Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Yay for guns!

It's interesting to me that nobody's really talking about the role guns are playing in the New Orleans disaster. The first places the looters raided were guns stores, clearing out their stock of sophisticated firearms and enough ammunition to shoot for a days. It was only once they were armed that they went for the flat-screen television sets and jewelry that people are getting up in arms about (Personally I can't bring myself to give a damn about flat screens or bling one way or another right now. Steal it, don't steal it, it's all going to be wrecked by the water anyway. Those judging looters should try seeing their houses being covered in 20 feet of water with unguarded riches that they've wanted their whole life just sitting around looking abandoned. See whether you'd be tempted or not.)

To me the interesting thing is the guns. The NRA and other groups who like shooting always hammer the claim "The guns will make us safer" into our heads to combat the weird idea gun-haters have that sophisticated weaponry is dangerous. It's true there have been individual stories of New Orleans gun owners defending their property (Property...that's what matters right now. Property.) with their weapons, but there's also a bigger collective story about what happens when things go really wrong in an armed society. This is a story that includes armed gangs roving the streets taking whatever they want and easily overwhelming the police force. This is a story where snipers set up shop outside of hospitals and where people shoot at rescue helicopters. It's a story that includes federal emergency management agency operations being suspended because the city can't be made safe for them without the army coming in. People are saying the looters should be shot on sight because there doesn't seem to be another way to get them to stop with the really bad things they are doing, including rape and murder. When someone has a gun and a pocketful of bullets asking nicely just seems like a waste of time.

At some point force must be countered with greater force. That's a terrible fact of life, but a fact of life nonetheless. The question is how high you have to escalate the use of force to gain control. Right now the answer is looking to be "Pretty fucking high." I'm not saying anything one way or another about the fact that we are basically the only civilized society to be this loaded up with guns (Canada doesn't count as civilized, have you SEEN what passes for bacon up there?) I'm just saying that it's an interesting question we aren't asking, let alone answering.

I don't think you can successfully argue that what's going on in New Orleans counts as a well-regulated militia or that it is helping the security of a free state, but there's an even older law it seems to be following. Something about reaping and sowing.
Tags: constitution, guns, new orleans
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