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In Cambodia, one of the popular activities for western tourists to engage in is going to a gun range and shooting one of the many leftover weapons from the countries bloody past. Sitting in the guesthouse I listened as a European bragged.

“They even let you shoot a cow with a rocket launcher. It feels fucking amazing,” the tall, rustic white male said.

“How much?” asked someone else.

“Only $100,” he said, “and,” laughing, “you can keep the cow if you want!”

He had interested several of the others, who began to plan an excursion.

“What about you?” one of them asked me, “do you want to come?”

I thought about it, but the enthusiasm, the awe in the others faces, it didn't come to me. I didn't want to launch a rocket into a cow, or shoot an AK-47. I realized, I didn't want to shoot a gun. Actually, I never wanted to shoot a gun.

“No. Not my thing. Have fun,” I said to them.

Crossposted at

Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the growing power of the military-industrial complex in his final speech, though as President he did little to stem its tide. Despite what is seen as a march to peace, the global arms industry has grown

Here is the problem. If we truly want peace, eventually, that will mean massive reductions in military spending, which will be devastating to companies that are reliant on this spending – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Gunman, gun manufacturers who desire markets, and many others. The cities around America depending on Military bases and their spending. These corporations hold massive sway over Government and the Pentagon's bloated, wasteful budget.


We've had chances to change this. After the end of the Cold War, President George H. W. Bush had a golden opportunity to pursue a peace dividend, to move military spending towards global social programs and pave the path away from a perpetual war-economy, a state that the United States had been in since the end of World War II.

Instead, Bush choose an alternate path, as we invaded Iraq for murky reasons. It was a war or American technology, more modern technology versus the technology that we'd sold to Iraq over the past few decades.

Now, the War on Terror – a war which will never end – has replaced the Cold War as the raison d'etre for the Military-Industrial complex. The children in Sandy Hook were mere collateral damage, much like the civilians killed by military drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This only brought home what is the reality in many places in the world. The violence aided by the ready availability of arms all around the world, the anger created by the use of weapons in unneccesary wars.

No matter how many cows are massacred in Cambodia – in an effort to profit from the weapons sold to Cambodia for profit by arms manufacturers in the west – we are in a system that won't budge. Weapons are being built, exported, and used far quicker than they are being destroyed. Every technology eventually filters down the lowest level, where it can be used for impunity. The ongoing conflict in the Congo – where do those weapons come from? They certainly aren't being manufactured locally.

Here, anywhere, Gun control is not the answer. It is a mere band-aid that won't solve the problem. We need to dismantle the military-industrial complex that has dominated the world for nearly a half century, and eliminate weaponry from the global economic system.

That is the only solution.

My question - how many people must die in Syria, the Congo, Palestine, or Connecticut before we finally tackle the real root problem?

Originally posted to worldtrippers on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oil, weapons and drugs. (33+ / 0-)

    That's the big bankers game.  Video games are nothing compared to the violent war culture the MIC has the world hooked on.  One of the largest congressional caucuses is devoted to the "rapid, urgent" deployment of drones to as many military, law enforcement and security organizations as possible.  It's a race with the MIC and drones are the hottest right now. Gun manufacturers are part of the MIC which is international, a global weapons trade from top to bottom.  Unfortunately, there is no stopping the MIC or the militarization of the planet.  

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:28:08 AM PST

    •  I understand (14+ / 0-)

      But I can't agree with giving up. We're still a representative democracy and we still have the power to begin to fix things from the bottom up. Greed is powerful and will continue to wreak a hell of a lot of damage, but we can't cease the fight.

      The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

      by Max Wyvern on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:35:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are we a Democracy? (25+ / 0-)

        I would argue that we are a Corporatocracy. That the presence of corporate financing has taught legislators that they can be elected by catering to the desires of their richest patrons and that they no longer need to pay attention to the mass of voters except at election time.
        I'm afraid that until we the people decide to pay for our elections; insist on free air-time for qualified candidates, and prohibit Corporations from spending their treasure to influence public policy, we will never live in a Democracy again.

