The Gun Debate Paradox

Ok, let's get started by looking at the gun control problem that led to another school massacre with a very good question:

Twenty four hours after every mass shooting the media asks, "What can we do?" Now they also ask, "Why has nothing been done to fix the problem yet?"

The lead in:

The coverage timeline will include calls to the NRA, who will decline to comment. Experts will discuss legislative efforts for change that are widely supported by the public, such as universal background checks. The media will wonder why, with so much support, gun control legislation failed. The media might also point out that at the state level legislation has expanded the availability of guns in more places. This is what The Trace editors call the paradox of the gun debate.

The core political problem:

"While widespread public support exists for many gun regulations and policies — including bump stocks—
pro-gun advocates are significantly more active than their counterparts when it comes to engaging politicians and government agencies."

For example:

Trace has done some great work explaining how the NRA marketing team and their activist base does it. For example, when the ATF was looking at reclassifying bump stocks as machine guns under federal law, the NRA base mobilized The ATF got 36,000 comments, 85 percent of commenters were opposed to the regulation of bump stocks. And these weren't form letters from Russian bots either.

. . .

In addition to the online work, the guns everywhere people made sure to have plenty of speakers lined up to testify at state legislation committees opposing any bump stock ban. Three months later and bills to ban bump stocks are being shot down. House panel votes against bill to ban bump stocks in Virginia.

A study of pro gun activism:

I use the phrase pro-gun men on purpose. While researching why past state gun control legislation had failed, but "gun rights" legislation had passed, I came across an earlier piece that I found fascinating. It referenced a study published in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly by Kristin Goss, a researcher at Duke University.

Which discovered:

Goss analyzed the results of Pew Research Center surveys administered in the six months following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She found that pro-gun men were significantly more likely to engage in political activism than any other group, dwarfing the efforts of individuals in favor of increased regulation, regardless of gender.

This analysis came from Spocko over at Hullabaloo. Go here for charts and links to the original stories:

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-gun-debate-paradox-spockosbr...

The time is ripe to change the debate. Call outs and rhetorical body slams are flooding out. These are headlines and snippets:

Nikolas Cruz was reported to the FBI last year after boasting of plans to be ‘a professional school shooter’: report

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/nikolas-cruz-reported-fbi-last-year-boa...

Only in America:

The horrific tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL led Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) to take to the Senate floor to note, yet again, that these this "epidemic of mass slaughter...happen nowhere else other than the United States of America", where Republican officials, controlled by the funding of the massacre-enabling National Rifle Association, refuse to take even the slightest action, year after year, massacre after massacre, to try and curb the nation's gun violence epidemic.

http://bradblog.com/?p=12474

The numbers alone are horrific:

EVERYTOWN, the gun-control group backed by Michael Bloomberg, says this is the 18th school shooting of 2018. We are seven weeks into the year. That means there’s a school shooting every 2.5 days. There have been 30 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2018/02/15/school-shooting...

Americans are fed up with shallow condolences from politicians:

Kimmel writer quotes every GOP lawmaker’s post-Florida ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet — and how much money they took from the NRA

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/kimmel-writer-quotes-every-gop-lawmaker...

An obvious political truth with a questionable solution:

Ex-GOP rep urges voters to ‘flip the House’ if they want results on gun control: ‘Republicans will never do anything’

Will Corporate Dems actually do anything if Congress is flipped? I doubt it a lot.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/ex-gop-rep-urges-voters-flip-house-want...

This just scratches the surface. The idiocy from gun nuts and right wing faux news sources is a whole other angle that I'm gonna leave for another day. I pray that the rage against school shootings has finally boiled over to the point that something will actually be done.

[Edit to add link to The Trace]

https://www.thetrace.org

(There are so many articles on guns and gun violence at The Trace that I just wanna throw the whole shebang out to c99p readers)

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34 users have voted.

Comments

we really stop it. There are too many guns in this country to ever get them all even IF it ever came to pass that they are outlawed and confiscation is attempted. Talk about a civil war. We've let it get completely out of control, and most of it is simply politics, there's little logic on either "side" of the argument anymore.

