(Note: As of right now, this is a blog post. However, I’ve been working on writing scripts for vlogs lately, because I intend to re-open my YouTube channel at some point in the near future for political vlogs, pointless rants, recipes, and one or two other things I want to get into… maybe music videos if I can afford to start getting my music recorded? We’ll see… but anyways…
This was meant to be one of those vlog scripts, but I decided to post it here as a blog post. You can read this just as a blog post for now, but eventually it’ll be the “Sort of Transcript” for a near-future vlog [albeit updated if I move further on this topic in that time], as well.
And since I’m on it… note that once I start my YouTube channel back up again, I’ll be using this blog as a space to post those transcripts, as well. So anyways… let’s get to the post…)
So this is an issue I’ve been feeling very torn about lately, and I wanted to write this in order to attempt to work out my feelings on it. Of course, given the title of this, I mean guns, and the regulation/banning thereof.
Way back when I was extremely politically ignorant and “edgy”, I was a “fan” of guns. Although I could never afford it, I wanted to be a member of the NRA. When I first moved to Florida, I even got the paperwork needed to apply for a permit to own a gun… although I never got one.
The idea of gun ownership to me was the same as it is for any gun fetishist in the United States: the 2nd Amendment, masculinity, a mistaken belief in “protection”, a general coolness factor (which, I fully admit, I still feel even now, despite my general hatred of guns), etc. I was never keen on the idea of actually killing anyone or anything, but the general idea of going to a range and shooting a gun, having that around for “protection”, and so on was super attractive to me.
I wish I could tell you when my feelings about guns started to turn around. I’m not actually sure I could pinpoint a specific moment. I do know that they changed as more and more mass shootings happened, and it was definitely in the run-up to the election that made Obama president for the first time (which was the first Presidential election I voted in; I was 17 years, 5 months, and 11 days old during the 2004 election that led to Bush Jr.’s second term). To be honest, it’s interesting how, before I was legally able to vote, I was super libertarian and genuinely believed that Bush, Jr. would go down as one of the US’s greatest presidents (this was during his first term, mind y’all). As Bush, Jr. got through his second term, however, I started moving to the left. (FTR, I now believe Bush, Jr is a war criminal along with his entire administration and they should all be in prison… so… yeah…)
What prompted that was something Dad kept telling me: “you have to hear opposing viewpoints”. So I sought out opposing viewpoints, and the result was that today, on October 31, 2019, I’m a Socialist… a proud Socialist… a Socialist who knows that Elizabeth Warren is a Capitalist and, although he won’t admit it, so is Bernie Sanders. You know… I sometimes thinks Dad regrets telling me that now because of just how far to the left I’ve gone, and the fact that I openly acknowledge the possibility that I could easily move further left than I am now; from Socialist to Communist… to An-Com, perhaps?
But I digress…
The point is, I managed to swing from “guns are cool; I want one… and I actually like the NRA” to “FUCK GUNS! THEY SHOULD ALL BE BANNED AND THE NRA SHOULD GO WITH THEM!” over a short period.
I held on to that viewpoint for a long time. And talked about it publicly, as well!
I never had full agreement in my offline life with that position, though. Living in Florida, a lot of my friends were the opposite of me when it came to guns. No, they weren’t fetishists (I know for a fact that the ones who did belong to the NRA strongly support stricter regulations and stronger background checks with all loopholes fully closed even while they still own guns), but they absolutely believed in the 2nd amendment and, obviously, their right to own guns for hunting and defense.
Although I never actually wavered in my hard-line anti-gun stance while I lived in Florida, I’m quite sure now that they helped plant the seeds that a certain episode of a certain TV show started watering…
That TV show was Adam Ruins Everything. They did an episode entitled Adam Ruins Guns. Here’s a clip from it, specifically dealing with the racism inherent in the Gun Debate:
I’ve seen the full episode, of course. Things that I learned from the episode included the fact that the NRA, at its start, was a fan of gun control, and in fact had extremely strict ideas about what gun control should look like… ideas that would have modern gun fetishists excoriating then for being “unconstitutional”. I mean what the old NRA wanted to see in terms of gun control might have actually been noted as “unconstitutional” by today’s Supreme Court.
Even Ronald Reagan (then a governor) supported very strict gun control!
But there’s a reason for that. Can you guess? I’ll give you a hint… it’s in that YouTube video above…
There you go… racism.
Black people, especially groups like the Black Panthers, were hella armed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and white people were super not okay with that. So gun control was incredibly popular back then… because racism.
Other topics brought up in the full episode include how and why it was so easy for Australia to ban most guns, and why such an attempt likely would not work here in the US (hint: gun culture in Australia was pretty small, whereas here in the US it’s huge, shown in part by the fact that the US has 84 times as many guns as Australia did), how assault rifles are not actually that common in gun shootings, and so on. It also talks about how guns are the most common cause of death by suicide, how 66% of US-Americans supporter stricter gun control, how the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is actually as recent as 2008, and that before it, the Supreme Court actively refused to interpret the 2nd Amendment as applying to individual citizens for almost 220 years, and more. The episode comes to the conclusion that “this conversation is way more complicated than either side of the gun debate would have us believe, and we need a lot more nuance on it than we have right now.”
I’ll be honest… initially, aside from the clip you see above, I thought the episode was pretty bullshit. So I did what a lot of so-called “critics” of Adam Ruins Everything seem to fail to do… I found the sources and followed them.
