Even when I’m on public transport late in the afternoon and surrounded by the freely available discarded newspapers of a public that has long since returned to the comfort of their homes, I have always reached for my pocket, pulled out my phone, and loaded up whatever RSS client I was currently attached to.
None of this is to say that I have managed to go these many years without catching any glimpses of the output from these organizations. On the contrary, I regularly find myself reading articles from The Guardian and The Telegraph by way of the general discussion over issues that have the attention of someone I was actually reading through the aforementioned feeds. Most of the time it is however to do with little more then laughing at the sheer ignorance, lies, and hypocrisy of politicians and journalists. In these tangential excursions, I am constantly reminded of why I do not concern myself with the content of these news sources. Simply put, everything they produce is drivel.
At some point, if you’re not a Libertarian, you’ve probably come across the like whilst browsing the internet. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you have done so multiple times and have then found yourself asking the question, “Why are there so many Libertarians on the internet?” You wouldn’t be alone. It’s a suggested search auto complete on google. But it isn’t rocket science to figure out, especially if you have been paying any attention to the media. In short, as far as the BBC, Guardian, ITV and any other mainstream news organization would like to be concerned, liberals, conservatives, and socialists are the only 3 options for political or philosophical positions available to the public. Any opinion that cannot fit on a 3×5 card or deviates from the agreed upon charter of how much the state should be involved within our personal lives, socially or economically, is regarded as the opinion of the eccentric, and need not be considered. It is only recently, with the evolution of a medium without gate keepers, that the cracks have begun to appear in this narrative. The Libertarian is noticeable on the internet simply for the fact he is present.
Why is this relevant? Because Libertarian’s, defenders of the right that is enshrined in the second amendment of the US Constitution, are a rapidly growing segment of the population, not just in the United States or the United Kingdom, but globally and the media don’t like that.
Over the last 72 hours, I was at first, by unfortunate circumstance, limited to watching the BBC coverage of the tragedy in Newtown. (If you haven’t, go read about it and then come back here.) Now as I said, I don’t rely on mainstream media for my news. Not Rupert Murdoch and certainly not state run media outlets. Relying on any of these sources for information, even sitting down to read the entire newspaper or watch an entire news cycle, would leave you about as well informed as someone who had instead decided to pick up a celebrity gossip magazine. The events in Newtown coupled with the rest of the BBC’s output were as far as I’m concerned, a simply stunning demonstration that affirmed my previous claim. As far as the media are concerned, the only answer, in fact the only pinnacle cause of the Newtown gunman’s actions, were the availability of guns. In a sad way, this fascinates me. This is what passes for journalism. This is what just about everyone excluding weirdo’s like me relies on for information. And this is why we’re so screwed.
And this is when I started laughing.
Now Is Not The Time To Discuss Gun Control
In the wake of 9/11, America immediately turned it’s attention to how it would prevent any future terror attacks. What followed was the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation that repealed the first, fourth, and sixth amendments, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transport Security Administration, along with the starting of a war with Afghanistan which a decade later, America is still fighting. Whilst liberals more then happily point out that these egregious violations of rights took place under the Republicans and Bush, they ignore the actions of the Obama administration which brought in the National Defense Authorization Act adding the fifth amendment to the junk pile.
It is now possible for the United States government to arrest and detain citizens without cause, reason, or prospect of trial, indefinitely.
I don’t believe anyone will wish to legitimately argue that events such as these are historically unique. The Patriot Act is regularly compared to the Hindenburg Decree in a manner I at least believe to be most apt. Frankly, it should be apparent that considering serious matters should never be done when a situation is emotionally charged, let alone when children have been slaughtered, and the bodies are not yet even cold in the ground.
Unfortunately, the pretense for everything I’ve said so far has been based on a gross misrepresentation from just about every conceivable angle. Gun control is not an issue that we need to begin having a serious conversation about; it’s one Americans can’t seem to stop talking about. The problem is, it’s advocates have not been able to win the argument, by neither consequentialism and certainly not deontology. Instead, with the backing of just about every single media outlet, calling for a ‘frank discussion’ allows them to sweep this under the rug and start again. It is akin to how Hollywood has pursued internet regulations, by pretending that the previous failure’s to have their lobby sponsored legislation passed are irrelevant and claiming that now is the time to act on an issue that has been paid no attention. Even in the news reports I was unfortunate enough to be locked into watching, calls for a frank discussion were made in not only the same statement, not only in the same sentence, but in the same breath as remarks about how it will eventually allow America to bring it’s gun laws in line with the rest of the world.
And this is why I started laughing.
A comment on the previously linked article, “Gun Control, Ad Infinitum” perfectly sums up this attitude:
Any serious, rational, reasonable, adult, mature discussion would lead to everyone agreeing that all guns must be banned. In the discussions held thus far, not everyone has agreed that all guns must be banned. Ergo, no discussion thus far has been serious, rational, reasonable, adult or mature. QED – PM
So, if you’ve given up trying to achieve an end by deontology or consequentialism, there’s always another route to achieving your end: sensationalism.
The only problem with this method is that there is a limited time frame in which you can realistically broadcast your message, and doing so seemingly at random will be ineffective. Thankfully, at least if this is what you’re trying to achieve, gun control is one of the easiest fields to practice this art in. The media will dedicate untold resources and hours of their schedule to repeatedly broadcasting the most unimportant details without basic fact checking. Let’s ignore the issue that plastering the killers name everywhere is probably one of the major causes of people deciding to go on rampages. Let’s just focus on getting our ends achieved, and as Patrick Keefe at the New Yorker puts it,
What does it take? If a congresswoman in a coma isn’t sufficient grounds to reëvaluate the role that firearms play in our national life, is a schoolhouse full of dead children? I desperately want to believe that it is, and yet I’m not sure that I do. – Patrick Keefe, New Yorker
So now you’ve got an emotional public that as even Patrick Keefe details in his article, has little to no understanding of what laws are and aren’t in place controlling guns, along with the mainstream media circuit backing whatever angle you wish to approach this issue from. At this point, if you wanted, you could make arguments, no matter how fallacious, with facts, no matter how spurious, that you’d almost certainly be able to get away with it at least long enough to get whatever measures passed you could possibly desire. Based on what I’ve seen over the past 72 hours, I can only assume that they came to the same conclusion.
And this is why I’m writing this article.
Normally I would advocate we take a break from the argument so that some time may be given to the families, allowing them to greave without the politicization of their trauma. Normally I would advocate that the emotional response be allowed to wane, not out of, as I expect to be accused of, trying to make people forget about the idea of gun control, so that another disaster may be allowed to happen, but rather because making life changing decisions, especially ones that will be enshrined in law for 330 million people, whilst you are still recovering from grief, is simply never a good idea.
But based on what I have witnessed these past days, that’s simply not an option now. It’s not that the actions of gun control advocates and the media have been unique this time around, but the sheer scale is simply unprecedented. As Keefe remark states, a school of dead children is exactly what was needed to recreate the effect that has worked so well for the left of calling anyone who questioned the Obama administration a racist. It creates a sense of fear in the opposition, quelling any dissident opinion. Combining this with a populace so poorly educated that it fails to understand even the most basic concept of it’s rights or the value of it’s freedom’s and you have a recipe that will undoubtedly lead to a growing statist mentality where rights are sacrificed without a second thought. So, over the next few days, let’s just go over the argument once again shall we…