A Response To Trump’s Anti-Gun Control Talking Points

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So NBC got their hands on Donald Trump’s talking points for his visit to Las Vegas in the wake of the worst mass shooting in America this century. They read like a Greatest Hits of pro-gun bullshit. These are the arguments you see again and again from gun fetishists. And since they are so common and I encounter these so often, I figured I would do myself the favor of countering these all right here so I can just refer the next gun enthusiast who regurgitates this stuff to this page where they can find the appropriate piece of propaganda and see my response to it without me having to type the same thing over and over again.

“Let’s gather the facts before we make sweeping policy arguments for curtailing the Second Amendment. The investigation is still in its earliest stages.”

This is a classic trope. We don’t know enough. It just happened. Have some respect. The investigation is just beginning. Of course none of this actually matters. It could turn out that the guy was from ISIS, obtained his guns illegally, and that no amount of gun laws or regulations would have ever stopped him from his attack. So what. Does a recent mass shooting somehow negate what we already know about gun violence? Of course not. Anyone who wants gun control doesn’t want it because of one incident. They want it because they’re aware that over 120,000 people are killed or wounded by guns every single year in America. I get that 558 of those are in the news right now, but again, even if it turned out that attack could not possibly be stopped by gun control, there are still the other 100,000+ shootings that may very well be cut down by gun control. By pretending that our conversation on gun control hinges on this one incident is to ignore all of the other victims of gun violence.

“The Second Amendment has endured for more than two centuries for a reason: it is a key constitutional right that is meant to protect people’s freedoms, and the President understands that.”

It’s cute how they say ‘the President understands that’. This is the only point at which they say that. Does that imply he does NOT understand the other points? They are correct that the Second Amendment has endured for more than two centuries, but for the most part it wasn’t used to defend the private ownership of guns until very recently. It wasn’t until 2008 in District of Columbia v Heller that the Supreme Court used the second amendment to justify ownership of guns.

I suppose it could be argued that the second amendment is a ‘key constitutional right’, but it’s less clear that it is or was meant to ‘protect people’s freedoms’. People have been arguing about the intention of the second amendment practically since its founding.

“The President believes that our founding principles, like freedom of speech, freedom of religions and the right to bear arms must be protected while maintaining public safety.”

Well that’s great, except that he doesn’t. His administration’s Justice Department is looking into Facebook pages that are anti-Trump with in an effort to identify dissenters. That doesn’t sound like believing in free speech. His Muslim ban makes it clear that if he does believe in freedom of religions, it’s certainly not all religions. And the fact that there are over 100,000 people shot in America every year shows that public safety is NOT being maintained.

“We welcome a reasoned and well-informed debate on public safety and our constitutional freedoms, but we reject the false choice that we can’t have both.”

No, they don’t. If they welcomed a well-informed debate they’d allow and fund research on gun violence. Instead they fight against it. It’s also worth noting that we have quite a few gun laws on the books right now that are not considered even by Trump’s administration to infringe on our constitutional freedoms. Arguing that any new gun control legislation automatically must being infringing on our constitutional freedoms is like saying whatever I’m planning on making in the kitchen must be poison. Until you hear the plans, there’s no way to know if that’s true or not.

“And when it comes to gun control, let’s be clear: new laws won’t stop a mad man committed to harming innocent people. They will curtail freedoms of law abiding citizens.”

Stephen Paddock was a law abiding citizen…until he opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 people and killed or wounded over 500 people. There is this myth trotted out by gun enthusiasts that somehow law abiding citizens and criminals are entirely separate kinds of people and one can never change into the other. It is, of course, like so many of their arguments complete bullshit.

That said, this particular talking point does have some truth to it. A mad man committed to harming innocent people will not likely be stopped by new gun laws. A mad man committed to breaking into your house isn’t likely to be stopped by locks no matter how many you put on your door, but that doesn’t mean you leave your doors unlocked, does it?