The conclusion I ended up coming to was that the episode… well… wasn’t bullshit… at all. It made me decide to stop talking publicly about guns at all for a little while. In the meantime, I was also falling down the rabbit hole known as “Breadtube”. Breadtube, for those who might not know, is one of the names for “Lefttube”, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is the side of YouTube leftist content creators inhabit. It even has a subreddit!
Through that rabbit hole, I found a YouTuber called “Beau of the Fifth Column”. The shtick, here, is a “Southern Redneck” with super-lefty ideas. I call it a “shtick”, but in reality, that’s exactly who Beau (real name Justin King) actually is. I don’t actually know his politics. He says he’s not a Socialist, and he does have some serious skepticism for government in general, which leads me to believe that he’s an Anarchist. But I’m not 100% sure.
Regardless, Beau does have very good videos calling out gun fetishists while using their language, but he also does appear to support the 2nd Amendment. That was a surprising realization for me, that this ostensible leftist actually does support said amendment. I had just assumed that leftists were all about gun control, if not a full gun ban. But here was a hint that I was… well… wrong.
So, back on Reddit, I did a little more research, and discovered something that absolutely blew my mind. As it turns out, the National Rifle Association is not the only rifle association. There’s another one in the United States… one I never expected to find.
It’s called the Socialist Rifle Association.
They take their inspiration from Karl Marx himself, who, apparently, was actually a very strong supporter of arming the proletariat. Marx himself was a “you can take my guns from my cold dead hands” type of guy…
Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.
The blog Defacing Currency has a post from 2014 that gives quite a bit of context to that quote, and even in context, it’s very clear; the Socialist Marx, far from wanting guns banned, might have actually supported the 2nd Amendment in the United States had he been here.
That discovery really frustrated my thoughts on gun control. The leftist argument in favor of guns is pretty damn strong.
To be fair, it again comes from the same base of paranoia of a government, but is there an argument that a leftist paranoia of government is far more… realistic… than the typical right-wing paranoia of government? I can actually think of one: Fascism.
Right-wingers are afraid of Socialism or (real, not Authoritarian-hijacked) Communism. These things, when done right, are net goods for a society. Capitalism is, indeed, a great evil, that must be abolished somehow. I honestly believe that the only way we’re going to achieve a true halt to making climate change any worse than it already is is by first completely abolishing Capitalism and replacing it with at least Socialism.
Left-wingers, on the other hand, are afraid of what the right-wingers actually want: fascism. Left-wingers are afraid of right-wing authoritarianism. You know… the kind of right-wing authoritarianism that led to The Holocaust, or the Armenian Genocide. The kind of right-wing Authoritarianism that Trump seems in love with. This is actually dangerous, unlike Socialism, because fascism actually kills people. Fascism leads to genocide. Socialism… well… doesn’t.
If fascism is an obviously clear and present danger, isn’t an armed proletariat a good thing?
And there’s a bit of a more pressing fear that I have… that a revolution is coming to the US. I don’t know what that revolution will look like. I’m hoping that it’s purely political; that it takes place in the voting booth, during peaceful protests, via the signing of petitions, and stuff like that. But that’s not what people think of when they think “revolution”. I’m genuinely afraid that, if I’m right, it’s going to be the violent and bloody kind.
And of course you know I made the mistake of listening to the podcast “It Could Happen Here”, which is a short series about whether or not a second civil war could happen in the US (the answer to that question is “yes”), how it could happen, how likely it is (not as likely as I honestly thought, but still likely enough to be terrifying), and what it would look like (a dystopia). If you haven’t listened to it, could you? It’d be super great to have people to actually talk about it with.
Over at the Breadtube subreddit, I said the following in a post I made about guns and gun control (and I realize that this is a theme I return to a lot)…
So here’s a reality… I’m a coward. Honestly, my favorite fighting position is curled up in the corner in the fetal position crying for mommy. Part of me would like to believe that in some kind of revolution or civil war, I’d at the very least be helping vulnerable people escape, but the reality is that you’d probably know where I am by the sounds of screeching tires as I high-tail it to Canada, and from there to… somewhere else that isn’t where the fighting is.
So should I own a gun?
This is the question I struggle with now. There’s a strong part of me that wants to join the Socialist Rifle Association and learn how to shoot. But the part of me that truly hates guns and everything they stand for keeps yelling at me and saying “no! Don’t you dare! We have to get rid of guns! Not put more in the world!”
And the reality is that I do still hate guns. I think the relationship we in the US have to guns isn’t just unhealthy… it’s actively gross and dangerous. I can say with 100% confidence that we care more about our guns than our kids. And that genuinely terrifies me. Further, I’m more of a blade guy, anyways. If I’m going to learn to fight with weapons, I’d almost rather learn to fight with swords, knives, throwing knives and stars, etc. But even then, I’m not sure I’d actually be useful in a violent situation. Even if I could throw a knife with an accuracy to rival the best snipers, I’d still be curled up in that corner… either crying or dead.
Plus there’s the simple fact that having a gun in your home doesn’t actually make you safer. If you keep that gun the way you should in your home… locked away in a safe, unloaded, with the safety on and the bullets locked away in a different safe… that gun isn’t going to save you from a home invasion. The invaders have already got their gun loaded, armed, and together. In fact, statistics show that homes with guns are actually less safe than homes without for so many reasons.
So now I’m stuck. I still believe guns are dangerous, yet I never imagined that there’d be a strong leftist argument in favor of them.
What do you think? Is the leftist argument for guns persuasive, or is it as ridiculous as the right-wing argument for guns? I want your thoughts on this…