Re-Defining the Gun Argument

Ask yourself, punk: Do I feel lucky?… At some point, it seems, Americans became enamoured, even obsessed, with the idea that guns win arguments. Guns can certainly end arguments, including those held by damaged individuals with the voices in their heads, but rebuttal is not actually what guns were invented for. Guns are tools, dangerous tools, designed for blowing holes in things (paper targets, tin cans, game animals, people) just as chainsaws are tools designed to efficiently hack large things into smaller pieces. Someone could certainly use a chainsaw to guarantee themselves a seat on the bus, but people don’t line up to buy chainsaws as a response to crowded public transit. When we hear about a chainsaw tragedy, nobody says, “If only the victim had been holding another chainsaw, that tree couldn’t have crushed them!” Nobody insinuates that chainsaw owners are more patriotic than the rest of us, or that in a proper republic everyone would be required to own a chainsaw. Nobody considers safety features on chainsaws, or regulations restricting their use, as a dangerous abridgement of their god-given rights. Maybe this would be a happier country if we agreed to treat guns as tools, and not as magical icons that guarantee we’ll be winners, at least of arguments.

Defying the White House Press Secretary, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post published a highly informative “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States“:

… If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.

What follows here isn’t a policy agenda. It’s simply a set of facts — many of which complicate a search for easy answers — that should inform the discussion that we desperately need to have….


Paul Constant posted a fowarded email from the Seattle Schools Superintendent on “how to talk to your children about the shooting“. Maybe it’s not just the kids who need it:

… It is a struggle for adults and children alike to try to comprehend why and how such a senseless and shocking incident could occur. Excessive and repeated media viewing can create increased anxiety and therefore limiting ongoing exposure is recommended. We are coordinating with schools and school guidance counselors to provide emotional support for students next week. Additionally, talking about the incident can be a healthy way for families to process their feelings and reactions to an event of this nature….

Make sure they understand your answers and the meaning you intend.
Use words or phrases that won’t confuse a child or make the world more frightening…
Give your child an honest explanation…
If children keep asking the same question over and over again it is because they are trying to understand; trying to make sense out of the disruption and confusion in their world…
Even if you feel the world is an unsafe place, you can reassure your child by saying, “The event is over. Now we’ll do everything possible to stay safe, and together we can help get things back to normal.”…

When I was growing up, almost every adult smoked. Smoking was one of the things that defined adulthood. People smoked in hospitals, even in the maternity ward. And it wasn’t that “we” didn’t know smoking was bad for one’s health — cigarettes had been nicknamed ‘coffin nails’ since shortly after they first became widely available. But eventually it became obvious just how deadly nicotine was, not just to the smokers but to everyone within lungshot. So rules restricting the sale of cigarettes (no minors, no vending machines, no enticing ads) were enacted or enforced. Explicit warnings about the many & various ways smoking kills were printed on cigarette packs. And the public areas in which smoking was restricted expanded, office by office, state by state.

There are still plenty of smokers, but the assumption that any one smoker has the ‘right’ to make the surroundings unbreathable for any number of non-smokers has pretty well been eliminated. And when it comes to changing the public debate about the “right” of every adult to own any gun and carry it everywhere, there’s this advantage over the smoking debate: As far as I know, gun ownership is not physically addictive.

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174 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    I hope we just hit the tipping point on “gun rights” and gun violence.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing

    Except if your name is Tim Pawlenty and you were governor of Minnesota where a major interstate highway bridge did precisely that.

    Then you’d cut funds for bridge inspection.

    This is a good example of where the GOP has left the realm of common sense, actual conservatism, and the promotion of the general welfare.

  3. 3
    Gian says:

    there’s a substantial minority of the GOP who are in reality anarchists. they just don’t know it, or they would’ve moved to somalia

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    @Gian:

    they just don’t know it, or they would’ve moved to somalia

    Too many blahs. They need a good white country they can take over easier than this one.

  5. 5
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Hey, don’t go dissing on the chainsaws! You should know that there’s a use for a chainsaw EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    And, come the Zombie Apocalypse, the guns will just slow down the Zombies a bit, but they keep on coming. But a CHAINSAW will do the job.

    And don’t buy into those stupid arguments about limiting the capacity of chainsaw gas tanks, because…FREEDOM!

    Guns? Ban the fuckers. Useless. Every try to bring down a maple with a gun? Waste of time.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    I am going to get more involved in pushing for public financing of US political campaigns.

    To me, the resurgence of “gun rights” is due to the NRA’s outsized influence in buying our Congress.

    And our Congress is bought, as are state legislatures.

    We’ve allowed private money to separate our legislators’ funding stream from their constituents.

    It will take years and years, but reducing the influence of big money and special interests in our political system, which has become corrupted beyond reason in my own lifetime, is going to be a mission.

  7. 7
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    My least favorite part of the ritualized aftermath of mass shootings (and what a sad fucking sentence that is) is all the gun bunnies who jump up before they even finish counting the dead and yell ‘don’t blame ME! I’m a RESPONSIBLE gun owner.’ Yes, asshole, we know it wasn’t you in that school killing children. Congratulations. Now sit down and shut up, because this isn’t about you.

    That’s another difference between guns and other tools. Other interest groups don’t start flinging shit at a moment’s notice. Boeing doesn’t react to every plane crash with breathless mass mailings about how it’s a government plot to get people to stop flying. It’s only the gun nuts who feel the need to react to every gun-fueled tragedy with self-righteous mewling about how cruel people are for tarring all gun owners with the same brush, blah blah blah. Just how hollowed out does your soul have to be to see ’20 children shot and killed’ and your first response is ‘I’d better make sure no one’s criticizing the concept of gun ownership on the internet!’ I don’t understand these people and I don’t want to understand them. They’re sick.

  8. 8
    Ruckus says:

    Anne
    I doubt that we will have that adult conversation any time soon. I hope that I am completely wrong, I just don’t expect that I am. This issue runs deep in the fabric of this country. It’s part of the crazy way we’ve always done things. Realistic discussions about controversial issues get run over by small minds with loud voices and politicians listen to the loudest so not to anger all those voters.
    So we have two ways to go here, get a whole lot louder or accept that we have no voice at all.
    In the guns for all issue we have been at best the person at the back of the theater, whispering during the movie. Annoying but nothing more. That has to change if this we want to be effective.
    So I’m suggesting that we all call our elected officials and figuratively yell at the top of our voices. Then sit down and really think about this issue. Are you for all guns being confiscated? Do you think there is no problem at all? Or somewhere in between? Do you have an idea how to fix this?
    Write it down, sign your name and send it. There is already a WH petition, sign it. We have over the years, given up on our democracy way too easily. If we want it back, we have to take it back in the only possible way, we have to get involved.

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    Gail Collins in the NYTimes: Looking for America

    …Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god.
    __
    This is all about guns — access to guns and the ever-increasing firepower of guns. Over the past few years we’ve seen one shooting after another in which the killer was wielding weapons holding 30, 50, 100 bullets.
    __
    …America needs to tackle gun violence because we need to redefine who we are. We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education.
    __
    We have to make ourselves better. Otherwise, the story from Connecticut is too unspeakable to bear.

  10. 10
    Elizabelle says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Congratulations. Now sit down and shut up, because this isn’t about you.

    I think you’re on.

    We need to separate the responsible gun owners from the gun right fanatics (who are hiding behind the first group).

  11. 11
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Elizabelle:

    That’s part of the problem for me. I know, objectively, that there are people who own guns, even lots of guns, and are entirely responsible with them. They know all about guns always being loaded, always lock them up, never aim at anything you don’t intend to kill, all that. And good for them, honestly. And also, I don’t support banning gun ownership entirely in the first place, so I don’t have an argument with them per se.

    But…given all the mountains of bullshit from the NRA and their various toadies after tragedies like this one, I have the same involuntary response to “I’m a responsible gun owner” as I have to “I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal” or “I’m a conservative but not a Republican.”

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Twenty kindergarteners lay
    Shattered
    Where they learned and played

    Twenty lifeless girls and boys
    Scattered
    Amidst their books and toys

    Twenty five and six year olds
    Spattered
    With each other’s blood

    Twenty precious little souls
    Tattered
    Through with bullet holes

    Twenty young lives abruptly gone
    Battered
    We bow our heads and carry on

  13. 13
    Kyle says:

    When chainsaws are outlawed, only outlaws will have chainsaws.
    My lumberjack forefathers died for my right to carry a chainsaw.
    You can have my chainsaw when you pry it from my severed hand.

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    EJ Dionne, WaPost, “This time has to be different

    We have had enough. American politics is plagued by timidity and paralyzed by opportunism whenever we even consider talking action to curb gun violence. No other developed country in the world has these massacres on such a regular basis. In no comparable nation do citizens have such easy access to guns. On no public question other than gun violence are those who demand solutions after an ungodly episode accused of “politicizing tragedy.”
    __
    … “Regardless of politics.” That is what it will take. A president who no longer has to run for election is in a good position to say this, but he and the rest of us must change the politics of guns for those who will face the voters again. We cannot just be sad. We must be angry. We cannot just shake our heads. We must shake our fists, and wield our votes. We cannot just say that curbing gun violence is one issue among many. It is a paramount concern ….
    __
    And we will have to avoid the paralysis created by those who insists (sic) that every mass shooting is the work of one deranged individual and never, ever the result of flawed policies. We must beware of those who invoke complexity not to further understanding, but to encourage passivity and resignation.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kyle:

    Don’t just snark.

    Get out there and do something.

  16. 16
    Gretchen says:

    @Elizabelle:
    This. This. This.
    I had a conversation with my daughter tonight. She is studying public health in graduate school. She can’t understand why we spend twice as much as any other industrialized country per capita, and yet have worse health care than any of them. I said it’s the money in politics. As long as the health insurance industry is making money on the status quo, they will pay to keep it so. Same thing with the gun manufacturers. And even if big money didn’t buy the presidential election, the Koch brothers have bought our governor and legislature here in Kansas, and the chance of getting government that’s good for the average person is nil as long as they’re paying for government that favors them.

  17. 17
    Pete Mack says:

    PS nicotine doesn’t kill people, cigarette tar (black gunk) does.

  18. 18
    Narcissus says:

    From the Klein piece, of course it radiates from the South. The Confederacy was and remains a pestilence.

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    Washington Post editorial: Time to talk about gun control

    whatever the facts of this case, that the country would be safer with fewer guns, that mass killings are more difficult with knives, that it is not the Second Amendment but political cowardice that precludes sensible regulation.