New gun laws will not make mass shootings in America a thing of the past, but it could mean less people die. Sure, the new laws won’t stop some determined people, but it will stop others. Just like a locked door stops some burglars but does not stop others.

 “We’ve seen terrorist attacks with knives, by people driving cars into crowds, by hijacking airplanes”

First off, since these are Presidential talking points, does this mean that the Trump administration is finally willing to admit that the Nazi march in Charlottesville was a terrorist attack? About damn time.

Secondly, yes, people have been attacked using knives, cars, and hijacking planes, but that does not somehow negate the 120,000 people who are shot every year. This is like insisting you don’t have a problem with heroin because other people are addicted to cocaine and meth. It makes no logical sense the moment you think about it for a moment.

“Some of the cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence.”

“This shows that more laws on the books may not work. The problems in these cities and many others isn’t too few gun laws.”

It’s true that the problem in these cities is not too few gun laws. The problem is being surrounded by areas that have too few gun laws. Most of the guns in Chicago come from surrounding areas where the gun laws are lax and thanks to strict gun laws in Chicago, mostly criminals have guns. This is not showing that gun laws do not work. It’s showing that in order for gun control to work in America, it needs to be on a national level. Otherwise you get places like Chicago and Baltimore. Essentially, the Trump administration and many gun enthusiasts simply draw the wrong conclusion about gun violence in cities like Chicago. Whether they do this because they don’t know what they’re talking about or that they assume we don’t know what they’re talking about doesn’t really matter. The fact is that they are wrong.

“Also, we’ve had examples where concealed carry has allowed people to protect themselves and stop a mass shooting in its tracks, such as last month in a church in Texas.”

A recent study shows that for every time a gun is used in self-defense, 34 innocent people die. The fantasy of some John Wayne-type law abiding citizen stopping a gunman intent on committing harm is just that, a fantasy. It hardly ever happens. In fact, if you own a gun and you fire it killing someone, the odds are 2 to 1 that you shot yourself as suicide accounts for 2 out of 3 gun deaths.

“Again, we welcome this debates, but in the wake of Sunday night’s tragedy, we shouldn’t rush toward compromising our freedoms before we have all the facts.”

They do not welcome this debate. Trump has no interest in debating gun control. There has never been a time that he wanted to talk gun control.

As for ‘compromising our freedoms’, it’s worth noting that gun control laws already on the books are not considered by the Supreme Court to be compromising our freedoms. And without talking about specific gun control proposals any allegation that any new gun control law automatically compromises our freedoms can be dismissed as paranoid nonsense.

Finally, let’s put to bed the idea that we are ‘rushing’ to do anything at all about gun control. It has been 18,693  days since 15 people were killed by a gunman at the University of Texas-Austin. It has been 12,132 days since 21 people were killed by a gunman at a McDonalds in San Ysidro, California. It has been 11,369 days since 14 people were killed in Edmond, Oklahoma. It has been 9,486 days since a man drove a car into a restaurant in Killeen, Texas and shot and killed 23 people. It has been 6,743 days since the mass shooting at Columbine where 13 people were killed. It has been 3,825 days since a man at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 people. It has been 2,887 days since the mass shooting at Fort Hood where 13 people were killed. It has been 1,756 days since the Sandy Hook massacre. It has been 673 days since San Bernardino where 14 people were killed. It has been 480 days since a man went into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and murdered 49 people.

The LAST thing we are doing is ‘rushing’ to solve the gun problem in America.

– Jack Cameron

 

 

If Only We Really Gave A Damn About Gun Violence in America

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I spent nearly ten years reading studies, articles, and books while talking to people I agree with, people I disagree with, and people who are just a lot smarter than I am about guns, gun control, and gun violence. I would stop short of calling myself an expert, but I know a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to guns in America. In the last year or two I’ve cut down on my research because I arrived at certain conclusions that made any further research on my part largely irrelevant.

