Just Another Day in the NRA’s America

As defined by the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is an event where “four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident,” not including the shooter. As of yesterday, we’ve had 317 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017.

No wonder Trump, likely jacked up on jet-lag and dementia, got mixed up and sent a pro forma mass shooting tweet in which he forgot to substitute the location of yesterday’s carnage with the site of last week’s semi-automatic atrocity:

Trump or a minion has since deleted last night’s defective “thots-n-prars” tweet without bothering to provide an updated version. Good. Since Trump and his party are captive to the death merchants’ lobbying group known as the NRA, their fake concern and piety are an insult to the dead and wounded anyway.

But before the next mass shooting occurs, let’s pause for a moment and look at yesterday’s rampage, which killed four and wounded ten. Via the AP:

RANCHO TEHAMA RESERVE, Calif. (AP) — The gunman behind a rampage in Northern California was out on bail for a charge of stabbing a neighbor, had been the object of complaints from neighbors who said he had been firing off hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and had been the subject of a domestic violence call the day before the attack.

Yet Kevin Neal was free and able to use a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns Tuesday to shoot 14 people, killing four, in seven different locations across his rural community, including an elementary school, before he died in a shootout with police.

It’s not yet clear what the terms of Neal’s bail were, and whether he would have been allowed to possess and fire the weapons on his property at the end of a dirt road in Rancho Tehama Reserve. Nor did sheriff’s officials give details on the domestic violence call.

But his many contacts with authorities raised questions of why he was out of custody and able to go on the 45-minute rampage that began with the killing of two neighbors in an apparent act of revenge before he went looking for random victims…

Police said surveillance video shows the shooter unsuccessfully trying to enter a nearby elementary school after quick-thinking staff members locked the outside doors and barricaded themselves inside when they heard gunshots.

[Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil] Johnston said the gunman spent about six minutes shooting into Rancho Tehama Elementary School before driving off to continue shooting elsewhere. Johnston said one student was shot but is expected to survive.

He said the 45-minute rampage ended when a patrol car rammed the stolen vehicle the shooter was driving and killed him in a shootout.

Can you imagine the terror of the children and adults inside that school, as the madman rained bullets on the building? It’s insane and shameful that we allow this situation to continue.



Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History

If initial reports about the number of dead are correct, last night’s massacre in Las Vegas was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Via The Washington Post:

At least 50 dead, more than 200 injured in Las Vegas shooting

Gunman in a high-rise hotel on the Strip opened fire during a country music festival

In one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history, the sniper-style gunfire rained down from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on Sunday evening, police said. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, is believed to be a “lone wolf” and was killed after authorities confronted him on the 32nd floor of the hotel, police said.

If the gunman’s name were “Satam Panjwani” instead of “Stephen Paddock,” the attack would be deemed “terrorism,” and America would find deep national resolve to address the scourge. But the shooter was a 64-year-old white man, so it’s a “lone wolf” incident, and “thoughts are prayers” are activated instead:

Nothing will change.



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.



Trump Administration Reverses Course; Supports Massive Funding Increase For Performance Art

A sidelight on yesterday’s Tomahawk raid on a Syrian airbase.

1:  Fifty-nine Tomahawks fired.

2: Targetting:  “The targets included air defenses, aircraft, hangars and fuel.”  For good reason (IMHO) the strike avoided stored chemical weapons.  Personnel at the base were warned of the impending attack and as of now, no casualties have been reported.

3: Results: some shit got blown up. All of it can be repaired or replaced with out, it seems, significant difficulty.

All of which is to say that this was what most kindly can be called a warning shot, and rather less so, performance art.

Which gets me to my point.  The price tag for fifty nine Tomahawk missiles runs a little bit shy of $90 million.

For scale: that’s roughly 60% of the $148 million the to-be defunded National Endowment of the Arts received in 2016.

I believe Donald Trump’s grant was titled, “Very Expensive Holes In Concrete.”

Image: Adrian Hill, A British Mine Exploding, sometime during World War I.



Overnight Open Thread: Shocking!

Here’s an actual Tesla coil rifle to shock you awake on this early Sunday morning/late Saturday evening. If you want to build your own, the details are here. I’m going to bed, amuse yourselves!