I thought they were mythical creatures, like unicorns or well-educated conservatives. Then I ran across one on a Google+thread, and he was exactly the kind of gun-grabbing asshole that conservatives always said existed. The thread started out innocuously enough;
Every time there is a mass shooting the public screams this is unacceptable , this must stop. How could that madman do such a thing. Walk for one thing , he didn’t act alone, his accomplices were every member of the NRA. His accomplices were every politician that took their dirty money. His accomplices are the people of Florida and Texas and Pennsylvania. The spoiled brat generation that think a gun is manly. The great White hunters of this nation that worship the errant second amendment. The dentist that killed A harmless old lion , who would shit his pants if he didn’t have have his trusty elephant gun and a safari. Their manhood, and in some cases their womanhood is their gun. Those kids in Porkland have your number and they will eventually take your AR playthings away from you. One teenager told BillMaher,”Your generation fucked up , but that’s alright we’ ll straighten it out !” My money is on the youngster!
All Texans, blah, blah, blah. I really hate broad generalizations. I figured I’d set the man straight on his terminology. “Armaphiles is the word you are looking for. All Texans may have guns, but not all Texans substitute guns for sex.”
…and then the unicorn showed up.
I’m a Texan, and I have never touched a gun. There are a lot of non gun owners here. I was born in Tyler, now in Dallas.
“You are a weird Texan. I know, because I’m a Texan. Wasn’t born here though. I grew up in Texas from about age two, if you count Texas as being all the lands that once were Texas. You grew up in a small town and never used a gun? What a waste of freedom. I carried my b-b gun everywhere with me. I managed not to get into too much trouble with it. I never lost an eye, either.”
I was trying to be light hearted and clever. That was my mistake.
“That’s a knee-slapper there. I was shooting pheasant and goose with my dad when I was 14. It’s called hunting. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. The thing you used to have to do to eat? Before there were supermarkets? You probably don’t remember that far back.
You act like our Governor and Lt. Governor and the conservative majority of the state aren’t actively seeking to arm teachers, students, clergy members and anyone else they think should have a gun. I’m surprised they haven’t tried arming the pets yet. So you might think that sexist slurs (as if pussy-owners aren’t capable of handing your balls to you on a plate if most of them felt like it) about people who own guns in Texas might be just a little bit off. You might want to sit and think on that one for a spell.”
I was still trying to keep it light, even though the guy had some serious misogyny issues there, thinking women were weak and other such foolishness. His next response showed me what level of ignorance I was up again.
I’m not in favor of more guns. In fact, I want to destroy the fucking things. You don’t like my opinion, go fuck yourself. I think Abbott is a sorry piece of shit,and I will vote straight Democrat to get rid of the NRA owned assholes. I think gun owners are cowards, afraid of their own shadow.
That sound you hearing is me rolling up my sleeves. “This is just another example of total adherence to confirmation bias. I think this way, therefore everyone should think this way.
Just like the author of the thread that condemned all Texans even though Democratic turnout in Texas doubled in the primaries. Doesn’t matter, all Texans think one way.
…but which way is it? Like the cosmopolitan Dallas resident who doesn’t realize he’s almost a state of one person? Or like the OP says Texans are? Which way is it?
I have a very (very) nuanced opinion on guns. I’m frequently called a gun grabber. I expect to be blocked here and called a gun nut. I think I’m a realist, but then I would think that because of confirmation bias.”
Then there was his final volly.
You started on me. If you need a gun, and have to kill for fun (hunting when you don’t need to) you’re not much of a man.
The guy goes around calling the majority of his fellow Texans weak, misattributed his beliefs as the beliefs of the majority of Texans, then states flatly that I’m not a man (my children would say otherwise) …and he has the gall to say I started in on him. What the actual fuck is going on here?
You Randy Ellis are the poster boy for every liberal that the NRA smears. You are doing them a favor with your knee jerk responses “just ban guns” “gun owners are sissies” (again, coded sexist language that portrays women as weaker) I’m aware that there are Texans who don’t own guns and never have touched a gun, but I’m genuinely shocked each time I get a confession from one because they are as rare as hens teeth everywhere but the cities in Texas.
I grew up in rural farm country in the seventies. You hunted for food even then. People still hunt for food now, they just don’t have to (food deserts in central cities aside. Hunting for food there takes on a different meaning) I moved around in Texas from one small town to another until I finally made it to Austin. Everywhere but Austin, everyone pretty much owned guns, used guns.
I don’t need guns, I own guns. I have only needed a gun once (thankfully) and I didn’t have to use it because the police arrived before I was forced to shoot the man trying to bash down my apartment door. I would have shot him had they failed to arrive in time but the shotgun would have made an awful mess. I was glad I didn’t have to clean that up. I generally tell everyone I meet that hasn’t used a gun to try shooting a few times before deciding on whether they want to take a side in the gun argument. I say this because you simply sound uninformed without some experience handling firearms.
If you, Randy Ellis, were actually interested in convincing your conservative neighbors that you had ideas they couldn’t dismiss out of hand, you might start with the argument that there should be no semi-automatic weapons (not assault rifles, semi-automatic weapons) available to the general public. That owners of these semi-automatic weapons should pay for licensing and insurance for them, just like you have to do with automatic weapons today. Once the gas-powered receivers that enable semi-automatic fire become rare on the market, you will see fewer and fewer mass shootings, just like everywhere else in the world.
