I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said, paraphrasing, "Those who would surrender their Liberty for Security, gain neither...". And he was right.
It's a lesson we seem to have forgotten in these here United States. I mean, after almost 80 years of New Dealism, Great Societism, and a host of Wars on everything from Drugs to Common Sense, Americans have become accustomed to creeping government -- empowered to 'do something' by it's own citizenry who keeps voting for complete self-interested douchebags -- taking a more active role in their lives, personal security, and nowadays, even their healthcare.
Of course, as government does these things it also takes more of their income, and interferes with their lives in ways which were unimaginable as little as 20 years ago, as anyone who has tried to take a flight or ride a train from Point A to Point B can attest to. So too anyone who has filed a tax return or paid a telephone bill in all that time. Americans have simply turned over to the government the power to do everything, and if this means it's a little bit more expensive to own a car, or if it means arriving at the airport four hours before your flight to be strip searched and x-rayed, then so be it.
However, the diminution of dignity and civil liberties that accompanies these government 'security' programs, whether it be the false sense of economic security that comes attached to a welfare or Social Security check, or the implied guarantee that there won't be a terrorist on your business flight to Peoria, becomes obvious when you stop to consider just how it is the government goes about providing them and at what cost. Not to mention that government does things ass-backwards and with little regard to intelligence.
I'll give you a 'for instance';
Remember September 11, 2001, when 19 Islamic douchebags (sorry, that's redundant) managed to turn airliners into WMD's and take out the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Do you remember the reaction to that, when the frightened citizenry gnashed their teeth and tore their hair, and cried for the government to 'do something' without realizing that it was the government that allowed the whole shebang to happen in the first place?
In that case, the government -- and by this I mean the intelligence agencies and the FBI -- had a notion that something was in the air, and that Al'Qaeda was out to get us. It had information on Mohammed Atta and his cronies; it knew about Usama Bin Laden; it had Zaccharias Moussoui in custody, and even had his computers and correspondence; it had information that Muslims were applying to flight schools and making a big deal about not needing to know how to land. The Government even had a good many of the terrorists on 'Watch Lists' and 'No Fly' lists.
And yet, 19 idiots turned a bunch of domestic flights into missiles.
And then the Immigration and Naturalization Service informed Atta -- six months after his death -- that his request for a visa was rejected. Apparently, INS had Atta's address, but the FBI did not.
Afterwards, we were told (and you need to take much of this with a grain of salt, since some of the people who were appointed to investigate 9/11, or who were witnesses called before the Commission, were, in fact, key players in ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence did not speak to each other, and who allowed UBL to roam free despite having been offered his balls on a silver platter. You know who you are, Jamie Gorelick and Sandy Berger) that the problem was a systemic one; that there was no way to collect, evaluate and transmit intelligence in a streamlined manner that would allow law enforcement or the President of the United States to make good use of it. For lack of this simple mechanism, 3,000 Americans died, and the country was plunged into a pair of wars which it has fought half-assedly, and indecisively.
But, the American people demanded that the same dysfunctional, bureaucratic, moribund government staffed by complete retards who managed to successfully complete a Civil Service exam written at a Third-Grade reading level, 'do something'. And so it did:
It created a whole slew of new intelligence bureaucracies to handle all this information. It created a new cabinet-level police bureaucracy (Department of Homeland Security, your equivalent to the KGB Border Guards) to deal with terrorism, and empowered it to interfere with your ability to travel without being sodomized by a unionized toad with a metal detector wand. And speaking of the unionized toads, these are, for the most part, the same idiots who -- despite Watch Lists and No Fly Lists and terrorist warnings -- were the same assholes who let Atta and company fly that day, anyhow. Only now, they're part of the government (the TSA) and they're unionized government employees (which means they can't be fired without a Byzantine review process, overpaid, and probably drawing gold-plated pensions and benefit plans).
Homeland Security demands that TSA make nursing women drink their breast milk from sealed containers, inspect the invalids in their wheelchairs, and performs rectal cavity searches on four-year old children, but one should NEVER, EVER treat an obvious Muslim with anything but the utmost courtesy, deference and respect because to do otherwise would be to 'racially profile' him.
And that would be really, really unfair, right? I mean, it's always the wrinkled old white grandmothers with the eye patches and walkers you have to look out for.
And don't forget the granddaddy of them all....
Having given itself the right and the power to grab your scrotum at the airport, or go through your luggage at random when you travel, or impose an amazingly contradictory and stupid regime of redundant regulations requiring that all people carry identification while simultaneously making it ever-more difficult to obtain it (see here), excepting the illegal immigrants, the government then went several steps further.
