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February 02, 2018

Comments

the italic immigrants are the worst, it's true. Just can't keep 'em out.

They’re all a little crooked.

Not really crooked. Just . . . bent.

You would have to put your own slant on it.

You are getting to the kern-al of the problem.

if you boys don't stop stroking your descenders, i'm going to have to call the serif.

*searches for close post to comments function in typepad*

fascist

Clearly, OW is the font of humor.

FOR wj FROM BARB BOXER

Bobby, I kind of missed any mention (let alone authorship) of Barbara Boxer.

Beyond that, not sure what message you think I ought to be taking. The GOP is broken, and toxic? Yeah, I know that and have said so. Voting down Republicans, at least toxic ones, is the only way to fix that? Know it; do it. So what, exactly?

Mentioning your lefty nemesis Babs was a bit of humor.

The message is: Don't vote for any Republicans...even the allegedly good ones.

Have a good one.

Attempting to get my humor tracker kick-started....

The thing is, if I don't vote for good Republicans, that means the worst ones are the only ones who have any success. Which, in turn, means that the GOP just keeps getting worse.

If there was a third party that looked viable, that might not matter -- the Republican Party could just go the way of the Whigs. Unfortunately, I don't see one. And the country needs two viable parties to function properly.

The Democrats could split easily enough into two viable parties in the absence of Republicans to oppose.

"Could"
But do you see any sign of it actually happening?

Do you see any sign of the Republicans actually going away? It’s a conditional.

wj: ... the country needs two viable parties to function properly.

Another of those nearly-everyone-agrees shibboleths. Is it true?

"Viable" does not mean "sane".

For that matter, what's a "party"? As I keep pointing out, the ONLY operative definitions of party membership in this country are:
1) Your voter registration, if you're a citizen; and
2) Your vote for Speaker or Majority Leader if you're a legislator.
The current leadership of the "Republican Party" in most legislatures in the country (including CA?) is batshit nuts. A candidate for office running as a "Republican" is almost certain to vote for that batshit leadership -- and absolutely certain not to vote for Democratic leadership. Since leadership sets the agenda, a "sane" candidate running as a Republican is basically asking for impotence.

The NRA-backed, plutocrat-beholden, religio-nationalist. racist-supported GOP is now the Putin-apologist party too.

When a player in one of our major sports leagues covers himself in glory, his number gets retired. Time to retire the label of the major party that has covered itself in shame and ignominy. Vote Democrat, crush the GOP into extinction, and then be a splitter for the sake of perpetuating our adversarial party system.

--TP

Keeping in mind a significant portion of the US electorate considers most of the Democratic leadership batshit crazy in their own right.

So, not necessarily a good argument for voting against batshit crazy Republicans.

a significant portion of the US electorate considers most of the Democratic leadership batshit crazy

If you are part of that portion, you might want to define "batshit crazy".

What TP said.

17 more names that will be appearing in the comments

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2018/feb/14/florida-school-shooting-live-updates-latest-news-marjory-stoneman-douglas

"17 more names" THIS time.

Even if Wayne LaPierre's name gets added to one of these lists some day, it won't make a difference to the batshit nuts portion of the electorate.

Batshit crazy GOP Whip Steve Scalise voted for the batshit nuts
H.R.38 - Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017
after he got shot.

I am looking forward to Marty's alternate definition of "batshit crazy".

--TP

a significant portion of the US electorate considers most of the Democratic leadership batshit crazy in their own right.

different strokes.

17 more names that will be appearing in the comments

driving home tonight, listening to "marketplace" on NPR because I'm a coastal elitist and that's what we do, kai ryssdal mentions:

there are more places to buy a gun in the US than there are starbucks in entire world.

call the names. it won't change anything, but people at least deserve to be remembered, even if only for a minute.

there are more places to buy a gun in the US than there are starbucks in entire world.

Look, this is just the free market at work. Clearly we need more guns than coffee, otherwise the market wouldn't produce that result. Similarly, if the market wasn't demanding mass shootings of high school students, there wouldn't be any. Who are we to interfere with the natural workings of the invisible hand, which steps in without any central planning and almost naturally balances the demand for dead students with the supply.

