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Oh, I Forgot, Guns Don’t Kill April 28, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Gun Control/Violence.
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1-16-2012-gun-industry

Trayvon Martin Nativity Display At Claremont United Methodist Church Urges Us Not To Forget Gun Violence Victims December 28, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Gun Control/Violence, Racism, Religion.
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Roger’s note: I am not that big on organized Christianity or the nativity myth, but there are some few who call themselves Christian who actually do reflect the ethic of love and peace.  And I am big on remembering Trayvon Martin and the institutionalized racism and gun industry that were responsible for his murder as much as the fool Zimmerman.

 

Posted: 12/27/2013 1:41 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/27/2013 6:02 pm EST Huff Post

Trayvon Martin hasn’t been forgotten at Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, Cali.– in fact, he appears front and center in their Nativity display. He serves as a bloody and tragic reminder of the dangers of gun violence and racial privilege in today’s America, reports David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Amongst the traditional holy family, Martin sits hunched over in his iconic black hoodie, blood pouring from his chest and pooling at his feet, reports Patch.com. The title of the scene, “A Child is Born, a Son is Given,” is outlined within the blood and evokes themes of both Christmas and Easter, according to artist John Zachary, who has been creating thought-provoking displays since 2007.

tm

Zachary told Allen in an interview that the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot the unarmed teenager in 2012, “struck him as a worthy subject for Christmas comment.”

“There is no better time to reflect on gun violence than advent, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus,” says a sign at the church.. “Jesus was born into a state of total vulnerability as an innocent, unarmed child during a time of great violence much like Trayvon Martin.”

As families gather together at Christmas to celebrate, Zachary hopes to get them to think long and hard about their own blessings and privileges. He told Allen that many Christmas traditions of gifts reflect “privilege, and there’s a lot of people who don’t have that privilege. Maybe I should do something that’s provocative, that’s more in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.”

trayvon
Artist John Zachary

This isn’t the first time that the church has used the Nativity as an opportunity to remind people about issues of social justice and inequality, which probably would have been of great concern to Jesus himself. Past displays have included Jesus and Mary as a homeless couple struggling to feed their newborn child, as Iraqi refugees next to U.S. soldiers, as immigrants from Mexico stopped by the wall at the border, among others. In 2011, Zachary’s Nativity display was of the outlines of three couples, two of them same-sex, gathering under the banner “Christ Is Born.”

Sharon Rhodes-Wickett, lead pastor at the church, told Allen that she finds this year’s scene difficult to look at, due to its violence. “It’s hard to look at a young man who’s shot and bleeding to death,” she said. “But even though I’m uncomfortable, that’s the point. We have to take a look at the violence.”

Response to the display has been surprisingly muted. “I thought this would be more controversial, but I come to find out people don’t really like people getting shot,” Zachary told Allen. “They may not agree what to do about it, but they agree it’s a bad thing.”

Rhodes-Wickett said that her congregation is progressive, and that “Most people like something that makes us think and makes us search our hearts.”

sign

Also on HuffPost:

Guns Are Cool September 17, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Gun Control/Violence.
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by Abby Zimet

One more time: A guy – an unstable veteran who drank alot, suffered from anger management and other ill-defined mental issues, and “had a gun at all times” – killed at least 12 people at a D.C. Navy yard. There have been so many mass shootings in this country, and this country alone, that there are currently several battling definitions for mass shootings. If one uses the FBI definition - a spree in which four or more people are killed in one location – there have been six mass shootings in the past nine months and 20 during Obama’s presidency. If you broaden the definition to include people killed or wounded in the spree, as the folks at the database Guns Are Cool have reasonably done, the number comes to 250 in 2013, or almost one a day. Yes. Almost one a day. You can scroll down them. Scroll and scroll. While details are still emerging on this latest travesty, we do know a few things: that gun freaks should shut up already with their crap about how none of this would have happened if there had been more guns at the Navy yard – a notion Chris Hayes obliterates right quick – and that the body count in this country is well past obscene. Obama called the shooting “a cowardly act.” You wanna see a cowardly act? Congress persistently, unfathomably, unconscionably failing to halt the bloodshed.

