the scenario. Sitting on a bus and 'eary' wigging
a conversation between a bus driver and an American
lady who was observing that it was much nicer to
see Belfast without the armed soldiers patrolling
right" replied the bus driver. "Benefits
of the Peace Process you see." He pointed out
with an air of worldly wisdom. "Suppose you'se
have yer own problems over there as well, y'know
with guns and that." The American shot forward
in her seat "Excuse me?" she enquired.
to me, the conversation was going to go in one of
two directions at this point. Either the American
was agreeable to this comment, being a fairly progressive
person and had simply not heard the bus drivers'
comment due to his fairly thick Belfast accent,
hence her request for him to repeat his comment.
scenario B, the nice American lady was a member
of the National Rifle Association and would only
give up her rifle if it was pried from her proverbial
cold dead hands. As it turned out, her knee jerked,
so to speak.
for the bus driver, I proved to be right in my assumption.
I think it was something in the complete change
of her tone that gave it away. What resulted was
a ten-minute monologue on the virtue of the Americans
right to bear arms, from taking the family out for
some quality time and shooting deers, trees and
squirrels in the woods to being able to defend your
home from the specter of an armed robber walking
up your garden path with the intent of relieving
you of your worldly possessions.
the robber be stopped with a baseball bat instead?"
reasoned the bus driver. "Oh so you can't kill
a guy with a baseball bat? Listen buddy
she called him buddy. I winced. This is getting
I'm in the NRA
she even used the name, "
and proud of
it. My constitution enshrines my right to bear arms
and I'm damn well gonna make sure that I practice
so what began as an affable conversation resulted
in two red faces and a decent bit of light entertainment
for me. I can't help but think though that both
parties in this dispute were missing the point somewhat.
American friend was right when she pointed out to
the bus driver that yes she did have the right to
bear arms. This was written into her constitution
along with other items that were designed to protect
her and her fellow citizens from potential tyranny
from her own government.
You see the Americans had just turfed out the Brits
in their War of Independence and had really had
a sickener dealing with their less than fair monarchist
regime. So they wrote what was on paper (no pun
intended) an excellent constitution that had mechanisms
that protected the people of America from the possibility
of its new government from becoming just like the
old British one. They created three branches of
government that kept an eye on each other just in
case one of them got carried away with itself and
tried to throw its weight about and incur on the
rights of its citizens. These three branches were
the Legislative (the House of Representatives and
Congress), the Executive (the President) and the
Judiciary (the Supreme Court). It was an ingenious
and fully democratic system for its time.
Just in case all three got corrupt then the peoples
militias of the time were permitted, in the constitution,
to hold on to their rifles and the all the rest
of their gear if it was needed to turf out their
new government. This particular little gem has stayed
in the constitution right up to present day but
unfortunately the intention of it has been lost
somewhat along the way and recent events have highlighted
right wing 'intelligencia' in America are great
ones for the old political spin and mass media control.
They have under their control several large and
quite slick news and media corporation in their
hands and have used them to great lengths during
Reagan's eighties and in their more recent consolidation
of power in the U.S. Generally the media outlets
have used a potent mix of patriotic pride along
with a healthy dose of fear to influence their people
successfully as it turned out. The assault rifle
over fireplace became the defence against the reds,
pinkos, hippies, feminists, lesbians, feminist lesbians,
crazy black gun men and well any other "ethnic
invaders"; and not against the tyrannical despots
on Capitol Hill. Well except for some of the even
"righter" wing militias in the chronically
constipated (or conservative) Mid West and Deep
South who still hadn't gotten over the whole abolition
of slavery thing.
other groups have rebelled from the reformist trend
and shouldered guns for defense against governmental
tyranny and also for progressive political means.
The Black Panthers for instance set up civil defence
units in poor black neighbourhoods during their
early days, to control crime as an alternative to
the vastly white and racist inner city police.
though the Black Panther initiative never gained
enough momentum to create massive political upheaval
it briefly showed the a progressive interpretation
of why a population should bear arms in a relatively
events have also proved to be examples of when U.S.
citizens should bear arms against a tyrannical government.
The American corporate elite dropped its mask of
wealthy respectability during the whole Hurricane
from his lazy poolside slumbers by news of the biggest
natural disaster to hit the US in donkeys' years,
George W. Bush breathed a sigh of relief when he
realized that it was only a bunch of poor niggers
who were dying and suffering. Indeed the whole federal
response smacked of apathy to the heartbreaking
pleas for aid and rescue.
it came to those dirty, sneaky, looting blacks however;
well pass me my twelve gauge and call for the army,
we have a crisis on our hands. For a few days the
news focused on the issue of looters and the strain
it was having on the national guard, sent there
not to rescue the sick and frail, but to protect
the property of the cities wealthy who had already
had the means to escape the disaster.
New Orleans cracked and popped to the sound of gun
battles between the National Guard and the poor
citizens who chose to take the food that was rotting
in the shops rather than starve to death.
the memory of Hurricane Katrina will live on in
the memory of the survivors of New Orleans as well
as the example of legitimately bearing arms against
an oppressive tyranny posing as their government.
U.S. public and international pressure, George W.
Bush reluctantly let go of his tackle and headed
south to do
. well, something
around in a nice casual blue shirt and kissed as
many cute black babies as possible to try and save
what little credibility he has left internationally.
even flew Mom and Pop down to New Orleans as well
and we were treated to images of the whole Bush
family together down in New Orleans, all kissing
the poor black babies. Christ, millions of crazy
black gun men in America and when you finally need