GOP on guns: Let’s try doing nothing. Maybe that will work

GOP: Mental illness is the problem, not guns.

Dems: Women have mental illnesses in the same percentages as men, but only men do these mass shootings.

GOP: Look! a squirrel!squirrel

Later:

GOP: Mental illness is the problem. We should be addressing that instead. By the way, we’ve closed all the mental facilities, defunded money for them, and removed “mental health” from health insurance coverage. Oh, and also made it easier for the mentally ill to get guns.

Mental illness affects people all over the world. Yet, for some reason, the rest of the world doesn’t have these things happen every few weeks. Hmm, what’s the difference? What is it about America that gives us gun death numbers that dwarf all other civilized countries?  Could it be … guns?

Somehow, the gun lovers are convinced that since we can’t stop all gun violence, we shouldn’t do anything at all.

GOP: “Terrorists have used planes to attack us! Quick, let’s make everyone take off their shoes, go through huge searches, stop them from bringing toothpaste on board, and be subject to a ‘no flight’ list of those suspected!”

“Guns have killed thousands each year unnecessarily! Too bad there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.”

Well, we can do something about it. Every country that has has seen a huge drop in violent gun deaths. Every state that has discovered that their violent crime decreased as well. Will this stop all gun deaths? Of course not, any more than laws against drunk driving have stopped all drunk drivers. But the laws certainly have reduced the amount of accidents on the road.

“Let’s give up and not do anything to solve this problem” seems to be the most unAmerican thing you can say.

_64891158_gun_deaths_dev_countries_464

Advertisements

Shooters, Background checks, and hypocrites

by guest blogger Mark Waid

First: like everyone with a soul, I condemn the shooting of the Congressmen in Alexandria. It is horrible, it is unacceptable, I wish those wounded the best. I am genuinely sympathetic towards them. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.

That said: Mo Brooks.

56256280484ea.image

cartoon by Dan Martin

The victims were, to a one, among the very same representatives who fight tooth and nail against even the slightest, most basic common-sense gun control measures or closing of loopholes, who serve the NRA more faithfully than they do their own constituents, and who throw up their hands (“What’re you gonna do, amirite?”) every time someone dares suggest that maybe, just maybe, an entire nation of reasonably intelligent people might be able to figure out some way to help stop the murders of Sandy Hook children besides, or even simply in addition to, insisting that every civilian be armed at all times. At least one of the Congressmen who was there, Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia, present on the field, eyewitness to the horror, has since told us that if they’d only been allowed to bring their own guns, they’d have been safer, because everyone knows that the first and most natural thing you do when you take to the diamond is strap on your gun holster. Just remember not to slide.

Yet as incomprehensible as I find these Congressmen’s priorities to be, let’s give them the enormous benefit of the doubt that they really, sincerely do believe that arming everyone regardless of whether or not they’ve had the slightest bit of firearms training truly is the best and only way to fight the problem and not just what the NRA pays them to say. Let’s go wide and assume they’re voting 100% with their conscience. All of them. Except for the one totally devoid of a conscience when it comes to you and your children.

Let’s turn our attention to Alabama representative Mo Brooks.

Of the men on that field, Mo Brooks is a uniquely vomitous waste of carbon. A representative who has repeatedly campaigned against any sort of stricter background checks at all — any — at all — in any form — had this to say about the shootings right after he doubled down on his absolute, unwavering conviction that our founding fathers were talking about SKS 7.62 assault rifles when they drafted the Second Amendment:

“With respect to this particular shooter, I’d really like to know more about him — whether he was an ex-felon, by way of example, who should not have had possession of a firearm — I’d like to know other things about his background before I pass judgment.”

You know what, Mo? WE ALL WOULD. Gee, IF ONLY THERE’D BEEN SOME SORT OF PROCESS IN PLACE THAT WOULD HAVE PROVIDED THAT SORT OF INFORMATION BEFORE SOMEONE GOT SHOT. THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HELPFUL.

Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there’s some way I’ve overlooked that Mo Brooks didn’t suddenly get around to changing his mind about the usefulness of background checks until someone pointed a gun at him. But it wouldn’t seem so.

Absolutely nothing I’m saying here is a call for Second Amendment repeal. Not my point. And background checks would not have stopped the shooting. Hodgkinson apparently purchased his assault rifle legally. We know this. Likewise not relevant to what I’m saying unless you want to deliberately and willfully miss my point.

My point is about naked, “I deserve better than you because I’m a Congressman” hypocrisy.

My point is that Mo Brooks, who steadfastly opposes more informative background checks at every turn, just told us that he wants a more informative background check on the shooter. Not on any of the shooters involved in any of the 152 other 2017 mass shootings thus far, mind you. Just this guy. The one who was an immediate threat to Mo Brooks, not the others who threaten you or me. Because for Mo Brooks, when it comes to the ones who shoot at us and our kids because he won’t tighten background checks or do anything to make obtaining guns the slightest bit more difficult for those who we know after the fact should not have had them because of various mental health problems or histories of violence … well, y’know, who could have known?

Mark Waid is an Eisner Award-winning American comic book writer, known for his work on titles for DC Comics such as The Flash, Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright, and for his work on Captain America, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil for Marvel Comics

School Shootings: The new normal

Ho hum. So what’s in the news today?  Another school shooting? A child killed? Three dead?

Meh.

Nobody cares about that any more, don’t you know? We hardly even notice these things any more. Well, unless the killing is committed by a Muslim — then it gets attention.

This is the new normal, where crazy people can get guns easily and instead of stopping the problem at its core like every other modern nation has done, we just chalk it up to the cost of living in America. After all, what’s more important, the livgun-deaths-us-other-countries-chartes of children or the right to own deadly weapons?

Seems that question has been answered.

I used to post about these every time they happened, and I referred to it as the “Gun Control Shuffle”:

1. Have a mass shooting.

2. Bury the dead and cry.

3. Politicians talk about the need for gun control so this never happens again.

4. Gun manufacturers, through their lobby group the NRA, warns that the government is out to take everyone’s guns.

5. Gun lovers buy lots of guns because they believe the NRA and the right-wing media.

6. Gun manufacturers’ income skyrockets.

7. Gun manufacturers use this money to bribe politicians through their lobby group, the NRA.

8. Despite overwhelming public support, no gun control passes.

9. Another mass shooting occurs.

Repeat every few months.

I got tired of posting it, because instead of repeating every few months, it got to be every few weeks.

But apparently that’s the world we want to live in now.

Police shootings and guns everywhere

Why do police seem to shoot so many more people in America than in other countries?

Might I suggest it’s because of guns?

Let’s face it — being a cop isn’t an easy job, and you never know if some lunatic is going to take a pot shot at you. It’s not like that hasn’t happened before. Even the most enlightened, best trained officer worries about that.

But maybe what makes America different from other countries is that lots of people have guns. We have politicians who, instead of trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the insane and terrorists, make it easier for them to get these guns.

So when an officer makes a stop, they never know if the person theythcajdgcpz pull over is carrying. The officer has to be on his or her guard. Sometime they’re just not trained in how to handle these things. And sometimes, of course, the cops really are the bad guys.

This, of course, does not in the slightest explain why the victims of these police shootings are overwhelmingly not white people. Many of these shootings can easily be attributed to a combination of blatant racism and poorly trained officers.

But I can’t help but wonder if our gun culture also has a lot to do with it. I mean, it’s not like there aren’t police stops and crime in other civilized countries. What they don’t have are guns everywhere — and maybe that explains the difference.

 

 

To my gun-owning friends: The dam is bursting

by Guest Blogger Mark Amidon

Anyone who has known me for more than two conversations knows that I don’t believe much in the efficacy or desirability of Big Government Programs. “Gun control” would be one of them. But we live in a system with many democratic elements, which means that when there’s a big enough idea out there, it’s going to find its way into legislation.