You might ask "but what about all the dead children?" to which I would reply that letting the market work makes us all better off in the long run (except, like, those dead kids)

Keep in mind that the NRA has laundered money for the Russians to give to the GOP.

Yes, the victims are people, and shouldn't be victims again to rhetoric. But people, please, this is a - what do you call it - conspiracy?

Batshit crazy? Okay, I'll cop. I'm being driven batshit crazy by this unending preventable tragedy.

You might be mentally ill if:

1) You feel the need to own an AR-15

That is all.

--TP

You might be mentally ill if

1) You think the problem of violence In our country is people owning AR 15s.

Y'all just spent a whole thread on how Americans think violence is an acceptable answer solving problems.

Then, when faced with the blindingly obvious result of that cultural phenomenon, the problem is suddenly guns.

F*cking violence everywhere in our culture is the problem. Solve that. we will have less wars and less shootings. No matter how many gun sellers there are.

PS that's batshit crazy.

You think the problem of violence In our country is people owning AR 15s.

Y'all just spent a whole thread on how Americans think violence is an acceptable answer solving problems.

Then, when faced with the blindingly obvious result of that cultural phenomenon, the problem is suddenly guns.

It is possible to believe that "Americans think violence is an acceptable answer solving problems (although I don't), while recognizing that guns, especially automatic and semi-automatic guns, make violence much more massive.

I never guessed there were sperm depicted in republican presidential portraits.

I figured all along that murderous filthy subhuman republicans couldn't bring themselves to even think the word "sperm" when they were calling for the death of AIDS sufferers back in the 1980's.

I wanna be bit by the bat that made republicans so murderously batshit so I can be batshit in the death of all of them.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/3-trump-properties-posted-144-openings-for-seasonal-jobs-only-one-went-to-a-us-worker/ar-BBJ52Cb

Fuck off, filth.

"In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course, the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy."
Elephant —Roger Ebert

• Mass shootings aren't getting more common, but they are getting more deadly.

• Gun crime and gun violence are still way, way down from 20 years ago.

• All mass shooters are "mentally ill," but defining that term is no easy feat.

• Would restricting certain types of weapons make mass shootings less deadly?

• Do strict firearms laws reduce gun deaths?
Yes, This Is a Good Time To Talk About Gun Violence and How To Reduce It: The Florida school shooting is horrific, but making sure such tragedies never happen is no simple matter.

The "batsh1t crazy" definition of a cardinal and observer of the Galilei trial: To believe that the Earth revolves around the sun is as insane as not believing in the Virgin Birth.
A colleague of his also knew how to get rid of heresy once and for all: kill all mathematicians* because math is the basis for all heresy.
Definitions of crazy are quite volatile in space and time.

*for the nitpickers: 'mathematicus' is the classical latin term for astrologer. The guy was not aiming for a slot on the Texas Board of Education on the GOP ticket.

Jamie Guttenberg

btw Marty, I know you think that argument is a cute one, but if one feels that violence is an issue for Americans, (and incidentally, you must have noticed that it was a discussion of American foreign policy right?) the last fucking thing you want to do is to put guns in people's hands. So either you don't think violence is a problem for Americans (and maybe you don't, you figure that it is only the right people who get shat on, but at least have the balls to say that straight up) or maybe you do think it is a problem, mirabile dictu and you might want to think of ways to defuse such violence.

I know that my kids here in Japan can come home from school at 10, 11 o'clock at night and I don't have to worry about them. And my college age daughter can come home at 3 or 4 am in the largest city in the world and I can be blissfully unworried. So cut the 'ha ha, your liberal arguments are so hypocritical.' It makes it hard to take anything you say seriously.

Good for you lj, but your kids aren't safe because there aren't any guns. They are safe because attacking them would, first, not be considered.

Your comment absolutely proves my point, which isn't cute at all. Why are they not in danger, from a simple mugging much less a mass shooter?

Do strict firearms laws reduce gun deaths?