Funny, I was just re-reading Rick Perlstein this weekend, "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan" and back in the 70's, before the RWNJs really got going with their St Ronnie the Dim bulb stupidity, there was also majority support for gun control legislation - bi partisan and not a particularly heated debate about it. But then the NRA and all the Goldwater right wing freaks decided to harp on that commie menace coming to take your guns and that little gift has never stopped giving. All for political gain really, just like God and abortion, race and gender, wars that are not meant to be won but to be used ad infinitum for political gain. The deaths that come from that? Well, its the price of "freedom," too bad, so sad.

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18 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@lizzyh7 the US government waging endless illegal wars with total impunity, the military attacking sovereign nations and killing innocent citizens, US weapons manufacturers spending the nation's reserves unchecked, domestic law enforcement killing without consequence, open carry 'rights' pre-empting a safe populous, hollywood promotion of violence, congress bought by NRA lobbyists, a serious lack of mental health coverage. No wonder the crazies solve their problems by shooting their way out.

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18 users have voted.

Intelligence is being redefined as the ability to repeat ever more complex instructions.

Meteor Man's picture

@QMS @QMS

Visitors to one of Texas' 10 state mental health hospitals will be allowed to openly carry weapons into the facilities, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Employees and patients will still be barred from bringing in weapons. The hospitals this week pulled down signs banning guns at its facilities and posted new ones asking people to leave their firearms in their cars or conceal them from patients, said Carrie Williams, a state health department spokeswoman.

www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/01/08/texas-open-carry-psychiatric-hosp...

I lost an article that said said the Florida shooter actually purchased the AR-15 even though he had spent time in a mental institution.

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9 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Meteor Man's picture

@lizzyh7
I am just as skeptical as you are that our political system is capable of changing America's gun nuts culture of violence lizzyh7.

Have we finally arrived at a tipping point on gun control?

Will the genuine outrage at continued school massacres be enough to discredit the idiotic feedback loop of the Right Wing Noise Machine?

Will Corporate Dems actually tackle gun control if Congress is flipped this year?

The only sliver of hope I have hinges on activating the grassroots progressives to take back the Democratic Party from establishment Dems. The odds are against us, but this could be a galvanizing issue that pushes The Overton Window back towards normal. Time will tell.

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11 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man How does one reconcile gun control with the second amendment? I am not pro-gun in the least, but I am vehemently pro-constitution. if we blithely disregard the second amendment, we validate the intrusions on other constitutional protections. Any plan for gun control has to comport with the second- and writing it out of existence is akin to ripping up the constitution. If it came down to that, I certainly would stand with the gun nuts.

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2 users have voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

@orestes

The so-called "right to keep and bear arms" in the Second Amendment is contingent on being part of "a well-regulated militia". Almost ALL "Second Amendmenters" ignore that leading clause and assume that it doesn't exist or is a meaningless shibboleth.

A sane and responsible Supreme Court (which we may never see again) could put some real teeth into it by several different means, such as requiring all would-be gun owners to take classes in gun maintenance, storage, and use, with a strong emphasis on safety in all aspects.

Back in the day it was a lot simpler - if you wanted to learn to shoot (usually to put meat on the table), Dad or your uncle or some other responsible adult would volunteer to teach you, and you would wind up knowing not only how to fire it, but how to store powder, mold bullets, load and prime the gun, clean it after use, and store it safely. Not to mention "how not to be an idiot with it".

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6 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@TheOtherMaven You seem to be arguing for interpreting the constitution in a manner that suits one's needs. That's wrong and dangerous. Yes, the 2d makes reference to a well-regulated militia, but it also indicates the people (not the government alone) has the right to keep and bear arms. How do you reconcile the two elements? And if the grant of the right to the people does not prohibit the govt from withholding arms from the people, what is its purpose? The furthest one can rationally go, given the language, is that the States have a right to regulate, but not the federal government. How does the well-regulated militia clause override the affirmative right granted to the people?

