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  • Al Jazeera, Egypt, and Guns

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on January 30th, 2011 (All posts by )

    The situation in the middle east today with people rising up against autocratic regimes is moving quickly and I have been following this through a variety of sources. One that I have been watching is Al Jazerra English because their journalists seem to be in the middle of the action and I am looking for facts less than commentary or opinion (I can do that myself).

    In parallel I found interesting an article of how Egyptian civilians should protest riot police. This guide came from the Atlantic and it is a 26 page article with how to dress, use spray paint on the vision slits of armored vehicles, and use a pot lid to shield yourself from billy clubs.

    Throughout all of this it is obvious how dangerous it is to be an unarmed civilian that is trying to protest (peacefully or not) against armed riot police and government thugs that are armed with riot police tools (tear gas, shields & billy clubs) as well as deadly weapons (guns). Basically you are trading the lives of the protesters against the willingness of the government to kill you; if the government maintains its nerves, thousands can be beaten or die (see how the protests were extinguished in Iran, for example).

    In parallel, Al Jazeera ran an opinion piece (which, to their credit, they said was the opinion of the writer and not necessarily theirs) called “Shoot first, ask questions never” which blames the NRA for gun violence in the United States and ends with the following paragraph:

    The NRA’s 30+ years of extremism is probably best summed up by their current president Wayne LaPierre. Recently he remarked that “those with the guns make the rules”. Perhaps he mistakenly read a copy of the Robespierre’s Constitution, but in the one the Founding Fathers created for this country, their quaint view was that ballots and not bullets would accomplish that feat.

    Of all the journalistic outlets that could understand the concept that “those with guns make the rules” you’d think that Al Jazeera would at least concede that point. The reason that the Arab people have to stand up to riot police unarmed is because guns and weaponry are illegal for the general populace so that the state and their actors (the riot police and the secret police) can act with impunity. The only time that things change in the Arab world is when those with BIGGER guns (the army) come and don’t support the riot police and secret police thugs; and then there is a change of power.

     

    5 Responses to “Al Jazeera, Egypt, and Guns”

    1. Dan from Madison Says:

      You should have Charles Cameron do one of his famous double quote things for this post.

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      A lot of times my spouse and I will be viewing scenes of social chaos somewhere in the world and one of us will say, “Those people have to many guns… or not enough.”

      It’s pretty clear from the historical record that weapons only lead to violence when weapons are asymmetrically distributed throughout the population.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      I think Al-Jazeera is simply mimicking the common Euro-Left view of America violence.

    4. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I am not an expert on this but a TV commentator who is Egyptian said that the penalty for possessing a gun in Egypt was life in prison.

      He said that at night people were shooting and it was likely the police (not army) trying to cause instability and incite riots.

    5. Mlyster Says:

      Remind me to hide some spare firearms and ammunition somewhere out in the desert….

      Possession of firearms among private citizens in the US is, in my narrow and highly subjective opinion, important as a security blanket.
      I don’t mean that dismissively: truly, there is only so much that a government can do to, or against, its populace knowing that millions and millions and MILLIONS of them have firearms.

      Yes, they can be dangerous, yes some drunk people shoot other drunk people, yes some innocent people are killed by drug dealers shooting at other drug dealers and missing, yes yes yes. I get it. We all do. And YET: I’d rather live in a country with a smattering of irresponsible gun owners and an enormous number of reasonable, responsible ones than a country like Egypt full of unarmed citizens and armed security forces.

      Extremist scare-tactic scenarios thrown around by the survivalist and REALLY right wing/flaky marginal crowd years ago are….well, not quite as extremist and flaky anymore. Government agencies regulating carbon dioxide? Federally mandated purchases of healthcare? Outlawing plastic bags? Naaah: couldn’t happen here. Until it did.

      The reason that Statists so hate gun ownership and the 2d Amendment is the tragic uncertainty that it casts over any of their overarching collectivist concepts. “We could get these people organized and equalized and MAKE ’em do the right things that we, their overseers just KNOW they should, if only they didn’t have all of those…pesky…loaded guns….flaky unpredictable trailer trash Neanderthals…”

      The only thing worse than a very large country with lots of sometimes erratic or uneducated people with guns is a country entirely without them, governed by erratic EDucated people. Thanks, I’ll take the former. You can keep Egypt.