Archive for January 3rd, 2013

News Digest 1/3/13

Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm by

Government violence: The missing link in the gun control debate

Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 11:06 am by

This commentary was written by John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. It was originally published on January 2, 2013.

“We need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence.”—President Barack Obama

It didn’t take long for the tragedy of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, which left 20 schoolchildren and six adults dead, to be co-opted by politicians and special interest groups alike, all eager to advance their ideas about how to prevent another deranged madman from taking innocent lives. President Obama is calling on Congress to issue gun control legislation that would limit access to assault weapons. The National Rifle Association (NRA) wants armed guards patrolling every school in America. Legislators in several states, including Florida, want to allow teachers to carry guns on school grounds. Others are clamoring for a lockdown of the schools, complete with metal detectors and guard dogs.

To our detriment, we have revisited this scenario in the wake of every school shooting since 12th graders Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and opened fire, killing 12 classmates and one teacher. Yet in the midst of widespread finger pointing (not even violent movies, crime dramas and violent video games have been spared) and calls for reform of the mental health care system and gun control, not a word has been said about the greatest perpetrator of violence in American society and around the world—the U.S. government.

Violence has become our government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from President Obama’s “kill list,” which relies on drones to target insurgents, to the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country. We even export violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons.

Thus, any serious discussion about minimizing the violence in our society needs to start with the government and its tendency to use violence as a means to an end, whether in matters of foreign policy or domestically, deploying heavily armed agents to enforce a myriad of arcane, bureaucratic regulations that impinge on Americans simply going about their business, such as the goat farmers whose homes were raided by SWAT teams with the Food and Drug Administration, or those attempting to exercise their constitutional rights such as the Occupy protesters who were subjected to all manner of violence.

(more…)