  20. 20
    techno says:

    The elephant in the room is not guns, it’s culture. There are other countries with nearly the same per capita gun ownership as USA and they don’t have these problems.

    What makes us different is that we daily do serious damage to our concepts of right and wrong because we are in a constant state of war—there are people to be killed. I saw Madeline Albright explaining to the world that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it.” Do the math—a guy who shoots up 20 kids in a kindergarten is only 1/25,000 as evil as an honored former Secretary of State getting $50k a speech.

    But you watch, the Liberals who cannot imagine that the real problem is psychopaths as chief diplomats, will try to pass some gun legislation. I say everyone who actually thinks this will solve anything be required to be on the front lines when the state tries to take away guns. There’s a lot of people with guns who don’t have a lot to lose these days. Things could get seriously ugly.

  21. 21
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gretchen:

    Political money is the mother’s milk of the lunacy besetting our country.

    We used to be better than this, and we knew why we restricted political money.

    Money has bought our political representatives, most if not many of them, and they got bought cheap.

  22. 22
    MattR says:

    It is worth reading the link in the update to point number 3 which debunks the idea that Israel and Switzerland have high gun ownership rates and low gun violence rates. One other thing it mentions is that the weekend suicide rate for Israeli soldiers dropped 40% since they made a change in 2006 requiring soldiers to leave their guns on base when they leave for the weekend.

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    @techno:

    It’s guns AND culture.

    And agree with you that we may be in for a lot more ugliness and violence on the way to resolving this.

  24. 24
    👽 Martin says:

    A different approach here is to address the problem without banning guns – because clearly that’s become a political bridge too far. And I don’t think it’s necessary. Instead, draw a parallel between gun ownership and car ownership.

    Propose:

    A) Every gun owner must go through the expected background check and waiting period before being able to buy and operate a gun. Training could be included, but that’s negotiable. That license needs to be renewed annually. If during that period you’re convicted of a felony or commit a gun infraction, you lose your right, you lose your license, and you have to forfeit your guns (selling them, transferring ownership, etc. – not confiscate).
    B) Every gun must be registered and its ownership tracked at the federal level. If you want to gift or sell your gun, you must ensure the recipient is licensed and do the paperwork to transfer the ID to the new owner. This is no different than what we do for cars. There needs to be an annual renewal process for each gun, to illustrate that you still have it in your possession – not unlike getting a car inspected, but much less onerous. If you lose possession of a gun or improperly transfer it, you lose your license and the right to own a gun. All guns currently owned must get registered. Any gun that isn’t within the first year becomes a rogue weapon and possession would carry a penalty, including the loss of the right to carry a weapon in the future.
    C) Due to B above, it’s presumed that all firearms will be properly secured either in a gun safe, with a trigger lock, or a biometric trigger lock integrated in the gun. I don’t believe the last one exists, but the technology certainly does. It’s feasible, just not implemented. If a gun is appropriated that wasn’t properly secured, then the owner is at least partially liable for anything that happens with that gun. If the gun is taken out of the top of a closet and used to commit the crime, then the original owner is partially responsible for that act.
    D) Automatic and semi-automatic weapons would remain legal, but require an additional permitting process to own whereby the owner would need to justify the need for such a weapon. So, still legal, but legal with cause. All other guns are legal without cause – pistols, rifles, shotguns. Anyone without this additional permit caught with an auto or semi-auto gun (including a weapon modified to these categories) would lose all rights to gun ownership.

    Basically, guns remain legal – including things like assault rifles (to a limited degree), but they must be tracked, secured, and improper use leads to loss of rights. That’s reasonable, and consistent with the Constitution. The NRA and the nutters will freak out, but no sensible person will take particular issue with these items because they aren’t any different than the laws for auto ownership or even dog ownership. There are national dog lojack registries, if your dog attacks someone, the owner is liable – owners are responsible for securing their pet and protecting the public from them. Guns should be no different.

  25. 25
    👽 Martin says:

    @techno:

    What makes us different is that we daily do serious damage to our concepts of right and wrong because we are in a constant state of war

    That doesn’t follow. Israel should then have similar violence rates as us, but they don’t.

    Our social image of guns is that of a western gunslinger, taking the law into their own hands. There’s plenty of evidence of this.

    No other culture has this particular image. It’s not the image of an insurgent fighting an oppressor or a hunter, but of a rugged individualist dispensing justice from the end of a gun.

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    I like your idea, Martin.

    It’s sensible, and separates responsible gun owners from the nutters.

    Someone suggested making the gun sellers responsible for mayhem wrought by those sold guns, maybe for a period of a year or two. Make it in the gun sellers’ best interest to screen their purchasers.

    Naturally, close the gun show loophole.

    People may not care about politicians getting shot, or gangbangers, or other people’s kids, but they want to keep their schoolchildren safe. In a school, for fuck’s sake.

  27. 27
    Elizabelle says:

    @👽 Martin:

    re culture:

    Also too many movies with gun violence, and portraying a citizenry too corrupted (and complacent) to care about.

    Looking at you, Dark Knight.

  28. 28
    Applejinx says:

    @techno: “get” ugly, kemosabe?

    I’m avoiding Balloon Juice HARD the last couple days because this is a little too big to choke down. I’m avoiding a conservative, republican artist/writer ‘friend’ who’s made a livejournal thread as a refuge (of just the sort I’m need) for not talking about this stuff- because I don’t know whether it masks a basic rightwinger doubling down on the concept.

    I’m tired of seeing the basic civilized politeness we share, abused. I’m tired of trying to unilaterally respect others’ perspectives. I’m tired of living in the fucking nightmare wishing I could wake up.

    If some turban-wearing dude murdered this many children we’d be turning entire countries to glass. What is it gonna take before we go to war on the fucking NRA and gun manufacturer’s lobby?

    What are they gonna do, shoot us MORE?

    The thing about trying to nail down a radical position and keep it forever is, you get backlash. Look at the permanent Republican Majority and Right Nation. Now we have re-elected a black guy by a large margin- a black guy! He’s a really good politician but still!

    If we lean hard left for a while, I’m sure there will inevitably be a rightwing backlash too. But this is not the time to fret about that. This is backlash time against the nightmare we live in. We’re gutted by Bain Capital, poisoned and made sick and obese by agribusiness, our children are brutally murdered in their schools by the gun industry.

    Tumbrel time! And as far as the ugly of having the government hunt down and take away the guns of freaking maniacs? (and I count a few of the maniacs as my friends- hope like hell none of them are too crazy, but I also hope they are not the next ‘shooter’)

    Bring it on. By all means. Make my fucking day. Go ahead- show the world that anybody holding a gun or clinging to one is potentially a multiple murderer, who would rather use it and die in ‘glory’ for ‘freedom’ than go along with ‘police’ or ‘laws’.

    Show your true colors. The wild west is over. It doesn’t belong in elementary schools. It doesn’t belong in CIVILIZATION. We have civilization for a reason.

    Let’s get the drop on these fuckers by pointing those dreaded laws at them. If they are actually law-abiding, it will work. If they are not, it will prove more and more why we should’ve done that LONG ago.

  29. 29

    I am completely done with the right wing atavists. I have the same sadness and anger I felt on 9/11. If we made it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to board airplanes after that horrific day then we can make it more difficult for citizens, even law-abiding citizens, to purchase or own firearms. Period.

  30. 30
    👽 Martin says:

    @Elizabelle: This still allows gun shows – because the seller to whom the gun is registered retains responsibility until that registration is transferred. That might require a notary at the gun show, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

    Sellers would be responsible for ensuring that the buyer was indeed licensed and properly transferring the registration, but also to have a reporting duty for any possible criminal activity. Treat it like a malpractice case. If a crime is committed and there’s evidence that the gun seller had awareness of the crime, they could be liable. I imagine a lot of gun shops would keep their security video for a while…

    I should also add that in addition to felonies, certain other conditions could result in loss of ownership rights, including psychiatric disorders, etc. In the specific case of today’s incident – the son should have been denied a license based on the reports that he has had long-term psychiatric problems (that stops him from buying and makes it a crime for him to use guns, but clearly that wouldn’t have mattered here), but C) above should have ensured (or at least increased the likelihood) that the mother had secured the weapons in a manner that the son did not have access to.

    I think it’s far, far more necessary that owners secure the weapons and be held responsible for that, than we ban them. The penalties should be harsh for failure to comply. School violence in particular stems from this failure – many of the school shootings we’ve suffered have come (usually) from kids grabbing mom or dad’s gun and then using it. Just stopping that would be a massive improvement.

  31. 31
    techno says:

    @👽 Martin:

    That doesn’t follow. Israel should then have similar violence rates as us, but they don’t.

    Excuse me, just what the hell do you call what Israel does to Gaza on a regular basis? Ah yes, “non-violent” sniper fire.

  32. 32
    techno says:

    @Applejinx:

    “get” ugly, kemosabe?

    You certainly have a point. Even so, I would hate to see more Waco-style standoffs–especially in urban areas. It COULD be a lot worse, you know.

    I assume you are volunteering to make war on the gun owners. Can I watch? Would you be offended if I sold popcorn?

  33. 33
    TS says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Getting every state to agree with your plan – impossible – getting congress to fund your plan – more impossible – banning assault weapons and removing the 2nd amendment – possible.

  34. 34
    Baron Elmo says:

    @👽 Martin:

    I want to take Martin’s point in a different direction: Shouldn’t everyone in this country be allowed to drive if they choose to? Isn’t requiring a driver’s license, or even requiring potential drivers to demonstrate their ability to drive, is a violation of our rights? Isn’t the solution to automobile fatalities to have more and more drivers on the road? Who is the government to tell us how fast we can drive?

    “Register Muslims – Not Automobiles”

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    @👽 Martin:

    In Fairfax County, VA, we had two police officers shot and killed by a kid who raided his father’s gun cabinet not too long ago.

    Agree with you on the common sense procedures we can insist upon so that private gun ownership can co-exist with safety and peace of mind for us.

    I am writing to Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb and Senator-Elect Tim Kaine with exactly your suggestions. And to President Obama too.

    The Commonwealth is home to Virginia Tech, and we have a lunatic rightwinger attorney general (Ken Cuccinelli) who is running for governor next year.

    We know gun violence.

  36. 36
    Elizabelle says:

    @TS:

    Says you.

    States are full of parents who send their kids to public schools, and take them to malls and to movies.

