The NRA is a terrorist organisation

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, June 20th, 2015 - 106 comments
Categories: International, racism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , , ,

Another month and another senseless gun massacre in the United States of America.

This is an especially bad one.  In South Carolina, a place where Confederate and Rhodesian flags are prevalent a young white guy given a gun for his 21st birthday goes into a black church and kills nine innocent people.

Amongst those killed are a high school track and field coach, a Dallas Cowboys fan, a librarian and a state senator and preacher.  A six year old kid survived by feigning death.  They were having a bible study class at the time they were shot.

The victims included Clementa Pinckney, a senior pastor at the church and a Democratic member of the state senate.  Three of the victims were older aged women.  No one should die in this way.

There has been lots of media response in the United States as you can imagine.  The right are saying that the incident, one of too many that have occurred, should not be politicised.  They treat other terrorist incidents involving foreigners in a different way.  Wars have started because of attacks by non American citizens but they have this strange inability to realise how bad the problem is when one of their own indiscriminately kills.

Barak Obama summarised the situation with these words.

There is something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace in a place of worship. Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshippers worked to end slavery. … This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.”

On gun control he said this:

I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. We don’t have all of the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let’s be clear at some point, we as a country, we have to reckon with the fact that this mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.”

If you need evidence of what a bunch of dickheads the NRA’s leadership are then this provides perfect proof:

A board member for the National Rifle Association blamed pastor and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney for not only his own death, but the deaths of eight others in Wednesday night’s terrorist attack at his church, Think Progress reported on Thursday night.

Charles “Chas” Cotton made the remark on the Texas Concealed Handgun License (TexasCHL) forum, which bills itself as “the focal point for Texas firearms information and discussions.” Cotton, who is listed as a moderator on the site, made the derogatory remark in a thread concerning the mass shooting.

“He voted against concealed-carry,” Cotton said of Pinckney. “Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue.”

Get that?  We just need more guns and if only everyone had a gun no one would ever use them.  Thinking such stupidity is one thing but to go out and say it suggests levels of insensitivity mixed with stupidity I have not seen before.

I thought I would leave the final words on this post to John Stewart and to my favourite over the top US blogger Wonkette.  Stewart said this in as an incredible stand up he has done in his long and illustrious career:

And Wonkette eviscerates Fox News’ attempt to brand the massacre as anything but an appalling example of racism:

Silly us, we unfairly assumed that a white guy shooting up a black church might have something to do with hostility toward black people, but nah, hostility toward Christians makes more sense. Christians are the most oppressed victims in America these days, as everyone on the Fox payroll keeps telling us, thanks to godless liberals and gaysexuals and secret Muslim president, B. HUSSEIN O’Hitler. Besides, if the shooter had wanted to kill black people for being black, he would have gone into an area filled with black people, like a basketball court. Not a black church, which is filled with Christians, who might happen to be black, but what’s that got to do with anything?

She finishes off by saying:

Oh sure, of course more guns in churches is the answer. It’s hard out there for a Christian in America these days, trying to love his neighbor and turn the other cheek and all that feel-good Jesus stuff. But sometimes, when Christians are under attack, the best thing pastors can do is forget the Jesus talk and load for bear to shoot thy neighbor dead, just in case. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

106 comments on “The NRA is a terrorist organisation”

  1. ianmac 1

    You would think that the average American would notice the awful hypocrisy of killing 100s of thousands in foreign countries and calling the killings a search for peace and democracy. Insane.

  2. infused 2

    Americas gun situation is crazy, but there’s no turning it around. 1st amendment and all that.

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      That was the 2nd.

      My feeling is that the ‘right to bear arms’ was connected to the need to control any slave uprisings.
      Those that drew up the US amendments were influenced by the British Bill of Rights of 1689, after the Catholic King James was deposed, and was thought to favour his Catholic subjects.

      “Protestant subjects may have arms for their defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law;

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        and fend off upset “Indians” whose land and food sources were confiscated

        • Zorr 2.1.1.1

          Also, the second amendment also stipulates the use of an armed and well regulated militia… not willy-nilly gun ownership. There is nothing regulated about the application of the 2nd Amendment at all.

          • tracey 2.1.1.1.1

            Indeed militia were more common than what we now call police

            “In 1737, George II began paying some London and Middlesex watchmen with tax monies, beginning the shift to government control. In 1749 Henry Fielding began organizing a force of quasi-professional constables known as the Bow Street Runners. The Macdaniel affair added further impetus for a publicly salaried police force that did not depend on rewards. Nonetheless, In 1828, there were privately financed police units in no fewer than 45 parishes within a 10-mile radius of London.”

      • TheContrarian 2.1.2

        “My feeling is that the ‘right to bear arms’ was connected to the need to control any slave uprisings.”

