Weapons as Entertainment

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I must watch too much television. I try to stay informed without it, but since I am living on a limited budget in a very cold climate, I have used television as an escape on occasion. While reading STR every day, among other alternative news outlets to keep abreast of what is happening on planet Earth at any one time, it occurred to me that the Military Industrial Complex, which owns all the big media kings, is purposely producing some very interesting television programming designed to sell military hardware to ' the government? Certainly not to you or me. So why should we watch these shows? They are highly entertaining, for one thing (see if violence doesn't sell), and they make Americans think we are truly an invincible military power for another. We have some true geniuses out there creating all these cutting edge technological wonder weapons, right here in good old America !

I was channel surfing (an old pastime) the other day when I started noticing some interesting things. It all started to fall into place. There were military sales pitches on several channels last night, when I clicked past the History Channel's 'Dogfights.' Then I plowed past the Military Channel, and was lucky to find a segment on the Discovery Channel's 'Future Weapons' about all the newest ways taxpayers may fund the killing machines of the near future. Almost all of them had commercials for the Army recruiting crews. It dawned upon me that warfare was entertainment to most people. No, more precisely, that the SELLING of warfare by the military industrial complex owned media moguls was--entertainment.

Killing people and breaking things is and always has been entertainment. Along with visually spectacular graphics-laced video games depicting the deaths of your enemies by your hands--and mainstream movies about blood and gore, or slash and burn (like the movie 300), we have television channels dedicated to supporting and maintaining the Military Industrial Complex.

'Future Weapons' that night was about the new MK-777 artillery gun which is faster, better, and harder hitting than the old howitzers it replaces. Then there was the one on the new 416 Barrett sniper rifle that can blow a human being in half at over a mile away, thus increasing the range beyond that of the 'venerable old' .50 caliber rifle now in use that can barely sustain those distances without a lot of help. The 40 mm automatic grenade launcher was interesting as well, with multiple warhead deployment, one mobile infantryman can knock down a whole four bedroom house and kill all inside in under half a minute. The new Dragon Skin armor will take bullet after bullet, allowing the wearer to maintain his rates of fire to 'suppress his enemies.'

Suppress his enemies? You mean murder them, right? This is what all of these things do, you know, is take human lives (or enhance the ability to take even MORE human lives than otherwise might be possible). How much of this stuff falls into the hands of our police forces? About 70%? 90%?

These things taken one at a time were bad enough, but I started noticing LOTS of programming with deep, militaristic ideologies rooted within them. Not only militarism per se, but advertising to every person in America what we should (or are going to) spend our tax dollars on for defense. But the thing that is so insidious to me was that each of these programs were, to a show, provided as ENTERTAINMENT only. Certainly shallow entertainment, but I asked a few of my co-workers about a few of the shows. One guy never misses Future Weapons unless it is a re-run. 'I can't wait until our troops get that new Dragon Skin armor!' 'I want one of those Barrett 416 rifles. It isn't covered by the latest laws that make the .50 illegal to hunt with.'

And this is just the military shows. There are almost ten times as many police shows, and every police force in America today is highly militarized, thanks to our overly generous tax donations. SWATs, body armor, fully automatic assault weapons with laser sight systems, tactical lights, sniper rifles, stun grenades, TASERs. You name it, violence is king of pop culture entertainment.

I started thinking about 'The Andy Griffith Show' ' the one with Opie. If you are 30 or under, you might not remember it, but Andy Griffith was the first public relations police show in America . It was designed to comfort and appease the American people that all of our law enforcement personnel were highly ethical and loaded with common sense. It was made to make law enforcement look good, and criminals to look bad. It was injected into American popular culture at that time, and it made law enforcement personnel seem like good friends who were primarily concerned with the rights of the people. Our friends.

It has been a long time on the air already, but the new Andy Griffith show is called 'Cops.' We also have a huge group of 'CSI'-type shows. The terrible show 'Cops' tries to emulate the old Andy Griffith by showing the criminals up close and personal, to make them look bad, and how 'good' the law enforcement population uses common sense and good judgment when violating the civil rights of the people they arrest. I cannot watch one single episode where the rights of the victims of this police insanity are not trampled on by the jack booted thugs pretending to be law-abiding policemen. And the cops always have on body armor. And the SWAT teams are still kicking in doors in no-knock warrants (raids, really) and, on rare occasion, killing some poor schmuck who thinks he is defending his property and rights by pointing his gun (in self defense) at the masked intruders with blinding flashlights, machine guns, and lasers. It is an untenable and dangerous situation made 'acceptable' because people see it every day on television, and the smiling faces they are looking at on screen are policemen telling their lopsided views of the 'apprehension' of the 'suspect.'

Property rights and eminent domain require police to have 'equipment' to 'deal' with the dissenters. That will eventually mean you and me, if you are of a type that thinks government should be limited, and that individual liberty is for all men, and that these given rights are provided by a higher power than any government. Problem is, the contract has (quite long ago) been breeched. And you want to protest or petition the government for a redress of their actions? They like practicing on your type. It gives them more experience to handle the true terrorists.

To the brain dead who seem to have trouble connecting the dots ' wake up and smell the nitro solvent. That 'Future Weapon' you are ogling will very likely be on a long list of budget appropriations for upcoming legislative sessions. Also, more likely than not, they will also find a way into the hands of your local police department. Since your tax dollars will be paying for these 'appropriations,' and the manufacturers of such toys will make enough profit to long ago pay off the costs of advertising on 'Future Weapons,' you, in effect, will be paying for that show some day ' as well as those weapons.

Entertained yet?

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Barry Tudor's picture
Columns on STR: 8

Barry Tudor was born in Arkansas in 1960.  He has travelled the entire U.S. from coast to coast.  He's a motorcycle rider, father of three, husband to one, and hater of those who would remove any more of his liberties for the sake of safety, or any other damned reason!