All Praise be to the Gun
The NRA’s newest religion requires the same tribute as the Aztecs did; the blood of its worshipers.
“I asked another friend what it’s like being the mother of a black son. “The condition of black life is one of mourning,” she said bluntly. For her, mourning lived in real time inside her and her son’s reality: At any moment she might lose her reason for living.”
“Though the white liberal imagination likes to feel temporarily bad about black suffering, there really is no mode of empathy that can replicate the daily strain of knowing that as a black person you can be killed for simply being black: no hands in your pockets, no playing music, no sudden movements, no driving your car, no walking at night, no walking in the day, no turning onto this street, no entering this building, no standing your ground, no standing here, no standing there, no talking back, no playing with toy guns, no living while black.”— New York Times
There are days I am hard-pressed to remember certain things about my nation. One of them is what people deem to be the most important thing in our society.
- Is it religion?
- Is it freedom?
- Is it hatred?
- Is it the gun?
I’ve decided it is the perfect fusion of all four. And a refusal to acknowledge the problem this new religion causes:
- A religion which embodies and justifies what they consider a legitimate hatred, a sect of Christianity which has been subverted to promote the perspective of divine right, which justifies hate, ostracization, and religious manipulations of the social fabric, not promoting social weal, but using religious oppression to punish those not designated pure by the religious leadership.
- Occupying positions of power in the Federal government, taking positions within the police departments, the legal system, these adherents make it possible for social travesties such as the murder of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and many other unarmed citizens of color, a defacto standard, something to be expected and accepted by everyone.
- This religion uses, creates and redefines the laws to justify both the disenfranchisement and the murder of non-adherents to the precepts of the religion. It is so powerful it can now convince the media, that victims of said violence were responsible for the acts against them.
- A religion which harnesses and deifies the gun as the perfect expression espousing the natural and God-given freedom capable of being delivered from its holy barrel.
- This religion has several symbols which have been spoken of with glowing praise promoting freedom against tyranny. This flag of the Confederacy is such a symbol.
The Confederate flag is the symbol of freedom at any cost, hatred for the sake of money, and the continued expression of that hatred in the plain view of any citizen, like it or not. This flag is a direct symbol which promotes the idea that a certain subclass of American citizen is NOT equal, not worthy of protections and if they had their way, would have NEVER been released from their servitude.
Not saying they haven’t done everything in their power to perpetuate that hatred and subservience since the loss of the Civil War, 150 years ago. While the litany of “it’s a symbol of our individual pride. We don’t mean anything by it,” rings anywhere in the South where it is routinely flies, the very existence of the symbol means a tacit agreement with the underlying principle of inequality.
A message being embraced by a new generation willing to rise to the challenge of promoting that new faith. Meet Dylann Roof, an urban terrorist who entered a church in South Carolina, sat for a hour, then allegedly stood, fatally shooting nine people in the church. He allowed one person to live and deliver his message and then left.
If this were just a crime of passion, something done on the spur of the moment, perhaps I could be more generous, a foolish moment of bravado, programmed by the socialized hatred of his life. But Dylann had bragged for six months we was going to do this, or something like it.
This wasn’t any ordinary crazy, this was the religious fervor of the converted. He would be later accused of writing a manifesto, a document explaining his fear and hatred in candid terms.
“I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
The manifesto also suggests that the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin influenced Roof’s thinking.
“The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case,” it states. “It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day.”
Benjamin Crump, lawyer of Trayvon Martin’s family, released a statement about the manifesto.
“Regardless of how this demented, racist individual attempts to shift the focus of his murderous actions, we will remain steadfast in our defense of the voiceless around this country. They need it now more than ever,” he said.
The document goes on to detail racist beliefs against black people, while also discussing Jewish, Hispanic and East Asian people. It also references racial tension in Europe as having played a role in shaping Roof’s worldview:
As an American we are taught to accept living in the melting pot, and black and other minorities have just as much right to be here as we do, since we are all immigrants. But Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there. From here I found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race, and I can say today that I am completely racially aware.
