Moral Clarity and Vanilla ISIS

Heather Heyer’s mom isn’t interested in talking to Trump:

Ms. Bro says she received “frantic messages” from Trump’s press secretaries during her daughter’s funeral (these fucking people!) and later that day; she was willing to speak to Trump at that point but simply missed his calls since she was occupied with burying her child, who was murdered by a Trump-supporting Nazi. But after seeing a clip of Trump drawing equivalence between her daughter and other counterprotesters and the white supremacist mob, Bro is no longer willing to speak to Trump. Good for her.

On the lighter side, Tina Fey has a suggestion for how sane people might respond to heavily armed white supremacist goons descending on their towns — eat cake:

And speaking of heavily armed white supremacist goons:

I am not a lawyer, and I realize the NRA has its bloody fingers wrapped around the throat of legislatures at the state and federal level. But doesn’t Omidyar have a point here? Wasn’t it a public safety issue when these militia goons swarmed through the center of Charlottesville?

Governor McAuliffe said the local cops were outgunned by the militia goons. Sounds like a public safety issue to me.

We may not be able to roll back these bugfuck-crazy open carry laws any time soon, but can’t cities and towns require unarmed participants as a condition of issuing permits for marches and demonstrations? I know when the RNC held its 2012 convention in Tampa, people were not allowed to bring concealed weapons into the convention zone, even though an NRA representative personally writes every piece of legislation that affects firearms, which our governor then rubber-stamps.

If gun-free zones are good enough for Republican Party delegates, by God, they should be good enough for city centers when homegrown Nazis assemble to spew hate speech. It won’t solve our Nazi problem, obviously — Vanilla ISIS can run people down in the street, as one of their number did in Charlottesville. But it’s a start.



Thursday Morning Open Thread: The ‘Comfort’ of Long Practice

Not, it would seem, a hoax.

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While we’re all wondering when the unthinkable became so damned mundane, here’s an amazing story from the Washington Post:

Like any good student with a sensitive question, Harold Hering approached his teacher after class, out of earshot from his classmates.

“How can I know,” he asked, “that an order I receive to launch my missiles came from a sane president?”

It was 1973. President Richard M. Nixon was seriously depressed about Watergate. Hering, an Air Force major who rescued downed pilots in Vietnam, was training to be a missileer — the guy who turns the keys to commence nuclear Armageddon.

“I assumed there had to be some sort of checks and balances so that one man couldn’t just on a whim order the launch of nuclear weapons,” Hering, now 81, told Radiolab in a remarkable interview earlier this year.

Hering was wrong. And decades later, so is anyone who thinks President Trump, having recently threatened “fire and fury” for North Korea, can’t order a nuclear attack anytime he darn well pleases, even from a fairway bunker on the golf course.

Just ask Hering.

Back in 1973, the drama that followed Hering’s question did not, as he hoped, fundamentally alter the fate of the world, but it certainly reshaped his life. Forced to retire, Hering took up a career with a less dangerous set of keys: long-haul trucking…

All these years later, Hering does not regret asking the forbidden question. After driving trucks, he became an addiction counselor to homeless people at the Salvation Army. He lives in Indiana. He still worries.

“It bothers me immensely that the only area there is not a check and balance is the one that could literally result in the end of the world,” he told Radiolab. “That seems strange to me.”…

And yet!… We are still here, somehow; and Mr. Hering seems to have had a good life, helping other people. Sometimes the minion enables the monster; sometimes the minion makes the better choice.
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Apart from meditating upon the unthinkable, what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night RWNJ Open Thread: FISK, Dammit! She Said ‘Fisk’!

Well, she seems to have clenched something pretty tight…

Speaking of highly excitable Wingnut Wurlitzer cheerleaders, whatever happened to Michelle Malkin?



Long Read: “How Being Wrongly Pegged as the Dallas Cop Sniper Changed Mark Hughes’ Life Forever”

Dan Solomon, at Fusion:

Mark Hughes has a sense of humor about what happened to him last summer. On July 7, 2016, Hughes was wrongly identified by Dallas Police and news organizations around the world as a suspect in that day’s sniper attack at a Black Lives Matter march in the city, and when I meet him in the office of the tax prep company he owns in nearby Arlington, Hughes asks me with a straight face: “Are you familiar with the July 7th event?” Then, pointing to his desk neighbor: “You know, he was the one who was actually doing the shooting.”

It’s hard to imagine how Hughes would have survived the past year without cracking a few jokes. Almost everything about his life has been affected by the day his photograph was emblazoned on local news, CNN, and the Dallas Police Department’s official Twitter account, with the words “This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him!” above his photo.

Hughes had seen groups like Open Carry Tarrant County, whose members—and leadership, which is white—carry long-arm rifles on the street in front of his tax-prep business, in accordance with the law. And as he made plans to attend the march he decided, for the first time, that he should do the same. Philando Castile, the Minnesota man whose shooting death had been captured on video prior to the march, had his right to carry a gun violated by the officer who shot him. Hughes decided that meant he had a responsibility to assert his own.
Read more



Billy Ray and Jed’s Excellent Misadventure

These fucking idiots:

A few hundred armed militia group members, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Ku Klux Klaners, supporters of President Donald Trump, and other self-described patriots descended upon the Gettysburg battlefield Saturday to defend the site’s Confederate symbols from phantom activists with the violent far-left group Antifa.