    Those have become riskier activities.

    And are you joking about “removing the second amendment?” Really?

  37. 37
    Taylor says:

    In terms of policy response and priorities, I think Cole has nailed it:

    How many of you still take your fucking shoes off at an airport because of ONE fucking shoebomber attempt?

    This.

    Goddamn, bro, tell it like it is.

    This.

  38. 38
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I understand there are some petitions about addressing gun control. This one seems to be pretty popular. Right now, it has over 66,000 signatures. Read it. If you agree, consider adding your name to it.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immediately-address-issue-gun-control-through-introduction-legislation-congress/2tgcXzQC

  39. 39
    amk says:

    @Elizabelle: Guess the world will come to an end if the holy second amendment is removed?

  40. 40
    amk says:

    @Taylor: One of the best cole rants.

  41. 41
    JPL says:

    I just went on an ammo site and full metal jackets are 30 for 50 rds. Surely a child’s life is worth more than 62 cents a bullet. Congress can immediately raise the price to 300.00 to help pay off the debt. I didn’t research gun prices but the same thing can be done for guns. This is not a 2nd Amendment issue since Congress has the power to tax.

  42. 42
    Geoduck says:

    Warning, possibly inappropriate humor, but I gotta post it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Fd7a51P8o

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    @Ruckus:

    I doubt that we will have that adult conversation any time soon. I hope that I am completely wrong, I just don’t expect that I am.

    A few things.

    1. This is not about all guns. This is about an easily definable subset of very danerous weapons.

    2. Do not think of the upcoming discussions as an event. Realize that this will be a long process in which there will be both accomplishments and frustration.

    3. Our President is uniquely talented to start and accomplish much in this process.

    4. With the President’s help, citizens must lead this. This must be a movement. There must be a growing block of dependable citizen-voters who provide the engine for certain and meaningful reform.

    5. The crazies, the demigods, the axe-grinders and the selfishly emo blowhards on our side need to shut the hell up and work out their demons some other place. This is serious business. We have to win over a bunch of voters and thereby politicians who have real concerns about gun control reform. Chest beating and name calling will hurt and not help. Be like the president you admire.

    Remember guns are not the problem. If that is your argument we lose immediately. There is a certain type of weapon that is very dangerous to the public welfare and if we can regulate Lawn Darts (one of my favorite games back then) we can regulate high capacity semi automatic weapons.

    On a side note, as gay guy, I noted Tony Scalia’s rant slyly, essentially equating the moral harm done by me, if I want to marry, to the harm done by murderers. Ya know what? I’m willing to let him have that if he is willing to regulate the weapons of choice of those who murder by mass shooting.

    Wrap up thought:

    Get calm, get real, get active.

  44. 44
    WereBear says:

    Please, as we move forward in this endeavor, (and I am as eager as anyone) let us remember to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    As liberals, there’s the element who have a nasty habit of decrying first steps forward as “too little” and then, not stepping forward at all.

    Even Howard Dean, who I admire very much, got caught up in the “kill the bill” during the healthcare struggle; yet I hope we all see now how much Obamacare is pushing forward that conversation, and how it will continue to shape matters into a more positive and sensible direction.

    So the proposals here should start with demanding more responsibility from those involved with guns, every one of them. And while we are at it, such incredibly stupid pieces of legislation like Stand Your Ground should be part of the conversation, too.

    The Right Wing has become enamored of the concept that guns are the answer to their problems. We must inform them otherwise; even if it also means increasing access to mental health resources, too.

  45. 45
    Shalimar says:

    No need to eliminate the 2nd Amendment, we just need another amendment as clarification. “Militia doesn’t mean you get to stockpile as many weapons as you want without regulation. We aren’t an 18th century pre-industrialized country under imminent threat of invasion by the country we just declared independence from anymore, you illiterate asshats.”

  46. 46
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    @👽 Martin: Gun owner and CCW carrier (mostly due to the ease of transport) here.

    Other than some issues with terminology (automatic vs semi-automatic, unless your point was to only allow single action revolvers, bolt action rifles and the such) I would merrily live within this regime.

    As a quick lesson of gun terms for folks that’s going to skip over some finer points of terminology, because I have to say something somewhere as it is driving me nuts:

    Automatics: Effectively, multiple bullets come out with every pull of the trigger. Illegal to own or possess without special permits. Yes kits/methods exist to do an end run around this, but it is what it is.

    Semi-Automatic: One bullet per trigger pull; however, gun automatically gets the next bullet ready. This is your standard gun.

    Assault Weapons: Nebulous term that has nothing to do with how the gun operates. Instead, for the purposes of what we are discussing here, deals with issues such as magazine size. (Other items: Barrel threading for silencers, pistol grips on rifles, folding stocks, etc.) Barring the extended magazine issue, this is mostly a cosmetic issue and easily end-run around.

  47. 47
    Downpuppy says:

    Judge Parker reader, Annie? Bubba and the chainsaw.

    I think Ezra is wrong about roads. We’ve had a lot of collapses & no national response.

  48. 48
    WereBear says:

    @Downpuppy: We’ve had a lot of collapses & no national response.

    Because we’ve discovered WE don’t get to have a national response. We can clog the streets with demonstrators, as happened during the W administration, and if the networks don’t cover it… it didn’t happen!

    But now, with Youtube and Facebook and Twitter, that has changed. It’s the NEW new world, and we must take advantage of that.

  49. 49
    hep kitty says:

    It’s horrific, of course. But to be fair, my understanding is that the mom had legally purchased the guns used and was aware of his mental issues along with other family members. She knew he was pretty disturbed.

    This poor women now lying cold in a morgue, was it her fault? With our casual attitude about guns? of course not. With our casual attitude about mental illness? No.

    Let’s stop pretending sick people are not sick. Educate ourselves. Stop telling them it’s all in their heads, they can control it if they weren’t such fucking losers that they can’t control those pesky demons in their brains which are, after all, of their own making. Stop pretending it’s not our problem. For the Love of God, stop complaining about how fucking inconvenient it is to have low-functioning, disturbed individuals in our society.

  50. 50
    scottinnj says:

    It’s not Obama’s job to pass a gun control bill. It’s our job to make him sign it.

    We also need a National Right-not-to-be-shot Association. Im looking at you Mayor Bloomberg

  51. 51
    hep kitty says:

    And yeah, thanks Ronald Reagan. Thank you so very fucking much.

  52. 52
    hep kitty says:

    I’m just a little sick of the media trying to probe into everyone’s minds right now, doing everything in their power to draw out tears and anguish and emotion, as if the incident itself isn’t enough, and it’s just so cheap and tawdry. I’m turning it off now. We likely will learn nothing new today anyway.

    I now extract myself from 24-hour spectacles of self-flagellation and faux navel-gazing by people completely unconnected to the situation. For ratings.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    @hep kitty: I’m staying away, too. Far more heat than light.

  54. 54
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: well said

  55. 55
    amk says:

    ny times sermonizes about Obama and those cowardly dems showing some “courage” on gun control while they courageously give a complete pass to those ‘crazy’ repubs.

    Fucking media.

  56. 56
    hep kitty says:

    @WereBear: In other words, this.

    . . . [M]ost citizens are left to gaze helplessly at the half-baked presentations of TV news, hoping to glean some facts that can be sussed out from the non-stop repetitions (“Let’s show the footage of President Obama wiping away a tear again!”), the maunderings, and as a result of this, the inevitable trivializing of a tragedy.

    This morning, after hearing all day that Lanza shot and killed his father, I find out he is alive and, of course, being questioned.

    I blame Ted Turner for some of this. I’m not kidding.

  57. 57
    rea says:

    It says, “well-regulated” right there in the 2nd amendment.

  58. 58
    Elizabelle says:

    @WereBear:

    Agree on staying away from big money media running with a big ratings story.

    RE light, though:

    Google has a little candle on its homepage.

    And I am totally up for attending numerous candlelight vigils and other forms of civil protest. (In addition to letters to the editor, letters to our congresscritters, citizen type stuff)

    Let’s keep each other apprised.

  59. 59
    OzoneR says:

    Here’s the problem.

    I have more influence over national gun control legislation than Barack Obama does. Why? Because white people buy guns to protect themselves against their irrational belief people who look like Barack Obama are going to kill them.

  60. 60
    redshirt says:

    I’m reading all kinds of outraged editorials today and they all seem to say the same thing: We need to do something, but those politicians in Washington won’t get anything done!

    None call the problem by name: The Republican Party. As with all of our troubles, the problem lies directly with them and their fellow travelers.

    Second – hand guns are the real problem. So called “assault rifles” are infrequently used for murder, both the regular, every day kind, and in these mass killings. Hand guns are killing dozens of people every day in America.

  61. 61
    scav says:

    @hep kitty: ah yes, let us count the things reported that were not true. Ryan not shooter, mother not teacher at school nor killed there, reporters clearly too busy chasing down frightened kids for juicy quotes. Covering themselves in their usual glory. Pull aside the curtain and I’m half-convinced there may soon be nothing but a finite number of intern non-union monkeys aggregating twitter feeds in the back newsrooms.

  62. 62
    WereBear says:

    @Elizabelle: Oh, this is NOT going away. Not for me, not for anyone with a brain and a heart.

    I hope the events of this past year has pushed the nation over a tipping point. There has to be a limit of how much screwy behavior gets “normalized” by talking heads of influence treating these crazy thoughts and statements as though they are worthy of serious consideration.

    Let’s take our whole country back from these insane, nasty, sick people whose only advantage is money from crazed billionaires and their own inexhaustible rage.

    Let’s bend that arc towards justice.

  63. 63
    Ash Can says:

    @hep kitty: Oh hell yes, it was her fault. I agree wIth your other poInts about dealIng wIth mental Illness, but the fact Is, It most defInItely was her fault, and the fault of the rest of the family, and their friends, and anyone else in a position to do anything at all to get this person the medical attention he needed and to keep him the hell away from any kind of weapons — especially ones this deadly — in the meantIme. The fact that she was killed adds to the tragedy, to be sure, but it doesn’t absolve her of her part in this. And that too is part of the conversation we need to have in the wake of this.

  64. 64
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: You’re the genius who “digs” McClaren. That says tons.

  65. 65
    hep kitty says:

    @scottinnj:

    Im looking at you Mayor Bloomberg

    He’s too busy being self-righteously outraged right now.

