Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stupid Exercise

Some people in Phoenix “attended” the President’s town hall whatever recently “bearing arms.” They didn’t break any law, carrying guns is legal there. Looking beyond local law to the Constitution, their conduct is protected by both the First and Second Amendment. I’m more interested in what I think is their message, protected by the First.

I grew up with protests, black people, white people, young people. Pacifists and activists. Speech and expression are good things; but, there’s a point when speech and expression become a threat. The Phoenix protesters got to that point. They broke the social compact that I recognize.

Their point? “I don’t like what ya’ll are saying and maybe I’ll just intimidate you with this here gun.”

I grew up with family and friends, and hang with people, that own and use guns. I’m the object of their gentle derision for my anti-gun views. None of them make a display of their guns. None would ever show a gun as a political statement. All of them know that guns have a deadly purpose and are only used for that purpose, not brandished to make a “point.”

I don’t think that the Phoenix gun boys (they aren’t what I consider to be men) rise to the level of “shouting fire in a crowded theater.” I do think they are a disturbing example of a disaffected class in our country. Rappers wearing ammunition belts in their videos. Skin heads and Aryan types with Swastikas and guns posing for the camera. Kids on corners idly flicking knives. Yes, they are young and old, black and white; but, they are all of a type. I can get what is “mine” with violence or the threat of violence.

I don’t have an answer to the problem I see.

11 comments:

Jeni said...

I live in an area heavily populated by hunters. I have known many individuals over my lifetime who engaged in Skeet, target shooting -championship target shooting as a matter of fact. I used to work for the NRA too come to think of it. So, with respect to those hunters, those marksmen (and women) and those who feel the need to have a gun for protection, yes I believe in the 2nd Amendment, To a degree, that is. I don't blindly endorse every last bit that some of these people believe in, just the basics. But, like you Dave, I don't believe in using these weapons as a means of potential intimidation.
I do believe though in the idea behind these Town Hall Meetings and Forums as a means of rational discussion of the various issues. Key word here being "rational."
And like you Dave, I have no answer for the reactionaries of our society trying to drown out those who are trying to explain things that perhaps others present might want -and need -to hear.

Hedy said...

I'm studying emotions right now - and these gun-toting guys, underneath it all, are afraid. Who brings a gun to a town hall meeting, really? Someone who doesn't know how to deal with his emotions and is deeply fearful of...whatever. Or, they have VERY small penises. I can't decide.

The Curmudgeon said...

Idjits with guns are still idjits. Only just more dangerous.

I can see where Mr. Obama's perceived positions on gun control could lead to armed demonstrations, that is demonstrations where showing up bearing arms might make some sort of sense... but on health care?

So, nope. Can't play Devil's Advocate with you today. Them's what we call idjits.

Dr Jenn said...

I hate it, had to get the dictionary out and look up that word. disaffected -Resentful and rebellious, especially against authority
Which is about what I had expected! I just never saw the word.

Anyway, i think it is lame to use things to intimidate others but on the other hand we (the people)are allowing it. And Hedy is right about the fear factor. We covered that last semester and I was blown away by the things that people do out of emotional duress and fear.

Lifehiker said...

One of my sons moved to Oklahoma and shortly afterward exclamed how different it is. "Dad, you won't believe the gas stations. You can get everything you need at one stop; gas, a quart of beer, a .44 Magnum, and 20 rounds of ammunition!"

Lately I've had to work with some of these right-wing idjits with no education. Guns are about all they understand of power, since their personal power in society is about zero. Unfortunatly, "stupid with a gun" is really dangerous.

Rob said...

Possibly the most sad part of this is it makes me think of news footage from other, presumably less-civilized countries like so many of those in the Middle East.

There's nothing rational or reasonable about brandishing a weapon in public to show your displeasure for a speaker or what he's saying. This is redneck, fear-filled, hatefulness, pure and simple.

The America I know and love is no place for that kind of anarchy and small-mindedness.

To me, this is yet another compelling reason to ban handguns. Honestly, citizens can't be trusted to safely, responsibly own handguns. Those should be reserved for military personnel, law enforcement officers, and the like. I respect hunters and I'll accept that some people want to own a gun for self- or family-protection, but those needs can be met with a rifle. And that form-factor doesn't nearly so easily lend itself to foolhardy, thoughtless, or subversive actions.

Dave said...

Hey Rob, thanks for stopping by. I see you read my comment at Second Effort.

Were it up to me, and it's not, I have no guns other than held by police and military. That view and others get me looks and head shaking from friends.

Rob said...

Yeah Dave, my anti-handgun rants have gotten me more than a few bad looks from my gun-toting boss and some co-workers.

And it isn't at all that I fail to value our Rights as afforded us by the Constitution. I don't want to deny people the opportunity to "bear arms," only limit the types of arms they may bear.

There was a time that guns were a tool - my late Father-in-Law learned to hunt as a young child and it was only his skill that placed meat on the table for his Mom & sisters. That time has passed. (And even then, he hunted with a rifle, not a handgun.)

And it isn't even so much the criminals who're my main concern anymore. Child-related shooting incidents are quite often the result of a handgun that legally belongs to a citizen - a criminally-negligent one, certainly, but a "law-abiding" citizen nonetheless. Kids aren't making back-alley deals with shady characters on the seedy part of town - they're getting the guns right out of the bedside drawer at home and bringing said gun to school, the playground, or wherever.

J said...

Dave - refresh my memory - did you do a blog on the black panthers with night sticks intimidating voters??

Dave said...

A word search on the blog shows no mention of panther.

To go beyond the jab, no one, whatever their views, should intimidate people that want to talk.

It can be done in subtle ways like the bully among us that shouts us down, OK by law but a bad social idea. Or I can be talking and a guy flash's his gun. What's the message? To me it's stop talking, I've got the power and I don't care what you think. Both are breaches of the social compact, one being a bit more threatening.

Dave said...

A word search on the blog shows no mention of panther.

To go beyond the jab, no one, whatever their views, should intimidate people that want to talk.

It can be done in subtle ways like the bully among us that shouts us down, OK by law but a bad social idea. Or I can be talking and a guy flash's his gun. What's the message? To me it's stop talking, I've got the power and I don't care what you think. Both are breaches of the social compact, one being a bit more threatening.