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The Aspie Corner's picture

Don't forget about the bullshit about false flags and crisis actors. Yes, people really are that fucking dumb.

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Meteor Man's picture

@The Aspie Corner
There are signs that a substantial number of Americans are finally beginning to see through the bullshit. Recent polls have indicated that women in all demographics groups are fed up. It looks like Millennials have excellent Bull Shit Detectors tuned to high alert. Dreamers are Calling Bullshit on Democratic lip service.

All we can do is keep on keeping on and do everything we can to reach out to comfort our friends, neighbors and local community.

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16 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

The Aspie Corner's picture

@Meteor Man Happens every time there's a fuckin' mass shooting because wah wah wah 2nd amendment. Yeah, like that means any damn thing.

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4 users have voted.

@The Aspie Corner Snort. Yeah! Who needs that stupid constitution?!

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The Aspie Corner's picture

@orestes plutocracy, slavery and fucking empire? Who needs a government that openly works against its own people every chance it gets at the behest of corporate goons and billionaires who couldn't give fuck one whether or not the rest of the planet burns or dies?

Seriously, your defense of said piece of paper is as weak as your average corporate shit democrat.

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Hillbilly Dem's picture

The vociferous nature of pro-gun activists. The NRA going to radio silence until this newest carnage "blows over". "Now isn't the time for debating semi-automatic weapons in the hands of mentally ill persons, it's a time for thoughts and prayers"-says every Repug senator on the gun industry take. Etc, etc, etc.

But I think there is also a problem that can't be reconciled. It's the gulf between those who care for their nameless, faceless, anonymous fellow citizens with a problem [be it large or small] and those who do not care and will only care, if and only if, it directly touches them.

What I mean is that many Americans have lost their larger sense of community, common purpose and common good. If a problem or issue doesn't directly and personally touch them, it isn't, by definition, a problem.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for example. He was 100% against gay marriage and no friend of gay rights. Or so he was until his college-aged son came out. Then, miraculously, he reevaluated gay rights. "Let's take a second look at this issue". Why? Only because the issue came to his doorstep. The Reagan White House slow-walked HIV/AIDS (Hell, St. Ronnie wouldn't even say "HIV" or "AIDS"). That is, until Nancy's old and dear friend, Rock Hudson, contracted the awful disease. Then it changed.

There's a guy I've know for years who is a halfway reasonable Rethug, but had one very flat part of his make-up. He used to mock gays and lesbians. If Rachael Maddow came on the TV, he'd scoff at the screen "Hey, Butch! How you doin' pal?" Stuff like that. Until a few years ago when his daughter told him that she was transgender, that she was going to live her life as a man. "Wow, Hillbilly, that really opened my eyes." Well forgive me for not congratulating you.

I know that's a long route written above, but it takes me to semi-automatic weapons in the hands of civilians, mass shootings and gun control. The gun nuts and fetishists simply have no empathy for "the other". That's never been written larger than it was in Newtown. The murder of the innocents is nothing more than an abstract to them. And it will remain an abstract unless and until one of their own is a victim. A child, a spouse, a niece, a nephew. I think they are so dug in that only the murder of a family member could move the needle for them. That cute little 7 year old with the ponytail who lives across the street? No. Her murder would probably not be enough.

I hate to sound cynical, but I've become a cynic. If those precious little children at Sandy Hook being slaughtered wasn't enough, what will it take? Only a direct touch of this cold hand of death upon one of their loved ones will change their minds. And in order to do that, it would literally take 100s of thousands of deaths. Sometimes I despise the accident of my birth in this once great, now insane nation.

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20 users have voted.

"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

Eagles92's picture

@Hillbilly Dem I Don't Mean to be Difficult, But ...

Sigh.