  66. 66
    RSA says:

    Over the years I’ve read a number of rightwingers arguing that we should get rid of various government agencies due to fraud and waste, that welfare programs should be shut down because some people abuse them, that if a few people from some out-group are terrorists, everyone in that out-group deserves the blame. It’s an argument that “a few people ruin it for everyone else”. But they don’t like that argument when it’s applied to guns.

  67. 67
    f space that says:

    I love how the lack of gun control is always the fault of cowardly Dems. Nothing to do with Republicans using it as a wedge issue. Nothing to do with the right wing judges who always find in favor of indvidual gun ownership. Nothing to do with the manufacturers of guns and ammo. Nothing to do with the Wurlitzer feeding the racists paranoids. Just them damn chickensh*t Dems not making things all better. And lets not forget how Michael Moore was really mean to nice old Charlton Heston.

  68. 68
    hep kitty says:

    @scav: I guess it just sounds so heartless to blame the mom but I hear you.

    Educating the public.

    I grew up hearing “Just Say No” and I never touched anything harder than pot. Considering my addictive nature, that could have been a life-saver for me. I guess that’s what I’m saying. I grew up in the wake of anti-smoking ads that proved to be very effective. “Don’t Be a Litterbug” – etc

    Just things like that. A collective awareness about mental illness that we just don’t have. At least bullying, a very effective monster-maker, is being discussed. That’s something. Let’s take it a step further.

  69. 69
    WereBear says:

    @f space that: It’s almost like Freud dreamed up the right wingers; they are the living embodiment of every single one of his psychological defense mechanisms.

    A sensible society would not regard them as a legitimate political faction. A sensible society would consider them mentally ill and treat them accordingly.

  70. 70
    RAM says:

    After Tim Pawleny was complicit in killing those drivers in the interstate highway bridge collapse, we did not have a national conversation about the safety of bridges, especially “failure critical” structures like the one that collapsed in Minnesota. So the capacity for us to ignore deadly problems seems, to me at least, pretty much limitless.

    What would start helping, I think, would be an anti-gun PR campaign modeled on the anti-smoking campaign. There needs to be some sort of counterweight to the gun fettishists of the NRA and groups even farther in the bag than the NRA is.

    Here in Illinois, we’re going to be afflicted with concealed carry. Personally, I think any civilian who is carrying a weapon in public is a coward, and having a herd of armed cowards around does NOT make me feel safer. I’d like to see concealed carry permits priced at about $500 annually, with the proceeds used for the anti-gun campaign suggested above. Further, I’d like to see concealed carry permit owners’ addresses and names listed publically, like we do with sex offenders. I’d like to know if one of these cowardly lunatics is living in my neighborhood or next door to me.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Rumpole says:

    The Washington post got some quote from the neighbor about the mother bein a responsible “fun collector.” There is no such thing.

  73. 73
    cmm says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Well, since we have had preemptive freak-out shootings based on the false notion that the Kenyan usurper was taking all the guns away the minute he got into office (several ambush shootings of police officers since 2008), we have the violence anyway without any proven “reason” for it. So we might as well tackle the hard lift.

    These continual massacres make me sick. I carry a gun for my job and I have guns in my home. I am probably more in favor of civilian gun ownership than 90% of the people here–but I strongly support sensible controls including a restoration of the Brady bill, waiting periods, mental patient and criminal record screenings and a very large clampdown on the largely unregulated sales at gun shows. There should not be gazillions of AK47s and .223s out there, nor should the gigantic magazines be legal. Personal protection, yes. If you can show that you understand the enormity of the responsibiility you are undertaking in carrying a gun, and the knowledge of how to do it more safely. Hunting rifles, by all means. But not these military grade mass killing machines.

    And along with that, some kind of serious attention to the mental health crisis in this country. The level of institutionalization and abuse of the institutionalized through the early to mid 70s was scandalous, but the pendulum went way too far the other way. I see first hand that there are far, far too many seriously disturbed and violent people who are not compliant with meds, and no one can handle them. they either go through a revolving door system that doesn’t help them or protect them or the people around them, or they do something bad enough to end up in prison. Many many mentally ill persons need that controlled environment, they do well in hospital and then get cut loose and go off the meds and are out of control again.

    Stuff like this makes me want to turn in my equipment and run away to be a farmer or something. It all seems so goddam futile.

  74. 74
    cmm says:

    @Rumpole:

    Now that’s an ironic typo.

  75. 75
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    Gun advocates insist that it’s “insensitive” and “politicizing the tragedy” to discuss gun control at times like this because this is when they know their arguments are weakest.

    When anyone’s “argument” is actually an attempt to stifle discussion, it’s because they know they’re going to lose.

  76. 76
    scav says:

    @hep kitty: i said nothing about any guilt or no of the mother, I was off on the media chasing low-budget but first! sensationalism instead of pausing long enough to weigh facts. no way do I pretend to know enough at this point to weigh “guilt” although enough of the landscape is clear enough to glimpse certain mistakes and errors of judgement

  77. 77
    Keith G says:

    @hep kitty: Her actions were irresponsible.

    @f space that:

    I love how the lack of gun control is always the fault of cowardly Dems. Nothing to do with Republicans using it as a wedge issue. Nothing to do with the right wing judges who always find in favor of indvidual gun ownership…..Just them damn chickensh*t Dems not making things all better.

    Politicians’ actions are shaped by the need for votes. In the 1960s many Democratic leaders finally saw the light and supported Civil Rights when they saw an electoral advantage – not because they suddenly became open minded.

    There is no gun control unicorn who will change GOP thinking. You and many others need to show them that there is a price to be paid for not changing their actions.

    You may think they are evil. I think they are predictable and we have been lazy.

  78. 78
    cmm says:

    @Ash Can:

    I see way, way too many parents trying desperately to get help with their kids’ mental health issues and meeting shrugs and closed doors at every turn to entirely blame the mother. Yes, knowing her son’s state of mind she probably should have gotten the guns the hell out of reach (like, sold or in storage he didn’t know about) but we don’t know that he didn’t kill her in order to get the key to the gun safe or force her to open it before he killed her.

    Anyone who decries family and friends who didn’t do enough to get someone one help for mental health conditions has not been through the hell of trying to get it, especially if one lacks insurance and resources (as do most of the people I encounter on teh daily). I don’t know what this mom’s situation was, but I’m not prepared to push it all off on her. Anyway, she certainly paid the ultimate penalty for her mistakes. Unfortunately so did a lot of completely unconnected people.

  79. 79
    LAC says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: absolutely! Thank you for this. I couldn’t have said it better.

  80. 80
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    I think it’s time for us to ask: What kind of right are you protecting when you have to argue, “Guns don’t kill classrooms full of five year olds …?”

    .

  81. 81
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Spaghetti Lee:

    My least favorite part of the ritualized aftermath of mass shootings (and what a sad fucking sentence that is) is all the gun bunnies who jump up before they even finish counting the dead and yell ‘don’t blame ME! I’m a RESPONSIBLE gun owner.’ Yes, asshole, we know it wasn’t you in that school killing children.

    We’ve really lowered the bar when someone can claim the mantle of RESPONSIBILITY, merely on the basis of not mass-murdering dozens of people with a gun.

    .

  82. 82
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @OzoneR:

    …white people buy guns to protect themselves against their irrational belief people who look like Barack Obama are going to kill them.

    @hep kitty

    I blame Ted Turner for some of this. I’m not kidding.

    Don’t blame Ted Turner. Blame Nat Turner.

    Gun policy is as much a creature of H. Rap Brown and the ghost of Denmark Vesey as it is of Wayne LaPierre. You can draw a straight line on a map between Colfax and Coushatta, Louisiana, and Newtown, Connecticut. Maybe a dotted or dashed line, but a straight one.

  83. 83
    scav says:

    Guns are going to be tricky and long the way big finance is going to be tricky and long. Big
    business tied into cultural mythos (Horatio Alger! John Wayne! Holsters and self-levitating bootstraps!) plus politics. Ow ow ow. At least Michael Dunn is up to being charged with first-degree murder in FL.

    And were up against more than judges not taking rapes seriously. Looky here at the police and rape
    Sara Reedy, the rape victim accused of lying and jailed by US police, wins $1.5m payout

  84. 84
    kay says:

    Connecticut reformed their campaign finance system to allow public financing of STATE (not federal) campaigns. They’ve seen a real difference. They get state law that is responsive to the citizens and not driven or dominated by lobbyists. For two examples, they actually expanded access to voting and got rid of for-profit profit insurers in Medicaid.

    They did it to limit really rampant corruption in state government.

    Might be interesting to see what comes out of there as a result of this shooting.

  85. 85
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    scottinnj:

    We also need a National Right-not-to-be-shot Association.

    There is no right not be shot, it’s a privilege.

    .

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    @RAM: It doesn’t make me feel safer either. There are lots of cops living in my neighborhood here in Chicago, so there are lots of guns. But I don’t worry, because those guns are owned by people extensively trained in their use, and they aren’t multi-fire behemoths like the ones used in these mass shootings. What I don’t like is the idea of rubes from out in the sticks now knowing they can pack heat with impunity when they come to the big bad city and are up against all the scary ferocious blacks and Mooslims and bag people and Chinese and liberals and what-have-you.

  87. 87
    Maude says:

    @Ash Can:
    It has been asked in blog comments why the mother had guns with an unbalanced son in the house. The house is in NJ.
    I am waiting for the facts, but if there were what is called assault style weapons, why did the family have them?
    I have a neighbor that is crazy. Had a problem with her and now ignore her. When I told the landlord I was having problems with the neighbor approaching me in public trying to get my attention, the landlord made excuses for her.
    I chalked it up to denial.
    I actively avoid the neighbor.

  88. 88
    cathyx says:

    So I guess what needs to happen is a crazed killer needs to go into an NRA meeting and start shooting his assault rifle at everyone. Then we can see how many of them can pull their guns out in time to take him out before anyone dies.

  89. 89
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Downpuppy:

    I think Ezra is wrong about roads. We’ve had a lot of collapses & no national response.

    Any deity — guns, money, Moloch — worth a damn can extract human sacrifice from its adherents, and do it for centuries.

    Faith moves mountains.

  90. 90
    hep kitty says:

    @scav: Hunny, I said, “I hear you”

  91. 91
    ET says:

    Sadly, I am not sure what happened in CT will change the gun argument.

