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May 25, 2021

Comments

Lots of what is discussed here in the absence of myself and McT is just nuanced differences that occasionally reveal deeper biases.

Chopped liver retires to the peanut gallery...

Also:

The trained narratologist drinks quietly in the corner.

Go on...

At least we can still laugh.

At least we can still laugh.

More importantly, we can still laugh at ourselves. (Personally, I'm still wrapping my head around the concept that my level of disagreement counts as "nuanced". I suppose from a sufficient distance....)

Lots of what is discussed here in the absence of myself and McT is just nuanced differences that occasionally reveal deeper biases.

A lot of biases would be revealed a little more quickly if some people would post links AND discuss why they think they are good evidence instead of aiming for the drive by (that's for you, chopped liver. And I would note that you did have AlaMcT rushing to your rescue when I said I didn't think much of libertarians. Such calummy! Oh, the ad hominem!)

But back to Marty, the link you posted to start all this off was from The Hill. I'm not going to shoot the messenger, as the Hill is already playing Russian Roulette with a full chamber, but I will point out that besides the Tom Cotton point (which you seem to disavow, with a sort of mission impossible vibe), here are the others

But it is safe to say it's no longer a fringe conspiracy theory. The timing is interesting as well, because, as we've seen time and time and time again, what were conspiracy theories during the 2020 presidential campaign when Trump was on the big stage are seen quite differently in 2021, with Joe Biden safely across the finish line and in the Oval Office.

OK! What have you got?

2020: Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian disinformation, many media outlets told us.

2021: Well, it turns out Hunter is under FBI investigation. Oh, and the laptop looks like it does belong to him after all.

OK, the Rudy story. I guess one press conference in front of Four Seasons Total Landscaping is not enough.

2020: Russia paid the Taliban bounties to take out U.S. troops and Trump gave Putin a pass.

2021: Well, it turns out the intelligence sourcing on that was bad and it's likely no such bounties existed.

So, the media just did this to make Trump's life miserable? Well...

In fact, this whole incident feels like a classic example of a Soviet style misinformation campaign. It has just enough truth in it to be credible but packaged, i.e., spun, in such a way as to cause maximum disruption in the U.S.

Disclosing that Russia is aiding the Taliban is old news that has been ignored for several years. Repackaging that news as "Russia is paying bounties to Taliban militants to kill American servicemen." given how politicized U.S. foreign and defense policy has become, is like a grenade, or in this case a Molotov Cocktail, thrown into the fabric of American politics. The consequences are predictable.

[...]

Even if the Taliban has elected not to take such bounties, that doesn't mean that the Kremlin cannot find other elements, both criminal and other, in Afghanistan to whom it can offer support or even bounties in order to torpedo the U.S.-Taliban agreement. As usual the shadow war between Washington and Moscow is always more nuanced and complex than what meets the eye. What's unfortunate is how readily the U.S. media allows itself to be manipulated by the Kremlin.
https://www.military.com/daily-news/opinions/2020/07/01/russia-paying-taliban-bounty-kill-us-troops-alternative-explanation.html

OK, what about this WaPo stuff? That is ACTUAL HEADLINES FROM STORIES. That _has to_ show the bias.

2020: "Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain," - Washington Post.

2021: "Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty in defining move of presidency," - Washington Post

note the framing, no links, but quotes, so if you aren't in love with Hunter Biden sliming or Russian дезинформация, there is nothing to nail down, so you can dump that. Just like you did with Tom Cotton.

But the last one is two headlines from the WaPo. The first one continues
President Trump on Friday signed a massive $2 trillion emergency spending bill into law, promising to deliver a tidal wave of cash to individual Americans, businesses and health care facilities all reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-house-vote/


while the second one is from an article with the headline
Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty and favoring individuals over businesses
and goes on to say
The roughly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which only Democrats supported, spends most of the money on low-income and middle-class Americans and state and local governments, with very little funding going toward companies. (bold mine)

So two unsourced assertions and a forced reading for the third. 1/4th of Trump's bill went to corporations
https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-anatomy-of-the-2-trillion-covid-19-stimulus-bill/

On the other hand, the American Rescue Act appears to not give corporations any money
https://www.statista.com/chart/24395/composition-of-the-american-rescue-plan-act/

This might account for the different in language, but since the author is just trying to help you with your confirmation bias, he's certainly not going to point any of that out. One stimulus bill is just like another one, why are they being so mean to our man I love him so, Donald J. Trump?

When you talk about confirmation bias, you really need to look in the mirror...

I think I used our somewhere here. No russell we all bring them.

Bias is not a good or bad thing. It's just a thing.

I teach my students STAR - Sufficient, Typical, Accurate, Relevant - as a way to think about framing an argument. If you have done your best to consider (and test) whether the evidence you are giving meets these standards, then it is okay to allow yourself sine bias on the side you think is stronger. But if that is the case, then the A carries a lot of weight and you have to be scrupulous in your presentation of the other side, and limit your throwing of shade to editorializing about the information presented.

