Being Circumspect About Zombies

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The last Presidential election began with a thermostat set to “warm,” then to “heat.”  Aside from the news broadcasts and radio talk, I had only to watch my Facebook feed shove aside all the interesting things people were doing and places they were going to make room, slightly exaggerated, for hate speech.

I’m conservative and not ashamed of it because it’s reasonable to me.  Weighing the issues, I find myself with positions that fall within that label, though not to be confused with the Republican party.  Everyone is certainly entitled to their own thoughts and conclusions and to share them.  I happen to think that Facebook is an inadequate forum for thoughtful discourse or persuasion.

I am greatly disappointed in friends and acquaintances who stridently demand “What I say is right, and you are wrong (and an stupid idiot, really) if you disagree.”  What a fine, relaxing tenor to adult conversation within a group of people who I elected to “friend.”  

Funny quotes, provocative pictures, misquotes from the Founding Fathers, anecdotal testimonies by people who have been on the losing end of any issue...  I’m glad the election is over.  I did my part.  I voted, and I’ll continue to test and either affirm or modify my thinking on a given issue.

The news has recently, and appropriately, been centered on gun control.  Or, gun rights.  You already know your side.  So, let me offer my thoughts, in a manner that makes clear my reasoning, neither fearing criticism nor seeking support.

I do not own an assault rifle.  My spousal unit does not approve, but... they’re quite fun to shoot.  I’d like to own one, but they cost more than I’ve been willing to pay, and the money I have generally goes to things used more often than an annual trip to a shooting range.  My ownership of lack of ownership does not change my opinion, however.

The debate these days about “assault weapons” tends to occupy the extremes of:

“The Founding Fathers intended weapons for the defense against all forms of tyranny, including from the U.S. Government”

and

“We have a Militia, thank you.  Civilians don’t need guns, period.  But, if they have to have them due to that thorny 2nd Amendment, it must surely be understood in this modern age that this can be interpreted for sportsmen only.  You know, hunters.  They only need a couple of shots.”

Somewhere in the middle there might be some who accept “We’re never going to be rid of handguns, so okay.  At least for now.”

So, I ask myself, why would I want an assault rifle?

  • Hunting?  Not me.
  • Too many Rambo movies in my more testosterone-laden years?  No.
  • To overthrow an un-Constitutional (or choose any negative adjective) Government in favor of anarchy? No.
  • A desire to join a rightful militia in the absence of our paid soldiers?  No.
  • An expectation that, a la Red Dawn, I should be armed in case the Ruskies parachute in?  Hardly.
  • An outworking of video games that has unseated my sanity and is leading me to violent tendencies?  Not so far.
  • Target shooting?  No. It makes for a pretty fantastic target shooting experience, but if I wanted one, I would have bought one. (Don’t tell my wife).  I’m quite happy to shoot loaners.

What’s left?

Call me circumspect.

In 1992, the L.A. “Watts” riots resulted from an unpopular ruling favoring the Police in a case of brutality against Rodney King.  There had been riots before, but in 1992, I was a young adult, employed, married, and had a newborn.   It wasn’t just me anymore.  I had a family.  Responsibilities.  I lived in Birmingham at the time, a city that has been no stranger to racial tensions.  What if?  Well, Seattle, 1999.  Cincinnati, 2001.  Riots happen.

September 11, 2001.  That day, and the months that followed, made me proud of my fellow Americans.  In a city that is the backdrop for a fourth* of every fictional violent crime depicted on TV, NYC came together.  A neighbor helping neighbor kind of thing.  But, what if it hadn’t?  (* I made up the statistic, but you can quote me).

Hurricane Katrina, 2005.  I won’t hold my breath relying on my local or Federal government to assist me in a catastrophic event.  Help will come, but will it be soon enough?

September, 2008.  Gas shortages in Atlanta and the southeast.  We’re no longer an agrarian society.  We do not have the skills or the land to feed ourselves, and bartering risk management skills isn’t likely to net a string bean.  We depend, therefore, on the food arriving at a grocery store near to us, in sufficient quality and quantity to supply the local demand.  If the food is unable to get there, or us to it, that can lead to trouble.

The past three years.  Were it not for continuing benefits for the long-term unemployed, a cycle that economists can label “recession” would look much more like depression without the debt funded salve.   We’ve seen the foreclosures, but add a visible populace desperate for food and other essentials and economic hardship suddenly becomes much more real and possibly threatening.   Jean Valjean in Les Misérables was justifiably a protagonist in stealing bread to feed his sister’s children.  The untold story, though, is the baker who purchased the ingredients and labored to bring his bread to market only to have it taken from him.  Consider the impact of the 15%+ of our adult “work-able” population (unemployed and underemployed) without a sufficient income stream, then consider the risks of leaving your home. 

The 99% vs the 1%.  The political rhetoric risks becoming a causative force that justifies the have-nots to take from the haves, who are presumed to have profited at the have-nots’ expense.  The last Batman movie played on this Bolshevik moral injustice quite well.  The potential for anarchy grows, even without super villains.

Benjamin Franklin:  "[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

I wonder if by “masters” he meant laws restricting the freedoms of the populace.  Or, was he also predicting that a natural evolution of society was to become corrupt and vicious?  I digress.  No, I don’t.

Riots, anarchy, economic distress, crippling diseases, terrorist attacks, zombies... none of it likely, per se.   But as I consider society’s reliance on the virtuous nature of its people to foster stability rather than devolve into anarchy, the daily news is disquieting. 

There are those that seek to harm, and there are those who feel entitled to harm when desperate.  Either of those groups can pose a potential threat to me and my family.  The 2nd Amendment affords me not only the right but the ability, in a measure beyond an arbitrary limit of rounds in a magazine or a number of “evil features,” to harm another with a firearm when threatened.   If I were to decide otherwise, I cede my fate to the vagaries of others’ ill will.

2 comments :

  1. "...bartering risk management skills isn’t likely to net a string bean..."

    I feel like I've been misled. Luckily I grow my own food four months out of the year, unless someone with a gun comes and take it from me. Better get working on that AR-15...

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  2. So to this I will add how the attack to our rights comes from all angles. On the CBS Sunday show, they had a Georgetown law professor (Louis Michael Seidman) who while claiming to be pro-gun, said that we should take back our country from our Constitution. In so many words, as the Constitution (and the Second Amendment) were not designed for today's world, we should not worry about them and adapt it to fit our current ways.

    I would wonder if he thought the same was true for the First Amendment? I guess he is also not religious. One might want to adapt the ten commandments to today's society.

    Really, one has to be vigilant all the time sadly.

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