●The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening the gap between rich and poor, which leads to civil disorder.
●Cutting the deficit is the government’s method for taking dollars from the middle class and giving them to the rich.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●The penalty for ignorance is slavery.
O.K., guns are legal. Absolutely.
Various Supreme Courts have ignored or rationalized around the first half of the 2nd Amendment (“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” and focused all attention on the second half (“the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”)
Further, the various Supreme Courts have expanded the meaning of “arms” to include all kinds of death machines the founding fathers never dreamed of.
Finally, even a total ban on guns would accomplish absolutely nothing. In fact, it would have the perverse effect of increasing gun sales and crime, just as Prohibition increased alcohol sales and crime.
In America, guns are here to stay. The NRA has won. While other nations have avoided the mayhem associated with, indeed caused by, guns, we here have the cowboy mentality of “shoot first and ask questions, later.” It’s become a sign of strength and manhood to pull a 4-pound trigger and end a human life. Only sissies don’t understand that.
Even that impartial judge of morality, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
So it’s settled, in law, in history and in American mores. America = guns. Period. So get used to it.
That said, there is a small problem, even gun owners should recognize. Guns do kill and maim. Guns do not prevent murder, as the NRA loves to claim. Guns cause murder and injury. The incidence of people using guns for legitimate self defense is remarkably rare, when compared with the incidence of people using guns for crime or killing by accident.
While some gun owners may lie awake at night, praying that a bad guy will enter their house so they can blow him away with one of their 10 guns, they statistically are more likely, by accident or by intention, to blow away their own wife or children, than any bad guys. That is the reality.
The more guns, the more murders and serious injuries with guns. It’s true here in Chicago, where the neighborhoods having the most privately owned and carried guns also have the most gun crimes. It’s true, worldwide. The nations with the most guns also have the most gun crimes.
So what shall we do? Shall we just surrender, and allow everyone to own and carry around a 50 caliber machine gun, or a rocket propelled grenade launcher, in the mistaken belief we all can act like well-trained police? Should we have any limits, whatsoever?
While nothing can prevent gun violence, there may be ways to mitigate the growing epidemic. That’s all we really want or can expect, isn’t it? Just to reduce the killing and wounding.
I have several thoughts, and would appreciate comments, not only from you bleeding heart liberals, but also from you macho patriot gun owners.
Idea 1: The “dram shop” corollary
At Bar Liability for Alcohol Injuries you’ll see: “Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol, such as bars, taverns and package stores responsible for injury caused by drunk patrons”
While admittedly, there are many differences between buyers and sellers of alcohol vs buyers and sellers of guns, the principal is the same: The seller of a dangerous item, whether alcohol or a gun, can be responsible for the ultimate effect of that sale.
What if the seller of a gun were responsible for the actions of the buyer of that gun? The seller could be the manufacturer, a retailer or a private party. If you sell someone a gun, and he uses that gun to commit a crime, you could be responsible, perhaps not equally responsible, but legally responsible in some measure.
The effect would be that people only would sell guns to people they know well enough to be sure that person will not commit a crime. No sales to strangers or to “bad guys.” Only sales to “good guys.”
This probably would end gun shows and gun retailers, neither of which is constitutionally protected. So where would people get their constitutionally protected guns. According to the CNN article By the numbers: Guns in America, there were 310 million non-military firearms in America – as of 2009. Presumably, there are many more now.
So we already have plenty of guns, one for every man, woman and child (including newborns, and constitutionally protected fetuses). So, if you want a gun, you’d need only buy it from someone who trusts you are Wayne LaPierre’s “good guy with a gun” and knows you will not commit a crime with it.
That should be no problem for a good guy like you.
Idea #2: Tax guns
Making guns more expensive – much more expensive – might limit gun sales to rich good guys, as opposed to poor bad guys (You know who I mean).
Taxing gun manufacturers and importers, say $1,000 per hand gun and $2,000 per long gun (except for sales to the military and those “well-regulated militias” the Constitution mentions), would be a good start. There’s nothing unconstitutional about a tax.
Sure, there would be foreigners smuggling guns into the U.S., but again, all we can hope to do is reduce the flow, not end it altogether.
Idea #3: Tax bullets and shotgun shells
Same as #2, and actually could be implemented in concert with #2. Levy the tax on manufacturers and importers. Good guys don’t need to use many bullets. After all, how many crimes does a good guy get to prevent in a lifetime?
So if you paid, say $50, for a bullet, and that bullet remained in the gun under your pillow, you’d be protected against intruders your entire life – all for just $50. Cheap protection.
