I must confess this possibility never crossed my mind: that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi, where there is not a consulate (with associated security measures) but a mission, was there to conduct business related to arming those opposing the government in Syria. IN a recent interview, Senator Rand Paul raises that point. He believes that guns were being supplied by the US government to certain groups in Libya, to be shipped through Turkey and into Syria.
It makes a lot more sense, really, that there was a motivation like this for Ambassador Stevens to be in Benghazi, where he could not be adequately protected. It also makes sense that the Administration did not want anyone else there, either while the attack was going on, or in the aftermath, to possibly find clues to such plans. The FBI was charged with the investigation, but was not allowed close to the site for three weeks after the attack – plenty of time for the site to be scrubbed of all incriminating evidence.
Nowadays “political thriller” novels hold less interest to me than they once did. The actual bizarre actions of our government officials, sanctioned or not, are the stuff of such novels – except in those, someone uncovers the plot and it is brought out into the light of day.
I’m afraid we as Americans have had enough of big-G Government, and would just like to have them leave us alone, and it is very difficult to get worked up over the next stupid move made by someone in Washington. This Administration has gone so far beyond anything I ever imagined that it is impossible for me to believe any of this can be blamed on lack of communication, or sheer incompetence. I think the culture of the Administration is such that they really do believe they can do these things without concern for repercussions. Even Bill Clinton remained in office, and some people seem to look upon his years in office as some kind of Golden Age.
I’m afraid the folks who think they can do whatever they want without fear of the wrath of the American public are probably right. What can we do? We are in a representative republic, so we are separated from direct influence. The amount of time it takes to change the makeup of the legislature is too great, and the speed with which they can do damage too fast, for a “regime change” at the ballot box to be useful. Of course, it may also be that even should that be attempted, they have been in place long enough to have actually make it possible to influence national elections – I hate to use the term “rigged,” but there it is. Computer analysis tells them the very few counties in few states that tip the balance for one candidate or another. They only really have to concentrate on those areas. They don’t have to rig every precinct in every county in the US.
But I digress. Obviously the thin excuses made by Secretary Clinton have not led to calls for any action to be taken against her. No one else is supposedly at fault, and no one will be held responsible for the deaths of Americans in Libya. The Administration will weather another bumpy few weeks, but then something else will come along, and we will be waiting to hear about the next crisis.
I know this sounds pretty negative, but I don’t have a very optimistic view of my country right now. I never thought it would come to this in so many areas and so quickly. And I have absolutely no ideas on how to change it short of direct action by large groups of people – and I shudder to think what the aftermath of that would be like.
I’ve been listening to this tempest in a teapot bit about statements made by Rep. Louie Gohmert and NRA President Wayne LaPierre advocating having armed security in our schools. It just doesn’t make sense to argue this point, at least to me.
I taught for 26 years at a high school that had unarmed security personnel, and an armed “police liaison officer” – an officer from the local police department – in the building every day. The building is locked down during the day with only one open entrance. (The fact that it is completely open before 8 AM and after 3 PM is another point for another day.) It’s kept kind of quiet, but all the kids know about the security people in the building.
However, there are lots and lots of schools all over the US without any kind of dedicated security force. No matter why the gunman in the Sandy Hook school was there, whether he was mentally unstable, or what ever, the fact remains that the children in that school were unprotected.
There are security guards, some armed and some unarmed, in shopping malls, banks, office buildings, hospitals, parking structures, and all sorts of other facilities all over the US. Why do we think that putting a sign up that a local school is a “gun free zone” matters to anyone? It’s like those cities that declared themselves “nuclear free zones” during the Cold War. I’m sure the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces looked at those targeting maps and said, “We had better not target that city! It’s in a nuclear free zone!”
Obviously, having one armed (and trained) employee in an elementary school isn’t a complete deterrent, but it gives them a fighting chance. It also is a deterrent at least to some degree – if I was a crazed gunman I would probably go to a school known to have lighter security if I really wanted to do something horrible. (This of course disregards those deranged individuals looking to commit suicide by cop.)
But the folks mentioned above were mocked by the left when they said they though more armed security would be good for schools. I know one of their thin arguments is that when there is a gun available, someone could potentially get hurt. But I still say it gives our kids a fighting chance, and I would feel better knowing that my granddaughters attended a school with a security guard, or more than one. (I don’t know if their school has one or not.)
