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Dec 18 2012

It was a good week to go offline

I’ve had my head in the sand for the last week, so pardon me for arriving late to the recriminations following the violence in Newtown, Connecticut last week. Like everyone, I’m wondering why it happened, and looking for answers: unfortunately, the only people providing answers of absolute certainty are the deranged reactionaries of the far right, who are lining up at the media microphone to babble their rationales. Most seem to involve a neglectful god who is teaching us a lesson.

James Dobson: We elected the wrong presidetn and allow abortion, so: “I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.”

William J. Murray: “Without the authority of God, there are no morals, and none are taught in the public schools today. The ethics that are taught are situational, perhaps the same situational ethics that led to the logic that caused the tragic shootings in Newtown.”

Gary DeMar: “The problem is, our current culture – through the educational system – is telling young people that they are animals, in some cases, less than animals. So genetically we are no different (really) from a worm, a bug, or a dandelion.”

Mike Huckabee: “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Bryan Fischer: “I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’d be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted; I am a gentleman.’”

On the less ardently god-walloping side of the right wing, though, they’re offering secular solutions. Mad, dangerous, unworkable solutions.

Louie Gohmert: “I wish to God she [the principal] had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids”

Ann Coulter: Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws.”

Megan McArdle: “I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. “

Those are all awful and ridiculous ideas. But the very worst is this anonymous poem making the rounds of facebook. WARNING: dangerous levels of treacle and stupidity! Have a vomit bag handy!

Wait. This is so bad, I better put it below the fold, just to be safe.

twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

Keeping your gorge down? Brace yourself for the final indignity: it was illustrated.

gross

But wait. I lied. That wasn’t the worse. This is the worst, and I expect my opinion to generate loads of furious criticism in the comments.

The first minute and a half is pretty much indistinguishable from that poem above: scripture, eternal glory, not what is seen, but what is unseen, which is eternal, an eternal house in heaven, then a long middle section which has some reasonably good and noble words, and then it concludes on more god talk, more heaveny promises, god bless, blah blah blah. I’ve seen nothing but praise for that speech (well, except for the people complaining that he interrupted a football game), but I thought it was terrible. If I were an atheist parent of a murdered child, I’d consider it a slap in the face…and it was all unneccesary for it’s general message of consolation.

I was also offended at it’s platitudinous lack of rational suggestions for preventing this from happening again: it’s all prayers and change…vague, meaningless change.

How about this: this is a problem amenable to skeptical, logical analysis. We just have to recognize that the rest of the civilized world isn’t experiencing these violent outbreaks of singular violence with anything near the frequency of the United States. And when we look at these other countries, they’re more secular than ours, so let’s scratch the god issue off the list of causes. They’re also not arming everyone, so let’s kiss that one goodbye. And no, I don’t know of any that have classes in grade school to train kids to launch themselves in waves of suicide charges, so that’s not the answer, either.

Isn’t it obvious and simple? Regulate the guns, take away the unnecessary excess armament, quit glorifying violence, and stop treating manliness and gun culture as complementary.

Change. Anyone have any confidence that Obama will make any substantial changes?

317 comments

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  1. 1
    noastronomer

    “And no, I don’t know of any that have classes in grade school to train kids to launch themselves in waves of suicide charges”

    North Korea?

    Is that what we’ve become?

    Mike.

  2. 2
    Gretchen
    Megan McArdle: “I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. “

    Those are all awful and ridiculous ideas.

    If a risk possibly leading to self-sacrifice is inherently an awful and ridiculous idea. But I’m very glad the people on United Flight 93 didn’t think so.

    If you mean that “drilling it into young people” is awful and ridiculous, I agree. Nobody should be expected to sacrifice themselves.

  3. 3
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    If a risk possibly leading to self-sacrifice is inherently an awful and ridiculous idea. But I’m very glad the people on United Flight 93 didn’t think so.

    Teaching children to charge a killer with a semi-automatic weapon is far different from adults making the decision to do something. At least, it is in my little and useless mind, but what do I know?

  4. 4
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    “I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.”

    God judged all of you (Americans, presumably) and decided that 20 kids should pay? Your God is a seriously evil fucker.

  5. 5
    michaelraymer

    Obama’s speech did make me cringe quite a bit, but I clearly enjoying torturing myself because I listened to the entire two hour “interfaith” service. I had the TV on in the background while I was catching up on some blogs. At least there was some good singing. The one thing that actually made me turn around from the computer and look at the TV, though, was near the start of the service. Some preacher was talking about the different religions represent there, and saying how we were all in this together, and he said “Even people of no faith.” I was pretty stunned, because I’m used to being treated as if I don’t even exist first, then treated as if I’m the source of all the problems in the world second. Think of all the facebook memes floating around blaming the tragedy on a godless society (ha, I wish). So anyway, I was pleased I got that shout out at the start of the ceremony, certainly more pleased about that than what Obama had to say.

  6. 6
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    And I agree, PZed, Obama’s speech was incredibly exclusive. This is the guy the radical religious right say is anti-Christian?

  7. 7
    Anna Granfors

    Of course Ted Nugent has to vomit out some gun-nuttery:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/12/18/ted-nugent-stands-by-us-gun-laws-after-connecticut-shooting

    BUT LOOK! There’s a poll attached about whether gun control laws might be a good thing! And unfortunately, “yes” is at 46% right now and “no” is at 48%.

    It’s just a shot click away…

  8. 8
    ivarhusa

    I agree with Gretchen, as to that one idea. The rest were pretty awful, to be sure. I wonder if it is another form of ‘god worship’ (aka ‘wishful thinking’ with a vengence) to believe that changing a law will make our dreams come true. There is harder work to do (and I don’t have my own presrciption).

  9. 9
    Anthony K

    So the dead are to be envied by the living.

    Thanks for the life lesson, Christians.

  10. 10
    morganakks

    Gretchen:
    It might be a better idea to rush a guy with a knife than to rush a guy with an assault rifle.

  11. 11
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    “I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.”

    No.

    20 innocent children did not die because of “our” “sins”. 27 innocents did not die to teach “us” a “lesson”.

    27 people died because one man decided to pick up several guns and kill them. To say otherwise not only excuses him, but it makes him into a hero doing god’s will.

    Makes me sick.

  12. 12
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    To say otherwise not only excuses him, but it makes him into a hero doing god’s will.

    I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank you. Now I have some verbal ammunition to use with a certain meatspace godbotherer.

  13. 13
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    That song… and the illustration
    I don’t have a coherent comment

  14. 14
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
    “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
    “may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
    “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

    But remember, it is the left, the liberals, the progressives, the atheists, who are using this crime to make a political statement. Not the religious right. Not the gun nuts.

    I think I may need a massive drinks tonight.

  15. 15
    Don Quijote

    So now a primary school principal has to add SAS, SEAL, and SWAT training to their CV. Not only that but they have to be able to pre-emtp the intentions of anybody who may enter the school or just “take his head off” just in case. No guidlines yet available if the person happens to be a woman.

    Any tears yet from Obama for the ten kids killed in Afganistan by a land mine?

  16. 16
    Gregory in Seattle

    I had an argument about this with a friend of mine. She spewed the same crap that a lot of theists have been spewing, that the shooting was because “We don’t allow God in the classrooms.”

    I told her to think about what she was saying. “Either God is powerless before secular law, forced to stay out of an area because of rulings issued by the US Supreme Court. Or else God could have stopped the tragedy, but refused because he was in a snit, like the child who hits his sister because Mommy didn’t let him have a cookie. Which is it? Is God powerless, or is God a bully? Weak or cruel?”

    She actually did stop to think, and she nodded and said, “I see your point.”

    A small victory for reason, but I’ll take it.

  17. 17
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    PZ, you forgot to include the Tea Party Nation in your round up.

    The money shot.

    Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive.

    Sadly, the murderer was not young black man wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles. Not sure how much good George Zimmerman would have done.

    (There are times that I really hate my species.)

  18. 18
    Gregory in Seattle

    Heh, I like Bryan Fischer’s comment. He makes it sound like God is a vampire who must be invited inside. (Insert cliche about broken clocks here.)

  19. 19
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oggie:

    I think I may need a massive drinks tonight.

    Fuck it. I’m drinking now.