“Guns don’t kill people. Nothing kills people. People don’t die. Stop saying words.” – spoof NRA tweet.

Gun Control Fight Escalates As Hundreds Join Rallies In State Capitals January 20, 2013

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Roger’s note: here is another example of money (capital) trumping general public interest.  It is in the interest of virtually everyone to have severe restrictions on guns.  It is in the interest of the arm manufacturers and their lapdog NRA to promote the sale of firearms, which requires limits on government regulation.  Huge sums of money go into organizing “spontaneous” popular demonstrations, as reported below.  Who is there to finance the general interest?  In a rare move, the Vatican has come down on the side of public interest.  It is true that at times the public demand is so strong, that it will in fact limit the impact of corporate money.  But these are the exceptions to the rule.

 

By WILL WEISSERT 01/19/13 11:21 PM ET EST AP

Gun Control

AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully Saturday at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms, with demonstrators carrying rifles and pistols in some places while those elsewhere settled for waving hand-scrawled signs or screaming themselves hoarse.

The size of crowds at each location varied – from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. Large crowds also turned out in Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington state. Some demonstrators in Olympia, Wash., Phoenix, Salem, Ore., and Salt Lake City came with holstered handguns or rifles on their backs. At the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, attendees gave a special round of applause for “the ladies that are packin’.”

Activists promoted the “Guns Across America” rallies primarily through social media. They were being held just after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals.

The crowd swelled to more than 800 amid balmy temperatures on the steps of the pink-hued Capitol in Austin, where speakers took the microphone under a giant Texas flag with “Independent” stamped across it. Homemade placards read “An Armed Society is a Polite Society,” “The Second Amendment Comes from God” and “Hey King O., I’m keeping my guns and my religion.”

“The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them,” said state Rep. Steve Toth, referencing last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Toth, a first-term Republican lawmaker from The Woodlands outside Houston, has introduced legislation banning within Texas any future federal limits on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, though such a measure would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Rallies at statehouses nationwide were organized by Eric Reed, an airline captain from the Houston area who in November started a group called “More Gun Control (equals) More Crime.” Its Facebook page has been “liked” by more than 17,000 people.

Texas law has some restrictions on where concealed handgun license-holders can carry firearms, but they are allowed at most places, including the Capitol. But Reed said rally-goers shouldn’t expose their weapons: “I don’t want anyone to get arrested.”

A man who identified himself only as “Texas Mob Father” carried a camouflaged assault rifle strapped to his back during the Austin rally, but he was believed to be the only one to display a gun. Radio personality Alan LaFrance told the crowd he brought a Glock 19, but he kept it out of sight.

At the New York state Capitol in Albany, about 2,000 people turned out for a chilly rally, where they chanted “We the People,” “USA,” and “Freedom.” Many carried American flags and “Don’t Tread On Me” banners. The event took place four days after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the nation’s toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions.

Republican Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin said the new law was “abuse of power” by the governor. Some in the crowd carried “Impeach Cuomo” signs. Protester Robert Candea called the restrictions “an outrage against humanity.”

About 1,500 people showed up in Olympia, Wash. Former NFL tight end Clint Didier, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP Senate nomination in the 2010 election, urged the crowd to prepare “for the worst possible predicament” by stocking up on food, guns, ammunition, communication devices and medicines, The Olympian newspaper reported.

In Connecticut, where task forces created by the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy are considering changes to gun laws, police said about 1,000 people showed up on the Capitol grounds. One demonstrator at the rally in Maine, Joe Getchell of Pittsfield, said every law-abiding citizen has a right to bear arms.

In Minnesota, where more than 500 people showed up at the Capitol in St. Paul, Republican state Rep. Tony Cornish said he would push to allow teachers to carry guns in school without a principal or superintendent’s approval and to allow 21-year-olds to carry guns on college campuses.