        That’s bullshit.

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Good luck with getting the US to call a gunman who is white, a terrorist.

    Not that our police force are any better:

    “Citing the Terrorism Suppression Act, police arrested 18 people in nationwide raids linked to alleged weapons-training camps near the eastern Bay of Plenty township of Rūātoki.
    NZ History net nz

  4. weka 4

    “Get that? We just need more guns and if only everyone had a gun no one would ever use them.”

    I think his implication is more that if the congregation had been armed someone would have shot the gunman before he killed so many people. Maybe the gunman shot one or two people before himself being shot, but he wouldn’t have gotten away with killing nine people. That’s assuming that someone in the congregation would choose to take a handgun into a church service, and that they had the skill and presence of mind to respond in the moment and kill the gunman and not harm anyone else.

    So that’s alright then. /unfuckingbelievable

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    I don’t think we should be using the label “terrorist.” That falls straight into the western imperial memes of the 20th century. Remember that in the new normal, it is permissible to kill or drone terrorists without a trial, detain them without charge, surveil them and their friends/family members 24/7, torture them, and extraordinarily rendition them.

    • Bill 5.1

      Also disagreeing with the ‘terrorist’ label.

      If this guy is a terrorist, then so was whatsisname in the Sydney chocolate cafe, so was David Gray at Aramoana, and the kids at Columbine, the Washington sniper, and so on and so on.

      And as you point out, given the extra-ordinary powers that states have assumed to deal with perceived terrorism….

      It was , it seems to me, a crime committed off the back of racial hatred. – end –

      edit – as for the NRA being dangerously stupid and misanthropic…again, not terrorist.

      • David Gray, to my knowledge, didn’t have a political agenda, so I would agree that wasn’t terrorism. But the others were all committing public acts of massive, random violence deliberately to incite fear in a wider population.

        The Washington snipers are an interesting case because prosecutors theorised that the real target was John Allen Muhammad’s ex-wife, and the other deaths were merely cover. The purpose was still to terrorise and create chaos.

        I hate to get all dictionary-definition, but one university textbook I have at home (Smith, R C, Violence Politics and Morality) defines terrorism as:

        1. Violence
        2. for a political purpose
        3. which targets non-combatants/civilians

        So I really don’t see why the word “terrorist” shouldn’t be applied to someone who killed nine people in a place of worship in an act calculated to create fear and insecurity to the political end of racial oppression.

        There is also a push in the US to accept these kinds of attacks as terrorism because they are indistinguishable from “real” terrorism like September 11, and a lot of the resistance, even to label someone like Timothy McVeigh as a “terrorist”, seems to come down to nothing more than “white people can’t be terrorists.”

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          Trying to work my way through this.

          So, if I kill dairy owners and empty the till then I’m a criminal. But if I kill dairy owners, empty the till and harbour fucked up beliefs about their ethnicity or whatever, then I’m possibly a terrorist?

          Oddly, if I begin to pop dairy owners with no regard to their ethnicity or whatever, then the extent of the terror I’d be creating would likely be greater, and yet…

          • tracey 5.1.1.1.1

            I think it will be easier if you distinguish between the definition used by our authorities to keep us in selective fear and enabling them to keep us in our yokes from the one normal people would use.

            By the former this young guy must be a terrorist, by the later he is a murderer.

      • adam 5.1.2

        Disagree Bill – he went into that church and killed those people for the very reason to start a civil war/race war.

        Now I don’t like the word terrorist much – but in a way I think we need to look at what the word terrorist means in the 21st Century. A Terrorist is a extreme right wing grouping/individual who thinks that a violent approach to politics will garner popular support for their views.

        If anything, it has the opposite effect. Something the Anarchists learnt at the end on the 19th, and beginning of the 20th century.

        Violence as a political tool is something working people hate – they oppose it on so many levels. I believe the actions of this far right wing racists has lost the republicans the upcoming presidential elections. Simply, they know it too – hence all the media spin.

        The average American is disgusted by this type of violence used for political purpose. Yes we should use the term terrorism sparingly. But when a person is using violence and fear to push a political agenda – what else can we call it?

        • Bill 5.1.2.1

          If he was a part of an org or a movement with stated aims, then yup. But if he was an individual acting on fucked up delusions…

          See, I’m going to contradict myself here. McVeigh was, to me, a terrorist. The Boston marathon bombers…yeah, nah.

          It’s all pretty subjective to me and I can’t quite see how to ‘pin it’.

          In some way all violent acts are acts of terror, and so then we tend look at numbers. But then we have David Gray et al.

          I don’t think it would really matter (the racist resistance to seeing grey/white acts as terrorist aside) if it wasn’t for the fact we have states running a two tier legislative system that, I suspect, they’d quite happily to fold back into one powerful and barely accountable tier that diminishes the general rights of all of us.