  20. 20
    irisvanderpluym

    Now I’m no scientist, but I must say that so far I remain unconvinced by this prayer hypothesis of theirs. For one thing, it doesn’t explain the 2007 mass shooting at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.  Or the 2008 killings at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville.  I’m pretty sure there was no shortage of prayers at those sites. And that’s to say nothing of the military bases, restaurants and workplaces, where as far as I am aware gods and prayers are generally permitted unfettered access.  But more importantly, if some god demands American schoolchildren recite mandatory prayers to it in exchange for protecting them from violent massacres, then clearly that god is a sadistic, narcissistic @$$hole and we should do everything in our power keep it as far away from kids as possible.

  21. 21
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Janine:

    I am speechless. I ffel ill. I made the mistake of acutally clicking the linkthrough and am now in tears. The radical right is beyond the pale.

  22. 22
    Cosmas

    So their all powerful god needs to be INVITED in & wont dare to cross the threshold into a school to save children lives?
    is He he like a vampire or Betelgeuse? do we have to repeat his name thrice to do his thing or would a standing Evite work?
    Funny he sounds like he requires coxing like a petulant semi-feral cat

  23. 23
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Gretchen:
    As one commenter already mentioned, if adults make the conscious decision to rush a shooter, I take no issue with that. Do you truly think it would be a good idea for 5 and 6 year olds to be taught to attack a shooter en masse? I do not. We don’t need to raise children to launch themselves into suicide attacks.

  24. 24
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Oh, for fucks sake. One of our volunteers just stated that Newtown is America’s Golgotha and that we shall be reborn into a new and better age (same guy is a Teabagger, flat taxer, and loves Beck and Limbaugh). I stood up and left. I don’t remember the last time I cried like this. This is not good.

  25. 25
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I stood up and left.

    Why the hell did I write that? I didn’t walk out, I’m still here. I put headphones on and am now listening to Copeland Appalachian Spring.

  26. 26
    evalue

    William Lane Craig weighs in with message that the Sandy Hook massacre is not incongruous with Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYHd2F3vnL4

    As I reflected on it, it hit me very forcefully that the original Christmas was also attended by the wanton murder of children. And I’m thinking of course of what King Herod did. [Reads from the Bible.] And it occurred to me that far from being incongruous with Christmas, this horrible tragedy is one that in a sense echoes the original Christmas, which involved the murder of these children by Herod.
    It’s a reminder, really, I think, of what Christmas is for, what it’s all about. This is God’s entry into a world that is fallen, that is filled with unspeakable evil and terrible suffering. And it is the message of Christmas that God has not abandoned us to such a world, but that he has entered into human history himself in the [plain?] person of Jesus, and there takes upon himself that evil and that suffering to redeem us from evil — our own evil — and to bring us into a right relationship with him, and give us healing and eternal life.
    So this tragedy I hope will be a reminder to us all of what Christmas is really all about, the deeper significance of Christmas. Not just happiness, gift-giving, and the festiveness of the holidays. But really the hope that is given to us who are lost in an otherwise evil and unspeakably wicked world.

  27. 27
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oh Oggie. *hugs* I’m crying too.

  28. 28
    sundoga

    There are times I agree with you.
    But I don’t necessarily agree with PZ (or the many other bloggers around Freethought who have stated the same thing) that this proposed course of action is either obvious or simple. And I am quite certain the actual solution isn’t.
    Number of weapons and availability therof does not appear to be the deciding factor here. As was pointed out, the US has this sort of thing happen much more often than in other countries, including ones where guns are as or more available. MIchael Moore, in his piece on Columbine, pointed out that Canada has more guns per person than the US, yet around a tenth of the gun use violence. The same pattern is found worldwide in nations that have widespread gun ownership – as long as the underlying culture is sound, violence is relatively low.
    If it is the culture of the US that is at fundamental fault, weapons control becomes an exercise in futility, and more importantly, it won’t solve the problem.
    Automatic, knee-jerk reactions to things like this don’t solve problems. In that, I include both sides of the “gun debate”, which has become anything but a debate – both sides are screaming, and neither is listening. Until we have a reasoned discourse on the problem, which just might solve it, we’re just going to have more gridlock, and more school shootings.

  29. 29
    gregmusings

    While I’ve felt weird about all the religious trappings of the community support going on in Newtown, I’ve been glad that the people there have such a strong bond between them to help them through this tough time. I’ve been worried over the years as an atheist that I don’t feel that community in my life. What community would I have to help me in such a situation.

    Then I realized that I have gone through something like this when my 16 year old daughter died in an auto accident. And I did have a community to help me through it. It was my friends and family. Over the years I’ve developed a core group of close friends and when the chips are down, we look out for each other. We don’t have a leader to be point person/minister like the churches do. But we developed our own rituals to celebrate my daughter’s life. Maybe I didn’t think of this support group until just now because it doesn’t look at all like a church. But they were there all the time.

  30. 30
    irisvanderpluym

    Apparently Huckabee has since retooled his prayer hypothesis and proposed that the Newtown massacre was the result of “tax-funded abortion pills.”

    It doesn’t matter that (unfortunately) there are no taxpayer funded abortion pills. You know, here in reality.

  31. 31
    Marcus Ranum

    William Lane Craig weighs in with message that the Sandy Hook massacre is not incongruous with Christmas

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Seriously, is that horrible person still on the public stage spouting his horrible lies?

    Hey William Lane Craig, would you feel the same way if it was you who was about to be killed, or one of your children or someone you cared about?

  32. 32
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    sundoga:

    This thread is about the right wing reaction and propagandistic use of this crime for their own political purposes. There are other threads discussing gun control where I, or others, would be happy to discuss our knee-jerk liberal reactions.

  33. 33
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    I’m beginning to understand how easy it is to hate. Right now all I want to do is scream at the Religious Right, and I know they’ll just smugly tut-tut me along with a wagged finger.

  34. 34
    Deen

    Isn’t it obvious and simple? Regulate the guns, take away the unnecessary excess armament, quit glorifying violence, and stop treating manliness and gun culture as complementary.

    And of course, fix the general dysfunction of US society, fix poverty, increase overall happiness. Content people generally don’t go on killing sprees.

  35. 35
    logicpriest

    All right, scotch is on me. This is getting beyond the pale. How in the world are we supposed to “build bridges” and create “interfaith communities” with people so obsessed with morbidity?

    Shots and Shirley temples all around *clink*

  36. 36
    Louis

    I see trees of green,
    Red roses too…

    …Look it’s that or drinking heavily, and my liver is already sufficiently large and fatty to be used as a lilo for a 500lb billionaire and his 20 strong entourage of sweat moppers and crevice wipers.

    Louis

  37. 37
    chigau (違う)

    sundoga #28
    Bless your heart.

  38. 38
    Louis

    Chiggers wins the internet.

    And so early!

    Louis

  39. 39
    chadwickjones

    I would like to opt out of this god… Thanks.

  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    Louis #36
    “lilo”?

  41. 41
    Deen

    @sundoga in #28: adopting better gun control laws and changing the culture aren’t mutually exclusive.

  42. 42
    Louis

    Chiggers, #40,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_mattress#As_a_water_toy

    Louis

  43. 43
    Alverant

    #28 sundoga
    Canada’s culture promotes gun responsiblity. USA culture does not. Until it does, the best thing to do is to take the guns of those who are not responsible enough to have them. It’s like when you take a toy away from a screaming brat until they learn to behave.

  44. 44
    Randomfactor

    William Lane Craig weighs in with message that the Sandy Hook massacre is not incongruous with Christmas:

    God intended the massacre to happen, so it’s a Good Thing. There’s that juicy Christian situational ethics for you: if god tells you to kill the younglings, it’s moral.

    God is Emperor Palpatine. Without the good looks.

  45. 45
    Chris Clarke

    This is the worst, and I expect my opinion to generate loads of furious criticism in the comments.

    Yeah, not so much with the furious criticism from this quarter. It was really hard making it through that to watch the rest of the speech. The lack of specifics in the rest didn’t bother me as much, because of the setting. But the “reunited in heaven” shit must have felt like a corkscrew jammed into the hearts of nonbeliever parents and then yanked back out again.

  46. 46
    chigau (違う)

    Louis #42
    I see… so it should be pronounced ‘lie-low’ not ‘lee-low’.