The NRA in particular has devolved over the decades from a gun-owners’ club (I remember Eddie the Eagle) to a shill for the gun manufacturers. They have put up a fairly solid wall and bought a lot of legislators to keep any notion of gun control out of the regulations. In many aspects of our politics, “compromise” is such a dirty word that no negotiation has been taking place at all.

 Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., holding a filibuster over the need for the Senate to address gun laws

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., holding a filibuster over the need for the Senate to address gun laws

This is turning a complex, nuanced situation into a binary (“black or white”) one. By opposing any “erosion” of gun-ownership rights, you (or your lobbyists) have drawn the proverbial line in the sand, and held fast and strong for decades. You’ve built a huge dam to hold back the waters of control.

Here’s the thing: dams burst. By holding back against compromise, you have created an uncompromising situation. You have accidentally created an environment where more and more people outside your “gun culture” are no longer willing to live and let live. You don’t have to worry about your more strident opponents anymore; you have to worry about everyone in the undecided middle of the bell curve. Those are the folks who always wind up being the “swing vote”.

The rhetoric has been “Big Government is coming to take your guns!!!”, but that didn’t actually have support in the middle of the bell curve. Things like keeping guns away from the mentally ill, guns away from parolees, guns away from “terrorists”; those are what had widespread support. But the gun lobby held fast against that. And built up pressure behind the dam.

You know what’s going to finally enable Big Government to take your guns? The critical mass behind the dam. By not compromising on a political point, you have opposed actions which wouldn’t actually compromise your core belief in self-protection, or even having cool toys. If you don’t help draft legislation which will actually address the biggest concerns (a “floodgate” in your dam, to extend the analogy), that dam is going to burst.

Figure out which of your principles are actually not subject to compromise, and then see which proposals actually don’t compromise them. And don’t let the shills tell you which they are.

 

Mark Amidon is a small-‘l’ libertarian who keeps getting mistaken for liberal or conservative by conservatives and liberals, respectively. While holding anarchy as a lofty ideal, he nonetheless appreciates Hobbes’s “Leviathan”, and is more a data-driven being than an ideologue.

Militia in the Constitution?

These guys in Oregon insist that they are a militia and thus entitled to their guns because you have to read the 2nd Amendment very strictly.faces-of-the-american-revolution-militia-soldiers---randy-steele

OK, fine. Then let’s read Article II just as strictly: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States.”

There you go. Simple solution: Obama orders them to surrender. When they don’t, you arrest them and court martial them.

Problem solved!

Whose Land is it, Anyway?

These “patriots” (a/k/a “Vanilla ISIS”) who have taken over a bird sanctuary in Oregon say they are doing so because they want to “give the land back to the people.”

Forget about the silliness of these guys thinking that the words “well-regulated militia” in the 2nd Amendment refers to them — let’s talk about the whole purpose behind their protest.frjlLT4

One of their leaders, while showing his love of America and its freedom of religion by wearing a “Fuck Islam” t-shirt while at the same time telling us that God told him to do this, said that the government is a tyranny, stealing land.

While Native Americans laughed, the rest of us scratched our heads and said “Huh? Isn’t this already federal land, which means by definition that it does belong to the people? Land we all get to use?”

Ha ha! Silly us!  “The people” these guys are referring to are “rich ranchers.” They are upset because we, the people, have asked them, through our laws, to pay to use our land.

Pure tyranny, right? I mean, we can all remember when armed campers took over Yellowstone in protest over admission fees.

When one thinks of tyranny, one immediately thinks of that horrible dictator Teddy Roosevelt, the tyrannical man whose visage adorns Mt. Rushmore, who decided that much of America should belong to Americans and not land developers, mining companies, and ranchers. He started the government policy of setting aside land for everyone to use as public parks, hunting grounds, or other environmental means.

Sharing land? Positively tyrannical.

When I was a kid, I was always pleased to imagine that “U.S.” didn’t just stand for “United States” but that it also stood for “us” — as in “we are all in this together.”  Clearly, these guys think it only stands for them.