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Under Siege From Within; A Society Trapped in a State of Self-Induced Fear and Paranoia

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the United States of Fear by Tom Englehardt

Trying to make sense of how these societal slaughters continue without a massive effort by this government and the people to bring an end to them is impossible. We spend hundreds of billions on wars in foreign nations to keep Americans safe and, all the while this society remains under siege by its own citizens. America is a country that is under attack by an enemy that exists within its borders.

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Perhaps psychiatrists could explain exactly what is going on in this society but, if they have the answers I'm not seeing or hearing them in the media. So, to my way of thinking it seems that there are two significant contributing factors directly connected to this most critical problem, both of which involve specific forms of fear and paranoia that are present in this society.

First, we have those borderline or full-blown psychopaths who also are paranoid. These are people who are suspicious of everything and everyone. They have many personal problems, are very angry and suspicious of others around them. They find it very difficult to relate to this society and people. They can't seem to control their own lives and so they blame others for their problems. At some point in time when they can no longer contain their rage some of these individuals just snap and then they become the monsters that we hear about in the news; those that commit horrific atrocities against their fellow Americans.

Then we have a growing number of people who are not psychopaths but who, based on the increasing violence around them, have been caught up in a state of fear and paranoia. These are the people who, after seeing and hearing accounts of monumental tragedies such as Columbine, Aurora, CO or Newton, CT, rush out to buy all types of weapons with which to arm themselves.

So, in this society in which most people still seem to be normal we have a very sizable number besides them that fall into one of these two specific categories: the paranoid psychopath on the one hand and the people who are living in a state of fear and paranoia because of what is happening around them on the other.

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This is a vicious circle; the more guns and weapons of civilian destruction that we have in America the more violence that is generated; then as this violence increases in intensity millions more Americans buy guns and arm themselves against this violence. And it goes around and around in a continuing circle of violence that is being fueled by the actions of these two elements of our society.

This vicious circle must be broken, these weapons that can slaughter scores of human beings in a matter of a couple of minutes must be eliminated so that they cannot fall into the hands of these psychopaths or anyone else who is prone to violence. When growing up my friends and I were not faced with such great danger; my children had no great fear of being attacked at school. But now we have a situation in which the children of America can have their lives snuffed out in an instant.

Only when sensible, reasonable restrictions on ownership of firearms are instituted will we see the people of this society begin to recover from their current state of fear and paranoia. One thing is absolutely certain; if we fail to strongly address this issue, if we don't stop the proliferation of these weapons of civilian destruction, then these societal attacks will intensify and hold the people of America hostage.

Those Americans who own firearms that are kept in their homes for self protection aren't the problem; those who use rifles for hunting aren't the problem; the large majority of NRA members who have expressed their support for reasonable, effective gun controls aren't the problem.

The problem lies directly with those in this nation that promote the interests of the manufacturers and distributors of all forms of firearms, those who run the gun shows, those who sell dangerous firearms and deadly bullets through the internet and the mail; those who hide behind the 2d Amendment in order to promote the sale of all this weaponry and reap the profits.

A society that cannot differentiate between the rights of Americans to own pistols or rifles for personal protection and/or hunting and those who fiercely fight against any restrictions whatsoever on assault weapons, deadly armor piercing bullets, and high-capacity magazines that hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition, is a society that has become unbalanced and lost its sense of reasoning.

The U.S. Congress has allowed the gun lobbyists and manufacturers to frame and control this critically important issue to the detriment of the American people. This issue is so critically important to this society, its people and, especially the future safety of its children, that decisions on impending legislation must be based on the principles of morality and not on political expedience.

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But, of course, we know full well who will go all out to prevent any meaningful gun control legislation from being enacted; it will be the Republican obstructionists, those who watched the Newtown, CT slaughter and, instead of joining with millions of Americans in attacking this problem with positive, substantive solutions, have once again made the protection of gun rights far more important than the protection of this society and its children. What stone cold hearts! If they dare to block legislation, as I fully expect them to do, then they should be castigated and labeled as pariahs and moral degenerates.

America has massive problems far greater than are present in other advanced nations of the world. These other countries don't have anywhere near the gun ownership that America has, not nearly as many deaths by guns that our nation has; and the people in these other countries don't show evidence of being so paranoid and full of fear that they need guns to protect themselves from each other.

What other countries have "concealed carry" laws by which their citizens can "pack heat" as they go about their daily lives? The U.S. has 49 states which allow citizens to carry concealed guns; and very soon, Illinois, will soon join them. What's next, will we begin seeing angry people squaring off in the streets, with itchy trigger fingers, about to "draw" on each other?

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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