Capitol rallies also took place in Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin, among other states.

Back in Texas, Houston resident Robert Thompson attended the rally with his wife and children, ages 12, 5 and 4. Many in the family wore T-shirts reading: “The Second Amendment Protects the First.”

“What we are facing now is an assault weapons ban, but if they do this, what will do they do next?” Thompson asked.

William Lawson drove more than four hours from Wichita Falls and held up a sign reading “Modern Musket” over the image of an assault rifle and the words, “An American Tradition since 1776.”

“I’m not some wild-eyed person who wants to fight in the streets,” Lawson said. “This is a country of laws. But I want to protect our Constitution.”

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson conceded that the Second Amendment sometimes leads to killings, but he told the crowd that the First Amendment can be just as dangerous. Patterson said news coverage of those responsible for mass shootings can spark copy-cat shootings.

“All of us here, together, are right about our liberty,” Patterson said. “And we will not back down.”

___

Associated Press writers Bob Christie in Phoenix, Ian Pickus in Albany, N.Y., Emery P. Dalesio, Raleigh, N.C., and Debbi Morello in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report.

Image essay about blood soaked NRA December 23, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Gun Control/Violence.
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James Holmes thanks the NRA for making it easy to killEmilie Parker murdered by the NRAIf ammunition were regulated like SudafedMayor Bloomberg: now is the time to stop gunsRobert Reich: take on the NRA. There an assault rifle was recovered at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The 2nd Amendment was never intended to permit mass slaughter
Who needs assault weapons? US gun death statsIf guns were as regulated as carsGun deaths much higher than deaths from war and terrorismGun deaths much higher than deaths from war and terrorismNRA drips blood Easier to get guns than to get sudafed Put a teacher in every gun storeLa Pierre, NRA chief, is a lobbyist for gun manufacturers



Teacher with Gun

By (about the author)     Permalink
OpEdNews Op Eds 12/22/2012 at 00:44:34
See: Yes, NRA Member, You DO Have the Blood of 20 Children on Your Hands.    Lawrence O’Donnell’s response to LaPierre’s “speech”  
If you know of any (non-copyrighted) images or links that should be added to this image essay, please post them in the comments and I’ll incorporate them into this evolving image essay. Note: I obtained most of these images from facebook posts.

 

http://waliberals.org

DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer.  My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere.  See http://WALiberals.org and http://TruthSite.org for my writing, my (more…) Add this Page to Facebook!    Submit to Twitter    Submit to Reddit    Submit to Stumble Upon     Pin It!     Fark It!
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Gun Lobby Speaks: We Need More Guns, Especially in Schools December 19, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Gun Control/Violence.
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Published on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 by Common Dreams

Gun Lobby Speaks: We Need More Guns, Especially in Schools

The NRA, its affiliates and the lawmakers it supports did not stay silent for too long. Now, the familiar arguments and strategies to defang a national push for stronger gun regulations

  – Jon Queally, staff writer

As a nation mourns and as funerals continue for the child victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last week, gun industry lobbyists and their political affiliates are emerging from ‘the rock they’ve been hiding under‘ since Friday to deliver their solution to the country’s ongoing gun violence epidemic.

The Newtown school shootings have sparked renewed calls for gun control. (Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA)

Their message, in short: more guns. Especially in schools.

On Tuesday, a bill was introduced in the South Carolina legislature that would permit school teachers to carry loaded firearms in their classrooms.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Phillip Lowe (R-Florence), would demand that a teacher wanting to have a gun in the classroom would have to meet a set of criteria, but would only allow school officials to deny the request “upon a finding of just cause.”

According to the Charlotte Observer, one fellow lawmaker called the bill “idiotic” but the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Greg Delleney (R-Chester), said he would give the bill a hearing.

Governor of Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell, also joined the ‘more guns in schools’ chorus by telling constinuents in his state that he would consider such a law for his state.

“I think there should at least be a discussion of that,” McDonnell said during a public Q&A Tuesday. “If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials who were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop aggressors trying to come into the school, so I think that’s a reasonable discussion that ought to be had.”

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association broke its media silence late Tuesday evening and issued a statement promising “to offer meaningful contributions” to a national dialogue and make efforts to “make sure this never happens again.”

The NRA’s statement was met with immediate scorn by many.

As a post by New York Magazine‘s Joe Coscarelli points out, “It took the NRA four days to come up with ‘Shocked, Saddened, and Heartbroken’”?

Commenting on the group’s announcement for a “major” conference on Friday to expand on what their “contributions” to solving the nation’s culture of violence and mass murder would be, Coscarelli commented derisively: “That should be something.”

And, as gun policy expert Kristin Goss told CNN, the NRA’s strategy is a signature part of the organization’s playbook after an incident such as the massacre at Sandy Hook.

“The typical pattern is something horrific happens. There is a national outcry, mourning. People call for a national conversation on gun control. Gun rights proponents lay low,” Goss said. “They’re used to seeing this cycle express condolences and hope the attention will shift to a new issue.”

CNN adds:

When the NRA does speak in detail, it will do so forcefully and with the type of political sway and heft the pro-gun lobby has carefully amassed over dozens of election cycles, experts say.

“When the emotions come down, I’m sure you’ll hear the NRA address this issue. It’ll be in January when legislation is introduced. They’ll testify at hearings. You’ll hear the same kind of arguments that I’d come up with,” said Richard Feldman, who served as regional political director for the NRA during its rise to power in the 1980s and is president of a gun rights group, the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

When that happens, the group will wield the full power of its millions of members and leverage the $17 million it spent in federal races this year helping elect candidates who it considers supporters of the NRA’s mission, said policy experts.

For his part, Larry Pratt, executive director for Gun Owners of America, appeared on Piers Morgan’s evening show to hash out the familiar arguments of the pro-gun lobby, including arming teachers to make schools “more safe”:

 Comments   

 

  • Grant Schreiber

    Clearly, anyone who has guns for “protection” is a cringing sissy afraid of every shadow.  The entire carrying of a concealed weapon is for people who are too spooked to be anywhere outside of their homes.  Only a wimp needs a gun to feel safe.  And that’s the message we need to hammer out:  Guns are for weaklings.  Real Americans don’t live in fear of their neighbors.

  • John A Randolph

    Ban the NRA’s (and all corporate interest groups’) lobbying powers.

    Get the gun powder out of government!

  • WJM51

    Pinheaded morons. Guns will make everything just WONDERFUL for everyone, won’t they? And so MORE guns will just make sure that no one is ever killed again by one, right?

    It’s time to get over this nonsense. Guns are not the answer, and NO ONE needs a freaking assault weapon in a civilized society. Their ONLY purpose is to kill as many as possible in as short a time as possible. NO ONE needs that in society, and you can’t have a society if those are allowed. We are living proof of that right now.

    We’ve been letting our politicians and our “leaders” play divide and conquer on us for a generation, now, and this is the end result. We let them arm us like we are still the wild west (where most guns were actually used to beat someone with, bullets were expensive), and then wonder why people shoot each other rather than discuss things. Our government is totally dysfunctional, and they expect us NOT to see that. Our KIDS see that. Seems the only ones who don’t are the politicians and pundits.

    To hell with the NRA. Wayne LaPierre is a 100% insane nut case for an industry that is destroying this country, and we are foolish enough to let them. We have more than enough guns, we could shut down the whole industry and no one would notice for decades, there are more than enough used ones around. I’m all for melting them ALL down, personally, but that’s just me.

  • rudyspeaks

    In the last several days a number of posts have appeared citing instances of people using guns to protect themselves against crime. Frankly, some seem of questionable authenticity, but, some are probably true. Based on these accounts several pro-gun spokespeople have suggested bluntly that arming more citizens is the answer to gun violence. Pay attention, though, to the slew of shootings that no one defends as authentic “protection”, e.g. (just recently) 3 shot/1 dead in an Alabama hospital, 5 dead in Colorado, a guy shot in a pizza shop over an overdue pizza, a roommate dispute with 1 dead in Fla., a killing over loud music in N.C. There is no question that this is the result (it is, after all, what happened, y’kinow, reality) of the present level of an armed citizenry. And, to get the “benefits’ we’re promised will come of universal carry permits, even MORE people would have to be armed, meaning more of these lethal escalations. Does this strike anyone as a reasonable, or even sane, solution?

  • Gubdeb

    “Save Our Children”? Really? Save Our Children? How many countless children have been sent or are being sent off today to die for these sons-of-bitches in Washington? And for nothing. The citizenry needs the same firepower as these goons in D.C. have. Some will argue the founders didn’t know the firepower guns of the future would have, true, but neither did they know how absolutely evil, sinister, and all powerful our government could become. Again, never cared for guns or savored over them. But I think it may be time to own one now.

    Btw, I happen to see the Piers Morgan interview last night. No fan of either guy, but Morgan was reduced to calling his guest “stupid”. Really? Stupid? That’s the best

Clearly, anyone who has guns for “protection” is a cringing sissy afraid of every shadow.  The entire carrying of a concealed weapon is for people who are too spooked to be anywhere outside of their homes.  Only a wimp needs a gun to feel safe.  And that’s the message we need to hammer out:  Guns are for weaklings.  Real Americans don’t live in fear of their neighbors.
  • Avatar
    John A Randolphan hour ago

    Ban the NRA’s (and all corporate interest groups’) lobbying powers.

    Get the gun powder out of government!

  • Pinheaded morons. Guns will make everything just WONDERFUL for everyone, won’t they? And so MORE guns will just make sure that no one is ever killed again by one, right?

    It’s time to get over this nonsense. Guns are not the answer, and NO ONE needs a freaking assault weapon in a civilized society. Their ONLY purpose is to kill as many as possible in as short a time as possible. NO ONE needs that in society, and you can’t have a society if those are allowed. We are living proof of that right now.

    We’ve been letting our politicians and our “leaders” play divide and conquer on us for a generation, now, and this is the end result. We let them arm us like we are still the wild west (where most guns were actually used to beat someone with, bullets were expensive), and then wonder why people shoot each other rather than discuss things. Our government is totally dysfunctional, and they expect us NOT to see that. Our KIDS see that. Seems the only ones who don’t are the politicians and pundits.

    To hell with the NRA. Wayne LaPierre is a 100% insane nut case for an industry that is destroying this country, and we are foolish enough to let them. We have more than enough guns, we could shut down the whole industry and no one would notice for decades, there are more than enough used ones around. I’m all for melting them ALL down, personally, but that’s just me.

  • In the last several days a number of posts have appeared citing instances of people using guns to protect themselves against crime. Frankly, some seem of questionable authenticity, but, some are probably true. Based on these accounts several pro-gun spokespeople have suggested bluntly that arming more citizens is the answer to gun violence. Pay attention, though, to the slew of shootings that no one defends as authentic “protection”, e.g. (just recently) 3 shot/1 dead in an Alabama hospital, 5 dead in Colorado, a guy shot in a pizza shop over an overdue pizza, a roommate dispute with 1 dead in Fla., a killing over loud music in N.C. There is no question that this is the result (it is, after all, what happened, y’kinow, reality) of the present level of an armed citizenry. And, to get the “benefits’ we’re promised will come of universal carry permits, even MORE people would have to be armed, meaning more of these lethal escalations. Does this strike anyone as a reasonable, or even sane, solution?

