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.

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.

Making assumptions about “open carry” gun owners

by Guest Blogger M. David Blake

Many years ago in this country, it was possible for anyone with an automobile to visit the filling station, fill their vehicle’s tank with gasoline, and then pay for it.BN-EF674_0822op_G_20140822143314

Weird concept, isn’t it? Nowadays, motorists are almost always required to either authorize a transaction at the pump, or pre-pay the cashier. And the reason for this change in expectation is simple: some motorists—statistically a very small number, but enough to be noteworthy and to ultimately affect the bottom line—figured out how easy it was to drive away without paying for their fuel.

Wait though! Why should you be forced to follow such stuffy rules? You are a responsible motorist, and you might prefer to pump first, and then pay afterward. Anyone should be able to see that you’re good for it. After all, you were able to afford a really nice car, and by golly, you’ve taken care of that sucker too!

Want to try? Good luck, because the cashier is unlikely to turn on the pump based on little more than your appearance as a “responsible motorist,” and you probably won’t be able to argue your case. Whether you are responsible or not, cashiers know, barring that restriction, someone would stiff them for a hefty dose of guzzeline.

Now, some of the open carry advocates out there are responsible gun owners. Statistically, most of them are responsible. If you are a gun owner, you are probably responsible too. I am not questioning your credentials as a responsible gun owner. We’ll take it as a given that you are safe, sane, and trustworthy.

All the same, a few of the people carrying guns around in this country are breaking the social contract. They’ve figured out how easy it is to fire off rounds at whoever the hell irritated them last, or whatever group offended their sensibilities, or anyone/anything they decided didn’t deserve to exist unmolested.

But you’ve been asking us to assume they are all responsible gun owners, because doing otherwise jeopardizes our collective trust in your own personal display of firepower.

Those mass shooters are statistically a very small number of gun owners… but they are enough to be noteworthy, and to ultimately affect the bottom line.

Here’s the bottom line:

After today, if I see weapons, my assumption is not that you are responsible gun owners. It’s that you are about to become active shooters, and that everyone should get as far away from you as possible.

M. David Blake is a science fiction writer, and the editor of STRAEON. This article first appeared on his personal Facebook page, and is reprinted with permission.

It’s time we started profiling conservative white men

Let’s face facts, people. Other than 9/11, the greatest terrorist attacks in America have been predominately from conservative, Christian white males. You are far more likely to die from a Christian attack than a Muslim one here.  It’s time we got rid of our political correctness and admit that these people all want us dead!

Who blew up a building in Kansas City? Conservative white guys. Who flew that plane into the IRS building? o-CHARLESTON-CHURCH-SHOOTING-570A conservative white guy. Who shot up the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin? Who murdered people in that church in Knoxville? Who blew up a bomb at the Olympic park in Atlanta? Who shot up the Holocaust Museum? And who, today, killed children in a church in South Carolina?

Hint: It wasn’t Muslims.

Those are only some of the examples. Clearly, we must start treating all conservative Christian white men as terrorists. Perhaps we should start deporting them all, regardless of whether we have evidence against them or not. And it’s not like we need to worry about rights like habeas corpus — these are terrorists we’re talking about. Simply being a conservative Christian white male is enough to be a suspect.

This policy of profiling and saying that every conservative white male is a potential terrorist and therefore deserves no rights should be quite popular among the people who have for years argued against giving rights to suspected terrorists: Conservative white males.

Oh, and we also need to start profiling babies. Last year, more people in America were killed by toddlers handling guns than by Muslims committing acts of terror. Clearly, babies cannot be trusted — our only solution is to profile them all and place restrictions on where babies can be taken. (I mean, duh, we’re not going to restrict guns, are we? They have rights, you know!)

* If you can’t see the point I am making here, please refrain from the angry responses.

Tired of the Gun Control Shuffle

Whenever there was another mass shooting, I used to post about 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.gun-deaths-us-other-countries-chart

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.

However, I found that instead of repeating the Shuffle post every few months, I was doing it every few weeks.  And lately, it seems like I would have to be doing it every few days.

Have you noticed?  Have you noticed how we’ve become so used to it that it hardly even makes the news? That everyone just says “Well, that’s it. There’s another shooting” and then walks away, as if there’s not a damn thing we can do about it?

I guess we as a society have decided that lives just aren’t as important to us as guns are; that there is no number of deaths that will make us do anything about the problem; that we just are giving up and letting the small percentage of gun nuts bully us all into letting them have their way.

 

Yes, it is your fault

gun nuts“The people who do these mass shootings are crazy!” the NRA says.  “It’s not the fault of the guns!  It’s not our fault!”  

Yes, if only there were some way to try to prevent crazy people from having access to guns.  Some sort of, I dunno, background check system.  Oh, really?  That has been proposed?  Well, gee, who would be against something as sensible as that?

The NRA?  They’re the ones who are against that?

Clearly I am missing something.  Tell me again how this isn’t at least partially their fault?

Talk about stupid

People who post this meme are stupid:

stupid

This is what is known as a “straw man” argument. You create a straw man of your own and then knock it down, and then prance around pretending you made some great accomplishment. Instead, you just look stupid — or worse, dishonest.

Nobody is saying that. No one thinks that stronger gun laws will be obeyed by criminals, any more than laws against murder have stopped all murders. Using the logic of this meme, all laws are bad because criminals will ignore them. Might as well not have any laws at all, hm?

It’s almost as stupid as the people who laugh at “gun free zones” as if they are so much smarter than the politicians who created such laws. Those laws do not create a magic zone protecting everyone inside. They say that if you have a gun in that zone, your punishment will be harsher. It’s like signs saying that you have to slow down in a construction zone. It doesn’t prevent speeders, but those speeders who get caught pay a harsher penalty.

Isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t that what laws are supposed to do — to encourage actions that benefit society and discourage actions that don’t? What in the world is stupid about that?

“But criminals won’t obey them anyway!” they say. There are two responses to this:

First, many gun deaths do not come from “criminals.” They come from guns in the home. These guns cause accidents (there’s at least one case per week where some kid shoots his brother with a gun in the house). They cause suicides. They are available for people to use in anger against their spouse. More guns means more gun deaths. (Duh)

Second, where gun control has been in place, gun deaths go down. This is another duh. States with gun control have less gun deaths per capita. The US has more gun deaths than any other advanced civilized country. States that have lessened gun control have seen their gun deaths skyrocket. Gun laws may not stop gun deaths completely, but they work.

We can do something about all these Americans who are dying on our streets. We can do something to reduce our outrageous number of gun deaths. Laws work.

And if you can’t acknowledge all that, you must be some special kind of stupid.