Guns guns guns. Who got the guns. Blows my mind away. Melt them or keep them in case we need them? Who got the guns we say?

Posted: September 1, 2014 in For your information, knowledge is power, question we got a question, Uncategorized, We fight on

..this is an appropriation collage meaning it has been gleamed from many sources in the service of the people.

“We May Be Fighting A Losing Battle, But We Are Going To Have A Lot of Fun Trying To Win.”…Brownie Mc Ghee

However noble it seems to the liberal crowd the idea behind the new sculpture visiting Bushnell Park and the sculpture itself leave us with more questions than answers. Our jury is still out on if the sculpture is any good or not and we aren’t even going to attempt an art review of this work. But questions yes we have questions swirling around in our head. I am struggling with this gun sculpture idea in the park, with gun buy backs, with pacifism, with the people armed against the state, with the response in Ferguson Mo. by the cops, with who turns in these guns, with what type of guns are turned in, and all the other things that pop up to haunt me around this subject on what I think is just another piece of liberal feel good art of these troubling times.

The idea that stretches back to Ecclesiastes  is more powerful than the work of two hands shaking. The words of the prophet Isaiah  called on nations to beat their  swords into plowshares so the good of growth of nourishment would come from the weapon. Of course the liberals would cry out, “Bread and Roses,” if I attacked the idea of turning guns into jewelry or some form of sculpture. Can’t win in some ways. I don’t know anymore if art is good for the soul of if it is just a tool of the ruling class and the artist a collaborator. Some say that art heals, I know that a good song can move me to take action, to understand its time to move and get something done rather than just sing in the shower. What we need to do is to build on the choir. The older I get the less I know and here and now must salute the young who keep it moving and keep it real. Who are able to tell it like it is and not tire.

Let’s listen to Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee sing Down By The Riverside one of the first anti-war songs that I ever sang along to. One of the first songs that made me feel a part of a whole working towards something that was good. How I believed that if we keep singing those swords would be beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks

“The government estimates there are more than 310 million guns in America today, nearly enough to arm every man, woman and child in the country.”….

Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson

Police in Ferguson Missouri, Juliana Jimenz/Slate

Sometimes I go far to the left with this and fully support what Lenin said about the unarmed Proletariat when the bourgeoisie, the police and army are well supplied. What do we as the people go up against the police or military with our brooms? Our rakes? Loudly singing Kumbaya my lord? Come and save us. Well this person learned a long time ago “No savior from on high delivers.” What do we do and how do we fight against a well armed police, the military, the drones, the tanks, the Long Range Acoustic Device, rubber bullets,bean bag rounds, tear gas, pepper spray water cannons, and bodies covered with gas masks, body armor and carrying riot shields and the biggest weapon of all their fear, hatred and aggression against people they deem not worthy of even living. No one thing that many of us learned years ago the police are not our friends, are not members of the working class but only service the interests of the ruling class and the bourgeoisie. They are indeed enemies of the people and are well supplied.

The  capitalist and their stooges are prepared to use maximum deception, extreme militarization, questionable measures and violence to crush the voices for justice and to defend their rule.

Melt The Guns

Some say, The only positive effect there is from gun buyback programs is that it makes the city officials look like they are doing something worthwhile to help prevent crime, even though they may actually be increasing crime.  Other than that, the programs are useless or negative and should be stopped before any more houses are burglarized for their guns…Godfather Politics, Do Gun Buybacks Really Work.

A wonderful photo op and a boost in the propaganda of making us all safer.

gun buy back 2

Guns collected in a gun buyback New Jersey. Photo Patti Sapone/Star Ledger

The rifles, pistols and shotguns always look impressive when they’re displayed at news conferences celebrating the end of gun buyback campaigns. Spread across tables or piled high into overflowing stacks, all those weapons reinforce the notion that trading cash for guns works. It gets guns off the street, organizers say, and makes the city safer. Yep, all those guns in the picture above even had me believing for a few seconds.

The problem, according to years of research, is that it does neither.

