If the people who suffer from gun violence were the same as the people who profit from gun violence, gun control measures would be strong and strongly enforced. Discussions about the 2nd Amendment would center on the “well regulated militia” concept rather than the “right to keep and bear” language.

The reality is that our current stance on the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with the views of the Founding Fathers and everything to do with the desire to keep the middle and lower classes fighting and killing each other, while leaving a small wealthy elite in control.

It may seem an odd idea that allowing the nation to be awash in 400 million guns is “keeping control.” But we are told that 100 million of our population own the vast majority of those 400 million guns. The average person doesn’t own or want to carry around a gun. But with proper training, the average person can be taught to exist in a state of apprehension that gun violence is always just around the next corner, always a risk when visiting 7-11 or your favorite after-work bar.

The inevitability of gun violence is an argument for allowing police to be armed and to shoot first and ask questions later (if their targets survive). The corporate “liberal media” produces a constant flood of stories about cities, like Chicago, being wracked with constant gun violence, while having grown silent about the equal constant corruption and racism practiced by Chicago police.

A University of Chicago study, referenced recently in the New York Times points out a few salient points. Most of the shootings in the city happen in just 4% of the city’s blocks: This isolates most Chicagoans, and almost all white Chicagoans, from exposure to gun violence and from the direct consequences of gun violence. For most people, even in a “blood drenched” city like Chicago, gun violence is what they see on TV, replayed over and over - not what really happens.

Too few people remember the summer of 1968 and press coverage of the police riots promoted by Mayor Richard Dailey. Back then, newspapers and radio and TV stations were locally owned. And they provided different viewpoints on the police riots and corruption. They covered investigations and prosecutions of police corruption

One result of media “consolidation,” putting control of both broadcast and print media into the hands of a handful of Wall Street corporations is that reporting of what once were controversial topics has, for most consumers, been replaced with the traditional Republican conservatism of the three “traditional” TV networks and the ultra-corporatist rightwing polemics of Fox News, and the Russian controlled NewsMax, ONAN and Breitbart.

TV and film westerns trained us to believe that bank robberies were an everyday occurrence in the Old West. Statistics tell us that the reality is that bank robberies were incredibly rare in the Old West. Most people cling to the fictitious movie images. And equally misleading “news” coverage of modern shootings drives viewership, and sells lucrative advertising.

Corporate news-as-entertainment is like westerns. Movies show us bank robbers being tracked down by righteous sheriffs or vigilantes. But they don’t show us the banks foreclosing on struggling farmers, or railroad barons bribing congressmen for grants of vast swaths of land to sell to those farmers so they could struggle until foreclosure, when the land would be resold to another eager farmer.

The news-as-entertainment shows us impoverished Black children turning to violent crime. But doesn’t show us the same children watching their siblings bitten by rats and roaches in apartments where landlords collect rent without ever doing maintenance or pest control, despite housing laws. The law violations of the wealthy landlords are much more damaging to more people in any neighborhood than a street robbery. But they are “less newsworthy,” and so get little or no coverage.

Once upon a time, we were told that they were “our” airwaves, owned by the people, and only licensable by broadcasters willing to provide public service, like fair access to viewpoints, in exchange for permission to profit from using the public property. Now, as with so much else, the public service component has been jettisoned with profit the only remaining goal of using the people’s property. And the best, most profitable use is to continue driving people’s fear.

For this election cycle, one Republican candidate is offering “hunting licenses” in exchange for donations. Missouri senate candidate Eric Greitens, who quit his job as governor after his wife and child-beating behavior was publicized, now offers “no limit” licenses to shoot “RINOs” - humans who disagree with Greiten’s political views.

This is not Squid Game or Hunger Game, or some other fiction fantasy. This is a wealthy businessman, surrounded by comprehensive security, telling his supporters that it is OK to murder people if you disagree with their politics.

Colt, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Winchester and all the traditional American gunmakers are no longer American companies. Each is now the subsidiary of a multinational corporation or hedge fund. They merchandise tools for killing, while knowing that the hedge fund owners and corporate bosses are safe from the weapons they sell to the poor.

On June 23, 2022, the John Roberts Court ruled that every person has the right to carry concealed weapons. This decision overrules a law passed by a radical leftist New York legislature in 1913. This decision follows the Roberts Court holding, last week, that the 4th Amendment protection against warrantless search and seizure no longer applies to people living in the United States, and that no one has any recourse against whatever force a police officer chooses to use while conducting a warrantless search and seizure.

What this means is that, as George Bush said, the Constitution is “just a bunch of words on some god damn old paper.” The Constitution may say that you are protected by the 4th Amendment. But if the government has some special need, it can do away with those rights. And no person has any recourse against police misconduct.

Essentially, this tells the poor and the powerless that the government is their enemy, and that if they want to protect their own lives or those of their family and friends, they have to make the effort on their own. This is the Supreme Court actively encouraging more gun violence among the poor and powerless.

The June 24 decision that women have no Constitutional right to control their own reproductive functions (despite the 9th Amendment) is part of the same logic. Large majorities of Americans, of all political parties, support women’s rights. But six Republican “justices” of the Supreme Court say that their Catholic theology trumps such rights.

To a court that pretends to favor religious freedom, the reproductive rights of women who do not share Catholic misogynist beliefs is simply irrelevant. The goal isn’t about people’s sex lives or rebuilding an already too large population. Rather the goal is to further convince people that they are not in control of their own lives - the state is.

Control can be by taking rights away from people, like telling women they have to carry rape or incest babies to term and for lifetimes, or by granting new rights, like telling every gang banger, mental patient and frustrated warehouse or store employee that they have the Constitutional right to express their anger with a gun. It is specifically not about freedom but about exerting further control over the middle and lower ranks of the population.

This commentary is also posted on LA Progressive

BC Guest Commentator Tom Hall is a family lawyer in West Los Angeles. He is from Boston, and was raised in Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers) to think that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people in techniques for disciplined nonviolent demonstrating. After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make a comfortable life. The Bush administration shocked him back into social concerns. Tom can be reached at [email protected].

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