Your armaphiles neighbors will retort something about criminals not following the law or I’ll make my own weapon, but you can counter that there are few machinists that are capable of the fine work required to make a semi-automatic weapon fire reliably, and they will not be anxious to be sued and jailed for making weapons that are required to be registered and insured by the owners of those weapons. A machinist capable of doing all the work required to produce reliable semi-automatic firearms is certainly going to charge more than the average street criminal can afford to spend.
You could point out that there is no need in the general public for a weapon that reloads itself. You could expand the argument to include revolvers and repeaters if the armaphiles won’t see reason on the semi-automatic argument. Or you could talk about reinstating the draft for weapons training if the other arguments don’t work.
In the end, we cannot continue as we are now. That would be crazy. As crazy as you are for not recognizing a fellow traveller, Randy Ellis.
Ted Nugent encouraging his followers to shoot Liberals and Democrats should be grounds for his arrest and confiscation of all his weapons. Any harm that some crazy person does because their crazy leaders tell them to do these things should come back squarely on these peoples (Nugent, LaPierre, Norman) shoulders. They should be held accountable for their reckless statements and behavior. Nugent and Norman specifically should see jail time for dangerous threats and reckless behavior.
Just going to post a link to this Snopes article here on the blog for all those Libertarian conspiracy fantasists who might come by and visit. I expect I’ll be losing a few visitors of that kind shortly.
There is no evidence, none whatsoever, that video games, movies or television violence is in any way causational or even correlational with real world violence.
In fact, video games are tied to a decrease in actual violence. An economic study published in February 2016 found a reduction in crime in the weeks after major video game releases. A handful of similar studies conducted from a range of perspectives have come to the same conclusion.
A 2013 review by the American Psychological Association noted a link between violent video games and short-term spikes in aggressive behavior — but this study was quickly rebuffed by many experts. More than 230 psychologists, media scholars and criminologists signed an open letter arguing the APA used faulty methodology and relied on bias to reach its conclusions.
“This decline in societal violence is in conflict with claims that violent video games and interactive media are important public health concerns,” the group wrote. “The statistical data are simply not bearing out this concern and should not be ignored.”
The thing that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) is blaming for street violence is simply not a thing. Blaming the media for the fact that anyone can get a high-powered human killing machine is nothing more than a distraction from the truth that weapons are everywhere in our society and that military weapons are seen as sources of power.
There are too many guns in the cities. That’s the problem. Get the guns out of the cities, out of the hands of people who don’t understand how to use them, can’t be relied upon to use them sensibly. If it takes reinstating the draft for the purpose of weapons training and accreditation, then that’s what it takes. Short of that, making all semi-automatic purchases conform to the regulation on full-automatic weapons, we would see a radical reduction in the numbers of guns on the streets. Nothing short of this kind of action will have the desired impact on gun violence. If you won’t do what we want, we will replace you with people who will.
Since 1993, the United States has seen a drop in the rate of homicides and other violence involving guns, according to two new studies released Tuesday. Using government data, analysts saw a steep drop for violence in the 1990s, they saw more modest drops in crime rates since 2000.
This 2013 NPR article was part of some sponsored content on Facebook, content from the Advocates, a group that I supported once upon a time. I just want to state this up front, so that the following sentiments expressed by me directly to the Advocates can be understood.
Having done all that we then wait for the real stats to surface. Real stats, because, without those changes we don’t know the stats on gun violence and its full effects on society. We can do all that or we could just start treating all semi-automatics like we do full automatic weapons. Reinstate the draft so that every able-bodied person in the US can be assessed for weapons proficiency before we let them loose on society to raise havoc with rapid-fire weaponry available on every street corner. Pick one of those options, because it has to be one of them if we are to move away from the place we are in now.
Let that sentence sink in a bit. Just let it simmer there for awhile. Federal law is the law of the land. Local jurisdictions cannot make their own way according to the new masters we have elected to rule over us. Local politics is an impediment to federal will. What is amusing to me in this particular instance is that the confederates are currently in the White House. They don’t wear Klan hoods, but I know their stench.
Last week, we put out a special show hosted by The Guardian US’s Lois Beckett, devoted to how reporters should approach the alt-right, and white supremacy, in America, called “Face the Racist Nation.“
As a bonus, we’re putting out a full interview with one of the voices in that show: Norwegian journalist Vegas Tenold, whose new book, “Everything You Love Will Burn” chronicles his time covering the far right, up close and personal, for close to a decade. Lois talks to Vegas about how he has seen the far right evolve, the mistakes he sees journalists making and his relationship with the co-founder of the racist Traditionalist Worker Party, Matthew Heimbach.
