Tag Archives: guns

Gunnin’ For The Right To Bear Arms

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. Continue reading

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What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?

“Would Jesus have carried a gun?”

That was the question Christian activist Shane Claiborne posed in an article this Saturday.

The Jesus I worship did not carry a gun. He carried a cross.  Jesus did not tell us to kill our enemies. He told us to love them.”

These words come as a response to the shocking and repulsive comments by Liberty University’s president Jerry Falwell Jr. who, in a speech to his institution’s students, sneering declared that “if more good people had concealed-carry permits […] we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.”

I shouldn’t have to explain how despicable those words are. And readers- I’m not going to.

If you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume (to hope) that you have an iota of humanity in you. A speck of morality. A single shred of basic decency. I don’t think I need to describe what vile, bigoted, demonic filth that statement is. I don’t think I could even begin to. The heinous, cancerous insanity that Falwell spouts doesn’t merit a response.

Shane Claiborne, on the other hand, does.

shane-claiborne-believes-the-gospel-is-about-being-close-to-those-who Continue reading

Shame Day: Piers Morgan

Speaking on the subject of cornered enemies, the brilliant tactician Sun Tzu warns us to always leave the enemy a way out, lest they rally and defeat you out of desperation. Far be it from me to disagree with the general, but I think the single exception to the rule may be the culture wars. It’s so rare to get a major figure so utterly on the ropes that I don’t think anyone could blame you from moving up and laying into ’em, and readers, Piers Morgan is on the ropes.

The ape isn’t on the ropes, but you get the idea…

American readers might know Piers solely as an obnoxious CNN commentator, and while that’s true, Morgan’s condescending coverage of gun control (his favored dead horse over the past few months) is really only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading

I Want My M16

Today, we’re going to be talking about guns.

Well, I am going to be talking about guns. I can’t speak to Evan’s convictions on the subject, other than that he favors the needler in Halo. I further understand that the word “Reporters” in our blog’s title may make my post seem like it is using journalism as a facade for promoting personal social and political views à la Fox News.

Your source for interchangeable blonde news anchors since 1996.

Despite this, the simple truth of the matter is that here at CWR, we do hold fairly strong views and don’t shy away from laying them out, be it calling out lousy comic book “artists” to demanding greater coverage of violence by the media. Granted, we have Fame/Shame Day here at CWR to more directly bash what we believe to be wrong with society and laud what we think is being done right, but the purpose of this post really isn’t either of those things. This is simply my own take on a current debate, submitted for your consideration.

Let’s get right to it.

I like guns.

And no, not in the obsessive way where I can tell you how many rounds a Beretta Px4 can hold, or why it’s important that the bullets from one hunting rifle travel marginally faster than those of another. I’ve never hunted anything bigger than a cockroach (which isn’t to say those weren’t some big roaches). I’ve never posted a photo of me and my gun on Facebook.

I don’t even own a gun.

So why do I like them? Why, in the face of all the recent atrocities committed with guns, would I voice any support for the alleged right to own a killing device?

I could spout all the old rhetoric and slogans of the gun-nuts.

If we take away guns, only bad guys will have them!”
Guns won this country’s independence!
“My right to  own a gun protects your right to complain about them!”

In addition to just being used-to-death, the simple truth of the matter is that all of those supposedly “tried-and-true” arguments have some holes in them.  There are countries out there with gun control laws more stringent than the US whose gun-related crimes are nevertheless low. Guns did help win this nation’s freedom, but so did the cannon and the battleship, neither of which could be found hanging above the average colonist’s mantle. And if we’re looking to face the facts, the same guns that supposedly protect my freedom could likewise take it away. Let the facts be faced, the gun owners of this nation are not some courageous bastion standing between me and an intrusive, all-powerful government.

So why support guns?

Because I like having a fighting chance.

Too often these debates get painted as black and white. Both sides point at each other and howl that a victory for their opponents would be on par with the rise of Cthulu.