          • adam 5.1.2.1.1

            I agree, I don’t think David Grey was a terrorist. Just a sick puppy who caused terror.

            But it is my understanding, the current gunman was part of a far rightwing group – who have been monitored and were known to have planed individualised acts of terror. His group was also part of an umbrella group as well. Luckily for us – most of these groups in that umbrella distrust each other – and have massive disputes over ideological purity.

            If there is a part of the left who is loony – what do we call that section of the right who are happy to kill children and old people?

    • I think “terrorism” is a perfect word, and using it in this instance reminds us what terrorism actually is, as opposed to the true “western imperial meme” which says terrorism = being brown, having oil, and voting the way the US President doesn’t want you to.

      • Bill 5.2.1

        The IRA was a terrorist org. Basque separatists were/are terrorists. And somewhere someone wrote a break-down of the numbers of people killed by terrorist acts that showed most were occasioned by ‘grey/white’ people who were members of various political orgs.

        I can’t quite get my head around the designation of a single person acting alone as a terrorist.

        • Zorr 5.2.1.1

          So what about the Oklahoma City bombing? Was the act of a loner with a beef against the US government. I have no problem with calling that an act of a terrorist.

          A white guy goes in to a church and kills 9 black people because they are raping his womenfolk and taking his homeland. If this was just some completely disconnected act of violence then maybe we could call it the outcome of a deluded isolated mind and be done with it.

          But it’s not. The kid was spewing the rhetoric that he heard elsewhere through his media and his community. He may have taken it further than anyone else dared to but his opinions were not isolated.

          It is easy to call the brutality of police towards blacks a form of state sponsored terrorism towards an oppressed minority but the act of one person taking “the law” in to their own hands to continue this “fight” isn’t? This is nothing that the African American community hasn’t had to deal with before but it is part of an ongoing terror campaign by Confederates (probably the best label for them) who want their slaves back…

        • tracey 5.2.1.2

          isn’t it the motivation/intent that makes them a terrorist, not the numbers? This guy hated back people and wants them gone from the planet. That’s political, a desire for a white america…

        • adam 5.2.1.3

          That’s where you are falling for the spin – Bill. He was not a lone wolf – he did act alone. But he was not a lone wolf. He and others like him in the US are part of a much larger very right wing organisations who want to see a race war. They do their acts of violence as individuals – but they are part of a coherent political grouping with an agenda.

          Even George Bush jr. – all credit to him on this one – saw these groups as a terrorist threat inside the USA, and had a department formed inside homeland security to monitor them. Mind you that department has now been gutted – because republican idiots got upset it existed.

          • Bill 5.2.1.3.1

            So, let’s just say someone who self identifies as anarchist perpetrates some kind of heinous shit. They have a vast repository of political literature and theory to fall back on. Their act will take place in a society that has already demonised anarchism to a very successful extent.

            Now, if they are terrorist, then by extension, anyone identifying as anarchist is also a terrorist and so, potentially, subject to terrorist legislation.

            This, as you know has happened in the past.

            • adam 5.2.1.3.1.1

              I agree – we live in a society which does demonised anarchism. That said, I hope that many anarchist have read Alexander Berkman’s “Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist” and realised the futility/stupidity of political violence. Especially murder as a weapon to galvanize political support. I’d say that even thinking it’s a good idea to murder someone, is so very wrong, on so many levels.

              Indeed what any anarchist reading this I hope should understand – that violence and killing of innocent people is something the working class hate. They loth it with a passion so deeply entrenched that Bills term – “heinous shit” sums it up well. This type of political violence is unacceptable – as ends and means are closer than we think.

              I also think most people already think anarchists are terrorists already Bill. Which means propaganda, and fear – are still and will always be the true enemy.

              • Bill

                And now our society demonises adherents to Islam. And within Islam, as was/is the case with anarchism, some people ‘celebrate’ violence. Now, we know what happens when an adherent to Islam perpetuates violence and is called a terrorist. All Muslims are made aware that the state has the means to place their neck beneath the heel of a boot. And Muslims in general are subjected to fairly widespread societal discrimination.

                Can that happen with regards a reaction to Roof? Well, given that there’s widespread and systemic racism in the states, probably no more than a knife can cut itself.

                But the state, if it gave the terrorist designation to Roof, would logically be on the verge (over the verge?) of running a full scale surveillance state off the back of terrorist legislation being applied to just about everyone. The missing factor would be the ability to generate fear in the general populace against an ‘identifiable’ segment of society that could then act to enable/justify the further roll out of terrorist legislation/practices. In other words, the state would be isolated.