For target practice, maybe folks can use paint balls. Just as much fun, and not nearly so dangerous. As for home-made shells, remember, we’re looking for mitigation, not total prevention.
Idea #4: Tax or outlaw magazines and clips
Our founding fathers did not anticipate automatic or even semi-automatic weapons. Every gun was single-shot, hand loaded. There were no magazines or clips for multiple bullets. (There were some double-shot pistols – something like two pistols glued side by side – but even they were hand loaded.) So, no one can claim magazines or clips are constitutionally protected.
Manufacturers of guns would be prohibited from manufacturing magazines or any type of gun that can carry multiple shells or any type of gun that can be modified to carry a magazine or clip. Magazines could be made illegal, and any crime committed using a gun with a magazine, could carry stronger penalties. Forcing bad guys to hand load their weapons would give the good guys time to respond.
In summary, gun ownership is the law of the land. Personally, I think it’s a terrible law that dramatically hurts America, but it’s the law, today. So, our goal should not be to prevent gun ownership; the goal should be to reduce gun killing and wounding.
The above four ideas are steps in that direction. Perhaps you have better ideas. We surely need ideas.
Until then, keep your head down.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Nine Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Medicare — parts A, B & D — for everyone
3. Send every American citizen an annual check for $5,000 or give every state $5,000 per capita (Click here)
4. Long-term nursing care for everyone
5. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
6. Salary for attending school (Click here)
7. Eliminate corporate taxes
8. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
9. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99%
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption – Net Imports
9 thoughts on “–Guns are here to stay. How do we slow the killing and maiming? Four thoughts.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt. That’s going to dominate the Congress between now and the end of March. None of these issues, I think, will have the kind of priority that spending and debt are going to have over the next two or three months.”
(By which time, the gun problem will have cooled down, and maybe we can just ignore it. Anyway, please don’t ask Congress to consider two issues at one time.)
“The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt.”
~Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Translation: Our only task is to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.
to make matters worse and really piss you off, the debt and defecit are made up problems, excuses to make life more miserable (not for them of course)assholes
Rodger writes, “It’s become a sign of strength and manhood to pull a 4-pound trigger and end a human life. Only sissies don’t understand that.”
That’s correct. Gun violence is merely a symptom of a central illness, which I will identify farther below.
American culture was founded on violence, and remains saturated by it. On 14 Dec, twenty-eight people were killed in Connecticut. However, U.S. drone attacks kill that many every day. Average Americans claim the “right” to kill children with drones, or drop toxic munitions that cause birth defects and miscarriages. We have the “right” to conduct “double tap” drone strikes, murdering victims, and then murdering the first responders (medics, family members, etc) in a second hit. The President, after one of our embassies is attacked, preaches, “There is no excuse for the use of violence.” Then he sends drones to bomb whoever is next on his list, plus anyone standing near them.
On 2 May 1996, U.S. Sec. of State Madeline Albright admitted that U.S. sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children. Ms. Albright boasted that it was “worth it.”
NATO recently murdered 50,000 Libyans.
The list is endless. The point is that Americans love violence. Since World War II we have engaged in over fifty military operations abroad, killing some four million people (Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Libya, the list goes on). If you add in the total massacres by proxies and surrogates, the number approaches five million (Indonesia, Chile, Guatemala, and elsewhere). We have almost 1,000 overseas military bases. (Russia has ten overseas military bases. China none.)
We are the only country in the world that is perpetually at war. Even domestically, almost everything we do is framed in a context of war (“war on drugs,” “war on terror,” “war on hunger,” etc). We give the military free access to our schools, where they regale our children with romanticized delusions of military righteousness.
We teach our children that violence is how to handle whatever annoys them, or gets in their way. Our #1 product is war and greed. We sell more weapons to the world than all other countries combined. Ours is a gangster nation. Is it any wonder that we have massacres?
We have environmental and health policies that expose our children to all manner of toxins in the air, land and water. We lead the industrialized world in child poverty. All this, plus gun violence, is merely a symptom of the central disease, which is selfishness. Americans don’t care. We have more prisoners per capita than any country on earth. We house twenty-five percent of all prisoners in the world. Two thirds of them are locked up for petty drug charges. (I worked for 2.5 years in a state prison.)
We don’t care. Austerity kills many more people than does gun violence, yet average Americans complain that the U.S. government spends too much. Children are saddled with crippling education debt and no prospect for jobs, yet most people reject the facts of Monetary Sovereignty, because most people are selfish bastards. They don’t care.
Social Security helps care for the elderly, plus children with severe disabilities, such as my own daughter. And yet, Americans reject the facts of Monetary Sovereignty. They don’t care.