  47. 47
    logicpriest

    @45 Chris
    Heaven as a concept always irked me. Even as a child in an extremely Christian region. Heaven for dogs, murdered children, assholes, priestly pedophiles and such. Creepy as hell and confusing to boot.

    Or, in the words of Bender Bending Rodriguez “If I thought I had to go through a whole ‘nuther life I’d kill myself right now.”

  48. 48
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Seriously, is that horrible person still on the public stage spouting his horrible lies?

    Unfortunately, yes.

    Hey William Lane Craig, would you feel the same way if it was you who was about to be killed, or one of your children or someone you cared about?

    Don’t be silly. They’re not the disposable ones; they’re the audience.

    For anyone unfamiliar with his twisted thinking, William Lane Craig on Biblical genocide and infanticide.

  49. 49
    grumpyoldfart

    The Facebook poet has Jesus promising the children that he will “take care of mom and dad.”

    Too little, too late.

  50. 50
    David Wilford

    As an atheist, I thought Obama’s speech was genuinely comforting and given the setting was appropriately restrained when speaking to what we should now do to prevent such terrible tragedies in the future.

    FYI, the U.S. has far more guns per capita than any other nation, including Canada, not to mention more guns with higher rates of fire that use more deadly ammunition.

  51. 51
    raym

    #28 sundoga
    According to the numbers I’ve been able to find, Canada’s rate of gun ownership is one-third that of the US (which is top of the list, by the way – there’s American Exceptionalism for you).

  52. 52
    ambrosia

    sundoga@28:

    I thought that info was bogus when I saw the movie. Data here is from 2007, but unless Canadians have gone on a massive gun-buying binge, it’s nowhere close to accurate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/28/guns-ownership-around-the-world-graphic/

  53. 53
    funknjunk

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of hilarious, albeit sadly, that these folks want us to know that life is so much better after death that they try their damndest to make this one so frikkin miserable. Much like the conservatives who tell us that government can’t do anything for the people, that it’s incompetent, and then prove their mantra when they control its levers. Brilliant….

  54. 54
    chigau (違う)

    So all those children in heaven get to be 6-years-old for eternity?
    As a “reward”.
    Nice.

  55. 55
    jaybee

    Anyone have any confidence that Obama will make any substantial changes?

    We’ll see how much he tries to lead the issue, but certainly he doesn’t have the power to make changes. He can put pressure on congress to make changes, he can rally voters to put pressure on their representative. Of course PZ knows this, so I’m not sure why he phrased it that way.

  56. 56
    Marcus Ranum

    I’m not deeply plugged-into the media but it seems like this time there was a collective pause for breath from the christians, while they made sure that they weren’t looking at another christian like the one in Norway – and the collective spew of stupid only came after they were relatively sure he wasn’t one of them. Which makes the whole reaction extra super despicable.

  57. 57
    dianne

    is He he like a vampire or Betelgeuse? do we have to repeat his name thrice to do his thing or would a standing Evite work?

    Yaweh, yaweh, yaweh. No go.

    Hastur, hastur, hastur. Damn elder gods are no better.

  58. 58
    dianne

    when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
    their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

    So, if I read this right, the claim seems to be that the gunman did them a favor. Horrific stuff, this religion.

  59. 59
    dianne

    Drat! That was supposed to be in comic sans, not quotes.

  60. 60
    leahdoner

    @people using the example of Flight 93 as a reason to not immediately dismiss Mcardle’s insane suggestion as insane:

    There were no semi-automatic assault rifles on Flight 93. There were box cutters. Classrooms aren’t airliners. Adult airline passengers aren’t 7 year-old children. Stop being morons.

  61. 61
    dianne

    Ah, Obama. Obama has two children. Why didn’t he empathize more? If I were Obama, I’d have declared the NRA a terrorist organization and sent a drone to their HQ by now. I’d see the gun nuts most paranoid fantasies made an understatement. Why isn’t he reacting more strongly to this real threat to the American people instead of playing around killing Pakastani who will never be a threat to anyone in the US?

  62. 62
    Louis

    I went to a funeral today, for the elderly, Catholic mother of a friend of mine, not for this tragedy. It was a Catholic funeral service and out of ~ 1hr of service the deceased was mentioned, oooooh a handful of times, for a total of about 3 minutes. Including the (excellent and emotional) eulogy.

    I wasn’t surprised, I know religions act parasitically on the bereaved, even if some people garner some scant comfort from their faith, but it was just so prosaic, just so accepted a part of the discourse I felt like the proverbial “sane” man in the crowd of maniacs. Obviously I’m not the only sane one, and obviously those people weren’t maniacs, but in the context of the last few days and the standard blithering coming from some quarters in the USA, I just couldn’t sit there easily. I was really uncomfortable as the priest droned on about resurrection and Jesus this and our lord that and so on and so forth. Normally I amuse myself by looking at (typically wonderful) church art and architecture, but even that wasn’t sufficiently diverting today. I was just incensed at the life trivialising drivel spewing forth from the skirt wearing front man for an organisation that, whilst it undoubtedly helps millions, also causes millions to die unnecessarily by virtue of its antediluvian attitudes.

    Obviously I behaved myself and you won’t be reading any stories about me setting fire to churches and parishioners in a fit of atheist rage. I guess I am just dismayed by the eternal desire of my conspecifics to bend the knee to the bewildering banality of evil if it’s wrapped in a piety package.

    Louis

  63. 63
    abutsimehc

    Obviously, hidden in the flowing robes of the Master as he guards the little ones sitting at his feet being indoctrinated with his loving gospel by a Public School Teacher (who, according to St.Paul, shoudl NOT be a woman!) would be the image of Jesus holding an AK-47. (Google it … you’ll see.)

  64. 64
    dianne

    Is it just me or does Jesus have three hands? It looks like he has one resting on his knee, one on the shoulder of the boy next to him (I’m just going to assume the best about that for now) and one across his lap. Can’t figure out anything else that could be…

  65. 65
    Amphiox

    In January Diane Feinstein is going to reintroduce her Assault Weapons Ban legislation to the Senate.

    So real active steps are going to be taken.

    Baby steps they are, and who knows if it will pass, but steps are being taken.

  66. 66
    unclefrogy

    If I could live forever as a 6 year old it would not be that bad, it was before I learned how many really stupid people are doing and saying really stupid things.
    I was reminded of this wonderful song today

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buqtdpuZxvk&feature=youtu.be

    uncle frogy

  67. 67
    consciousness razor

    Is it just me or does Jesus have three hands? It looks like he has one resting on his knee, one on the shoulder of the boy next to him (I’m just going to assume the best about that for now) and one across his lap. Can’t figure out anything else that could be…

    The arm going across his chest (or “his lap” maybe?) is the girl’s to his left, coming from under his arm.

    Or it could be growing out of the boy’s head. I mean, we’ve got already Jesus in this fictional universe, so that’s not really much of a stretch. Probably happens all the time.

  68. 68
    consciousness razor

    we’ve already got already

  69. 69
    OldEd

    Jonestown Cool-Aid, anyone???

    Or how about Oklahoma City???

    Or 9/11???

    Or even the first World Trade Center bombing???

    Or how about a few gallons each of clorox bleach and house-hold ammonia in the air ducts???

    Or just slam into a schoolbus – or school – with a tanker-load of gasoline???

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

  70. 70
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Amphiox:

    And I guarantee that the right wing lobbyists are already writing the threat letters to every GOP member of the house and senate threatening them with extreme opposition during the primary if they vote for Feinstein’s (or anyone ele’s) legislation for anything but business as usual for guns of any kind. The few GOPers who do cross and vote for this will effectively end their political careers. And I hope that one of them goes public with examples of the lobbying and threats of the extreme radical right.

  71. 71
    Amphiox

    If I were Obama, I’d have declared the NRA a terrorist organization and sent a drone to their HQ by now.

    If you were Obama, and you wanted to do that, you’d first have to instigate a totalitarian coup, win it, and get yourself installed as dictator. Because an elected American President doesn’t actually have the power to unilaterally do that.

    The powers that he does have are:

    1. Speech and persuasion with the bully pulpit of the presidency, which he IS doing, though he sure could be a lot more specific.

    2. Behind-the-scenes pressure of various other individual lawmakers in Congress, whose votes are the ones that will determine changes in policy. There’s no way for us to know right now if he will or will not do that.

