Wednesday, April 23, 2014–
Chivalry is alive.
Yes, that knightly code from the days of Charlemagne France, Medieval times (not the fun-filled dining experience of middle-class Americans), and the pedestalization of Southern women by Southern men who once had no heritage to cling to other than an imaginary noble lineage.
Knights and Ladies, we are. In the spirit of the false King Arthur, we hold this code and protect the weak. The Chilvaric Code, to espouse the virtues of knights and their obligation to defend the honor of the women, children, and elders who had no discernible rights aside from those owned by the men in their lives.
Inherent in the code is the right to defend ourselves and those weaker. The right to bear arms. The right to shoot dead any one who threatens what is held dear.
The right to die for another man’s possessions is alive and well in Georgia.
A new law of the land was read today.
Firearms are now allowed in bars unless the establishment opts out. Guns are now allowed on public school property unless prohibited by local leadership. They are also allowed on church grounds unless opposed by church leadership. And, as of July 1, 2014, gun permit holders no longer have to submit finger prints for renewal. The State of Georgia is out of the gun regulation business.
An’ throughout the halls of this great nation heads were scratched, praise belted out to the skies, and victims of gun violence shuttered.
I am ashamed of my state today. I know, I know.
“We, as Americans, have the right to bear arms!”
Yes, by God, we do. During those early, distrustful, near-disastrous days of our founding we only had a militia. There was no standing army. No navy, marines, or air force. We had not yet reached the need for a coast guard, homeland security, or any national defense we now have in our collective possession.
And we should never forget how unreliable that militia was. We may never know how many deserted Washington when he needed them most. We only remember the heroes who stayed and rose into the halls of fame despite a lack of training, pay, proper attire, food, or lodging. The reason an army exists is because a militia was inadequate.
Our right to bear arms in the 1790’s meant the difference between life and death in a relatively lawless land. The right to oppose the inevitable attack from our former motherland. And, lest we forget, the right to defend ourselves from our country, should it succumb to tyranny so near its revolution. Wounds were fresh.
We have the right to kill deer, hogs, and other vermin to provide unnecessary but responsible food for our families. We have the right to shoot paper targets of our President.
Must we have the right to bear arms whilst we drink our poison, pray for forgiveness, or educate our children?
“With a rise in violent attacks in public spaces, why not arm ourselves to protect our families in public?”
No nation is spared from terror. No country is immune to disaster. In fact, the more complex our society becomes the greater chance for dissent. We will always have enemies from within and out. Whether we like it or not, horrible things will happen. Good people commit atrocities.
Our country does not have a gun control problem, it has a mental health problem. We create the “monsters” but take no blame for their crimes. In fact, we choose to enact new policies to create a false sense of comfort. Georgia’s new “gun’s everywhere” law is that type of policy.
The arrogance of our state does not lie in our willingness to expand gun allowances, it is in our exceptionalism. We believe ourselves to be too good for bad things to happen. We believe we can prevent Sandy Hook, the Boston bombings, both Fort Hood shootings, Columbine…
We are wrong, unfortunately. We unfairly look to politicians for comfort, answers, and justice. Our political system is too broken to expect so much. As long as it is socially acceptable for our mentally ill to be homeless and our greedy to be powerful, we are asking for dissent. Dissent comes in many forms. I choose words. Adam Lanza chose bullets.
Parents, teachers, friends, and family are the salve against these crimes. We may not be able to prevent disaster, but we can heal. Sandy Hook, Columbine, and other communities are trying to heal. It is the human thing to do. Yet healing is not as sensational as the acts of those broken few who took the lives of so many. It does not warrant press. Old wounds stay open when scabs are incessantly scraped away. People are afraid and want to know they have no reason to fear, even if it is a lie.
“Then why, when there are more complex and expensive problems facing our nation and state, is the expansion of gun legislation important enough to execute tax dollars, time, and effort in a packed legislative session?”
Money is too obvious. Power, as it relates to money, is more elusive.
The NRA was, as expected, involved in heavy lobbying for this legislation. Also, Georgia Carry, a non-profit organization committed to expanding second amendment strength in Georgia, used the weight and wealth of its paying members to lobby for the bill. Spokesman Jerry Henry, according to Fox News, does not expect an increase in gun sales. Still, many of the organization’s corporate sponsors will now benefit from a decrease in state oversight in firearm sales.
The bill has little directly to do with money. It has everything to do with the strengthening of the ideal of the “right to bear arms” in a time of uncertainty for the firearm industry.
The NRA and smaller lobby groups, such as Georgia Carry, responded to Sandy Hook with vehement defense of their product. Their campaign worked. In the days immediately following the crimes of Adam Lanza, ammunition could not be kept on the shelves. Firearm sales spiked. Production could not keep up. The powerful increased prominence. Georgia’s firearm manufacturing plants, like Glock, remained in operation. Jobs. Money. Power. Fear. Legislation. All tools of the trade.
On the other side, the bill was opposed by Georgia’s law enforcement, county commissioners, municipal leaders, and the TSA. They feel it makes Georgia unsafe. They do not believe more guns in more places is the answer to our social problems. They fear that having guns in Hartfield-Jackson, one of the busiest airports in the world, is a bad idea.
I happen to agree, not because I am a liberal or an anti-gun man, but because I am one of 95% of Georgians who do not carry a gun and I fear that this bill is a step in the wrong direction–backwards.
Pretend is fun. We can act like we don’t have a government committed to our protection because of the scary times in which we live or our hatred for Obama. We talk of impending revolution as if tyranny has a face and only lives outside of our state. Fear is a more powerful adversary than any government.
Only, the fear we currently subscribe to was not dictated by our elected leaders, it was purported by the companies and action groups who benefit directly from gun legislation and the news agencies rabidly devouring our nation’s integrity for the sake of sensational headlines despite truth, humanity, and historically accurate American values. Those who were sworn to protect us, our law enforcement officers, and community leadership, who have nothing to gain from gun lobbyists, were opposed. This law heavily affects those who were not heeded for the political and profitable benefit of others.
We can feel more capable with steel in our hands. We can lie to ourselves. “This will make us safe. This will prevent disaster. God and gun will protect the righteous.” No matter how much I want to, I cannot believe. Too much has happened to disprove the notion to ignore.
For what it’s worth, I don’t believe this bill will change much of our daily lives. If a person wants to buy a gun and shoot a bunch of drunks in a bar, they will. Very few of the weapons used in mass shootings were legally purchased. No, my anger is directed at the blatant display of Good Ol’ Boy politics in this fair state. This law is a ghost of the past and a harbinger of the future.
Today’s signing accompanied a North Georgia creek, the National Anthem, and a prayer. The man who put pen to paper touted nearly two decades of allegiance to the NRA. He was backed by all Republicans in Georgia’s legislature, and a few Democrats, including gubernatorial hopeful Jason Carter. They are my representatives, but they do not represent me.
That creek flowed, although more pure, through antebellum mountains and Cherokee lands rich with gold destined to be the cause of murder and the expansion of this great state. That anthem was written as we defended ourselves against British invasion at Baltimore. God above saw it all and said it was good, I guess.