Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Time For America's Women To Step Up

Despite the fact that the weapon of mass destruction used to slaughter 20 children in Newtown, CT was purchased by the shooter's mother, one of the least-discussed facts surrounding our so-called "gun culture" is that it is overwhelmingly macho. All you need do is listen to the radio call-in shows for the fanatics (aka, gun "enthusiasts") to come out of the woodwork tossing specious lofty concepts about their 2nd Amendment rights and false statistics concerning their imminent peril from a "tyrannical" "nazi" government. These individuals are fanatics to a fault, argumentative and obnoxious to the point one thinks, "get a LIFE, already!"

Lately, we've been cowed into believing there's something virtuous called a "rural culture" (white) vs. "urban" (black) to explain their pure as a Caucasian snow-covered mountaintop love of military-style weapons of mass destruction ... the beter to mow down those darkies who won the last election, when the Obama communist revolution comes. President Obama was right. They cling to their guns and religion, and until a couple of decades ago, strung 'em up off the highest tree branch. Some "rural" culture.

Here's the truth: There's nothing noble, or uplifting, or healthy, about rural America. Quite the contrary; it is poverty-stricken, polluted by huge transnational mining, chemical, oil and gas companies. Has "urban" America experienced the joys of fracking? No, and as New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg representing "urban" America and a city where strict gun laws have resulted in a steady decline in gun violence the last 12 years asserted, this gun madness must end.

The "urban" v. "rural" cultural divide is a straw man thrown out by conservatives, naturally, to muddy the waters with the false implication that never the twain shall meet. In fact, one common denominator in most mass killings is that it is a suburban phenomenon perpetrated by fairly affluent disturbed young white males.

What these straw man arguments do, however, is reinforce the economic forces behind our so-called "gun culture" led by their principal lobbying organization, the NRA. Guns are a zillion-dollar industry of death in America. That is why nothing has been done to curb or control it. There are some 58,000 licensed gun dealers in America; more than there are McDonald's, or Starbucks worldwide.

We know what to do: Reinstate the assault weapons ban; close the gun show loophole which is exempted from background checks; tighten and enforce the existing laws on the books. And severely restrict those high-capacity magazines. That's just for starters. The question is, will President Obama follow through? Will the politicians show the political will and courage to take on a paper tiger like the NRA? Have we really reached that so-called "tipping point? (I'll believe it when I see it.)

Call me crazy, but I think the only way meaningful, rational, sane gun control will ever be achieved in this this country is if the silent victims of the slaughters — our women, mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, friends, teachers — stand up and be counted. Not many Americans have heard of the "pots and pans protests" which had their beginnings among South American housewives from Chile and Argentina, then spread through other countries, including English-speaking nations like Canada. These were protests by suburban housewives mostly, but not exclusively, against the government. In Argentina, they took to the streets loudly banging their pots and pans to protest the torture and disappearances of their sons and daughters during the military crackdown of the 80s.

Amazingly, these protests were more effective than any others in achieving results; even the most heinous dictator had a mom who could shame them. Lately, such protests have centered on economic issues as an effective symbol of peaceful resistance to government inaction and defiance of a great injustice.

We need our own "pots and pans" protest against government paralysis on gun control.

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