"sine" = "some"

This article suggests that the Dems are thinking about more nuanced strategies to counter GOP attacks in the wake of Melanie Stansbury's impressive win in New Mexico. Here's hoping.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/04/melanie-stansbury-crime-police-reform-gop/

And on a completely different topic, today I got my Friday e-mail flyer from Sparkfun, a DIY electronics place. The lead device, price $500, is a GPS receiver that will, with a good antenna, tell you where you are ±2 cm. Or more correctly, where the antenna is. All three axes. So russell in MA, wj in CA, and me in CO, could read off the numbers and tell how far apart each of us was from the others to an accuracy on the order of two inches.

This strikes me as being excessively picky.

This strikes me as being excessively picky.

Not for things like farming. They include land-based antennas to increase accuracy even more.

This strikes me as being excessively picky.

As Charles notes, it all depends on what you're doing. Just like I can use a micrometer to get the thickness of a 2x4 to a thousandth of an inch -- but why would I? Yet, for other applications, that level of accuracy is desirable. Necessary, even.

Not for things like farming. They include land-based antennas to increase accuracy even more.

Indeed. The flyer makes a point of explaining that if I put a transmitter on my house, the accuracy relative to that transmitter is about 2 mm.

That solves one of the problems with my two (conceptual to different degrees) tech retirement hobby projects. Which was, how does the robot part of the cat-chaser project return to its shelter with sufficient precision to enable wireless recharging. ±2 mm is easily within what is required.

In the cases where farmers use a shared ground-based transmitter and it breaks down, tractors for miles around come to a halt.

The first million-dollar winner in the Colorado vaccination lottery was announced. In our lottery, anyone who has had at least one shot at any time is eligible. Yesterday's winner got her first shot back in March and her second shot in April. I make it roughly an even-money bet that all five winners will have gotten their qualifying shot before the lottery was announced, so were not incented by it at all.

The hoped-for spike in vaccinations after the lottery announcement has not happened.

Colbert King shares some of his reader's emails, proving once again that the GOP is chock-full of racists.

"I can use a micrometer to get the thickness of a 2x4 to a thousandth of an inch -- but why would I?"

Measure with a micrometer, cut with an ax, pound to fit, paint to hide.

That's my mantra and I'm sticking to it.

I make it roughly an even-money bet that all five winners will have gotten their qualifying shot before the lottery was announced, so were not incented by it at all.

As long as those who needed an incentive got one, it's working as designed. And if the winners are those who got their shots earlier, well that's just virtue rewarded.

A Federal judge overturns California's ban on assault weapons:

“Like the Swiss Army Knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment,” Benitez said in the ruling.
The mind boggles.

homeland defense equipment

Red Dawn!

any country that wants to attack the US isn't going to do it with anything that cares about an AR15.

Swiss Army knives are more identifiable than assault weapons. Besides, the Romans had the first army knives.

And what's sold to-day as Swiss Army Knives has for the most part little to do with actual military equipment.
A pioneer bayonet would fit that bill much better.
I assume that neither the home nor the homeland is defended by bayonet charges very often these days (and practuícyll never by wielding Swiss Army Knives be they real or just marketed as such).

The semantic battle over what constitutes an "assault weapon" is absurd. US firearms law is absurd. There are several other civilized countries in the world that afford plenty of rights to hunters and firearms enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby while also putting sensible limits on community carry and discouraging the suicidal bunker pathology of the NRA. WE should be looking at those countries and trying to follow their approaches in fleshing out what "well regulated" means.

American exceptionalism is literally killing us.

Why should "assault weapons" be banned but not sniper rifles?

Also, we have reached a point where we will not ever get sensible regulation of firearms without also getting deep changes to law enforcement. The gun fetishism and power kink associated with them are woven deep into our Law Enforcement community. It's going to take decades of weeding to get anywhere even assuming we can make any headway.

I expect widespread civil unrest and low intensity violence before any of that, and I think the US (or whatever else emerges from that) will be much reduced in power and influence before any of this gets settled.

Why should "assault weapons" be banned but not sniper rifles?

for the same reason the average M16-carrying foot soldier doesn't carry a sniper rifle.

homeland defense equipment

Two words: national guard. They’ll even supply the rifle.


In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often, and murdered by bare hands, fists, or feet occurs three times more often than by any kind of rifle.

In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often, and murdered by bare hands, fists, or feet occurs three times more often than by any kind of rifle.

But when you look at mass murders, they almost entirely involve firearms.

In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often, and murdered by bare hands, fists, or feet occurs three times more often than by any kind of rifle.

That's an interesting qualifier. Only about ~20% of gun homicides are by rifle. Pistols are by far the most popular, with shotguns in third. Even in mass shootings, pistols are often the more effective weapon.