  72. 72
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    eoleen:

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

    Your point? Are you arguing that, since there are other ways to kill people, we should ignore the most frequently used tool?

  73. 73
    Ichthyic

    If it is the culture of the US that is at fundamental fault, weapons control becomes an exercise in futility, and more importantly, it won’t solve the problem.

    wrong.

    here’s why:

    As you note, this IS an issue of culture. How does one change cultural biases in America? …A big way is by showing that your elected representatives actually believe something DOES need to change, and doing something that, even if it has little direct effect, at least shows that there is a reason to move in a specific direction.

    A dedication to passing permanent gun control laws is a good first step in changing the dialogue on this; in getting Americans to realize that even their government thinks something is wrong with the violent culture that has developed.

    gun control, changing gun advertising rules, limiting clip sizes, etc, are all things that point to a change in the way we view guns in our culture.

    Doing nothing, does nothing. pretending this is a complex issue so we should do nothing until there is 100% consensus is naive and dangerous. Whether we’re talking guns, or ozone depletion, or global warming, it’s the little things that will change how society views these issues, and then we can progress forward.

  74. 74
    chigau (違う)

    dianne #64
    I think the one across his chest is actually a fold of his robe.
    I also think that the book is The Necronomicon and she is pointing to a picture of Cthulhu.

  75. 75
    Ichthyic

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

    as has been said many times, if guns weren’t a MUCH BETTER WAY to kill a lot of people, they wouldn’t exist.

  76. 76
    Ichthyic

    Jonestown Cool-Aid, anyone???

    Or how about Oklahoma City???

    Or 9/11???

    Or even the first World Trade Center bombing???

    Or how about a few gallons each of clorox bleach and house-hold ammonia in the air ducts???

    Or just slam into a schoolbus – or school – with a tanker-load of gasoline???

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

    *calls homeland security*

  77. 77
    consciousness razor

    It’s kind of odd that Jesus is sitting there with the (other, smaller?) kids, apparently learning how to read…

    Maybe he is a giant, and this is a bit before a growth spurt when he became the 900 ft. Jesus.

  78. 78
    dianne

    Details, Amphiox, always these details.

    Ok, start with proposing specific laws banning assault rifles, handguns, concealed carry, projectile weapons within city limits, etc. That’s probably a more sane response, since drone attacks probably aren’t doing much good anywhere under any circumstances anyway. But I’d like to see Obama act like a parent first and a politician second for once and condemn the evil assholes in the NRA at least.

  79. 79
    Richard Smith

    .
    @dianne (#57):

    Yaweh, yaweh, yaweh. No go.

    Hastur, hastur, hastur. Damn elder gods are no better.

    Cthulhu, Cthulhu, Cthulhu… Well, no Old Ones, but a coworker showed up with a Kleenex…

  80. 80
    Amphiox

    And I guarantee that the right wing lobbyists are already writing the threat letters to every GOP member of the house and senate threatening them with extreme opposition during the primary if they vote for Feinstein’s (or anyone ele’s) legislation for anything but business as usual for guns of any kind. The few GOPers who do cross and vote for this will effectively end their political careers. And I hope that one of them goes public with examples of the lobbying and threats of the extreme radical right.

    They did it the last time the Assault Weapons ban was proposed, and the ban passed then. So while it may be hard, it is not impossible.

    But the main reason why we have this political deadlock towards doing the right thing on guns is quite simple. The minority that are against it are to the most part dedicated single issue voters. They will ALWAYS come and vote on this issue alone, and they will ALWAYS vote against anyone who suggests any sort of gun control at all.

    Meanwhile the majority that are for it are not single issue voters. The gun control issue is not even at the top of their voting concerns. They will sometimes, if not frequently, vote for a candidate that does not espouse their position on guns, for other reasons.

    And this is what gives the NRA the power that it does.

    To reverse that is a conceptually simple process. The majority that is for reasonable gun control will simply have to turn themselves into single issue voters. They have to make it clear that that whichever candidate available to them is more in support of gun control, they will vote for that one (even if the choice is between a candidate that is very very anti-gun control and a candidate that is only very anti-gun control) NO MATTER WHAT ELSE the candidates are for or against, and that they will keep doing this as long as it takes until a supermajority of Congress are for reasonable gun control.

  81. 81
    consciousness razor

    But I’d like to see Obama act like a parent decent person first and a politician second for once and condemn the evil assholes in the NRA at least.

    You don’t need to make babies for that.

  82. 82
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Maybe a little change:

    But I’d like to see Obama act like a parent decent person first and a politician second for once and condemn the evil assholes in the NRA at least.

  83. 83
    OldEd

    The problem is not the weapon(s), but the mind behind it/them.

    As I recall there was (very briefly) mentioned the little factoid that the kids behind the Columbine “incident” had been systematically bullied by the “jocks” for many years.

    Not to mention Ruby Ridge, and Waco, Texas: both perpetrated by “authorized” idiots.

    And Amidou Diallo?

    And the most recent outrage that I am aware of: a mentally disturbed man (yes, he had a knife) on the sidewalk outside the Empire State Building who was gunned down by some 20 cops – none of whom had the intelligence to (a) distract him from a safe distance while (b) a second cop hit him with pepper gas to incapacitate him and safely disarm him and take him in for examination and treatment. And all this in broad daylight with bystanders safely out of the way, and SENIOR OFFICERS ON THE SCENE…

  84. 84
    Amphiox

    But I’d like to see Obama act like a parent first and a politician second for once and condemn the evil assholes in the NRA at least.

    Funny, but at least by my observations the other half of the progressives who are criticizing Obama on this are criticizing him for being too much of a parent and not enough of a politician. (Though not all progressives are actually criticizing Obama on this at all).

  85. 85
  86. 86
    Ichthyic

    The minority that are against it are to the most part dedicated single issue voters. They will ALWAYS come and vote on this issue alone, and they will ALWAYS vote against anyone who suggests any sort of gun control at all.

    authoritarianism at its finest.

  87. 87
    Amphiox

    I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

    This idiocy, of course, requires military-level discipline to effect routinely. Real, real practical, that.

  88. 88
    dianne

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

    And if guns aren’t high up on the list of efficiency in killing people, why do the police carry them instead of, say, knives or box cutters? Why do NRA idiots keep saying “if only one of the teachers had a gun” if guns aren’t an efficient way to kill people?

  89. 89
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    To everyone who keeps showing up on these threads telling us that there are lots of other ways to kill people so we should just shut up about gun control now and forever, I call bullshit.

    Do any of you (the ones making the above argument) remember the Aum Shinrikyo cult? The ones who introduced sarin nerve gas, about 500 times more lethal than cyanide, into the Tokyo subway system? Remember them? That was an incredibly organized attack, lots of planning, many people involved, and the death toll was 16, with 54 seriously injured. From nerve gas. And that required infrastructure to manufacture it and multiple people to carry out the attack.

    So, an organized attack can be successful. The more people involved, however, the more likely it is for something to go wrong and the attack will fail. The WTC attacks are famous because they are a mass murder that succeeded. One person, with ammunition and some semi-automatic weapons can’t achieve a 9/11 mass crime, but Colorado, Connecticut, and the other mass shootings? That person can achieve more deaths than a nerve gas attack with little or no preparation, little or no organization, little or no planning, and little or no chance of infiltration by law enforcement.

    Do you understand?

  90. 90
    consciousness razor

    Great minds, think alike, Beatrice!

    We should also remember that children are not the only ones who died in Newtown, and they’re not the only ones who die from guns in this country practically every day. Everyone has a parent, of course, but not everyone is a parent so even non-parents should care about it.

  91. 91
  92. 92
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
    when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
    their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

    The years of 1939 through 1945 must have been joyous at heaven’s gate, all of those beautiful smiling children who were just streaming right in.

    (Blackest fucking venom)

  93. 93
    dianne

    @81 and 82: I stand corrected. Actually, I’m sitting, but the fact remains that you’re right. I said “parent” because it seems to me that any parent who doesn’t immediately realize that those kids could have been theirs has a chronic empathy issue, but really any person who doesn’t see the deaths of 20 first graders as a major tragedy has serious empathy issues.