I, for one, welcome our elder-god overlord…

Take it from any Black/Hispanic/Native American/Jewish/Etc. person living in the 1950s- access to firearms is not a guarantee of freedom, justice, and equality. And take it from someone who actually lived in a brutal dictatorship- a society without guns in no ways guarantees safety and security for you or those you care for. A gun is just a gun. It is not a magical freedom stick forged in angel tears and presented to you by the almighty. It is not an infernal, malicious, conscious beast that turns otherwise good people into psychopaths.

You’re thinking of board games

It is just a machine.

Cars kill people. Cars save people. Speaking for myself, I’d prefer to live in a world with cars. Dogs kill people. Dogs save people. I’d rather in a world with dogs. Hammers make good chairs. Hammers make lousy chairs, and I don’t care that it’s been years since I last used a hammer. For good or ill, I’d like to know that if I wanted to, I could walk into the garage and use one.

Same goes for guns.

They aren’t always safe. They aren’t always good. They don’t always protect me, but I nevertheless like to know that I can try to use them to do that.

It’s just something to consider.

This isn’t meant to offer all or even some of the answers- it’s just an alternate take on the situation I think wouldn’t kill us to discuss.

Think about it.

Let’s Talk About Hypocrisy

Before I begin, I believe I ought to clarify something.

In this post, I’m going to be addressing the issues of hardship and tragedy and our responses to both of these things as a culture. Naturally none of this is meant to rob any gravity from Friday’s events- pain is, as always, pain. Any and all criticism here is directed strictly at hypocrisy, not sorrow.

There is a scene in season 2 of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, in which one of the group’s children goes missing and the other is [accidentally] shot and badly injured- both of which are bad things even without the ongoing zombie apocalypse. After managing to stabilize the boy, his mother begins questioning whether or not her son would be better off dead, rather than going on living the horrific and nightmarish existence life had become. Her exact words went as follows:

Why do we want Carl to live in this world? To have this life? So he can see more people torn apart in front of him? So he can be hungry and scared for however long he has before he…

So he can run and run and run and run and- and even if he survives he winds up- just another animal who doesn’t know anything other than survive…

Now whether or not you’re familiar with the series, this scene will still probably get a reaction out of you. Horror, perhaps, at how vile life must be for a mother to suggest her son dying would be a better alternative. Pity, maybe, for a person so driven and desperate.

Or, if you’re like me, utter indignant rage.

Let’s take a look at that soliloquy again. What’s the criteria this person puts on a life so awful it might as not be lived? Constant hunger, constant fear, and exposure to violence. In other words, the life of the majority of men, women, and children on this planet since the dawn of time.

You heard the lady- might as well just keel over.

And what’s her description of people who live this life? Oh, right- animals.

“And a very merry **** you to you as well”

What really gets me is that this (almost certainly) wasn’t meant to portray Lori as the vicious, self-pitying hypocrite that she came across as. Someone- nay, a whole line of writers and editors and censors- let that whole speech slide on the basis that it’d portray the character as sympathetic and troubled. And it’s this twisted attitude towards life that I want to address.

Early in the summer, I wrote a post on the need to portray graphic violence in media– especially in regards to war. I argued that our distance from the conflicts the US was engaged in made war too easy to ignore. The lack of the presence of violence, or our understanding of the consequences, made it all cheap and trite. Really this problem exists not only with violence, but with every aspect of our alienated society. We love beef, but how many of us could actually kill a cow? I’m not talking about hunting one down using nothing but a smooth rock, I’m just talking about simply ending one’s life. Could you do it? If not, I submit that you shouldn’t have a right to eat beef or wear leather.

Take a look at this cartoon.

Hard to argue with that, huh? Just as you shouldn’t be able to eat meat if you’re unwilling to kill the animal, you really shouldn’t be able to buy clothes and shoes unless you are personally willing to oversee the sweatshops in which they’re made. One way or another, you shouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of something without being at least capable of getting your hands dirty- and nowhere does that apply more than perhaps our government.

You might be familiar with the famous scene from Fahrenheit 9/11, in which Michael Moore attempts to pass out army recruitment flyers to members of congress (not surprisingly, most duck the offer). These people who were more than willing to send other people’s kids out to die in the desert suddenly found themselves far less eager when in the same situation- one congressmen protesting that his son had kids of his own (after all, all soldiers are childless and single).