I don't want to give up, but I have. The really cynical part of me tends to think that we'll never address the issue, because school shootings will increasingly discourage parents from sending their kids to school. Idiocracy, accomplished.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Eagles92

YOUR MASS SHOOTING THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE ACCIDENTALLY GOING TO THE ANGRY GOD OF A DISTANT PLANET

This Gawd received the first letter in 1999 post marked Littleton, CO.

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8 users have voted.

Our culture is gutter. We celebrate deviancy. We are corrupt. We are broke. We are holding a gun at the rest of the world’s head. We demand what is not justly ours

Meteor Man's picture

@Hillbilly Dem
Excellent analysis Hillbilly Dem. I'm guessing the lack of empathy for others you describe is enhanced by the mythologies of Manifest Destiny, Gunsmoke and American Exceptionalism. I can't be certain, but Randian sociopaths seem to have a stronger hold on American culture than in other countries.

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9 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Meteor Man

...I can't be certain, but Randian sociopaths seem to have a stronger hold on American culture than in other countries.

Hey, psychopaths have to use what suitable works of fiction are readily available to them in their own country in order to claim pathology as a 'philosophy' or a 'political position', don't they? Plus they seem to have had quite a head start in American government and social engineering over those in various other countries...

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Bollox Ref's picture

@Hillbilly Dem

how many deaths, from one incident, would it take for real action to be taken.

500,...1,000,... 10,000???

The craziness is exhausting.

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11 users have voted.

Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

@Bollox Ref

Well, when the various Psychopaths That Be running government have cumulatively killed what's said to be around a billion people and are fine with using White Phosphorus and nukes on civilians, a few thousand more here and there and everywhere make no never-mind. It doesn't hurt Them a bit. In fact, it improves Their arms investments. Bonus!

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2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

@Hillbilly Dem was in Las Vegas. There were 3 of them in a group, a girl's getaway, all Republican, all gun owners. Most of the people around them were killed and my friend's friend had blood on her from others upon reaching her hotel room. She admits she's currently suffering some PTSD, but went out to the range again to make sure she's still able to shoot. She and her husband bought their 13 year old her first gun not long ago... My close friend is very left, and I get her farther left every day. I don't think she's even broached the politics yet with her friend, but I doubt their minds change. We hoped but nah, I don't think that's going to happen. She wasn't killed, to put it bluntly.

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10 users have voted.

@lizzyh7

When 'Gun Rights Are Everything' people announce that guns don't kill people, people kill people, anyone ever tried pointing out that that's an excellent point and that you entirely agree that guns shouldn't be homed with bad owners/people who might be more likely to kill people? And that, for gun safety, a responsible society has to initiate protective law addressing this?

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2 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Centaurea's picture

@Hillbilly Dem

This was not a good example for you to use.

The Reagan White House slow-walked HIV/AIDS (Hell, St. Ronnie wouldn't even say "HIV" or "AIDS"). That is, until Nancy's old and dear friend, Rock Hudson, contracted the awful disease. Then it changed.

Nothing ever changed with the Reagans and AIDS.

I know that Hillary Clinton made up some stuff for Nancy Reagan's eulogy, praising Nancy for doing so much for AIDS activism. This was a bald-faced lie by Hillary. The Reagans did nothing. Ever.

In fact, the Reagans quite famously refused to help Rock Hudson when he begged for their assistance in his final days.

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8 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Hillbilly Dem's picture

@Centaurea

I was trying to impart that Raygun wouldn't even say the words or acknowledge the existence of the disease until Nancy's friend contracted it. I wrote it quickly and, as you point out, it implies they did something other than acknowledge HIV/AIDS. The Reagan Administration twiddled their collective thumbs. I thought about editing, but oh well.

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6 users have voted.

"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

@Hillbilly Dem You may be worse than a cynic. First, you assert that policy should be determined by emotional responses (who will think about the children!) and then disparage those who don't adopt your emotive rationale as lacking all human empathy. Wow. That's some twisted reasoning (actually, it's a total lack of reasoning). You do seem to embrace the right's form of argumentation, though. Yeah, perhaps cynical is the correct descriptive.

