“Demand a Plan”, Settle for a PSA


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From the NYTImes:

Stephen Barton was supposed to spend the fall teaching English in Russia on a Fulbright fellowship. But shortly after midnight on July 20, a gunman in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., derailed those plans.

Still recovering from the wounds he sustained when the gunman opened fire that night, killing 12 and injuring dozens more, Mr. Barton has decided to devote his energies this fall to something entirely different: Trying to get the presidential candidates to address the touchy issue of guns and gun violence.

In a television advertisement to begin airing on Monday, Mr. Barton, seated in an empty movie theater, tells viewers that despite the injuries from 25 shotgun pellets that embedded themselves in his face and neck, he was lucky.

“In the next four years, 48,000 Americans won’t be so lucky, because they’ll be murdered with guns in the next president’s term, enough to fill over 200 theaters,” Mr. Barton, 22, says in the advertisement. “So when you watch the presidential debates, ask yourself, ‘Who has a plan to stop gun violence?’”…

Also in the NYTimes, two days earlier:

The list of potentially lethal weapons was certainly eye-opening: 47 guns (38 of them loaded, including six with rounds in their chambers), three inert hand grenades, supplies of black powder, hunting knives, timing fuses and a sword.

Then, consider that the list was compiled by the Transportation Security Administration, of weapons found in airline travelers’ carry-on bags in the seven days that ended on Sept. 20.

In fact, the T.S.A. says the number of guns found at airport security checkpoints has been steadily rising for the last couple of years. Through Friday, 1,105 guns have been found this year, a pace that is higher than last year’s. In 2011, the total was 1,320, up from 1,123 in 2010, the agency says.

Security experts attribute the increase to two factors: a rise in gun sales and the sharp growth of so-called right-to-carry laws across the country that significantly relax regulations on carrying guns in many areas of public life, from colleges to hospitals.

Invariably, according to the T.S.A., travelers at airports with guns in their carry-on bags say they simply forgot they had them. “It’s almost always inadvertent rather than intentional,” said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the agency…

Guns at airport checkpoints reflect “the pervasiveness of concealed-carry weapons, which have gone up enormously in the last 10 years because concealed permits have got easier to get,” said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a Washington research group that promotes what it refers to as centrist views on “divisive social issues,” among them constitutional gun rights…

Yeah, I know how it goes, I keep forgetting the cheap multi-tool stashed at the bottom of my bag (mostly for the built-in LED flashlight). Should a melee break out, that thing could raise quite a lump on someone’s head, assuming I could throw it with any accuracy.

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69 replies
  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    Silly me; I labored under the delusion that people who took it upon themselves to purchase a device made for no other reason than killing other people would, oh, I don’t know, BE RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO KNOW WHERE THAT DEVICE IS AT ALL TIMES.

    I’m so fucking naive.

  2. 2
    trollhattan says:

    “Oh, no you di’nt!”
    Wayne LaPierre has the rubes convinced that Wednesday after the election is when Obama’s jackbooted thugs will be comin’ after real ‘murika’s guns(pubt).

    If only.

    It’s so bad (thinking of the TSA’s job) we had a state legislator arrested for trying to haul his pistol on a plane. He “forgot it” of course.

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    Who packs a sword in their carryon luggage and then forgets about it? Or is it concealed in their clothing? (“Is that a rapier in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”)

  4. 4
    gene108 says:

    I don’t know, if anyone’s evaluated the impact of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban on gun violence, but the 1990’s saw the first drop in violent crime in a generation.

    Other factors that helped were a booming economy, improved police methods, and urban renewal programs that helped rejuvenate big cities.

    Before jumping into the gun violence/gun control debate, it’d be interesting to actually have information on what the last big gun law in the U.S. actually accomplished; other than convincing gun enthusiasts that Sen. Diane Feinstein is going to lead hit squads of ATF operatives to confiscate every privately owned gun in America.

    Emotional appeals are useful. Opponents of gun legislation have successfully put the slippery slope* idea into the heads of many Americans, based purely on emotional appeals.