    I think the NRA, and pretty much many in America, have pretty much decided that events like this are the price we pay for guns. Their argument is all guns all the time with no limits whatsoever because if not the government is going to come and get you. There are more limits on getting medications than there are for getting guns in many states but then medications are mentioned specifically in the Constitution I guess. They only way to stop heavy handed treats and intimidation that the NRA traffics in, is for members to quit and other to stop giving money and support.

  92. 92
    cathyx says:

    The mother owned guns and they didn’t protect her.

  93. 93
    beltane says:

    @cathyx: Guns are good at protecting people from the scary things that dwell in one’s imagination, not so good at protecting people from actual threats.

  94. 94
    Paul says:

    @RAM:

    What would start helping, I think, would be an anti-gun PR campaign modeled on the anti-smoking campaign. There needs to be some sort of counterweight to the gun fettishists of the NRA and groups even farther in the bag than the NRA is.

    What we need is an counter-organization with the same amount of power and influence as the NRA. The problem seems to be that to the members of the NRA this is a life and death issue. They pretty much can’t live without their stupid guns.

    To the rest of us normal people, this (at least until now) has not been a life and death issue. For example, the only change to my own life is that I no longer go to political rallies because of guns. I am scared there will be an idiot with a gun. The NRA has taken that right away from me. But apart from that my life so far hasn’t changed that much. I’m assuming that goes for most folks and thus gun control hasn’t gotten much traction. I seriously doubt the murder of 20 innocent kids will change much. Hell, if Colombine couldn’t change anything, why would this?

  95. 95
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @RAM:

    Here in Illinois, we’re going to be afflicted with concealed carry.

    Amongst other things, concealed carry is about normalizing guns as a ubiquitous element in daily life and breaking down the social norms which restrict them above and beyond what little we have in the way of legal limitations. They want to make the unarmed feel not just vulnerable, but abnormal and anti-social. This is a disaster because our problem today is not just that guns are legal, but that in addition to being legal there are so very many of them. Funny how the lobbying arm of a manufacturing industry has worked tirelessly to make it that way.

    There are three groups here: gun owners generally (a large and diverse subset of the general public), gun nuts in particular (effectively a hostile and dangerous religious cult), and the gun manufacturers (an economic interest). The NRA has bundled up the interests and desires of all 3 together into a single Gordian Knot and put the first group to work on behalf of the latter two groups. We have to break that knot and seperate the interests of these 3 groups if we want to make progress on this issue.

  96. 96
    Ash Can says:

    @scav: I think hep kitty was responding to me.

    @cmm: I understand, and certainly have no basis for disagreement — I don’t know what if anything happened with regard to getting this son treatment — but the onus does rest upon those closest to him to have gotten him help and, failing that, to take all necessary steps to keep the mother’s firearms away from him. And I say this as the mother of a (nearly) teenaged son myself. Maybe there had been no indication that he would go for the guns, in which case I could understand if the mother were less vigilant. But I doubt that. The son evidently knew how to use the weapons and someone had to have taught him that.

  97. 97
    Elizabelle says:

    Carolyn McCarthy just suggested saying “gun safety” instead of gun control.

    Seems excellent advice to me; gets actually responsible gun owners on your side.

    Who is not for safety?

    And dials down the “we’re coming to control you” vibe.

  98. 98
    keestadoll says:

    I couldn’t help but notice that many articles discussing Lanza are mentioning that he had a “mental illness/personbality disorder/some form of autism/etc.” What needs to be added to the gun conrol discussion in this country is a REAL discussion of MEDICATION control. When the listed side-effects for most of these mental disorders’ medications are “violent outbursts” or “thoughts of suicide,” maybe more scrutiny needs to be used on the pharmaceutical companies pimping these drugs out to physicians (most significantly, PEDIATRICIANS). Jesus. Isn’t obvious that someone who is right in the head wouldn’t do something this horrific? Let’s establish that these mass killers are (by default) deranged. Ok, now examine why, get ahead of THAT, and see how you can pad the safety of our citizenry.

  99. 99
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: “When anyone’s “argument” is actually an attempt to stifle discussion, it’s because they know they’re going to lose.”

    So, if it’s 30 people killed, we should wait, what? A year?

    And, just to pick a number completely at random if it’s 3000 people killed, we should wait 100 years? So we have another 89 years before we can discuss Islamic Terrorism after 9/11. Goalpost moving, it’s a major event in the WingTard Olympics.

    Yes, they’re going to lose that discussion. And they SHOULD.

  100. 100
    celticdragonchick says:

    @amk:

    Guess the world will come to an end if the holy second amendment is removed?

    No. but we would almost certainly see a mass armed insurgency here in this country if not an outright second civil war. This is not the road you want to go down.

  101. 101
    Bart says:

    A two year old cartoon continues to be relevant: http://editorialcartoonists.co.....cfm/94716/

  102. 102
    Brachiator says:

    This is a pointless discussion. America will never give up its love of guns. We are too wrapped up in fantasies of self reliance, the myth that we will always be able to shoot first and shoot straight, the delusion that we can always quickly and easily identify and deal with the bad guy.

    I was conducting training classes most of Friday and only got a brief summary of this terrible tragedy. I didn’t have time or opportunity to deal with the inevitable media wallow about this story. But on the way home I tried to listen to some of the LA talk radio coverage. One guy and his co host began with some good and honest stuff about their reactions to the tragedy and how they looked to find details and how they talked to each other before the show to just try to deal with their reaction to what was happening. Their expressions of sympathy for the families involved were heartfelt and sincere.

    And then they fell into an angry pro gun rant, and simple minded expressions of outrage about the shooter, and some absolutely stupid, irrational mumblings about bad parenting. They also had a side rant about how foreign media stories that criticize our gun culture just don’t understand the wisdom of being armed.

    And when they got into some bizarre, but not untypical rambling nonsense about how maybe possibly hypothetically this tragedy might have been averted had teachers or other imaginary floating school personnel been armed, I just had to turn off the radio.

    There is nothing, no degree of pain or torment suffered by victims, no degree of terror inflicted on young, helpless children that will ever get through to the gun freaks.

  103. 103
    celticdragonchick says:

    @beltane:

    Guns are good at protecting people from the scary things that dwell in one’s imagination, not so good at protecting people from actual threats.

    As a GLBT person, I have had been threatened with physical violence in person twice while out in public. I have seriously considered getting a CCW, because I am also disabled and I cannot depend on being able to escape a person or people who want to make me the next Matthew Sheppard. (I do know how to handle firearms. I was a helicopter doorgunner and qualified on a number of weapons)

    That being said, some sort of sensible regulation is needed. I find it utterly fucking unbelievable that mentally ill people can get guns easier then they can get treatment.

  104. 104
    Tokyokie says:

    Australia has a similar rugged-individual-on-the-frontier culture to ours and used to have similarly lax gun laws. Then a mentally disturbed guy (ironically, from New Town in Tasmania) killed 35 people in the historic Port Arthur area. And Australians basically agreed overnight to tighten their gun laws.

    The difference between there and here, I think, is I doubt the Aussies had an NRA and a gun lobby.

    They also haven’t had any more mass shootings.

  105. 105
    Evinfuilt says:

    @Elizabelle:
    The problem is I want them to think we’re coming for them. They’ve spent thirty years master bating to the thought of the government coming o take their guns. We have the greatest military in th world. Lets combine it, take advantage of all those absent civil rights thy to rid of. Door to door, take their guns and go to the English style of ownership.

    And if they say “you can take my gun from my cold dead hands” we now have drones willing to fulfill their sick and depraved hands.

    You can have a gun, rifle, whatever, but you can’t keep it on you or at home. They’ve fought even the thought of an adult conversation, so like the spoiled kids they are, they lose their toys.

  106. 106
    Bostondreams says:

    One of the most powerful cartoons I have ever seen. It had me in tears.

    Kudos to Dan Wasserman of the Globe. Simple, direct, and powerful.

  107. 107
    Lojasmo says:

    @Pete Mack:

    Uh, nicotine is used as a pesticide, and high amounts can be fatal in humans.

  108. 108
    Lojasmo says:

    FYWP. In moderation hell.

  109. 109
    bemused says:

    I was out all day yesterday, no radio, tv or internet and didn’t learn about the massacre until I turned on the tv in the evening. I haven’t yet sobbed or raged. I feel numb. What keeps going through my head is that yesterday’s horror on top of the almost countless other horrors has got to convince people we have fight hard for common sense gun safety. This has got to be a tipping point, doesn’t it????

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    I like what you said in your rant linked in previous thread, “it’s always about you. You’re always the victims”. This is not only true of gun nuts. It’s what we hear constantly from me-me-me conservatives on almost every other issue. They want what they want no matter what the consequences are, not only to others but also themselves…it’s a cult of utter selfishness, imo.

  110. 110
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @cathyx: I just can’t understand the mentality of having more people being armed and that a civilian will be able to identify the shooter immediately and get a clear shot without hitting anyone else. That’s a ridiculous fantasy.

  111. 111
    Kane says:

    If we have learned anything in these past few years it is that the omnipotent false gods in this country can be defeated.

    If we can defeat Romney/Ryan and the 2%, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Grover Norquist, the corporate members of ALEC, Dick Armey, Jim DeMint, the tea party, Karl Rove, Wall Street and all the rest, we can defeat the NRA.

  112. 112
    Elizabelle says:

    @Evinfuilt:

    Understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t see that working at all.

    Or even desirable.

    If I lived way out in a rural area (which I don’t), I would love to have a pistol or gun for protection. It takes time for law enforcement to arrive.

    If I traveled back roads alone, miles from others, I would want to protect myself in the event of a car breakdown and being vulnerable to any passing miscreant.

    I also remember the Korean shop-owners during the 1992 (?) Rodney King riots, protecting their stores and livelihoods with rifles.

    There’s a place for guns in America, but it’s not everyplace, and it’s not allowing military-grade arsenals.

  113. 113
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kane:

    I totally agree with your comment 110.

    It’s just not going to be easy. But it can be done, and we can outwork them.

    The facts are already on our side here.

  114. 114
    Ben Franklin says:


    This is a pointless discussion. America will never give up its love of guns.

    Christ. Ours, is a violent culture. Guns are just a convenient tool. The biggest danger with guns is access by those who have no control mechanism for restraint. We could start with closing the gun show loophole, as a starter, but waving off any remedy as, futile seems to resemble a white flag of surrender.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Baron Elmo:

    “Register Muslims – Not Automobiles”

    Not funny. Don’t even snark about this.