Attorney General Sessions thinks he’s being clever, citing nullification and secession with a wink at his white nationalist brethren as they embark on the racist pursuit of the illegal alien in our midst. They know well the fruits of nullification and how badly attempts at secession have historically fared. After all, they are the benefactors of past nullification tactics by the newly re-acquired Southern confederate states after their secession bid failed. States that didn’t want to let the majority of citizens of their now black-majority states dictate state policy. So these very same white nationalists, with Andrew Johnson supporting them from the White House, nullified federal law that dictated voting rights for all and equal citizenship for all. They established the Jim Crow South and set us on a path for the showdown that occurred in the 1960’s over voting rights.
Nullification works, even if succession does not. Even if the reasons for nullification are unjust. Nullification can’t be countered by the federal government short of declaring martial law. This is the problem that A.G. Sessions and his boss, President Trump, currently face. A population that refuses to be governed from afar can’t be subjected to laws which they refuse to abide by, without putting boots on the ground in the areas that refuse to be governed by those laws.
As one very pertinent example, we’ve seen how well the drug war works. The drug war that A.G. Sessions wants to re-invigorate against the will of several state populations (and with the full support of the President) Fully half of the US population admits to indulging in taking illegal drugs, especially Marijuana, and the trillions of dollars we’ve spent as a society and a world organization has done nothing at all to impede the taking of drugs by people who want to take them. These programs have so utterly failed that several states have now legalized Marijuana consumption for recreational purposes, a direct violation of federal law. Laws that state that Marijuana is a schedule 1 Controlled Substance. The U.S. government doesn’t want to get into a shooting war with the various states on this issue, so they have looked the other way for more than a decade now while the states have steered their own course away from federal law. Law that A.G. Sessions claims cannot be ignored, is being ignored.
Alcohol prohibition, the gateway drug to regulation of substances in the U.S., was a complete failure long before the current drug war started. Worse than a failure, it lead directly to the rise of well-funded criminal organizations whose sole purpose was to get alcohol to the people who wanted it. Those same organizations exist today, supplying black-market demands for goods which governments everywhere have foolishly thought they could ban. So even with narcotics agents in every city and every town, corrupting every police force, they still can’t make a dent in drug usage anywhere or at any time. That is how well force works in changing the behaviors of people who don’t see the need to change.
A.G. Sessions is speaking, this time, to his lawsuit against California cities, and their refusal to play ball with the fascists who have taken over our federal government. Fascists who want to round up citizens of a region and remove them to some other place, presumably the place that they come from. They have their excuses for their behavior, just as the targeted citizenry have their reasons for being where they are.
Hold on though. We’re just getting started. Sessions wants to force the states to follow federal law, all the while that second amendment purists (armaphiles) think that their guns are the reason they have freedom. Here is another pertinent example to confound the already murky waters. Donald Trump is threatening to take guns away from gun owners, and then let due process run its course after he’s taken them. The literal nightmare scenario that neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama ever embarked on, even though they were accused of it thousands of times, is just casually tossed out as a viable alternative by the Caudillo that the GOP let manhandle his way into the White House. The armaphiles freaking out about calls to limit access to military grade hardware and they keep poking liberals who really can’t stand the OHM asking us hey, do you really want this guy taking your guns?
Conservatives in general are caught in some pretty serious cognitive dissonance right now. They pretend they want smaller government, but they also want police on every corner rounding up people they think shouldn’t be here, want police making sure people aren’t doing drugs they don’t want them doing, want police in every bedroom in every home in every city and town making sure that sex happens the way they want it to happen and that any female who happens to get pregnant having sex either dies or bears children from that sex. They know the only answer to their problems is possessing superior arms and the force of law, and yet the only solution that they leave their opponents is holding and using firearms against them.
Conservatives are in that epic catch-22 that Governor Reagan found himself in when confronted with armed black panthers patrolling the streets of Sacramento in 1967. Men who simply were tired of being targeted bythe manand wanted to prove that they could take care of their own. He chose to take guns away from everyone while at the same time winking at white people to let them know they wouldn’t be targeted.
We’ve become accustomed in the past 20 years to seeing the issue of guns in America broken down into two camps: gun control advocates — led by police chiefs and Sarah Brady — and the all-powerful National Rifle Association. In an interview that originally aired after Sandy Hook in 2012, Bob talks to Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms In America, who says there was a time, relatively recently, in fact, when the NRA supported gun control legislation, and the staunchest defenders of so-called “gun rights” were on the radical left.
The real solution, that guns don’t solve problems any longer, if they ever did, and we need to keep guns away from people who really shouldn’t have them, never occurs to them. They are now caught in the loop demonstrated in the image. Guns solve the problem but they’ll use guns against us, but guns solve the problem…
We can only hope they suffer mental breakdowns and are left as useless drooling hulks on the floors of their survivalist hideaways until we show up to take their guns away. Because from what I can tell, most of them really shouldn’t have access to firearms. They’re all pretty much nuts. And as for what to do in the face of A.G. Sessions naked willingness to force the issue of deporting brownskinned people he doesn’t want to live in California, I suggest we wait and see what the ballot box says on that subject. Until then, nullification wins. Nullification wins even if we fail at the ballot box. Are they going to raise taxes to hire more ICE agents so they can round up eleven million people? No, I don’t think they will either.
Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
How will you shoot dozens of people if your gun doesn’t reload itself?