                So yeah, sorry my thoughts are circling a tad. Anyway, seems to me that it simply isn’t viable, from the state’s perspective, for the state to call white/grey actions terrorist – unless there is a very identifiable organisation there, or a discrete ideology that can be pinned on people (ie, communism, anarchism etc)

                Final thought. Terrorism is just a politically expedient label, not a hard and fast, definable ‘thing’.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Which is interesting, because “terrorism” has been used as a convenient way for the power elite to legally strip both individuals and groups of their civil liberties and to abrogate due process.

                  • Bill

                    Yup. But apply it to Roof and the power elite are then, if they are going to be consistent, going to be legally stripping just about everyone’s civil liberties away. The ‘folding’ , as it were, of the second, barely accountable tier of legislation that’s used against terrorism, into the accountable layer that affords some protections against excessive state power.

          • weka 5.2.1.3.2

            “But he was not a lone wolf. He and others like him in the US are part of a much larger very right wing organisations who want to see a race war. They do their acts of violence as individuals – but they are part of a coherent political grouping with an agenda.”

            Ok, so would you consider a man who is part of an MRA group who kills his feminist ex wife to be a terrorist?

            I don’t know if the Charleston killer is a terrorist or not. I don’t have enough information about his motivations or political actions. It’s obvious that it’s a hate crime. I can see why people want to define this as terrorism, as it’s likely that he wanted to cause fear beyond his immediate victims.

            But I can also see what Bill and others are saying, that we will end up calling all violent crimes by people with politics terrorism (and this may not be a good idea).

            I also tend to agree that for it to be terrorism there needs to be a degree of organisation. This doesn’t mean someone can’t act on their own, but there are others who know about and support the crime and the intention.

            Having said all that, this is a lot of speculation, because how much do we really know about the guy? I’m also mindful that of the specific church he chose, and it’s hard to not define it as terrorism just because of that. Ultimately I think the people in that community get to decide what to call it and what it means.

            edit.

            • adam 5.2.1.3.2.1

              “Ok, so would you consider a man who is part of an MRA group who kills his feminist ex wife to be a terrorist?”

              If his political motivation is to terrorise women into political compliance – then short answer – yes.

              I put his association and motivation together to garner that conclusion. I agree with Bill and you Weka, we should not label all violent behaviour as terrorism. We should be careful with the term. That said, we should not let the media call this killer a lone wolf either – as he was associated with, and political motivated to – commit murder for some political gain.

          • Pascals bookie 5.2.1.3.3

            He was not a lone wolf – he did act alone. But he was not a lone wolf. He and others like him in the US are part of a much larger very right wing organisations who want to see a race war. They do their acts of violence as individuals – but they are part of a coherent political grouping with an agenda.

            ‘Lone wolf’ is a phrase that is getting used a lot now, but it’s a bit confusing.
            It’s a tactic, within a terrorist strategy.

            Two of the biggest early proponents of the term are Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger, US southern white supremacists, Aryan nation types. The point of ‘lone wolf’ is precisely that you ‘act alone’ as part of a cause. It’s not about being a loner, or not being part of a movement, or anything else. It’s purely about making it harder to be caught before acting, and harder to implicate the cause legally when/if caught.

            eg here:

            http://archive.adl.org/learn/ext_us/curtis.html?LEARN_Cat=Extremism

        • Grant 5.2.1.4

          Unabomber?

        • You’re buying into the idea he was acting alone, which is another common meme spread about white guys who kill lots of people who were also members of huge groups and networks advocating racial segregation and violence as a means to their political ends.

          Dylann Roof didn’t kill nine specific people who personally offended or challenged him. He killed nine black people he did not know, including a state senator, in an historic black church, on the anniversary of a planned slave revolt organised by the co-founder of that church, stating it was because black people are the enemy. There are photos of him wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia on it. This isn’t ~one guy who was just racist and violent for no reason~.

          • weka 5.2.1.5.1

            That’s much clearer, thanks.

            (although I don’t think anyone here is saying a hate crime is violent for no reason).

          • Bill 5.2.1.5.2

            I’ve no argument with what you say regards motivations and segments of society denying the relevance or existence of those motivations. My ‘problem’ is the terrorist designation because of the reasons I’ve sketched in other comments. – States are assuming huge powers, specifically to deal with terrorism, and if those powers creep into areas previously considered criminal, then we’re all in the shit.

            As I replied to Adam. In terms of a thought experiment, think ‘anarchist’ in the place of ‘racist’ and consider the implications of a terrorist label.

            • Pascals bookie 5.2.1.5.2.1

              I think these concerns are correct, but the problem isn’t, to my mind, in the description of what terrorism is, but rather in the counter-terrorism strategies states tend to fall back on.

              The reactions states make are usually counter-productive and awful, and terrorists generally count on that. But that doesn’t mean terrorist attacks aren’t terrorist. It just means states suck at countering terrorists.