So obviously you're making the point that singling out "assault weapons" for a ban is somewhat arbitrary. And I agree!

Why choose? We should ban *all* of them!

Or, if that's too much for you, let's institute some of the things nous referenced. The probably 1,000 or more sensible measures that would make things safer and saner, while still allowing legitimate recreational use: Prohibit most kinds of carrying in public. Require that weapons be kept locked at gun clubs at most times. Track sales of ammunition (and reloading supplies) and restrict the type and quantity of ammunition that can be kept at any one time. Mandatory liability insurance. Require regular recertification and maybe even periodic psychological exams or anger management training of some sort. Automate background checks, including for private sales. Automatically confiscate weapons from domestic violence suspects, etc. Limit the quantities of guns that can be purchased by private individuals -- at least without a collector or dealer license, which should both be difficult to obtain and have real teeth for any violations. (While we're at it: reform the ATF, and actually enforce the existing regulations.)

That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure smarter people than I have thought of more and better ones.

Good luck, wj, getting evenhanded consideration rather than defensive counterargument from any of the 2A Defender types. They don't actually ever listen or accept that any of America's public health problems involving firearms have anything to do with firearms. They are protecting a religious tenet.

The Second Amendment has never been in any more danger than has Christianity or White People.

Why choose? We should ban *all* of them!

Not as long as there's the 2ndA and the current court rulings on it. Even if the 2ndA were repealed, a ban couldn't be enforced without bloody conflict and a China-like police state.

nous, the fact that the argument won't persuade doesn't mean that it isn't worth making. If nothing else, it makes defense and recruiting by the @A cultists just a little harder if their arguments have actually been countered. And on this topic, every little reduction in the cultists' numbers is worth having.

But I admit, having the NRA continue its self-inflicted implosion is the best news we've had in ages. Sure, a new organization could arise to do the same lobbying. But it would take time for it to build up the same political clout. Time that could get the laws changed.

In California, murder by knife occurs seven times more often, and murdered by bare hands, fists, or feet occurs three times more often than by any kind of rifle.

hooray. this fucking zombie argument again.

a) no, it's not even close to true (you've got the order and rate compeltely reversed) and b) are knives designed, intended, engineered to be as lethal as possible ? is killing a knife's only actual purpose ? does anyone practice their knife skills by stabbing paper silhouettes of people ? did Jared Diamond ever write a book called "Knives, Germs and Steel" ?

oh, "rifle" ?

lol.

so fucking dumb.

a ban couldn't be enforced without bloody conflict and a China-like police state

the millions of full-auto weapons in the US agree with this wishful thinking.

FYI, all that crazy runaway Biden-caused inflation?

it's about car prices, which is really all about COVID.

So, are the used vehicle dealers price gouging?

All those New Yorkers moving to Texas have to buy a car and learn to drive.

So, are the used vehicle dealers price gouging?

Nope, classic supply and demand. Limited new cars, because of limited supply of the chips now used in cars. So more demand for used cars. But, unsurprisingly, no increased supply of used cars.

The estimates I see are that it may be 2023 before the car chip supply catches up with demand for new cars. I'm sitting here telling myself that I should have bought the new car I need last summer, when prices were low. Sigh.

i sold my car last June because i wasn't using it (WFH) - Audi A4, 2014, 72K miles. i got $8000 at Carmax. same car, same year, same mileage is now selling for $18000 at Carmax.

there are people in the comments on that ArsTech story saying cars they bought a year ago now have a trade-in higher than what it cost new.


new car prices are up too, for other reasons.

REntal cars is mentioned in the article, but only as a side note and a different article talked about some impacts. I don't think this is the original article, but it covers it

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/how-the-covid-pandemic-led-to-a-rental-car-crisis-just-as-americans-are-ready-to-bust-loose/

So it's not just the chips. Funny how these things always have multiple angles...

Even if the 2ndA were repealed, a ban couldn't be enforced without bloody conflict and a China-like police state.

That sentence is at least debatable from several directions. If the 2A were repealed, it means that two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate approved it and then either (a) 38 state legislatures plus governors approved it or (b) voting majorities in 38 states approved it. That's an enormous change in public opinion from where we are today. Enough so that it is possible neither one of us would recognize that America. And while repeal makes it possible, immediate confiscation seems unlikely. Do you really think there would be a minority of any size that would say, "I'll kill people rather than register my guns. I'll kill rather than show my ID and sign for ammunition."?

Why should "assault weapons" be banned but not sniper rifles?

The civilian equivalent of an assault rifle can be cheap (and cheap ammunition is available) and has lousy accuracy. But recall that in most military action, something over 90% of rounds expended are not really aimed, they are intended to make the other guy keep his head down so he can't aim. Most of the rifles handed out to the troops have a three-shot burst limit to keep their trained operators from simply spraying a whole magazine. Although to be honest, in most mass shooting situations, a good handgun in the appropriate caliber is probably a lot more effective.