I don’t own a gun. However, I grew up next door to Camp Perry, where the National Rifle and Pistol Matches have been held for over a century. I learned how to shoot there one summer, and later in the Boy Scouts. Most of what we learned was safety, not marksmanship. I may not own a gun, but I have a good idea how to handle one safely even after all these years, and I have a healthy respect for what they can do – just as a do for a chain saw, or any other potentially dangerous tool. Many thousands of people who don’t own a gun aren’t afraid of them, or of those who own them. Yet talk about putting an armed person in a school to protect our kids and people go nuts. I don’t understand it.
The reason for the second amendment to the US Constitution is simple: at the time of the Revolution, the British Government wanted to keep regular folks in the American colonies from being able to rise up in revolution. The best way to do that was to take away their guns. If your security force has guns, and no one else does, it’s pretty simple who is going to be controlling whom. Back in the 18th century a gun was not just for protection – probably very few ever fired a gun in defense or in anger – but it was essential for protection against animals and was an important way to put food on the table. The Framers knew that a “well regulated” - as in well-organized, not as heavily-restricted – militia was important to the defense of the cities and towns in the US. The US Army didn’t really exist, not as a security force, and local militias had been instrumental in tipping the US Revolution in the colonists’ favor. Private ownership of firearms and organization at the local level of those gun owners were thought to be important deterrents against outside aggression.
Remember, the Spanish, British and French still had colonies in North America, and the security of the new USA couldn’t be achieved with “border control” with the wide-open frontiers to the west, north, and south. Towns were responsible for their own protection. They needed the ability to protect themselves – no US Army to roll in with tanks and aircraft for protection. Read some history of the War of 1812. The defense of the US was very, very difficult in those days. Every able-bodied man was part of the defense force for his home and country.
This is why the ownership of guns in Switzerland is so important. That country, throughout its history, could be overrun by any of its larger neighbors. The only way the country could defend itself was (and is) at the local level. The topography of the country and a trained, armed populace make it a difficult place to take by any aggressor.
We have a lot of people here in the US who were carefully trained in gun safety and use by the US military. We call them veterans. Many are out of work. Putting some of them to work in our schools – people who know what a real threat is and how to deal with it – sounds like a good idea to me.
But it’s not about that. You see, if we can take guns away from the general population, the government is the only group with guns. (Okay, and the gangs.) Should the government decide to push things, we have no recourse. We are unprotected. More and more Federal agencies have paramilitary arms and many are not afraid to break into a business or a home because of some violation or another. Really, did the Fish and Wildlife Service need to break into Gibson Guitars to seize what they believed were “illegal woods” used in guitar manufacture? Where was the clear and present danger?
I would prefer to have our last line of defense against a Federal government gone wild not be the 12th Street Players or the Vice Lords. I would like to think the government wouldn’t go so far as to imprison those who disagree with them, but what ever happened to that guy in California who did the video that supposedly touched off the demonstrations in the Middle East that led to the killings in Benghazi?
“But our well-regulated militia is the National Guard. They can have guns, but people shouldn’t have them in their homes.” Not so, grasshopper. That wasn’t how militias were set up, and the members kept their firearms in their homes. And we still should be able to. That’s crux of the problem, and those who whine that we are putting our kids in danger if we allow an armed security guard in their schools are just useful idiots for those with much darker motives.
So imagine that you are attending a play. The play is billed as being like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where decisions you make in the book lead you to a certain outcome, and if you decided differently, the outcome would be different.
OK, so you see the first half of the play. You’re not sure who is the hero or the villain. You have suspicions, but it’s pretty murky. At the intermission the audience is given ballots to vote on the outcome of the play. You get two choices. Everybody votes, and thinks this is pretty cool. We just decided what the actors would do next!
So the play continues, and one person (not the one you picked) is revealed as the villain. Well, you didn’t like it, and the plot at that point seemed kind of thin, but OK…obviously the majority ruled, right?
Then you find out, later, two things:
First, the votes were collected and thrown away. No one even looked at them. The playwright intended only one ending, and that’s the one you saw.
Second, the playwright did write another ending, and the actors even rehearsed it. But in all the performances of the play it was never used. The same guy was always the villain, it was always somewhat unsatisfying, and the audience left feeling kind of cheated.
The actor who was played the villain was never told what everybody else in the cast and crew knew…he was always going to be the villain. He would never get to be the hero. Even if the audience voted overwhelmingly for somebody else to be the bad guy, it was going to be ignored. The audience didn’t know, and the actor didn’t know. Everybody else involved with the play knew, and kind of laughed at the guy behind his back. Even the publicity people know it. They are pretty cynical about it, but they go along because they think it’s cool to be doing publicity for the play.
Yeah. That’s the US Congress. John Boehner doesn’t get that he is never going to be the hero. He just keeps playing the same part, and the same thing happens every time, and everybody else knows it except him – and of course, the American people.
Got it now?