Under a section titled “Patriotism,” the manifesto also describes the author’s distaste for the American flag: “I hate the sight of the American flag. Modern American patriotism is an absolute joke. People pretending like they have something to be proud while White people are being murdered daily in the streets.”
Read the entire manifesto, here.
What does this mean to me as a Person of Color, in America?
It means the religion, the perspective, the socialized hatred, the implications of White privilege mean:
- I can die at any time. By the hand of any White person and experience my death as an act of religious fervor on the part of any White person.
- They will, depending on their place in society have little to no consequence for their act.
- For example, if they are an officer of the law, I may die without even the decency of accountability on that officer’s part. All he has to do is claim I was a non-specific threat, and he can kill me with impunity.
- No inquest of substance. He will take two weeks of paid vacation and get back to work. No charges, no inquiry. No problem.
And I will still be dead. Just like these children.
All possibilities stolen. All futures cut short. All potential negated. And no one is held accountable. A dog killed by a teenager has received more justice than I will in that moment. (The sentence was rigged since the dog was considered “the murder of a law enforcement officer…”)
This act of religion sweeps the nation several times a week. Where two to ten people of color will be killed without investigation on the word of a police officer.
- And video may only make things marginally more effective, since we have see, with sufficient power, officers may perform acts which if they were filmed for any other non-White citizen, would immediately result in charges, arrest and prison time with alacrity.
- Even the very act of filming police committing questionable actions could lead to injury, harassment, jail time and depending on the act filmed, the threat of injury or death.
- Consider the murder of Tamir Rice: Two seconds after arrival on the scene of a child playing with a toy gun, Rice was shot and killed, no medical attention applied by the officers once they realized they were wrong. Only the actions of an FBI agent on scene, and a distant video camera revealed their complete lack of concern for the twelve year old they casually murdered on November 22, 2014.
- No charges have yet been filed and it is now June 21, 2015.
Only a religion with fantastic reach, power and social influence can perform such feats of protection for its adherents.
President Obama spoke on this event. Twice as troubling since this would not be the first shooting he would have to speak about. He had already spoken at the shooting which occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.
The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked. And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.”
But despite this conversation from the President, action from Congress has continued to fall short, with the NRA undermining all aspects of reasonable thought where gun control is concerned.
Using pithy mantras during a radio broadcast with NPR:
WAYNE LAPIERRE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.
OVERBY: He said the NRA wants a federal law immediately…
LAPIERRE: …to appropriate whatever is necessary, to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.
Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (D) said on Sunday that the lack of gun control in the United States was “insane.”
“It is insane: the number of guns, and the ease of guns in America. It just doesn’t fit with the other achievements of this country,” Riley told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s a small — really small group, well-funded — that keeps this issue from being appropriately addressed.”
A Lack of Political (or any fucking) Will
Jon Stewart stepped away from his comic persona Thursday night to address the tragic mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. A somber-looking Stewart started the Daily Show with an apology to his viewers.
“I didn’t do my job today, so I apologize. I have nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina.”
No matter how many times we have to “peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other at the nexus of a gaping racial wound, that will not heal, yet we pretend does not exist,” Stewart said America’s response to the horrific Charleston shooting is predictable: “We still won’t do jack shit.”
“What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think that people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves,” Stewart said. “If this had been what we thought was Islamic terrorism, it would fit into — we’ve invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over like five or six different countries all to keep Americans safe. We’ve got to do whatever we can to keep Americans safe. Nine people shot in a church, what about that?”
“I heard someone on the news say, “Tragedy has visited this church.” This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist. This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater. You know. So the idea — I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There is no nuance here. And we’re going to keep pretending, like, ‘I don’t get it, this one guy lost his mind.’ But we are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it. I cannot believe how hard people are working to discount it.”
