Toys for idiots

Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost 5,000 dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders. – Chris Rock

Why was the president’s political adviser carrying a machinegun in his car? I presume it’s because he’s been told that anybody who has ever been in a shoot-out armed only with a pistol wished he had a machinegun.

I know Ronald Llamas has a right to self-defense. There’s no question about that. What I don’t understand is why he did not simply get more bodyguards or bullet-proof his car or walk away from his job or take the ultimate measure to frustrate assassins: shoot himself in the head before they get a chance to shoot him. Just kidding.

I’m also baffled why the president turned himself into an echo chamber for the pro-gun lobby. “He (Llamas) received threats to his life. The right to self defense is accorded by the Constitution,” the president said, ala Wayne La Pierre of the National Rifle Association of America. Wayne La Pierre. That sounds like the name of a French bakery or a hair salon. That bulge under Wayne’s jacket is probably a baguette or a hair dryer. I think David Letterman said that first. But it could also have been me.

Local gun advocates pick up their mantras from their American counterparts. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” So what do we get rid of first, guns or hands that shoot guns?

“We have to carry a gun because cops are never around when you need them.” Yes, show the world you can draw your gun faster than it will take anyone with a gun already drawn to pull the trigger. “When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.” And if everybody has a gun how are we supposed to tell who is an outlaw? Simple. We tattoo “Good Guy” on the forehead of every gun-toting law-abiding citizen, right?

At the beginning of martial law, Ferdinand Marcos, the smartest politician since Manuel Quezon, decreed a total gun ban. Gun-related crimes and deaths ground to a halt. Unfortunately, Marcos granted exemptions before a no-gun society could take root.

His successors could have reinstituted the gun ban but not one of them did. So here we are today. A presidential adviser armed with a machinegun and passion-shootings inside shopping malls. And still gun advocates insist, “It could have been prevented if the victim also had a gun” or “That only means there is an urgent need for stricter gun controls.”

Only Nandy Pacheco points out the obvious, there are no shootings where there are no guns. If only he can think as clearly when it comes to the RH Bill…well, we all have our blind spots.

Both pro and anti-gun groups can produce reams of statistics and studies to support their respective advocacy. But I don’t care about their studies and statistics. And neither should you. Because the real issue is about fundamental fairness, parity, if you will. That’s what we should be talking about. If some people can have guns, albeit after meeting certain strict criteria, and others can’t, for whatever reason, then we are creating a situation where a select few enjoy an unfair advantage.

What’s the justification for that? Doesn’t everybody deserve an even break? Why don’t we level the playing field, either guns are available to everyone or nobody is allowed a gun. Let’s debate that and decide which situation we prefer, guns for all or no guns at all. And we can also cut right through that crap about the right to bear arms. That right exists in Wayne’s world not in ours.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Uniffors.com. Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • J_ag

    I just read in some news reports that the soldiers has to manually reload their magazines
    in the middle of the battle. 

    Why enter hostile territory  with bullets not loaded into magazines? Where was their coordinated artillery and air support? These are young men whose human lives were wasted by neglect and stupidity..  

    Achieving peace is a strategic goal… 

    However the tactics to be used to get there is different. Armed conflict cannot be taken off the table as a tactic… Why is the Secretary of Defense quiet and why does the President have to speak directly to the issue. 

    Someone should teach that guy in the palace the difference. The iron hand of the state is there for a reason… 

    The word Imagine is is simply that… There is an egregious imbalance here between the State and this particular insurgency. Now is the time to build up military capabilities and prepare for all out war and bring this option to the table and make sure the other side knows about it and prepare for all out siege and war and start peace talks… 

    You cannot negotiate when the other side knows your iron hand is missing.  

    • The Secretary of Defense has long experience as PSG, his field orientation is as presidential security guard and not much on field operation and warfare, so has not much to say on what are happening in Mindanao.

      That’s the reason why he’s so quiet lang.

      • Manuelbuencamino

        roberto,

        The SND was a former army chief of staff. In other words he was the commanding general of the army! 

        Voltaire Gazmin has a lot of experience in field operation and warfare. In fact if you look at his military record you will see that he spent more time in the field than pushing paper. He was a field officer before Cory assigned him to the PSG and he returned to the field after PSG and a short stint as defense attache in Washington DC.  

        You obviously know nothing about him otherwise you wouldn’t have given short shrift to his sterling military record.

        • Anonymous

          So the Pinas GRP SAF team ran out of ammo because field operations could not supply them, damn, that is sick!!!  And Pilipinas troops surrenderered when there is already history —MILF’s murdering GRP’s who had surrendered.

          And Inquirer-dot- netreports :  President Noynoy says no need for hot pursuit….  not against the MILF “lost command” nor against the original target — ASG’s.   Malakanyang is not even going to protest to the MILF, much less ask the MILF to surrender those who murdered the GRP troops who had already surrendered.

    • Anonymous

      What I see is a boy in President Noynoy with regards the MILF insurgency.   His lack of a firmer hand providing a stronger leadership after the murder of Pilipinas prisoners byMILF is embarassing.

      I understand him saying he wants to pursue MILF talks,  but (in my opinion) he should have shown a more adult passionate anger at the murders — he should have called his buddies at the MILF and insisted in a shouting match if necessary for the MILF leadership to surrender the murderers.