  94. 94
    Kevin Sullivan

    i am interested in exploring the notion the Religious folk fear mortal Law more than their god.
    When they say Invite god back into the schools, its as if he is prevented by the invisible barrier of the law.
    They see federal edicts as being more powerful than their creator.
    This should be looked into.
    Do they believe god will obey mortal laws?
    Is he even cognisant of US laws.

    I got this idea from reading a comment here from Gregory in Seattle that said….

    [ I had an argument about this with a friend of mine. She spewed the same crap that a lot of theists have been spewing, that the shooting was because “We don’t allow God in the classrooms.”

    I told her to think about what she was saying. “Either God is powerless before secular law, forced to stay out of an area because of rulings issued by the US Supreme Court. Or else God could have stopped the tragedy, but refused because he was in a snit, like the child who hits his sister because Mommy didn’t let him have a cookie. Which is it? Is God powerless, or is God a bully? Weak or cruel?”

    She actually did stop to think, and she nodded and said, “I see your point.”

    A small victory for reason, but I’ll take it.]

    I couldn’t reply so i had to log in to say, could he ask his friend if god is so obedient to federal law,
    Would he answer a summons to appear in court?

  95. 95
    devnll

    Aside from all the god talk, I was a bit offended by the implication in Obama’s speech that only parents of children could possibly care that these kids were murdered. I don’t have kids, but I have nieces and nephews that I love very much, and even if I didn’t I’d find the murder of _anyone_ – whether or not they happen to be young – to be deplorable.

    It wasn’t really a big deal, but the repetition of the “we other parents feel for you” idea grated a bit.

  96. 96
    Amphiox

    I have to say, frankly, that for anyone to critique Obama’s response to this as not being that of a decent person is obscene.

    An obscenity on par with the teapartiers calling him a communist, or with birtherism, or saying that he supports death panels.

    Criticize it for being indecisive, platitude-heavy and detail poor. Criticize it for being overly religious (don’t forget that he IS a theist). All that is valid.

    But not decent???

    Obscene.

  97. 97
    Gregory Greenwood

    I wish to God she [the principal] had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids

    and;

    Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws.

    When I read Rightwing blather like these claims that the only way to prevent gun deaths is with yet more guns, I am instantly put in mind of that quote form George Orwell’s 1984;

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

  98. 98
    dianne

    One person, with ammunition and some semi-automatic weapons can’t achieve a 9/11 mass crime,

    Gun marshal brings his perfectly legal gun onto 767. Goes into cockpit on some excuse, shoots pilot, flies plane into Sears Tower or Empire State Building or whatever. I’m only surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

  99. 99
    Barklikeadog

    eoleen @ 69 what the fuck???? Your point?

  100. 100
    Ichthyic

    Maybe he is a giant, and this is a bit before a growth spurt when he became the 900 ft. Jesus.

    naw, giant Jesus was destroyed by lightning a couple years back.

  101. 101
    ChristineRose

    If I wasn’t so damn busy, I’d investigate the hypothesis that that “Jesus in the Classroom” picture came from a Jehovah’s Witnesses text. It is exactly their style. It would be pretty funny as most Americans thinking the Witnesses are somewhere between hilarious and the spawn of Satan.

  102. 102
    dianne

    It’s kind of odd that Jesus is sitting there with the (other, smaller?) kids, apparently learning how to read…

    Well, he grew up in ancient Palestine. If he reads (doubtful for a poor person of the time), it’s probably not in English, so a beginner’s course is appropriate…

  103. 103
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Okay. I’m just gonna give up and go away for a while. Please disregard my comments on this page.

  104. 104
    Ichthyic

    Please disregard my comments on this page.

    sorry, I will not.

    I considered what you had to say in 89 to be well thought.

    I understood.

  105. 105
    evilDoug

    @ 69 what the fuck???? Your point?

    Distraction. Diversion. Obfuscation.
    EVERY DAMNED FUCKING TIME! Every time, one of these turds floats up.

  106. 106
    dianne

    Oggie, I’m sorry if I’ve contributed to making you feel uncomfortable on the thread. I think your contributions have been insightful and well thought out, if that’s helpful at all…

  107. 107
    consciousness razor

    Well, he grew up in ancient Palestine. If he reads (doubtful for a poor person of the time), it’s probably not in English, so a beginner’s course is appropriate…

    Then he became omniscient later on? Must be some teacher. But what about the other kids?

    I don’t know about that. It was my understanding that Jesus was fluent in Klingon and C++ as a baby, so I’m sure he knows English too.

  108. 108
    timgueguen

    If this latest massacre is the fault of God not being in the classroom, how do they explain something like the Bath School massacre of 1927, where 38 children and several adults were blow up? After all those were the “good old days,” when presumably some form of Christianity was being forced onto every student.

  109. 109
    rachelriley

    Has anyone been following the Anonymous vs Westboro thing?

  110. 110
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I notice eoleen’s list relies almost exclusively on materials and instruments that are heavily regulated and, in many cases, largely inaccessible to most people. So, thanks for the support of gun regulation, eoleen!

  111. 111
    Rey Fox

    Or what about a POINTED STICK?!

    I have to say, frankly, that for anyone to critique Obama’s response to this as not being that of a decent person is obscene.

    Well, “decent” is one of those words that can mean just about anything along a vaguely defined spectrum depending on who’s using it and what they’re talking about. Sort of like “nice”.

  112. 112
    hexidecima

    what vomit:
    “twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
    when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.”
    “their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
    they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
    they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.”

    and then (no, it doesn’t scan perfectly)

    Then mood darkened and the children looked aroud with fear.
    “Where are our parents, the friends and the teachers we held so dear?

    Peter said “Oh damn it God, you forgot to remove that part.”
    You know, where everything they care about is removed from every heart.
    Lewis told you how it’s done, where in selfish heaven no one cares.”
    We can’t have them asking about those they loved, finding you unfair.
    We can’t have them remembering them, you know where that will lead.
    They’ll wonder why you’ve lied to them and to return they’ll plead.
    Jesus wants to force his will on all, wiping not one tear.
    Far more important to hate those who will not give him fear.

  113. 113
    Johnny Vector

    I’d like to go back to Gretchen’s comment at #2, to point out what should be obvious: There were no heroes on Flight 93, if you define heroism as risking your life to save someone else. The people there knew what was going on, and they knew that “run and hide” was not an option. They didn’t choose possible self-sacrifice over saving themselves; they chose possible self-sacrifice over certain death. I mean, I understand you still have to overcome your immediate fear, but I do wish people would stop treating that event as some kind of noble valor for the sake of the country.

  114. 114
    Rich Woods

    @Louis #62:

    I wrote a similar thing earlier today. I’m not linking to it purely to publicise my own experience, but just to point out how it can sometimes be shitty and sometimes not so shitty (your money *will* vary).

    Dealing with the idea that many kids (let alone your alone) are suddenly and needlessly dead is completely beyond me; I’m pushing pennies onto the floor and picking them up again rather than deal with that all at once.

  115. 115
    David Wilford

    Thinking a bit more about the remark Obama made in Pennsylvania during the 2008 presidential campaign about embittered people embracing god and Guns, it made political sense for him to be overtly devout in his speech Sunday night in Newtown, as Obama made a clear profession of his own faith while remembering the latest tragic victims of our ongoing national epidemic of gun violence. The primary focus of any political action now has to be on reducing the threat firearms pose to the public, and getting the help of genuinely non-violent religions people towards that end is fine with me as an atheist.

  116. 116
    Nick Gotts

    Number of weapons and availability therof does not appear to be the deciding factor here. As was pointed out, the US has this sort of thing happen much more often than in other countries, including ones where guns are as or more available. MIchael Moore, in his piece on Columbine, pointed out that Canada has more guns per person than the US, yet around a tenth of the gun use violence. The same pattern is found worldwide in nations that have widespread gun ownership – as long as the underlying culture is sound, violence is relatively low. – sundoga

    This is a load of fucking crap. here are figures for gun ownership per capita by country; and here are figures for gun deaths per capita by country. Among rich countries, the USA is first and Switzerland second in both categories. Canada is third in gun deaths and although not third in gun ownership, very little lower than third-place Finland, which is fourth in gun deaths.

  117. 117
    dianne

    Canada and Mexico probably both get spill over from guns in the US. It’s easy to buy a gun in the US and take it to either country without registering it so without having it show up as officially being in the relevant country. Gun control in the US might save lives in Mexico and Canada as well as in the US.