The Patriot Act (don't you just love the marketing there?) enables the government to read your e-mail, or listen to your telephone calls. It gives the government the right to suspend your rights to be secure in your papers and property. It allows the government to conduct searches and seizures without warrants, and little more than an assurance to a judge that a threat is imminent. The government was already deeply involved in your finances through the IRS; the Patriot Act gives the government the power to record and monitor your financial transactions and activity any goddamned time it feels like it. The anti-terrorism regime relating to potential terrorists captured on foreign battlefields has set a precedent for the suspension of habeus corpus, and indefinite detention without trial.
(As an aside, I often find it fascinating that some people hold an unbelievably contradictory attitude towards government; the same government that is led by a Giant of Intellect who apparently can't say 'corpsmen' and doesn't know there aren't 57 states, which pays $400 for a roll of toilet paper, can't find 12 million illegal aliens hiding in plain sight, can't pass a budget, can't hold fair and free elections, and which can't take a collective dump without six hundred lawyers and an environmental impact statement, suddenly becomes an all-powerful monolith that can perfectly pull off 9/11 attacks and Kennedy Assassinations, and other monstrous clever and airtight conspiracies. If the government were really that good and efficient, would there have even been a Newtown shooting?At the moment, these are the people we're listening to? Franklin also, famously, said that the very definition of insanity was continually repeating the same actions and expecting a different result)
And now we have a spate of recent gun massacres that have the population's panties all bunched.
In Arizona, a complete lunatic goes nuts and kills a bunch of people and wounds several others, including a back-bench, do little Congresscritter that no one would know was alive unless someone tried to kill her. She has been beatified and turned into a National Symbol, sparking a politicaldebate about our 'coarsening political language' , which accomplished nothing beyond keeping Sarah Palin on television for yet another few months.
There were calls for 'civility' and gun control, and for government to 'do something' about imprisoning Rush Limbaugh in the wake of that 'tragedy'.
Another looney goes berserk in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and kills even more folks during the premier of a Batman movie, and the national orgy of grief is so overblown, and the media coverage so distraught, that in many ways, it eclipsed 9/11. That is, until the election cycle began, and then the media promptly forgot about it, turning their full attention to their real job, which was lying about how bad Romney was and how great Obama is.
Again there were calls for 'something to be done about these guns', and it was even suggested in one quarter (I believe I heard this on MSNBC, naturally) that Obama declare a state of emergency and forcibly disarm the populace in order to 'save us' from the mentally ill.
And now we have a tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, which has begun the debate over gun control anew.
And herein is another opportunity to review the lessons of asking the government to 'do something'.
It is probably the government's fault, already, that Adam Lanza wasn't committed. After all, people with that sort of mental disorder don't need to be institutionalized, according to the sensitive, libtard types -- they need to be treated with the same deference usually reserved for Muslims with bombs taped into their underwear waiting to board a flight in Orlando -- because to lock them up and medicate them in order to 'save us' would be a violation of their rights, and well, just plain not nice. At least according to the Justice Department, the federal courts, and the ACLU. Not to mention that without the Adam Lanza's of the world, we could never have the same, politically-charged-and-biased debate about Gun Control over and over and over.
That's what politicians do, you know: they pretend to 'do something' very ostentatiously before the television cameras, and then, like magic!, every few years we're discussing the same topics again. Abortion, Gun Control, Welfare Reform, Deficits, Birth Control, Racism, etc, etc. There hasn't been a new topic of debate in American Politics in nearly 30 years, I reckon.
Of course the solution to the problem of 'saving us' from the Jared Loughners, the Adam Lanzas and the James Holmeses is the government 'doing something' to take away people's Second Amendment rights, and as we have already seen, probably go so much further and degrade all our other Constitutional Rights in the process. At least the few we have left. Without, of course, actually solving the problem, which can then be conveniently ressurected as a political hot-button whenever that becomes necessary.
Usually, the argument is framed as one as 'for the children' versus 'the big, mean old republicans'. I figure we can talk all the gun control you want, but short of physically disarming everyone in America, it ain't gonna happen; there's too much political hay (and campaign donations) to be made from scratching the public's itch du jour, and then later flogging the same dead equines.
I want all those who are calling for greater gun control laws in this country to remember the example of September 11, 2001, bearing in mind that when you leave the task of seeing to your personal safety up to the government, you get no-knock drug/gun raids that often arrive at the wrong address, the TSA, Homeland Security, and The Patriot Act, all boondoggles that cost about as much as a solid-gold kidney, work about as well as a blind double-amputee brain surgeon, and go far beyond their original intentions and slowly, inexorably, sap the nation's freedoms and morale, and which are about as useful to our 'security' as fleas are to a dog.
