive and well. It’s not just that people use the term to describe the abhorrent practices like the cultural revolution in China that killed millions of people, it is a term used to attack multiculturalism in the United States.

Like the nativist movements throughout U.S. history that fought to keep the nation pure, meaning White or Northern European (but not Irish), discussions of Cultural Marxism use fear to rile up the poor working class Whites against the impure elements. The historical list of the impure starts with the Irish, then Germans, Southern Europeans, Chinese and today it’s Mexicans and Muslims that are the targets of their ire.

Nativists will use all sorts of logical fallacies to promote this fear. Nativists argue that immigrants are hostile to the native culture and the immigrants presence ruins their “purity of essence”. However, there is no evidence of cross contamination between recent immigrant cultures and White Europeans that hasn’t been mutually beneficial or at the least, accepted by the dominant White culture. Whites don’t complain when they eat Chinese food or enjoy cheap lettuce and strawberries picked by Mexican and Central American labor; it is only during times of economic crisis or when the most recent immigrants start to succeed and move into previously White (or other powerful ethnic ghetto) dominate areas that they became perceived as threats to the White, Christian, Anglo Saxon culture.

When there is a precipitous rise in the population of a new immigrant group, the dominant group will work to exclude these immigrants using legal means and pass laws against them such as The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the recently passed SB 1070 in Arizona that allows racial profiling at traffic stops. Detentions of legal and illegal immigrants is also prevalent today in Arizona, as it was during the a time of great Chinese immigration of the late 19th Century.  And when legal means to exclude immigrants don’t work, extra-legal means such as arson, lynching, threats and murder will be tried as in the case of burning of Black churches in the South, the attacks on the Labor Party in Norway for supporting immigration and attacks on Muslims in the United States.

“…nativist movements resulted at times when there were major social, economic, or political upheavals taking place in the U.S. It was at these times American nativists would blame recent arriving immigrants or ethnic/religious groups different from their own for the troubles that America was experiencing. As a result, it was not uncommon for racist attitudes to develop against these scapegoats.”  (link)

So when times are tough, working class Whites and other poor look for scapegoats for their troubles. The most recent immigrants have less political and economic power and are thus easier targets for discriminatory laws passed as a reaction to fear. Ultimately, these tactics are used by powerful political and economic elites not because the elites fear immigrants, but as a tool to keep the poor fighting each other. It’s a distraction technique that gets the elite’s staunchest allies, the Republicans, elected.  What Republicans won’t mention when passing racist laws is that large corporations use immigrants, illegal and legal, for cheap labor in this nation. So while they decry immigration using nativist language and decry the “Cultural Marxism” of groups that might accept and aid recent immigrants, they use immigrant labor to keep labor costs down and increase profits. And many poor Whites join in the chorus to attack those who came to this country to better their lives like most of our ancestors did.

Why can’t conservatives who don’t like the culture in the United States be like punk rockers in England of the seventies and create their own culture? The fact is, Christian conservatives do, and they have nothing to fear of from us non-conservative, non-fear inducing multiculturalists. Quite the opposite. Like Anders Behring Breivik who killed dozens of people in Norway,  some who rail against this Cultural Marxism will use violence to make their point. The Klu Klux Klan, World Church of the Creator, Hal Turner, and Aryan Nations 88 among some 1,002 such documented hate groups in the United States.

While much of the recent up-tic in hate groups has been fueled by a rise in Mexican immigration, another factor is the election of the first African-American President in the United States. The Souther Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups in the U.S., writes, Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 54 percent. This surge has been fueled by fears of Latino immigration and, more recently, by the election of the country’s first African-American president and the economic crisis.” (link) Threats of violence by these hate groups is justified on the grounds of defense of culture and the Christian way of life. It is further promoted by the ignorant ramblings of right-wing bloggers and journalists.

Conservative writers use meaningless code words to scare their readers into joining their cause against the immigrant. Linda Kimball wrote in 2007 on the site American Thinker that, “…the New Left lacked cohesion it fell apart as a political movement.  However, its revolutionaries reorganized themselves into a multitude of single issue groups.  Thus we now have for example, radical feminists, black extremists, anti-war ‘peace’ activists, animal rights groups, radical environmentalists, and ‘gay’ rights groups.  All of these groups pursue their piece of the radical agenda through a complex network of organizations such as the Gay Straight Lesbian Educators Network (GSLEN), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), People for the American Way, United for Peace and Justice, Planned Parenthood, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), and Code Pink for Peace.” (link)

Ever noticed that conservatives can’t just write the word “feminist” without the term “radical” attached to it? But I digress. Ms. Kimball is against gay rights, peace, sexuality, justice, and civil liberties. She lists well recognized, evil organizations that promote multiculturalism and she does not need to explain to her audience what is bad about them. Working for equal rights of immigrants and minorities is a scary and “radical” agenda. It is understood in the ultra conservative sphere that groups that don’t live by a White, Christian agenda are all evil. The blogger on right wing websites such a FreeRepublic and Red State Reader use code words like “feminist”, “liberal”, “socialist”, “peace” to signify that these groups are working against their culture and are “Cultural Marxists”. Explaining the actual problems these organizations pose to our society would involve work, and you know how conservatives are lazy and aren’t willing to do the intellectual work to make a logical, cogent argument, right? They just want to live off the hard work of liberals online such as us.

Another great technique is demonstrated in the article by Ms. Kimball, guilt by association. If Ms. Kimball can compare the organizations listed, those working for the rights of Americans, to Soviet Communists, then her job is done. Most of us would agree that Soviet style communism was bad, and thus, these organizations must be bad as well because they are communist. It is easy to get people to fear all social programs when they are not educated in the difference between the Soviets and Social Security.

Many of these hard core cultural conservatives ask, “Who stole our culture?” Well, no one, really. (link)

If you live in a traditionally conservative family, you have the right to go to church, to watch conservative, Christian appropriate television programming, and to read the Bible and related literature. Christian culture is a available everywhere, from the Internet, to the Christian Broadcasting Network, to gospel records, Sunday Sermons on television and in churches all over American, cruises for Christians, Christian singles clubs, and so forth.

So, you don’t like Harry Potter and its promotion of witch craft. Then don’t read the books or watch the movies. I don’t like the religiosity of the Chronicles of Narnia, so I don’t watch the movies nor read the books. No one is forcing their culture on anyone. Culture happens organically, and in our market dominated economy, what sells is what become predominate in the media. Thus, Lady Gaga is a big part of the mainstream culture, like her or not. Evangelical and far-right conservatives want to promote free markets and free speech, until it leads to speech they don’t like.

There are a lot of media from television programs with gay characters to songs that sing about oral sex, that some Christians find objectionable. And yes, they are ubiquitous. But how can you really test your faith if you aren’t tempted? What about the tribulations that the Bible says all Christians must go through?

I don’t like all the war propaganda  in the news and in movies, but I mostly ignore it. It’s called freedom of speech, and it’s part of the United States. If you want to live in a theocracy, Saudi Arabia and Iran would gladly accept you, if you become Muslim. Or get into your time machine and go back to the 12th Century and join the crusades where you can kill for God and country.

Attack the poor and minorities as you are told and be a loyal foot soldier for the United States elites that would just as well see you die as prosper. Or you can put down your sword, love thy neighbor, and get on with your life.

Peace,
Tex Shelters