  118. 118
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    When seconds count, the police take minutes.

    I read today that the police took their sweet ass time responding to 911 calls about the shooting in Newton. I.e. apparently 20+ minutes to travel the 2.3 minutes to the school.

    So, perhaps, the solution isn’t to arm every adult inside the school, but to have a police force actually capable of showing up before the mass murderer has time to get bored with his mass murder.

    Sidebar: Call me cynical, but doesn’t all this “arm the teachers” rhetoric seem perfectly tailored to destroying public education, as wingnut politicians and their billionaire backers have been trying to do for years? Maybe it’s a conspiratorial twitch, but ever since I heard that one wingnut talking about training and arming teachers like the police Occupy-protestor-beating-style, isn’t that just half a step away from saying we should privatize schools, or at least school “security”?

    And, if you’re feeling less charitable, doesn’t arming teachers pretty much guarantee they’ll be shot first? Especially if, as this fucker was, the mass murderer is wearing protective gear?

  119. 119
    AJ Milne

    WARNING: dangerous levels of treacle and stupidity! Have a vomit bag handy!/Wait. This is so bad, I better put it below the fold, just to be safe.

    There’s got to be something seriously wrong with me that I still clicked the ‘read more’ link after that perfectly clear, adequate warning. Clearly, I just wanted to be properly pissed off.

    Didn’t even particularly need to induce vomiting. Guess I have only myself to blame, here.

    (/Sympathy for anyone blindsided by it on FaceBook tho’, sans appropriate warning. It needs that hazard label.)

  120. 120
    Nick Gotts

    Ogvorbis,

    I agree with Ichthyic: your #89 was well reasoned and well expressed, showing up that shitbag eoleen perfectly.

    Obama has now at least expressed his support for reinstating the ban on assault weapons. I don’t know if there’s any action he can take directly, although given the powers he and Bush before him have arrogated to the Presidency, I’d be surprised if there is none.

  121. 121
    Argle Bargle

    Of course Jesus was fluent in English. How else could he have dictated the King James Bible word for word?

  122. 122
    sirbedevere

    One of the most mind-boggling Facebook posts I’ve seen this week began “Have you ever heard of the massacre? Of course not…” and proceeded to tell the (probably apocryphal) story of a kid who brought a gun to school to do some killing but was stopped because the principal kept a .45 in his desk. Setting aside the improbable elements in that story, can anyone think that this even makes a good argument?
    Saying that guns are beneficial in our society because they protect us from people with guns is like calling an arsonist a hero for putting out a fire that he started himself.

  123. 123
    Nick Gotts

    So, perhaps, the solution isn’t to arm every adult inside the school, but to have a police force actually capable of showing up before the mass murderer has time to get bored with his mass murder. – Illuminata

    Oddly enough, slow police response was also what enabled Breivik to kill so many people.

  124. 124
    evilDoug

    Canada and Mexico probably both get spill over from guns in the US …

    According to my brother, the gun nut, one of the things that happens is that US citizens try to bring handguns into Canada when they travel here for business or vacation. When they find out that Canada is a sovereign nation, with its own laws that don’t allow handguns the way the US does, they will try to sell them just on the US side of the border. It keeps a large supply of cheap pistols near the boarder. It would be amusing if the US federal government set up shops where they would buy such guns are rock bottom prices, and destroy them.

    What we definitely do get is spill-over of gun nuttery.

  125. 125
    Ichthyic

    Or what about a POINTED STICK?!

    gettin all ‘igh and mighty, eh?

  126. 126
    Nick Gotts

    Press release from the NRA. They are obviously shitting themselves, but I’d bet that in one way or another, they will be proposing MOAR GUNZ NAOW.

  127. 127
    Ichthyic

    They didn’t choose possible self-sacrifice over saving themselves; they chose possible self-sacrifice over certain death.

    indeed. I wonder how it would have gone if everyone on the plane had parachutes, and the plane was moving slow enough and high enough to jump out of easily.

    not saying there wouldn’t have been someone who stayed, but at least the situation would be then comparable.

  128. 128
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Sorry to bring this up, but, clearly (to me) the whole “God wasn’t allowed in the schools so this massacre happened” does not really mean “God, himself, could do nothing”. They are just trying to blame education (without religion) for not teaching about God and empathy and love etc., and that’s why this person believed he had the right to shoot up an elementary school. The better counter-argument is that ethics can be taught and don’t require God to be taught (and included in the lessons). Comments like “So God is powerless?” will fall on deaf ears of the religidiots.

  129. 129
    tfkreference

    From what I know of believers–including my family and my younger self–the sentiments in the poem let believers think that the kids are happy, so they can minimize the tragedy (e.g., compare it to other statistics or call it an outlier). Then they pray for the families, so they can feel that they have done something, and don’t have to worry about them either, and can get back to arguing against gun control.

  130. 130
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Illuminata:
    Thanks for that link. I want to know why the police did not scramble immediately.
    ____
    The comments, as always should be avoided. Third one in talked about how xe was more scared of pitbulls than gun violence.

  131. 131
    Recreant

    In response to all the “We’ve kicked god out of our schools…” nonsense: So fucking what? If god exists, it had a shitload of time before Lanza ever made it to the school to deal with the problem.

  132. 132
    Ichthyic

    Then they pray for the families, so they can feel that they have done something, and don’t have to worry about them either, and can get back to arguing against gun control.

    so, IOW, Marx was right.

  133. 133
    jeannieinpa

    2 things:

    It seems ridiculous to “solve” the problem of gun violence adding more guns, having teachers arm themselves.

    I hated Obama’s statement that “God has called them all home”. Perhaps Obama was just keeping pew-sitters happy, but it is a repellant idea that some deity wanted kids and so he wrecked the shooter’s family, the murdered victims families, and the sanity and safety of all those other children and families via a vicious attack. And, oh yeah, he did it all during one of the most stressful times of the year. Happy holidays, indeed.

  134. 134
    Ichthyic

    They are just trying to blame education (without religion) for not teaching about God and empathy and love etc., and that’s why this person believed he had the right to shoot up an elementary school. The better counter-argument is that ethics can be taught and don’t require God to be taught (and included in the lessons).

    good point; when i pick at friends who actually *like* what Huckleberry said, this is the reaction I mostly get; that they think we are somehow not teaching kids good morals any more.

    So, I will now ask them:

    don’t they teach morals in churches any more?

    and if they say yes, I will respond with:

    Then of course, either the churches have failed, or god has failed.

    Did you never learn any ethics in school? (yes)

    was what you learned tied to a specific religion? (no)

    so…?

  135. 135
    Marcus Ranum

    The image from the massacre that sticks in my mind is the one of the two first responders, who appear to be escorting a kid and a parent away from the scene of the attack. They are both carrying M-16oid .223s similar to the bushmaster – quick sights, front grips, and high capacity magazines. Of course, they are law enforcement. But when the shooting is over and the shooter has killed himself, why was it necessary to still be running around sporting one’s cool-o military gear? It just illustrates how sick – and in so many ways – how wrong American society is about violence. We don’t need kids to be able to walk into schools like they’re playing “modern warfare” with real targets and we don’t need cops that are able to, either. It’s all around us.

  136. 136
    Ichthyic

    Happy holidays, indeed.

    I like my SO, who does flowcharts for a government ministry, and created this handy flowchart.

  137. 137
    joed

    I moved this over to here from The Lounge #389 as folks did not want to talk about it there. Acceptable here?
    Does anyone have any ideas about this.
    Worldwide the militaries kill women and children and all sorts of defenseless folks often. The shooters get rewards for the killing. These soldiers are at the peak of physical health. These killings are ordinary and usual and happen daily.
    Healthy humans are capable of the most heartbreaking, immoral acts, including the killing of children.
    I don’t see any difference in the killing of children whether by military or by young civilian man. If there is a difference, what is the difference?
    Psychologically speaking, why do non-military shooters go after the most defenseless of people.
    What really gets me to thinking is the question as to why these sort of tragedies are directed at the most defenseless of people?!
    Why don’t these shooters attack a police station or military base? Seems they don’t have an escape plan or end up killing self as planned any way?
    I am in no way suggesting that police and military bases should be attacked. I don’t want any human to be a victim of violence.
    Is there some psychological advantage(whatever that is) to going after children?

