Time magazine has a cover story this week entitled “How Guns Won” by Joe Klein about the end of the argument in the States about gun control with the NRA side winning. While homicides have declined over the last twenty years so has opposition to guns and the current discussions aren’t over gun control but the limits on the types of weapons that can be purchased. This has lead to an arms race between the citizenry and law enforcement. The article was a response to the mass shooting at the theatre in Aurora, Colorado. The activity graph (the red line represents the word "mass shooting`` and the blue line "gun control") below demonstrates the lag phase between the shooting and discussions about gun control. The quick reduction in volume is due to the decoupling of the immediate event from more general considerations by media’s discourse boundaries on this subject.
If this wasn’t bad enough then TIME had a side bar piece, “The case for gun control” which was written by well known CNN host, Fareed Zakaria, who in the text plagiarised a story by another writer. He was then suspended for one month for breaching TIME’s standards (?). I’ll wait for another time to discuss mass media’s cut and paste journalism as well as the use of unpaid interns to do the heavy lifting at news organizations. Fareed’s faux pas revealed the magazine’s casual disregard for a balanced viewpoint and its interest in a superficial ``on the other hand`` rebuttal. On August 10, 2012, he made the following statement:
Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my TIME column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 22nd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at TIME, and to my readers."
The core argument of Lepore’s essay was in this paragraph:
The assertion that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to own and carry a gun for self-defense, rather than the people’s right to form militias for the common defense, first became a feature of American political and legal discourse in the wake of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and only gained prominence in the nineteen-seventies.
The debate over gun control in the States involved special interest groups lobbying politicians with money and contesting legal interpretations of the second amendment but in fact the foundation of the effort was fear of the “other”. This has been traditionally the territory of the Appalachian Scots Irish isolationists but with the rise of the Plantation Nation, their concerns have become aligned with the Deep South mentality of needing personal protection from anticipated slave rebellions which has moved the center of the debate towards their end of the discourse spectrum and involves the total freedom to carry all the firepower you want. These others could be those of a different race or socio-economic background and is particularly in force when travelling in foreign countries. The pictorial below is a common American perception of Mexico in America which is projected by the mass media.
Actually there were only 120 American deaths in Mexico last year and this is equivalent to the number of murders in some small US cities not to mention the fifteen thousand total murders in the US last year but perception is strong when people are uninformed. This was true in the case of Walter Wawra, a Kalamazoo Michigan police officer on vacation in Calgary, Alberta last week who perceived the actions of two youths in Nose Hill Park to be threatening after they asked him if he had been to the stampede which is the annual Calgary Rodeo. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his usual concealed weapon with him due to Canadian gun laws. He later wrote a letter to the Calgary Herald newspaper complaining about the national gun laws and his right to react to any perceived threatening situation with lethal force. His home town with a population of seventy five thousand had 9 murders last year so maybe he transferred his anxiety to dangerous hosers in the north, no telling what those socialist thugs strung out on raw maple syrup could do. You can watch the video below to see the response by the social media in Canada. As of the present moment, this story has not been reported in US mass media so the American echo chamber of false information continues.
The worship of lethal force continues with debut of NBC’s new reality show tonight – Stars earn Stripes. Just watched the first episode where the basic theme is laid out. A celebrity from TV land and a real life military operative are paired in a competition between teams to win points termed stripes. Each stripe is worth money to a charity designated by the celebrities.
There are eight teams where the military operatives belong to such groups as the Green Berets, Navy Seals, Army, Delta force etc. They use live ammunition, use the latest in military hardware and are billeted in military training centers for realistic encounters. They are observed by former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark in a high tech observation center with all the fancy tech toys such as point of view personal cams or remote sensing and given their instructions by Dancing with the stars co-host Samantha Harris: gun porn with attractive mostly white good guys taking out brown people or their constructed representations with the latest automatic weapons including machine guns and grenade launchers. Diplomacy and negotiation have no place in this TV world where it’s kill or be killed. At the end of each episode, the teams are evaluated by the retired General in an after action review or as they say in the show’s parlance, an AAR. Speed and body count are important. Finally a stripe is given out to the winner and the winner’s designated charity receives a donation. This is war for couch potatoes where the subliminal message is permanent war and lethal response.
