There has been much hubbub regarding the record-breaking gun sales on Black Friday this year. People are not sure why. From USA Today:
Deputy Assistant FBI Director Jerry Pender said the checks, required by federal law, surged to 129,166 during the day, far surpassing the previous high of 97,848 on Black Friday of 2008.
The actual number of guns sold that day is probably markedly higher than the background checks; that number doesn’t allow for multiple guns purchased by a single buyer, for example. Some gun industry folk said the surge was due to first-time gun buyers wanting guns for protection and a growing number of women who are being drawn to sport shooting and hunting (perhaps it’s because Sarah Palin makes it look so damn sexy).
Some economic analysts think that not too much should be made out of the statistics because outdoorsy sporting goods stores that sell guns, like Cabelas, simply had really good deals on Black Friday that drew people in.
I’ve read their articles; I’ve heard their news reports. They’re missing the obvious. It’s all about the Second Amendment, one of our few Constitutional rights not currently threatened. Larry Keane, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said, “I think there also is a burgeoning awakening of the American public that they do have a constitutional right to own guns.”
Hmm, not quite.
A “burgeoning awakening that we have the right to own guns,” no, that is just silly. We know all about our right to bear arms. Few of us go a day or two without hearing someone yammering on about the Second Amendment, whether it’s our redneck cousin, a friend on Facebook talking about how it’s easier now to legally carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin than it is to vote, or Homer Simpson lamenting the waiting period (“but I’m angry now!”) It’s not a “burgeoning awakening that we have the right to own guns,” it a burgeoning realization that those who want to exercise our Constitutional rights best do it now. Since many other Amendments are no longer respected, people fear that the Second Amendment might also be bludgeoned to death, too. (No, they needn’t fear. There’s plenty of money and power protecting the Second Amendment. It ain’t going anywhere).
Still, it’s no wonder why the gun nuts and logical, sane people alike are getting nervous. We’re watching the Constitution be destroyed before our eyes. Bush used fear of terrorism to destroy our Fourth Amendment rights. Next, could the military soon be legally authorized to detain Americans with no trial?
. . . the bill the Senate is working on this week contains a provision that would authorize the U.S. military to indefinitely detain, without charge or trial, anyone they consider to be engaged in hostilities against the United States.
I have faith that the President would veto anything as egregious as this, but who knows, the Republicans could tack it on to the middle class tax cut extension. And then what?
We’ve been watching the Sixth Amendment fall apart since, oh, about 2001. Most of us are hoping (and praying, if we’re so inclined) that we don’t get accidentally mixed up in something that makes us look suspicious.
Many states are requiring unprecedented documentation for voting, marginalizing the elderly and minorities (adios, 19th and 15th Amendments!) Eight states have strict ID laws (Not surprisingly, Walker recently passed one in Wisconsin. Texas, we expect nothing less from you. But Kansas and Indiana, seriously, get over yourselves.) The Constitution does prohibit such actions; it even states in multiple places: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State.” But yet, states continue to pass crazy voter ID laws, obviously not to prevent voter fraud but to suppress the vote. (I want to go to law school just to learn how this could possibly happen).
And now, where on Earth is the First Amendment? People across the country are exercising their right to peaceably assemble, except that unless we’re with the Tea Party, it’s clear that Americans are simply not allowed to do that stuff anymore. Protestors are beaten with batons, their hair is yanked, students are pepper-sprayed, and anyone assembling might be abused and arrested. Police are tearing down Occupy camps across the country. People’s property is destroyed and referred to as “trash left behind by protestors.” Human beings are suffering painful chemical burns and nerve damage in their hands from too-tight zip cuffs. A must-read article about the LA Occupy arrests by the LAPD is by Patrick Meighan, a writer for Family Guy; in it, he writes about the 25 hours he spent in police custody for a misdemeanor charge for sitting in a park after the police said not to.
I was put on a paddywagon with other nonviolent protestors and taken to a parking garage in Parker Center. They forced us to kneel on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Some began to pass out. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. The LAPD officers watched and did nothing.
Frankly, I have never had any desire to own a gun. I don’t want one in my house. I grew up in a house with lots of guns and I never much cared for it. I’ve shot guns: I’ve done some damage to clay pigeons and clumps of dirt in the field. I grew up in the country and have family members in the NRA. I used to fill shotgun shells in our basement. I know what you’re wondering: Yes, I have been shot. (I still have a dent on my ass from my sole gun-related injury, my brother’s bebe gun). But I personally think the Second Amendment was written for a different time with different fears, firearms, and social issues, and thus is irrelevant in this day and age. I’ve had the impression that gun nuts cling to the Second Amendment because they’re unsatisfied with other aspects of their lives. What better way to feel better about getting screwed over by your boss than to take it out on the federal government? Instead of channeling your rage appropriately, you get to imagine that the government is trying to take your guns away, then you get an excuse to buy more guns, the economy improves. Win, win, win!
I think voting, free speech, assembly, and privacy are exponentially more important than the right to keep a gun in my house (instead of just locking it in an armory when I’m done hunting). I can see why England puts up with such strict gun laws (a population of 51 million touts 39 deaths from gun-related crimes in 2008? Sign me up!)
But shoot, even though I like gun laws, I’m considering getting a gun myself. It might soon be one of few Constitutional rights; I may as well make the best of it.
I hear there will be a protest for the “protection of marriage” Thursday at George Washington University because Meghan McCain is speaking there, and she’s for equal rights for gays.
The GOP cracks me up. The most pleasant Republican I can think of is Meghan McCain, she’s their best bet for winning over younger Americans, and instead of kissing her bodacious ass as they should, they protest her, mock her, call her fat (see my post “Laura Ingraham: Quit Talking about Our Bodies) . . . that’s a party that should fire their bouncers and hire new ones who have a better concept of what kind of people to let in.
For years, I was told that all conservatism means is “less government.” I heard it everywhere: my dad, my brother, a guy I (very) briefly dated. “Less government” should mean that conservatives wouldn’t think that government should be concerned about sex, marriage, or whatever. Newsflash: Liberals and progressives are the ones who believe in protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I like that Meghan McCain’s presence is a near-constant reminder of the hypocrisy and overall suckiness of the GOP, but I do wish she’d switch teams. I’d take her out for cosmos.