I'd also ask you to consider a few other things when it comes specifically to this administration and it's history with guns:
Eric Holder allowed illegal guns to make their way into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, guns which have been used to kill hundreds of Mexican citizens, and in at least one instance that we know of, one American Border Patrol Agent.
Barack Obama is a son of Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws in America...and the highest murder rate.
The Obama Administration may have armed the terrorists that attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi, resulting in four dead American Citizens. Which is why Hillary Clinton has had to fake a string of concussions, yeast infections, ingrown toenails, and impacted wisdom teeth to avoid testifying before Congress.
The Obama Administration assured us that the Muslim Brotherhood, far from being a sponsor and advocate of terrorism, calling for the destruction of Israel and the implementation of Sharia law in Egypt, are simply freedom fighters and democrats -- like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry, only with sand fleas and an irrational fear of vaginas -- who are truly deserving of a new batch of American F-16 fighter jets that couldn't possibly be used to attack Israel and Egyptian Christians.
After all, arming Egyptian religious revolutionaries, and now possibly Syrian revolutionaries with ties to Hamas, Al' Qaeda and Ba'athist organizations, is simply the same courtesy we would have extended to terrorists if they had bought the weapons here in America and then carried them home on a United flight out of Washington, DC.
When it comes to arming criminals and terrorists, the Obama Administration knows all about guns...until they get used to kill Americans, and then Eric Holder gets shielded with Executive Privilege. And even then it's always Americans exercising their constitutional rights in a responsible manner who need to be disarmed?
It's the same government that forgets that Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City Bomber) only needed a rented truck and a few tons of commercial fertilizer to do his dirty deed. It's the same government that (conveniently) forgets that Adam Lanza -- the very Newtown shooter -- was prevented from buying even more guns because he would have been subjected to a background check. In other words, the law -- as it currently exists -- already works.
It's also the same populace that forgets that the Virginia tech shooter did pass a government-mandated background check despite the fact that he a) had a criminal record, and b) had documented mental problems. It's the same population that now screams for protection that forgets that Bill Clinton and Janet Reno's FBI and ATF killed 80 people in a no-knock-gun-raid-cum-51-day siege in Waco, Texas, and ripped Elian Gonzalez out of his family's hands at the point of a sub-machine gun to return him to Castro's Cuba.
We have some serious confusion -- and short memories -- in this country. Most of it is created and perpetuated by the very media which is today crying out for the sort of gun control one usually only associated with Nazi Germany. However, the problem lies within ourselves; we don't care, until we do, and then we stop caring very quickly as something else to care about comes along and steals our limited attention.
Now, ask yourself this, bearing all of these things in mind -- a history of overreaction by government; the documented diminution of civil liberties whenever the citizenry demands something and then fails to examine what their government does; the propensity of government to simply bureaucratize and unionize everything within an inch of it's life for political purposes or to do things simply for appearances sake, and the contradictory attitude towards who should be armed and who should be disarmed demonstrated by this administration, not to mention it's gross incompetence -- do you really believe that THIS TIME they're going to 'get it right'?
I'm not saying that some form of Gun Control isn't necessary, nor am I saying that we should do nothing for the sake of protecting a right that apparently comes with little responsibility (after all, the Constitution, it has been said, is not a suicide pact) but, I am saying that expecting the government to do anything that a) makes sense, b) doesn't grossly dilute or destroy other liberties, c) something cost effective and d) isn't subject to the political needs of individual politicians, is a bad bet.
The problem isn't the guns; it's us.
We're not demanding that the dangerously insane be committed,....until they kill someone, of course.
We're not demanding that the existing laws be enforced, and occasionally, reviewed, to see which is effective, which is outdated, and which is unnecessary.
We're not paying attention to what our government does, how it does it, and what it costs us, both financially and Constitutionally.
We're not taking the responsibility, as citizens of a Free Republic, to help ourselves, and are instead leaving the heavy lifting of protecting ourselves to a government apparatus which is continually being granted more power -- and more repressive power -- and achieving ever-more questionable results.
The Tragedy of Newtown isn't all wrapped up in the deaths of 20 schoolchildren, as terrible as that is, it's that everyone knows what needs to be done -- lock up the mental patients, exercise some common sense when it comes to gun ownership, allow armed cops inside a school building to patrol the grounds during the school day, take a rational look at the issues surrounding certain types of guns and ammo -- it's that the reaction of the nation was to immediately expect the people who have the least intelligence and the basest of motives (i.e. Democrats and Boehner Republicans), people who have demonstrated no ability to solve any of the other problems that have been thrown at their feet, to craft a solution that will works. They'll only crate a regime that only eventually engulfs us all in red tape, destroys our freedoms, taxes us to the hilt, and costs more innocents their lives.