    I just think, when one side is 100% vested in emotional appeals to their supporters, you need something to show the efficacy of gun laws and how they benefit everyone or at least most people, who are gun owners.

    *Gun enthusiasts have been taught by the NRA, GOA (Gun Owners of America, a gun rights group more dedicated to individual gun owners than the pussies/sell outs at the NRA) and other organizations that giving an inch on any gun law would be all Sen. Diane Feinstein needs to lead hordes of ATF operatives to seize every privately owned gun in America.

  5. 5
    gene108 says:

    Security experts attribute the increase to two factors: a rise in gun sales and the sharp growth of so-called right-to-carry laws

    What would also be an interesting study is the mapping the percentage of conceal-carry permits issued and the crime rates in those areas.

    I have a feeling a lot of people just like having a gun on t hem and don’t live in an area, with a particularly significant crime rate.

    Or the number of truly paranoid people in the USA has risen at an alarming level.

  6. 6
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    It’s all fun and games until someone hijacks an Airbus with a Hello Kitty keychain can opener.

  7. 7
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    As a gun owner, I personally feel that long guns (Rifles, shotguns) should require a long, comprehensive permitting and training process before the buyer is able to take possession of the weapon. Pistols should require one hell of a long permitting and training process as well as an extensive background check.

    It will never happen. No matter what a politician’s sentiments, any of them who suggests regulating firearms will be voted out come next election. The irony is that those people who are most vocal about their need to have a firearm to deter the government from excess are the same ones who vote for people who will take not only their liberties, but everything else that isn’t nailed down.

  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    @dmsilev:
    I’m wondering: do your American laws allowing concealed weapons carry and suchlike cover swords and other stabbing/piercing weapons? I was under the impression that they only applied to certain categories of legal firearms.

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    I been trying to piece together a general idea of the particular kind of crazy this guy belonged to. Although my license to practice psychiatry expired some time ago. It all has a weird vibe of multiple personality disorder.

    As far a gun control in this shooting gallery of a country, good luck with that. And pining for it a month before a prez election, is a good way to shoot yourself in the progressive foot.

  10. 10
    The Moar You Know says:

    America has already voted, repeatedly, on gun control. The irresponsible jerkwads who carry on a loaded chamber (I’m just trying to wrap my head around that stupid idea) won. Guns for all, anytime, anywhere.

    Someday it will be an issue again. And it will have to be the Republicans who deal with it. The decades of NRA propaganda and their millions spent worked; no Democrat who wants to stay in office can dare touch gun control. Fucking sucks.

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    C’mon people, priorities. First, we get the candidate who has expanded the ability to carry firearms elected over the guy who has signed restrictive gun legislation and then..

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    BTW, I agree with Moar.

    I should have the right to be gunned down in a Walmart parking lot by a guy going through a bad breakup.

  13. 13
    John O says:

    The gun control debate is over, and the GOP won.

    On the upside, gun violence knows no party.

  14. 14
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’m wondering: do your American laws allowing concealed weapons carry and suchlike cover swords and other stabbing/piercing weapons?

    @Amir Khalid: Nope. Those aren’t in the Holy Constitushun (TM).

    Seriously. How insane is that? You can carry a gun in a lot of places where carrying a knife would land your ass in jail.

  15. 15
    👽 Martin says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I’m wondering: do your American laws allowing concealed weapons carry and suchlike cover swords and other stabbing/piercing weapons? I was under the impression that they only applied to certain categories of legal firearms.

    It depends on the state. Ironically, I’m pretty certain concealed carrying a sword is illegal in Texas, but legal in California (provided you don’t draw it).

    Some states say almost nothing about it. Others are quite explicit. I’m sure you could use the laws to draw a map of where there have been high profile fixed blade weapon crimes in the US – as is true with almost all state laws in the US.

    I’m surprised you can still rent a woodchipper in Connecticut, for example.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You can carry a gun in a lot of places where carrying a knife would land your ass in jail.