  1. Most of America agrees that universal background checks and required training on the use and safe storage of any gun that is purchased is common sense gun control. People are less in agreement when it comes to requiring registration and liability insurance but most people like that too.
  2. That said, it’s worth noting that while most of America agrees, also most of America doesn’t care too much about it. We don’t see protesters supporting gun control doing marches, confronting prominent politicians, or doing much of anything really beyond online petitions and lip service towards the concept of gun control.
  3. What we in America have decided collectively is that we’re probably not going to get shot and 30,000 abstract dead Americans every year is a fine price to pay for easy access to guns. We don’t even pay attention to the 80,000 wounded every year from gunfire.
  4. There is a small but vocal population of gun owners who are nearly sexually aroused by the idea of the government coming for their guns or some home intruder breaking into their house despite the odds of such things happening being astronomically low. These are people who will shoot their fellow Americans regardless of what uniform they are wearing before they will relinquish their guns.
  5. Given points 2, 3, and 4, I have nearly zero expectation of any meaningful national gun control laws in the United States.

Now you may want to argue any of these points, and you may go right ahead and do so, but as I said, I did not arrive at these conclusions in any uninformed way. I recognize that America, like the Aztecs is a society in which human sacrifice is part of the culture. We just do it with guns rather than rolling people off of pyramids. And like the Aztec human sacrifices, it is not a practical thing, but a religious thing. Talk to any avid gun enthusiast and you’ll see they have every bit the zeal of the most passionate evangelist. As an atheist, I am well aware that when it comes to religion, no amount of common sense, statistics, studies, or facts will sway a believer from their belief.

Most of us are not gun owners. Most of us do not fetishize guns. Most of us do not hold the beliefs of a religious zealot. But, despite these gun fetishists following a belief system that kills ten times the amount of people who died on 9/11 every year, we do not treat these people the same as we might a member of a ISIS or a Nazi. I don’t see that changing any time soon either. Instead, we are tolerant or indifferent to their deadly religion.

When it comes to guns, people often look to politics, but really modern politics about gun control is all about getting out of the way of the gun lobby. The NRA is a domestic terrorist organization that works as the propaganda arm of gun manufacturers under the guise of representing American gun owners. They spend millions on members of both parties to make sure none of them do anything to mess up the sales of guns and ammunition to any American who might want them. I remain convinced that if enough people cared, protested, made calls, and voted out anyone who takes a dime from the gun lobby we might get somewhere on gun control, but I also remain equally convinced that won’t happen because most people, including you and me, simply do not truly give a shit. Not really.

– Jack Cameron

A Note About Comments: All comments are moderated. Feel free to comment if you have something beyond insults and something involving evidence to back up whatever it is you want want say. Comments with insults, unrelated or bad links, or off topic will be deleted.

The Republican Death Machine: Republicans Are Killing Women

womanIf you are a woman you are more likely to vote Democrat. If you are an unmarried woman you are far more likely to vote Democrat. If you are a minority, you are far more likely to vote Democrat. If you are a first generation immigrant you are far more likely to vote Democrat. If your gender is non-binary or your sexual orientation is not heterosexual you are far more likely to vote Democrat. If you are an atheist you are more likely to vote Democrat. If you make less than $15,000 a year you are far more likely to vote Democrat.

There is something else all of these groups have in common: Republicans have endorsed or enacted legislation to aid directly and indirectly in killing every group of people I have mentioned so far. I know that is a significant claim. Over the course of a series of articles on this site, it is one I intend to prove with facts and sources. It is something I will repeat. Republican policies are murdering the people most likely to disagree with them.

It is no secret that women are not fully human in the eyes of the Republican Party. We dance around this because it is too repugnant to say on a regular basis, but it is the truth. Next year’s ‘Equal Pay Day’ is April 10, 2018. That day is selected because in order for the average American woman to make as much as the average American man did in 2017, she would have to work until April 10, 2018. This is the 21st Century and whenever the subject of equal pay for men and women comes up, Republicans argue against paying women the same as men for the same amount of work. This alone shows that they see women as fundamentally less than human.

