Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama-- That Gun Grabber


Aldo Moro before he was murdered

People who were happy that so many gun nuts shot each other at gun nut shows on Gun Appreciation Day Saturday are just meanies. Digby outlined a far better object for liberal Schadenfreude-- the self-inflicted and debilitating psychosis of the Republican base currently manifesting itself as a delusional right wing tenet of belief that the massacre at Sandy Hook never happened and that all those children are still alive and the grieving parents are actors hired by gun-grabber Obama. Are you wondering why no sincere person with a 3-digit IQ takes the Republican Party seriously any longer?
The leading version of the "Sandy Hook Hoax" theory, such as it is, holds that the incident was staged by the White House as a prelude to disarming America. Many of its claims are rooted in contradictory and confusing media statements that came out of the chaos of the first hours of the shooting, and which are virtually always present in such chaotic moments. (Similar confused media reporting served as the basis of the 9/11 Truth movement.)
Over 11 million people have already watched this video pushing the right-wing Sandy Hook Hoax conspiracy. I can't wait for someone to ask Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Steve Stockman, Paul Broun, Trey Radel, Louie Gohmert, Mike Coffman, Lynn Westmoreland, Tim Huelskamp, Phil Gingrey and Virginia Foxx about it! Would anyone in the House Crackpot Caucus dare publicly cast aspersions on such an article of Republican faith, exactly what they use to replace science and reality with as part of their collective world view?

Did someone say "reality?" This is reality: since 1968 more Americans have died from gunfire than died in all the wars of this country's history. And that's not a conspiracy theory or any kind of theory.

Who remembers Aldo Moro. He was twice the Prime Minister of Italy and in 1978 he was kidnapped and then murdered by the Red Brigades-- yes, there was once a militant, violent, armed, revolutionary movement. Back then the NRA was a big proponent of gun control and background checks and, especially of keeping weapons out of the hands of radicals (and particularly African American radicals). Anyway, last Monday Prospero Gallinari, the brigatista convicted-- probably wrongly-- of assassinating Moro, had a heart attack and died. During the desperate hunt for Moro-- the Red Brigades held him for 2 months before shooting him-- some in the security apparatus suggested torturing a brigatista they had in custody. The general in charge said "Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro. It would not survive the introduction of torture." Those crazy Italians, right? Although it wasn't an Italian general who said "Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]... I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” That was General George Washington (September 14, 1775) beginning an American military tradition that we do not torture, a tradition ended by George W. Bush. Sorry for the tangent. Let's get back to the main point here: Rush Limbaugh, Rep. John Lewis and the NRA.

Over a decade before the Red Brigades kidnapped and murdered Aldo Moro, Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading a movement of nonviolence to complete the freeing of African American slaves in the Deep South. John Lewis was one of his disciples and was severely beaten by uniformed, state-sanctioned Alabama fascists. The other day Rush Limbaugh implied Lewis should have had a gun. "If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?... If John Lewis, who says he was beat upside the head, if John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?"

Rep. Lewis, who many people consider the conscience of the Congress doesn't agree with Limbaugh's vision. This is the press release his office sent out after Limbaugh's show:
In an effort to encourage people to resist new gun control legislation, a statement was made on The Rush Limbaugh Show today which misrepresents Civil Rights Movement history. In the shadow of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, in the year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in August, and a little more than a month before the annual celebration of the events in Selma, Rep. John Lewis was glad to address this inaccuracy.

"Our goal in the Civil Rights Movement was not to injure or destroy but to build a sense of community, to reconcile people to the true oneness of all humanity," said Rep. John Lewis. "African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to. We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence. Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means. We took a stand against an unjust system, and we decided to use this faith as our shield and the power of compassion as our defense.

"And that is why this nation celebrates the genius and the elegance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s work and philosophy. Through the power of non-violent action, Dr. King accomplished something that no movement, no action of government, no war, no legislation, or strategy of politics had ever achieved in this nation's history. It was non-violence that not only brought an end to legalized segregation and racial discrimination, but Dr. King's peaceful work changed the hearts of millions of Americans who stood up for justice and rejected the injury of violence forever."