    And as was pointed out by a commenter on this very blog, sadly I don’t remember who, Ron Paul thinks you should be able to keep black people out of your place of business because, hey, private property, but you shouldn’t be allowed to keep out anyone carrying a gun.

  17. 17
    👽 Martin says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Guns don’t kill people, nagging wives that drive their husbands crazy kill people.

  18. 18
    KG says:

    @dmsilev: I’m wondering the same thing, because, I mean, seriously who the fuck thinks “well, I can’t take this 20 oz Coke through the security check point, and I have to take my shoes off and my computer out of the bag, and take my belt off, but I’m sure this five foot broad sword shouldn’t be a problem”? I mean, seriously, the fuck?

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    Anne Laurie, you were kind enough to give us an Elizabeth Warren debate thread last time, would love to have one again.

    Debate starts at 7pm eastern time tonight.

  20. 20
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Someday it will be an issue again. And it will have to be the Republicans who deal with it.

    __
    It will be an issue again when some nut goes gunning for a popular Republican President (there’s a reason why the Brady Bill got passed). Not something I want to see happen for multiple reasons.

  21. 21
    👽 Martin says:

    The only problem with the TSA rule is that I don’t think many of these people get sentenced for the felony they just committed. It seems to me that the first penalty of being busted for trying to take a gun on a plane, intentional or not, is the permanent revocation of your gun permit. If that was the minimum penalty, then I would take this as a proper service to the people of America.

  22. 22
    👽 Martin says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: I’m still astonished that Obama got through a term without a serious attempt. There were some questionable ones, but nothing really serious. I’m encouraged by that.

  23. 23
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Here’s the problem I see with Barton: he’s just baiting the president. There is nothing Obama can say, NOTHING, that will not hurt him.

    Obama is the victim of a meme that is much bigger than him.

    Barton needs to be addressing the American people, who either have dug in on the gun lovin’, aggressively decided not to care because of the partisanship, or who have given up after being beaten too many times.

    The fact that he is baiting the President either speaks to great political naivite (ie, he is one of those swing voters with questions per SNL) or deliberate Republican/Libertarian/White Wing ratfucking.

    I know, I know, I have my politics goggles on all the time. But this is the bitter reality: Obama got bodyslammed for his comments about HL Gates Jr. There is NOTHING he could say about guns which would not blow up in his face/backfire/wind up shooting himself in the foot.

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    @WaterGirl: I just read a tweet that they’re selling beer at the debate site. Limit 2 beers per transaction at this event.

    I’m encouraged by this as well.

  25. 25
    JCT says:

    @👽 Martin: This would make a lot of sense, but there are certainly states where you don’t need any sort of permit to own/carry a pistol. Now, if the penalty was to bar you from ever buying another firearm…

    An interesting point in that article regarding the growing number of people carrying guns around all of the time. The real frightening part is that in states like mine (AZ) that don’t require any permit to carry concealed, many of these folks strongly argue against any requirement for training AT ALL. It’s just completely insane.

  26. 26
    👽 Martin says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Here’s the problem I see with Barton: he’s just baiting the president. There is nothing Obama can say, NOTHING, that will not hurt him.

    Sure there is. Obama can simply agree with the sentiment without offering specific proposals. It’s not like there’s any question in any voters mind about where the parties stand on the issue. None.

  27. 27
    SatanicPanic says:

    Obama’s reluctance to take away all guns is why I am not voting for him. I stand on principle.

  28. 28
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    The fact that he is baiting the President either speaks to great political naivite (ie, he is one of those swing voters with questions per SNL) or deliberate Republican/Libertarian/White Wing ratfucking.

    Normally I’d agree with you if this were just some random person speaking out, but I’m willing to cut somebody some slack when they are the survivor of a horrific attack.

  29. 29
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108: What about the research showing that inequality, not poverty per se, was the driver of violence in societies?

    Let’s tax the rich and the corporations and see how that works out.