According to the National Research Council of the National Academies report (Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review) in 2004, the buyback programs’ effect on crime rates is negligible at best.  Their study showed that many of the guns turned in are old, inherited from previous owners or are in need of repair.  Very few of the guns were found to be used in crimes.

“Before a standing army can rule the people must be disarmed. By disarming the people it is easy to enslave them.”

“An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to be treated like slaves. We cannot, unless we have become bourgeois pacifists or opportunists, forget that we are living in a class society from which there is no way out, nor can there be, save through the class struggle. In every class society, whether based on slavery, serfdom, or, as at present, wage-labor, the oppressor class is always armed.” (1 )

The Huey P. Newton Gun Club

“We need to arm ourselves, not to attack anybody, but in self-defense,” said Darrin X, a representative of the New Black Panther Party. “We can’t let people just come into our community, whether they are law enforcement or not, and just gun our people down and there is no accountability.”

Many of us in the radical queer community have long had a connection to Huey P. Newton dating back to 1970. The Black Panther Party had put out a call for a Revolutionary People’s Constitution Convention to draft a new constitution that would represent all oppressed peoples. Members of the Gay Liberation Front were invited to attend this important convention. Huey P. Newton also in that year expressed his solidarity with the gay power movement and proclaimed that “homosexuals might be the most oppressed people in society in his famous speech on August 15, 1970. Newton talked about a very important idea one that sometimes escapes folks who are fighting for rights the idea of forming revolutionary solidarity between oppressed groups. This solidarity should be as strong today as it was back in the late 60’s and 70’s as it is becoming clearer by day and night that it is needed now more than ever.

We reprint Huey P. Newton’s speech in our notes. As radical queers we stand in full support of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club and the idea of self defense and self determination. We stand in full support of policing ones own community as we have seen over and over again that when the man’s police come into minority neighborhoods someone always ends up dead. Folks have also got to understand that the racist, homophobic, anti people of color white supremacists are everywhere arming themselves to the teeth getting ready to unleash all out war on  any of us who stand against them. No amount of praying and swaying, of singing peace songs, of all men are brothers is gonna stop their madness. We know it but we had better know it again.

The Huey P. Newton Gun Club today stands with the oppressed of our society and in an open-carry rally and march this statement made that resounds with with the oppressed everywhere. “We think that all black people have the right to self-defense and self-determination,” said Huey Freeman, a march organizer. “We believe that we can police ourselves and bring security to our own communities.” The open-carry rally was organized by the Huey P. Newton Gun Club to promote self-defense and community policing in response to recent police shootings, both nationally and locally and was held in South Dallas.

“The recent murders of unarmed black, brown, and whites across the United States of America has eradicated trust in the police,” the gun club’s website states.

Individuals across this nation have been stripped of due process, subjected to state-sponsored police terrorism, and continue to suffer the fate of being terminated extra-judicially.

In Dallas the police have murdered over 70 unarmed individuals, most of the black and brown men, over the last ten years. Excluding a recent incident where police testimony was contradicted by surveillance footage, there have been no indictments since 1973.

The people, who are gunned down and murdered by violent and militarized police forces, have formed the Huey P. Newton Gun Club, for the specifc purpose of self defense and community policing.

“The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” (and may we add to this line of Thomas Jefferson’s, to protect ourselves against the racist hatred of the police and white wing racists.)

Guns into Art.  Is it just A part of the deception that something is being done when it is not?

gun art 22

A new sculpture will be unveiled in Bushnell Park in Hartford on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The design of the sculpture, made of 2,000 pounds of steel and wood, is two hands shaking.