Of course Republican hatred of women goes far deeper than simply not paying them the same amount. In 2013 when the Violence Against Women Act was up for renewal 160 Republicans voted against it. This is the typical Republican strategy. They are too cowardly to openly commit murder. Instead they just help those who do in any way they can.

Republicans are famous for being in favor of allowing Americans to own guns regardless of their background. They have fought to keep domestic violence perpetrators armed. They have fought to keep the mentally ill armed. They have fought to make college campuses armed. They even suggest women purchase guns themselves which may seem to be a form of protection but research shows otherwise. Dr. Deborah Azrael, the associate director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center and a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health said, “What we know is that if a woman is going to be killed by a firearm, she’s most likely to be killed by a current or former intimate partner. What we know is where there are more guns, more women die. That’s just incontrovertibly true.”

Relying on murderous former lovers is not enough for the Republican death machine. This is where the Republican war on Planned Parenthood comes in. The current President of the United States said on the campaign trail last year, “The problem that I have with Planned Parenthood is the abortion situation. It is like an abortion factory, frankly, and you can’t have it. And you just shouldn’t be funding it. That should not be funded by the government, and I feel strongly about that.”

Of course this is untrue on many levels, but it is the standard lie that Republicans tell. It is a well-known fact that abortions account for less than 3% of what Planned Parenthood does and that federal dollars have never been spent on abortions at Planned Parenthood. But, given this is the case, why would Republicans be so adamant about defunding Planned Parenthood? The answer is simple. In addition to keeping women poorer by paying them less, keeping violent attackers of women armed, and limiting a woman’s access to abortion, Republicans want to limit a woman’s access to healthcare in general.

Study after study has shown that the thing that lowers the abortion rate more than anything else is contraception and accurate, non-religious, non-judgmental sexual education. These are two areas that Planned Parenthood excels at. But this is not all that Planned Parenthood does. Every year Planned Parenthood conducts over 600,000 cancer screenings. Approximately 70,000 of those turn out to be women with pre-cancerous lesions or early-stage breast or cervical cancer. Early detection of cancer is one of the primary indicators of whether or not you will survive having cancer. Or put another way, cutting Planned Parenthood funding puts 70,000 women in danger of discovering they have cancer too late to do anything but die.

It is clear to anyone paying attention that Planned Parenthood does a lot more than birth control and abortion services, but it is also worth talking about these services. As I have mentioned before, safe and legal abortion was not the beginning of abortion. It was the beginning of women not dying on a regular basis from botched abortions. There is plenty of evidence to show what happens when abortions are performed by unqualified people. It is also worth noting that having the ability and the knowledge to control one’s reproductive life gives women a better chance to control their destinies. If that is taken away, women become less likely to move out of poverty. They become less healthy. They end up needing to rely on others for support and childcare. Ideally, what a Republican politician hopes is that these underpaid, under supported women forced to have children they do not want will end up thinking they need a man. Because the only thing worse than a woman in the eyes of a Republican is a woman not married to a man.

Marriage is important in the eyes of Republicans if for no other reason than the fact that unmarried women vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. This is a direct threat to the Republicans. Women are not fully human in their eyes and like any other living thing, they see the need to subjugate and control them. It was within my own lifetime that we got rid of laws allowing men to rape their wives. Republicans continue to fight for the right to rape women as long as you are married to them. In Ohio last February Republicans fought against closing a loophole that allowed forms of marital rape. In Iowa this year an anti-abortion bill was proposed that would allow the parents of an unmarried woman to decide whether or not she has a child regardless of her age. Their efforts to control women know no bounds.