        A clay Buddha can't cross water. An iron Buddha can't go through a Furnace. A wood Buddha can't cross a fire. Nothing works all the time.

        by sfzendog on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:56:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think this last election proved that wrong. (7+ / 0-)

          The people clearly voted against people for whom millions of corporate and private money was spent.  Part of the reason it failed was because the sponsors thought all they had to do was spend overwhelming amounts of money and they would win.  Unfortunately, they lied far too often and far to egregiously.  They will get better at it.

          But for now, at least, it remains clearly in our hands to prevent that.  

          The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

          by Back In Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:40:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If there were a political power meter where would (0+ / 0-)

            you both put it. If the metric were to rate where you thought the power of an individual citizen stands in our current system if they have poverty level earnings through the earning power of a corporate "person" at the top of the scale on the horizontal axis of a graph (rated on a 1-10 scale) and the amount of political power per person (rated on a 1-10 scale) what would the rating points look like when you connected them with a line?

            I think they would look like the Co2 levels since the industrial revolution hockey stick graph. How much that changes, a small amount in the current election I think, is how much of a democracy v a coporateocracy (I like the term cash-ocracy) we have at any given time. Perhaps we should create a graph like this and see what we would get through letting everyone rate the points.

            Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

            by Bob Guyer on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:32:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I really don't know. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, zootwoman, Bob Guyer

              But I do know that Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and American Crossroads, and a whole bunch of corporate funded super-pacs spent a shit-ton of money to get Romney elected and ended up with nothing.

              Meanwhile, non-white people, women and young people (who would make up most of your hockey stick graph) made the difference in this election.  

              The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

              by Back In Blue on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 11:01:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  true (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dewley notid, Bob Guyer

                but they won the house, many state legislatures, and defeated the anti-GMO proposition in blue California. we may have stopped the tide now but the system is still broken.

                •  It's rare when you win everything. (0+ / 0-)

                  And they didn't "win" the house.  They lost seats overall and if it weren't for the democratic party ignoring state level elections, especially in 2010, the gerrymandering that allows the house to look nothing like the popular sentiment state by state, we'd have taken that back, too.

                  The system isn't broken.  It's exactly the same as it's always been—far from perfect and open to manipulation.  

                  The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

                  by Back In Blue on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:37:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  The election only confirmed the importance of $$$ (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zootwoman, dewley notid

            We were able to beat back the avalanche of corporate and billionaire money only by raising an enormous amount of money ourselves for progressive candidates.

            The pleas to donate came flooding in non-stop from an array of great candidates who were fighting unconscionable amounts of out-of-state and out-of-district corporate and billionaire money aimed against them.

            Us small guys gave till we bled to combat that corporate money.  

            It should not be so.

            Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

            by Happy Days on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 02:40:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We're a democratic republic... (0+ / 0-)

          ...and the founders didn't anticipate (well maybe TJ did) how huge a potential loophole they were leaving with that little free-speech thing; especially if the Supreme Court might come along and do something incredibly outrageous like declare corporations to be people. Then to follow that up a while later by saying that spending any amount of money was just that little person freely speaking their 2 cents (or a couple million).

          In some ways it looks like we've lost the war but it's not over yet. We managed to overcome the horror of slavery (for the most part) after a couple hundred years of not giving up the fight. I may be naive, but I think the system can heal itself given enough time and effort. The internet is a wild card nobody could have predicted. It empowers us to equalize the playing field somewhat. Without it Obama wouldn't have stood a chance.

          BTW - sfzendog, I sent you a kosmail message.

          The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

          by Max Wyvern on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:36:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "We" have already given up. Not me, but (4+ / 0-)

        collectively the sheeple are either completely apathetic or thoroughly brainwashed to think that America's wars are good and holy and that might makes right.  Manifest Destiny, 21st century style.  The MIC has surpassed even what Eisenhower imagined over fifty years ago.  How can it be stopped when the people will never try to stop the war on terror or the American global military empire.  The "Patriot Act", "Homeland Security", shit, they have us right where they want us. In the movies.  And sorry to say, that includes most progressives.  They get what they vote for.