If you want law enforcement to predict the future without violating your rights, without taking away all the guns, without turning America into an science fiction dystopian nightmare, you HAVE to give them the tools to do the job.
If we want gun rights the way the gun defenders suggest they exist, the way their constitutional interpretation represents them, we will have to follow the rules of 17th century militia induction and assume that all adult residents of a region are militia members, and we will have to train everyone in weapons usage and assess their abilities accordingly.
The militia authority can then establish who can be relied upon to use what weapon and require those people to keep arms ready at all times for reason of regional defense. This is the way that the verbiage in the constitution works out. The military is subordinate to the civil authority. Civil authority has dictated that the militias will be organized under the National Guard. Every adult person in the United States is a member of the local militia. Everyone will immediately be enrolled in the Guard for the purposes of weapons training and assessment. We cannot have weapons in the hands of the untrained, and the proficiency of the soldier in question has to be known in order to ensure that they are properly trained in their military role. This is what it means to have the at-will right to keep and bear arms, especially military grade weaponry. You will be trained, and you will be assigned a weapon that suits your abilities.
It is either that or we have to interpret the constitution differently, and allow that the government has the authority to deny weapons to people who are not certified, trained and insured to handle those weapons. And if gunnuts start making comparisons to knives we can talk about training people with knives too. A lot of these arguments descend to the level of the ridiculous extremely fast.
You don’t want anyone to have weapons.
I want everyone to know how to defend themselves and to be trained in the best methods of achieving that goal. Weirdly, escaping from a threat is probably the most useful method of self-defense, and the gunnuts I’m frequently arguing with never fail to reject the idea that the sensible thing to do when confronted or threatened is to run away if you can.
I have talked about both these slants on the subject previously:
The ability to move is just about as fundamental as it gets. It is why the human species has adapted to so many different climates on this planet. We travel and set up shop somewhere else where there isn’t already ten thousand other people trying to live. Where resources aren’t already owned. Where our lives are not threatened by a greater number of others who want what we have and/or need to survive. A classic defensive strategy, not to be where your enemies are looking for you.
Travel is a right. Limitations on travel without due process is a violation of our rights, what the government is supposed to be safeguarding for us. So the existence of the (Terrorist) no-fly list outside of due process is a constitutional violation of our rights.
All transfers of ownership of registered NFA firearms must be done through the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (the “NFA registry”). The NFA also requires that the permanent transport of NFA firearms across state lines by the owner must be reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
This is especially true in the light of workarounds that have been affected to make semi-autos into full automatic weapons. If there aren’t a plethora of semi-autos to modify in the population, there won’t be the problem with the mass shootings we currently have.
The problem is not going to get any better on its own. This is because population pressure is the likely culprit for the increase in mass shooting events in the last twenty or thirty years. There are simply more people living more densely than ever before in human history, all across the face of the planet, and that statistic is only going to increase if you look at projections into the future. America is only one facet of this problem, but we are the outlier when it comes to availability of weapons of mass destruction.
Local control is the reason that weapons are so prevalent in cities in the US today. City ordinances are generally pretty harsh (even in Texas) on weapons usage, even weapon carrying, but you can’t just stop and frisk everyone or expect every traveler to let themselves be x-rayed for weapons everywhere they go. So the local ordinances are overwhelmed by modern commercialism and the movement of populations. Weapons manufactured in other locals find their way into the cities where the police are already overwhelmed and don’t have time to track down every weapon in the city. Track them down so they can confiscate them. This was the law in Chicago and Washington DC for decades, no weapons allowed within the jurisdiction of the city authority unless they met specific criteria written into the law.
What is now needed is a revision to national laws. Some kind of coherent, proven method of harm reduction that applies to whole regions. Restricting all semi automatics to licensure and insurance requirements are in that vein. I don’t see the harm in allowing weapons for self-defense. What I do see harm in is claiming self-defense as your reason for having weapons, when what you have is a weapon that will demonstrably inflict collateral damage while you are defending yourself. QED, a weapon that fires multiple shots quickly and easily.
There is no way to be safe from harm. But there also isn’t any real justification for having a weapon that reloads itself for the next trigger pull, and propellant powered reloading is the mechanism that allows semi-automatic weapons to be become fully automatic, thereby upping the body count when firing into a crowd. If you have to work a bolt or a lever to reload, you aren’t going to be hitting 600 people in a crowded mall before the crowd disperses. That is simple math.
The mechanics of getting a weapon to reload automatically after being fired is quite tricky to pull off. Putting all semi-automatic weapons into the same category as automatic weapons will restrict the availability of those weapons and cartridges. The average city-dweller can defend themselves with a revolver, never mind that statistics show you are more likely to be killed by your own weapon than you are to kill others with it.
Almost all mass shootings are carried out with long guns. Not having a semi-automatic weapon easily accessible would achieve the goal of ending mass shootings as we have come to know them. The counter argument to this observation runs along the lines of machinists being willing to put themselves at risk by manufacturing and selling semi-automatic weapons out of their garages; but you aren’t going to see a lot of machinists willing to be targeted for lawsuits if they start cranking out semi-automatic weapons on the cheap, and then those weapons are used to kill a bunch of people.