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Hillbilly Dem's picture

@orestes

First, you assert that policy should be determined by emotional responses (who will think about the children!)

Disagree with me all you want, but "who will think of the children"? We're not talking about whether a dirty joke will harm or somehow scar a child. We're talking about the cold blooded murder of children. Ghoul.

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7 users have voted.

"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

@Hillbilly Dem Doubling down on the hoary appeal to emotion, i see. The laziest refuge of the intellectually incapacitated. I recommend you not take your understanding from Mrs. Lovejoy on The Simpsons. Think about the children has been used in all sorts of ugly ways by people like you trying to capitalize on emotion instead of making a rational case. For example, what about the children has been used for generations to justify denying gay and lesbian basic rights and continues today. Your specious argument is no different than a right wing nut (fellow travelers of yours) arguing that gay men and lesbians should not allowed to work with children because a child was molested. Well done.

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Deja's picture

@orestes
Your pro guns for everyone and as many as possible stance, as evidenced by your comments, at the expense of children no doubt, does not give you a free pass on being a tee total asshole.

And, you're the one sounding like a RWNJ, but the irony of your comments has obviously been missed by you.

. . . no different than a right wing nut (fellow travelers of yours) . . .

Check yourself, dude! This ain't shit hole Dkos or Breitbart ffs.

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

@Deja Yawn. You willfully misread my comments and accuse me of wanting guns for all and having a bloodlust than you want to scold me. F- off. My concern, as I plainly stated, is upholding the constitution. Using the suffering of children as a ploy to achieve political ends is a right wing tactic. I've witnessed it used against my people for forty years. Don't try to lecture me. If you are capable of making a rational argument, do so.

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0 users have voted.

@orestes
You've been around long enough to realize our rule about insults. Due to your responses to two members in this thread you will be awarded a weeks vacation. If you have any qualms with this decision send me an administrative email and we'll see about making the vacation permanent.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Because Russia is in bed with the NRA and the GOP. Yep. They went there.

Oh yeah, Trump has blood on his hands because of the Florida shooting. I don't recall them blaming Obama for Sandy Hook.

Would bringing back the assault weapons ban help stop the school shootings? I'm not sure if it would, but it's a place to start.

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10 users have voted.

Our culture is gutter. We celebrate deviancy. We are corrupt. We are broke. We are holding a gun at the rest of the world’s head. We demand what is not justly ours

Meteor Man's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

Ted Cruz claims Dems trying to ‘politicize’ massacre — then blames Obama for mass shooting

Cruz also asserted that President Barack Obama shared the blame for a mass shooting that killed 26 at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“Had the Obama administration simply followed federal law and enforced the law, existing gun laws made it illegal for the Sutherland Springs shooter to buy a gun,” he opined. “But the Obama administration failed to report his criminal conviction so he wasn’t in the background check system.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/02/ted-cruz-claims-dems-trying-politicize-...

Nauseating finger pointing instead of problem solving.

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8 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

snoopydawg's picture

@Meteor Man

they are keeping us divided.

Every time there's a school shooting the same comments are made.

"Praying for the victims and their families, now isn't the time to discuss gun control, guns don't kill people..., he could have used a knife," and everything we've heard before.

This country is spending billions on anti terror programs under the guise of keeping us safe when it's people from here that are killing us. Good thing that we have to take our shoes off at the airport if we want to fly. Sigh

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8 users have voted.

Our culture is gutter. We celebrate deviancy. We are corrupt. We are broke. We are holding a gun at the rest of the world’s head. We demand what is not justly ours

dkmich's picture

Since when has anyone in government given a shit about "what the people want"?

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9 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Strife Delivery's picture

I may be the odd duck (or goose "Grey duck vs. goose")on this board, but reading through the comments so far that seems to be case when it comes to the issue of guns.

I'm not going to be around to reply for a few days so I can't continue my end of a potential conversation, but like abortion for those on the "right", guns on the "left" elicits the same type of misinformation or dishonest debate tactics that make conversations fruitless.

