Unser USA-Korrespondent Thomas Adcock fährt mit seiner Analyse der amerikanischen Gesellschaft fort und kümmert sich um die Realien, die für die Kriminalliteratur grundlegend sind: Gewalt & Tod
The next president of the United States: Wayne LaPierre?
The Party of Mass Murder
G.O.P. = Guns Over People
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2013 Thomas Adcock
NORTH CHATHAM, N.Y.
Regarding the Republican Party and the support of its leadership for perpetual gun carnage in the United States, permit me to be as blunt as bullets: the once admirable Grand Old Party, as Republicans enjoy calling themselves, is now foursquare behind mass murder in the cause of corporate profits—and blood money deposits to their greasy campaign coffers.
Late in the afternoon of April 17, Republicans in the U.S. Senate showed themselves to be morally bankrupt vassals of the lucrative armaments industry, and its lobbying department—the National Rifle Association. The shabby senators decided that the appropriate federal response to decades of slaughtering innocents was for the government to do nothing.
Republicans engineered the defeat of a statute that would have banned modified combat machine guns such as the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, popular with numerous mass murderers of recent note—including the late Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut, who used that model last December to mow down twenty first-graders and six teachers. Republicans then defeated a proposed ban on high-capacity magazines, such as the ones Mr. Lanza used to fire off one hundred and fifty-four .223 caliber bullets in the space of four minutes. Finally, Republicans blocked establishment of universal background checks on would-be gun buyers, to determine conviction records for violent crimes, and histories of forced hospitalization for psychosis.
To be sure, the usual handful of craven Democratic Party pols joined their shabby colleagues. But voters will rightly blame Republicans, and are not likely to forget what they did on April 17. Republicans chatter endlessly about their “conservative” philosophy, but seem uninterested in conserving grass roots democracy: according to all major U.S. opinion polling firms, ninety percent of the electorate favors extended background checks, with support for bans on semiautomatic assault rifles and rapid-fire magazines at just shy of sixty percent.
Not even Republican voters will forget the rebuke of April 17.
“Mark it down, this is going to be a turning point in the history of the Republican Party,” declared former G.O.P. Congressman Joe Scarborough, host of a highly-rated political television chat show. “Let those out there chattering—let them chatter away all they want to, and scream like hyenas. This party is moving toward extinction.”
Patricia Llodra, a Republican village selectman in Newtown, said of the Senate votes, “I’m stunned, I’m shocked, I’m horrified. It’s just a disgrace.”
In his April 19 letter to the New York Times, California lawyer Douglas M. Parker, a former aide to G.O.P. Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Richard M. Nixon, urged his fellow Republicans, “[L]et us unite…to save our party from itself.”
Mr. Scarborough and other legitimate conservatives—those unhappy few still inexplicably loyal to a political entity coöpted by the proto-fascist “Tea Party,” a movement financed by shadowy corporate interests—predict electoral disaster for Guns Over People come the Congressional elections in November 2014, an on-deck opportunity for voters to once again express revulsion for what Republicanism has become. During last November’s presidential election, voters soundly rejected the G.O.P. due to the racial bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, cultural intolerance, corporate bootlicking, and anti-intellectualism of its panjandrums—including a presidential candidate who sneered at those he deemed lesser than himself, a multi-billionaire leveraged buyout swindler with secret offshore bank accounts who famously declared, “Corporations are people, my friends.”
It is doubtful that Republicans, en masse, will at any time soon undergo what so many of them call a “come to Jesus moment.” For they constitute “the stupid party,” as Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said in March when addressing fellow Republicans wondering how it is that most Americans find the G.O.P. laughable, at best.
Why laughable? Because several Republican office holders of the Mormon faith affirm church doctrine that Christ was a post-crucifixion tourist in America? Because evolution and embryology are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” according to Rep. Paul Broun, appointed by Republican-controlled House leadership to that body’s Science, Space & Technology Committee? Because of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s notion that climate change is a “hoax,” or at least of no greater threat to the environment than warming trends of earlier epochs he posits were caused by dinosaur flatulence?
The foregoing is nonfiction.
If Republicans were ever funny, if only by accident, they have now gone quite beyond the circus they created in 1980, the year that G.O.P. President Ronald Reagan said tomato ketchup was a vegetable and that South America consisted of “all different nations down there.” (More nonfiction.)
Today’s Republicans, primarily at the national level, are trigger-happy money-grubbers. We should assume them to be armed and dangerous.
So, how to deal with danger?
My friend Bill Semans—the Minneapolis impresario, litterateur, and bon vivant—advocates Swiftian satire.
Firstly, he suggests that Congressional Republicans introduce legislation to put an additional celebration on the nation’s holiday calendar. Building on his idea, I shall call this “Fun with Guns Day.” Secondly, Mr. Semans proposes that the Senate’s own Republican brain trust lead efforts toward the party’s logical presidential nomination in 2016—a demonstrably powerful man with proven accomplishment in political extortion and parliamentary maneuvers whose name I shall soon reveal.