Again. There is no way to be safe from harm. People who are afraid are not reasonable people. Which is why you can sell people afraid of what an authoritarian government or a criminal element represents on the idea that they are safer with a weapon for self-defense. This is statistically simply not the case. Women are more at risk of being killed by someone else with their gun than they are of killing someone with it. Men take their own lives with a gun far more frequently than they use that very same gun for self-defense. Guns are not the answer to worries about personal security.
I am all-in on making people feel secure. I am neurotic about locking doors. I tried to get my children into self-defense courses when they were younger. I think everyone should be trained in hand-to-hand defensive tactics. I think every woman should be trained in how to kill a man with their bare hands, if not actually outfitted with whatever weapon they are comfortable with, at a cost borne by the government, in the furtherance of ending violence targeting women. All-in on teaching women to fight back, equipping them to fight back. This is how you reduce the numbers of women who are victims, stop making them victims-in-waiting.
But that doesn’t negate the simple statistic that the presence of a weapon means that the weapon will be used against the owners of the weapon more often than not, especially in the case of women.
I grew up in rural Kansas. I currently live in Texas where, if you drive out to the country, you’ll still find a firearm and/or gun rack in every vehicle. I have owned weapons in the past, including semi-automatics. I understand gun culture even if I’m no longer immersed in it. I was a gunnut once. Owning a weapon is shorthand for having independence in the US; and this delusion we live with, that weapons keep us free, is probably the largest blind spot most Americans have. We are being robbed blind by thieves as I sit here typing and no increase in firepower will stop that theft. Understanding how modern battles are fought, and where, is how we get a handle on that theft. The first step is admitting we don’t understand what is happening, and then trying to figure out what is going on.
Information inequality is the biggest contributor to the gap in the perceptions between rural and metropolitan, the poor and the wealthy. I live in Austin, one of the high-tech hubs in the US. I have the entire knowledge of mankind available to me in a fraction of a second. All I have to do is know what question to ask, and the internet will give me the answer to that question. Day or night, rain or shine. If my home fiber-optic cable happens to be down, there are an even dozen places within walking distance that can get me equivalent access for free or nearly free. I don’t watch TV. I don’t listen to the radio. I read, and I do that voraciously. I listen to targeted podcasts and audiobooks almost constantly.
I can do this because the metropolitan area and my own economic niche I carved out when I was a productive member of society allows me access to this information that easily. But I have relatives that live in the country. Going out to their homes is almost like turning off my mind. They watch TV and still pay for cable so that they can get at least that much entertainment. They are limited by their cellular data plans, cannot access the information that they need to make informed decisions even if they knew they needed to ask questions before making decisions that they simply don’t have the knowledge for. They aren’t stupid, they are uninformed because the entertainment that they can get access to doesn’t offer them any real information. They don’t even know that they are missing information that is critical to making whatever decision is in front of them.
We are living in a Dunning-Kruger experiment of hellish proportions in the US today. Whole segments of the population are asked to render opinions on subjects that they have never had exposure to, and they only know of a subject because of the advertising in the form of infotainment that they get from mass media. That is a recipe for disaster, a disaster we are currently living through.
Imagine what it would be like to be able to get access to the information you want right now, the websites that contain the info you need to bolster your argument or to prove that your initial perceptions are wrong. Fully half the time I start out writing anything, I discover that I am wrong on some key part of my understanding which then alters the narrative that I’m composing as I’m writing it. I go through this process on an hourly basis.
And the most important understanding that I have developed over years of attempting to understand a myriad of subjects is that NO ONE is capable of digesting the amount of information required to make knowledgeable decisions on every subject. It simply can’t be done by the average human being. There is literally too much information now for any one person to know what the right answer is to any random question without spending days, weeks, months and years studying the problem. We, as a people, need to accept this fact. That expertise has a value that we should support. That we don’t know everything we need to know and truthfully can’t know it all at one time.
When it comes to weapons and the statistics of their use, we are all dealing with a subject that we think we understand, with views that we are loathe to give up crafted over a lifetime. Most ideas about guns and the proper way to respond to gun violence, simply don’t work to alter the statistics that more knowledgeable people bring to the table. In order to have a criminal record that will disqualify you from owning a gun, as the laws are currently written, you have to have committed a crime that disqualifies you. This means that we cannot screen out the unknown quantity of people who should never have access to firearms.
There is no specific need to throw large amounts of lead downrange quickly, the one thing that automatic and semi-automatic weapons were designed to do well. Ammosexuals will argue that their weapons have to reload themselves or they aren’t worth anything. This simply is not the case and limiting access to these weapons would radically reduce the numbers of deaths and almost instantly end most of the mass shootings, because the weapons that allow them simply are priced out of the range of people intent on creating mayhem. Will they turn to other weapons? Some of them will. It will at least require them to work harder to conduct their mayhem, meaning we’ll catch more of them in the process.
But in the meantime we have people who shouldn’t have access to guns being given access to the best killing machine that money can buy, available at every sporting outlet in the country. This is a surefire recipe for disaster.