The civilian equivalent of a sniper rifle is a pricey bolt-action single-shot hunting rifle intended to take antelope or bighorn sheep at 250 yards after a day's stalk. Or the even more expensive match-grade single-shot bolt-action rifles intended for competition out as far as 700 yards. Relatively speaking, damned few of them are sold. Even for practice ammunition, price is well down the list of considerations.

a ban couldn't be enforced without bloody conflict and a China-like police state.

This has me wondering if Japan, Australia, Canada, NZ, the UK have China-like police states or if something else might be a factor...

This has me wondering if Japan, Australia, Canada, NZ, the UK have China-like police states or if something else might be a factor...

I don't buy the premise that eliminating assault rifles in private hands would require massive conflict and a police state. Although there would likely be pockets where it comes to a serious police action. (Likely outsourced to the military.)

That said, there's an obvious reason those countries are different: they never had a time when such guns were widely available. It's lots easier to avoid spreading them than to rein them in after they are already spread.

I said enforced. I don't know much about the other countries, but, in Australia, people are still holding quite a few illegal guns. There's a big difference between banning guns and enforcing the ban by going door to door and forcibly taking the guns.

"in Australia, people are still holding quite a few illegal guns. There's a big difference between banning guns and enforcing the ban"

If the 2ndA diehards in the USA buried their assault rifles in their gardens, and left them there until the North Koreans invade, that would be okay too.

Might make for some interesting times in a couple of generations (like buried WWI ordinance), but whatever.

It doesn't matter if Australians are holding illegal guns if they are also keeping those guns hidden away for fear of confiscation.

If such a ban were to be put in place here, I wouldn't even care if the owner of the weapon were not charged with a felony for possession. What matters is that the firearm is confiscated and taken out of circulation.

As for the whole sniper rifle vs. box fed, semi-auto rifle built for sustained fire comparison, hunting rifles (which is what any sniper rifle in a reasonable caliber really is) are judged by how *efficiently* they kill - they are meant to be fired once with purpose and with a lot of forethought; anti-personnel rifles are judged by how *easily* they kill (or incapacitate) and the high and sustained rate of fire that they are designed for shows that they are meant for putting many bullets into an area in a short time frame to make up for any deficiency of skill or forethought.

Second Amendment types conflate these deep differences in philosophy and purpose to confuse the line between the paramilitary rifle and grampa's Browning hunting rifle, but it's all smoke and mirrors.

It's not about the stopping power of a single round or the efficiency with which that round can kill. It's about the ability to sustain mayhem.

I said enforced.

The countries I mentioned enforce the ban. I'm sure those Aussies realize that if they were to open brag about having an assault rifle, they might have some problems. Why does that not count as 'enforcement'?

I don't know much about the other countries

noted

The countries I mentioned enforce the ban.

The countries you listed have restrictions on private possession rather than outright bans.

               Civilian Possession
                 Per 100 People
United States        120.5
Canada                34.7
New Zealand           26.3
Australia             14.5
United Kingdom         4.6
Japan                  0.3

Gun Ownership By Country 2021

While jack lecou did say
Why choose? We should ban *all* of them!

I took the asterisks as an indication of hyperbole. However, I apparently live in a 'China-like police state'. Good to know.

Do you really think there would be a minority of any size that would say, "I'll kill people rather than register my guns. I'll kill rather than show my ID and sign for ammunition."?

Unfortunately, to me this may be meant as a rhetorical question but I am not at all sure that the answer in reality would really be 'No!' (and I do not mean the answer of CharlesWT). I fear, there are enough nutcases that would kill for less and, should the situation arise, there will be more than enough 'molon labe' type propaganda to rile up as many of those as possible. The NRA, as despicable as it has become under Wayne LaPierre, is not the most extreme by far. One has just to look at Gun Owners of America and their boss Pratt. Unlike Wayne 'can't even properly shoot a tame elephant at spitting distance' who is just a crook without a conscience, the likes of Pratt look like true believers of significant nuttity.

Jack Lecou has enjoyed himself scoffing at various implausible theories of a lab origin. But if he wants to convince me, he needs to address the better theories.

We know that the WIV was working on a project, funded via Peter Daszak's group, to "Understand the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence". Part of the project was "virus infection experiments across a range of cell cultures from different species and humanized mice". A natural thing to do to "test predictions of CoV inter-species transmission" would be to conduct serial-passage experiments with various bat coronaviruses and host cell cultures, to see what could be produced.

So I speculate that during such experiments one of the bat coronaviruses evolved into a particularly well-adapted virus, perhaps first in an intermediate host, then in human or humanized cells. This paper discusses the possibility.

And then there was a leak infecting one or more lab workers. Since the project included "serological and molecular screening of people working in wet markets" it is easy to see how the virus could have spread to the Huanan wet market (which outbreak was early but apparently not quite the earliest).