    I’m also an ascriber to the notion that reducing the Pb in the environment did a lot to reduce the violence. Addressing malnutrition, abuse and neglect could go a long way. Also sex ed in schools. More educational opportunities. But we can start with taxing the job cremators to provide funding for everything else.

  30. 30
    22over7 says:

    A few months ago I got a robocall from Wayne LaPierre, who ranted that Obama was going to take ALL our guns, just as soon as he was re-elected. Guy sounded like he was huffing Aqua Net, seriously.

    This is the kind of thing the wingnuts get fed, day in, day out. And it works, as far as it goes; the NRA (or, guys who represent the interests of small arms manufacturers) are making dumptruck loads of money here, and in smuggling arms across the border. Business is good. Sorry about the blood.

    When Obama’s re-elected, gun makers and sellers will make even more money.

  31. 31
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well, then, his enablers need to brief him on effective single issue advocacy.

    Sure, you can go at a boogeyman as a tactic–if it advances the overall goal. For example, the big boss politician that refuses to meet with you and badmouths you at every turn. Tell all your neighbors what he said and start making noise. But who attacks candidates for office unless they have a patron in one and an enemy in the other?

  32. 32
    opie jeanne says:

    I flew from Paris to Seattle on September 14th, and forgot to pack my elderly Swiss Army Knife in the checked luggage. I only use the scissors and I have never been able to open any of the knives, not ever.

    I surrendered it and apologized, and the French security agents were polite about it, almost nice, and I was very embarrassed.

    A far cry from the way I’ve been treated in the US by TSA for no good reason, and I always try to cooperate with them.

  33. 33

    Apparently the James O’keefe scam is unraveling as his former partner in crime continues to spill the beans. I haven’t seen much on this anywhere, think it’s kinda important ….

  34. 34
    opie jeanne says:

    @trollhattan: Why would Obama need a second term to do this? I mean, what’s so magical about him being re-elected? If he’d wanted to do these terrible things he could have done them the first time around.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    Guns at airport checkpoints reflect “the pervasiveness of concealed-carry weapons, which have gone up enormously in the last 10 years because concealed permits have got easier to get,”

    Anyone want to bet the NRA starts lobbying for people being able to carry guns on planes?

  36. 36
    WaterGirl says:

    @👽 Martin: Encouraged that there will be beer, or encouraged that there is a 2-beer limit?

  37. 37
    PeakVT says:

    “It’s almost always inadvertent rather than intentional,” said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the agency

    Sorry, not buying it. Those people are packing their guns, hoping to get away with it.

  38. 38
    KG says:

    @JCT: I’ve visited Arizona a few times in the last couple of years (really like the Phoenix valley), and I am always amazed when I walk into stores or restaurants or whathaveyou and they’ve got signs on the door saying “no guns on the premises please”.

  39. 39
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin: Not really, because the fevered minds on the right will invent those proposals for him.

    Obama can’t do SHIT on this issue. Obama had to sign in a law some crap letting people take guns on Amtrak–which Amtrak opposed!

    You must now have your ID checked to go on Amtrak… and the TSA has been fighting to get their foot in the door more and institute airline-style security theater, but a gun? AOK, bring it on!

    It’s more trouble to get a f*#%ing bicycle on the train than a gun… you have to take the bike apart and put it in a special box. All you do with the gun is take the ammo out and check it. I hope you enjoy putting bicycles together… You can go wherever in Europe and they have bike boarding. Also on the Talgo line from Oregon to Vancouver BC. But the rest of the US, fuggedaboudit.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @opie jeanne: Actually, he couldn’t. Not without a lot of help from Republicans.

  41. 41
    22over7 says:

    @opie jeanne:

    It’s a con. Get the gun-lovers all excited about that blah man taking all their guns, and then, when the unthinkable happens and he really DOES get re-elected, they’ll buy more and more in a frenzy of 2nd amendment celebration.

    And the makers, sellers, lobbyists, stockholders, etc. are all happy. Like taking candy from a baby.

