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.



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



Vocal Fried (Open Thread)

Meghan the Lesser tries a gotcha question on Stacey Abrams, invoking the specter of a black woman coming for Georgians’ shootin’ arns. It doesn’t go so well for her:

The contrast between McCain’s tiresome MillennialCon shtick and Abrams’ warmth and humor could not be more stark. I loved Abrams’ line about hunting: “I don’t hunt because I mostly eat chicken, and that just seems mean.”

I’m 150 miles or so from Georgia, but I’ll throw a week-long party if Abrams wins. The latest poll has Abrams edging Cheato Kemp — who is outrageously still presiding over an election in which he’s running, like the Banana Republican he is — by a point. Go Stacey, go!



NRA Ghoul Phones It In

It seems like NRA spokes-ghouls used to follow a protocol after mass shootings. They’d clam up for 48 hours or so, then reemerge to tut-tut the “politicization” of the tragedy before suggesting more guns as a solution.

No more. Here’s NRA spokes-ghoul Dana Loesch cutting straight to the prescription from Dr. Death before the blood was even mopped up in Jacksonville:

So, either everyone is strapped for a shoot-out, Wild West style, or people who attend public events must enter a police state environment. Because God forbid that gun-humping weirdos who hoard weapons and stockpile ammo should be inconvenienced even half as much as a citizen who wants to vote.

BTW, the Jacksonville shooting took place at a video game conference that was being live-streamed. A video that captures the audio of the shooting is all over the media. I wish I hadn’t heard it. But it would be great if someone could hack the sound system at NRA headquarters and the GOP cloakroom and play it on continuous loop.



Twitter for Neighborhood Busybodies

Good lord, y’all. Are any of you on the Nextdoor app? It’s a neighborhood-specific social media thingy where people can post yard sale notices, advertise items for sale, complain about road work, provide alerts about upcoming local events, etc.

But “Crime & Safety” is where the real action is. The crime rate is low in my town, but apparently I’m surrounded by nitwits who do nothing but watch Fox News segments on MS-13 by day and stand armed watch in their darkened lanais after the sun goes down, scrutinizing passersby via surveillance cameras and passing judgment on teenagers’ dress (pull up your pants! take off that hoodie!) and intentions.

I’d rather see a horde of saggy-pantsed, be-hoodied teens on my lawn than any one of these armed, bloodthirsty, middle-aged drama llamas who are so clearly eager to shoot anyone who steps on their property.

Open thread!



Scatter Gun

A week ago, our local paper got its mitts on the NRA survey that the gun cartel lobbying group’s mouthpiece here in Florida — Marion Hammer — sends out to candidates running in the state. Hammer was extremely, uh, triggered by the gun safety measures the wingnut super-majority Florida legislature passed earlier this year in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. The questions include the following:

1. In our view, completion of this questionnaire and signing your name is giving your word. NRA and USF [Unified Sportsmen of Florida] members as well as other constituents in your district trust you to keep your word. Do you agree that your answers are giving your word and that we expect you to keep it?

2 (c). Do you believe elected officials commit an act of malfeasance if they violate their Oath of Office and support legislation that contains provisions that they believe are unconstitutional?

Gun Granny Hammer has ruled the Florida GOP with an iron fist for decades, so I cannot tell you how delightful it is to see her insert snippy, passive-aggressive queries into her own survey to snipe at Republicans who defied her. Democratic candidates have also made hay of this year’s survey, featuring themselves defacing it or throwing it in the trash. Ha!

Also, a short while ago, The Post reported that the NRA has yanked all of its old legislator grades from its website. Post reporters asked why and got a variety of answers, including “nope, we didn’t change anything” and “it’s just an IT glitch.” An unnamed NRA flack admitted that “our enemies were using that.”

Another NRA flack, Jennifer Baker, did go on the record:

“Our grades are a member service,” she explained. “Our members vote and one of the services that we provide them is to assess — to the best that anyone can — the candidates’ position on the Second Amendment and make a determination what candidates in a very specific election are the best candidates to protect and defend their constitutional rights.” The grades are issued as close to the election as possible in order to have the most relevance to that election.

Pressed on the rationale for the change to the website, Baker first expressed frustration at the question.

“I don’t understand– Why are you asking? What does it matter to you?” she asked. “The grades are not relevant after the election.”

Baker promised to get back to The Post about the rationale behind the change on the NRA site, but then she ghosted, ignoring follow-up emails.

I think it’s pretty obvious why they’re making these changes. The Parkland kids and their allies are shining a bright light, and the roaches are scattering. Good.