US Gunning For Trouble

| Educate!

Above photo: Gun retailers have reported a surge in sales in the US. Sky News.

The spectre of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has darkened decidedly, with President Trump warning of a harrowing next few weeks from a surging disease death toll.

Into the malevolent mix are reports of American citizens buying up firearms as if there is no tomorrow.

In recent weeks, gun sales have hit record highs amid public fears of a breakdown in law and order. Most of the sales were among first-time buyers, according to reports. During March, before the government-ordered shutdown of businesses due to the coronavirus epidemic, mandatory FBI background checks showed a huge spike suggesting gun sales had gone through the roof.

Some 3.7 million checks were carried out in that month alone, corresponding to individuals purchasing firearms.

Bear in mind too that each individual can buy several guns under the same application. Bear in mind too that the US is already the leading nation for citizens owning firearms, with an estimated 390 million pieces in circulation, equivalent to more than one weapon for every citizen. Bear in mind too that the US is the world’s leader in deaths from mass shootings.

That’s in “normal” times, never mind the highly anxious present development over COVID-19.

Every year, official figures show some 11,000 Americans are killed in homicides with firearms. Nearly double that figure die in suicides involving guns, putting the annual death toll from gun violence at well over 30,000. The US death toll from the COVID-19 disease is heading towards 10,000 as the number of fatalities escalates. Official estimates are warning of COVID-19 mortality in the US reaching as high as 200,000.

But what could add to the deadly impact of the pandemic is the prevalence of guns and the growing fear of social chaos. This is what Trump may have been hinting at when he said last month that the longer the economic shutdown goes on the more casualties will result. In recent days, the president has voiced concern that the US economy cannot go on indefinitely “paying people not to work”.

Trump doesn’t want the economy to tank because with that so will his reelection hopes flounder. More than that, however, Trump and the corporate class know that the capitalist economy is like a bicycle. Once it stops moving it will fall over. So, the imperative is to get businesses re-opened and workers back on the job.

What if millions of workers don’t want to go back to the front line knowing that their lives may be at risk from a pandemic that has not been contained?

The near-mutinous episode on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier speaks of a simmering mood against the authorities. When the Pentagon bosses sacked Captain Brett Crozier for sounding the alarm about infections among his 4,000 crew, the crew cheered their commander as a hero for putting their health and safety above orders from the admirals.

Elsewhere, the critical shortage of protective equipment for essential workers such as healthcare personnel shows that the US authorities have not done nearly enough to ensure public safety. If workers are forced back to their jobs by authorities who are seen as callous and uncaring – motivated only by private profit – then that will surely breed further massive resentment and anger.

How will people feed their families if government welfare checks dry up, as Trump has hinted they will dry up owing to fiscal pressure?

Some 10 million Americans have lost their jobs so far due to the COVID-19 pandemic with total job losses possibly soaring to 47 million. Oh yeah, Washington can find trillions for military spending every year, but when it comes to supporting workers and their families during a time of crisis, well then suddenly there must be fiscal prudence. Such twisted priorities tell people that, as far their governing class is concerned, they are expendable.

It’s not hard to imagine hungry and desperate people forcing their way into closed shops and stores to raid for food, medicines and other essential supplies if it comes down to a survival situation. The ethics of feeding one’s children takes precedence over legal formalities of paying at a checkout – particularly when there is no checkout operating.

Seems too like it’s not just the US citizenry who are expecting trouble ahead. The US government has mobilised over 21,000 troops belonging to the National Guard to be deployed across states in the event of social disorder.

The US is not a good place to be right now. A pandemic worsened by government mishandling of the crisis, massive social insecurity among impoverished workers, and enough guns and ammo out there to wage a war. When Trump warns that the worse is yet to come, he may not even realise just how bad that is.

  • Marble Rye

    “It’s not hard to imagine hungry and desperate people forcing their way into closed shops and stores to raid for food, medicines and other essential supplies if it comes down to a survival situation. The ethics of feeding one’s children takes precedence over legal formalities of paying at a checkout – particularly when there is no checkout operating.”

    Glad someone finally wrote this but it doesn’t go far enough IMO.

    I’ve known a handful of gun nuts in my time. They’re the first to bloviate on about freedom and liberty and crap like that, but if they discover that they’ve spent way too much on guns and ammo and not enough on food and other actual necessities, it won’t be just stores and shops they’ll raid. I can easily see them donning ski masks and committing home invasions of the poor and vulnerable people of color, and many of those times shooting and killing those whose home they invade. Their first attacks will be against undocumented workers, because they have no legal protections. Mindset of a bully, go after the weakest. And the excuse will be just as was quoted above, as they sob in court: “I was just wanting to feed my kids.” Right, and you had to kill someone to do that. Screw you. So let’s be careful here, these ham-and-eggers shouldn’t be allowed to go hide behind their children after they get busted for gunning down innocent people. Which they will do.

    I loathe HRC to the hilt but when she called half (not all) of Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables”, she was exactly right. Because I can attest first-hand that they’re full-blown fascists and I’m not going to entertain anyone, including Chris Hedges who I do like but he’s wrong on this, telling me that the reason these people are like this is because they have been alienated from society and don’t have economic stability. That’s garbage, as if giving them a good-paying, stable job will make them no longer racists, xenophobes, homophobes, sexists, etc. The 1950s-60s were a time when (white) America had the most robust lives imaginable for the time. It was also a time when racism was at a high-point, Jim Crow south and all that. So how is it possible that these financially-secure suburban whites were at the same time superracists? So goes Hedges’ theory.

    No, these gun nuts need to be either in a prison or a mental institution. While not everyone who has a gun or two is a “gun nut”, the fact is numbers matter, and if you’re the type who has a gun safe loaded with dozens of firearms that are designed for efficient mass murder of humans, then high chances are you also have a serious mental disorder and in turn are unsafe for society. Guns aren’t your core obsession; killing people is. And you will prove yourselves as nothing more than armed sociopathic flagsuckers the more America spirals to its death.

  • Richard

    The way things are going we just might revert back to the old hunter gatherer days. Between idiots with guns and idiots voting for greedy crooks to run the country into the ground a gun or two might not be a bad idea.

  • ANTONIO

    ” In recent days, the president has voiced concern that the US economy cannot go on indefinitely “paying people not to work”.

    Yet China did just that and there are no new cases in China (except for travelers). Also, under socialism you cannot get fired, so there is no unemployment.