Ready! Shoot! Aim!

A Reuters opinion writer, one Brend Debusmann, wrote an ominously named piece called “In American crisis, anger, and guns“. In it, he basically tries to tie a rise in gun sales with a growing, dark mood enveloping the country. It does, however, devolve into another pathetic excuse for what passes as journalism, rife with strawmen and built on alarmist bull.

“In the first two months of this year, around 2.5 million Americans bought guns, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2008. It was great news for gun makers and a sign of a dark mood in the country.

Gun sales shot up almost immediately after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential elections on November 4 and firearm enthusiasts rushed to stores, fearing he would tighten gun controls despite campaign pledges to the contrary.

After the November spike, gun dealers say, a second motive has helped drive sales: fear of social unrest as the ailing economy pushes the newly destitute deeper into misery. Many of the newly poor come from the relentlessly rising ranks of the unemployed. In February alone, an average of 23,000 people a day lost their jobs”

True, the spike in gun purchasing is mainly attributed to a fear of the Obama administration conducting an assault on Second Amendment rights. However, attributing it to the “dark mood” of the country is irresponsible and lazy.

I also don’t think that everyone who “rushed” to gun stores can be lumped into what he describes as “firearm enthusiasts”. I own a gun, for my own reasons, an it isn’t because I am enthusiastic about firearms.

He then says, almost cryptically, “gun dealers say” that “fear of social unrest” has helped to spur on the gun buying. Hmmm. Gun dealers. Wonder how many he actually spoke to. He doesn’t actually site any real people.

Anyway..

Yes, Mr. Debusmann.. We are all going to be living in fortified enclaves, where gun totin’ survivors rule the day. It’ll be like scenes from “The Postman” (one of Costner’s box office duds). You’ll know it if you’ve seen it.

He then goes on to describe “tent cities” of unemployed middle-class workers, relating them to “Third World refugee camps”.

Sheesh.

As if almost unwittingly disproving his previous points, he continues:

“There are no statistics on how many guns are bought by people who think they need them to defend themselves against desperate fellow citizens.

But, as columnist David Ignatius put it in the Washington Post, “there’s an ugly mood developing as people start looking for villains to blame for the economic mess.” In November, an analysis published by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute listed “unforeseen economic collapse” as one of the possible causes of future “widespread civil violence.””

I see. So this is all pure, irresponsible conjecture on your part. And as far as the Strategic Studies Institute goes, I bet they have scenarios on plenty of thing you don’t even want to think can happen. Using this as some sort of evidence to back up your paranoid thesis is disingenuous at best, and reckless at worst.

“What is really remarkable about all this is that there hasn’t been social unrest,” remarked an executive with business interests in Latin American countries where riots and street demonstrations in response to economic squeezes are routine. “The conditions for it are all there.”

Perhaps, Mr. Debusmann and unnamed executive, it is because we are NOT an uncivilized third world country that throws violent tantrums at every inconvenient situation.

Anger is building. Just under half of those surveyed in a poll by the Pew Research Center this month expressed anger about “bailing out banks and financial institutions that made poor decisions.” The poll was taken before details became known of the full extent of the bonus-paying spree to members of the very team that brought the insurance giant AIG close to collapse.

The government propped up AIG with close to $200 billion and now owns 80% of the company. The argument that $165 million in bonuses had to be paid under contractual obligations went down particularly badly with workers of the three U.S. car companies whose leaders appealed for support from the Bush administration last year when the economic crisis gathered steam.”

If anger was one of the possible answers to the poll question, than a response of anger is what you will likely get.

And his obligatory dig at the Bush administration is grounded in false premise. He and the angry auto workers can thank Chris Dodd for inserting the AIG bonus provision. Wonder why he didn’t say anything about that?

He then goes on to indirectly demonize the salaries of CEO’s versus the average worker, as if to add fuel to this wet fire he is trying to create.

He closes with this prophetic rumination:

“To what extent those gaps will shrink under Obama remains to be seen and the outlook for swift action is not promising. There are, in fact, not many things for which the outlook is promising. Exceptions include Smith&Wesson. They expect revenue to double within the next three years.”

Argh! Those damned, eeeeevil gun companies. How dare they sell a product which people are legally allowed to purchase.

And while we’re at it, damn that pesky Second Amendment, too.

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