Three weeks ago I posted "Number of shootings in UK schools in the last 20 years (post Dunblane): 0"

Gun control aside, the UK is not very unlike the USA. But the number is still zero.

Does that answer your question?

No matter how many gun sellers there are.

there is no possibility that the presence of a gun encourages the owner to use it. just like there is no possibility that easy accessibility to guns encourages people who want to kill other people to acquire and use guns to kill people.

sure, it happens with everything else in life. but guns are special.

Your comment absolutely proves my point, which isn't cute at all. Why are they not in danger, from a simple mugging much less a mass shooter?

Bullshit. You focus on what was discussed here and now you are trying to squirm out of it. If you want to have this discussion, you don't start with

Y'all just spent a whole thread on how Americans think violence is an acceptable answer solving problems.

How about if I said I know that my daughters won't have to worry about someone bringing a gun and shooting them. Or that I don't have to tell my students to keep their phones on in case something happens on campus. Or that I don't have to worry about getting in an accident and having the other guy pull out a gun.

But do tell how it's just a cultural thing and America has to live with it. But don't try to claim you were making a serious comment about muggings and violence. Cause you know you weren't...

Well, I would say that school security in Japan is likely greater than in the US, do they use rfid to track students? Aren't cell phones banned from most Japanese schools?

As far as squirming out of anything, you always use that as a personal attack when you have nothing. I said the problem was violence, the acceptability of violence In US society affects a broad swath of problems, including mass shootings.

You brought up coming home at late hours, that led to being safe muggings, because of what?

Get over yourself.

there is no possibility that the presence of a gun encourages the owner to use it. just like there is no possibility that easy accessibility to guns encourages people who want to kill other people to acquire and use guns to kill people.

sure, it happens with everything else in life. but guns are special.

This.

I'd say the cultural problem that leads to mass shootings is that celebrity is seen as more important than virtue (in so far as there's any perceived difference between them). And the practical problem is that nutters have easy access to guns.

Whereas the cultural problem that leads to muggings is that wealth is seen as more important than virtue (in so far as there's any perceived difference between them). And the practical problem is that thieves have easy access to guns.

The latter problem would be less effectively addressed by gun control, since knives work too.

It is certifiably insane that U.S. schools - from college all the way down to nursery schools - have "lock-down drills" as a regular part of their year.

Freedom, I guess.

It is certifiably insane that U.S. schools - from college all the way down to nursery schools - have "lock-down drills" as a regular part of their year.

it's part of the 2nd A's requirement that we all live in fear of being shot.

Ahh, marty, a bit of a dilemma. You want to try and make this about societal violence, but that thin reed of a comment can't bear the weight, so you have to try and interrogate what I said. You go first, why did YOU make the comment? After all, I only replied about my kids to your comment, so it is only fair.

The fact is that either you need to argue that you had some overarching deep thoughts about violence that we should intuit from your comment, or you have to admit that you just wanted to tweak the liberals and you thought that doing it with a school shooting was a great idea. The former makes you look stupid, the latter makes you look like a jerk. As they say in chess, you are forked. Perhaps some of the others here can offer you a way out, but to me, it looks a lot like karma...

Well, Ugh, whats ridiculous is that they are not locked down all the time. Many schools in other countries, and the US, have pretty strict security that would prevent these shootings. Although no security is perfect, walking in a school with a gas mask on carrying an AR15 seems preventable on a lot of levels.

it's part of the 2nd A's requirement that we all live in fear of being shot.

An armed society is a terrified society....

Also, ISTM, carrying gives those people permission (from their-selves) to act in real life the way people act online. Because, hey, if someone reacts negatively to me being an asshole, I'll just draw down on them and teach them a lesson.

Aaron Feis

carrying gives those people permission (from their-selves) to act in real life the way people act online

whew. armed IRL trolling. that's an unpleasant combo.

Obviously the way to end school shootings is to end schools. Not only would this relieve many from the forced remittance of onerous property taxes, it would reinforce their belief that education is essentially a waste of time.