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Meteor Man's picture

Here’s Why American Teenagers Can Buy AR-15s

Florida isn’t unique. In most states, people can legally buy assault-style weapons before they can drink a beer. Federal law stipulates that gun stores and other licensed dealers may not sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21, but they can sell long guns — i.e., rifles and shotguns — to anyone who is at least 18, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Violence.

https://www.thetrace.org/rounds/ar-15-rifle-age-requirements-parkland-fl...

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10 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

wendy davis's picture

violence? and yes, there's an entry on 'pseudo-commandos'. iirc, i'd resurrected it after the spree killing in las vegas, but first at my.firedoglake (reader diaries) after the horrors of sandyhook elementary. i'd usually tended to stay away from the gun control debate as far too simplistic, far too impossible to control, given the vast numbers of weapons in amerika already, myownself. start w/ the root causes, iow.

'Poisonous Pedagogy'. wanna bet the assassin was abused as a kid, then bullied and mocked at school? not that we may ever find that out, given the media hyperbole: :so and so said___!"

pffft.

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8 users have voted.

Of corruption and misinformation and hijacking of our elections by big money interests. Because of the 2nd amendment, people in this country have a right "to keep and bear Arms" just like they have a right to freedom of religion, speech, the press, and the right to peaceably "assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." People can sue the crap out of other people if those rights are infringed upon. I fear the first amendment being monkeyed with if attempts are made to change the 2nd amendment. I'm not sure it would be a good idea to ban all guns, which might happen without 2nd amendment protections.

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6 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

@Timmethy2.0 That to me is the more relevant point in any discussion about confiscation or whatever. I do not see how that is logistically possible unless, as you point out, we allow the 1st Amendment to be ditched completely. We just let the NSA scan everyone's FB, Twitter, Internet sites, whatever until they find out who has them? And then what? Who enforces that? Even with the military police we have now, can anyone really see that working? I am sure to many that sounds absolutely defeatist but really, I would love someone to tell me how we really get them all. Background checks are a damned good start, but you don't stop private sales by doing that either.

That is why I think we have let it get too far. I just don't see how we take away 320 million guns and even if we did not, I do not see how any law will stop a nutter with a gun. After this latest one a friend asked the rhetorical question - are there that many fucked up kids in this country? Yes, there are. And we out here all know why that is - a completely corrupt government, a culture that worships violence, and a political system that milks every division to the hilt. Maybe the only way we ever get rid of the damned guns is to overturn this system in it's entirety.

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1 user has voted.

@Timmethy2.0

.

..just like they have a right to freedom of religion, speech, the press, and the right to peaceably "assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ...

Too bad those aren't actually being respected, never mind protected, and are mostly becoming more and more censored/downright dangerous to exercise, while 'the (lucrative for some) right to bear arms' - often for all, without any safety precautions being taken - is fought for tooth and nail with big money-paid political backing from those making big money from it, because only other civilians are typically placed at risk as a result.

With all these public-protective regulations being removed from virtually everything where profit increases for some result from hazard for everyone else, is anybody allowed yet to drive any car, truck or motorcycle on public roads anywhere in the US without a drivers license which can only be gained by passing a test, both of which vary according to the type/purpose of vehicle, and with limits on the type of vehicles allowed on the road according to area and circumstance, (can't do certain modifications deemed as unsafe, can't route semi's down residential roads and so forth) and by not having any medical or other condition potentially impeding their ability to not imperil public safety?

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0 users have voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

janis b's picture

and the militarised police armed to the teeth, you can’t but expect the culture to decline.

I’m reading many valid and affecting comments in your links, and I hope that some of it filters through to a place that might create change.

“The magician seemed to promise that something torn to bits might be mended without a seam, that what had vanished might reappear, that a scattered handful of doves or dust might be reunited by a word, that a paper rose consumed by fire could be made to bloom from a pile of ash. But everyone knew that it was only an illusion. The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place.”
― Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

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10 users have voted.