      And latest news :  PresiNoynoy has directed AFP — Pilipinas marines, special forces to stand down — there will be no hot pursuits of the murdererous MILF group. (I thought in their own words, Lacson, Enrile and Estrada are asking Noynoy — hah? takot ka ba?)

      • Anonymous

        Ja_G:  GovtRepubPilipinas having to reload their magazines was not the reason for them getting butchered/murdered.   Things went bloody bad when the GovtRepPilipinas troops in Basilan ran out of ammunition.  Lesson of Napoleon in Russia — supply line.  The GovpRepTroops may have been told in their classes “kami ang bahala, may air-drop”  but not this time.  I hope in their next classes, they get told — surrender to MILF not a wise idea. “Lost command” irrelevant, surrender to MILF not wise.  Murder waits, them as victims.

        (**and you are correct asking where was the artillery support/air support? a wall-of-fire between MILF and surrounded troops would have helped. Apparently, someone was natutulog with command and control or planning.)

  • J_ag

    Embedded in the American psyche is the notion of natural law versus civil law. 
    When people perceive they are oppressed they have the right to bring down their representative government by force if necessary. 

    Hence the right to bear arms in the U.S. constitution. Sovereign citizen… 

    When Obama received his Nobel peace prize he diverged from M L King by saying succinctly that there are evil people out there and wars are sometimes necessary. 

    Once again we are talking about ideal conditions versus real conditions. 

    I have spent many years abroad but never had the experience of being present just before or after a bloody gunfight. However in Makati the most modern built up city in the country, I have been been present after a botched armored car robbery and was around just minutes before a armed robbery occurred in Greenbelt. 

    I would never consider carrying a weapon outside the home as the temptation to take out ones frustration against jeepney drivers and bus drivers who swerve suddenly could be too great.

    But protection at home is necessary. In a country where most places are guarded by heavily armed private security guards contrasting with other countries to include the U.S.that has been victimized by terrorism where movements are free. 

    Here one has to be processed when entering buildings and frisked when entering malls.

    Why? 

    Those who can afford it have private security , private garbage pick ups and build their own roads. Their status gives them access to power and the agents of the state that bear arms become their private employees. 

    The problem is more of having an effective state.  

    Now recently a large number of soldiers were killed because they entered “foreign territory” according to their slayers the MILF. 

    Politics of command demand that the State assert its primary authority over areas co-opted by insurgents.  If it fails that then the reality sinks in that the State is weak. 

    This cannot be allowed to continue.  Either withdraw all Philippine troops from these areas or prepare for war in those areas. 

    The middle approach has long been erased. 

    • Agree na naman ako Kay J_ag dito. 

      I trust that this new government knows the proper thing to do in that chaotic situation there in Mindanao and solve that pestering trouble with finality where no other administration in the past can do.

      Come on, President Noynoy, please show us you’re a cut above the rest. Use your smoking guns if need be. The Filipino people, Mr. President, we are all behind you on this.

  • Joe America

    I enjoy shooting myself. Something manly about splattering someone’s imaginary brains out. My grandpa taught me to shoot. It isn’t easy nailing a jackrabbit at 50 yards with a .22 rifle when you are nine years old. The army honed my skills and taught me the difference between a weapon and a gun. A gun is actually more fun than a weapon, but didn’t do much to defeat the enemy. Then I got shifted to really big weapons, like 105mm howitzers and  155’s and even 8 inch boomers. Boy howdy, those were a kick. Literally.

    I think the laws restricting guns should be tightened so tight that guns eventually go away. Right now, though, I am looking for one. Guns and poverty go hand it hand, I suspect.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Joe,

      we have a president who is a gun nut so we won’t be seeing guns go away during his term. Get a gun, preferably several high caliber rapid fire ones because if your neighbor has a gun then you should have at least two.

    • Anonymous

      Non Pinoy-citizens  carrying guns on Pilipinas soil is a no-no, unless you wear China military uniform.  Doing that is is an invitation to some super-nationalistic policeman enforcing the laws on you —- ehem/ehem.

      I bet a lawyer would tell you to that it won’t hurt if the paperwork points to a wife’s cousin who kind of accidentally left the pistol (or AK-47 or Barrett .50BMG) gun  in your house (or in your car).

  • You ain’t giving us no good choice, ManuelB.  

    Guns for all and we’ll be shooting at each other in no time, then we’re all dead. 

    No guns at all and only outlaws will have guns, then we’re all dead too.

    There must be some other choice.

    • Manuelbuencamino

      Nah there is no other choice. 

      Just arrest anybody who owns a gun and throw them in jail They did it during martial law and it worked, until exemptions were allowed.

      • Anonymous

        Hah hah hah… dreaming is nice.  Reality is Noynoy Admin (pareho lang ng GuLOrrYA Macapagal-Arroyo admin)  has instructed the NBI, PNP, AFP not to make arrests inside  MILF territory  ( even as the AFP/PNP unable to prevent MILF “lost command”  from burning villages or even  “Buendia Avenue bombing January 2011”).

        I hope PresiNoynoy has told Ochoa or Lacierda to prepare for him a list of more wide-awake folks to replace current PNP and AFP commands when they retire or get promoted.