F*cking violence everywhere in our culture is the problem. Solve that. we will have less wars and less shootings. No matter how many gun sellers there are.

i think this is exactly right. the only thing i'd add is that, were we not so freaking violent, plain old supply and demand would probably bring the number of gun shops down to a reasonable number.

to reply to LJ, i take yur point but i don't hear marty saying we need to just accept it.

to follow on tony p, if you have a shotgun or rifle for hunting, you're likely not nuts. if you have an ar-15, probably not nuts, but i'm gonna keep an eye on you.

if you have multiple ar-15's and a stockpile of multiple thousands of rounds to shoot with them, you likely have some issues.

ok, I will let my first comment stand. The thread on a broad consensus that Americans see violence as an acceptable solution to problems, followed by a complete blindspot that the same acceptance makes violence an acceptable solution for mass murderers is what I noted.

You brought up more mundane examples of when you didn't have to worry about your kids, I simply responded to your examples.

My mistake.

whats ridiculous is that they are not locked down all the time

what's ridiculous, and more than ridiculous, what's pitiful and profoundly sad, is that it's even something that is needed, ever.

if you have an ar-15, probably not nuts, but i'm gonna keep an eye on you.

AR-15 styled rifles account for 60%+ of US rifle sales. the top five best-selling rifles in the US are AR-15 style. not one of them is a traditional wood-stock 'hunting' rifle.

that suggests, to me, that fantasy fulfillment plays a big part in the kind of guns people buy. most want to be Rambo.

what's pitiful and profoundly sad, is that it's even something that is needed, ever.

we are held hostage by the "conservative" gun fetish.

yup.

people with "molon labe" bumper stickers.

the guy down my block with an american flag banner on his truck whose stripes are made of gun silhouettes.

and so on.

it's not about hunting.

I wake up this morning and
1) 17 people are still dead;
2) He, Trump is still president;
3) Marty is still Marty.
Hardly worth getting out of bed.

--TP

"it's not about hunting" of animals other than humans.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2012/12/15/our-moloch/

Keeping in mind that schools all over Europe, and in Japan, have much better security than many of our schools. But we don't want to secure our schools because...

In the school system my children went to there was one guarded entrance, for the last 30 years. 3000 kid high school, smaller grade schools. All exits were alarmed, entrance through the front door only. Every person after school started signed into the office, it wasn't voluntary.

Was it perfect, no. But a kid jn a gas mask couldn't walk in with a rifle.

Maybe we can seize gun manufacturers via eminent domain as a public nuisance.

But we don't want to secure our schools because...

because Freedom™!

but mostly because it costs money, and we don't have any money. and that's because the GOP, top to bottom, is totally uninterested in raising money, let alone spending it on schools.

The thread on a broad consensus that Americans see violence as an acceptable solution to problems, followed by a complete blindspot that the same acceptance makes violence an acceptable solution for mass murderers is what I noted.

In what context was this broad consensus, and was that in regard to Americans in particular or people in general. I remember it being about war, and I remember it being about human nature.

That said, I wouldn't argue that Americans aren't more violent than their counterparts in other economically developed nations. And I wouldn't argue that if we were less violent, we wouldn't be ... well ... less violent. Um, yeah...

But, to what problem are you proposing that people (or Americans) see school shootings as a solution?

Schools in the UK have increased security over the last few years. But that's designed to resist abductions - primary schools are much more thorough than secondary schools.

The security measures would be ineffective against a nutter with an AR-15. That doesn't matter at all, since nutters in this country haven't got AR-15s.

This is an interesting read, just for comparison of outcomes when guns are involved and when they aren't. Look at the ratio of the number of deaths to the number of attacks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_attacks_in_China_(2010%E2%80%9312)

thoroughly securing the inside of schools would stop shooting inside schools. that's true.

and if we all lived in schools, that would solve the problem completely.

The kids can run, one at a time, crouched and in serpentine fashion, from the school to the bus when school lets out. It might take a while, but it's better than putting restrictions on gun sales.

we could teach kids responsible gun ownership, in grade school. we could teach them what guns do, how they work and how to use them responsibly.

but, we have a country where one party is completely beholden to an organization, and a gun-worshipping culture, that over and over fights laws to ban toy guns in school because they think that banning toy guns in school would demonize real guns.

but, we have a country where one party is completely beholden to an organization, and a gun-worshipping culture, that over and over fights laws to ban toy guns in school because they think that banning toy guns in school would demonize real guns.