If you take money from them, your political career is over.
The myth that they promote is not the truth, it's not what the majority wants.
Fuck them.
Certain litmus tests are a good idea IMO.

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9 users have voted.
hecate's picture

@peachcreek
is politically powerful because a certain segment of the Americans considers free-range killing machines a litmus test, but no Americans consider the abolition of free-range killing machines a litmus test.

Although the majority of Americans, based on public polling, support various kinds of tougher regulations on guns (from universal background checks to a federal database for sales), the reality is that most people are not voting on this issue.

Those who are single-issue gun voters tend to be on the right. There aren’t that many of these voters, but they tend to outnumber the people on the left who would be swayed to vote for candidates just because they back more gun control.

As Republican strategist Grover Norquist said in 2000, “The question is intensity versus preference. You can always get a certain percentage to say they are in favor of some gun controls. But are they going to vote on their ‘control’ position?” Probably not, Norquist suggested, “but for that 4-5 percent who care about guns, they will vote on this.”

The NRA also changed the meaning of the Second Amendment through purchasing the legal profession.

This deterioration has been decades in the making, as the top organization of the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, took part in a decades-long, massive political campaign that helped alter Americans’—and even the courts’—views of gun rights and particularly the Second Amendment. In doing this, the NRA shifted the country from the view that the Second Amendment is about the federal government’s role in state-run militias to one that it’s really about individual Americans’ right to bear arms.

“The collective rights model holds that the people only have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms within the militia,” Bogus said. So Americans collectively had legal access to guns to take part in the militia, but the Second Amendment didn’t protect any rights beyond that. The individual rights model, meanwhile, “puts the Second Amendment on par with other fundamental rights of individuals (speech, liberty, association) and raises the bar of protection from state and local governments looking to regulate the right to bear arms.”

“From the time law review articles first began to be indexed in 1887 until 1960, all law review articles dealing with the Second Amendment endorsed the collective right model.”

Before 1970, Bogus wrote, “a total of three [law review journal] articles endorsed the individual right model and twenty-two subscribed to the collective right view.” He added, “From 1970 to 1989, twenty-five articles adhering to the collective right view were published (nothing unusual there), but so were twenty-seven articles endorsing the individual right model.” At least 16 of the individual rights model articles “were written by lawyers who had been directly employed by or represented the NRA or other gun rights organizations, although they did not always so identify themselves in the author’s footnote.”

The NRA stepped up its efforts in the ’90s, helping fund a new group, Academics for the Second Amendment, and launching its annual “Stand Up for the Second Amendment” essay contest with a cash prize. According to Bogus, “At least fifty-eight law review articles endorsing the individual right view would be published during the 1990s (compared to twenty-nine favoring the collective right position).”

It can be easy to underestimate the impact of these kinds of journal articles. Many people may wonder who even reads law review journals. The answer, however, is legal scholars, lawyers, judges, and politicians—and these people then permeate their ideas in popular media and in their day-to-day work. Over time, that can lead to a big shift in public opinion and policy.

In Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia concluded in the Court’s opinion that “the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Hollis-Brusky called this an example of “popular constitutionalism,” or “the concept that the meaning of the Constitution can develop outside the courts by political and popular movements.”

She explained: “Driven in large part by the National Rifle Association and its campaign to frame the Second Amendment as an individual right, coupled with its lobbying efforts and increased influence on Republican Party platforms and legislators, [by the time Heller was decided] most Americans already believed that the Second Amendment was more robust in its guarantees and protections than the Supreme Court (or any court) had interpreted it to be for well over 100 years.”

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Logic and hypocrisy arguments do not apply. The 2WhiteA was designed to arm Indian killers and slavers, to hunt runaways and protect from Nat Turners. Unfortunately, it was written so poorly that we argue about what it really meant. But it was about maintaining the power of the Euro colonialists: think Cornstalk's War, slave rebellions. Remember, one of the goals of independence was to do away with George III's restrictions on taking Indian land over the mountains. Many of the compromises in the constitution, like the Electoral College, were written to protect the power of slave states.