Once the coronavirus was identified, a suitably high-ranking official will have visited Dr Shi, to ask respectfully whether the lab might have been the source of the outbreak. She will have replied, respectfully and not dishonestly, that she could not be sure. The official will have advised her to conduct a careful investigation, and that he was confident that it would show that the lab was not responsible, which fact she would communicate to the world. He will have further advised her to destroy or conceal beyond discovery any records and materials which might be used by malicious actors to impute responsibility for the outbreak to the lab.

Meanwhile, Peter Daszak, whose career would be very badly damaged if it were discovered that he was responsible for a project which caused the pandemic, organised and signed, without declaring his interest, a letter stating with much more confidence that was justified, that studies "overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife".

In general, conspiracy theories should be distrusted because too many people with too little motivation would have to be keeping a secret. In this case, the secret would be known only to a few strongly motivated people in the lab, while many powerful people who do not know the secret are strongly motivated to offer alternative explanations. Add to that the politics, where fingers were pointed at the WIV by disgusting, ignorant liars like Trump, causing good, knowledgeable people to want there to be no truth whatever in his allegations. This is what you need for a successful cover-up.

This is the factcheck.org discussion of what Pro Bono is talking about.

https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/the-wuhan-lab-and-the-gain-of-function-disagreement/

I guess we are lucky to be living in interesting times...

The countries you listed have restrictions on private possession rather than outright bans.

if we were talking about restrictions, you'd be be telling us restrictions impossible.

strange how the Gun Fondeler ratchet only ever works to increase the amount of guns, all while they tell us how guns are the key to safety and security.

gun crime increases? more guns. black guy gets elected? more guns. someone looks to restrict guns? more guns. Wayne LaPierre needs a new desk chair? more guns. more gun in the hands of black people? more guns for white people. more guns for white people? yes! more guns!

children get killed? more guns! brown guy shoots up an office? more guns! white guy massacres a concert? more guns! gay get slaughtered? more guns! soldiers get slaughtered? more guns! lead flies like starlings in office after office, school after school, playgrounds, malls, streets, hotels, homes, hospitals. more guns!

we already have more guns than any other country and it hasn't done anything to keep us safe? more guns!

fuck you and fuck your guns.

I may be wrong, but I don't believe Charles has any guns (I don't remember him saying anything to that effect, though again, I may be wrong) I think he just argues from the standpoint that any increase in regulation will bring on a "China-like police state" I feel that if you watch youtubers who talk about 'how I conquered Southern China', that may come with the territory.

I don't own or have any guns. I've never felt the need. I've shot military and civilian guns. Don't like the noise.

I may be wrong, but I don't believe Charles has any guns

[should-have-been] obviously, except the directly reply to what i quoted, that wasn't aimed at Charles personally.

cleek's analysis of what events cause there to be more guns in the US seems spot on to me.

Plus:

lead flies like starlings in office after office, school after school, playgrounds, malls, streets, hotels, homes, hospitals. is a marvellous, poetic image about a horrible, deadly phenomenon.

Lab Leak Hypothesis

My go-to biologist offers this.

It's the public policy, stupid.

I see some guy named Trump made page A22 in the Times today.

there are millions of AR-15's in private hands in the US. it's a popular rifle because all of the things that make it an effective military weapon also make it useful for civilian purposes. it's lightweight, reliable, accurate, has very low recoil. it's also kind of a tinker-toy, it's easy to take apart and reconfigure with any of a gazillion after-market parts to suit whatever purpose you want to use it for.

it's also pretty hard to say where the line between 'assault rifle' and 'not assault rifle' lies.

all of which is to say, it will be freaking difficult to make owning that rifle illegal.

it's popularity is also due in no small part to its bad-ass vibe. which is weird a little disturbing, but not out of character, at least for Americans.

in my very humble opinion, FWIW, the focus on specific models of firearm is not going to solve the issue of gun violence.

you shouldn't be able to get a firearm unless you have had some training in its use. using a firearm in an unsafe way should mean you no longer get to own a firearm. a history of violent behavior or mental illness should mean you do not get to own a firearm. if you own a firearm and your local cops decide you're a risk to your family or neighbors, they should be able to take your firearms away.

owning firearms for personal use should be seen as a privilege which must be earned, and which can be revoked if it is abused or if you behave in ways that make your owning a firearm a bad risk for the people around you.

owning firearms for personal use should be seen as a privilege which must be earned, and which can be revoked if it is abused or if you behave in ways that make your owning a firearm a bad risk for the people around you.

The challenge is squaring this with the 2nd Amendment. Now if we had a sane Supreme Court, it would focus on the "well-regulated militia" part of the Amendment. That leaves plenty of room for regulation. Unfortunately, thanks to McConnell, we are unlikely to be able to get there for at least a generation.

qualifiying clauses are unoriginalist.