Why is that party beholden?

The plutocrats aren't even our own.

Marty,

Where do you get your allegation that "schools all over Europe, and in Japan, have much better security than many of our schools"? Is this the latest NRA dodge or FOX couch meme? Should we be expecting to hear He, Trump tweet it?

Between
1) turning schools (and churches, and cinemas, and shopping malls, and outdoor concerts) into fortresses, and
2) inconveniencing "responsible gun owners" with laws that keep addled would-be Rambos from owning guns,
what value system makes you think 1) is better?

--TP

lj and hsh, you might want to reread cleek's and sapient's comments on the previous page

novakant, I wrote this (very unfortunately without a question mark) earlier this morning. What do I need to re-read?

In what context was this broad consensus, and was that in regard to Americans in particular or people in general. I remember it being about war, and I remember it being about human nature.

re-read because our comments were so awesome!

And the practical problem is that nutters have easy access to guns.

*****
The security measures would be ineffective against a nutter with an AR-15. That doesn't matter at all, since nutters in this country haven't got AR-15s.

This, this and thrice this.

For the avoidance of doubt, the UK (and the rest of the developed nations) have: the same heritage of human predilection for conflict, just as many disaffected youths, just as many kids chained to their computers playing violent video games, just as many sociopathic young men from abusive backgrounds and just as many violent criminals from violent families. What these people don't have, in countries other than the US, is guns.

It will always be too soon.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the shooting was "designed and executed to maximize loss of life."

But he said that it was too soon to debate whether tighter gun laws could have stopped it.

"You should know the facts of that incident before you run out and prescribe some law that you claim could have prevented it," he told Fox News.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43071710

should be noted that we're coming up on the 1-year anniversary of Trump signing a bill that makes it easier for mentally-ill people to get guns.

gun violence in the US: it's objectively what the GOP wants.

Do strict firearms laws reduce gun deaths?

At the risk of injecting actual data into the discussion:

“What I’ll tell you is that mental health issues in this country are growing and it’s a challenge.” That is an explanation favoured on the American right. It does not take account of the fact that the toll of gun violence in other rich countries, with comparable health indicators, is negligible by comparison. America’s gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher than a group of 22 other developed countries, according to the American Journal of Medicine. This is mainly because America has so many more guns than those other countries. It has less than 5% of the world’s population and almost half of the world’s civilian-owned firearms.
and, perhaps more on point:
States with the most restrictive gun laws in America, such as Illinois, tend to have the lowest rates of gun homicide. Florida, where more than 1.4m people have licenses to carry concealed weapons, has some of the laxest gun laws. To buy an AR-15 rifle, the model used by Mr Cruz, which is based on the M-16 assault rifle, requires a background check so cursory the authorities almost might as well not bother. It takes a few minutes. And if you happen to be on the FBI’s terrorist watch-list at the time, no problem. [emphasis added]
Obviously there will be variations, especially because carrying a gun across a state line is trivial. But the pattern is clear.

let's tie some threads together!

the only country with a higher mass shooting incident to population ratio than the US is... Yemen!

more fun information about violence caused by Republican guns:

If mental health made the difference, then data would show that Americans have more mental health problems than do people in other countries with fewer mass shootings. But the mental health care spending rate in the United States, the number of mental health professionals per capita and the rate of severe mental disorders are all in line with those of other wealthy countries.

A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues. And Mr. Lankford, in an email, said countries with high suicide rates tended to have low rates of mass shootings — the opposite of what you would expect if mental health problems correlated with mass shootings.

Whether a population plays more or fewer video games also appears to have no impact. Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in any other developed country.

Racial diversity or other factors associated with social cohesion also show little correlation with gun deaths. Among European countries, there is little association between immigration or other diversity metrics and the rates of gun murders or mass shootings.

...

America’s gun homicide rate was 33 per million people in 2009, far exceeding the average among developed countries. In Canada and Britain, it was 5 per million and 0.7 per million, respectively, which also corresponds with differences in gun ownership.