  117. 117
    Lojasmo says:

    @techno:

    Um. Total deaths in the israel-palestine conflict this year is about 200. Gun violence deaths in the US this year?

    Many thousands.

  118. 118
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Lojasmo:

    Like 132 in last month. 30 of them children. Very little press about that.

  119. 119
    divF says:

    @JPL:

    I just went on an ammo site and full metal jackets are 30 for 50 rds. Surely a child’s life is worth more than 62 cents a bullet. Congress can immediately raise the price to 300.00 to help pay off the debt. I didn’t research gun prices but the same thing can be done for guns. This is not a 2nd Amendment issue since Congress has the power to tax.

    This. 300M+ guns in this country make it impossible to impose meaningful gun control in this country in the short term, but guns aren’t useful without ammunition. Ammunition should be graded like the DEA does controlled substances (most classes of ammunition should be Schedule 2, and some Schedule 1). Plus licenses required to purchase ammunition, and an aggressive plan to embargo any attempt to sell over the internet. On top of that, serious criminal penalties for sellers when they evade the restrictions, which is what we do to doctors if they misuse their ability to prescribe CSA-controlled drugs.

  120. 120
    SatanicPanic says:

    @👽 Martin: This is a great plan. It also dries up the market for illegal guns, or at least drives up their cost to beyond what your average punk could afford.

  121. 121
    Karounie says:

    In addition to Martin’s excellent framework for a more rigorous licensing regime for gun ownership, how about also adding some kind of insurance requirement?

    Beyond raising the bar on the initial purchase and ongoing maintenance, I think the need to carry auto insurance at least sometimes reminds drivers (maybe only those who aren’t totally nuts) that this thing they own and use can put them in a situation where they can hurt or kill innocents.)

  122. 122
    whidgy says:

    Maybe this would be a happier country if we agreed to treat guns as tools, and not as magical icons

    Absolutely true. But both the gun loving nuts and the gun hating nuts suffer from this magical thinking.

    For example, I have probably seen hundreds of posts about this shooting that call for an assault weapons ban – heck Jay Carney even mentioned it yesterday. But, from the information I’ve seen so far, there was a .223 rifle at the scene (which may or may not have been an “assault weapon”) but it was locked in the trunk of the car of the shooter and wasn’t even fired that day. That is some magical thinking of the first order.

  123. 123
    whidgy says:

    @Karounie:
    Those may be swell ideas, but you recognize that if its true that the shooter took his mom’s guns and killed her that no amount of licensing or insuring of gun owners would have done anything to prevent yesterday’s shooting, right?

  124. 124
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Elizabelle:

    And Bing has *crickets*

  125. 125
    karen marie says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: The guns used in Newtown were legally owned and registered to … the shooter’s mother.

    Can everyone who has a household arsenal guarantee the guns can never be taken by a friend or family member as in this case?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  126. 126
    g says:

    @techno:

    I say everyone who actually thinks this will solve anything be required to be on the front lines when the state tries to take away guns.

    It’s irresponsible people like you who conflate sensible gun control regulations with “taking away guns.”

    No one is proposing a scenario where the government comes to take away your gun. If you believe this, you are either paranoid or ignorant. If you don’t believe this and are just saying this to frighten paranoid and ignorant people, then you are vile.

  127. 127
    g says:

    @Elizabelle:

    If I traveled back roads alone, miles from others, I would want to protect myself in the event of a car breakdown and being vulnerable to any passing miscreant.

    Seriously? You really think this way? I am 58 years old and have lived in dozens of different environments, from gritty urban to rural and in between. I have never in my life worried about needing a gun in case my car broke down somewhere.

    Worried about what a pain in the ass it would be, yes, but never worried some “passing miscreant” would threaten my life.

    It must be weird to be so fearful.

  128. 128
    Ben Franklin says:

    @g:

    It must be weird to be so fearful.

    Paranoia has served me well. I try always to be alert and aware of the environment. What I fear is being unprepared for exigent circumstances. The only other alternative is blissful acceptance of one’s fate. Being naive about the world around you is a wish for magical clouds of joy.

  129. 129
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @whidgy:

    Those may be swell ideas, but you recognize that if its true that the shooter took his mom’s guns and killed her that no amount of licensing or insuring of gun owners would have done anything to prevent yesterday’s shooting, right?

    If reasonable regulations are in place which emphasize the safety aspects of gun ownership rather than just the hoo-wah look at me exercising my consitutional rights aspect, and even better if they also emphasize the liability aspects (rights come with responsibilities), then fewer people who don’t really need guns that badly will be moved to purchase them to begin with. If the mom hadn’t owned those guns to begin with, it would have prevented yesterday’s shooting.

    We need more social barriers discouraging unecessary gun ownership, because every gun that somebody doesn’t really need to own is one more tragedy waiting to happen (much more likely a suicide or shooting of a family member than a mass shooting, but a tragedy nonetheless), that could have been prevented. I’d like to see laws in place which reinforce social disapproval of inappropriate and irresponsible gun ownership and I think we could have those without trampling on the 2nd Amendment. The law doesn’t have to prevent safe and sane gun ownership, it just has to emphasize that this is a serious undertaking, are you sure you really want to do this?

  130. 130
    whidgy says:

    @g:

    No one is proposing a scenario where the government comes to take away your gun. If you believe this, you are either paranoid or ignorant. If you don’t believe this and are just saying this to frighten paranoid and ignorant people, then you are vile.

    If “assault weapons” are outlawed, that’s exactly what will happen. The government will charge you with a felony AND take away the “assault weapon.”
    .

  131. 131
    JasonF says:

    Bravo, Ms. Laurie. Bravo.

    I’ll repeat something I posted yesterday:

    It’s disgusting the way we fetishize guns in this country. I read today that Texans own 100 million guns. This was reported with pride. A gun is a tool. Imagine if somebody reported to you with pride that every man, woman, and child, from the youngest infant to the oldest centenarian owned, on average, four hammers. You’d think they were crazy. Taking pride in the number of pens, or forks, or USB drives in your state would be madness, because they are objects with no value outside of facilitating the ability to write a note or eat dinner or transport a computer file.

    But guns are somehow different. Guns are worshiped. They are idolized. People talk about how you’ll need to pry them from their cold dead hands. It’s nuts.

    Look — I appreciate the Second Amendment. I think it’s important. I think it’s valuable. But I feel the same way about the First Amendment, and if I knew someone who was constantly going on about how many typewriters he owns and about the conspiracies to take away his typewriters, and how if things get too bad, he’s going to use his typewriters to overthrow the government, I’d wonder what the hell was wrong with him. Yet we hear that sort of talk from gun enthusiasts all the time and half the country thinks it’s perfectly normal.

    It’s not perfectly normal. It’s bizarre and obsessive and strange.

  132. 132
    whidgy says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    I don’t think I disagree with your overall point, but social disapproval has its limits. .

    1. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible all the time.
    2. A very small percentage of normally responsible gun owners shoot somebody in a quarrel or when they turn to crime.
    3. An even smaller percentage of gun owners are straight up criminals.
    4. An even smaller percentage go on shooting sprees.

    I don’t think that discouraging the size of the first group is going to diminish the 3rd and 4th groups because being a criminal or being a psychopath is already socially discouraged.

    To just make up some numbers: Now there are 300 million guns in the country and 20 mass shootings a year. If you cut the number of guns in 1/2 to 150 million, I can’t imagine that will mean that there will then only be 10 mass shootings or even 19.

  133. 133
    BruinKid says:

    So I got into a pretty heated argument last night with a Ron Paul friend of mine. He ended up calling me a fascist for even suggesting common sense modifications to our gun laws that vast majorities of Americans AGREE with. Someone said what I closed with was pretty good, so here it is.

    You may also be thinking that I’m anti-gun. I’m actually not. It’s like, I’m actually rather conservative, but the GOP has gone so far to the extreme, I seem like a raging liberal. :-) Same with guns, I’m actually quite moderate, but the NRA has gone so far off the deep end in opposing any sensible law, I seem like someone who’s anti-gun, when I’m not.

    What do I mean by moderate? Well, for instance, let’s look at that chart again from this August CNN poll (.pdf) about how the American public responded to each proposal. In every one, I side with the majority of Americans.

    96% of Americans support background checks; so do I.
    57% support banning semi-automatics like the AK-47; so do I.
    60% support banning high-capacity clips; so do I.
    91% support preventing convicted felons and the mentally ill from owning guns; so do I.
    54% disagree with limiting how many guns a person can own; so do I.
    76% support requiring all guns to be registered with the local government; so do I.
    89% disagree with banning guns altogether; so do I.

    But I’m the fascist. Riiiiiiiiiiight. :-)

  134. 134
    whidgy says:

    @BruinKid: You understand though that none of those proposals/law would have affected what happend yesterday, right?

    (And a big caveat here – the information is still incomplete but from what I heard, the shooter used two ordinary handguns and the “assault weapon” he had sat unfired locked in the trunk of his car.)

  135. 135
    whidgy says:

    Some rare sanity on how to diminish the number of mass shootings in this country:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....ezlFNTGWv4

  136. 136
    Ben Franklin says:

    While there are fascists, I will want to be armed. I don’t intend to be slaughtered like a rabbit.

  137. 137
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @JasonF: “if somebody reported to you with pride that every man, woman, and child, from the youngest infant to the oldest centenarian owned, on average, four hammers.”

    I have 5. No! 6. Um 7? All of which are useful, and get used.

    I’m trying to figure out which one would be best for knocking a wingnut loose.

  138. 138
    Kane says:

    Because words matter, perhaps those of us who seek responsible gun laws need to reframe the discussion. The word “control” has negative connotations, and it allows for the N.R.A. and others to misrepresent what many Americans desire; which is for government to protect the rights of private citizens while providing common sense laws to preserve the public good.

    When automakers and toy manufacturers are regulated by specific standards for the products they produce, we don’t call it auto control and toy control. When the FDA sets and enforces standards, nobody accuses them of food control. When our water and air quality is regulated, we don’t claim that it’s water control and air control. And when the FCC regulates interstate and international communications, it’s not referred to as speech control or media control.

    The only issue that I can think of where government regulation is described as control is the issue of regulating firearms. And I’m sure that the N.R.A. likes it that way. I don’t know when the word control was first inserted into the discussion of gun regulation, but by using the word it allows for the false and negative portrayal of advocates who simply desire common sense gun laws as seeking to control guns and to abolish the Second Amendment, which then allows for the inaccurate portrayal of the N.R.A as defenders of Second Amendment rights.