    • tracey 5.3

      I agree, it is murder BUT the label, as misused by the political elite fits this too.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.4

      Clarification: it’s the concept that the “NRA is a terrorist organisation” which I objected to to. The NRA has 2 million members, most of whom are pretty ordinary folk.

      As for the Left falling into using the memes of imperial power: the guy is first and foremost a criminal, not a terrorist. All rights and due process must be accorded to him. That is what happens in a civilised state where the rule of law and justice prevails. The label “terrorist” is an imperial concept abrogating all such state responsibilities.

      • Are you seriously hand-wringing about the ~civil rights~ of a man who – in a country where black children are shot by police for having toy guns – was arrested unharmed and placed in a police vehicle with a bullet-proof vest on and no handcuffs?

        Are you literally ~concerned~ about the ~due process~ which will be accorded a man who was, within hours of killing nine people, having all kinds of excuses made for his behaviour – in a country where the man who gunned down a black teenager carrying Skittles and iced tea got acquitted?

        Literally no one is advocating that Dylann Roof be summarily executed or locked up without trial.

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.4.1.1

          I’m a Lefty, “handwringing about civil rights” is what I do.

          • tracey 5.4.1.1.1

            not all civil rights CR 😉

            • Kiwiri 5.4.1.1.1.1

              wot? surely CR would also be kneecapping any moves to sneak through uncivil rights 🙂

          • Zorr 5.4.1.1.2

            This coming from the person saying that “the Left” should stop focusing on “special interest” politics…

            Yeah, can’t have your cake and eat it too.

            • Colonial Rawshark 5.4.1.1.2.1

              The left can do what it wants, but I will always push back against narrow interest politics in favour of a politics of universal civil rights.

              • Ergo Robertina

                Good to see you’ve revised your view CV. You were scathing about the universal civil rights ideal a couple of days ago:

                Pope Francis on Climate Change

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I was scathing about white liberal westerners imposing their cultural values and societal mores on to other cultures and societies. Big difference. Further ‘civil rights’, are expressions of the limitations of governmental power and constraints upon the power-elite, which are absolutely key in this modern day and age.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    Well don’t talk about universal civil rights then!
                    You can’t have it both ways.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      tell me sir, what right do you have to judge other cultures as inferior, and needing to conform to your own personal values and mores? The upshot is that you are not talking about “universal civil rights” you are talking about “cultural imperialism” masquerading as “universal civil rights.”

                    • a universal civil right is to be treated with equality – thus we have groups advocating for this in the areas they are most concerned about – that is left and that is the ‘special’ in special interest. ‘Narrow’ is the state of mind of some who cannot get their head around that.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      I’m just pointing out CV that if you’re a cultural relativist you can’t claim to stand for universal civil rights. There’s no need to get all twisted about it.
                      There’s also a difference between imposing Western values, and pointing out a bit of realpolitik about the Catholic Church’s geographical development, which was my main point on that thread.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Civil rights are primarily limitations and constraints on what the power elite and the government can do to oppress and suppress ordinary people. That’s what I’m concerned about.

    • Michael 5.5

      This man was a terrorist and a racist. He was causing terror and mass murdering innocent people because of a political/ideological motivation. (racism + white supremacism)

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.5.1

        Well what do we do with terrorist organisations – drone them with hellfire missiles.

        • Michael 5.5.1.1

          You can describe someone as a terrorist without saying there needs to be a drone attack on them.

          I think this man was a terrorist. That does not mean I do not think he should not get a fair trial, or that he should be executed or something…

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.5.1.1.1

            I know where you are coming from. In my view the American Turn Key Totalitarian State has captured the term “terrorist” (formally, in legislation as well as propaganda) as an excuse to abrogate all the rights of individuals and categories of individuals that they don’t like.

  6. Descendant Of Sssmith 6

    It’s no different however to the disconnect in this country that says by making poor people poorer, by making their hard lives harder, by making their indebted lives more indebted, by making their dependance on charity more inculcated, by making their powerlessness even more egregious, by making the labour force more indentured and even more disposable and so on they’ll lift them selves like munificent angels out of their self-made situation.

    It’s the same side of the cognitive dissonance of “there is no society” .

    It’s the triumph of style over substance and the even sadder thing is, is that those who lobby for the law changes, those who resist the attempts for a better, more caring communal society, those that argue for less governmental support know full well that they are manipulating for their own and their families personal gain.

    It’s not that they don’t want rules backed up by the state it’s that they want their rules.

    When National were elected I said the daddy state would be worse than the nanny state and that’s what is transpiring. A white, male, conservative daddy state.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      When National were elected I said the daddy state would be worse than the nanny state and that’s what is transpiring. A white, male, conservative daddy state.

      Kiwis prefer a strong wilful daddy state than a cosy cuddly nanny state. And that’s also the way that they vote.