Americans sometimes see this as an expression of deeper problems with crime, a notion ingrained, in part, by a series of films portraying urban gang violence in the early 1990s. But the United States is not actually more prone to crime than other developed countries, according to a landmark 1999 study by Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins of the University of California, Berkeley.

Rather, they found, in data that has since been repeatedly confirmed, that American crime is simply more lethal. A New Yorker is just as likely to be robbed as a Londoner, for instance, but the New Yorker is 54 times more likely to be killed in the process.

They concluded that the discrepancy, like so many other anomalies of American violence, came down to guns.

More gun ownership corresponds with more gun murders across virtually every axis: among developed countries, among American states, among American towns and cities and when controlling for crime rates. And gun control legislation tends to reduce gun murders, according to a recent analysis of 130 studies from 10 countries.

This suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.

ban them. melt them. turn the slag into tracks for light rail.

Many schools in other countries, and the US, have pretty strict security that would prevent these shootings. Although no security is perfect, walking in a school with a gas mask on carrying an AR15 seems preventable on a lot of levels.

And yet, in the days before the NRA because a mass-marketing arm of the gun manufacturers, and gun ownership skyrocketed (i.e. when I was in school), schools did NOT have lock-down drills and were not locked down. Yet we never saw a school shooting. Wonder why that was....

Seeing Rubio's tweet reminded me that the clearly wonderful Bess Kalb, a writer for Kimmel, has been tweeting a response every time a politician sends an insincere, cliched message of prayers and condolences, to show how much each of those same politicians has taken from the NRA over the years. What a heroine:

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/373974-kimmel-writer-tweets-the-amount-lawmakers-have-taken-from-nra-in-response-to

The "thoughts and prayers" thing reminds me of that joke (or parable) about the guy stuck on his roof in the middle of rising flood waters refusing all the help that came his way because he had faith that God would save him.

In case anyone doesn't know that one, here's a version of it:

A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbour urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbour drove off in his pick-up truck.

The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.

When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”

A Valentine from God arrived just in time:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nra-instagram-florida-shooting-high-school

Roses are red
The NRA is dead.

Fuck the violets.

Florida Governor and Voldemort Doppleganger Rick Scott (R, naturally) just said in a press conference that "Pulse was a terrorist attack" to which Florida responded by hiring 50 new "counter-terrorism experts". Scott was distinguishing Pulse from Parkland, which evidently was not a "terrorist attack" in his snake-ish little brain.

To be fair, I suspect that Lord Scott is not alone in defining "terrorism" in such a way that a school massacre is not terrorism. Presumably, that's because religion (as long as it's the wrong kind) and ideology (as long as it's not "policy") must motivate a massacre in order for the massacre to be "terrorism".

Evidently, the Cult of the Gun doesn't count as a pernicious religion in America.

--TP

Anyone else see what I see in this headline.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-tasks-classmates-neighbors-reporting-disturbing-behavior

disturbing mp/republican behavior has been reported ad nauseum for decades, and yet the wrong people are murdered week after week in pigfuck America.

My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting.

What does that mean? Aren't you supposed to pray to God?

Which of these prayerful US politicians does actually get down on his knees to seek succour for the bereaved? Does it occur to them that God can do whatever he does without their public statements of intention to pray? Do they also pray that school shootings not happen in the first place? Does it bother them that the latter prayers don't work?

A point:

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2018/02/to-use-them-for-what-they-are-for.html

Another point from Mr. Duncan Black.

This suggests that the guns themselves cause the violence.

The 15 nations with the highest rate of gun ownership.

Only about 1/4 of Americans own guns. The great majority of those people own one, or two.

Most deaths by firearm in the US are suicides. Typically older guys, most likely among the folks who own one or two firearms.

The way we get from a rate of gun ownership like Switzerland, or Sweden, to the rate of gun ownership we actually see here - almost double those places - is the 3% of the population that own half the guns.

About 7.5 million people in the US own about 130 million guns.

So, that's the gun ownership picture.

