Friday, June 23, 2017

One Person's Tyranny.

My upcoming newspaper column:
One side will say there are too many guns, the other not enough. One side will suggest new limitations on dangerous people getting guns, the other will see a slippery slope. Each will accuse the other of being the singular cause of all violence. We’ll hear of Jared Loughner and of James T. Hodgkinson. Hatred of Donald Trump will be pronounced unprecedented; that of Barack Obama dismissed. Fundraising political pitches will be made, condemned, and repeated. 
After Gabby Giffords was shot, politicians promised to cool their rhetoric, but didn’t. Screamers of the airways made no such promises, and delivered. There are as many guns in the hands of the public as there are members of the public. New laws or no laws, it is who we’ve become and will be, always. 
Hateful words abound on fringe websites of both sides. There, people make horrible, disgusting, violence-invoking comments. But here’s the thing, and it’s the area in which something could conceivably change: the leaders of only one party produce and encourage violent talk and threats. Offensive or not to say it, it’s true. To repeat, for clarity: the leaders. Not you. 
Only one party, via major candidates, Congressional representatives, and mouthpieces in the media, has lauded “Second Amendment Remedies.” It’s at the center of only one party, not its extremes, where you’ll be reminded about Thomas Jefferson and the Tree of Liberty and the Blood of Patriots. At only one party convention did major figures say the other party’s nominee should be locked up. Or shot. The candidate of only one party urged supporters to beat up protesters, promised to pay their legal bills; only one presidential scion considers opponents “not even people.” 
The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Alex Jones, spewing hate, paranoia, and rage, inhabit only one party. Not the other; not, at least, with huge audiences. Snark, maybe; hyperbole, even. But not existence-threatening warnings of deadly conspiracies (and lizard people), internment camps, or imposition of martial law. Nor, if such a person existed on the other side, would he be given White House press credentials. 
Only one president feted a man who called his predecessor a subhuman mongrel. Pastors associated with only one party call for all members of the other to be rounded up and imprisoned. Call a president the Anti-Christ. Call for murdering gays. Including the present, three-fourths of acts of political violence have been from groups associated with that party.   
Steve Scalise was gravely wounded, not long after promising to “continue fighting to protect every citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.” “Every,” he said, which includes James T. Hodgkinson with his history of arrests for domestic violence, legally carrying. (Listen, and wonder why he had access to such a weapon.) Rand Paul was at the ballpark, too. He’s informed us that the Second Amendment isn’t about shooting deer, but standing up to tyranny.  
If we’re to accept that the Second Amendment was written to provide the means for citizens to fight tyranny, maybe we need nationally ratified definitions of what the American version looks like and when it’s justified to shoot at it. Let’s settle upon acceptable parameters for government behavior needing lethal redress; and how, if at all, failed attempts should be penalized. It’s unlikely politicians and screamers suborning armed rebellion imagined liberals would take them up on it: they were thinking patriot militias, survivalists and Three Percenters. They didn’t like it when DHS named such groups a greater threat to the homeland than Islamic terrorists.  
And, aye, there’s the rub meeting the road. One person’s tyranny is another’s answered prayers. One’s is regulating carbon emissions, another’s is reversing those directives. One’s is executive orders protecting minorities and the environment, another’s is rescinding them. One’s is enabling access to healthcare, another’s isn’t. One person’s divisiveness is Trump demonizing immigrants and Muslims, another’s is Barack Obama saying Trayvon Martin could have been his son. Which assassins of tyrants by whose definition shall we call patriots? Who gets to choose? Everyone? It’s the westering spirit. 
Until we settle on the answer, how about the leaders, pastors, and airwave icons of that one party stop encouraging us to use our guns on one another? If nothing else, how about that much? 
[Image source]


  1. Great post, Sid... thanks! Wish I could still write op-eds for my local rag, The Orange County (CA) Register, but the last time I did I was targeted by some crazy guy who wrote me a multi-page hand-written single-spaced screed about why myself (and all Liberals) are Commies and anti-Americans and made it clear he knew where I lived. I stopped writing op-ed letters after that. Keep slicing and dicing!

  2. Differing ideas and opinions of ways to make something work as intended used to find the light of compromise as a final decision.

    Today it's lies and intimidation. We disagree on facts. That's what changed.

    Who gets a rich texture of America and who doesn't? Folks in the city are more informed than those in the middle of nowhere. Someone finally figured it out. It's not votes that elect. It's votes per square acre. So it makes sense to target those people for a massive brainwashing campaign. How the hell else to we get the "Bundy Bunch" blocking a road and setting up an ambush on a school bus full of kids? Because the forward watch said they were smuggling 'illegals' into America. They scared the shit out of a bunch of little kids. A can of gas meets the flame. Then these idiots take over a national park (that was closed) and forgot to bring food. Lots of guns and ammo, but no food. So they asked America for food, bodies holding guns because the situation in America is dire. This was AFTER two of the wacky army said "Start the revolution!" and shot up a Walmart and booby trapped his apartment. They had "tarp man" guarding the driveway with a shotgun. He's supposed to be guarding with his eyes. Yet tarp man slept under a tarp in the driveway. "tarp man then tries to run through a police blockade and get shot like 3000 times and died on the spot.

    One minute liberals are tree hugging peaceniks. The next minute they are bloodthirsty killers hunting down conservatives.

    This change didn't happen over night. Go back to Reagan days. It's slowly taken root. The notion that we can't trust eachother is reality to both sides. Albeit ones a pretty healthy distrust and the other is blind, we still don't trust eachother and that kills compromise.


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