Good guy with a gun? Self-defense? If you see someone breaking into a car, do you shoot first, or do you try and figure out why they are breaking into that car? I’ve broken into my own vehicle countless times. It took years for me to start carrying a spare set of keys around with me and/or making sure I had my keys on me before locking and closing the car door. I’m glad no one ever shot me for breaking into my own car. Is it self-defense to shoot someone for breaking into car? Really?
We’ve had people right here in Austin shot for breaking into cars. The specific shooter that I’m thinking of was acquitted because the thief brandished a screwdriver before being shot, or so he claimed. We don’t know because the thief is dead and the only witness to the incident was the shooter. In any case we have a pedestrian who is dead in someone’s driveway because he had a screwdriver and was purportedly caught in the owner’s vehicle. A screwdriver!
This is insanity. I’m all for self-defense, as I’ve said many times. I’m a Texan whether I like it or not. Self-defense arguments are in my blood. But a guy threatening you with a screwdriver deserves a bullet?
What he deserves is to be disarmed and hauled before a judge. A criminal record will keep you or him from ever owning a firearm, which is a finding that should have been applied, at minimum, to the shooter himself. If you shoot someone, you probably shouldn’t have access to firearms for at least a few months of cool down time. Good luck even getting that minimal amount of change enacted into law.
This culture you’ve created, the cost of your so-called freedom. The face of this kid. You want ALL the victims, the victims of war, gun violence, racism, sexual assault, all of it, to be silent. You can’t face it, because it makes you ashamed and you don’t have the guts to look it in the eye. So you don’t have to do anything. You’re cowards, America. Just like your president. Fortunately for our future, however, kids like David Hogg are not.
In the past fifty years, the car crash death rate has dropped by nearly 80 percent in the United States. And one of the reasons for that drop has to do with the “accident report forms” that police officers fill out when they respond to a wreck. Officers use these forms to document the weather conditions, to draw a diagram of the accident, and to identify the collision’s “primary cause.”
If you go to the website for this podcast and scroll down, you will see a youtube video from the NRA that says gun banners hate the car argument. I can’t speak for gun banners, but I can speak for myself. I’ve made that argument, and I love it as a basis for limiting access to guns. It perfectly makes the case.
…but then if you just go to 99% Invisible – The Nut Behind the Wheel and read down through the article on the page, look at the many graphics, watch the half-dozen videos, you’ll see a much more scientific approach as to why we have managed to decrease traffic fatalities while gun fatalities continue to escalate. You have to research the problem in order to solve it, and the NRA doesn’t want us trying to fix the problem. They just want to sell us more guns.
I had to check and see if this NRA advertisement was real. It felt fake watching it. It feels like fakery everytime I watch it.
And while some are outraged by the video, Jonathan Auerbach, who teaches English at the University of Maryland and is a co-author of “Weapons of Democracy: Propaganda, Progressivism and American Public Opinion,” called the video “pretty standard” for a group like NRA.
“(It’s a) routine example of propaganda designed to recruit new members by rousing indignation against a perceived enemy,” he told TPM in an email. “Not especially innovative or nuanced, but perhaps effective for a brief clip since (there’s) no need to address the substance of ‘the enemy’s accusations.”
OK, it’s real, but it’s still fake. This is an example of some real Goebbels-level propaganda right here. Might as well be calling for the rounding up of all the Jews, since the media in question has Jews somewhere in it. If they were trying to convince anyone that the Orange Hate-Monkey wasn’t Hitler, this isn’t how you accomplish that. You might as well suggest we put yellow stars on all the undesirables so that we can tell the difference between them and good Americans, that is how blatantly obvious the dog whistles are in this ad. This is why the NRA has to be disbanded. This right here.
These people, these gun nuts, the ammosexuals, the militias, the sovereign citizens, they’re not building personal armories to repel foreign invaders. You never hear them talk about needing a gun in case the North Koreans or the Iranians or even the Russians decide to invade Idaho.
They’ve amassed all that firepower for one reason and one reason only.
The logic goes that if healthcare is a right, then healthcare providers become slaves.
If healthcare is a right, they say, then I (for example) am entitled to the labor of doctors and nurses and they cannot refuse me. If healthcare is a right, according to these Randian libertarians, then any doctor, any nurse, any healthcare provider must provide me with their services free of charge at any time. Because it’s my right, you see?
Which is a damned good example of why Atlas Shrugged should be regarded as a tediously mediocre science fiction novel and not a blueprint for civilization.
In America, guns are a right. The right, in a lot of ways. But you can’t just walk into a gun store and demand a gun as your due free of charge – not without getting shot, probably. The government isn’t obligated to provide you with a gun. Hell, we don’t even have subsidies for poor people who want a gun and can’t afford one. And instead of turning gun manufacturers into slaves, it made them fabulously wealthy.
Using the logic libertarians apply to healthcare, I’ve pointed out to them that they can’t have the right to a gun, pretty much the way you draw it out. You can have a right to defend yourself but you cannot have a right to a weapon, the product of another man’s work. Their response generally has been to declare that argument pointless, because without a gun you are defenseless. They apparently haven’t heard of kitchen knives and baseball bats.
Doctors take an oath. They are required to treat the injured, within their ability to do so. To not offer help when it is needed, when it is available, is inhumane. To the extent that healthcare is generally available, it is a right of the citizenry to seek it. Just like food and shelter, healthcare should be provided to those in need.
