Well readers, it’s been just over a week since the senseless murder of some 49 innocents at a nightclub in Orlando. In the days that have followed we’ve seen the same, tired reactions. Conservatives blame liberals and Muslims. Liberals hurl accusations at conservatives. On the ground, people suffer in a state of fear, confusion, and pent up indignation and nothing really gets done.
Or at least, that’s how things have been.
After this, the deadliest mass-shooting in US history, there may be hope at long last for some cooperation. Both sides of the issue are coming together to openly discuss solutions for preventing such tragedies. And folks, that is something to be grateful for.
The solution they’ve come up with so far?
That’s a different story.
Chances are that you’ve probably heard of Senator Chuck Murphy’s 14-hour filibuster on June 15th– the representative of Connecticut staunchly refusing to yield the floor until legislators agreed to vote on gun control measures. Among the measures agreed to be voted is the banning of the sale of guns and explosives to anyone on the terrorist watchlist- a measure that’s been heartily endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats, making it perhaps some the first gun control legislation in a long, long time with a good chance of passing.
And I could not be more pissed about it.
Now plenty of you might be surprised to hear that. You might be saying, “But Gordon, you peerless vision of enlightenment, aren’t you a liberal?”
To which I say-
I absolutely am not a liberal. I am a rabid leftist, and there is (in spite of the rhetoric that gets thrown around) a big ****ing difference. And there’s few places that difference is more pronounced than the issue of guns.
Having grown up in an oppressive dictatorship that did severely limit gun rights, I feel confident in vouching for a lot of rhetoric that typically gets written off as “paranoid”. While I cannot deny that there’s an appalling number of gun-related deaths in the US, I nevertheless feel strongly that the inherent right to self defense must never be infringed upon- least of all for some liberal “greatest good for the greatest number” rationale.
“But Gordon, you adamantine aegis of the working man, what’s the big deal? I mean, sure- people have called for bans on ‘assault rifles’ as part of a kneejerk reaction (forgetting that handguns are far more deadly), but why do you care? Surely everyone can get behind banning the sale of firearms to individuals on the suspected terrorist list.”
You’d think that, readers, but you’d be wrong. Because there’s a decent chance that I could be on that list.
In it’s infinite wisdom, the US government has left a wide-open definition for “terrorist” and “suspected terrorist” is even broader.
What gets used as indicators of suspected terrorism?
Credit scores. Missing fingers. Buying flashlights. “Exaggerated Yawning.”
Now look at me.
I spent the whole of my formative years in Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries. I speak Arabic. I’m vocally pro-Palestinian, pro-Basque, and pro-Catalan. I’ve been brazen in my support of accused “traitors” Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. I’ve called for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier. I’ve signed petitions for the southwestern states to secede from the union- to say nothing of petitions demanding the immediate impeachment of Presidents Bush and Obama.
Now I don’t know if I’m on a list, but I wouldn’t be surprised. After all, I seem to get “randomly selected” a whole *****ing lot at the airports- getting taken through the Rapiscan machines and getting patted-down by TSA agents. And lest anyone accuse me of being melodramatic, the Department of Justice has just passed a ruling allowing the “No Fly List” to be used as criteria for banning someone from buying a gun.
You remember the No Fly List, right?
It makes its way into the news every once in a while because there’s some fresh story of a toddler being prevented from boarding a flight because he or she has a name similar to someone on the list. It’s the go-to example of how an overly-broad measure does more to curtail civil liberties than provide security.
And yet these same ridiculously broad criteria and glitch-riddled systems are going to be used to determine who does and does not have the right to self-defense. Not for being a terrorist, but for the crime of being suspected of being a terrorist.
Now last time I checked, this was America.
Now I’m prettying dang sure that people can be punished for being suspected of crimes- they either get arrested or they get to go about their business as free citizens. Punishing people for “potential” crimes is to make everyone a suspect.
Now as tin-foil-hat as that might sound-
-I’m not trying to claim that the government is directly attempting to disarm the whole US population by starting with the fringe-elements of society. I do think a bunch of well-meaning and less-than-well-meaning politicians are trying to provide safety/the-illusion-of-safety by sacrificing the rights of the a few weirdos and radicals upon the altar of public good. It’s not as nefarious as some folks would have you believe, but it absolutely is blatantly unconstitutional, and it essentially criminalizes holding any kind of “unpopular” or alternative beliefs. And unless you believe that everything is absolute 100% wonderful in the world, you may find yourself on the wrong side of this legislation. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not ever.
But dammit, can you afford to take that risk?
Contact your representative now. Tell ’em that you support the rights of terror suspects to buy guns.
Probably not in those words, but you get the idea.
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