        "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:50:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The definition of "we" is always in flux (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In 2004 "we" elected George Bush to a second term. In 2008, a different "we" elected President Obama. "We" got stupid again a couple years later, then "we" woke up and did the right thing this November. Yeah, it can be damn frustrating when "we" act like total idiots and vote based on xenophobia or who we'd rather have a beer with, instead of who has a brain and a conscience. Still, as bad as things have been, I like the trends. The priviledged white male mentality is gradually dying off, as shown by the last election. It's going to get harder and harder to pull the wool over "our" eyes with massive infusions of corporatist cash and deception. As it gets harder for them, it makes it more possible for we the open-hearted and truly progressive in spirit to get the upper hand. Don't lose heart now.

          The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

          by Max Wyvern on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:26:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  When you include the global economy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in those areas, legally and illegally traded goods, I bet you're talking about close to 50% of the entire world's GDP. The wealth generated from those areas is also leveraged many times over into other areas.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:19:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Question for you (8+ / 0-)

    What percentage of the U.S. economy is military or military-related?  How does it compare to when Ike was President?  I wonder how big it actually is and what the trend is.

    History will be kind to us because we will write it.

    by Sky Net on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:08:27 AM PST

    •  Private equity is heavily invested in guns (18+ / 0-)

      as per today's NYT:

      As the debate over gun control rages following the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., one unlikely group is expected to play a central role in pushing back against any reform effort: the private equity industry.

      It is often overlooked, but some of the biggest gun makers in the nation are owned by private equity funds run by Wall Street titans. The .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that was used on Friday by Adam Lanza to massacre 20 schoolchildren was manufactured by the Freedom Group, a gun behemoth controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, named after the three-headed dog of Greek myth that guarded the gates of Hades. Its founder, Stephen A. Feinberg, hunts regularly on the weekends with a Remington Model 700.

      Besides Cerberus, Colt Defense, a spinoff from the manufacturer of the .44-40 Colt revolver made famous by John Wayne, is jointly owned by Sciens Capital Management, a fund advised by the Blackstone Group and another fund run by Credit Suisse.

      The article added a note the Cerberus now plans on selling Freedom Group.  Perhaps Wall Street will now decide that the PR fallout is too great.  If it did so, the NRA would likely lose much of its pull in  a hurry.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:33:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've seen elsewhere in diaries that Dan Quayle is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DvCM, ichibon, Calamity Jean

        a former US Vice President who has profited significantly through these private equity investments in the weapons trade. He and other lobbyists remain quite influential with Congress (especially Republicans).  

        We shouldn't just be picketing the NRA today but putting the pressure on he and similar high status (but 'back door') proponents of anti-regulatory efforts.  It's high time to encourage Dan Quayle to retire from such endeavors and to press Congress and the president to compel by law these private investment firms to make peaceful investments, not violent ones.  A weapons investment tax and weapons profiteering tax seems in order here.

        That said, the 'NRA' needs to be generally deemed socially unacceptable and an indicator of reckless, uncivil and dangerous social attitudes and policies. It'd be interesting to see signs popping up saying something like 'NRA Members NOT welcome here, especially if carrying weapons'.  If restaurants can prohibit people for not wearing shoes and a shirt, surely we can prohibit people with guns--even in those states where it's been made 'legal' to carry concealed weapons. NRA Membership needs to become the sort of social pariah smoking has become.  In states where ALEC laws for concealed carry everywhere were pushed through, we may need sturdy gun lockers at the fronts of schools, churches, malls, etc. and make the working policy be that  people don't get admitted unless they store their weapons. State legislatures should not be able to overrule the preferences of citizens operating their private enterprises and and their local public schools, libraries, hospitals, etc. Here is where federal law needs to pre-empt those 30+ states.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:49:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here is the historical data (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, mrkvica

      This site is run by a conservative, but the data is sound.  This chart shows not just military spending but "defense fed" which seems to correspond accurately to the notion that we spend about $1T for military and military related spending, out of our $16T GDP.  

