For reasons of short memory, one must imagine, the world has taken yet another violent swing to the fascist side of the political street. There can be no logical reason for this among civilian populations because repressive regimes and thinking generally target them for iniquity and indignity, or compel them into brutal conditions with awful music. Fascists have abysmal taste, and especially in music, which is comprised of love songs for the state. If for no better reason they should be fiercely opposed (as we've seen that resistance is futile) and driven back into the horrid caves from which they emerged to make life even more unpleasant.
My immediate inclination is to attribute this ruinous failure of memory to collective head trauma. The unparalleled combination of radio, television, motion pictures, and social media have so pummeled our thinking that we are drawn to repellent sex, find war invigorating and endlessly entertaining, and see hatred as community building. Whereas a baseball bat to the cranium delivers blunt-force trauma, media to the head causes subtle-farce trauma, and minds are softened and reshaped by its potent and relentless assault.
Beyond the USA's imperialism imperative, the current issues of hand-wringing web lamentery are, as they have been for decades, illegal immigration and US firearms. These are cottage industries disguised as advocacies, issues trotted out whenever the system needs a distraction, and with Donald Trump top pecker in the pecking order, the US needs lots of distractions. Fortunately, Donald's inherent racism and lack of fundamental understanding of, well, pretty much anything, deliver, and he holds the distinction of being the first president used as a distraction from himself.
As this exists as a mental exercise I will use broad strokes and popular figures to represent my premise. This is not owing to laziness, but more to maintain its hypothetical nature, which then illustrates how such reasoning can be applied in regard to any subject. Beyond that, when discussing the actual number of privately held firearms or undocumented workers in the USA, it’s always problematic as many gun owners don’t even know how many guns they have (often when challenged they will claim to have no gun when in fact they do), and actual figures of anything undocumented is by its very nature a contradiction – there’s enough of that without me adding to it.
Why haven’t these issues been dealt with and put to bed years ago? They have been major hotbed topics since the 1960's and have had significant impact upon life as we know it in America. Political organizations have sprung up with advocates for or against doing battle with advocates against or for, and have generated billions of dollars, provided safe and clean working environments for those championing their respective positions while proffering endless media fodder for the citizenry to repeat back to each other before becoming indignant and suggesting the offending party go live somewhere else.
The people in favor of gun control (confiscation) tend to point to the social cost of personal firearm possession. Over 30,000 citizens of the USA are killed by other citizens of the USA, themselves or visitors, documented or not, every year with firearms, a number that would be greatly reduced if they were just using arms alone. Big sticks would likely fall in between. Firearms are used in robbery, rape, coercion, and have left an undeniable impact on the social demographic of America. Their misuse at the hands of the emotionally unstable has ruined millions of lives and continues to.
The people advocating the deportation (or worse) of illegal workers and caging of immigrants and refugees tend to point to the economic cost of people using the system’s benefits without paying into it. More than 10 million illegal workers and their families put a drain on the economic foundation of the USA that is leading the nation to ruin and the government must be forced into action.
To begin, let’s establish our playing field: what are we talking about here? Humans. And not just any humans: Americans. We’re talking about a nation of people who kill each other by the tens of thousands every year. And lots of citizens in other places, too. Estimates of the number of personal firearms range from 150 million to 300 million plus. Let’s aim lower. We’ll say 200 million guns in personal hands across the USA.
That’s a lot of guns.
There are about 300 million Americans, which suggests (with 200 million guns) that 100 million Americans aren’t pulling their own weight. (Come on, we’ve exported firearms all over the world; people in Africa without food have guns, what is the problem here?) Or perhaps that a lesser number might be very well pulling more than their own weight, which is the premise we’ll operate from.
Let’s call that lesser number 50 million Americans. Some of them have four guns, some have less guns, some have more guns. What is the reasonable likelihood that all 50 million of those gun owners would willingly and gladly give up all their guns because a majority in Washington got enough votes to call it law? All of them? Less?
With the possibility, or absolute certainty, that some, if not many, of those gun owners would not surrender their firearms, then the only way to force compliance to the law would be to send in men with guns. And as the people sent in to collect the guns know what they would do to someone coming to take their guns, they realize that every door they kick down could yield instantaneous death.
Which, given the current temperament of American law enforcement -- lots of new cops back from Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., where they could just shoot people they didn’t like --means they’d go in with force of arms and guns blazing. Each confiscation would lead to a potential armed conflict. The War on Violence, anyone? The hypocrisy of shooting up private residences to reduce social violence would either torment the enforcement contingent or lead to further detachment, making shooting strangers even easier.
The ban of personal firearms would make otherwise law-abiding people (the many millions of gun owners who have never harmed anyone) criminals for possessing weapons that may have been in their families for generations. And while most might actually surrender their valuable property, those who don’t would be faced with armed assault within their homes. Cruel but fair?
It seems safe to say that the ban of firearms in the USA would kick that 30,000-dead-a-year figure up considerably. If that is the case, then what exactly is the benefit of the law?
Consider a success – Americans suddenly just grow up and realize love is the answer. Well, most of us. Now the only guns out there are where? Well, you know the police aren’t giving them up. If they did how would they protect us? Who would they need to protect us from? Well, anyone still possessing a gun and not with a police, or military, or government security force, or corporate security force, or private security force, etc., would be a criminal. And all those millions of guns in officially sanctioned hands would be used to protect the citizens from harm by those outlaws still in possession of weapons. Right?
