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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Genius decommissioned while Stupid keeps the guns

Tómas Gorman • 15 November 2005

Picture the scenario. Sitting on a bus and 'eary' wigging a conversation between a bus driver and an American lady who was observing that it was much nicer to see Belfast without the armed soldiers patrolling its streets.

"Quite right" replied the bus driver. "Benefits of the Peace Process you see." He pointed out with an air of worldly wisdom. "Suppose you'se have yer own problems over there as well, y'know with guns and that." The American shot forward in her seat "Excuse me?" she enquired.

Now to me, the conversation was going to go in one of two directions at this point. Either the American was agreeable to this comment, being a fairly progressive person and had simply not heard the bus drivers' comment due to his fairly thick Belfast accent, hence her request for him to repeat his comment.

Or scenario B, the nice American lady was a member of the National Rifle Association and would only give up her rifle if it was pried from her proverbial cold dead hands. As it turned out, her knee jerked, so to speak.

Unfortunately for the bus driver, I proved to be right in my assumption. I think it was something in the complete change of her tone that gave it away. What resulted was a ten-minute monologue on the virtue of the Americans right to bear arms, from taking the family out for some quality time and shooting deers, trees and squirrels in the woods to being able to defend your home from the specter of an armed robber walking up your garden path with the intent of relieving you of your worldly possessions.

"Couldn't the robber be stopped with a baseball bat instead?" reasoned the bus driver. "Oh so you can't kill a guy with a baseball bat? Listen buddy…" she called him buddy. I winced. This is getting heated. "…I'm in the NRA…" Christ she even used the name, "…and proud of it. My constitution enshrines my right to bear arms and I'm damn well gonna make sure that I practice that right."

And so what began as an affable conversation resulted in two red faces and a decent bit of light entertainment for me. I can't help but think though that both parties in this dispute were missing the point somewhat.

Our American friend was right when she pointed out to the bus driver that yes she did have the right to bear arms. This was written into her constitution along with other items that were designed to protect her and her fellow citizens from potential tyranny from her own government.

You see the Americans had just turfed out the Brits in their War of Independence and had really had a sickener dealing with their less than fair monarchist regime. So they wrote what was on paper (no pun intended) an excellent constitution that had mechanisms that protected the people of America from the possibility of its new government from becoming just like the old British one. They created three branches of government that kept an eye on each other just in case one of them got carried away with itself and tried to throw its weight about and incur on the rights of its citizens. These three branches were the Legislative (the House of Representatives and Congress), the Executive (the President) and the Judiciary (the Supreme Court). It was an ingenious and fully democratic system for its time.

Just in case all three got corrupt then the peoples militias of the time were permitted, in the constitution, to hold on to their rifles and the all the rest of their gear if it was needed to turf out their new government. This particular little gem has stayed in the constitution right up to present day but unfortunately the intention of it has been lost somewhat along the way and recent events have highlighted this.

The right wing 'intelligencia' in America are great ones for the old political spin and mass media control. They have under their control several large and quite slick news and media corporation in their hands and have used them to great lengths during Reagan's eighties and in their more recent consolidation of power in the U.S. Generally the media outlets have used a potent mix of patriotic pride along with a healthy dose of fear to influence their people….quite successfully as it turned out. The assault rifle over fireplace became the defence against the reds, pinkos, hippies, feminists, lesbians, feminist lesbians, crazy black gun men and well any other "ethnic invaders"; and not against the tyrannical despots on Capitol Hill. Well except for some of the even "righter" wing militias in the chronically constipated (or conservative) Mid West and Deep South who still hadn't gotten over the whole abolition of slavery thing.

Some other groups have rebelled from the reformist trend and shouldered guns for defense against governmental tyranny and also for progressive political means. The Black Panthers for instance set up civil defence units in poor black neighbourhoods during their early days, to control crime as an alternative to the vastly white and racist inner city police.

Even though the Black Panther initiative never gained enough momentum to create massive political upheaval it briefly showed the a progressive interpretation of why a population should bear arms in a relatively modern era.

Recent events have also proved to be examples of when U.S. citizens should bear arms against a tyrannical government. The American corporate elite dropped its mask of wealthy respectability during the whole Hurricane Katrina affair.

Startled from his lazy poolside slumbers by news of the biggest natural disaster to hit the US in donkeys' years, George W. Bush breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that it was only a bunch of poor niggers who were dying and suffering. Indeed the whole federal response smacked of apathy to the heartbreaking pleas for aid and rescue.

When it came to those dirty, sneaky, looting blacks however; well pass me my twelve gauge and call for the army, we have a crisis on our hands. For a few days the news focused on the issue of looters and the strain it was having on the national guard, sent there not to rescue the sick and frail, but to protect the property of the cities wealthy who had already had the means to escape the disaster.

Meanwhile New Orleans cracked and popped to the sound of gun battles between the National Guard and the poor citizens who chose to take the food that was rotting in the shops rather than starve to death.

Hopefully the memory of Hurricane Katrina will live on in the memory of the survivors of New Orleans as well as the example of legitimately bearing arms against an oppressive tyranny posing as their government.

After U.S. public and international pressure, George W. Bush reluctantly let go of his tackle and headed south to do…. well, something…and floated around in a nice casual blue shirt and kissed as many cute black babies as possible to try and save what little credibility he has left internationally.

He even flew Mom and Pop down to New Orleans as well and we were treated to images of the whole Bush family together down in New Orleans, all kissing the poor black babies. Christ, millions of crazy black gun men in America and when you finally need one……




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

25 November 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Political Policing
Willie Gallagher

One Sweet Deal for Some, but for The Rest of Us?...
Mick Hall

Who's In Charge Around Here, Anyway?
Eamonn McCann

Playing the Game
Anthony McIntyre

Dr John Coulter

RSF Presidential Address 2005
Ruairi O Bradaigh

To Go On: Irish Travellers meet Academia
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Genius decommissioned while Stupid keeps the guns
Tomas Gorman

Cut Off Aid to Regime in Uganda
David Adams

Sticks and Stones
Anthony McIntyre

7 November 2005

Mary McGurk — Giving Voice to the Abandoned
Anthony McIntyre

It Is Only the Intellectually Lost Who Ever Argue
Marc Kerr

Prospects for the Left in Ireland
Eugene Mc Cartan

Bartering the Infinities
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

The Political Police
Anthony McIntyre

Herrema's Kidnapper Explains Motive
Eamonn McCann

Revenge is a Dish Served Cold
Dr John Coulter

Causes and Effects
Mick Hall

Speaking Truth to Power
Fred Wilcox

The Bush SATaff Goes to Morals School
Mary La Rosa

A View of the H-Blocks
Anthony McIntyre



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