Rapid Evolution of Columbus Man

Yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich went on CNN to sell himself as a reasonable Republican on gun issues. In the convo with Dana Bash below, Kasich says he suggested to a “gun collector friend” that a ban on AR-15s wouldn’t erode his (the friend’s) the 2nd amendment rights, which is straight-up heresy in the Church of the Gun, though Kasich did stop short of endorsing an assault weapons ban. Kasich got plenty of plaudits from non-Republicans for his leadership on the issue!

Mistermix covered it here, noting that Kasich had conveniently transformed himself into a 2nd amendment absolutist when it suited his purposes a few years back.

After the tweet above went viral, I took a look at Kasich’s 2nd amendment “issues” page. Here’s what it looked like earlier in the day on Sunday, as the CNN tweet was blowing up:

Sounds like a typical NRA shill, right? “[S]igned every pro-2nd amendment bill that crossed his desk,” and “endorsed by the National Rifle Association” and “opposing Barack Obama’s gun control efforts” blah blah blah.

I took a screen shot of that page to disabuse people on Twitter of the notion that Governor Kasich, who wants to be President Kasich, is in any way a moderate on gun control — at least, he wasn’t before the brave kids in Florida started calling out NRA-branded politicians.

But later yesterday afternoon, on another device, I went to take another screen shot of the page above for the same purpose, and poof! It was gone!

Huh. It’s almost like the Kasich social media team realized the staunchly pro-NRA page didn’t match up with the candidate’s governor’s new persona. Someone put in weekend overtime to produce today’s page:

So, in 24 hours, Kasich evolved from “Defending the Second Amendment” to “Common Sense on the Second Amendment.” Good for him, I guess.

Was it a sincere conversion, or has he sensed a shift in the political wind? I quit giving Republicans the benefit of the doubt before the turn of the century, kids. But whether Kasich is a cynical bastard is beside the point: Something’s happening here.



Everything But the Obvious

They did everything right, but missed one key detail:

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.

How the 19-year-old turned into a killer still baffles them.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in an exclusive interview Saturday. “We didn’t see this side of him.”

“Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know,” James Snead said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Cruz still lived with the Sneads on Wednesday when he walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15 rifle and killed 17 people — the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook.

***

Five days before the shooting, Kimberly Snead took Cruz to the office of a therapist she has been seeing. Cruz said he was open to therapy but didn’t like medication. He took a business card and was figuring out what his health insurance would cover.

James, 48, is a decorated army veteran and a military intelligence analyst who served stints in the Middle East between 1988 and 1996. Kimberly, 49, is a neonatal intensive care nurse who cares for premature and ill babies.

They told Cruz there would be strict rules in their home.

“I told him there’d be rules and he followed every rule to the T,” James said.

The couple both grew up around guns and are comfortable with them, but they insist on gun safety.

They made Cruz buy a locking gun safe to put in his room the day he moved in. Cruz had a handful of guns, including the AR-15 and two other rifles that Snead said would be considered assault rifles. Cruz, a hunter, also had knives, BB guns and pellet guns.

Snead thought he had the only key to the cabinet but has figured out Cruz must have kept a key for himself. The family kept their own rifles, bought after a burglary a couple of years ago, in a separate locked cabinet.

They told Cruz he needed to ask permission to take out the guns. He had asked only twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.

These seem like really sweet people, and I feel horrible for them. And they did everything right. Except one thing. They kept guns in the house and he had access to them.

I just don’t know why this is so damned hard, how many members of our society are so blinded by the obvious. Imagine if you went to the doctor and s/he said “Your test results show you have a fatty liver and early stages of cirrhosis, you just absolutely have to stop drinking and now.” If you acted like we do regarding gun violence, here is how the rest of the conversation would go:

You: What if I drink a lot of cranberry juice. I hear that is good for the liver.

Dr.: Yes, cranberry juice can be good for the liver, but you have to stop drinking alcohol. It’s going to kill you.

You: What about coffee and tea?

Dr.: Yes, those are both good, but you have to stop drinking alcohol. You are killing yourself.

You: WHat if instead I stop using butter and other oils and switch to olive oil?

Dr.: Yes, that would be good, too, but you need to stop drinking alcohol because your liver is very damaged.

You: How about if instead I start a good diet and exercise program and lose some weight?

Dr.: That would also be good for your liver and long term health, but you need to stop drinking alcohol immediately or you are going to die.

You: Thanks for all the helpful advice, Doc.

*Drinks a gallon of vodka. Dies.*

It’s the same damned things with guns, and we have this god damned debate every time there is a mass shooting. Yes, we need to spend more time and money addressing mental health issues. Yes, we need to engage our children more. Yes, we need to keep our eyes open for socially isolated individuals. yes, we need to report people who make threats to the authorities. Yes, we need to deal with people being radicalized online and via social media. Yes, we need to do all those things and more.