Some carried semi-automatic rifles ― permitted in Pennsylvania ― as they peered out across the battlefield with binoculars, on the lookout for the black-clad, face-masked anti-fascists, anarchists and socialists they said they had heard were traveling to the national park to dishonor Confederate graves, monuments and flags.

Although many came expecting violence ― even after Antifa made it clear its adherents never planned to show up ― the only bloodshed came when a lone militia group member accidentally shot himself in the leg.

I suppose there are worse things than having a bunch of amped up fascist gun nuts self-quarantined in a battlefield where literally the only harm they can do is to themselves and the graves of confederate filth who have been dead for 200 years. I suppose it is worth noting that these lost cause losers were defending the graves from nonexistent threats incurred in a battle that was the beginning of the end of the Confederacy, so that makes this idiocy just a touch bit tastier for this Yankee scum.



Point, Counterpoint

Point:

Dana Loesch, the St. Louis, MO based conservative commentator, made the following membership drive (I think it’s to promote joining, but it’s hard to tell) video for the National Rifle Association back in April. For some reason it floated below the surface until it got noticed on social media this week.

I think Josh Marshall’s analysis is pretty accurate:

Counterpoint:

(Image 1: Ryan Payne from a 2014 Missoula Independent cover/profile)

This past week Federal prosecutors in Oregon made sentencing request for some of the people that followed Ammon Bundy in occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. The Oregonian reports:

The government will recommend Ryan Payne receive three years and five months in custody, the longest sentence of those who entered guilty pleas to conspiracy, Gabriel said.

Payne is still facing Federal charges in Nevada related to his actions in the Bunkerville standoff. As The Missoula Independent reports, was:

On April 7, Ryan Payne, a 30-year-old Iraq War veteran, packed his ’93 Jeep Cherokee with two sleeping bags, two cots, the rucksack he’d more or less lived out of during his five years in the military and a Rock River Arms Operator LAR-15. He was on his way to the southern Nevada desert to defend the oppressed from the tyrannical force of the federal government, and he knew he might have to fight.

As people came, Payne emerged—reluctantly, he says—as the militia’s de facto leader.

“I’m an advisor and coordinator for OMA,” Payne says, “and I was Mr. Bundy’s militia liaison. He would tell me what he had planned, and then I would advise him as to what the militia could accomplish in support of that.”

He organized the militia into units and pursued the objectives he and Bundy had agreed upon. As he set about planning a strategy for accomplishing those goals, Payne drew heavily on his Army experience.

Stay frosty!

 



The Tree of Liberty…

…is a f**king vampire:

Nearly 1300 children die and 5790 are treated for gunshot wounds each year. Boys, older children, and minorities are disproportionately affected. Although unintentional firearm deaths among children declined from 2002 to 2014 and firearm homicides declined from 2007 to 2014, firearm suicides decreased between 2002 and 2007 and then showed a significant upward trend from 2007 to 2014. Rates of firearm homicide among children are higher in many Southern states and parts of the Midwest relative to other parts of the country. Firearm suicides are more dispersed across the United States with some of the highest rates occurring in Western states. Firearm homicides of younger children often occurred in multivictim events and involved intimate partner or family conflict; older children more often died in the context of crime and violence. Firearm suicides were often precipitated by situational and relationship problems. The shooter playing with a gun was the most common circumstance surrounding unintentional firearm deaths of both younger and older children.

Guns kill kids. That baseline number, almost 1300 kids every twelve months, is more than a 9/11 every three years.

 

Guns don’t just kill kids; they are a leading cause of death for children and teenagers.  The data in the chart below don’t perfectly line up, as it doesn’t break out gun homicides and suicides from the overall rates by all methods, but still here are ball park figures.

(To weight those numbers, the FBI reports that as of 2014, roughly two thirds of all murders were committed with a gun, and the CDC reports that guns are involved in about half of all suicides.  Childhood figures may weight more towards firearms for a couple of reasons, but I haven’t dived into the data and I’m not a domain expert, so value that opinion as you will.)

In any event, it doesn’t take much to see this as a peculiarly American evil.  In the discussion section of the paper quoted above:

International studies indicate that 91% of firearm deaths of children aged 0 to 14 years among all high-income countries worldwide occur in the United States, making firearm injuries a serious pediatric and public health problem in the United States.14

The net:

Approximately 19 children a day die or are medically treated in an ED for a gunshot wound in the United States. The majority of these children are boys 13 to 17 years old, African American in the case of firearm homicide, and white and American Indian in the case of firearm suicide.

Nineteen kids a day, killed and wounded, and the Republican Party is completely on board with that.

We all knew that of course; now we’ve got numbers.  What will this nation do with this newly quantified knowledge?

Nothing: the slaughter of American children will continue until the tree of liberty swallows us whole.

ETA: On a moment’s reflection, that’s too damn depressing even for me.  Eventually this country will get sick of self-murder. I hope that day comes sooner than I’m thinking now.

Image: Nicholas Poussin, The Massacre of the Innocents, (drawing for this painting) c. 1628-9