Why does it take Al Freakin' Jazeera to tell the truth in the good old US of A?
Absent the insane lobbying and marketing of firearms by the National Rifle Association, my country would not have the flood of firearms fomenting violence and murder, the idiots and insane armed and ready to jump up and end the life of fellow humans as Matthew Manolas.
[There is simply no understanding the prevalence of gun violence in America - as evidenced by the recent attempted assassination of a congresswoman during a mass shooting - without discussing the nefarious role played by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Once an organisation primarily concerned with the education and training of sportsmen, in a coup that came to be known as the Cincinnati Revolt in 1977, hardliners took over the leadership and believed that any gun regulation would take us down a slippery slope to Khmer Rougism.
In the years since, unlike the US in the wake of the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy - or for that matter Australia after the Port Arthur Massacre - the response to senseless gun violence has been to discuss everything from the rhetoric on our airwaves to the weather outside.
But any public conversations regarding restricting who has access to guns has been considered verboten (although, thankfully, this time some cracks are beginning to show).
This is largely because the NRA's duping its own members, which we'll discuss below, and coming to the realisation that the real money was in actually protecting the rights of gun manufacturers, which we'll discuss in Part II of this series.
If the NRA leadership is not radical, they certainly see the benefit in playing radicals on TV in order to enrich their financial benefactors who produce and sell the weaponry of death.
In the 1990s, in a climate of fear and paranoia that produced the Oklahoma City bombing, they were all too happy to refer to the government authority that tries to enforce gun laws, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), as "jack-booted thugs". This led former president George H.W. Bush to resign his membership.
They then decided to up the ante by accusing former president Bill Clinton of murder and saying he "had blood on his hands" - all for the crime of supporting background checks at gun shows - which is among the many legislative proposals to reduce gun violence that they have repeatedly blocked.
Others include a ban on high-capacity magazines, banning sales to those on terrorist watch lists, and fully funding the aforementioned ATF (think about the latter when they say they want to "strengthen existing gun laws" after each new tragedy)...
This may be why in a piece last year for the Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank, in referring to the NRA, titled a piece on this subject, "Terrorists who want to buy guns have friends on Capitol Hill".
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the most recent tragedy in Arizona, a who's who of conservatives has come out in favour of at least reopening a discussion of passing some of the above measures (as well as others not mentioned here), from former vice president Dick Cheney to senior GOP senator Richard Lugar, former republican National Committee Communications Director Cliff May to ultra-conservative Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn...
Most of these gun restrictions also happen to be supported by the vast majority of those unknown anti-gun crusaders: gun owners and NRA members.
In a poll conducted by republican wordsmith Frank Luntz just over a year ago, 69% of NRA members supported closing the gun-show loophole that allows people to buy guns without the hassle of a background check, while an overwhelming 82% backed closing the terrorist gap.
In other more recent polls, a whopping 9% of Americans supported the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit - which thankfully only exists in Arizona and two other states - and 93% of gun owners "supported requiring federal agencies to share information about suspected dangerous persons or terrorists to prevent them from buying guns."] emphasis added
Do we have democracy in the US of A? Hell no, we have a "representative" republic.
"Democracy don't rule the world.
You better get that through your head.
This world is ruled by violence.
But I guess that's better off left unsaid."