The Republican message to women is incredibly clear: If you are a woman, expect to be paid less, expect to be in danger from men, expect to be told what to do, expect a lack of birth control options, expect a lack of healthcare, expect cancer to go undetected, expect to be raped, and if you get pregnant, expect no choice in whether or not you have that child. Expect that Republicans will do everything possible to control you and kill you because not only do you vote Democrat, but you had the audacity to be female in man’s world.

– Jack Cameron

Other sources for this article:
https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/economic-demographics-democrats/

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-conservatives-are-terrified-of-single-women-20160328

Barely A Whisper Anymore

I woke up to the news that over one hundred people had been shot in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida last night. At least fifty are dead. After the initial shock of hearing the news a small voice I can barely hear anymore said, “Maybe this is the horrible tragedy that finally gets us to clamp down on gun violence.”

The day before, also in Orlando, Christina Grimmie, a young singer who was on the television show The Voice was shot and killed while signing autographs. I heard that small voice then too. And then I thought, “She’s probably not famous enough. It would have to be a major rock star.”

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John Lennon shot four times on December 8, 1980

Oh yeah. That did not do it. If someone can shoot and kill a Beatle, a dead rock star isn’t going to do it. Maybe if it was someone important. Someone powerful. A leader of some sort.

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John F. Kennedy shot and killed November 22, 1963

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shot and killed April 4, 1968

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Robert F. Kennedy shot and killed June 6, 1968

Wow. Clearly the death of one person is not enough to galvanize the American people to demand common sense gun control. You know what works on the news? Blonde girls. That gets people all upset for some reason. A blonde girl goes missing and everyone is up in arms and the 24-hour news channels cover it for weeks. What if a blonde reporter got shot live on television? Would that wake people up enough to do something about guns and gun control?

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Alison Parker shot and killed on live television August 26, 2015

Okay. I get it. One person whether they are an attractive blonde girl, the biggest rock star in the world, or President of the United States is not enough to make people rethink our policies on guns and gun control.

What about numbers? Statistics like the fact that more people died last year from gunshot wounds than from car accidents do not work either because they’re just numbers.

The kind of tragedy we need to wake people up to the horrible damage easy gun access has caused is something like a school shooting. Maybe that would work.

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Fifteen people shot and killed including two teenage gunmen on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School

Oh. That didn’t cause people to change their minds about guns either. Well, it’s high school. High school can be rough for some people. Hell, who didn’t want to kill someone in high school?

You know what no one could ignore? You know what would really get everyone ready to give up their guns voluntarily just at the sheer horror of it all? If someone shot up an elementary school even the most hard core gun nut would have to pause and think we need some sensible gun control laws. That maybe we should make getting guns at least as hard as it is to get a car. That would do it.

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Twenty-Six shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 12, 2012

Twenty-six dead. Twenty under the age of eight. And that was not enough to really enact change. And so I wake up this morning to the news that over 100 people have been shot and half of them are dead due to a gunman. And a tiny voice wonders if we will do anything at all about the easy access to guns in this country. But that voice has become barely more than a whisper because I know the truth. We will do nothing.

We sacrifice over 30,000 American lives every year and pay for the freedom to own guns with their blood. The Aztecs sacrificed lives to their Gods. Experts say they sacrificed as many as 20,000 people a year. We have them beat. We sacrifice so we can own weapons. We do not ask for volunteers. People are chosen at random and while most are poor, no matter who you are, you could be next. The fact that you have not been chosen is the only reason you still allow this to go on. Today, far too many will hear of a massacre in a gay nightclub in Florida and incorrectly think, “I don’t go to gay nightclubs in Florida and so I must be safe.”

Last night over 50 people unwillingly sacrificed their lives for your freedom to own guns. By next week you won’t remember any of their names and be just as shocked as you are right now the next time a mass unwilling sacrifice is made. And you will do just as little as you always have to stop gun violence and the easy access to guns because this is America.

– Jack Cameron

Why We Don’t Need Guns

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I read this article about guns. It wasn’t for or against gun control. Instead it was focused on why people want guns. This is a good question. Unsurprisingly the most common reason people say they have guns is for protection.