    It’s time to change the debate by losing control and calling for common sense gun laws.

  139. 139
    SatanicPanic says:

    @whidgy: What’s wrong with adding a further step to the licensing process- do you have anyone in the home with mental illness and/or a history of violence? Do you have any convicted felons in your place of residence?

    That would be pretty common sense IMHO. Liquor stores won’t sell beer to you if it looks like you’re going to hand it off to a teenager, and gun licensing should take what you plan on doing with it into account too.

  140. 140
    BruinKid says:

    @whidgy: When did I ever make the claim it would’ve done anything to prevent yesterday’s massacre?

  141. 141
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @whidgy:

    I don’t think that discouraging the size of the first group is going to diminish the 3rd and 4th groups because being a criminal or being a psychopath is already socially discouraged.

    I think what’s missing from your analysis is, firstly that sometimes guns owned by group #1 fall into the hands of somebody else; that appears to be the case with this mass shooting for example. Second, IIRC most homicides are the result of transitory emotional explosions rather than careful and calculated planning, so the cross-over from group 1 to groups 2-4 isn’t the sort of linear descent into depravity that the structure of your Venn Diagram implies. Shrinking the size of group 1 would reduce the deadliness of these events since somebody can’t cross over from group 1 to 2 if they are not yet in group 1 and/or lack access to the weapons belonging to somebody else who is already in group 1.

    Bringing in group 3, people already living a life of crime is IMHO a seperate and distinct issue and thus something of a red herring in this discussion.

  142. 142
    Pongo says:

    I was really dismayed by MSM coverage of the ‘too soon to talk about it’ variety. Even supposedly liberal MSNBC seemed to be staffed by gun-enthusiast ringers (Clint Van Zandt, Krystal Ball–what a gimmicky, idiotic name for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a pundit, btw) whose sole role was to mitigate outrage against guns. They felt compelled to point out that violence happens even when guns aren’t around and that the guns used in this massacre were legal and purchased by a sane person (dead mother of maniac)–so there. Never mind that the 22 children stabbed in China are still alive unlike those who faced a maniac with a gun.

    Is MSNBC trying to do their own false equivalency ‘fair and balanced’ schtick now? Who are these morons and why are they allowed to impose their vast reserves of insight on the public?

    You could hear the excitement rise in voices of the news anchors as the death toll rose and the age of the victims dropped. It was morbid and disgusting.

  143. 143
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: I think part of it, S.L., is just how extraordinarily engrained guns are in our culture. It’s very difficult to name a modern film or TV hero of the male variety who is not known for his ability to wield a gun: Dirty Harry, Bond, Bourne. Oh, others choose a different weapon sometimes (a samurai sword or broadsword), but most of them are more than capable with a Glock, too. It’s part of how young males define themselves; it is a primary feature in their play from about the age of four and on… I know I had toy guns and played war as a little boy, but I sort of grew out of that by about nine or ten. (That was back in the 60’s, early 70’s.) But now gun play continues in computer games. There are “cool” little gun keychains and stickers and posters and so forth that I don’t recall existing “back in my day”. Do such products keep young boys fixated on firearms? I don’t know.

    My observation is that for girls and young women, sex and appearing pretty replaces guns. Girls are taught that their value is based primarily on their appearance and sexuality.

    Sometimes guns and sex mix, as in the often-mentioned Grand Theft Auto, where the shooter has sex with a woman and then shoots her.

    I suspect that well-adjusted people can perhaps play such games and not go out and do terrible things. But less stable kids are encountering such imagery on a routine basis; does it affect some of them? I’m NOT blaming video games for what happened in Newtown, just pointing out that video games represent one aspect of our gun-happy society.

    Cue the NRA to say, “We grieve for those poor souls… buttttttt let’s not blame guns for what happened!”

  144. 144
    whidgy says:

    @BruinKid: I’m sorry since you have posted about this conversation with your Randian friend in 2 or three threads about the school shooting, I assumed you thought there was come connection between your views on gun control and yesterday’s school shooting.

    @SatanicPanic: First, do you have any information that the 20 year old shooter had a history of mental illness or was a felon? The only descriiptions I’ve read of him is that he was “socially awkward.”

    But to respond to your question, I personally wouldn’t have any problem with that requirement. But I can see that it might have significant bad consequences. Suppose you are a lifelong hunter and you wife (or husband) becomes depressed and suicidal. Obviously the right thing to do is to get her all of the support and counseling she needs including commitment to residential facility if necessary. But if the law barred you from owning guns if you lived with a mentally ill person, I can see where some people might be reluctant to pursue aggressive treatment knowing that they would have to surrender their firearms.

    Also, it seems like the ambiguity of “mental illness” might present some problems. There are tens of millions of “mentally ill” people in this country and practically none of them are dangerous. Millions of people are in counsel and therapy for years. Would their spouses be prevented from owning guns? Wouldn’t that further stigmatize the mentally ill?

    If the question is “Should we prevent dangerous nuts from having access to guns?” The answer is obviously yes. But I don’t think it is that simple.
    .

  145. 145
    andy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yep, and at the time, Pawlenty was begging everybody not to politicize the event, that the time after the incident wasn’t the right time to talk about it.

    Which gave him the political cover to veto a tiny gas tax increase meant to increase maintenance and inspections. The veto was overridden with the help of the last moderate Republicans in the Legislature, who Pawlenty made sure were all primaried in their re-election bids.

    So the I35 collapse was both Pawlenty’s launch pad for a failed Presidential attempt, and set the stage for the GOP takeover of the Legislature, which gave us all two years of hell and a generation’s worth of damage to our institutions.

    The Evil Party is expert at turning lemons into lemonade, and I have no doubt they will find a way to use that long row of tiny coffins for political advantage.

  146. 146
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Here’s why some gun owners will immediately conflate “sensible gun control” with “take aware your guns” – because the suggestions provided won’t actually prevent the one-off tragedies that are the instigation for these solutions to be implemented don’t seem targeted at actually solving the problem.

    Some are admittedly – background/mental health checks for instance; but many of these seem to be “Here’s a horrible tragedy, lets use this as the reason to institute these policies, which while they will not prevent the horrific incidents, I just consider to be good sense.”

    There are reasonable and effective ways to reduce the numbers of incidents, but as long as society, as a whole, accepts the ability to own guns, there will be these sorts of incidents unless we can find a guaranteed way to keep them out of those who do not possess the mental stability.

    And for people complaining about CCW – how many of these spree shooters have CCW permits? As far as I know none of them did. So eliminating CCW won’t actually be an effective method to stop these sorts of attacks if gun owners are still allowed to keep and store guns at their home.

  147. 147
    whidgy says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    I agree that sometimes guns owned by group #1 gets into the hands of group #2-4, but my point is that there are hundreds of millions of guns that fall into category #1, is it really rational and effective to impose extraneous and unnecessary limitations on #1 when such a small percentage of their guns are ever misused?

    And, I’m sorry if I was unclear – I do not think there is a linear descent into depravity from group 1 to group 4. I think there is depravity that exists constantly in groups 3 and 4. (Well, depravity isn’t quite the right word for the mentally ill who aren’t really responsible for their actions, but I think you see what I mean.) That depravity will exist regardless of what happens with groups 1 and 2.

    Some gun laws – such as the waiting period are useful to prevent the transitory emotional explosions from turning deadly. But even those laws are imperfect. For example, suppose a person owns several guns. Is there any rational reason to require that person to wait 10 days before acquiring another one? People who don’t own guns don’t care about this. But believe me, gun owners hate this stupid regulation and it makes them angry and even more distrustful of ALL regulations because the understand the stupidity of the regulations that now exist.

  148. 148
    trollhattan says:

    @whidgy:
    No.

    Asked on CNN moments ago about the two handguns and one rifle found in the school, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said “all of them were used in some way.” Blumenthal was Connecticut’s attorney general before being elected to the Senate in 2010. He was in Newtown when he spoke with CNN and earlier in the day was with the police who are investigating the shootings.

  149. 149
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @hep kitty: Excellent point, hepkitty… Mental Health is a key component to the issue of these mass shootings. Proper funding for (and administration of) mental health is of tremendous importance. Just discussing gun control isn’t enough.

  150. 150
    Ben Franklin says:

    @trollhattan:

    Hmm. There is a lot of conflicting info. It’s even questionable the shooter’s mom was a teacher at Sandy.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/a.....eacher.php

  151. 151
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @whidgy:

    But believe me, gun owners hate this stupid regulation and it makes them angry and even more distrustful of ALL regulations because the understand the stupidity of the regulations that now exist.

    Would it be possible to turn around the psychology on this, so that highly regulated safe and sane gun owners could come to see themselves as a select group who’ve demonstrated an admirable level of responsibility above and beyond what is expected of others, and take pride in doing so? After all, who wants to belong to a club that let’s anybody join in?

  152. 152
    WereBear says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Speaking of mental health, I’ve been reading a lot at the Slactivist’s hangout, and got drawn into the posts from people who have escaped from fundamentalism, especially those brought up in it.

    It made me aware that in the decades since I attended a Baptist church, this whole “spare the rod and spoil the child” philosophy has been codified into an entire industry of child training, characterized by beatings, intimidation, breaking their will, destroying their boundaries, and never allowing them to grow up.

    It is amazing how many people struggled through and were able to overcome such obstacles. Those who cannot; might just be the core of the present Republican party.

  153. 153
    trollhattan says:

    @Ben Franklin:
    It appears the mom was not a teacher at the school and the guns were registered in her name. As of the moment, she’s not been formally identified as the “deceased family member,” but it’s certainly the case that it is she.

  154. 154
    👽 Martin says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    It also dries up the market for illegal guns, or at least drives up their cost to beyond what your average punk could afford.

    And I think that’s really the issue here. We have nearly 200 million guns not involved in crimes and maybe 50,000 that are. The solution isn’t to ban the 200 million, but to chip away the 50,000.

    But banning guns is a complete non-starter. SCOTUS will not abide by this, but they’ve allowed pretty strict gun regulation.

  155. 155
    Paul says:

    @whidgy:

    But believe me, gun owners hate this stupid regulation and it makes them angry and even more distrustful of ALL regulations because the understand the stupidity of the regulations that now exist.

    I wish society would care as much about innocent people like me, who for Christian reasons would never own a gun and are scared to death of being shot by some gun idiot, as society do about the gun owners. What about my rights to not be shot?

