A distinctly American sentiment
“Honk if you like guns” is on a message board outside a local gun range. It’s a distinctly American sentiment. Since this country has over 400 million guns of various sorts and calibers in circulation, it’s a safe bet that America does indeed “like” guns. And that’s not a liking you’re encouraged to keep to yourself, hence the encouragement to “honk” as you drive past to advertise full throttle your affection for them.
As I wrote a decade ago, “weapons ‘r’ us.” America, the so-called arsenal of democracy during World War II, is now often simply an arsenal. Guns are expensive and life is cheap. And we literally export that sentiment as America dominates the international trade in arms of all sorts, everything from F-35 jet fighters to M-1 tanks to the humblest of bullets. Indeed, we’re buying so many guns in America there’s even a shortage of those humble bullets.
Americans believe they are unsafe; Americans are also less than happy and are the world’s best customers for anti-depressants, and happiness is a warm gun, as John Lennon wrote.
There is considerable psychic distress in our country, and no wonder. The police video released yesterday of the beating of Tyre Nichols during a routine traffic stop is more than disturbing. A helpless man lies on the ground as police surround him, kicking and hitting him repeatedly. “Savage” is a good descriptor for the beating he took, after which it took nearly half an hour for an ambulance to arrive to render medical aid. Tyre Nichols died in a hospital three days later.
I know it’s an odd juxtaposition: the “honk if you like guns” sentiment and the (alleged) murder of Tyre Nichols by five (or more) police officers in Memphis. Maybe they have little in common, except, perhaps, a liking for violence and the potential of deadly force.
And so, to change the subject, I keep hearing the best way to help Ukraine is to send them more weapons so their armed forces can kill more Russians. It’s a war, after all, and tanks are needed more than talks. Putin only understands one language, the language of murderous violence, and he must be stopped so send Ukraine whatever its military officials request because we can trust them to know best.
And I begin to wonder, which country truly knows the language of murderous violence best? Which country has more mass shootings than any other? Which country spends more on wars and weaponry, has more of its citizens in prison, has more military bases, exports more weaponry around the world, than any other?
Honk if you like guns — it’s a sentiment that says much about our American moment.
8 thoughts on “Honk if you like guns”
Well stated article that knits together various strands of police violence; obsession with guns; export of weaponry and consumption of anti-depression pills. Other strands of anxiety producing policies and the amnesia inducing: support of countries that dispossess indigenous people of their land; amnesia and non-accountability re: America’s dispossession of native land, etc etc
We’re used to seeing video of Col. Douglas Macgregor and his analysis of the US WAR with Russia over Ukraine being in NATO so the US could have boots, missiles and rockets on the ground right on Russia’s border.
This is a written Opinion piece in The American Conservative.
Until it decided to confront Moscow with an existential military threat in Ukraine, Washington confined the use of American military power to conflicts that Americans could afford to lose, wars with weak opponents in the developing world from Saigon to Baghdad that did not present an existential threat to U.S. forces or American territory. This time—a proxy war with Russia—is different.
Contrary to early Beltway hopes and expectations, Russia neither collapsed internally nor capitulated to the collective West’s demands for regime change in Moscow. Washington underestimated Russia’s societal cohesion, its latent military potential, and its relative immunity to Western economic sanctions.
As a result, Washington’s proxy war against Russia is failing. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was unusually candid about the situation in Ukraine when he told the allies in Germany at Ramstein Air Base on January 20, “We have a window of opportunity here, between now and the spring,” admitting, “That’s not a long time.” ……………………………………………………………
TO STOP AMERICA’S “NATIONAL” GUN VIOLENCE PROBLEM, CONCENTRATE WHERE THE MURDERS ARE CONCENTRATED by Gary Galles 012823 [Extracts]
According to recent research on the US murder rate by the Crime Prevention Research Center [https://crimeresearch.org/]:
“Homicide rates have spiked, but MOST OF AMERICA HAS REMAINED UNTOUCHED. There are VAST SWATHES OF THE COUNTRY WHERE VIOLENT CRIME IS VERY, VERY RARE, AND SMALL AREAS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE IT IS COMMON.”
~ The worst five counties (Cook, Los Angeles, Harris, Philadelphia, and New York) accounted for about 15 percent of homicides.
~ The worst 1 percent of counties (31), with 21 percent of the US population, accounted for 42 percent of the homicides.
~ The worst 2 percent of counties (62), with 31 percent of the population, accounted for 56 percent of the homicides.
~ The worst 5 percent of counties (155), with 47 percent of the population, accounted for 73 percent of the homicides.
IN CONTRAST, OVER HALF OF US COUNTIES (52 PERCENT) HAD ZERO HOMICIDES IN 2020, AND ROUGHLY ONE-SIXTH OF THE COUNTIES (16 PERCENT) HAD ONLY ONE.
Continuing its investigation, the CPRC looked at even finer-scale zip code data for Los Angeles County. He found that the worst 10 percent of zip codes in the county accounted for 41 percent of the homicides, and the worst 20 percent accounted for a total of 67 percent of the homicides.
From such data, the CPRC concluded that: “MURDER ISN’T A NATIONWIDE PROBLEM.” INSTEAD, “IT’S A PROBLEM IN A SMALL SET OF URBAN AREAS, AND EVEN IN THOSE COUNTIES MURDERS ARE CONCENTRATED IN SMALL AREAS INSIDE THEM, AND ANY SOLUTION MUST REDUCE THOSE MURDERS.”
Despite the constant political and media drumbeat to portray homicides as a national problem that threatens everyone everywhere, and thus demands national solutions in line with what the political Left wants, the evidence points us in a far more local direction.
That may well explain the political reason for the volume and persistence of that drumbeat. It provides camouflage for those whose policies (and those who support them) would come under far greater scrutiny IF PEOPLE RECOGNIZED JUST HOW CONCENTRATED HOMICIDES ARE AND THEN ASKED WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN THOSE PLACES, RATHER THAN THE “BLAME AMERICA FIRST” BROMIDES THEY ARE ROUTINELY MISDIRECTED TOWARD TODAY.
But that means if we really cared about those most harmed by the murder rate, rather than imposing broader-than-necessary restrictions on Americans, it is important to follow the evidence so many would prefer to keep hidden.
Full article at https://mises.org/wire/concentrate-where-murders-are-concentrated [EMPHASES added.]
Scott Ritter and Mathew Hoh have joined the list of folks who will be speaking at the RAGE AGAINST THE WAR MACHINE ANTI-WAR RALLY in Washington, DC on February 19th. No participation indicated yet by Veterans For Peace. Source: https://rageagainstwar.com/#Speakers
Having the power to kill someone, at a distance, with miniscule effort, is the ultimate freedom. Guns don’t just represent the ultimate freedom. guns are the ultimate freedom for a significant portion of Americans. For them guns and freedom are the same thing, entwined and inseparable. Envisioning killing with a gun to protect the freedom to kill with guns passes through the minds of perhaps 50 million Americans daily. I’d guess that 10 million would go out and start using that freedom if they got the order.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Harsh–and true, I think.
A 2 hour + analysis and questions with Scott Ritter on The Duran. I listen to his analysis/speculations because I believe he has the informed basis to make them.