      • Save Our Children”? Really? Save Our Children? How many countless children have been sent or are being sent off today to die for these sons-of-bitches in Washington? And for nothing. The citizenry needs the same firepower as these goons in D.C. have. Some will argue the founders didn’t know the firepower guns of the future would have, true, but neither did they know how absolutely evil, sinister, and all powerful our government could become. Again, never cared for guns or savored over them. But I think it may be time to own one now.

    Btw, I happen to see the Piers Morgan interview last night. No fan of either guy, but Morgan was reduced to calling his guest “stupid”. Really? Stupid? That’s the best the man could do?

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Forget Rudolph: Get your photo taken with Santa — and a grenade launcher November 30, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in War.
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//

Ron Kennedy, general manager of the Scottsdale gun club, says the business got the idea for the photo op last year when a club member happened to come in dressed as Santa and other members wanted their picture taken while they were holding their guns.Ron Kennedy, general manager of the Scottsdale gun club, says the business got the idea for the photo op last year when a club member happened to come in dressed as Santa and other members wanted their picture taken while they were holding their guns.

Gordon Murray/AP

Jacques BilleaudThe Associated Press

//

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PHOENIX—An Arizona gun club is offering a chance for children and their families to pose for photos with Santa while holding pistols and military-style rifles.

One image shows Santa in a wingback chair with a snowflake background, a Christmas tree behind him and flanked by an $80,000 machine-gun and a tripod-mounted rifle.

Next to Santa is a man standing behind a boy, who is holding an unloaded AR-15 with an attached grenade launcher.

Ron Kennedy, general manager of the Scottsdale Gun Club, says the business got the idea for the photo op last year when a club member happened to come in dressed as Santa and other members wanted their picture taken while they were holding their guns.

He says people have used the photos for Christmas cards and Facebook posts.

Mesmerized by Melodic Rhetoric: Where Are the Protests in the US? February 26, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Economic Crisis.
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“Compared to rioting Europeans, Americans seem like docile, drugged out sheep herded towards the economic cliff, mesmerized by melodic rhetoric of political messiah Barack Obama.”

Written by Joel S. Hirschhorn  www.towardfreedom.com  

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Image

Budget Cut Protest in NY

“I’ve been through Y2K and I’ve been through 9/11.  I have never seen people so afraid as what we are seeing right now,” said gun shop owner Scott Moss recently.   With more guns per capita – easily 250 million privately owned ones – and certainly more people in prisons than any other democracy, the intriguing question in this still worsening economic calamity is: If Americans found the courage for political rebellion now, would it preempt massive criminal violence, social havoc and armed rebellion later?

  

What we see President Obama and Congress doing and debating seem inadequate to restore financial health and security to the vast majority of Americans before millions more lives are devastated.  Billions of tax dollars have gone to banks, corporations and others but have not stopped the hemorrhage of our financial lifeblood.  More than half a million jobs continue to be lost a month; 3.5 million in the past year.  Millions are losing their homes, health insurance and ability to buy food.  Those with jobs are afraid to spend money.

As Nobel Prize winning and gloomy economist Paul Krugman said the other day after condemning what is going on in Washington, DC: “the economy is still in free fall” and we may be “falling into an economic abyss.”  Harsh words for a harsh reality.

Recently, President Obama said: “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”  But what really matters is exactly what actions the government takes and whether they are what is needed.  Besides, about the same time, his senior advisor David Axelrod said on television that “we have an economic catastrophe.”  For most Americans, catastrophe seems more accurate.

Meanwhile, the elite Upper Class that stole the nation’s wealth in recent years with their greed and political clout, and destroyed the global economic system, are still sitting pretty in their McMansions, penthouses, private jets and yachts.  They still enjoy their $50,000+ cars, still wine and dine in incredibly expensive restaurants, and still retain more wealth than ordinary people can imagine.  Brioni men’s suits for $40,000+ are selling fast.

