Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bush expands Brady law

Are the Republicans still going to pass themselves off as the party of gun rights?

When I said the GOP Congress of the '90s were secret supporters of the District of Columbia's handgun ban, and that this was why they didn't repeal it despite controlling city affairs for 12 years, I wasn't kidding. I sincerely believe this is so. Oh, they're for gun rights alright - as long as it's for themselves. I've known conservatives support "gun rights for me, not for thee" at least since I was in college when a "friend" brang the issue up.

Yesterday, Bush signed legislation effectively expanding the Brady gun control law by bribing states to step up tracking of gun buyers. The new law more or less violates state laws protecting the privacy and confidentiality of their citizens.

The pretext for this latest act is that it would have stopped Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho from buying the weapons he used. Um, no. If this legislation was in force then, it would not have stopped him. I guarantee that. I can also guarantee that somebody somewhere is going to do something like this again, despite this law. I hope I'm wrong. But I know I'm not, because there's a cycle here that affects not only gun incidents: As laws have become stricter about items in general (not just guns), incidents involving these items have become much more frequent and extreme. This always increases calls for more crackdowns, which are always followed by events that are more extreme still.

Yeah, I know what the alleged purpose of the new law is: They claim it's to stop the so-called "mentally ill" from buying guns. To me this is as transparent as can be. It's a fact that the United States since the time of Reagan or Mad Dog Bush has been one of the world's worst offenders in the racket of using psychiatric "hospitals" to detain dissidents. It happens. Do not deny it, because I will squash deniers like a bug (figuratively speaking). If you read this blog and agree with it, officials in many parts of America will consider you a fit subject to be committed. That's how they define "mental illness."

More proof the psychiatric confinement industry is a pseudoscientific racket? Don't just look at who's locked up. Look at who isn't. Guys like William Bennett roam free. Kind of like the bullies you remember from school (who the school refused to do anything about, even though if anyone's insane, it's them).

This sums up the ruling party's view:

I'm not prepared to support taking away a person's right to own a gun for the rest of their life because they got locked up for saying that "the flag amendment appeals primarily to idiots" when they were 16. I've come to appreciate due process. Even if I backed gun control in general, I would not support this Brady law expansion.

Don't think the national shame of unjust confinement has improved in recent years. In 2005, a teenager in Pennsylvania was held for a psychiatric evaluation because he wore a Joe Canadian t-shirt. The following year, a 53-year-old woman in Ohio was sent to a psych ward because she posted fliers advertising an anti-Bush concert on a telephone pole.

As more evidence the new law wouldn't have prevented the Virginia Tech massacre, Virginia had long been doing what the new federal rule now does. Virginia had submitted more names of people banned from owning guns than any other state.

And don't get me wrong: Both major parties are guilty to some extent of the new law. Congress approved it on a voice vote, so we'll never know exactly which lawmakers backed it. But the NRA - which usually favors the GOP - supported the law. Yes, you read it right: The NRA supported expanding gun control. If there were any doubts this is about "gun rights for me, not for thee", these doubts should evaporate.

Feel safer under the new law? I don't.

If we're serious about battling the pandemic of gun violence that plagues the nation, we have to stop being a throwaway society. The throwaway mindset of America's newer suburbs breeds violent behavior. Most of today's spree killers have one thing in common: They were raised in suburbia and were frustrated by demands to meet the suburban mold. Modern suburbia is not a place that provides love and comfort, nor is it accommodating towards personal abilities. At some point in the gunmen's lives, the frustration of the new throwaway society broke them towards violence instead of towards creativity and wisdom.

That doesn't mean they're not responsible for what they did. But there's no doubt that the greed, arrogance, shame, and selfishness they were exposed to contributed to their actions.

Let's not deceive ourselves with more gun control. Let's get to the root of violence by halting the subsidies of throwaway neighborhoods and by tailoring our schools to our young people's abilities.


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