Broad concepts can be deceiving. They can also be enlightening. For example, with all the war in the world, all the slaughter and mayhem, why is there almost no discussion about where the weapons are coming from? Could it be because it might force us to face ourselves?
Illiterate thugs driving around in Japanese and American built pickup trucks blowing each other away, kidnapping little girls and conducting ethnic murder and rape on a massive scale while decrying education and knowledge are not manufacturing pickup trucks, RPG’s, heavy machine guns or assault rifles. So were is all this stuff coming from? What truly evil entity could be so unprincipled, immoral and greedy, as to be supplying high-powered weapons of war to an underdeveloped and politically unstable world? Would you put an assault rifle in the hands of a 10-year old?
Surely, it must be the many faces of evil we see on the network news each night? You know, the really bad guys like ISIL and Boko Haram?
Not really. It’s us. The United States is at the top of the list with Russia coming in second. France, the UK, Germany and Israel, also rank in the top ten on weapons exports.
Isn’t this something we at least need to be talking about here in gun loving America, as our leaders wring their hands and shake their heads about all the violence overseas and on U.S. soil? Isn’t the fact that we are the world’s biggest exporter of weaponry pertinent? Of course it is. To the tune of something over $1.5 trillion a year. And it’s growing.
CNN reports, “Worldwide arms exports are surging. They’re up nearly 30% since 2008, according to a new report from defense analyst IHS Jane’s.”
The circle becomes all the more vicious when organized militias like ISIL, capture arms the United States has supplied to others and turns those same arms on U.S. troops. Weapons manufacturers are the only winners.
If developed nations want the slaughter to stop, then those same developed nations need to stop supplying weaponry to the world. Here in the States, we need to stop buying into the argument that controlling the production and sale of assault weapons is an attack on the Second Amendment.
Try and get your head around the fact that the founders had no concept of a rifle with a firing rate of 100 rounds per minute like an AK-47. The British were hi-tech at the time, and they were using the Ferguson Rifle, a breech loading, single shot rifle, which meant you didn’t have to stick a metal ball in the barrel and ram it down with a rod. No, the Ferguson was so hi-tech, that it permitted a skilled marksman to drop a ball in the breech (up by the trigger), apply some powder and get off between six and ten shots per minute. Compare that to an AR-15 rifle with a rate of fire of 90 rounds per minute and an effective range of 547 yards. And it’s available and perfectly legal at your local gun store. Not in full-auto mind you, but conversion kits can be had.
Want something more? Consider the little Colt 9mm SMG (submachine gun). According to Colt’s website, the rate of fire on full-auto is 700-950 rounds per minute. Weighing only 6.6 pounds it’s incredibly easy to use. I know, because I fired one while under DEA supervision. It was like holding a garden hose, except you were dealing with a stream of bullets instead of water. To me, it felt pretty much the same. Just like watering the garden.
That’s what happened during the “North Hollywood Shootout,” in 1997. The LAPD came up against two bank robbers wearing body armor and carrying illegally modified fully automatic rifles loaded with “cop killer” bullets that could penetrate so-called “bullet-proof” vests. With SWAT away on an exercise, the LAPD was armed only with service pistols and shotguns. They had to run to a nearby gun dealer to borrow a few semi-automatic rifles to fight back while waiting for SWAT to arrive. In 44 minutes while the two bank robbers held off the police, eleven cops and seven civilians were injured with more than 1,700 rounds flying through the air. Both suspects were eventually killed. The incident, with two men holding off dozens of police officers, led to an increase in firepower at police departments across the country.
I was there and I’ll always remember the words of my friend, video-journalist David Lopez, who later recalled, “It was just like that movie, “Heat.” He was right. It was. Because the suspects had assault rifles modified to operate on full-auto, the police were simply outgunned.
The Second Amendment argument benefits only the arms manufacturers, allowing them to continue flooding the U.S. and the world not with hunting or sporting weapons, but with weapons of war which have no purpose other than the slaughter of human beings. And the United States, is by far and away leading the world in the export of what truly should be considered weapons of mass destruction. We’ve been warned repeatedly about the Military Industrial Complex and profitability.
“Well, come on Wall Street, don’t move slow,
Why man, this is war a-go-go.
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade, Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong….” -‘Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag’ – Country Joe McDonald, 1966
When a hippie singer from the 60’s like Country Joe McDonald is in agreement with Dwight David Eisenhower, former 5-star General of the Army who led the military that defeated the Nazis and then went on to be elected President on a Republican ticket, it is perhaps time for us to pay closer attention to what’s going on and maybe even try and think things through.
Follow the money, and don’t buy into the nonsense that if we stop supplying the weaponry, production will simply shift to Russia, China, and a few other countries. Somebody has to take the lead in stopping this madness. Since the U.S. is supplying most of the weapons, then a halt to weapons exports by the U.S. would clearly be a good place to start as it would provide the greatest incentive for other supposedly civilized nations to follow suit.
Imagine putting a genuine push for peace ahead of the ongoing promotion of warfare and death. Imagine trade sanctions on any country that refused to stop exporting weapons of war. Is that even possible, or will we have to wait another three or four hundred years to evolve to a point at which we cease being our own worst enemy?
It’s something to think about as we wait for the next body count to come in from Mali or Nigeria, the next mass drowning of war refugees in the Mediterranean, and the next school shooting here in the United States as the developed nations sit back in relative security collecting the profits on arms sales to second and third world nations who hate us for what we are.