So what are ordinary Americans doing?  Are there massive crowds of screaming, sign-carrying Americans in city streets from coast to coast?  No.  Or outside congressional buildings and the White House?  No.  Are there riots and looting by hoards of hungry and angry people who have lost a decent lifestyle?  No.  Do we see anything like the anti-Vietnam War protests?  No.  Do we see anything like the urban riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.?  No.  Do we see anything like the rebellion against the British that created our nation?  No.

What do we see?  Millions of people getting notices that they have lots their jobs, getting eviction notices, applying for bankruptcy, trying to get unemployment benefits, standing on long lines to get a shot at few jobs, filling crowded hospital emergency rooms to get medical help, taking their children out of child care they no longer can afford, and buying fewer and cheaper foods or seeking free food.

Compared to rioting Europeans, Americans seem like docile, drugged out sheep herded towards the economic cliff, mesmerized by melodic rhetoric of political messiah Barack Obama.

No wonder our politicians look like dithering, confused idiots arguing among themselves as we continue falling into economic hell.  We simply are not demanding enough of those we elected.

It’s as if most Americans are patiently waiting to be rescued by winning the lottery.  Is it hope or stupidity?

Meantime, President Obama has successfully stimulated one business sector.  Since November, gun and ammunition sales have soared, as have requests for concealed carry permits.  “Our sales are up 15 to 20 percent since October,” says the owner of Shooter’s Service in Livonia, Michigan. “It’s not the 40 percent other stores are reporting, but it’s good business.”  Oakland County in Michigan issued 130 percent more concealed carry weapon permits in January than a year earlier.  Such permits are up as much as 90 percent in some Western North Carolina counties.  According to the FBI, background checks for gun sales in January jumped 29 percent over January 2008; this followed a 24 percent rise in December and a 42 percent increase in November.  In many places gun sales have dropped because of shortages.

What awaits us when hope becomes futile and all confidence in the government is lost?  Gun owner Chad Roberts in Tennessee said this recently: “With the economy like it is more people are going to be desperate wanting to steal from you.”  So, perhaps we will see a contagious, rapid descent into mass criminal violence.  As suffering, gun-toting Americans resort to looting, theft, robbery, burglary, assaults and other economically driven violent acts to get what is needed to survive, and other gun owners shoot to defend what they have.  The fabric of civilized society ripped apart.  Brutal police and military actions result, and for many no police protection.  Constitutional freedoms suspended in a national emergency.  Government threatened by armed rebellion as gun-toting citizens put their Second Amendment rights to the ultimate use.

This nightmare scenario may happen because free people waited too long, remained too hopeful, put too much faith in elections.  Beyond catastrophe lies mob rule, a doomsday post-democracy, disintegration, collapse, chaos.  Americans sucked into the economic abyss where violence replaces politics.

Hope will be a distant memory.  One way to avoid the abyss is to give Americans what they have a constitutional right to have, something the Founders in their wisdom knew we would need.  They provided an option in Article V of the Constitution that Congress has refused to honor, even though the one and only requirement has long been met.  It is a convention of state delegates to consider proposals for constitutional amendments.  This would provide a national forum for the public to seriously become involved with possible ways to reform and improve our government structure.  Over 700 applications from state legislatures for an Article V convention have been submitted from all 50 states; they are being made available for the first time at foavc.org.  Because the convention can only propose amendments that still must be ratified by three-quarters of the states there really is nothing to fear about harming our Constitution.  There is now considerable interest in many states to push for a convention.

In these dismal times using what the Founders gave us makes more sense than ever before.  Americans need more than two-party politics.  They need a serious debate about structural reforms through constitutional amendments that can attack the deep rooted corruption and incompetence that plague the federal government and contributed to creating our current economic meltdown.

Rather than fear a convention, embrace it.  It is far more rational to fear sticking with our status quo dysfunctional government or, worse, the degeneration into violent upheaval.  Following the Constitution’s path to get reforms should be preferred.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention; contact him through delusionaldemocracy.com.]

Photo from NYC.Indymedia.org

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