  •  I rarely recommend diaries any more (33+ / 0-)

    But I wish I could do it more than once for this one. You put the finger on the problem that's been bugging me for days and is the real reason I still can't sleep four days after Sandy Hook. I know that gun control isn't going to solve the core problem. It's still worth pursuing and I hope this recent senseless carnage close to home makes a difference and at least puts a small dent in the lust for violence that seems to be at the heart of our national, "exceptional" character, but I have deep, deep doubts and it moves me to despair.

    I watched both of Obama's speeches; the immediate reaction and the powerful and I believe sincerely heartfelt one he delivered at the vigil with the families. I want to believe he can make a difference. I really do. But that chart above is like a punch in the gut. What we're doing in this country is profoundly immoral and it fills me with shame. I just watched Lincoln this weekend and I've had this feeling that the enemy they were fighting so nobly has a shadow in the issue that just reared its head in such an ugly way last Friday. I thought that maybe Obama could make the fight against this sort of horror his legacy. But something has been telling me it's not enough. Now I see why not. Guns are only a symptom. The real problem is the nexus of two of humanity's darkest impulses; greed and violence. It will take more than one president - no matter how great - to overcome that monster. It might take longer than it has yet taken to overcome the scourge of racism with its terrible consequence of slavery. It will take far more than my lifetime.

    Still, we have to start somewhere and sometime. Let it me now. Let the victims of Sandy Hook have not died for nothing. Let this be the start of a genuine and sustained peace movement of the twenty-first century. Let us be worthy of all we claim to be when we call ourselves a great nation. I want to be proud to call myself an American.

    The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

    by Max Wyvern on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:31:25 AM PST

    •  I agree, but this is not "the root." (10+ / 0-)

      I agree with everything you say in this blog, but the "root" of all this is fear and anger, not political or legal structures. Fear and Violence reside as next door neighbors in the mind. Get frightened and most people respond with violent fantasies. Since 9/11 our government has amplified the climate of fear for its own purposes, but everything has a shadow side, and the shadow side here, is what a climate of fear does to people.  I received my first gun at 10. Grew up hunting and shooting, marksman instructor, etc. in the country. But no hunter needs a Bushmaster or a Sig Sauer. All the talk about "self-defense" is a mask for fearful fantasies and feelings of vulnerabiliity. Until we own our own fears and anxieties, we will not get to the root cause. At soil level, all the suggestions here, gun-control, MI complex, etc. are all true and important, but they are NOT the root, and I'm struck how difficult it is for people to look at THEMSELVES and see within themselves the roots of problems and the ways they may contribute to cultural dilemmas.

      A clay Buddha can't cross water. An iron Buddha can't go through a Furnace. A wood Buddha can't cross a fire. Nothing works all the time.

      by sfzendog on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:02:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're forgetting racism, imo. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon, eztempo

        I would stress that part of that fear is racism or xenophobia

        "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

        by blueoregon on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:40:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, fear is the big one (4+ / 0-)

        The monster that feeds all the others. But how do you tackle something as amorphous as fear? I think there's a clue in the writings of Bruce Lipton, a cellular biologist who now writes about epigenetics and personal transformation. He notes that, on a cellular level, the template for interactions at larger scales, organisms are always in a state of aversion or attraction, constriction or growth, but never at the same time. Another way to put it is that you can't grow or develop when you're afraid. The converse is also true. You can't be afraid if you're growing, building something wholesome and worthwhile.

        This is where community comes in. Human beings naturally tend toward interaction and community, but they start with small groups and quickly build membranes - walls - encompassing a few like types. Evolution tends toward larger and larger groups, the groups differentiate to form separate functions, and when these diverse groups find profitable ways of interacting, mega-organisms are created that have even greater capabilities. Humanity is in the process of becoming such a mega-organism, but there are a lot of back and froth movements along the way, and no guarantee that the the entire organism won't collapse or become terminally diseased. Isolation, however, leads inevitably to dissolution.

