Thoughts and prayers, mofos

Have we gloated about the hardships besetting the death merchant sector and their industry lobbying group lately?

From the Fortune article:

Share prices for some gun manufacturers dropped after the National Rifle Association released that it had lost more than half a billion dollars in income last year.

The gun-rights organization reported $98 million in contributions in 2017, down $55 million from the year prior, according to a report on the organization’s tax records by the Daily Beast.

In the wake of the news, stock prices for gun companies fell…

These companies have typically seen a bump in stock after mass shootings, including a February shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school that left 17 dead and a shooting at a concert venue in Las Vegas in October 2017 that left more than 50 dead.

But many are also reporting a drop in sales during the Trump presidency…

And as gun manufacturers are seeing a decrease in sales, the NRA is hurting from a loss in dues. The $55 million drop in contributions during 2017 includes a $35 million downturn in dues collected, a sign that hints at dwindling support, the Daily Beast reports.

Looks like at least some NRA execs are riding the grift all the way down. From an 11/28 report at The Trace:

The National Rifle Association paid more than $100,000 in personal expenses for an official who is now leading an austerity campaign within the organization, new tax filings show.

The official, Josh Powell, is the NRA’s executive director for general operations. The Trace and Mother Jones reported two weeks ago that Powell, along with the NRA’s new treasurer, Craig Spray, is seeking to impose steep cuts to the gun group’s budget. The effort is so stringent that the NRA did away with free coffee and water coolers at its Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters, causing consternation among NRA staffers. Today, NRATV staffer Cameron Gray announced on Twitter that he and “several colleagues” had been laid off.

We’re ass-deep in guns in America, and our twisted gun culture will continue to be a deadly problem for the rest of our lives — and probably our children’s and grandchildren’s lives too. A drop in NRA contributions and decline in gun maker profits won’t change that, at least not right away.

But did anyone see this coming — NRA contributions tanking and House Republicans driven from power in a wave election, inspired in part by activists young folks who demand sensible gun safety regulations? The Parkland kids believed they could change things — and they were right. Let us savor the NRA’s cordite-scented tears, comrades.

Friday Evening Open Thread: The NRA Lost This Election

More good news of the Blue Wave!

Forensic pathologist for the rebuttal:

I Don’t Understand Gun Culture

With the shooting in the Thousand Oaks bar having been committed by a veteran who allegedly had PTSD, I did some thinking while driving today, and I have just come to the conclusion that I will never understand gun culture. I just simply do not get it.

I mean obviously I have shot guns and know how to use them. I’d wager I have probably shot more weapons than your average gun humper, having fired all sorts of handguns ranging from .22 long barrel to m9 beretta to a cz-75 to a .44 and a .45 and on and on. And then all sorts of long rifles, from your run of the mill .22 and .30-06, to ar-15’s and multiple variants of m-16’s. And countless shotguns of various types. And then the various machine guns from a .240 and M60 and a .50 cal. And then the big boys, including a 90mm recoilless to a 105mm on an M1 to a 120mm on an M1A1 and TOW missiles. Hell, I’ve set off claymores, thrown grenades, set off a bangalore torpedo, gone through more c4 and det cord than I can remember. Hell, I was even taught how to make explosives with fertilizer and diesel fuel. What I am trying to say is I’ve been around them, I’ve used them, and I’m not afraid of them.

But they don’t interest me in the least. I’m not even remotely drawn to them. I simply do not understand the allure or attraction.

Mind you, I am not talking about hunting culture. I have a lot of friends who hunt. By friend Amy who I trade veggies for eggs is typical of the kind of people I know who hunt. She hunts turkeys, deer, etc., and she eats them. But for her, it’s not so much about the firearm, although she does go shooting recreationally from time to time. For her it really is about the hunt, and she just likes being outdoors and enjoys hunting with a bow and arrow the most. If you could describe her dream day, it would be out before the ass crack of dawn, looking for game, and then an afternoon riding her horses and dinner and a couple beers with her husband. She just likes being out there and a good day hunting doesn’t mean having to kill something. It just means a good day out there.

So I’m not talking about people like them, and to be honest, if there were not people like her around you simply would not be able to drive around here between the hours of sunset and sunrise, there are so many deer.

I’m talking about the idiots who just worship guns. Recently I’ve seen a bunch of gomers driving around with a silhouette of an M16 on the covering the entire back windshield of their car. It’s like they are advertising that they are assholes and warning the rest of us. I just simply do not understand them- the hours they spend reading about guns and thinking and saying things like “oh that’s a sexy piece” or “check out this grip” and getting excited about something like fucking grip tape. It’s just so foreign to me I do not get it.

And I don’t get the people who are so scared they need to have a gun with them all the time. It’s not that I am particularly brave- there are tons of things that scare me. But I simply do not understand being so afraid that you literally can not go anywhere without a gun to “protect” yourself. It’s nuts. When someone says they need to carry a gun with them everywhere to protect themselves the first thing I think is “jesus you pussy.”

I wonder what percentage of guys who were in the military feel the way I do. Since I got out of the service, I bet I have fired a weapon maybe a half dozen times, and easily haven’t fired on for fifteen years. It just does not interest me.

There’s no real point to this post. Just I don’t get it.

My Pet T-Rex

Did you know some of the founding fathers kept birds as pets and livestock? It’s true — you can read all about it in the Federalist Papers. The right to keep and bear birds is as American as apple pie.

Now, some people claim that the right to keep chickens, parrots, ducks, peacocks, etc., shouldn’t extend to a right to keep and bear a T-Rex that has been cloned from DNA found in blood consumed by a mosquito that was fossilized in amber.

That’s an anti-science way of looking at it. Everyone knows modern birds are descended from dinosaurs like the T-Rex. On a DNA level, there’s very little difference between a parakeet and a T-Rex.

While it’s true that a T-Rex can bite people’s heads off and slaughter dozens in just a few minutes, a parakeet could kill you too, or at least peck out your eye if you didn’t stop it.

Every now and then, someone’s pet T-Rex gets loose and kills a bunch of people. It’s a tragic thing caused entirely by irresponsible T-Rex owners. So why punish responsible, law-abiding T-Rex owners for something they didn’t even do?

Owning a T-Rex is thrilling and manly. Maybe if everyone had their own T-Rex, we wouldn’t have to offer up our thoughts and prayers about these tragedies involving rogue T-Rex owners so frequently.

A T-Rex-armed society is a very polite society. Or at least a very STILL one.

[Image from Chicago Reader.]

Guns, Suicide, And Starting To Change The Argument

So, fellow Jackals,

I’ve got a piece up today in the Boston Globe on what firearm-suicides tell us about who is most at risk from a gun in the home.  The answer leaps out of the numbers — 2/3 gun deaths in the US are self-inflicted, and another notable fraction are murders within or close to the gun household.

What caught my eye amidst those numbers is the attempt by public health figures to frame the discussion of guns in gun-friendly states around safety rather than control.   So I wrote about it.

Trigger warning: an unhappy painting and more on a tough subject below the fold.

ETA: switched out the art to be slightly less on-the-nose.

Read more