It’s a message of goodwill and peaceful cooperation, a harmonious message, especially when compared to the the steel and wood’s original use. They were illegal firearms purchased in gun buyback operations in New Jersey. **

Connected to this sculpture is a jewelry making firm call Jewelry for a Cause. Jewelry for a Cause in our opinion charges far too much for a bracelet and other bangles for it to be of the people. Check it out at their web site. Jewelry for a Cause eventually raised enough money to buy back 395 guns in Newark. “This is not about the Second Amendment. This is not a legal issue,” Jessica Mindich the founder of Raise the Caliber said. “These are illegal guns and they should be off the streets.” (2 )

In a recent buy back program in Newark NJ 147 guns were turned in. Among all the guns was one weapon that was stolen in a home robbery committed in Manahawkin New Jersey in 1999. The following is a list of weapons turned in: defaced weapons, 2; 9mm, 12; rifles, 27; shotguns, 32; revolvers, 67; semi-automatics, 45; and assault weapons, 3, for a total of 174 weapons turned in. Jewelry for a Cause sponsored this gun buy back.( 3)

? The first gun turned in at the Calvary Gospel Church, in Newark’s tough South Ward, was an old shotgun. It wasn’t sawed off, and it wasn’t semiautomatic. It was made for hunting. The person who brought it in was paid $150. (4)

Critics like Jon Vernick, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University who has co-authored two studies on the question, say there is no evidence that buybacks reduce gun violence and that the money spent on the programs could be put to better use.

Vernick, says buybacks do little to reduce street crime and have little real impact on the number of guns in circulation. The Hopkins Center studies firearms and gun violence from a public health standpoint, and Vernick has written numerous reports on the subject, including one of the few that looks at the impact of buyback programs. “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that gun buybacks reduce rates of street crime in the communities where the buybacks occur,” he said.

There is a misconception, he says, that the number of guns that may be collected translates into a reduction in functional firepower on the street. But the evidence that does exist tends to show the opposite, he said. “The people who participate don’t tend on average to be the highest-risk people,” he said. “The highest-risk people are young males, and the people who participate are disproportionately older people and females.

“And the guns turned in are not the highest-risk guns,” he added. “The highest-risk guns are newer. They are semi-automatic pistols, have higher calibers. Disproportionately, the guns turned in are older, lower-caliber, or not functional.” ( 5)

What gun buybacks may do, however, is divert money and attention from more effective approaches. That money would be better spent elsewhere, he said.

“They don’t get a lot of crime guns off the street,” said Matt Makarios, a criminal justice professor who studied buyback programs while at the University of Cincinnati in 2008. “You’re only going to reduce the likelihood of gun crimes if you reduce the number of guns used in crimes.”

Guns into Shovels, A Most Wonderful Work Of Art All Around.

guns into shovels

In an updated twist to the old psalm of beating ones swords into plowshares Mexican artits Pedro Reyes has made shovels from 1,527 guns turned in. In a article, Artist Melts 1,527 Guns To Make Shovels For Tree Planting, Britt Ligget begins this way: The city of Culiacán, in western Mexico has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country. After speaking with family members of victims of drug crimes in the city, artist Pedro Reyes decided to use its prolific amount of firearms to help the local botanical garden. In the ultimate act of recycling, Reyes and the garden started a campaign for residents to hand over their guns to the artist in exchange for a coupon that they could use to buy electronics or household appliances. He collected 1,527 guns for the project — Palas por Pistolas — had them melted down and transformed into 1,527 shovel heads that are now being used to plant trees in the community.

Read more: Artist Melted Weapons of War to Make Shovels for Tree Planting | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Pedro Reyes says he believes art should address social issues like gun violence, even if the issue is difficult or controversial.

Pedro Reyes with some of his instruments.

Now we have to say we like Mr. Reyes concept far better than just making a sculpture for people to go and look at. We like the idea of making an art object that can be used for planting life, like the plowshare and its job in the field. The ploughshare is often used to symbolize creative tools that benefit mankind, as opposed to destructive tools of war, symbolized by the sword, a similar sharp metal tool with an arguably opposite use. Yes we must agree, “Yes, I do believe guns are bad. Because, you know it’s an industry that to thrive, it needs conflict.” Check out more of this story in Greg Allen’s piece, Artist transforms guns to make music literally.

Pedro Reyes: DISARM: Presented by Sennheiser MOMENTUM.