  138. 138
    carlie

    Oh gee, look what Richard Dawkins just tweeted:

    Not everyone with a gun is psychotic. Not all psychos have guns. But given a fair number of psychos and lots of easily available guns . . .

    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*
    *headdesk*

  139. 139
    Marcus Ranum

    why these sort of tragedies are directed at the most defenseless of people?!

    Because they want to make as splashy an exit as possible, which means attacking the weakest most defenseless victims they can think of. If they went and tried to take down a SEAL team, it probably wouldn’t be very gratifying.

  140. 140
    Ichthyic

    and for those who aren’t on my facebook (*facepalm*)…

    Xmas Flowchart

  141. 141
    Ichthyic

    Oh gee, look what Richard Dawkins just tweeted:

    twitter is worse than useless for communicating ideas; inevitably whenever someone tries to communicate something with any nuance to it, it will be crunched into something meaningless that then has to be explained in a medium that allows for a more detailed response.

    why not just skip to the medium that allows for the detailed response to begin with?

  142. 142
    Valde

    this is in response to that awful poem about the kids gong to heaven /vomit:

    Reasonable Doubts podcast had an interesting episode sorta related to this. It was concerning the fact that, if Heaven is so wonderful, why don’t parents just kill their children? Why aren’t children killed before they can sin, then they iwll lead wonderful lives in heaven. I mean, shouldn’t that be a worthy goal? Certainly killing children is the *merciful* thing to do, vs. letting them live to become sinners, no?

  143. 143
    slowdjinn

    @123

    Oddly enough, slow police response was also what enabled Breivik to kill so many people.

    Although it should be noted that Breivik deliberately engineered that delay by bombing government buildings elsewhere, shortly before going to the massacre site.

  144. 144
    consciousness razor

    I see joed still hasn’t changed his script. No surprises.

    Worldwide the militaries kill women and children and all sorts of defenseless folks often.
    [...]
    Psychologically speaking, why do non-military shooters go after the most defenseless of people. [?]

    Why do military shooters go after them, joed?

    Why don’t these shooters attack a police station or military base?

    Maybe because some of them just don’t care whether you consider their victims “defenseless.” Maybe that’s why.

    I am in no way suggesting that police and military bases should be attacked.

    Then why the fuck does it matter to you? You could read reports from actual investigators if you really wanted to get an idea of why certain people do certain things. Why don’t you go learn about that, instead of asking us to speculate about it for you? This is at least the third thread you’ve spammed with this same exact shit — could you try to answer it yourself? Go ahead: give us your speculations. I’m sure they’ll be really fucking useful.

  145. 145
    Ichthyic

    Worldwide the militaries kill women and children and all sorts of defenseless folks often. The shooters get rewards for the killing.

    so… domestically we should not reward people for killing defenseless people?

    *scratches out posthumous medal ceremony for Brevik*

    damn, there goes my weekend.

  146. 146
    John Morales

    Despite joed’s protestations, I can’t help thinking that joed is implying that diminishing the proportion of defenceless people would stymy mass-shooters — precisely that old chestnut of ‘an armed society is a safe society’.

  147. 147
    Ichthyic

    I’m thinking Joed just wants us to talk about how much we should hate all governments that do military interventions, anywhere.

    which of course has fuckall to do with what happened in Newtown.

  148. 148
    carlie

    twitter is worse than useless for communicating ideas; inevitably whenever someone tries to communicate something with any nuance to it, it will be crunched into something meaningless that then has to be explained in a medium that allows for a more detailed response.

    Sometimes yes, but if done thoughtfully, can also serve as a form of discipline to not use many words when fewer, better-chosen words would be superior. Stating it’s useless for communicating ideas in general is the same as saying haiku or particular rhyming meters are useless for communicating ideas.

  149. 149
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    From Janine’s Tea Party Daily link, this reduced me to incandescent perplexity.

    And doubtless the first proposed solution will be gun control. Now, with gun control this shooter would have had to modify his approach, but it would not have stopped him. Any fool can make thermite, for instance; it’s quite easy and requires materials that can be obtained virtually anywhere. He could have made thermite grenades and blown whole classrooms to bits. He could have made poison gas; there are several types that can be made fairly easily. Not the most efficient but his purpose would have been served (in an enclosed classroom it would have killed all the children). He could jelly alcohol and build a make-shift flame thrower. He could make his own guns, including gunpowder. He could make any sort of explosive – including the simple Malatov [sic] cocktail. . There are innumerable ways any determined person could carry out such a massacre without a firearm. It may take an extra bit of work, but it can be done. And it could well be worse than just using a gun, which is limited to hitting people with little hunks of lead.

    As a resident of one of the seven G-8 countries that have sane gun control laws, we have, mysteriously, not been hit with a wave of school alcohol-jelly-flame-throwerers or university-library-thermite-demolishers.

    Puzzling.

    It’s almost like allowing weapons “limited to hitting people with little hunks of lead” is a dangerous thing compared to the alternatives …

  150. 150
    John Morales

    Change. Anyone have any confidence that Obama will make any substantial changes?

    Australia’s national broadcaster has this story up: Obama throws support behind assault weapon ban.

    (Fair use)

    — begin extract —

    As schools reopen in the US community devastated by last week’s shooting massacre, US president Barack Obama has thrown his weight behind a bill to reintroduce a ban on civilians owning assault weapons.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would support a law proposed by Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein to prohibit the arms, defined as certain types of semi-automatic firearm with removable magazines.

    “He is actively supportive of, for example, Senator Feinstein’s stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban,” he said, when asked what Mr Obama would do about gun control.

    Mr Carney said Mr Obama would also support any move to ban high-capacity clips – magazines that hold dozens of rounds – and close the so-called “gun show loophole” that allows unlicensed individuals to sell guns privately.

    Ms Feinstein vowed on Monday to bring the bill forward, telling CNN: “It’s going to be strong, and it’s going to be definitive. And it’s going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    — end extract —

  151. 151
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Since JoeD thinks posting copypasta fuckwittery on multiple threads doesn’t mean xe is trolling, we should all do JoeD a favor and killfile xis ass. Can’t get much dumber or much more self-centered than xe is….

  152. 152
    carlie

    Supporting the assault weapon ban that was already in place once, passed by many of the same people who are still in Congress now, is the absolute least that can be done. I’ll be impressed if further measures are taken.

  153. 153
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    John Morales #146:

    [...] precisely that old chestnut of ‘an armed society is a safe society’.

    That was Heinlein that came up with that, wasn’t it? I think it was “An armed society is a polite society.”

    Even during my Heinlein-worshipping days (O naive youth) I had a problem with that quote. The first thing that leapt to mind was the American Wild West, when society was indeed armed and from what I could recall from the very few history books I read on the period, was decidedly not polite. John Wesley Hardin. Shot someone for snoring. What the actual fuck.

  154. 154
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    Ms Feinstein vowed on Monday to bring the bill forward, telling CNN: “It’s going to be strong, and it’s going to be definitive. And it’s going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    And gun companies just name their guns something else…

    *sigh*

    In other argghness: psycho != psychotic. One is a medical term; the other is a slur.

  155. 155
    John Morales

    [OT]

    silomowbray, yes.

  156. 156
    PZ Myers

    I thought about announcing it in the form of a question on multiple threads, but decided one simple statement is enough.

    Joed has been repeatedly wacked with the banhammer.

  157. 157
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Joed has been repeatedly wacked with the banhammer.

    Oooohhhhkayyyy.

    (S/)He’ll be asking why other blog owners whack their commenters with more destructive weapons and/or why they pay their moderators to do it for them.

  158. 158
    Nakkustoppeli

    cm, one of the school shooters (don’t remember which one) tried to arson the school along with shooting students and staff but didn’t succeed in the arson part. Guns are designed for killing but buildings are not designed to be as flammable as possible.

  159. 159
    Ichthyic

    Stating it’s useless for communicating ideas in general is the same as saying haiku or particular rhyming meters are useless for communicating ideas.

    fair enough, but how many of us are:

    -good at haiku
    -good enough at haiku that they require no explanations.

    part of the value of haiku is often that it leaves interpretation open. That is NOT a good thing when communicating ideas.