On “Fun with Guns Day,” all American gun owners would be required to report for dawn reveille at cemeteries nearest their respective homes; the rest of us would be advised to remain safely indoors until dusk. At the sound of a bugle, gunslingers would draw weapons and commence firing at one another—untroubled by the possibility of legal repercussion, per legislative license. The cemetery venue would serve two vital purposes: a financial savings on body cartage to burial sites, and tombstones as sturdy cover for the timid.
Regarding the nomination of their next presidential standard bearer, Mr. Semans suggests that Republicans cut to the chase and select Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, who in the wake of Newtown stated his motto: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
We may imagine Mr. LaPierre’s campaign slogan for 2016: “Go Insane with Wayne!” or “Long Live Fear with LaPierre!” or “Get Slain with Wayne!”
At some point, I am as hopeful that America’s mad gun culture will subside as I am that Mr. Scarborough is correct in offering this party’s obituary. I am hopeful because of Mr. Scarborough, and Mr. Parker, and Ms. Llodra—and because of what happened on a recent night in the Town of Chatham, located in the rural Hudson River Valley of upstate New York.
It happens that my wife and I enjoy weekends here in North Chatham, a hamlet within Town of Chatham. We drive up from Manhattan most Friday mornings to get here—passing Newtown on the way. Our farmhouse was built in 1788, the year after adoption of the U.S. Constitution. All around us are rolling hills, orchards, dairy farms, and genteel Republicans far removed from the shamefulness of their Washington namesakes.
On the evening of April 18, the Chatham Town Board allowed reason to prevail. There was a resolution on the agenda that night, placed by a local resident undoubtedly inclined to vote for a President LaPierre. The resolution for town support in a campaign to repeal newly adopted state laws the very same as those quashed by Republicans in U.S. Senate only the day before. The Chatham board, all Republican save for a single Democrat, declined to consider the resolution.
I am terribly proud of my town, which should serve as inspiration for all Americans of common sense.
All Americans must now organize to do battle with the madness of Guns Over People. Madness will end when two things happen: abolition of the federal law that exempts the gun industry from product liability litigation, and insistence on a modern perspective regarding the Second Amendment to the Constitution—a provision written more than two hundred years ago that has become the Mao-esque “little Red book” of the NRA, containing the only words the benighted need to know.
In 2005, NRA lobbyists drafted the little-known “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” and enlisted the usual Republican suspects to shove it through Congress, after which they obtained the obedient signature of G.O.P. President George W. Bush. As a result, all pending civil lawsuits against the gun industry were dismissed—in both federal and state courts, which were ordered “to prohibit [further] causes of action against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition products.” No other American industry enjoys such Congressional protection.
“It is outrageous that a product existing for no other purpose than to kill has [this] exemption,” said Professor Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California’s Irvine School of Law in an interview last year with the online political magazine Crooks & Liars. “Allowing tort liability would force gun manufacturers to pay some of the costs imposed by their products, increase the prices for assault weapons, and maybe even cause some manufacturers to stop making them.”
In 1790, the largest city of America was New York, with a population of 33,131, according to that year’s inaugural census count. Including African slaves, the aggregate population of thirteen formerly British colonies was 3,892,635—approximately the size of modern-day Bosnia. In 1791, the Second Amendment was adopted: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
The population of metropolitan New York is now 22,085,649, per the census of 2010. Forty-eight other regions of the overwhelmingly urban/suburban United States have populations exceeding one million. The American economy is no longer agrarian. In place of village militias are municipal, state, and federal police agencies—nearly all of them “well regulated,” as is the mightiest military force the world has ever known.
In the unholy interest of gun sales, the NRA claims the Second Amendment as a guarantor of unfettered individual access to weapons more suitable for warfare than deer hunting—let alone an assembly of eighteenth-century North Chathamites, armed with their single-shot muskets for the purpose of scaring off tomahawk-wielding miscreants of the Mohawk tribe. The conflation of vastly opposing historical circumstances advanced by the NRA is an absurdity, on its face.
Men in powdered wigs—clad in knee-high breeches and frock coats, with pockets sewn in their waistcoats for watch fobs and snuff tins—wrote the Second Amendment with quill pens. Fear mongering NRA lobbyists, such as Wayne LaPierre himself, are briskly paid lawyers in hundred-dollar haircuts, bespoke suits with unobtrusive pockets for smart-phones, and custom-fitted shoes of soft and expensive Italian leather. They use computers to draft bills for Republican errand boys.
The militias of America in the 1790s are the police agencies of today. Given the madness fomented by Mr. LaPierre and his ilk, police officers do what they can to minimize the worry of mothers and fathers that their children may not survive the school day.
That worry is real. Take it from one who knows: David Wheeler, who lost his six-year-old son Ben to the Newtown massacre.
“It’s going to happen again, it’s going to happen again,” warned Mr. Wheeler in an interview for the CBS Television program “60 Minutes,” broadcast the Sunday evening prior to the Republican Party’s dishonor in the Senate.
“And every time, you know, it’s somebody else’s school, it’s somebody else’s town,” said Mr. Wheeler “It’s somebody else’s community. Until one day you wake up, and it’s not.”
Thomas Adcock is American correspondent for CulturMag. Zum Essay: Suicide by Stupidity: How the Republican Party is Killing Itself.