NRA Gun Cult Goes South of the Border

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Matadero Cinco: The NRA Gun Cult Goes South of the Border     
by Chris Floyd  
Our text for today: U.S. Guns Behind Cartel Killings in Mexico (Washington Post). An excerpt:

The U.S. weapons -- as many as 2,000 enter Mexico each day, according to a Mexican government study -- are crucial tools in an astoundingly barbaric war between rival cartels that has cost 4,000 lives in the past 18 months and sent law enforcement agencies in Washington and Mexico City into crisis mode…

The arms traffickers have left Mexico awash in AK-47s, pistols, telescope sighting devices, grenades, grenade launchers and high-powered ammunition, such as the so-called cop-killer bullets believed to be able to penetrate bulletproof vests… law enforcement officers on both sides of the border have never seen anything like the flood of guns now surging into Mexico.

The increase has been stoked by the cartel war and by the ease of buying high-powered weapons since the U.S. assault weapons ban was not renewed in 2004, William Newell, a special agent in charge of the ATF's Phoenix office, said in an interview.

As Buzzflash says, you can thank the NRA for this "surge" in the vicious drug wars devouring thousands of people in Mexico. As the Post notes, the NRA-led lapse of the U.S. ban on assault weapons is a primary cause of the escalation in the scale of violence. Picked up largely at the many unrestricted gun shows in the Southwest and smuggled in piecemeal past overwhelmed – or bribed – border guards, the heavy weaponry is overpowering Mexican law enforcement and degrading civic society.

The assault weapon ban lapsed in September 2004, with little demur from the Democrats, who were too busy chasing the mythical "NASCAR vote" to risk looking "soft" on selling souped-up, body-shredding death machines to anyone who put down the cash – terrorists, druglords, mafia goons. As for the Republicans, they have long been owned – lock, stock and barrel, as it were – by the NRA, whose officers boasted in 2000 that with George W. Bush's election, "We'll have…a president where we work out of their office. Unbelievably friendly relations."

That's all very nice for the NRA poo-bahs, of course, who have perverted the organization's original purpose – "providing firearms training and encouraging interest in the shooting sports" – and transformed the association into a quasi-religious cult, operating beyond reason and common sense in its zealous jihad to protect the sacred object, the gun (and its high priests, the gun manufacturers) from all enroachments. But while the poo-bahs scarfe haute cusine from the White House table, innocent people are sacrificed to their cultic fetish.

And any heretic who dares speak against them is set upon by fevered defenders of the faith, as one of the writers at our sister site, Atlantic Free Press, discovered recently. Jayne Lyn Stahl had the temerity to link the NRA's championing of assault weapons and the cult of the gun to recent slaughter by an off-duty deputy in Wisconson. For offering her passionate opinion on the matter, Stahl has been subjected to a campaign of villification, including several death threats and the posting of her picture in a hit piece on an NRA website aimed at "increasing gun owners' level of activism."
I don't know what sort of "activism" they're trying to galvanize against Stahl, but any time a pack of gun-toting zealots get wiggly about something, the hint of violence is in the air. Of course, armed intimidation is to be expected from a crew that boasts of its complete initmacy with the Bush White House, which practices the dark art of violent intimidation – or terrorism, as it used to be called in plain English – on a global scale.

Since beginning its hard right turn in the mid-1970s, the NRA's mass bribery of state and federal legislators has led to many notable triumphs, such as laws immunizing gunmakers against lawsuits from communities torn apart by the flood of easy-buy handguns and assault weapons. But perhaps its most notable success has been in polarizing the issue of gun control itself, and moving it several light-years to the right, whereby anyone proposing even the most modest of restrictions on the sale of these incredibly dangerous mechanisms is portrayed as a Bolshevik commissar ripping the flintlock from Patrick Henry's hands. (Yes, that's a mixed historical metaphor – and thus quite fitting for the knuckle-dragging ignorance that now characterizes the "national debate" on guns.)
On the other side, anyone who has a gun is often portrayed as, well, a knuckle-dragging ignoramus. So it's good to set out where one stands when wading into these roiling waters. And I think AFP's publisher (and EB's co-founder and webmaster) put it well in his response to the savage intimidation launched against Stahl after her article. Like Rich, I too come from a place and a folk where guns have long been a part of life – though not an object of worship or deep psychosexual obsession, as seems the case with many of our modern NRAniks. Rich says:

As someone who has family that hunts moose for food -- I have no problem with people owning guns. This is a non-issue for me and I have eaten moose, musk ox, caribou and other venison. My family that own guns in Canada are honest people who don't have a problem letting the government know what's in their gun cabinet. They also have licenses to drive their cars.

So if you are a law-abiding American, what's the problem with gun registration? Surely, as an organization, if you disagree with gun registration (on the basis of invasion of privacy) then you must also disagree with a government that wiretaps its citizens and suspends habeas corpus, allowing the government to hold a person indefinitely (including US citizens), without charges being filed against him or her, without a court hearing, and without entitlement to a legal consultant?

But no, The NRA…[is] still in bed with the Bush Administration [on all these issues]…and actually lobbied Bush to oppose efforts to make international trade in small arms more transparent at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms therefore protecting and concealing those  who wish to export (illegally or not) American 'Gun Culture' abroad.

Which brings us back full circle to the Washingon Post piece, and the sacrifice of the innocent on the altar of gun profits.

But of course, it's not just the guns at fault in this case. The guns are only a symptom, the outward breaking of a deeper disease. And that disease, as we've noted here often, is the "War on Drugs" itself: a decades-long boondoggle that started long before the remarkably similar "War on Terror" and has hammered American liberties to pieces, engorged the armed might of the state against its own citizens and entrenched its arbitrary powers, threw literally millions of Americans in prison for years on end under draconian "mandatory sentencing laws," increased the level of government and business corruption by several orders of magnitude, and, above all, engendered international criminal organizations whose intermingling with elite interests (and state interests) is now so complete that Big Crime is a major determinant of national policy – especially foreign policy and "covert operations."
Naturally, the Bush Family has been an early and enthusiastic participant in this cross-pollination, from the Family's days of running guns and war materiel to the Nazis to L'il Georgie's bailouts from the drug-running, nuke-peddling, terrorist-enabling BCCI criminal conglomerate. (With this ilustrious pedigree, is it any wonder that the main outcome of the Afghan war has been a tsunami of heroin -- always the drug of choice for CIA off-books cash -- flooding the world? Or that the rapine of Iraq has been perhaps the greatest act of organized thievery in human history?)

But as with so much else, the Drug War has been a staunchly bipartisan affair, spreading the grease in all directions. No Democrat or Republican will dare call a halt to it now, for fear of looking "soft" on crime – and killing the money-laundering goose that now feathers so many "legitimate" nests.
Decriminalization of drug use would the be single greatest blow that Washington could ever strike against crime and terrorism.  This is so obvious – and has been so obvious for so many years – that the only conclusion that one can draw is that Washington is not and never has been serious about fighting crime or terrorism. They have other fish to fry.

But then, you knew that, didn't you?

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