      • tracey 6.1.1

        kiwis dont mind nanny state when it is a man in charge of it…

        we are a nation of inherently conservative and male-leader preferring people, or at least those who determine the leadership of things are, and then we vote for them in big numbers.

        • adam 6.1.1.1

          We are not a nation of inherently conservatives Tracey, that’s rubbish. I think we are a nation who is still in the grip of patriarchy and backlash against women – but I don’t think we are a nation of conservatives. I think we have a very real possibility to overturn patriarchy in this country – and inherently conservative people would not be able to even dream that possibility.

          • tracey 6.1.1.1.1

            well the history of who we vote for suggests otherwise adam.

            • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Very large swathes of the electorate are quite conservative in social attitude and economic outlook.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Very large swathes of the electorate are quite liberal in social attitude and economic outlook.

                Just as true.

                Representing them well is the main problem.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  If a party cannot be seen to govern for all, then it won’t stay in power for very long.

            • adam 6.1.1.1.1.2

              So the liberals never happened in the 19th century – The labour movement didn’t get to power in the the 1930’s and the massive landslide victory in 1973 was nothing but an illusion? OK Tracey – electoral history as you see it – please explain?

              National were never in with a chance unless they supported the social/political dynamic put in place by the liberals and labour. It was not till the formation of National and their acceptance of social democracy that the right were able to gain power.

              That aside, we are very open in our out look – admittedly with the rise of the neo-con’s it look otherwise. However, we still are, on the whole, a more fair minded, egalitarian and humanistic people than many conservatives feel comfortable with.

              • tracey

                adam

                go back through our electoral history. make two columns

                in one column write “left years in power” and in the other write “right years in power”

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  People need to do this more. When Labour is in power, it very rarely gets 3 terms. National gets it all the time.

                • adam

                  You missed my point – I don’t care who’s in power, but what set of dominant ideas hold sway. For the last 30 odd years we have had far right ideology hold sway. Before that – I’d be careful calling the national governments as hard right as this lot. Indeed, Muldoon is seen by some as a socialist hero.

                  Your system would have the ridiculous periods 1984-90 and from 2000-2009 as supposedly left. Neither of which even come close. So no, I think you’re way off the mark.

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.2

            I think we have a very real possibility to overturn patriarchy in this country

            what are the concrete goals which would demonstrate such a reality is being achieved

            • adam 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Who was more social democratic Colonial Rawshark – the second and third national government – or the 4th labour government?

              I’ve also talked to a lot of people who were around when Nash was PM. And most agree they were glad he only had one term.

              The other one term, was via the very sad death of Big Norm.

  7. Marvellous Bearded Git 7

    On the BBC Radio 4 yesterday they said that this was the 14th (FOURTEENTH) time Obama had had to address the nation after a gun massacre. That is in just 6 and a half years.

    • Tracey 7.1

      and what measures has he taken? Imagine if he adds a gun control measure to the fasttrack TPP legislation?

      • AmaKiwi 7.1.1

        Gun control is already in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

        If we tighten our gun control laws American arms manufacturers can sue NZ for their anticipated lost profits.

        Investor-State disputes.

        • Tracey 7.1.1.1

          I know BUT was suggesting that IF Obama gave a shit he would have put a tag on to the recent fast track provision for TPP and put a gun control thingy in… cat amongst the pigeon time… cos they have a weird system in the USA where to pass a Bill a totally unrelated topic can be added to the Bill to get the numbers.

          • b waghorn 7.1.1.1.1

            http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/602135
            He’s tried but the nutters in the NRA are to powerful

          • Hateatea 7.1.1.1.2

            Sadly, this is one thing that no US President can do unilaterally, whatever they may wish. When even the small gains made after various assassination attempts on US Presidents and political figures can be simply reversed after a ten year term and when all members of the Senate and the House are rated by the NRA on their ‘gun friendliness’ and attacked viciously at every opportunity as anti 2nd Amendment, when their opponent is heavily funded by the NRA and / or their surrogates, many candidates find it difficult to be up front with their support of gun control.

            Last but no least, when any group such as the NRA blocks any form of action against military style assault weapons and ammunition, registration of gun owners, etc post the tragedy at Sandy Hook, you know that no amount of common sense laws will get through local, state or national legislatures and when they do, as in Colorado, the pro gun lobby mobilises and mounts challenges against the legislators that made it happen.

            I found this piece in the Huffington Post when I was doing my daily trawl through overseas media.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/20/america-gun-laws_n_7624088.html

  8. NZSage 8

    This whole episode feels me with an overwhelming sense of sadness not only for the events in Charleston but the certainty of knowing that nothing will come of it and we will be reading of a similar US mass murder in the future.

    The USA is truly a sick country.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    History is not in the past. Past events are the prelude which shapes today and the future.