BUT WE NEED TO DEAL WITH THE FUCKING GUNS.

This is why all those kids from Florida who are speaking out sound like they are making so much sense- BECAUSE THEY ARE. They aren’t taking a simple issue and and getting wrapped around the axle by turning it into something complicated. The clarity of youth lets them embrace the principle of parsimony that for a number of reasons eludes the adults in the room. Crazy and dangerous people repeatedly for a variety of reasons keep killing people with guns, so we should do something about guns. When someone takes a knife into school, they get kicked out. When someone takes an AR-15 into a school, 20 kids get killed. The kids aren’t confused by all the bullshit that has seeped into our discourse, so they say things like this:

America has a gun problem, and no amount of diet, exercise, or cranberry juice is going to fix it. It’s the fucking guns, stupid.



Florida Woman vs. Florida Man

In case you missed it, here’s a speech by a young woman, Emma Gonzalez, who survived the Douglas High School massacre. She calls out Trump, the NRA, Senator Grassley and the other cowardly shits who have done nothing while people, including school children, are slaughtered by maniacs with easy access to weapons of war:

I’m so damn proud of these kids. Some highlights for the video-phobes:

If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.

You want to know something? It doesn’t matter, because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don’t do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.

To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.

[Crowd chants: “Shame on you!”]

If your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? Which should I choose? Or would you choose us, and if you answered us, will you act like it for once? You know what would be a good way to act like it? I have an example of how to not act like it. In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.

From the interactions that I had with the shooter before the shooting and from the information that I currently know about him, I don’t really know if he was mentally ill. I wrote this before I heard what Delaney said. Delaney said he was diagnosed. I don’t need a psychologist and I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that repealing that regulation was a really dumb idea.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was the sole sponsor on this bill that stops the FBI from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be mentally ill and now he’s stating for the record, ‘Well, it’s a shame the FBI isn’t doing background checks on these mentally ill people.’ Well, duh. You took that opportunity away last year.

The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn’t reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.

If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.

[Crowd chants: “Throw them out!]

Several hundred folks in my part of Florida — hundreds of miles from the Douglas High massacre — had a rally against gun violence yesterday. Wouldn’t it be ironic as shit if FLORIDA, of all fucking places, ends up being the birthplace of gun sanity?

Meanwhile, from his Disgraceland estate in Florida, Trump uses dead kids and teachers as human shields:

That deranged globule of rancid marmalade is on a Twitter tear this morning. I’m not going to subject you to further rantings from that quarter in this post, but it confirms what we already knew: Now that Trump can no longer deny Russia’s cyber attack on U.S. democracy, he’s casting himself as its chief victim, and he’ll do absolutely nothing to stop further attacks.

Like the high school kids in Florida, we must find the courage to put an end to this bullshit ourselves. Our government, as presently constituted, isn’t going to help us. We have to change it.



Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Who Does the NRA Actually Represent?


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Ever wonder if maybe the monsters are already here on Maple Street?


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And speaking of politicians who are neither Democrats nor helpful when it comes to gun safety measures…
Read more



Gun Safety Open Thread: The Status Quo Will Continue, Until It Erodes Away

I can remember when asking someone not to smoke in a clearly marked NO SMOKING area was considered a social gaffe. Pushy! Uncivil! It was the 1980s…

The NRA, because they need the sales, is committed to bribing or threatening lawmakers into insisting that more guns be allowed in more places. There’s a loud, angry minority of our fellow citizens who are convinced that more guns in more places is their only protection against… everything. But IIRC, there was a lot higher percentage of adult American smokers when the first serious smoking laws were passed than there are “NRA priority voters” now…



This time, it’s personal…

I sense a shift in the political wind on gun control. I know, crazy, right? Even before Newtown, but especially since that horrible event resulted in exactly ZERO congressional action on gun safety, I lost hope that Americans could ever make headway against our insane gun culture. I don’t expect the 17 deaths in a Florida school this week to spur much action in the short term. But this feels different.

I could be wrong, so if you’re gearing up to tell me that nothing will ever change and I’m a fool for thinking this latest senseless tragedy might move the needle, save your pixels; I’m already telling myself the same goddamned thing.

But here’s why I think something MAY be shifting now, and in response to a mass shooting that wasn’t a third as deadly as the worst shooting in the last six months. I think we may be at least approaching a Rubicon because more people are joining an awful club no one ever wants to join — the subset of folks whose lives have been touched by this madness. Read more



Open Thread: I’d Endorse Romney’s Solution…