In many states, there is not only lax requirements to buy and carry a firearm, there are no requirements. Zero.

In Vermont, you need a license to go fishing, but there is absolutely zero requirement - no training requirement, no licensing requirement, no psych evaluation, nothing - for carrying a firearm. The feds impose their own requirements regarding purchase, beyond that the state imposes nothing.

By far, the majority of states are either unrestricted right to carry, or are shall-issue, which means if somebody asks for a permit, they will get one.

In most of the US, there are no meaningful restrictions on who can purchase and carry a firearm.

To me, the debate about "is it the guns?" or "is it the culture?" is kind of moot. Guns are profoundly easy to get and carry in the US, because we have a culture that supports that. And, the ready availability of firearms supports and reinforces that culture.

If you're a disaffected kid in most of the developed world, you'll get in fights and maybe steal somebody's car.

In the US, you also have the option of walking down the street and buying a firearm that was designed to let the bearer prevail in near-ish range firefights. A combat weapon.

No doubt the ability to procure a firearm about as easily as buying a sandwich makes violence by firearm more likely.

No doubt living in a culture where millions of people indulge in fantasies of bloody self-justifying violence and carnage makes a robust market for firearms more likely.

It's all of a piece.

Americans are inordinately prone to shooting themselves and each other. That's the reality. Ready access to guns facilitates that, but the guns are not the root or cause of the problem.

I don't think so, anyway. Factor out the 7.5 million with a dozen guns or more, and gun ownership here is not that different from places like Finland, or Sweden, or Switzerland.

And those folks don't shoot themselves or each other at the rates that we do.

ban them. melt them. turn the slag into tracks for light rail.

count-me in! How's this for a compromise....?

If the 2nd Amendment was removed from the Constitution, states could presumably pass their own laws as desired by their own political forces in play. Wyoming could make open carry mandatory. New York could make owning a gun a felony crime. Look....local control!

Real States Rights for people, not phony states rights for plutocrats, racists, and religious fanatics.

To paraphrase Chris Rock, republican politicians had better get down on their knees and pray that they find God before God finds them.

I am going to start replying to some of the replies to me earlier this week. It will come in spurts.

First, Cleek's comparison of 11 Washington Post stories on Yemen vs 5 at the American Conservative.

I counted six when I checked Daniel Larison's archives for this year. I am not going to do a total count, but it would not surprise me if he has done literally hundreds of posts in the past two and a half years on our role in Yemen. I am sure I remember days when he has done more than one post and weeks where they seemed to come almost every day. In the past several weeks he has focused more on Trump's insane militarism towards North Korea. I suspect virtually everyone here would agree with his posts on that, and would also agree with me that North Korea is at the moment more important even than Yemen, given that we have a wildly irresponsible child-man with his tiny hands on the nuclear button. But Larison hasn't forgotten Yemen. He has posted six times on that this year, but is more focused right now on North Korea.

As for the Washington Post, I can't read all their stories because I go through my monthly limit fast, but it's not the same. Without criticizing the content of what they actually have done, these stories for the most part are not focusing on our role. They are informative, but they aren't focused on our wrongdoing. A couple do. There was one from late December that dealt with Mattis and his "stern" response to people who suggest that we aren't doing enough to prevent civilian casualties. He says it would be worse if we weren't there. Bullfeathers. The Saudis couldn't be doing much of what they do without our support.

The American Conservative has some (IMHO) really stupid articles on economics and other issues from time to time, but on foreign policy they are far to the noninterventionist "left" compared to most liberal outlets. It isn't just Larison. Andrew Bacevich is a regular poster. I do read the NYT regularly and their opinion page is just a joke when it comes to foreign policy and that's on a good day, when it isn't obscene. I don't read the Wash Po opinions, but never see them cited by noninterventionists except in a negative way.