        My greatest hope lies with the new forms of interaction provided through our emerging technologies; most notably the internet. With anything dramatically different there's a shock factor though. Some aren't ready to use the new capabilities wisely. The tendency to form walls around small groups and stop interacting beyond these boundaries is always present. Reaching out is essential. Benevolent infiltration you might say. It's hard when you're filled with anger and revulsion to contact any sense of benevolence within, but it's essential that we do. Part of it is being aware and focused on the larger structures than enable greater capability. To get a little less abstract, that would be the organizations that transcend boundaries like the UN, global environmental groups, charities, etc. Focusing on the strands that tie us together as a larger organism. Works on all levels, from family through local communities on up to a global scale. Keep active and open to change that builds us up rather that tearing us apart.

        The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

        by Max Wyvern on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:48:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't it just greed? (0+ / 0-)

          Fear is the convenient spur, racism complicates it, our corporatist culture and lack of transparency make the unbridled growth of the death and destruction industry possible.

          The very simple point the diarist made was that we are making weapons faster than we're using them up or destroying them.  It's that simple, and that ugly.  So they filter down to failed states everywhere, to poor countries where powerless people see a quick route to power by arming themselves.  The deadly spiral begins.

          So finally the weapons are nearly everywhere, and their use must be justified.  

          This is the truest and most horrific version of trickle-down.

          So how do we return this exponentially worsening process back to zero?

          [Mx rex for this diary.  Always need data and new POV!]

          (-7.62,-7.33) l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

          by argomd on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:02:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  sfzen, it's even more. There's also *SEX* in the (0+ / 0-)

        mix, and family values.

        youtube is full of shit like this:

        And of course the family that slays together, stays together!

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:08:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        fear is hardwired into us, and is easily exploited by the ruling class.  We have had a harsh evolutionary history, and it shows.  We are oriented towards exploiting whatever short-term advantage comes our way.  The long-term consequences we create, we just deal with as best we can.  Being pro-active is not our forte.  Our species is more limited than we have been led to believe, unfortunately.

      •  Gun sales go UP every time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The infernal truth is that Sandy Hook et alia feed the nuts. As soon as it happened, a sizable chunk of Americans said "Well, if I'D been there I woulda SHOT the guy." Is it violent, revenge-centered movies and television? YES. Is it depersonalizing video games? YES. Is it media sensationalism, "score-keeping?" YES. Is it base human nature? YES.

        We have a fundamental bifurcation in the role of government here. If it is to protect us - why do our taxes go to arm soldiers? And arm police, who use "non-violent" weapons like tasers and pepper spray to attack citizens... who are at least sometimes, legally protesting the use of tax dollars.

        If the message is that we have to make guns to protect us against the world and we have to confiscate guns to protect us from out neighbors - that's a difficult message to sell to TV-addled idiots.

      •  not just our government (0+ / 0-)

        but certain elements of our media.

      •  perhaps (0+ / 0-)

        i refuse to agree that fear and anger are intrinsic in human nature...i think, as you say, they are artificially imposed by a system that desires conflict.

    •  Chas. Pierce and RFK both addressed this subject (9+ / 0-)

      as I noted in this diary last night.   They spoke about the price of greed 34 years apart.  Pierce's piece yesterday focused on the Newtown Massacre while RFK's 1968 speech specifically mentioned the Texas Tower Sniper.

      In the immediate term, reinstating the assault weapons ban that never should've been allowed to lapse is a no-brainer.  Restrictions on magazine size are also essential.  In the longer term, you're absolutely correct about what needs to be done.  I wish that I saw people in positions of power who felt similarly.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:11:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need both-- both gun control and the well- (21+ / 0-)

    executed and honestly-strategized overhauling (you call it "dismantling") of the military-industrial complex.  

    And the gun control needs to happen this year, in 2013.  That's a piece that can be put into place right now if only our elected officials find the will to do the right thing, the necessary thing, and the possible thing.  

    The dismantling of the military-industrial complex also needs to start now, but will take years to achieve.