Finally Stewart addressed the realities of life in South Carolina:
“Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some sort of civil war. The confederate flag flies over South Carolina and the roads are named after confederate generals and the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, they’re not [expletive] compared to the damage that we can do to ourselves on a regular basis.”
So I will go ahead and say what no one else but John Stewart is willing to say:
- YOU DON’T MATTER.
- Your rights don’t matter.
- Your life doesn’t matter.
- The money made by supporting the religion of Guns, Germs and God* in America trumps any right you have to living a life free from the specter of gun violence.
- And we will keep saying this, massacre after massacre.
*Germs was in referenced in an earlier article I wrote discussing the American culture’s propensity for ignoring dangerous threats such as the creation and propagation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our ecosystem. A threat which is increasing annually and about to turn back the clock on the Human experience to the pre-antibiotic days, where a scratch at work or in the gym could lead to your death. See: The Meathook Express: Life After Antibiotics
If you aren’t used to watching White men gun down citizens in a town or a school near you, threaten to shoot government officials like the president, walk down the street brandishing firearms they claim is their right, and too bad if they happen to terrify you because it’s more important for them to show off their hardware, if you aren’t ready for the effect of this psychosis, then you’d better GET ready.
Americans should just get used to watching White men gun down thousands of American citizens because guns aren’t bad, people are bad. And their mental health isn’t the issue. Because even if they are crazy, until they gun someone down, they have the right to buy guns, store guns and even use them until they are declared insane in court.
Just remember this chestnut of the NRA: Holy Litany Chapter 1, Verse 1: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
America has just decided to accept as long as no one important gets gunned down, it is the price of freedom for American citizens to be killed.
NRA Litany: Freedom, Chapter 2, Verse 1–2: Freedom means never having to worry about shooting an innocent bystander, there’s no such thing. There are two types of people in the world, the free and the dead.
If we can’t stop gun violence when it comes to our public spaces, our malls, our theaters, our colleges, our high schools, our elementary schools, our political rallies, our churches, then WE AREN’T EVER GOING TO STOP WORSHIPING GUNS.
NRA Litany: Freedom, Chapter 3, Verses 4–5: We have made the ownership of guns more important than our children. They have no more right to life or a future than any other non-gun worshipping citizen of the State. If they want to be safe, they should be carrying guns to school, like we recommend all members of our church should.
Now that we understand that, we should simply stop pretending we are ever going to do anything about guns in America. See? It’s as easy as that.
- Prepare yourself at all times, no matter where you are, for gun violence to break out.
- You can also assume that it won’t just be the shooter who will be putting the holy lead into the air, it will be the armed masses who are going to bring their guns into restaurants, into ball games, into bars, into schools, because we SHOULD have guns EVERYWHERE.
NRA Litany: Liberty and Death, Chapter 4, Verses 1–3: And when a loved one dies in the sacred act of gun violence, we should not lament them. We should applaud our right to bear arms, we should acknowledge in a ceremony of religious fervor our right to bear arms OVER our very right to LIFE. And the lead shall fly. Amen.
Because when you’re dead, you lose any right to anything including the right to living. So the religious right to bear arms trumps any rights you formerly held as a living being.
But you have to ask, who does this industry support? How much money is being made at the expense of our children’s lives? I suspect it far more than anyone is willing to admit.
Mother Jones points out, it is a very lucrative industry indeed.
From the Book of AR-15 we have the closing prayer:
All hail the NRA! Holy is their mantra,
That all men have a right to bear arms,
But not to life everlasting.
Nor does his family, children or fellow man,
Get to demand an accounting,
a survey of the events which lead to
deciding guns matter more than life.
All hail the NRA for their litanies shall show us the way,
From the gun flows freedom, the freedom to be ignorant.
The freedom to watch the innocent die,
the freedom to ignore any protest to the loss of life,
no matter the cost in blood, in treasure,
in the lives of our children. No price is too high,
These litanies shall provide unspoken comfort
Silent as the grave in our worship of the gun.
Supporting a world of silent, everlasting freedom
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