  42. 42
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think the real threat from Obama is the long, disappointed face at rural America.

  43. 43
    jlow says:

    @gene108: There is an interesting correlation between the steady drop in crime and lowered levels of lead in the environment since 1978. It may not be causation, but looking at the two graphs side by side sure is interesting.

  44. 44
    gbear says:

    @22over7:

    A few months ago I got a robocall from Wayne LaPierre, who ranted that Obama was going to take ALL our guns, just as soon as he was re-elected. Guy sounded like he was huffing Aqua Net, seriously.

    That’s all well and good until you burn up your wife when your gun room explodes.

  45. 45
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @22over7: The run on bullets was truly hilarious. Bullets shot up 2007-8 when there was a sudden jump in the price of base metals. This led to shortages, which always happens when you have price dislocations because supply chain.

    Obama got elected and it was suddenly “He’s gon’ tak’way yer guuuuuns! You cain’t even bah bullets no more! Get ’em now before they run out!!!!”

    The low-info gun owners went nuts, ran the price of bullets up even MORE and the paranoia just fed on itself, expanding the gun market as well.

    Gun shop dealers just smiled and nodded. What could have been hard times for them (base metal runup, big drop in the dollar = big increase in price, and don’t forget the shitty economy) turned into a bonanza.

  46. 46
    JCT says:

    @KG: Yup, and the paranoid gun owners **hate** those signs because it means they will be a “sitting duck” when someone breaks the rules and starts shooting the place up.

    It’s like living in a Lewis Carroll story. Up is down, down is up.

  47. 47
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gbear: Mark Twain is laughing from the other side.

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    Fluffy is a dick. First question in the Warren debate – he asks about the native american thing. I like her answer, though.

  49. 49
    Redshift says:

    @opie jeanne:

    Why would Obama need a second term to do this? I mean, what’s so magical about him being re-elected? If he’d wanted to do these terrible things he could have done them the first time around.

    In their fevered imaginations, it’s because he won’t be facing reelection again, so he’ll be “unconstrained.” In reality it’s just a dodge to keep the con going after he didn’t go after their guns.

  50. 50
    👽 Martin says:

    @WaterGirl: Encouraged that there will be beer. Crowd participation always makes these better.

  51. 51
    gbear says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Encouraged that there will be beer, or encouraged that there is a 2-beer limit?

    I hope Brown gets bottled off the stage.

  52. 52
    WaterGirl says:

    @gbear: That works for me!

  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @👽 Martin: I’m thinking Brown supporters with a few beers may start with the tomahawk chants again.

  54. 54
    👽 Martin says:

    @gbear: Guns don’t kill people, um, er, rooms kill people.

  55. 55
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jlow: Well, they can show causation* biologically on an individual level, which provides prior plausibility, and it has predictive power, ie you can look at other countries and their lead exposure/lead laws over time and you can make predictions about their violent crime trends, so we will see how the model pans out but it has panned out pretty well for the US and Europe.

    Unlike a lot of other environmental factors, the impact of high Pb exposure on small children is so profound it seems to leap above the noise. It’s rare to see really dramatic effects like that in, say, heart disease research.

    *-to a reasonable standard, I mean Hume was right

  56. 56
    Redshift says:

    @22over7: Yeah, the thing to remember is that for all the blather about protecting freedumbs and pretending to be an organization of gun owners, the NRA is actually a lobbying group for gun manufacturers.

  57. 57
    opie jeanne says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: There was a lot of nasty push-back against the Brady bill from the Wingers, characterizing his wife in an ugly manner, etc. And Ronnie refused to support it, which was a bit of a surprise to me.

  58. 58
    👽 Martin says:

    This whole gun license issue may be rendered moot soon anyway.

    The controversial Wiki Weapons Project, which aims to create and compile a database of 3D printable firearms, has suffered yet another setback. The 3D printer that project owner Defense Distributed rented from Stratasys has been confiscated by the company due to legal concerns about the project.

    How long – 10-20 years maybe before the technology exists at a competitive price to print your own firearm?

