I’ve recently done some reading on the militia and pro-gun movements in the U.S. I saw that it’s been heavily politicized, and a lot of shills are spreading myths about it. I also realize there’s a movement which also stretches out to other issues, such as bullying and racial issues. It’s also been heavily connected to right-wing political elements, and it also usually churns out messages declaring the existence of government to be an evil, and thus it should be eliminated. It thus seems like a target full of myths ready to be hit right in the bullseye.
For a primer, both the militia and pro-gun movements believe the U.S. government is out to impose a dictatorship and is ready to trample on people’s rights. Thus, they seek to arm themselves to protect against this. The solution, the formation of militia. They are also against gun control law, since it is an obstacle in their organizing a militia. They also believe it is actually just meant to thus violate their basic rights (based on the second amendment). They however are acting on unproven assumptions; hence, I call it idiocy.
The Big Three
Three major events could be linked to the militia and gun movement: the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992, the Waco Siege in Texas in 1993, and the Oklahoma City Bombing. In the Ruby Ridge incident, this involved federal government agency attempts to raid the Weavers, a family who moved to a secluded place in northern Idaho. It led to the death of mother Vicki Weaver and her son Sam in separate incidents. Then in 1993 was the Waco siege, where an armed cult called the Branch Davidians were holed up. It ended on April 19, 1993 when the compound went on fire, killing 76 of the people inside, including cult leader David Koresh. As revenge for these two events, Timothy McVeigh perpetrated the Oklahoma bombing on April 19, 1995, where detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred Murrah building, killing over 160 people, including children.
A common thread between these three incidents was connection to white power groups, at least for the Weavers and McVeigh. White power groups oppose affirmative action and other steps taken to remove disadvantages for colored people in the U.S. Such groups are also suspected of being inclined to terrorism and likely want to restore the backward inequalities of old, with whites being lords and other people being slaves. Obviously, these are things you’d want to shut down.
Some believe that the above incidents are false flags and that the government deliberately committed these to create rationales for declaring martial law and creating a police state. I would say the FBI elements in the botched raids simply did that: botched them. Some personnel were probably eager for promotions or rewards, and they thought the way to get these was to have a “body count” or “handcuff count.” Unfortunately, this revealed incompetence in their department (an incompetence that extends all the way to 9/11 and beyond), and thus their mistakes cost unnecessary lives. There is no reason to suspect a government plot to deprive people of basic freedoms, although there certainly were cover-ups to avoid accountability.
On the other hand, the Weavers demonstrate what some militia supporters advocate: moving to the mountains, battening down moving away from civilization, and holding guns to defend against anyone they perceive threatens their “freedom” and “way of life” (This seclusion from society seems similar to what another guy, Christopher McCandless, portrayed in the Into the Wild movie, did at around the same time, but I consider it abject foolishness). The Waco Siege features a cult led by obvious lunatics (who sexually or otherwise abuse cult members) who also had access to firearms. The Oklahoma bombing is revenge against the government by a misguided mind. McVeigh had been involved in gun shows. Gun shows need to be a case for monitoring, since it is reported that a significant amount of illegal firearms come from these.
The main reason why I consider the militia movement ridiculous is that its motivations are mainly based on unproven conspiracy theories. These are the same ones I hit in an earlier article, things like a certain secret cabal (Illuminati, New World Order, Skull and crossbones, Bilderberg Group, Freemasons, etc.) controlling world affairs and history, that this cabal will have microchips implanted in people, that the pharmaceutical companies are hiding a cancer cure, that 9/11 was perpetrated by the American government and not terrorists, that the HAARP apparatus is causing global warming, that AIDS is man-made, etc. Theories in our own country include the story of the current Bongbong Marcos actually being a clone, a half-human half-snake creature terrorizing mall goers in Robinson’s malls and stories of aswangs. It just gets stupider as you go.
One suspicion of some militia supporters is that gun control is a part of a government plot to declare a totalitarian government. The plan is to drain all ordinary people of firearms and make them more helpless to government secret police, similar to the Thought Police in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Still, as in my earlier article, I continue to declare such conspiracy theories as hogwash in the absence of proof.
It seems to me that militia supporters seek something similar to ISIS, the terrorist group. They want to create their own society wherein all they could see is their “way of life.” And they do it with firearms and violence. While ISIS is more actively violent, who know if militias will be doing the same thing. Especially when you notice that many militia groups are related to white power groups.
One thing about the conspiracy theories being spread around the Internet is that they portray a secret cabal so powerful, they can take over the whole world at will. It implies that there is nothing you can do about it. So what some of the fooled guys will believe is that there is no choice but to hole up in the mountains and just shoot up the “authorities” who go near them – just like the Weavers in Rudy Ridge. They want to pay no taxes, want no participation in any legal system, and they seem to want to go back to the state of the ancient world where everyone is holed up in their villages, considering everyone else their enemy. I consider this going backward.