Well, no, not really. It has been confirmed in courtroom after courtroom across the nation: the police have no mandate, obligation or express intent to protect the citizens. Contrary to every cop show on every TV everywhere, the police are not there to protect you – they are there to enforce the law.
Which means generate money for the system by arresting and citing people with money for stuff. This isn’t to suggest the police won’t protect you. I’m sure if the police are at your house when a bad guy/gal breaks in, when the shooting starts, they’ll be right in the thick of it. But usually, in the real world, they’re driving around someplace else and arrive after the crime to affix fees for any violation they can find. And catch the bad guy/gal.
How about the Fed? If the Second Commandment, I mean Amendment, to the Constitution can be stripped away, leaving only the Fed with guns (and all that other stuff), then surely the government of the USA will be there when its citizens are in peril. I immediately think of the brilliant work done on 9/11, where, with barely an hour-and-a-half notice, the Pentagon (built with trillions of dollars and millions of lives) was almost able to defend itself from an unarmed, subsonic, civilian airliner piloted by a novice. Almost.
Gun control and immigration enforcement are effectively prohibition, which is the criminalization of an activity engaged in by millions of people who would otherwise not be criminals. It is the persecution of a segment of society (millions of people) by another segment of the same society for the benefit of other segments of society – it is not a War on drugs, guns, illegal immigration. It is war upon citizens by their government, funded by the victims.
The stated objectives of such legislation -- reducing taxes/making the streets safe -- are always trumped by the reality of the impossibility of enforcement: tens of millions of anything seldom just disappear. As the entirety of the stated objective cannot then be achieved, enforcement becomes discretionary, groups not appealing to those in charge being targeted first. (You can be sure houses in rich neighborhoods, though just as likely employing illegal workers and possessing firearms, will not be the ones raided as the shooting starts/continues. Nor will politically connected corporations, like Halliburton, for which the USA spent trillions of dollars to provide illegal jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
I suggest that the reason these issues are discussed and endlessly debated is that the reality of enforcement financially and humanly would dwarf any benefits sought, while maintaining rancor between citizens keeps them from getting together and compelling their elected officials to behave as public servants and not toadies to vested economic interests. So we can yell at each other while they golf. Or whatever.
The drain on services created by illegal immigration is nothing compared to the cost of enforcement owing to the same simple reality: 10 million + people do not just disappear. The complaint is that it costs public funds to care for people working illegally. Why does the public pay for illegal workers' medical and education? Because the person who employs them doesn’t – like every other legal employer stateside is compelled to.
Those costs, you know, for the well-being of the person working for the well-being of the company, are oft-cited reasons for many companies outsourcing or offshoring, two popular practices that give American jobs to foreigners in their own countries far away. By not covering taxes, medical, social security, a safe work environment, the employer of those working illegally here spends less in production costs, which allows the consumer to spend less at the point of purchase.
Instead of paying directly for the well-being of the worker in the purchase price, we pay less at the register and kick in the rest through taxes when they show up at the emergency room with a grape stake through their hand. When compelled by law or decency to pay a legal living wage to field workers, food processors, laborers, nannies and the like, the cost of those services increase. We then pay the real price at the register. Will the government lower taxes for the decreased services should all illegal immigrants disappear? Will we reap a savings bonanza?
As with firearms, no legislation will make the problem go away. As long as people employ undocumented workers, they will come to work – for many people work is how they stay alive. If there is no work, they will go elsewhere. You know, to stay alive. The reason this is an oft-discussed but never resolved issue is really quite simple. How do you save money evicting 10 million people who just turn around and come back?
As with the guns many, if not most, of these folks won’t dry up and disappear with the tough new enforcement so many clamor for and they won’t make a run for the border. That means they have to be rounded up. That requires policing agencies. They require lots of money. Lots of it. ICE has taken to abducting the hopeful and caging them. These cages are private corporations' cash cows and the money they make on them is used in part to influence politicians who vote to fund such inhumane contrivances. How to eliminate illegal immigrants?
To begin they’d have to go through every workplace in the nation; then they’d have to follow up with house-to-house raids. And as all illegal immigrants aren’t, you know, Mexican, they’d need to determine where to deport them. Perhaps they could make little badges for them to wear in the holding camps: Mexicans could have little paper tacos; Canadians little paper beer mugs, eh; French little slices of paper cheese; Catholics little communion wafers; Jews could have little bagels. Clipped to their shirts, you know, just for identification. From what I’ve read it worked before.
And while waiting through the massive deportation process, 10 million or so folks will need food and shelter, medical; their kids will need something to do during the day as the system deals with the logistics of such a massive purge. Of course, to pay their way while in detention, they could work for private companies, like many of the 2 million Americans already in prison do.
Of course, to make sure they never ever come back again to sully our ledgers, we’d have to build Trump's massive wall around the entire nation with gun turrets every few hundred yards and man them constantly. Kinda like those nice walls in Israel that keep the Palestinians out of Palestine, or in the USA that house the world's largest prison population. Perhaps we could get some of the illegals in detention to help build it, like they did for the fence along the Texas-Mexico border that appears to be working so well.
While deporting millions of people, millions of jobs would open up, jobs requiring just those kinds of people. And as big companies who make big political contributions don’t get in big trouble for their big violations, they’ll just go on hiring those people, who will just keep coming back for work. You know, to stay alive.
The extreme position is to just go in and kill them all. Which means house-to-house armed incursions, resistance and chaos, while spending hundreds of billions of dollars as everybody is shooting everybody else to save a few bucks to reduce gun violence.
It’s the American way.