  59. 59
    gbear says:

    @👽 Martin: And beds also too.

  60. 60
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @👽 Martin:

    How long – 10-20 years maybe before the technology exists at a competitive price to print your own firearm?

    Try now.

  61. 61
    burnspbesq says:

    I keep forgetting the cheap multi-tool stashed at the bottom of my bag

    Don’t fucking remind me. I have to replace mine about once a year, because I forget to take it off my key-ring before I leave for the airport. I can do so fucking much damage with that two-inch blade that takes at least 10 seconds to deploy.

  62. 62
    The Tragically Flip says:

    Here’s the problem I see with Barton: he’s just baiting the president. There is nothing Obama can say, NOTHING, that will not hurt him.

    See, I was thinking the reverse. What can Romney say?

    The issue of lone gunmen trying to die in blazes of glory cannot possibly be remedied by any “tough on crime” approach. These guys are hoping the police kill them. No death penalty or 700 year jail sentence is going to deter them.

    Gun control at least has a chance at working somewhat. It can at least stop some mass murderers, or lessen the harm they do when they go off (for example, magazine capacity limits, and cases of mass murders done with knives in countries where guns are very hard to acquire).

    There are other indirect approaches to this issue (culture, inequality etc) but as far as direct approaches to the problem, only “I will make it harder for dangerous people to get guns to kill crowds of people with” has any hope of accomplishing anything.

    Edit: Nevermind, I forgot about “let’s make a responsible citizen is armed to take vigilante justice” as the Republican response. It’s so stupid, I must have blocked it out. Still, I would like to see a debate between “let’s solve the mass murder problem by arming even more peole” versus “let’s make it harder for lunatics to get guns”

  63. 63
    opie jeanne says:

    @jlow: There’s also a correlation between legalized abortion and the drop in the murder rate in the ’80s. It’s called the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis. All of those unwanted children who would have committed those crimes didn’t get born.
    On the other hand, there was a drop in births in general after The Pill was introduced and abortion was legalized, and in one particular year the birth rate must have been halved. I was involved in PTA and school district planning, and there was this one year that had half as many kids in it. I think those kids would have been born in 1975 but I’m not sure, I just remember that the 7th grade one year had half the enrollment of the 8th and 6th grades, throughout the district and it was a big district.

    I remember when I had my middle child in ’79 people approached her stroller as if they hadn’t ever seen a baby before.

  64. 64
    nastybrutishntall says:

    My six year-old found a .22 round somewhere and tossed it in his bookbag at some point. Didn’t know it was there until the Orlando TSA saw it. Cop came over and made me think he was taking my son away from me AND sending me to Guantanamo. Made a big deal about calling the FBI. And then…”Ok, have a nice day. Hope you make your flight.”

    This shit’s crazy.

  65. 65
    opie jeanne says:

    @Redshift: Fevered is right, because it really makes no sense.

    I got an email from some anonymous idiot who quoted Michael Savage at me, all about how this would be the last election ever if Obama was re-elected. I told the sender he was a fucking idiot if he believed this, and the moron actually answered me, tried to imply that I was the fucking idiot.

    The hell of it is, it’s probably someone I know, and I replied to that reply that he was an idiot to both believe that nonsense and to send it to me, unsolicited and anonymously, and I called him/her a coward for not naming themselves. Then I fed the address to my spam filter.

  66. 66
    PeakVT says:

    @opie jeanne: I think a better explanation is lead.

  67. 67
    PurpleGirl says:

    @👽 Martin: I’m surprised you can still rent a woodchipper in Connecticut, for example.

    Helle Craft’s husband had killed her before he used the woodchipper to dispose of her body.

  68. 68
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Gun Control will have to be a grassroots, with enough pushback against the NRA, and has to be strong enough to defeat a pro-gun politician with a gun control candidate. Otherwise this is all kabuki theatre.

  69. 69
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    Amen to that! Heck, I can’t even take my tandem bicycle on Amtrak at all…

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