    The American civil war did not end in 1865. It continues today and the outcome is not clear. The outcome is NOT clear.

    I once lived in the USA. I have stopped going back because their hate makes me sick inside. I cry for America’s lost idealism.

    When the Nazis began their rampage across Europe, non-Germans were bewildered. How could a community of people who produced Bach, Beethoven, and Goethe have become such monsters?

    I ask the same of the USA.

    • tracey 9.1

      “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Malcolm X

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.2

      The American civil war did not end in 1865. It continues today and the outcome is not clear. The outcome is NOT clear.

      EXACTLY

      The slow taking apart of the Federal Government and the ongoing slavery of blacks inside the for-profit Prison Industrial system is testament to that.

  10. To continue a line of thought started above about whether this was an act of terrorism (or as some in the US are now calling it, “domestic terrorism” as if that somehow is different than foreign terrorism), I should note that not all politically, ethnically, culturally or religiously motivated mass violence is necessarily terroristic in nature. Instead, it could, and to my mind should be classified as a hate crime and treated as such rather than inflating it into the realm of terrorism. Moreover, whichever it may be, the perpetrator(s) need to be charged as criminals for the crime committed rather than their motivations (which should only be used to explain why they carried out the act), and not be given the special status of “terrorist” that allows them to publicise their cause. Whatever the motivations, it is the crime that matters and that can be treated as a matter of criminal law.

    What is clear is that the US has a double standard when it comes to political or other ascriptive violence carried out by whites versus that carried out by non-whites. For example, if a Muslim had carried out the Charleston attack, would the reactionary media have been so loathe to characterise it as “terrorism” or a “hate crime.?” Or worse yet, if the gunman had done the same thing in a mosque, is it not entirely possible that the barking dogs at Fox News would have tried to rationalise the attack by saying that there were potential terrorists or terrorist sympathisers inside and therefore the gunman has reason to want to act pre-emptively to defend freedom?

    As for guns (and I possessed a few before I moved to NZ), I can only say that the old adage that “an armed crowd is a polite crowd” is true only if everyone in the crowd is sane and lacking major grievance (be it personal or political). Should that not be the case, then the polite crowd can well transform itself into the OK Corral, and the 2nd amendment was not designed for such eventualities, especially in an era of automatic firearms.

    Anyway, I have written professionally a bit about terrorism over the years but here are two blog posts that outline my thoughts on two aspects of the phenomenon that I have touched on here:

    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2013/05/the-differences-between-hate-crime-and-terrorism/

    http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2015/01/fighting-terrorism-is-a-matter-of-law-enforcement/

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      thanks for your comments Paul. “Hate crime” fits this incident perfectly.

    • tracey 10.2

      I agree with your assessment, particularly the double-standard which has been my argument above, namely that this killing SHOULD lead to all kinds of hand wringing and military actions and raids and surveillance against the white supremacist terrorists of the USA, but it won’t.

  11. Policy Parrot 11

    The NRA must be so deep in the pockets of the weapons industry in the US. That is the only sane reason why the NRA itself isn’t proposing some type of restriction – in order that it get set its own rules rather than risk having them set by others.

    The issue of the second amendment may be a big one in the US politically at the moment (and over the last generation), but this may not be the case in the future, as politics sometimes moves to different issues to lever over, and by continuing to advance a laseizz faire approach to guns, the NRA may risk any decision being ultimately taken out of their hands.

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.1

      The Federal Government would love to remove weapons from the hands of its civilian population. But that is also the same Federal Government which is setting up a turnkey totalitarian security and surveillance state.

    • AmaKiwi 11.2

      The NRA is the weapons industry.

      More than a decade ago an investigative journalist tracked the “donations” to the NRA and found 90% came from weapons manufacturers.

      The NRA and the gun manufacturers are one and the same.

  12. Charles 12

    “…but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

    we have to reckon with the fact that this mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it.”

    Fair bit of rhetoric in Obama’s words. If you were a purposeful terrorist, would you wait on the off-chance for someone to give you a gun for your birthday before you implemented your otherwise specific intent, or would you have a weapon acquisition back-up plan? In both cases, which solutions would fit nicely with various political agendas?

    “Other places” than the USA have civil/provincial/ethnic wars instead of periodic massacres, which might cool people’s blood lust and reduce the “unexpectedly explosive” recurrence of mass-shootings.

    United States, Russia, China, Germany and France, are the largest manufacturers and exporters of arms. India, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan are the largest importers of arms. Figures (as of 2012) for how many people are killed with guns in various places can be found here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AonYZs4MzlZbdExSbktqRWpLMjNUMkFGVk5VODRyTnc#gid=0

    Exactly what constitutes an “advanced country” is conveniently subjective. One moment an economic powerhouse is advanced, measured by it’s corp-friendly labour laws and privately accumulated wealth, the next, those same nations aren’t “advanced” because the religion isn’t christian, they don’t speak English much, and white people don’t dominate there. South Africa kills more people with guns than the USA, and Brazil eclipses them both.