I would be fascinated to know how you expect them to rationalize that conclusion. Not that I dispute your prediction that they will. Or something similarly vacuous.

At least those in the text. The unspoken ones read right from the minds of the writers are the bread and butter of that particular circus (as are mixed metaphors).
True originalists (like schoolteachers dealing with literature) know far better than the original authors what the latter meant (and more inmportant what they did not mean).

The challenge is squaring this with the 2nd Amendment.

We have a highly politicized SCOTUS, so the post-Heller reading of the 2nd A is probably going to stand for the foreseeable future. A generation or more.

So I don’t see any of what I’ve suggested happening.

But in a perfect world, I guess what I’d suggest is to have public policy around guns be focused on the outcome we want.

The kinds of mass killings that people are most horrified by are invariably carried out by people who are disturbed, emotionally and/or mentally. IMO the most effective way of preventing things like that is going to be preventing those people from getting their hands on guns. It will, IMO, be easier to get public buy-in on something like that by identifying and treating those individuals as a particular case, rather than by preventing everyone from having access to firearms of a particular hard-to-define class.

The most common cause of death by firearm is suicide - something like 60% of firearm deaths are suicides. If we want to reduce that number, we will IMO make more progress by making mental health resources available and by removing the stigma around using them. Most suicides by firearm involve handguns. Bans on assault weapons aren’t going to prevent that.

So if what we want is simply to reduce the number of people killed by firearms in any given year, banning assault rifles is probably not going to make that big of a dent. From a basic public health point of view, the focus on assault rifles is not that useful.

There is another dimension to all of this, where the availability of firearms like AR-15s is probably more relevant. That is the emergence of unaccountable free-lance militias over the last 30 years, and the increasingly common belief that political violence is an acceptable recourse if you simply don’t get your way, politically.

The dudes - overwhelmingly dudes, and overwhelmingly white - who show up in political contexts open-carrying and talking about 2A solutions seem to always show up with an AR-15 slung over their shoulder. In that context it is an intimidating firearm, is meant to be one, and in fact does offer tactical advantages that would be useful if these guys ever got their wish and their posing turned into an actual firefight.

If you were a cop, you’d probably rather face an adversary with a handgun or a shotgun or a plain old hunting rifle, than one with an AR-15 or similar.

From a point of view of not having self-appointed vigilantes running around with firearms that would let them go toe-to-toe with cops, the National Guard, or for that matter your average military rifleman, I’d see value in banning things like the AR-15.

But I might see greater advantage in banning self-appointed and self-organized militias. If you want to play army, go join the actual Army, and submit to military discipline under the direction of public authorities.

You know, like what the 2nd A talks about.

TBH I don’t see any progress on gun policy in the cards. Too many people have bought into the whole “I need a gun to defend my freedoms” thing, and too many political careers and money are invested in stoking all of that.

Americans like guns, and we are an unusually violent society, prone to shooting ourselves and each other. All of our public policy (or lack thereof) around firearms is a reflection of that.

We won’t change the public policy until we change people’s thinking about guns. I don’t know how to do that.

I’d be happy to have a mandatory background check and waiting period with no exceptions, and a 10 or 12 round cap on magazine sizes. Getting even that far at the national level would be huge.

And I’d like all of the gun-humping nut jobs to keep their advocacy the hell out of my state. If you want to open carry your AR-15 to the grocery store for whatever bizarre reason, move somewhere where folks think that’s a good idea and stay the hell away from me and mine.

Live free or die somewhere else.

everything Russell writes is true, as usual.

nonetheless, "fuck you and fuck your guns" is going to be my approach.

people who are disturbed, emotionally and/or mentally

Which, IMHO, includes virtually all of the members of the self-styled "militias" -- else they wouldn't behave as they do. And therein lies the rub.

everything Russell writes is true, as usual.

Yup.

nonetheless, "fuck you and fuck your guns" is going to be my approach.

Very understandable.

Sigh.

I suspect that a lot of the militia members you see in public and on TV are engaging in a form of cosplay. It's the ones you never see you have to worry about...

A more valuable political weapon is the more traditional military and civilian rifles. At least in the movies, drama series, and sometimes in real life. Nothing makes an impression like reaching out and touching someone...

The complete abolition of guns would be an expansion of the horizon of freedom.

or what cleek said.

"The following is a list of assassinations by firearm detailing the firearms used in the killings of politicians and key social and cultural figures. "
List of assassinations by firearm

The complete abolition of guns would be an expansion of the horizon of freedom.

Perhaps. After all, civilian firearm possession is completely banned in North Korea and Eritrea...

Perhaps. After all, civilian firearm possession is completely banned in North Korea and Eritrea...