    One does not cancel out or preclude the other.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:06:18 AM PST

  •  karma (3+ / 0-)

    when the chickens come home to roost.

    setting fire to our own barn

  •  one of my unfavorite favorite quotes (6+ / 0-)

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
    Thomas Jefferson

  •  Not necessarily . .. . (28+ / 0-)
    Here is the problem. If we truly want peace, eventually, that will mean massive reductions in military spending, which will be devastating to companies that are reliant on this spending – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Gunman, gun manufacturers who desire markets, and many others.
    IMHO these companies could fairly easily be re-purposed for supplying a plethora of advanced technology products for "clean" energy - they basically have the engineering and manufacturing capacity in place already . . .
  •  I was in Cambodia not long ago. (10+ / 0-)

    A few people in my group went and did that.  I ended up going to Angkor Wat instead.

    I'm not a squeamish person, and I grew up hunting and fishing, cleaning the animals and eating them, but the thought of doing that to a cow was truly sickening to me.

    Also, I think you're on to something here.

    "If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the Zomnies will come for all of us." -Joss Whedon

    by quillsinister on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:46:12 AM PST

    •  Yeah, it's kinda sick (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hannibal, mkor7, bernardpliers

      but still, if I were a cow, I'd prefer that fate compared to being one of the 35,000,000 million factory farmed cows slaughtered each year in this country . .. . .

      just saying, before we start casting stones, we should realize we live in a glass house (or whatever that saying is, I'm never good with that type of thing).

      •  Just South of the border though (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        the cows roam free, until their time comes, they have a nice life.

      •  I saw a lot of happy cows in the villages (0+ / 0-)

        that I wandered through.  Healthy, friendly, fit animals with a sparkle in their eyes.  Sometimes I'd see children out washing the family cow.  Each yard was home to a big haystack.  I assume these animals would be eaten at some point, but hardly the kind of factory churn we do so we can have a slab of dead animal for every freaking meal.  I have a friend doing a subsistence homesteading thing up in Oregon and when I told her about it she said it sounded like pretty close to an ideal human-animal relationship.  As I am from California, ostensibly the land of happy cows, I composed a haiku to mark the occasion.

        Cambodian cows
        seem much happier than those
        from California.

        I agree about the American meat industry, with which I do as little business as possible.  And I certainly didn't intend a slight against Cambodians, of whom I am very fond after this visit, but rather against my Americans companions who would consider blowing up a cow to be the height of entertainment.

        "If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the Zomnies will come for all of us." -Joss Whedon

        by quillsinister on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:18:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dont put this on the military (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, native, Calamity Jean

    All the armed forces together buy a fraction of the weapons sold in gun shows alone.  Total active duty end strength for the Army is moving toward 500K.  In theory we have one rifle for every soldier and we dont replace them very often.  Total sales to the Army are probably less than 100K a year.  

    The VAST majority of soldiers are very much in favor of gun control.  We see what guns do.  We dont want other people to have the same firepower do.  

    These gun nuts have nothing to do with the military and in fact the majority of them have never spent a day in uniform.  They are playing soldier because they couldn't be one.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:54:51 AM PST

  •  A place for "gun control" (11+ / 0-)

    I agree with almost everything you have said.

    Guns and ammo are made and traded for the private profits of the gun industry.  The more guns and ammo sold, the more the profits.  So the gun industry has a financial incentive to make and sell more guns and ammo.  And every person around the world who gets shot (yes, even 6 year olds) is a profit for the gun industry.  And the ultimate fix for this deadly business to reign in the military-industrial complex.

    In my opinion, the best way to accomplish this is to end a system whereby wealthy and corporate interests can buy the law-makers and the laws they want.  By making all elections here in the US funded by public, instead of private money, we remove the need for our law-makers to curry favor with the moneyed interests.  When our elections are determined by votes, not money, our law-makers will start giving precedence to people over profits.