  13. mpledger 13

    If one of the African-Americans had pulled out a gun and managed to shoot the shooter then what’s the bet the most likely thing would have been that the police would arrive and shoot the Af-Am person holding the gun … with no questions asked.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    This just came across the Twitter feed from Dan Hodges:

    In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.

    The NRA did have a lot to do with ensuring that the discussion about gun control was off the table.

  15. joe90 15

    Charles Pierce:

    What happened in a Charleston church on Wednesday night is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is “unspeakable.” We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was.We should speak of it as an attack on history, which it was. This was the church founded by Denmark Vesey, who planned a slave revolt in 1822. Vesey was convicted in a secret trial in which many of the witnesses testified after being tortured. After they hung him, a mob burned down the church he built. His sons rebuilt it. On Wednesday night, someone turned it into a slaughter pen.

    […]

    This was not an unspeakable act. Sylvia Johnson, one of only three survivors of the massacre, is speaking about it.

    “She said that he had reloaded five different times… and he just said ‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.'”

    There is a timidity that the country can no longer afford. This was not an unthinkable act. A man may have had a rat’s nest for a mind, but it was well thought out. It was a cool, considered crime, as well planned as any bank robbery or any computer fraud. If people do not want to speak of it, or think about it, it’s because they do not want to follow the story where it inevitably leads. It’s because they do not want to follow this crime all the way back to the mother of all American crimes, the one that Denmark Vesey gave his life to avenge. What happened on Wednesday night was a lot of things. A massacre was only one of them.

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a35793/charleston-shooting-discussion/

  16. Colonial Rawshark 16

    USA Today Interactive: Mass Killings in the USA

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/mass-killings/index.html#explore

  17. heather 17

    The NRA is a powerful organisation in USA, they have such amazing control over so many issues. Obama will be powerless against the NRA, they have so many people under their control.
    This is a hate crime, no different to many other hate crimes in USA, they continue and each time, everyone is outraged, but they continue and will continue with the continual unabated sale of guns.
    The ARMS industry continues to make a huge profit from the sale of weapons.
    Make me sick to my stomach seeing little girls being given pink guns for their birthdays and their daddies saying it was time for them to learn to protect their families.
    Have you ever wondered about the Gun City in Auckland, their wonderful sales for Fathers Day and the leaflets in everyone’s letter boxes. I hate the advertising and promotions that go with Gun City, the normalising of ‘guns for everyone’ makes my blood run cold.
    It is only a matter of time…..

  18. Lloyd 18

    It would seem to me that the solution for any US government worried about gun violence would be to get rid of that very socialist structure of the US military – a classic state organisation, and replace it with a volunteer militia. Anyone not in the militia with a gun would be a criminal. Simple
    Also getting rid of the US military would save bundles of cash and every rich person in the US could get a tax cut – a wonderful neo-liberal move.
    If I was a US born citizen I would run for US President with a platform like this – Lloyd for President -YEH!

  19. One point of the 2nd amendment was always to keep the populace empowered compared to the governing power – to resist oppression by a corrupt government by banding together if necessary. In the US, that could arguably be a good thing.

    The preponderance of weapons of mass destruction in private hands in the US reflects the overwhelming amount in military hands. Until the military downshifts, (perhaps as per Lloyd’s comment above?) there’s a portion of the population who will never willingly reduce their own killing power, as they know they’re at the questionable mercy of their own government.

  20. purvis 20

    & here in auckland we have the farce of gun-mad ‘post-racial nazis parading…http://readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2015/06/dont-mention-race-war.html

  21. Phil 22

    FYI:

    ‘Terrorist Act’ is defined in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0034/latest/DLM152702.html

  22. I am actually going to disagree with this article.

    The National Rifle Association is a dangerously subversive organization, but to call it a terrorist organization would be to implicate hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans who otherwise generally lead fairly normal lives.

    To call the N.R.A. a terrorist organization would also be an acutely dangerous act that no politician in Washington D.C. would be likely to survive. Beware the firestorm that such direct moves create.

    I would like to see the N.R.A. put in its place, no doubt about it. I think it interferes dangerously in American domestic and foreign policy, but such a lateral move would generate a lateral counter response that no U.S. President, Senator or Congressman would survive. They would be political toast at the next election.

    The N.R.A. is a cleverly dangerous foe to deal with. To bring it to heal one needs to respect what it can do.

    • mickysavage 23.1

      I was being ironical Robert. If all muslims are terrorists then the NRA is certainly a terrorist organisation.

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