Then there were several people (actually including me) who point out that we each have our own issues. True and I think that is as it should be. It would not be good if everyone focused obsessively on America's foreign policy sins and ignored health care or economics or civil rights or global warming or our out-of-control mass shootings. I focus on our foreign policy sins because they are important and because I think it is clear that they are deliberately downplayed by the political mainstream. The Beltway crowd and the mainstream press live and breathe American exceptionalism, which in their case means the bedrock belief that they are the rightful rulers of the world and should be free to argue for or carry out violent interventions in any part of the world where they see fit, without their good intentions ever being questioned. You can, at most, criticize the policies on pragmatic grounds. All they learned from Iraq is that the American people will turn against a war if thousands of Americans are killed and tens of thousands wounded. This criticism applies to both parties, though Republicans are on average worse. And this is why scandals on a much smaller moral scale, like hacked emails and possibly illegal political ratfucking and obstruction of justice are the biggest crimes we ever see treated as scandals. Torture, for instance, was a policy issue. People denounced it, but there was no determination to hand it over to an impartial investigator to get to the bottom of it and then, depending on the facts uncovered, send it to the courts to decide. The rule of law is something that only applies if the laws that were broken aren't too big to prosecute. The political system can't handle issues that big. Brennan spied on the Democrats when they were investigating torture and then lied about it and now liberals are saying it is terrible that Trump casts doubt on the intelligence community. Well, Trump has zero credibility on anything and is probably afraid of what Mueller is finding (whether or not it involves Russian collusion), but no, the intelligence community should not be our heroes.

I don't expect to see high ranking officials tried for war crimes in the US. But I could imagine a societal change for the better if ordinary people demanded honesty from our press, our pundits and even some of our politicians about what powerful people get away with, instead of pretending like whatever ratfucking occurred in 2016 represents the worst thing that ever happens in the political system.

More later, maybe.

Just thought of an example.

Back in the late 90's, there was a debate about whether the US should join the International Criminal Court. The opponents, typically Republican, argued against it, said it was bad because our enemies would devise trumped up (no pun intended) charges against innocent American servicemen. The advocates, typically Democrats, argued that this was a misguided objection because the ICC would only have the authority to step in when a country clearly lacked a functioning judicial system. When a country had such a system it could prosecute its own war criminals. We have such a system.

This is the kind of debate on that issue that our elites have, one that is self-servicing and detached from reality. The idea that maybe a high ranking US official might deserve to be prosecuted simply wasn't part of the serious debate. And there is this strange mythology about democracies, that they are so good that they simply don't commit the kinds of atrocities that dictatorships commit, when the reality is they don't commit atrocities against their own citizens (usually), but may very well do so against foreigners. The foreigners can even be people that live within and under the control of their society.

As for the Washington Post, I can't read all their stories because I go through my monthly limit fast

Two options:
1) go into your browser and clear your cookies/browser history (at least for the Post).
2) when you want to open a story, do so in a private browser (for which cookies are deleted when you close it).

Presto! Limit erased.

P.S. Works for any other site which limits you number of stories. Ah, technology!

(In a similar vein, The Economist has dropped the link to Comments at the end of stories. But the comments are still there. You just have to go to the URL and add /comment at the end. Ah, technology again.)

This was interesting:

https://splinternews.com/when-prohibition-works-1823044528

From Ugh's link:

It would be exceedingly difficult to seize every one of these weapons currently on the streets by force, but it would be easy and effective—given sufficient political will—to ban their manufacture and sale.

I've made the point before that there aren't illegal-gun factories. There also aren't factories specifically for guns that will be used to kill people or for guns that will be used for other crimes.

Legal guns become illegal guns, and either can be used for murder and other crimes. Continued easy access, legal and illegal, depends on continued production.

If guns used in crimes were confiscated and destroyed without being replaced, the number of guns would go down, and the people who still had guns would keep far tighter control over them. They would become very "sticky" from a commercial/trade/market standpoint, and wouldn't find their way into the hands of criminals so easily (says me).

Could also ban possession, with penalty of confiscation of gun if found in possession and a fine.

These are all interesting ideas, and the odds that we will do them any time sooner than a generation from now are slim to none.

We won't get rid of guns until we change people's attitudes toward guns, other people, and their own government.

That's a profoundly big lift. It'll take years and years. That's not a reason to not start the process, it's just a realistic assessment of what it is you're talking about.

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