by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:Mainstream Media will take great pains to tell us what the gun-control debate really consists of, in order to advance their agenda. They truly fall short in expressing what is in the hearts and minds of concerned citizens.
- Reflect On:What are the real issues underlying the right of American citizens to bear arms and the decision of many Americans to do so?
As I was reading a March 12th article in The New Yorker entitled “The Gun-Control Debate After Parkland,” a subscription pop-up appeared rather serendipitously, leading with the line “Fighting Fake News With Real Stories.” I had to pause to contain my amusement. The very reason I had searched for this article was to get a clearer picture of how the mainstream media (a.k.a. the ‘Real’ Fake News) was characterizing the gun-control debate in the wake of the ongoing publicity being given to the recent school shootings in America.
Let’s get one thing straight here: mainstream media has long been run by a small but powerful elite group of people with a loosely coherent set of agendas, and the fundamental role of media for this group has always been to advance their agendas. How they do it is actually quite subtle, nuanced, time-honed. While Donald Trump may label them as “Fake News” based on their disproportionally negative bias towards him, in truth their duplicity is far more subtle and sinister. It is nothing short of mind-control and the maintenance of a cultural perception of reality.
It is instructive to look at the gun-control debate as an example of how our perception is being limited and controlled. One of the tools used constantly in mainstream media is to frame an issue within a simple black-or-white polarity. The average mainstream reader does not know the issue is actually being framed in a very limited way—they believe they are reading about an issue as it is, supported by facts.
In Margaret Talbot’s New Yorker article, the driving question is whether there will finally be tougher gun-control legislation getting through Congress, presumably with the ultimate goal being the disarming of the entire civilian population. The polarity of the debate is struck this way: in one corner we have gun-control advocates, those ‘reasonable’ people who obviously care about the nation’s children and grieve every time word gets out that one or more have been killed in a ‘senseless’ (read: preventable) school shooting. In the other corner we have gun-ownership advocates, an eclectic collection of citizens who seem to think that their perceived right to own a gun trumps the significance of the occasional unfortunate death of one or more of the nation’s children. Surveys and statistics are conveniently used to shore up this distinction. A 2017 Pew Research study is employed to tell us that ‘half of all gun owners say that gun ownership is essential to their identity,’ leaving us to obviously conclude that gun owners have a deficient sense of self.
And of course, no mainstream gun-control debate article is complete without bringing in a tried-and-true narrative about the NRA, the presumed voice of gun-ownership advocates (even as the article concedes that most gun-owners are not NRA members). The NRA and its powerful political lobby is cast as the sole reason gun control legislation is so weak in the United States. And again, based on ‘scientific analysis’, the article purports to be able to objectively characterize the NRA (and by extension most proponents of gun ownership) as out of touch with reality, and willing to say anything to promote their cause:
The organization’s leaders and members used a remarkably consistent series of words to describe their identity: “law-abiding,” “peaceable,” “patriotic,” “freedom-loving,” and “average citizens.” Their opponents were “un-American,” “tyrannical,” “Communist,” and “élitist.”
However, the reality is that the NRA has little or nothing to do with the debate on gun control that is in the hearts and minds of thoughtful citizens. In fact it isn’t really a debate, as much as it is a potential conversation—too seldom waged, amid the distraction and fiery rhetoric promoted by mainstream media. And the conversation centers around this question: Is the nation better served by having an armed citizenry?
Some might wonder what possible argument could be made for the benefits of an armed citizenry. Well, the most obvious first step is to investigate why the people of the United States of America were afforded this right in the first place. There is an abundance of testimony from the founding fathers indicating that the Second Amendment’s ‘right to bear arms’ is predicated on the ability and will of the citizens to preserve their freedoms and have ultimate control over the power of their government. This quote from Jefferson touches upon that sentiment:
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
The founding fathers were clearly aware of the propensity for governments to become tools of outside power and ultimately tyranny. This is why they built into the constitution a clear statement that it is the right and duty of citizens to resist all attempts on the part of government to limit and control the liberty and self-determination that had been bestowed onto the general population.