    Until that sunny day, there is a place for laws to regulate the availability of guns and ammo in the US.  We have heard many good ideas: requiring gun and ammo buyers to prove their competance, requiring gun and ammo buyers to carry insurance, taxes on guna and ammo sales to recoup the cost of law enforcement and healthcare incurred following shooting events, and others.  These are laws we can accomplish today, when changing our emphasis on profits over human life may take some time.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 05:56:26 AM PST

  •  Where I grew up hunting was a part of manhood (8+ / 0-)

    But the first time I killed an animal, I didn't feel proud, I felt ashamed. Although I continued to hunt, I never killed again. Instead of leading the bird or rabbit I always shot behind. I missed every time. My friends teased me about being the worst shot that ever lived. I gave up going through the motions of hunting when I became old enough not to care what people thought. I am not ashamed of not liking to kill anymore.

    Conservatives want to shrink the size of government until it will fit in a vagina.

    by rmonroe on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:10:49 AM PST

  •  stop investing in the companies (5+ / 0-)

    Yes, things are terrible all over. But, things are not terrible all over too- (Jon Carroll)

    by csuchas on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:18:02 AM PST

    •  Shocking revelation at your linked article... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica that 6% of the company that makes the Bushmaster is owned by the California teachers' pension fund.

      It's great news that the Fund is putting investment partners on notice, and one such firm, Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity fund that owns Freedom Group -- the Bushmaster manufacturer -- has decided to sell the gun maker.

      The move comes shortly after [Cerberus] faced pressure from former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as well as the California State Teachers' Retirement System, which said it is reviewing a $500 million investment commitment to the New York-based private-equity firm.
      Voting with your dollars and shareholder letters, proxy votes, and whatever means to embarrass investment away from these companies evidently can work.  And work quickly.  Indeed, the stink of death-dealing is reaching enough investors to affect the investment values of several companies already:
      On Tuesday, shares of several major gun makers, including Smith & Wesson Holdings Corp. SWHC -10.92% and Sturm, Ruger RGR -8.30% & Co., tumbled as investors braced for the potential of new regulations of the industry.
      The ground is prepared, the time to organize is now.
  •  Limbaugh was logicizing yesterday.... (6+ / 0-) gun control won't help anything at all. He said that the worst school massacre had happened in the 1920s and dynamite was the does gun control prevent that? he says?

    Well, I'm thinking to myself, they might've put some dynamite controls in place and prevented future school dynamitings.

    It will thake a long time for any restrictions to make a real difference but, the sooner they're in place, the sooner they start working.

    Rule #7...If you supported the Iraq war, you don't get to complain about the national debt.

    by suspiciousmind on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:22:25 AM PST

  •  It's Nothing Personal, It's Just Business (16+ / 0-)

    The Weapons manufacturers are very careful when they
    choose companies for Sub Contracts.

    They make sure that the Sub Contracts are spread out
    to Cover as Many Congressional districts as Possible.

    If anyone in Congress wants to Cut the Pentagon Budget,
    they end up cutting Jobs in their Own District.

    Major General Smedley Butler was Right.   War is a Racket.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:23:03 AM PST

    •  and then (0+ / 0-)

      they keep developing "new" weapons to sell the the Pentagon, while using their political power to sell "old" weapons to countries overseas, then asking for more money for "newer" weapons to combat the "older" weapons we sold...and the cycle keeps going. then the weapons end up in the hands of rebels who massacre villages, or repressive regimes like that in Syria.

      Who is to blame?

      Gun control may stop the shooting in CT, but it won't stop the killings overseas. and to me, as much or a tradegy as CT was, I want to find a solution to stop killings here AND abroad. Because an American life is not more valuable than a Syrian or Congolese one.

  •  Fear (8+ / 0-)

    Not a fan of dougout Doug, but...

    The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear: Keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums
    demanded. Yet in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real...."
    ---General Douglas MacArthur

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:31:20 AM PST

  •  An old problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Michael Moore made this point years ago in Bowling for Columbine.

  •  Yes, and the way forward (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumbi, eztempo, mrkvica, Calamity Jean

    (if there is one) is the old saying Swords Into Plow Shears.  