    I find it humorous that gun owners hate a certain regulation considering how few regulations we have in this country compared to other countries. But apparently even that is now to much. Goodness…

  156. 156
    Brachiator says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    RE:
    This is a pointless discussion. America will never give up its love of guns.

    Christ. Ours, is a violent culture. Guns are just a convenient tool. The biggest danger with guns is access by those who have no control mechanism for restraint. We could start with closing the gun show loophole, as a starter, but waving off any remedy as, futile seems to resemble a white flag of surrender.

    One report suggested that the guy in Connecticut used his mother’s weapons. I don’t see what gun show loopholes or “access by those who have no control mechanism for restraint” relates to this actual horror.

    And my larger point is that no matter how horrible a gun related tragedy might be, there are people who immediately pop up and loudly defend gun possession, ultimately forgetting about the people who have been harmed.

    And this is about more than us being a violent culture. And it is not that guns are just a convenient tool. Gun nuts see these weapons as a fundamental aspect of their identity as Americans.

  157. 157
    Talabama says:

    @BruinKid: These proposals are akin to Ted Stevens proposals to regulate the internet (“these series of tubes”). They sound like good ideas to people who are uninformed on the subject. In fact, some of them are such good ideas they are already implemented- felons cannot legally purchase a gun (unless the court reinstated their right), and every non-private as well as every inter-state transfer requires a background check.

    Some of them are just dumb. What effect would a registry have? None on the murder suicides. Limiting the number of guns a person can own is silly as well. The collector nerd with 50 WW2 relics is no threat. The tragedies this week were carried out with merely access to a few weapons. Banning high capacity clips would just make loading high capacity magazines more annoying.

  158. 158
    whidgy says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:
    Maybe. At the different gun clubs I go to there are a number of guys who have gone through time consuming NRA training courses to be certified as range officers, pistol instructors, rifle instructors etc. and they wear those patches with pride on their shooting bags or vests. But most people just want to show up and shoot and couldn’t care less about that stuff and I suspect that there are more “I am a rugged individual” types than ones who want to be “in the club.”

    Its hard to generalize about millions of people. Reasonable gun owners do exist. But I suspect that they are outnumbered by tea party paranoids.

    And there’s just so much hatred and distrust in this country that has eaten away at the social fabric, that I wonder if such an approach is possible. For every person like you that is looking for sensible solutions to gun violence there are a dozen more jabbering on that gun owners sexually inadequate and are stoopid and that people should capitalize on this shooting and politicize it as much as possible to get rid of guns, period.

  159. 159
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @whidgy:

    But believe me, gun owners hate this stupid regulation and it makes them angry and even more distrustful of ALL regulations because the understand the stupidity of the regulations that now exist.

    Following up on my earlier comment, let’s try an analogy.

    What if video games, say 1st-person shooter games, which are enjoyed by a large, non-criminal audience, had a bit of a problem attached to them. Which is that for a small number of them, say 1 in 10,000, the game as purchased at the store and taken home also came with a hidden feature: which is that the manufacturer would install in your house without you knowing it, a hidden time bomb. A real bomb, which at some point might without warning go off, killing or maiming the gamer, or some number of the members of his family, or in rare instances even large numbers of people in his community.

    Would that be OK to just put up with it as a necessary cost of gaming? Or would it be reasonable to expect gamers to accept a certain amount of annoying regulation designed to find and remove these bombs before they hurt somebody, if not in every case then at least cutting down the risk somewhat. What if gamers as a group collectively said “Fuck Off” to the rest of society in response to attempts to get them to deal with this situation. What should non-gamers think about all of this?

  160. 160
    becca says:

    If you have served on a federal grand jury in recent years you know about federal gun laws.

    We really really really like to put felons back in prison for gun possession. Understandable, of course, but the revolving door for the prison system is expensive.

  161. 161
    Ben Franklin says:

    @trollhattan:

    Correct. She is the mother, but she had been reportedly a teacher at the school, just like the back and forth on the semi-auto’s being in the trunk versus used in the crime. That is all.
    Reporting has been inconsistent.

  162. 162
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @WereBear: Hey, WereBear… Yes, I imagine that being brought in up in authoritarian household/religion/school would have its effect making adverents pretty fearful, rigid, maybe a little brittle (prone to mental/emotional/physical violence themselves). Of course, I say this as someone who has only taken a couple psych classes in college/U long ago.

    I chatted with someone a few days ago about great college basketball coaches: John Wooden vs. Bobby Knight. I’m not a fan of the authoritarian bully Knight. Wooden was far more successful with his more cerebral, respectful (from what I’ve read) approach to coaching and managing players. He helped produce some pretty remarkable players/men: Kareem Abudul-Jabbar, Bill Walton… Oh, well, a bit off-topic, but there ya go.

  163. 163
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Gun nuts see these weapons as a fundamental aspect of their identity as Americans.

    There is no evidence the Lanza’s were gun nutz unless you define it as having more than one firearm, so I don’t understand how you dismiss my first step of removing the gun show loophole, base on the fact the guns were not purchased in that manner. It is a mechanism which could reduce the access by nuts, not a panacea. It’s a start.

  164. 164
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @👽 Martin: Hey Martin and All,

    (I haven’t read all the comments here, yet.)

    I think you’ve got some good ideas there, but I don’t think they’ll do as much as we’d like to solve the problems.

    We need to step back, I think.

    What do we really want to do?

    What incentives will help us get there?

    The problem with requiring training before purchase and gun registration is that it will not prevent people who have mental issues or extreme anger from acting out if they haven’t yet entered the system (e.g. angry high school kids who grab their dad’s gun).

    The problem with trying to close the “gunshow loophole” is that is would do nothing for people who buy guns from their friends or neighbors down the street.

    The problem with requiring liability insurance is, according to some other sites I’ve read, many homeowners policies already cover things like this. Or if they don’t, then a policy wouldn’t cost very much anyway because random shootings are so rare. (Most gun deaths in the US are suicides, IIRC.)

    I think what we want to do is to reduce gun violence.

    We should, as a society, agree to provide incentives to do that because that’s what we, as a species, generally respond best to. (Sorry, Sir Winston.)

    I think things like the following have a chance of working:

    1) Have nation-wide gun buy-back programs. Make it worthwhile for people to turn in their guns and ammunition.

    2) Give away trigger locks for free. Make accidental deaths from kids playing with unlocked guns a thing of the past.

    3) Maybe take the romance out of guns for kids and young adults. Make introductory shooting education a part of health or driver’s education. Explain F=ma. Explain what what gunshots do. Explain why having a sniper rifle is no good for personal protection in a home invasion. Etc.

    4) Make training available to clergy, medical, and public safety personnel to have them ask family members about firearms that may be in the home. Have them pass along information about buy-back program, etc., etc. Make it a growing part of the culture that guns are not needed by 99.9999% of the population.

    Stuff like that.

    As much as we (me included) hate the expansion of concealed-carry laws, and the idea of people showing up at presidential rallies with AK-47s, those people don’t shoot up crowds. Don’t get distracted from the big picture.

    We want to reduce the violence and the chance for violence with firearms. We don’t want to get suspicious people to have their weapons driven even farther underground with even less responsible oversight. We don’t want to feed the NRA paranoia machine.

    My $0.02.

    [edit:] tyop

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  165. 165
    OzoneR says:

    @whidgy:

    For example, suppose a person owns several guns. Is there any rational reason to require that person to wait 10 days before acquiring another one?

    why would you need several guns anyway? Two I can understand, but several?

  166. 166
    chuckieboy says:

    This is out of character for me, however, i must comment. This tragedy is but symptom of an extremely fucked up country. One component, that is significant, are these violent video games I see young boys addicted to. I have not seen one of the brain dead journalists or pundits, which is another component of our rapid decline, discuss these videos. Are they that stupid, or simply cowards? Probably a combo.

  167. 167
    brantl says:

    As far as I know, gun ownership is not physically addictive.

    Oh, I don’t know, it seems to be universally prescribed for the short pecker complaint. (All those little peckers have to have one.)

  168. 168
    Ben Franklin says:

    @OzoneR:

    why would you need several guns anyway? Two I can understand, but several?

    Zombie Apocalypse

  169. 169
    brantl says:

    @techno: Brain up, there’s nothing wrong with getting rid of assault weapons, and anybody you know that feels the need to have these to hunt is an idiot.

  170. 170
    Darkrose says:

    @👽 Martin: I’d add that the process of buying ammo should be at least as difficult as the process of buying Sudafed. In Sacramento, it is, according to a friend of mine who both shoots and has sinus trouble: if the bullets can be chambered in both a rifle and a handgun, you have to swipe your ID and give a thumbprint before you purchase. But that’s only true in Sacramento County; go to Yolo County and you can buy a carton of any ammo and just pay your money.

  171. 171
    El Cid says:

    I think Americans ought to be able to fly their own planes, but I think we ought to be able to regulate that quite closely.

  172. 172
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Ben Franklin: And yet, still orders of magnitude less violent than the US, to go by numbers of dead.

    Gives one pause, eh?

  173. 173
    Older says:

    @Elizabelle: @Elizabelle: “If I traveled back roads alone, miles from others, I would want to protect myself in the event of a car breakdown and being vulnerable to any passing miscreant.”

    I am nearly 80, and in my work I routinely travel back roads alone. If I have a breakdown, I call for help on my cell phone, and if someone comes by while I’m waiting, chances are, we chat briefly about my automotive problem and they offer to help. I have no reason at all to assume that just because people live out in the woods, they are “miscreants”.

    I can’t imagine how I’d be able to live with such a mind-set.

  174. 174
    Older says:

    I own a lot of tools. I own six or eight hammers, several drills, and saws! I own a lot of saws! These are tools. I know what they are for. Hammers are useful for attaching two pieces of wood together, or sometimes for taking two pieces of wood apart. Drills are good for making holes, when you need holes. Saws are useful for all kinds of things, so I have all kinds of saws. For cutting pieces of wood to the size I want, for removing bits I don’t want, for pruning my large trees (chainsaws).

    I’m willing to accept that guns are tools, but only if someone can tell me what legal, peaceful purpose they are tools for? Hunting, yes. Police use, yes, maybe (I lived for years in a locale where there were many hostage crises, and every time, the police shot … the hostage. By mistake). But that’s a small percentage of the number of guns in America. What excuse is there for the others? What useful purpose is accomplished by the use of these “tools”? Is there some less dangerous tool that could serve the same purpose?

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