The show which has as celebrities such notables as Todd Palin who is Sarah Palin’s husband, Terri Crews - a former NFL footplayer and actor in several action movies, Picabo Street - a former alpine skier and Gold Medallist at the Olympics, Nick Lachey - a former singer and reality TV participant, Laila Ali – a professional boxer and daughter of Mohammed Ali, Eva Torres - American dancer, model, professional wrestler and actress, Dolverr Quince who was a trainer on the TV show “The Biggest Loser” and Dean Cain - actor, has already been criticized in an open letter to the NBC chairman by Nobel Peace Laureates including President Oscar Sanchez and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in which they state that the reality show glorifies war and sanitizes conflict by treating it like an athletic competition. The real world isn’t binary. There are usually multiplicities of options and life isn’t a zero sum game for the majority of folks in most developed countries. All of the previous instances treat realities as a series of win/lose scenarios involving the use of deadly force and this is being propagated in society as cultural memes which permeates all areas including education.
In a recent UC Davis newsletter, the following was stated about a speech by the current Chancellor P. B. Katehi on the aftermath, investigations and action plans with respect to the pepper spraying incident last year that saw Lt. Pike’s response to peaceful, sitting protestors go globally viral with the various photos and video clips.
In her speech this week, she said she considers herself accountable “for all the actions that need to be taken to make sure our campus is a safe and welcoming place"
In October, 2010 Chancellor Linda Katehi was appointed to the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, the primary national nexus between academia and Homeland Security. According to the UC Davis statement, “The board was established in 2005 and includes about 20 presidents and chancellors of major research universities. The chair is Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University. Because of the nature of some of the material they discuss, board members must hold “secret” security clearances.” Of course, Graham Spanier who initially recruited Katehi, was fired after the systemic cover-up of assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s activities.
UC Davis was in the process of purchasing a Bearcat armoured personal carrier for its campus storm troopers when the decision was discovered by student activities this year. The purchase was not generally known since it was entirely funded by a two hundred thousand dollar Homeland Security grant probably under the $832 Urban Areas Security Grant program which has recently had its allocation profile extended from “high intensity risk areas”(read low income brown people communities) to include educational campuses based on terrorist risk assessment updates. Since there is only one University of California administrator on the primary HDL/Academia consultation committee, it’s not too hard to conjecture who was in a position to expedite the awarding of the grant. I guess that this part of all the actions needed to make the campus a “safe and welcoming place.”
The name BearCat stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck as it is the smaller cousin to the Lenco B.E.A.R.
The Bearcat is based on a Ford F-550 6.0-liter turbodiesel, four-speed automatic transmission commercial truck chassis. The 1.5-inch-thick steel armored bodywork is completed with ballistic glass capable of multi-hits, blast-resistant floors, specially designed gun ports, roof hatches/turret and agency specific equipment and/or modifications such as lights/sirens/battering ram/winches/thermal cameras and spot lights. (Wikipedia)
Law enforcement likes to refer to the carrier as an armoured rescue vehicle but to understand the true nature of the beast, watch the video below.
This is the future of campus police according to the University of California and coming to a campus near you soon. There is a program to help combat veterans transition to law enforcement officers. Consider coming back from an extended period in a combat zone and being given the same weapons and vehicles in a law enforcement role. Wouldn`t those protesting students start to look like a domestic version of dangerous “rag heads” that needed to be taken out?This is all being done in secret. With regard to the UC Davis bearcat, the following was stated at the local town council:
Because the vehicle is being purchased by the university, and not a city governed by elected bodies, and because no matching funds were required – which the council would have had to approve – the Berkeley police department was not required to disclose the grant application.
Berkeley citizens found out about it only when the watchdog organisation, Berkeley Copwatch, discovered the project as a result of a Public Records Act request for general information on police equipment, according to Andrea Prichett of Copwatch.
The armoured vehicle has not been publicly discussed in Albany, and no such discussions are scheduled, according to Albany’s city clerk. Occupy Cal activists contacted for these stories were unaware that the university was buying the armoured vehicle.
So much for the new spirit of openness and transparency at the university. Fortunately after this became public knowledge, the purchase was cancelled.