The problem with conservatives and capitalists is that they seem to think that you can gain wealth through social austerity. That isn’t how modern economic systems work. Money is a debt instrument. If they want people to pay for things then give them the money to spend in enough quantities to meet their needs. Then we’ll know what the price and demand for goods and services really are, because everyone who needs a thing will be able to pay the market price to get it. I’m convinced that public health is too important to be treated as a commodity, but anything outside of public health concerns (screenings, inoculations, hospitals, research) should be fine treated in this way. Just as long as those in need are not required to do without.
That is the problem that zero-sum game types can’t wrap their heads around. With millions of Americans and billions of people on this planet, there is little we cannot do if we set our minds to doing it. We created these systems out of whole cloth in previous generations. There is nothing keeping us from maintaining them in perpetuity aside from our own lack of will. Our own greed. We’ve let the greedy run this country for far too long now. It’s time for a change.
I had forgotten about this comment on Stonekettle’s article until he reposted the article on Facebook the other day as part of an illustration of what a change in the presidency and his agenda can do to address the plights of millions of people.
This has taken on new and more troubling implications in the years since the attacks on 9/11, with the development of the no-fly list for terrorists that the government barely admits exists on the one hand, and their willingness to apply it to other things like weapons purchases so that suspected terrorists can be kept from buying guns as well as not being able to fly on the other. That latter proposal, weapons purchases, has its own share of problems, many of which echo the core problems in the title and the argument quoted above.
As I’ve said before on this blog, I have a serious problem with cognitive dissonance on the subject of firearms. But when it comes to contrasting travel with firearms, I have a few things I think I can say without reservation.
Just to be clear what the subject is here, it really isn’t travel vs. firearms. Even though most gunnuts (ammosexuals) want you to think about the subject in these over-broad general terms, the subject is properly generically stated as travel vs. self-defense or more specifically driving vs. firearms. Public transit vs. firearms in the case of the no-fly list.
And right off the bat we run into this glaring problem. Travel generically is a more important right than owning a firearm, specifically. Travel is instrumental in the ability to defend oneself, the ability to remove from one location, where your life is under threat, to a new location where it theoretically is not. Access to public transit, which includes air travel, is far more important than even being able to drive.
The ability to move is just about as fundamental as it gets. It is why the human species has adapted to so many different climates on this planet. We travel and set up shop somewhere else where there isn’t already ten thousand other people trying to live. Where resources aren’t already owned. Where our lives are not threatened by a greater number of others who want what we have and/or need to survive. A classic defensive strategy, not to be where your enemies are looking for you.
Travel is a right. Limitations on travel without due process is a violation of our rights, what the government is supposed to be safeguarding for us. So the existence of the no-fly list outside of due process is a constitutional violation of our rights. I’ll get back to that.
First let’s tackle the specifics of driving and firearms. I want to draw some parallels to illustrate why the arguments I’m about to present are not some wingnut conjecture. An automobile is deadly. It may not be designed to kill, but it is a very effective killer all the same. It is a tool designed by humans to serve humans as a replacement for large animals who were used in a similar fashion before the industrial revolution.
A firearm is another man-made tool. This tool serves a specific purpose, or a variety of purposes that are all related, much like the automobile was designed to serve a specific purpose. Refined and perfected over the years, modern firearms are some of the most effective killing machines we’ve ever invented. They fire repeatedly and use standard rounds that can be purchased almost anywhere.
To purchase an automobile you need to have a license to drive. There are cases in which you can buy a car without a license; methods to circumvent regulatory guidelines allowing you to buy a car without a license. But the regulatory purpose of the driver’s license is clear, and only those intent on obfuscation offer arguments to the contrary. The purpose is to restrict vehicle operation and ownership to those people who have demonstrated a proficiency with the dangerous tool in question.
We license and regulate drivers because automobiles are dangerous and not because roads are public. You will find sovereignty arguments all over the place that make noises about common modes of travel, public conveyance, etc. None of them amount to anything in the face of a police officer who wants to see your driver’s license. You can operate machinery on your own property without a license because law enforcement officers cannot enter your property without probable cause. It is actually illegal to drive on private property without a license in many jurisdictions. Not in Texas, apparently.
The second amendment is perhaps the most misunderstood piece of legalese still in place in the Constitution. It ranks right up there with the attempts to legislate the value of Pi or what we call rising sea levels in Florida. It has caused at least as much harm as it has good especially in the modern age of repeaters, automatics and semi-automatic weapons.
The problem here is two-fold. The ability to defend oneself is primary. This is demonstrable, as I illustrated above. Self-defense though is not limited to and may not even include access to firearms. But the right to defend oneself is not mentioned in the constitution, the right to keep and bear arms is. This is most likely an outgrowth of the views of the time. Dueling was still a common practice. Although it was made illegal around the time of the revolution in many places, it’s practice continued well into the middle of the next century and became the basis for the near-mythical quick draw gunfight. It is worth noting that some Western municipalities attempted to put an end to dueling with some of the first gun carrying restrictions in North America, the precursors for modern gun control.
