Crucial Minutia
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Theo Gangi
National Pastimes: We Have Nothing to Fear
4 Comments | posted April 20th, 2007 at 09:45 am by Theo Gangi

There was a practical reason for the second amendment. We were a citizens militia without a standing army, without a warrior class. Now it makes purchasing an automatic handgun with a hair-trigger and a 16 round clip as easy as ordering a sandwich.

The only purpose for such a weapon is to kill a mass of people as quickly as possible. These weapons are designed for the military and police, not duck hunting. Yet we sell them to children if they have a drivers license. Our most powerful political party defends this policy. And they’re adults. Virgina lawmakers should be charged with 33 counts of reckless endangerment.

And who profits? The same weapons manufacturers who are rolling in money since we invaded Iraq. Haliburton’s stock price has tripled since 2003. Their CEO made 100 million dollars last year. Are our politicians in the pocket of the defense industry? No. Our politicians are the defense industry. A person going from the state department, to being CEO of a defense contractor, and back into the vice presidency, defines the legal principle of a ‘conflict of interest’. The same man who wages war cannot be the same man who profits from one.

The majority of this country has been bulldozed by a powerful few for too long. They believe they are bigger than the constitution, bigger than the people, and bigger than the Geneva conventions, which call a war of aggression a war crime. Let me paraphrase the late Don Imus– our current leaders are war criminals.

It’s hard to imagine that a president of the United States once declared to the country at war that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The statement has become a cliché that, like all clichés, has lost its meaning with repetition. But consider the deep truth behind those words. Contrast that with the current use of fear to manipulate the wills of the American people, to scare us into the worst kind of international racial profiling– invading a country whose population looks like those who attacked us.

I am thankful that the Virginia killer was not from the Middle East. We saw on that campus why fear is so dangerous. Fear enables one man with two guns to kill 32 people. Fear enabled ten Nazi guards to control a hundred death camp prisoners. It was this profound understanding of fear that lead one of the Virginia Tech victims, Professor Liviu Librescu, himself a Holocaust survivor, to sacrifice himself to save the lives of his students. He was shot barricading the door while his students jumped out the window to safety. This is a man whose face should be shown on the news with the same voracity as his glorified gunman. Maybe then we could begin to understand that even in the face of death we do not have to be afraid.

President Eisenhower tried to warn us about the danger of the military industrial complex. We have an industry whose lifeline is utterly dependent on war, and in order for us to go to war we must fear. As long as there is no federal regulation of this blatant conflict of interest, we will always have enemies, we will always be instructed by our leaders to be afraid. Yet the decision remains with us. Fear cannot control us if we do not let it.

“(We) must teach (ourselves) that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching (ourselves) that, forget it forever.”
-William Faulkner

This entry was posted on Friday, April 20th, 2007 at 9:45 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 4 responses

  1. Letizia

    I agree with you completely,Professor Liviu Librescu should be honored for his heroism. I think he taught us the greatest lesson out of this massacre.

    April 20th, 2007 | 12:13 pm
  2. Dainius

    Thoughtful article. Raises some questions that should not be swept under the rug if we hope to avoid similar tragedies.

    April 24th, 2007 | 4:35 pm
  3. Joie Jager-Hyman

    I think you make many good point here–especially the one about the Military Industrial Complex. We have been in “war mode” since WWII, when the country failed to scale back our defense spending and remake a peace-time economy. I once read an article that said 25 percent of the American population will pretty much support any war because we just want to see those huge expensive bombs that we pay for explode on someone else’s ass.

    I’m not sure I agree with you when you say “I’m thankful that the killer was not from the Middle East,” regarding the VT massacre. True, the last thing we need is more blind animosity toward people from this region. However, the “fear” you mention might have actually come in handy. For some reason–maybe it’s the second amendment?–we can shake this off and almost NOT get scared. It’s like “ok, there’s a crazy guy and if we want our guns we have to put up with the price of freedom, which is sometimes a major massacre by a mental patient.” If the perpetrator was someone from the Middle East, I have a feeling that gun control laws would have been passed yesterday.

    Being afraid of guns actually makes sense. It’s just a shame that we’re only afraid of being killer by the “other” and not by ourselves.

    April 25th, 2007 | 9:15 am
  4. Theo Gangi

    Good point. As for WWII you’re right– we got out of the depression mainly from the war, not so much FDR’s band-aids.

    As for the mid-east killer in VT I disagree. We wouldn’t have gun conrtol, we’d have deportations and we’d have bombed Iran before Bush showed up at the campus.

    April 25th, 2007 | 3:41 pm

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