It may seem incredibly reasonable that in a country full of guns you may want to have one of your own to protect yourself from guns. However, it’s not very realistic. For starters, the odds of you being a victim of gun related violence are exceptionally low. According to the national safety council your odds of being shot and killed by a gun discharge are 1 in 6,699. And since we know that two out of three of all gun deaths are suicides, getting shot and killed by someone else it’s more like 1 in 20,097 or roughly the same odds as you dying in a plane crash.

 

Even if you defy the odds and end up in a life and death situation where someone is pointing a gun at you, you’re not likely to be in a situation where your gun is loaded and you’re prepared to shoot. If you look at the numbers for every person shot and killed in self-defense there are 34 deaths that aren’t. You also find that owning a gun dramatically increases your odds of suicide. And if you’re a woman there’s a 93% chance that you’ll know your killer. Owning a gun for protection from strangers with guns may seem like a reasonable choice, but as I said, it’s not realistic and actually puts you in more danger rather than less.

Another reason the article listed was recreation. Some people like to target shoot. Some people like to hunt. (P.J. O’Rourke once said that “Hunting is a replacement for murder.”) Target shooting is something that need not be done with a deadly weapon. Pellet guns hit targets as well as bullets do. As for hunting, there’s nothing sporting about taking a weapon developed by the smartest creature on the planet to kill and using it to kill things with brains smaller than a baseball. I get that some people enjoy hunting. But there’s no reason for it in modern society. And when on average one toddler a week shoots someone, I think recreation is a fairly week excuse for having guns.

A recent study says that your average gun owner has eight guns. It’s also worth noting that gun ownership overall has gone down over the years. In other words less and less people are buying more and more guns. Owning a gun when you look at the realities in present day America isn’t a very rational choice. Unfortunately, this means that reasoning our way into disarming the country probably isn’t going to work.

– Jack Cameron

15 Minute Story #27: Gun

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Hello. I’m a gun. They say I don’t kill people and it’s true. Without a bullet being loaded into me and someone pulling the trigger, I’m not able to hurt anyone. Then again, no one buys a gun to never load it or never pull the trigger. Sure, I don’t kill people. People who use me sometimes kill people.

If I’m bought legally, the most likely thing that will happen is that I’ll be taken home and occasionally used from time to time to put holes in two-dimensional targets at shooting ranges. I’ll spend the vast majority of my life locked up and not used at all.

If I am used to shoot someone, the most likely person I’m going to shoot is the person who is handling me. When it comes to gun deaths, I’m literally more than twice as likely to be used in a suicide than a homicide. If someone does use me to take someone else’s life, the odds show that it’s almost certainly someone who lives in the house. Next up after that is being used in an accidental shooting. The next most likely thing is for me to be used in a homicide. The least likely scenario in which I might be used to take a life is to save the life of the person who bought me.

Despite all of this, people still buy me and others like me thinking that having me will provide them protection. This is thanks to an incredibly good marketing campaign the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the height of Big Tobacco. Fear sells. Nevermind that in the unlikely event of a mugging or a home invasion or a terrorist attack you’ll likely not even have time to get me, load me, and use me. Nevermind that I kill 30,000 Americans every year. None of that matters thanks to a campaign that says both that the bad guys are coming and that the authorities are coming for your guns. For whatever reason far too many people are suckers for this sort of advertising.

The same people behind these campaigns do an equally good job stifling any attempt to regulate, license, or register me as well as stopping any campaigns to require background checks before someone purchases me or require training for someone who’s never used something like me before.