Japan and UK are both consistently ranked as free as the US. their guns laws are much stricter. explain this situation.

how does having a gun make anyone in the US more free? *

i don't have a gun. am i less free than the yahoo down the road who shoots all day long?

literally what would owning a gun do for me to ensure my freedom? and by what percentage is that freedom diminished because i can only have a gun that shoots as fast as my finger can squeeze instead having a full-auto 600rpm Uzi? and how much less is it because i can't have an RPG launcher? or a Stinger.

show me in the Constitution where it says i can't have an RPG. show me where it limits me to semi-automatic weapons, which didn't exist in 1790.

* aside from the tautological "you're free to own a gun!"

You're a free rider... :)

give some cops guns, sure. give soldiers guns, sure. everybody else: no gun. and nobody's freedom changes by one milliRand.

You're a free rider... :)

Makes the dubious (at best) assumption that all those yahoos with dozens of guns enhance anybody else's freedom.

By the way, and as a change of theme (for me at least), last night I watched the documentary about The Band, Once Were Brothers. It was such a mixed experience for me, because I loved them and their music so much, and I loved The Last Waltz, but it was so sad the way it all ended, and I hadn't known the details before.

Booze and drugs, Jesus what havoc they have wrought between them.(Talk about stating the bleedin' obvious, as the English say.)

We had, long time ago, a guy here who thought that portable nukes were covered by the 2nd Amendment.
Srictly, that is discrimination based on muscle power: only if you can lift it, you are allowed to carry it. I thought firearms were meant as equalizers on that front.

You're a free rider... :)

Makes the dubious (at best) assumption that all those yahoos with dozens of guns enhance anybody else's freedom.

In the list linked below, the US is rated 14th in burglaries behind a number of countries that have much lower civilian gun possession rates. No doubt there is any number of social factors at play. But the level of uncertainty in knowing which homes do and don't have guns likely plays a role in the burglary rates.

"Number of burglaries recorded by police in that country per 100,000 population."
Burglaries: Countries Compared

And above a number of countries which have much lower civilian gun possession rates.

To me, freedom from being shot is vastly more important than freedom to shoot. I think it unreasonable for people who think otherwise to inflict their preference on the rest of us.

I'd rather a somewhat higher chance of an unarmed burglar entering my home in exchange for a lower chance of an armed burglar doing so. I have a dog, I'm probably a guy most people don't want to have to fight, and there's a small aluminum bat under my bed. I have no interest in a gun fight happening in my house, regardless of whether I have a gun.

Neatly put, Pro Bono.

I think it unreasonable for people who think otherwise to inflict their preference on the rest of us.

So, you want to inflict self-defencelessness on everyone else.

I suspect that a lot of the militia members you see in public and on TV are engaging in a form of cosplay.

it ain't a costume if the gun shoots real bullets.

if you show up with real firearms talking about how you're going to shoot people if you don't get your way, it's no longer self-defense. it's an attempt at coercion through the threat of force.

I don't really have a problem with people who own guns for sport, for actual self-defense or home defense, or even if they just think guns are interesting gizmos. it's not my thing, but I'm also fine with it as long as the people who own firearms know how to use them, use them safely, and don't threaten other people with them. and by "know how to use them" I mean have had some instruction in how to safely use them, handle them, clean them, and store them. "I grew up around guns" is not evidence that you have a clue.

I think it is bat-sh*t insane that in many jurisdictions people are allowed to own firearms and carry them around with no qualification beyond having a pulse. some people - no small number of people, actually - are irresponsible knotheads. those people should not have the privilege of owning or handling firearms. some people are mentally or emotionally unbalanced to the point of not being able to make responsible choices about their own safety or the safety of others. those people should not have the privilege of owning or handling firearms.

a disturbing number of people own firearms out of some fantastic notion that the government is out to oppress them and if they didn't have a freaking arsenal this country would immediately turn into some version of soviet Russia or Pol Pot's Cambodia. they feel entitled to threaten their neighbors and civil authorities on a regular basis with freaking mayhem, and on occasion go beyond mere threats. they think they are patriots, but in fact they are paranoid bullies. they should not only not have the privilege of owning or handling firearms, they should be some kind of medication.

it should be straight-up illegal for people to organize themselves into military or military-esque units outside the control of civil authority. we've allowed it for a couple of decades now, and if it continues it's going to make any kind of coherent public or civic life impossible.

we should not tolerate people who use firearms or any similar means to bully and threaten others. period. it's unacceptable.

So, you want to inflict self-defencelessness on everyone else.

self-defense against whom? people with guns?

But the level of uncertainty in knowing which homes do and don't have guns likely plays a role in the burglary rates.

I ran a symbolic regression on gun possession rate versus burglary rate for 86 countries. There's no discernible correlation.

... or Pol Pot's Cambodia.

Whatever else you say about Pol Pot, he did greatly reduce the need in Cambodia for eyeglasses...

self-defense against whom? people with guns?

Yes. Criminals will always have guns if they want them. My impression is that all the regulars here have the luxury of not living in high-crime neighborhoods. I live in one of the safer areas of one of the safest cities in the country.