Mr. Reyes also makes musical instruments. Wonderful! ” “the concept is about taking weapons that are destructive in nature and chaotic and trying to make them for something else. So, instead of objects of destruction, they become objects of creation.”…  Zach Pedigo, Jazz Grad Student, speaking about playing a instrument made from guns. But along with the beautiful sounds the music that draws all of us in, that holds us is the ugly reminder that this music is being made by objects that in their former life were guns. An ugly reminder of what was haunts us. The same with the gun sculpture, we see the guns we are reminded. Perhaps we need that, that reminder that this flute, this work of art I am playing or admiring may or may not have blown a hold in someones head.

Seattle Gun Buy Back 2013. The Good and The Bad  (and with lots of ugly)

 

Notes.

(1) Vladmir Ilyich Lenin: The Military Programme of The Proletarian revolution. II.

**We couldn’t find just how many illegal guns were turned in or how the authorities arrived at this.

( 2) Women behind Newark’s initiative to turn bullets into bracelets is sued.

( 3) Results of  a Gun Amnesty/Gun Buy Back issued by Newark.

(4 ) Notes from a gun buyback. Op Ed NY Times

(5)  Do Gun Buybacks Reduce Gun Violence, Hank Kalet, New Jersey Spotlight.

Huey P. Newton’s August 15, 1970 speech on gay rights and women’s rights.

Huey P. Newton:
During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion. I say ” whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppresed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a
person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary,  because they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are counterrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action. If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies,
and we need as many allies as possible.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity  in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the most appropriate manner.

Many of us in the gay liberation movement remarked Thank You Huey. It was really the first time in the revolutionary struggle that I as a young queer truly felt a part of something and that something was revolutionary solidarity among the oppressed. We no longer were living in a one issue world of fighting for only “gay” rights but for the rights of all people and all people for us. This I believe was a real turning point in our battle as the old left and many homophobes on the new left after Huey P. Newton’s statement, had to move out from under their heavy hand over and on our people and into a new way of thinking and into the new day that we were all seeking and helping to dawn. In simple terms they could no longer consider themselves to be a part of the revolutionary solidarity as long as they clinged to out modded ideas on “gays”. (we use the term gay here as that was the term used as an umbrella term for the LGBT community at this time.)

Check Out This Excellent Article.

The following is from an excellent investigation, Missing The Target: a comparison of buyback and fatality related guns. This report is published on the Injury Prevention site and should be read by everyone.

Abstract

Objectives: To determine whether the firearms recovered in buyback programs in a large urban community are the types most closely associated with firearm fatalities in the same geographic area.

Methods: The type, caliber, and manufacturer of 941 handguns recovered in Milwaukee County 1994–96 buyback programs were compared with 369 homicide related and 125 suicide related handguns used in Milwaukee during 1994–97.

Results: Buyback handguns differed substantially from those used in homicide and suicide. One third of buyback handguns were semiautomatic pistols versus two thirds of homicide related handguns (p<0.001) and 40% of suicide related handguns (p=NS). Over 75% of buyback handguns were small caliber compared with 24% of homicide and 32% of suicide handguns (p<0.001). The top two manufacturers of buyback handguns represented 30% of these guns but only 5% of fatality related handguns (p<0.001). Companies currently out of business manufactured 15% of buyback handguns versus 7% of fatality related handguns (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Handguns recovered in buyback programs are not the types most commonly linked to firearm homicides and suicides. Although buyback programs may increase awareness of firearm violence, limited resources for firearm injury prevention may be better spent in other ways.

For more information on the gun sculpture that soon will be unveiled in Bushnell Park Hartford Ct. on Wednesday September 3 at 1 pm see the article “Gun Scuplture’s Goodwill Mesage To Be Unveiled At Bushnell Park,  by Susan Dunne. This article also contains a photo or two of the work and the artist. Follow up after Wednesday’s unveiling via the Hartford Courant. If we can get down to the park this week and our camera is working we will take a photo or two of the sculpture made from guns for posting here.

UPDATE 9/3/2014: Here is an article from the Hartford Courant about the unveiling of the sculpture. Sculpture made of gun parts unveiled in Bushnell Park written by Alexander Putterman.

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