So yes, I’m a gun, and no, I don’t kill people. I just make it a lot easier for people to kill people.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

This story and others are collected in 15 Minute Stories available at Amazon.com

The Pitchfork And The Brick

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A while back I watched a video of David Simon from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. (How cool is it that such a thing exists?) David Simon is the creator of The Wire. He also created Treme. He makes it his business to study urban and economic development in order to write compelling dramas about them. So when he talks about income inequality and where he thinks it’s headed, I listen. He got to a point in the hour long talk where he’s thinking about where things are going and he says this:

“We’re either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we’re going to keep going the way we’re going, at which point there’s going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody’s going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there’s always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I’m losing faith.”

This week I found an open letter by billionaire Nick Hanauer called “The Pitchforks Are Coming…For Us Plutocrats”. It’s a scathing letter explaining in detail why the middle class must be rebuilt by paying workers more money. In words that eerily echo David Simon’s he says:

“If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.”
These are smart men who know what they’re talking about and I don’t see a lot of compelling arguments going that refute their claims. More to the point, if you’re looking for it, I can see evidence of this war happening already.

Anyone who is paying attention can see that we have an increasingly militarized police force. Recently a Massachusetts SWAT team when asked for records of their activities claimed to be a corporation or a private mercenary force. This isn’t a promising sign when you have SWAT teams in other parts of the country injuring 2-year-olds.

When people aren’t getting injured or killed by the police, they’re getting arrested and imprisoned. In America we have 5% of the population and yet we have 25% of the world’s prisoners. We are incarcerating humans at a rate never before seen in human history. We are then taking those prisoners and forcing them to work for little to no pay often to increase the profits of private companies running state prisons. This is the legal slave trade of America. And you’ll find no millionaires among their ranks. Most prisoners aren’t white. Most of them are poor. All of them will have a difficult time finding a job if and when they are released increasing the likelihood that they will resort to crime resulting in more prison time.

Of course this isn’t the only problem. These days we have an increasingly large group of people who feel it is necessary to arm themselves with guns. Many of these people are anti-government. Many are poor. And thanks to gun laws so lax that even Mexican gangsters come to our country to get guns because it’s easier many of them are exactly the sort of people who shouldn’t have guns. Despite an annual death count that is nearly equal with car accidents, instead of increasing gun control laws, we have made guns even easier to get and easier to fire legally.

The combination of open carry laws and stand your ground laws make it possible for two people to openly carry guns, feel fearful of the other one and shoot each other without any law being broken. This isn’t the Wild West. It’s worse.

So we have unparalleled income inequality. We have unparalleled militarized police. We have unparalleled imprisonment. We have unparalleled private citizen armament. What we have is a class war being waged and it’s only just beginning.

If I were a billionaire, I’d probably do everything to erase my public existence, buy a fortified yacht, and hide out in the South Pacific until it’s all over.

Unfortunately, I’m a few billion dollars short of being a billionaire. Like most of you I’m living paycheck to paycheck at a pay rate closer to minimum wage than it is to the average CEO’s. I think it’s safe to say that the war is here and it’s going to get A LOT worse before it gets better. I’m talking Mad Fucking Max worse.

It could be that David Simon and Nick Hanauer and I are all wrong about this and it’s going to be fine. I accept that and I don’t have any questions about it.

What I don’t know is what should we do if we’re right? What do the people in the rapidly shrinking middle who don’t want to throw bricks or raise pitchforks do to prepare for war? How do we increase our chances of survival? Arming ourselves and stalking up on food doesn’t seem like a good choice because you don’t know how much food or ammunition you’re going to need and the best gun in the world doesn’t make you bulletproof. Is it as simple as drastic relocation? Should those of us who see this thing coming just get out of the country and try to find a safe place? (Though what place is safe from what seems to be a global class war?) These are questions I genuinely don’t know the answers to and I’m curious what others think about all of this.

I know it sounds a bit paranoid and most of us think that something else will happen before the pitchforks and bricks, but it’s a situation where we should start thinking about contingency plans before it’s too late.

I’m interested in what you think. Go ahead and comment below if you have anything you’d like to contribute to the conversation.

–       Jack Cameron