The Gun Lobby
The main reason for such an active gun lobby is merely to help the gun and ammunition companies sell their products. For example, if guns are made very easy to own or are unregulated, people like the Weavers will buy more guns. Let’s look at the bullying issue; kids might soon pack guns against bullies, and bullies will do it too, until it will be gun chaos in America. But the companies don’t care about this, since all they care about is that they get to sell their products. They will just say it’s the kids’ fault for choosing to use guns.
With the help of a political lobby, the gun and ammunition companies would not be operating on “free market” principles, but rather are rent-seeking. Since some pro-gun lobbyists also claim to be free-market advocates, they are contradicting themselves. Add to that the issue of illegal guns in the U.S. being connected to gun shows stated above.
Another problem is when some complain about guns being given to people with questionable integrity (including mental integrity, i.e. lunatics), the pro-gun lobby says “well, if someone makes a wrong move, a sane guy will shoot him.” This shows the callousness of the gun lobbyists, which may also mean that they do not respect other’s lives. This also makes a lot of assumptions, such as the “sane” people with guns are not shot first, so they can shoot later. This also reflects some lapse in common sense and respect for public space. They should also be reminded of how American Sniper author Chris Kyle allowed someone with mental problems to hold a gun, which led to his death.
Obviously, the militia movement is still living in the 1700s, and are forgetting that they already got independence from Britain. They probably want to form their own nation where they can shoot anybody who they believe threatens their “way of life.” Interestingly, wanting to “defend one’s way of life” is the reasoning for American military intervention abroad, such as in Iraq; but instead, it creates more reasons for the creation of such threats to their “way of life” (like ISIS). I have also heard opinions that the Second Amendment, which is the basis of the militia and gun supporters, is obsolete, since it was made under 1700s conditions.
The militia movement exhibits the paranoiac mistrust of society and anything they can’t wrap their minds around. They also tend to reject an overarching government and prefer violent anarchy, letting people “settle things” by hurting and kill each other if they have a problem (probably why some of these are against anti-bullying measures). Thus, the extreme militia groups want to return to a world of barbarism. It is a world like in ancient times was marked by brutality and ultimate parochialism.
Perhaps conspiracy theories serve this purpose: to keep people in fear. Remember the saying, “if you want to control people, keep them in fear.” Taking advantage of the natural gullibility of people, conspiracy theories make people act like kids who believe there’s a monster in the closet or under the bed. Make people believe they are under attack, even by an imaginary foe, and they will be distracted from important issues that require the most attention. They would then embrace questionable means to deal with such imagined threats, such as forming militias. Of course, there are a few conspiracies that have been confirmed, such as U.S. intervention in Iran and South America, and the recently made-into-a-movie Gary Webb report of the CIA selling illegal drugs in the U.S. to finance support for the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s. But remember, they have to be confirmed.
So in the end, the extreme sides of the gun control issue would be wrong. Guns should be allowed, but there must be regulation. My side of the issue is, not more or less gun control, but accurate or sensible gun control. Keep it out of the hands of people who are definitely identified to have risk factors. Already there are so many events that seem to call for this. Recently, a reporter and cameraman were killed on live TV by a former colleague who had been revealed to have a troubled history, with possible signs of mental problems. American Sniper author Chris Kyle’s death is another. Also, perhaps people have seen videos of fathers who allowed their children to play with guns, only to get shot in the end. Meanwhile, locally, a jeepney driver had been shot dead by a hot-headed pedestrian (why did he have a gun?), and this reminds me of the Rolito Go and Loyola Memorial Park incidents of long ago.
I also read about one reason for U.S. militias: to overthrow the government in case it becomes corrupt. The thing is, how do you determine when it becomes corrupt? So far, the militia supporters that the U.S. government is going to impose Martial Law or totalitarian rule soon. I don’t buy it, though. Let’s say the militias suddenly start revolting so even when the government doesn’t do anything related to totalitarianism, or just as a reaction to a strict rule. That would be presumptious and stupid. Also, what if the militias succeed, and what they impose are things like, Muslims and blacks should be evicted, slavery is returned, prostitution is rampant, people with disabilities should be killed, and more. I suspect they want these more than the government. All the more reason to keep them from succeeding.
When it comes to the Philippines, we already have militias. They are the private armies of politicians and some richer families in the country. I wonder if some Americans are taking a hint from this example and want to gain power through the barrel of a gun.
- On Filipino Hatred of English, Languages and Intellectualism - July 9, 2018
- Resbak Mentality Keeps the Philippines backward - July 5, 2018
- Why *Spectator* Sports is not the Hope of any Society - July 4, 2018
- Some Thoughts on LGBT Issues after the Colorado Baker’s Win - June 12, 2018
- Unmuddling the Issue of How One Should See the Poor - June 2, 2018