In roughly 1800, private small arms were comparable to mill arms. Indians had roughly the same small arms firepower as state militias. Slave risings could quickly seize equalizers from plantation owners. There were no rapid fire weapons. As we've lamented so many times, the details of the constitution were written for a very different level of technology. I guess we can't blame them for not foreseeing the explosive rate of change to come. There were cannons, but no napalm, Gatlings, drones, sonics, chemicals, etc. A choice of terrain could easily remove the advantage of cannon, especially in the roadless "frontier". There was not a great difference between mill and hunting arms at the time of the writing; there was no great asymmetry in small arms, so power was more balanced.

How does power apply today? In several ways, including racism, profit, emotion, and raw firepower.

The racism is still there. Gun control was a dead issue until the pan thers took up arms, then suddenly Raygun was for gun control. Much gun control legislation targeted "gang" weapons, like "Saturday Night Specials", as opposed to long arms.

Money=power, so the profits of arm manufacturers come into play, but I don't think that's the main determinant of the efforts of the NRA/gun lobby/enthusiasts. There's just not that much difference in profit between bolt-action and semi auto to account for the effort expended to protect rapid fire arms. I say this without doing a statistical analysis but I think it's true.

Emotion? There's a lot of power in emotion, the feelings of protection, security, anger, fear, hatred. Emotion will encourage people to spend money and acquire mill-grade ar senals of rapid fire. I don't think I need to elaborate much on that. Just picture that giant worm movie where the guy says "You broke into the wrong rec-room this time!". Some of these emotions used to back mill-grade rights are fear of the other (including racism), redirected anger at economic suffering (the gov is taking your rights, never mind those corps), redirected insecurity (I might lose my house!), and threatened masculinity (I do have power! I do!). Emotion is easily manipulated to achieve aims different from what's stated, like using abortion to keep right-wingers in power.

Related to the emotional "need" for these things is the demonization of the mentally ill. IIRC, statistics show that people with emotional or mental illness tend to be less violent than the general population, and a lot of that is self-directed. It's a cop-out to blame mental illness, especially when treatment is defunded. More bucks and power to the incarceration and surveillance industries?

I'm especially worried that the protection of mill-grade arms has a hidden purpose of keeping a private hoard of force handy. Look at the "militia" marching through Charlottesville, the Oregon seizure of public property, the Nevada lands mess, at corporate mercenaries at Standing Rock. There are roughly as many of these long fast things as there are people here, which means there are hoards which can quickly be distributed. This equipment is also quick at hand for unorganized stochastic events like the Giffords event*. Rant on talk radio long enough and someone will act. Organized action is, of course, much more efficient and scarier. There are millions of people in this country prepared to commit death, organized or not; they will defend the powerful, intentionally or not.

The key difference between 1800 and now is that one person can quickly and easily end the lives of dozens or hundreds; there is a huge difference between mill and hunting. I can remember when most private arms were bolt-action or shotgun, and the enneray taught safety, skill, and maintenance. One thing that stood out in my mind about the Florida tragedy is he killed more than he wounded. That's mill-type action. Organized or not, we all face danger from private war-grade actors.

Emotions against guns? Emotions are usually a much greater determinant of public policy than logic. Emotions like empathy ended the right of human slavery embedded in the constitution. I say someone would have to be a sociopath to remove the normal human horror of mass killing of innocents, of any kind, from the equation.

Fingers pull triggers. But are those triggers optimized to multiply the effect of that decision or impulse? We need to clarify just what "well-regulated" means. What is different today than 50, 60 years ago, before the bell tower?

A footnote: I know lots of hunters who use guns responsibly; they hunt for the pot, not the trophy. I've also seen people shoot recklessly.

*A lesson from the Giffords event: a "good guy with a gun" was a fraction of a second away from shooting the hero who disarmed the bad guy.

edit - removed reference to FOG group; apparently incorrect

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