The tragedy that occurred in Orlando in the early morning hours of June 12 did not begin a year ago, or a decade ago. Its historical roots go back almost 200 years, to the tragedies that occurred in the swamps of Florida, when the U.S. Army forcibly removed the Indigenous Peoples from the area.
Today, America is indisputably a nation of civilian gun owners, and a major reason for that is those very Seminole Wars. The NRA estimates there are 300 million guns in the hands of everyday citizens, and the argument that often justifies that extraordinary number is the “right to bear arms” contained in the Bill of Rights.
Pamela Haag, author of The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture disputes that. She writes, “We became a gun culture not because the gun was symbolically intrinsic to Americans or special to our identity, or because the gun was something exceptional in our culture, but precisely because it was not… It was like a buckle or a pin, an unexceptional object of commerce.”
In 1837, during the very early days of the transition from the art of gunsmithing to the mass production of firearms, Samuel Colt advertised his “Patent Repeating Rifle” in the New York Courier and Enquirer, with little result. The average citizen did not need multi-firing arms and was not willing to pay extra for them, according to a gun expert quoted by Haag.
Then Colt decided to hawk the repeaters to the U.S. military. Having failed to gain the support of the head of the Army’s Ordinance Department, he took his product directly to field officers. Specifically, to officers engaged in the Seminole Wars in the Florida Everglades.
A precursor to excess military equipment being dumped into cops shops all over uStates, and amped up departments to justify said military equipment.
One Col. William S. Harney, sent by President Andrew Jackson to Florida to wrest control of the land from the Seminoles, was losing, in part because the Seminoles had observed that the soldiers were defenseless when they were reloading their single-shot weapons. In 1835, the Seminoles defeated the U.S. Army in what was one of the military’s biggest defeats in the Indian Wars. The Dade Battle left more than 100 Army troops on the battlefield; reportedly only three of the force survived.
Colt himself delivered 500 rifles and a few pistols to Harney in St. Augustine in 1838. Harney defeated the Seminoles, writing later, “I honestly believe that but for these arms, the Indians would now be luxuriating in the everglades of Florida,” instead of having been forced marched to Oklahoma.
The Second Seminole War was fought near what are now the cities of Tampa, Ocala and Bushnell in Central Florida. Ocala and Bushnell are just north of Orlando.
Colt’s new invention – the repeating rifle – won Andrew Jackson’s bloody war against the Indians in Florida.
That means several million people have paid from $400 to $2,500 to own a kind of rifle – a repeater rifle – that has been linked to tragedy for almost 200 years in U.S. history.
We’ve ceased to be a blood-soaked nation. We’re a nation with blood overflowing. It has to stop.
Full article at ICTMN.