    Connecticut for instance is the #3 per capita arms manufacturer in the US. Sikorski. Smith & Wesson. Etc.  

    We need to find ways to divert these corporations into making other stuff-- less harmful stuff. Space junk is an obvious way to divert the military hi tech companies, I'm not sure about the small arms types...

  •  Dwight Eisenhower (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, Calamity Jean
    Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the growing power of the military-industrial complex in his final speech, though as President he did little to stem its tide.
    Eisenhower too often is remembered for that last warning, but not for the nuclear arms race he created. We are very lucky to have survived his presidency in which he was selling the country that nuclear weaponry was a more civilized method of combat.
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, harchickgirl1


    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:50:48 AM PST

  •  Agreed militarization (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and normalization of fear pays great dividends to certain people within the existing power structure. I cannot however countenance your suggestion that gun control needs to be put on the back burner somehow while we somehow "dismantle" the military superstructure under which we are all serfs and chattel. That just doesn't make sense. How about this: fight for effective regulation, starting with banning the ownership and sale of military-style weapons designed to efficiently kill humans, and then carry on the effort to address the pernicious influence of the military culture that is our legacy.

  •  While defense budget is indeed huge, I don't (0+ / 0-)

    see how it influences gun laws or the desire of people to have guns. Correlation is not causation. You can do the correlation of gun purchases to e.g. obesity. Does it mean that obesity causes gun purchases?

  •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Calamity Jean, harchickgirl1

    I'm increasingly coming to the belief that the true cause of this horrific tragedy and others like it is the deliberate efforts of gun and gun gear makers to sell as many of their guns and accessories as possible (along with the survivalist crap they promote along with it), through the irresponsible deregulation and deliberate lack of oversight of the sales of such things, and the promotion of views and attitudes that drive their sales in the RW and even establishment media. This is a willful strategy on their part, and it's worked--for them, not us.

    This is just a relatively small slice of a MASSIVE international market for every kind of weapon and related gear imaginable, from specialized bullets to cammo gear to gatling guns to drones to fighter-bombers and aircraft carriers, that has obviously HUGELY profited from the bogus "War on Terror", but also from the sales of gear to paranoid US survivalists and wingnuts, foreign despots AND the rebels trying to overthrow them (who in turn become the new despots, leading to a new band of arms-buying rebels to emerge), domestic local and federal law enforcement, security firms, and the like.

    See what a great racket they've got going there? They are not only exploiting, but often manufacturing, or at least exaggerating the severity of, all sorts of tensions in the world and things to be afraid of, for PROFIT, and nothing else.

    And we're letting them. Like the banks who finance them, they run the place.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:51:51 AM PST

    •  If you're a businessman, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you naturally want to broaden your customer base. Making your product available to everyone equally is just economic common sense. No need to get all ideological about it.

      This is capitalism were doing here - you want a new law, you're gonna need to buy one.

  •  I appreciate the big-picture view you take (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, jan4insight

    and I agree with that part of your analysis. Addressing this beast will take effort in multiple areas, however, large and small scale--and will also need to take into consideration the underlying motives that keep the munitions makers in business wherever they are, and whatever they sell.

    It's a staggeringly huge problem. But as they say about how to eat an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 09:37:29 AM PST

  •  In the early 1990's we were supposed to have a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rizzo, atana

    "peace dividend" since the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the need for our massive military industrial complex.  Some of that actually started to happen and I think part of the reason for the economic boom during the Clinton years was a direct result of spending going to productive purposes.  I suggest that our military adventures of the last few years have been a direct result of backlash from the military industrial complex working hard to grab our tax dollars again.

  •  couldn't gun manufacturers be held responsible (0+ / 0-)

    for all gun related death? Why not? Why not suing the AR manufactures for the death of these innocent children? I really believe this needs to be dealt with just like we did it with Tobacco.

  •  You can buy an assault rifle at Wal-Mart! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now that’s what I call a military industrial complex

    Love Me, I'm a Liberal!

    by simplesiemon on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 04:55:23 PM PST

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