On March 7, 1965, 600 peaceful nonviolent Civil Rights workers attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in Alabama. The march was led by John Lewis and Hosea Williams. They were met on the Edmund Pettus Bridge by Alabama state troopers who beat the unarmed marchers. Lewis suffered a concussion on the bridge. A few days after the march President Lyndon Johnson introduced a bill to the Congress which became the Voting Rights Act of 1965, described as one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has issued in the past 50 years. An important section of the Voting Rights Act is currently in jeopardy and will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in February.
David Frum, like Limbaugh a conservative Republican but, unlike Limbaugh, not a racist, mused aloud that "Lewis resisted the temptation to add the question: 'I wonder what Rush Limbaugh would say about a black protester who actually did fire upon state troopers and sheriff's deputies?'" Yes, that was when extreme right-wingers and the NRA was very much in favor of gun control. It was before the NRA became a lobbying group for weapons manufacturers.

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At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Robs said...

Had Mr Lewis brandished a weapon on that bridge, he would have died in a hail of bullets, and the cretins that shot him would have claimed self-defense.

MLK supporting gun "rights"? Not so much...

from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the chapter titled "The Violence of Desperate Men." The scene is Montgomery in 1956, shortly after King's home was bombed:

After our many friends left the house late that evening, Coretta, Yoki, and I were driven to the home of one of our church members to spend the night. I could not get to sleep. While I lay in that quiet front bedroom, with a distant street lamp throwing a reassuring glow through the curtained window, I began to think of the viciousness of people who would bomb my home. I could feel the anger rising when I realized that my wife and baby could have been killed. I thought about the city commissioners and all the statements that they had made about me and the Negro generally. I was once more on the verge of corroding hatred. And once more I caught myself and said: "You must not allow yourself to become bitter."

Midnight had long since passed. Coretta and the baby were sound asleep. I turned over in bed and fell into a dazed slumber. But the night was not yet over. Some time later Coretta and I were awakened by a slow, steady knocking at the front door. Through the window we could see the dark outline of a figure on the front porch. I pulled myself out of bed, peered through the curtains, and recognized the stocky, reassuring back of Coretta's father.

Obie Scott had heard the news of the bombing over the radio and had driven to Montgomery. He came in the house with an obvious sign of distress on his face. After talking with us a while he turned and said: "Coretta, I came to take you and the baby back home with me until this tension cools off:" In a calm but positive manner Coretta answered: "I'm sorry, Dad, but I can't leave Martin now. I must stay here with him through this whole struggle." And so Obie Scott drove back to Marion alone.

Just two nights later, a stick of dynamite was thrown on the lawn of E. D. Nixon. Fortunately, again no one was hurt. Once more a large crowd of Negroes assembled, but they did not lose control. And so nonviolence had won its first and its second tests.

After the bombings, many of the officers of my church and other trusted friends urged me to hire a bodyguard and armed watchmen for my house. When my father came to town, he concurred with both of these suggestions. I tried to tell them that I had no fears now and consequently needed no weapons for protection. This they would not hear. They insisted that I protect the house and family, even if I didn't want to protect myself. In order to satisfy the wishes of these close friends and associates, I decided to consider the question of an armed guard. I went down to the sheriff's office and applied for a license to carry a gun in the car; but this was refused.

Meanwhile I reconsidered. How could I serve as one of the leaders of a nonviolent movement and at the same time use weapons of violence for my personal protection? Coretta and I talked the matter over for several days and finally agreed that arms were no solution. We decided then to get rid of the one weapon we owned. We tried to satisfy our friends by having floodlights mounted around the house, and hiring unarmed watchmen around the clock. I also promised that I would not travel around the city alone.

I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house. When I decided that I couldn't keep a gun, I came face-to-face with the question of death and I dealt with it. From that point on, I no longer needed a gun nor have I been afraid. Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Robs said...

Should have said above:

"...he and everyone else with him..."

At 1:30 PM, Blogger John said...

I prefer to heap derision on two other reich-wing tenets:

1) the second amendment was written by the framers of the constitution of the new US government specifically to facilitate the overthrow of that very government.

2) the arms held in US homes would effectively repel "tyranny" backed by the "lethal power" of the US military, especially if they ever brought it all back "home" from its perpetual foreign adventure.

John Puma


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