Canada, Finland, Sweden. Plenty of guns. Plenty of gun ownership. Their regulations make far more sense than ours. Strangely, their burglary rates are not out of control.

Somehow, I've gotten through 50+ years without needing a gun to defend myself, even in the gun-crazed US of A. I'm rather confident that the same goes for the overwhelming majority of people. Take a f*cking karate class or something if you're that worried about self-defense.

Criminals will always have guns if they want them.

What does "always" mean here? Will the same number of criminals be able to get their hands on guns, or will some number of criminals have guns at any given point? What if that number is a lot closer to 3 than to thousands upon thousands? It's an absolutist formulation that simply ignores the experiences of other nations and what the practical goals of gun policy should be.

So, you want to inflict self-defencelessness on everyone else.

You may be self-defenseless against someone with a gun if you do not have one. But if they don't have a gun either? Seems quit possible to defend oneself in that circumstance. Hardly defenseless.

Seems quit possible to defend oneself in that circumstance. Hardly defenseless.

More than a few women would disagree. Handguns were called the great equalizers for a reason.

Somehow, I've gotten through 50+ years without needing a gun to defend myself, even in the gun-crazed US of A. I'm rather confident that the same goes for the overwhelming majority of people.

Almost 70 for me. To be fair, 14 year-old me once stalked an idiot deer hunter who had shot at me. It was worth the effort to say, from a dozen feet behind him, "Shoot at me again and you won't get out of these woods," and watch him leap an amazing distance straight up because he had no idea I was there.

Criminals will always have guns if they want them.

If we had a quantitively fairer and more just society, we would have far fewer criminals.

It's a trees and forest thing.

were called

that simple conflation of past times and the current situation, of military grade weapons and a handgun, is telling.

Digging deeper, the ease with which you go to 'China-like police state' indicates that a certain laziness in thought and a certain amount of creative argumentation. How about a 'Swiss-like police state'? Or a 'Japan-like police state'? You want to say that freedoms will be lost, but fail to explain how practically every other country on the globe deals with it except to postulate massive storehouses of hidden weapons in the outback.

Of course, you are just arguing, it's all fun and games. whatevs.

So I speculate that during such experiments one of the bat coronaviruses evolved into a particularly well-adapted virus, perhaps first in an intermediate host, then in human or humanized cells. This paper discusses the possibility.

It remains to be seen whether any hypothetical lab process would indeed result in a virus that looks exactly like it does. TBD. But I think I've said all along that it might be possible. And that just gets us back where we started. Possible.

The biggest question with this scenario is still why? From the outside it's easy to shrug and say "mad science", and people like DRASTIC or whoever have dug up various other papers out of WIV that have scary looking words in them, but in actual fact none of these resemble the necessary scenario in any way. From a research perspective, this other hypothetical scenario -- the start point, the end point, the methodology -- still just doesn't make a lick of sense.

If they were doing something like that, where are the preliminary papers talking about the idea? About early results? The emails to colleagues in Galveston? Etc. Requires at the very least an international conspiracy, and a tight lid on any whistle blowers on the US side. Whole 'nother rabbit hole, and still absolutely no actual evidence for it.

If we had a quantitively fairer and more just society, we would have far fewer criminals.

In that regard, the quickest way to greatly reduce gun violence and deaths is to end the war on drugs and repeal other victimless crime laws that bring people into conflict with each other and the police.

the quickest way to greatly reduce gun violence and deaths is to end the war on drugs and repeal other victimless crime laws

Well, that would certainly reduce the funds available to criminals to buy guns. But whether that would reduce crimes, other than those specifically decriminalized, is debatable. Which, given the low price of guns, wouldn't help all that much with gun violence.

But it would free up resources that police could spend on other crimes. As it is, police tend to focus on crimes that will bring them the most profit: civil asset forfeiture. And glory: Being on TV and in the papers standing next to piles of drugs and cash. Or releasing mug shots of purported sex traffickers.

What I would like to see is a scatter chart that has firearms per capita on one axis and firearm deaths per capita on the other axis to get an idea of which countries do the best job of regulating their firearms.

Just eyeballing the data, the US would be a conspicuous outlier. We have four or more times as many firearms per capita as any other reasonably stable country (1.2 firearms per person, where Canada/NW Europe have somewhere around 1 firearm for every three people). Meanwhile our firearm deaths per capita are 12.2 per 100k compared to fewer than 3 per 100k in Canada/NW Europe. And homicides are an even greater disparity with 4.4/100k in the US compared to fewer than 1/100k in Canada/NW Europe.

And our gun suicides are higher as well.

Homicide wise, we are closer to Paraguay, Venezuela, and Mexico than we are to Europe, but those three countries do it with fewer guns per capita than we do. We look more like a country on the verge of civil breakdown than we do a reasonably stable democracy, and all those extra guns do not seem to be preventing many deaths.

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