Hunting with long guns (rifles were not yet invented) was commonplace and essential for many Americans if they wanted to eat. Between these two purposes, self-defense and hunting, it was rare to find a man who did not know how to shoot. On top of this we have the demonstrable attempts by governments all across the world, down through history into the modern day, to render their populations defenseless. It is easier to control people who do not understand how to defend themselves. Historically this has been done by hoarding weapons under the guardianship of the local authority. If the authorities know where all the guns are, they will know who can and can’t defend themselves.
There are other ways to defend yourself, short of firearms. Denied access to firearms and even knives, it is still possible to mount a defense if you know how. Knowledge is power, in more ways than one. Revolution need not be violent in order to be effective. So the question is, what role do firearms play in modern society? How do we secure our right to defend ourselves while at the same time avoiding becoming the victim of the very same weapons we keep for defense?
The second amendment speaks to two things; a well regulated militia and the right to keep and bear arms individually. The recent Heller decision struck down blanket bans on firearms that had evolved from the earlier attempts at gun control I mentioned previously. Personally I think that is an accurate reading of the second amendment. What remains to be realized is that we need licensing and regulation of the citizenry for firearms proficiency. That is what well regulated militia means in the modern age.
The militia are the people, the citizenry. There has been a historical disconnect between the concept of militia and what the militias became as government evolved over the last two centuries. What the originating documents of the United States called militia we would probably see as the various state guards and national guards today. In those days all able-bodied men and boys were expected to participate in guard duties to some extent or other, a practice that fell to the wayside as our cities and states became more populous and our experiences more segmented and separated.
However, the language in the Constitution still states a well regulated militia, and since there is an individual right to keep and bear arms, that means that we the people have to decide what well regulated militia means in the scheme of all of us potentially being armed at any given time. Regulation is necessary. We want to keep the Trayvon Martin encounters to a minimum. We definitely do not want cities of Zimmerman‘s stalking all the suspicious-looking people they don’t like, just waiting for a chance to act in self-defense. We do not want a return to the old West stereotype of guns at High Noon, or pistols at ten paces. A near-certain death sentence with the accuracy of today’s weapons. Just as there are limitations on who can drive or travel in what kinds of cars and trucks, limitations based on objective standards, so too there should be limitations on who can own a firearm and what kind of firearms can be owned.
Now we’ve come full circle, you readers who are still with me. we’ve circled back to the initial parameters of the argument; driver’s licenses, firearms licenses, and no-fly lists for terrorists.
In the light of objective standards as a guide, the use of the completely subjective no-fly terrorist list to also ban firearms purchases is essentially a patchwork way of applying suspicions more broadly whether those suspicions are well-founded or not. Automobile ownership and weapons ownership are almost identical for comparison purposes, but the right to use public transit should not be so easily infringed. With no way for the list to be challenged, no standards beyond mere suspicion by a federal agency, the use of this list should be stopped altogether, not applied to another related subject.
What needs to happen is for there to be actual discussion of these problems.
What is needed is standardized national identification for the purposes of travel (there is a twisted can of worms) so that citizens can be assured that they will gain access to public transit. Me personally? I’m tired of that argument. Let me just use my palm print. Mark of the beast be damned, I just want to stop standing in lines everywhere I go. Can we just get over this crazy notion of anonymity? Make a provision for those people who really need to remain anonymous? I have no problem with driver’s licenses, and I say this as a guy who will likely be forced to surrender his license in the next decade or so, as my ability focus and balance is degraded by disease. Subjectively I resent not being about to get around on my own; objectively I have to say most of you will be safer if I can’t. If this disease gets worse.
I’m not even going to try to broach the discussion necessary to outline what objective standards for firearms proficiency might be. I’ll leave that argument to people who have more education and understanding of the subject. People like Jim Wright over at StonekettleStation (yes, him again)
Over time, just like with the drunk driving laws, enforcing the NRA’s own rules, the same basic common sense rules that are used in the military, in law enforcement, on civilian gun ranges, and were taught to most of us by our fathers, will change our culture from one of gun fetishists to one of responsible gun owners. And that will reduce gun violence, just as the same approach has significantly reduced drinking and driving.
Go over and read the article once you stop screaming at your computer screen. You might learn a thing or two from the (more than a dozen) articles Jim has written on the subject of America’s gun culture; or as he refers to it Bang, Bang Crazy and Bang, Bang Sanity. He has far more patience for the gun fetishists that surround us than I do.
I do want to make one thing crystal clear before ending. The second amendment is a two-edged sword, in more ways than the one I’ve just outlined. The other argument which can be (and has been) made is the original intent of a well regulated militia. If the people tasked with keeping us safe deem that the requirement is impossible with the rules now in place, they can and probably should conscript all able-bodied persons into the military for the purposes of weapons assessment.
That is one sure-fire way to make sure we know who should and shouldn’t have a weapon. I’m as opposed as I can get to the idea of a return to the bad-old days of the draft, but if anyone can have a weapon, and if no other laws are possible to fix the problem of weapons in our midst, then the only remaining solution is the one where everyone is trained and everyone is armed to their proficiency. What we need to decide is, which kind of America do we really want to live in? The time for that conversation is rapidly passing us by.