Given so much selfishness, plus an addiction to violence, no amount of “gun control” will make any difference. Indeed, as Rodger notes, outright prohibition would increase gun sales and crime, just as Prohibition increased alcohol sales and crime. Same with the “war on drugs.”
And yet I think Rodger goes overboard in his zealousness, advocating federal taxes on guns, ammunition, and clips. Rodger also advocates legally charging gun sellers for the actions of others, and idea that I find unacceptable.
So what is the solution, in my opinion?
First, I agree with Rodger who says that the goal, “Should not be to prevent gun ownership; but to reduce gun killing and wounding.” The best way to move toward that goal is to keep proclaiming the truth about Monetary Sovereignty. We will NEVER eliminate massacres by disturbed individuals, but we will see a decline in overall gun violence if we push for a more equitable and prosperous society for all. Poverty and austerity always worsen gun violence.
Consider Mexico. I know Mexicans intimately, and in my opinion they are not an intrinsically violent people. Not on average anyway. Not on par with average Americans from the USA. And yet Mexico has widespread drug violence because of poverty and hopelessness. In Mexico as elsewhere, the drug war is an economic class war. It is a means to keep the peasants down; a means to prevent socioeconomic revolutions.
Our task is to change the way people think about themselves and each other. That’s a tall order, and a nebulous goal. So how do we proceed? For me, our first step is to continue proclaiming the truth about Monetary Sovereignty. Money is very important. We must change the way people think about money.
There was a good line from the 1968 movie “Once Upon A Time In the West,” in which the chief villain takes a seat at the desk of a railroad magnate. The magnate asks him, “How does it feel to sit behind that desk?” The villain responds, “It’s like holding a gun, only much more powerful.”
Well written and I agree with most of your points. That said, I feel the tax angle on both guns and ammo. would probably work. My cousin, Fred Basset, was told he needed go on a diet as he was too fat. Straight off he woofed “I will not give up my Doggy-dins until they pry them from my cold, dead paws!” His owners changed strategy and told him that Doggy-dins had gone way up in price due to a luxury tax and that he would have to stand watch around the house 16 hours a day if he wanted the same amount of “dins” as before. Being a lazy hound, Fred went on the new meal plan.
Using cartoon characters over this issue is somewhat silly but the issue in itself is beyond ridiculous for a world power with a supposedly well educated populace. I had friends in the ’70s that were stockpiling ammo., converting semi automatic rifles to automatic and building shelters for the upcoming “race war” that would happen when welfare was cut or reduced. I haven’t seen any of those folk in over 20 years but they’re probably still doing the same things. However, if you wanted to join that group now you might think it over twice if the AR-15 cost $2000 and its slugs were $5 a pop. Will it be possible to enforce these taxes and eliminate a gun black market? Not entirely but I just returned from living 5 years in Canada where both smokes and alcohol are highly taxed (easily 2-3 times that of any US state). I enjoy a snifter of brandy in the evening but that went by the wayside when the $12 US price was now $36 for a 750ml bottle. Smokes are easily $12 and up per pack; you sure don’t see high school kids smoking outside the school every day as you do in the US. I never did find any sort of black market for booze while the tobacco smugglers get busted on a very regular basis with huge fines ($2-5 per cigaret depending on volume and this is from other PROVINCES, not US states – from the US fines are higher and can include prison time). If nothing else, taxing would “reduce the deficit” and in this case be possibly beneficial.
Fritz Basset, you want to tax guns and ammo. More federal taxes. More money sucked out of the economy and destroyed. More poverty. More gun violence.
Instead, why don’t we oppose austerity, and demand that the government spend enough to get us out of this depression?
Please think carefully before you suggest that the federal government raise taxes EVEN HIGHER. Taxes that are destroyed upon receipt. For example, you claim that there are less smokers per capita in Canada that in the USA, because taxes are higher. Really? Cigarettes are far cheaper in Mexico than they are in the USA, and yet there are far fewer smokers per capita in Mexico. Thus, higher taxes do not always have any effect, one way or the other. (I have lived in Mexico, and I am an ex-smoker.)
We are in a depression, and federal taxes are already too high. If you want to discourage smoking, then why not have the government create money out of nothing, and spend it on advertising agencies that create anti-smoking ads? Or, since you favor a federal government approach, why not outlaw cigarettes? Why not outlaw campaign contributions from big tobacco growers?
I can think of many more alternatives.
I just don’t like anything that sucks money out of the economy.
A calm, reasoned discussion about gun violence: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/01/rant-from-the-man-whod-deport-piers-morgan.html
I need a high capacity magazine for hunting deer. I want to make sure that sucker is dead.
more info on gun control laws in japan and elsewhere: