You can take our gun columnists, but you’ll never take our freedom!

Here’s an interesting little situation that’s come up recently. Apparently, a gun columnist by the name of Dick Metcalf questioned the wisdom of gun rights advocates demanding there be absolutely no limits to the “Right to Bear Arms” by arguing that a sixteen hour course for a concealed carry permit was reasonable. As a result, he was fired from his column with Guns And Ammo, and now his career of 40 years has evaporated.

Just days after the column appeared, Mr. Metcalf said, his editor called to tell him that two major gun manufacturers had said “in no uncertain terms” that they could no longer do business with InterMedia Outdoors, the company that publishes Guns & Ammo and co-produces his TV show, if he continued to work there. He was let go immediately.

“I’ve been vanished, disappeared,” Mr. Metcalf, 67, said in an interview last month on his gun range here, about 100 miles north of St. Louis, surrounded by snow-blanketed fields and towering grain elevators. “Now you see him. Now you don’t.”

This is almost identical to what happened with that Duck Dynasty jackass being suspended by A&E for saying stupid homophobic bullshit, only that story had a “happy” ending — right-wingers successfully rallied to demand that A&E reinstate Duck Dynasty because HOW DARE THEY TAKE AWAY HIS FREEDOM OF SPEECH by… exercising their own freedom to choose what gets aired on their network. And A&E caved, mistaking the conservative outcry for something actually approaching a morally justifiable standpoint.

I anxiously await the protest by Sarah Palin, Brian Brown, and the whole host of conservative loonies to demand that Metcalf’s column be reinstated. I further await the people running interference on the Duck Dynasty issue as being a matter of freedom of speech to say something, anything, about this guy’s column about guns.

How many more rounds?

This is a powerful short ad by Moms Demand Action. It asks a question I’ve asked a number of times already, but the only answers I’ve ever gotten involve so much fetishizing of guns and so much misinterpretation of the Second Amendment that if there was a legitimate argument in amongst the dross, I certainly missed it.

I’m going to rip off John Oliver a little bit here, by mentioning the fact that every time there’s a failed terrorism attempt of any sort, the security theatre ratchets up. Someone tries to smuggle in a shoe bomb, we all have to take off our shoes. Someone figures out that you can take a couple of liquids into a plane and mix them there to make a bomb, then you’re not allowed to take any liquids through security. All it takes is one person failing at doing damage to a plane, and you’re willing to forego any and all vestige of personal liberty for some false sense of security.

But one shooting after another — 3300+ since Newtown, in fact — and the media squashes any discussion of guns, blustering and projecting in whatever ways they can, misdirecting people’s rage onto video games and pharmaceuticals and anything but those things that you hold in your hand and point at a person and pull a trigger to put a hole in them at range.

Gun control, pinkification, and splash damage

A few weeks ago, before things got super-busy in my life, I was trolling about the White House petitions website and I found a petition that sorta bugged me. I left it in a tab for me to revisit as soon as I had time. As I was distracted with other things, I’d flip past the tab, get just that little bit more irritated, but still without enough time to do anything about it, and would move on with whatever I was doing that was more pressing. Now that I have a bit more breathing space between other duties, I should finally get this off my plate.

This petition asks for all civillian firearms to be mandated, by law, to be pink.

Regulation of specific types of guns may be well- intentioned, but until we confront the underlying psychological and social issues that feed the violence, these laws will have little effect. The fact is that in America, guns have become potent cultural symbols of machismo, masculinity and power.

Therefore, we propose that every civilian firearm in America be painted a shade of bright pink over no less than 90% of their exposed surface areas.

We believe this simple act will fundamentally change the dynamic of American gun culture while still passing Constitutional scrutiny. All will be free to legally buy guns-just so long as they are Fabulous.

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A culture of scapegoating and responsibility-dodging

Surprising absolutely nobody, in the wake of Sandy Hook’s shooting, the American congress is swinging into rapid and decisive action… against video games. Cenk Uygur on The Young Turks sums it up nicely:

What’s more is, the narrative against video games appears to have been set well before there was any proof that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was a gamer. It was set, in fact, when reporters misreported the shooter as a Ryan Lanza, the name of Adam’s brother. People found a Ryan Lanza’s Facebook profile, though it might still have been an entirely unrelated Ryan; they noticed that he had Liked the page for Mass Effect, and Mass Effect became the first scapegoat for the shootings.
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Yet another isolated incident of gun violence

I talk quite a bit about guns. Today’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — where a twenty year old assaulted an elementary school and killed 26 people, 20 of them kids — just leaves me dumbstruck. The only thing I can bring myself to say is, what will it take before people start treating these mass shootings as something more than isolated incidents?

This interactive map shows what I’m talking about quite well. A snapshot:

Since 1999, there have been 45 shootings in schools worldwide; 31 were in the States. Mass shootings are almost a daily occurrence in your country, and each seems to be going for a high score over the last. They are a much realer and more immediate threat than death by terrorism, or plane crashes, or bear attacks. Why are you as a nation so numb to this? Why is your immediate recourse as a nation to demand that people have readier access to guns, to demand that everyone go armed, to put more guns into the hands of more people who might for some reason feel oppressed and take it out on a school full of children?

Meanwhile, in China, children suffered a knife attack in an elementary school. 20 children were injured. Injured, not killed — which would almost certainly not be the case if the attacker had a gun. And people are talking about China having something rotten at its core. Why is nobody saying the same about America and the gun culture that would ignore such trending data?

Other posts you should read:
Kate Donovan: When you tie shootings to mental illness
Miriam Mogilevsky: If not now, when? On politicizing tragedy

Both of these posts lead me to the same conclusion: there is something larger going on here and the more we sweep it all under the rug and repeat the drumbeat platitude of “more guns”, the deeper into the delusion rabbithole we go.

And another: Greta Christina: The Newtown shootings: It is not too soon to start talking