And before any liberal readers get too smug, you’re far from exempt either. After the tragic mass murder in Newtown on Friday, I came back from work to find a letter in my inbox from a progressive organization I’ve signed petitions with before. “Act now!” they cried, “Demand gun control!”. This from the same people who bombarded me with pleas to re-elect President Obama, author and owner of a freaking “kill list“, to say nothing of his administration’s shoot-first-and-suppress-questions-later policy with drone strikes, and the “operation fast and furious” debacle.

Now all of this is just to demonstrate the social pathology this culture is suffering from.It’s not that we’re involved in countless injustices (that’s all bad in and of itself, but it’s not the point right here)- it’s that we have the gall to act hurt, or shocked, or horrified. Injustice is not greater for having finally happened to you. Pain and suffering don’t intensify based on their proximity to you. If you won’t cry out over the violence overseas, what right do you have to cry out over the violence at home? What right does a person have to feel depressed about cyber-bullying when he’s wearing a shirt made by an eight year old?  If you shrug your shoulders, stick your hands in your pocket, and walk off whistling when you’re told about homelessness in India, what right do you have to complain about mortgage payments in Indiana? Let’s cut the narcissism, shall we?

Violence (Not) In Media

In the wake of the Aurora Shooting, the Sikh Temple Massacre, and a recent spate of gun violence across the country, the debate of the violence in media has once again reared its head. On one side, those who cite the saturation of film, music, and video games with violence and the glorification of violence as responsible for creating these monsters, or at the very least, pushing them over the edge. On the other side, the ranks of apologists, who declare that it’s ridiculous to blame movies and music for mass-murder.  I’m not here to analyze the claims of either point, or to make an argument for one side or the other- that’s already been done better by The Escapist’s Robert Chipman (check it out here).

No, I’m here to address the subject of violence and its possible contributing factors outside of film and music.

When I touched on a complaints I had with movies like Brideshead Revisited and I Love You Man a few weeks ago, I briefly mentioned goth-rock-star Marilyn Manson, whose music was accused by many of being responsible for having influenced the Columbine shooters in committing the massacre. Interviewed by Michael Moore in his documentary Bowling for Columbine, Manson had this to say regarding violent influences:

And therein really lies the crux of the issue- when tragedies like this happen, the scope of our outrage is usually so small that we fail to take into account all the other possible factors. We can cite GTA or rock or rap or cartoons as being responsible and maybe- just maybe- there’s something to that. But what about everything else? If violence in media causes violence, surely violence itself should be cited here!

You remember this?

That’s Marine Corps veteran Scott Olsen, moments after he was shot in the head with a gas canister from close range. Part of the brutal crackdown by police on the Occupy Oakland protests last year- back when Mayor Jean Quan decided the best way to deal with a peaceful protest was by turning her town into a war zone.

But why talk about Oakland and countless other cities being turned into war zones when we can just talk about actual war?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is the single longest war in American history. Year after year after year, it goes on, and with no end in sight. That’s got to be the single largest and publicized campaign advocating violence, yet where is the outrage against it?

And what about hunting? That’s all about guns and the glorification of killing things…

What about Civil War Reenactors?

What about the national anthem? That thing is full of references to bombs. What about the 4th of July? A day when we celebrate our victory in a war by setting off explosives!

What about the very way we talk about violence? Should the Mob Museum here in Las Vegas be shut down? Should we do away with anything related to pirates? Should we stop teaching about the war of 1812 in schools?

And so on…

You get the idea. Ours is a culture and history built on violence. It’s in everything–  not just our media. While I’ve got my own views on what does and doesn’t cause or promote violence, my purpose here isn’t to take a side. I’m simply trying to demonstrate that if you do want to try to get into the causes of violence, you don’t get to be selective about who you put on trial.You want to find out if there was something in our world beyond the killer’s diseased mind responsible for death and destruction, you have to look at everything- anything less is just a witch hunt, pure and simple.

Let’s face it, half the time, tragedies like these are the platform from which we get to lynch things we didn’t like to begin with…

…I wonder if that kind of vicious and petty mentality might contribute to violence at all…