  160. 160
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Joed has been repeatedly wacked with the banhammer.

    I’m sure xe is pleased with xis martyrdom. Xe has been asking for it for a while…

  161. 161
    timgueguen

    I suspect that some perpetrators of murder-sucides involving kids do kill them because they think the kids will be happy in Heaven.

  162. 162
    Holms

    While over at the new Bad Astronomy location, I found an article bringing in some pretty compelling figures on the results of gun ownership restrictions.

    For some reason the formatting of this fucked up whenever I put in inline with the first sentence, and why the hell is it right aligned anyway?

    Briefly: Australia had a shooting massacre in 1996, immediately passed gun ownership reform, and has not had one since. Some good numbers in there plus references give strong indication that this reduction in gun crime was not simply ‘topped up’ with other forms of murder making up the numbers; the gun murders of both the one-off and spree variety have simply plummeted.

    The only reports to the contrary? Funded by the gun industry.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @3 Ogvorbis

    Teaching children to charge a killer with a semi-automatic weapon is far different from adults making the decision to do something. At least, it is in my little and useless mind, but what do I know?

    Especially when those adults are doomed anyway, whereas the kids attempting to flee / hide may actually spare themselves as a direct result.

    That is just a goddamn idiot comparison all round, Gretchen.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @28 sundoga

    Automatic, knee-jerk reactions to things like this don’t solve problems. In that, I include both sides of the “gun debate”, which has become anything but a debate – both sides are screaming, and neither is listening.

    Meaning, stop trying to change America starting at the gun laws, stop trying to do a fucking thing about it? Oh and facepalms all round for choosing the ultimate in shit journalism for your reference.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @69 eoleen

    …lots of ways to kill a lot of people…

    Of course you realise that gun ownership being so easy makes shooting by far the most accessible (and thus prevalent) of those methods? You also realise that all of those methods are virtually inacessible to the average Joe due to heavy regulation, and that maybe that has some bearing on why they are used so rarely? But yeah, people will kill people regardless so I guess we’d better not do a fucking thing about it, good point.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @98 dianna

    Gun marshal brings his perfectly legal gun onto 767. Goes into cockpit on some excuse, shoots pilot, flies plane into Sears Tower or Empire State Building or whatever. I’m only surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

    Air marshals, which I presume is what you meant, presumably face a higher degree of screening than some yokel walking into a gun store.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @137 joed

    Healthy humans are capable of the most heartbreaking, immoral acts, including the killing of children.
    I don’t see any difference in the killing of children whether by military or by young civilian man. If there is a difference, what is the difference?

    etc.etc.

    Setting aside the possibility of soldiers attacking children, the general case of a soldier is that he or she is attacking other soldiers – people that have vollunteered and are considered combatants, making them a legitimate target. I also dispute the idea that soldiers are rewarded for killing noncombatants. In every case, where such things come to the public eye at least, there is immediate outcry and condemnation.

    Non-military shooters go after the defenceless because thay are easy kills and the shooter is a fucking coward looking to instill fear / vengeance / whatever with the least opposition. While I regret the idea that military conflict is necessary, it remains a world apart from some fuckhead gunning down schoolkids and the comparison you are trying to make is obnoxious.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    @138 carlie

    Oh gee, look what Richard Dawkins just tweeted:

    Not everyone with a gun is psychotic. Not all psychos have guns. But given a fair number of psychos and lots of easily available guns . . .

    Yes, a poor choice of words but if you replace ‘psychotic’ with ‘irresponsible’, his statement becomes something I can support.

  163. 163
    strange gods before me ॐ

    the other is a slur.

    A slur derived from psychopath, suggesting Dawkins doesn’t even know that psychosis is not psychopathy, yet is running his mouth about shit he doesn’t understand.

    Not to mention the fact that neither psychosis nor psychopathy is indicated in Lanza’s crime.

    +++++

    Yes, a poor choice of words but if you replace ‘psychotic’ with ‘irresponsible’,

    then you release Dawkins from any responsibility for speaking accurately or thoughtfully.

  164. 164
    consciousness razor

    Yes, a poor choice of words but if you replace ‘psychotic’ with ‘irresponsible’,

    Sure, just like with Gretchen’s #2, if you change the relevant words so that it means something else, you can make it say anything you want. “I like soup,” for example. But why do that?

    his statement becomes something I can support.

    What is there to support? Given irresponsible people* and lots of guns … what follows?

    *But of course, Lanza is responsible. He’s responsible for murdering people. So what is “irresponsible” supposed to mean in this context anyway?

  165. 165
    Holms

    @149 cm

    From Janine’s Tea Party Daily link, this reduced me to incandescent perplexity.

    ~snippety~

    As a resident of one of the seven G-8 countries that have sane gun control laws, we have, mysteriously, not been hit with a wave of school alcohol-jelly-flame-throwerers or university-library-thermite-demolishers.

    Puzzling.

    It’s almost like allowing weapons “limited to hitting people with little hunks of lead” is a dangerous thing compared to the alternatives …

    I love the way they completely omit the point that all of those alternate methods require something that a gun does not. The ‘simple’ act of sitting down to make some home made flamethrowers – seriously, how the fuck is that even a reasonable comparison – requires not only some hours (I’m guessing here) hour construction time, but also the knowledge of how the fuck to do that. Granted, someone that is truly fuckheaded enough to want to do that can find the instructional resources to do so, but the gun of course completely skips all of that and can simply be picked up and put to use by any pissed off asshole in seconds flat.

    One might almost think that the conservative gun crowd is not very intellectually honest…

    ____________________________________________________________________________
    @154 nightshadequeen

    And gun companies just name their guns something else…

    Any moderately well written legislation on this topic would ban guns by category rather than market name.

  166. 166
    carlie

    part of the value of haiku is often that it leaves interpretation open. That is NOT a good thing when communicating ideas.

    I concede that point. I just know that the format has often forced me to find better way to phrase things, because I tend to be long-winded.

    Yes, a poor choice of words but if you replace ‘psychotic’ with ‘irresponsible’, his statement becomes something I can support.

    If you replace one word with a different word that means something entirely unrelated to that word, it’s ok. Fine, then.

  167. 167
    Holms

    @163 strange

    then you release Dawkins from any responsibility for speaking accurately or thoughtfully.

    My comment on his tweet was what I consider to be what he should have said, it was not support for what he instead did say. Read it as ‘he messed up, no defending it, now here is a better statemtent’.

    That may as well go for 164 consciousness as well, but also

    But of course, Lanza is responsible. He’s responsible for murdering people. So what is “irresponsible” supposed to mean in this context anyway?

    Yes everyone is responsible for their actions and consequences of those actions, yet I honestly think my use of ‘irresponsible’ and the concept of irresponsibility in general was clear in context.

  168. 168
    Ichthyic

    Yes everyone is responsible for their actions and consequences of those actions

    we don’t believe that, really.

    hence why juveniles are not treated as adults capable of full consent, and why we have a different justice system for them.

  169. 169
    Ichthyic

    I just know that the format has often forced me to find better way to phrase things, because I tend to be long-winded.

    LOL, that’s exactly why I don’t use it; I too tend to be long winded, but I’ve decided it’s better that way.

    let me explain why in this 10 page essay I just wrote…

    (not).

    :P

  170. 170
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Read it as ‘he messed up, no defending it, now here is a better statemtent’.

    I’ll read it as what you actually said, in regard to what he actually said.

    If you wanted to offer your own beliefs, you can do that without distracting from the problems with what Dawkins said.

  171. 171
    Ichthyic

    I suspect that some perpetrators of murder-sucides involving kids do kill them because they think the kids will be happy in Heaven.

    or at least no longer “suffering”.

    but we’ll never really know.

  172. 172
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    @138 carlie

    Oh gee, look what Richard Dawkins just tweeted:

    Not everyone with a gun is psychotic. Not all psychos have guns. But given a fair number of psychos and lots of easily available guns . . .

    Yes, a poor choice of words but if you replace ‘psychotic’ with ‘irresponsible’, his statement becomes something I can support.

    I don’t agree with irresponsible, either. There’s a pretty large difference from being irresponsible and being a killer. One can, for example, be a complete failure at doing laundry*/fulfilling basic life tasks/remembering to pay the credit card bill, which are Not Good things to do, but it’s not the same as gunning down six-year-olds.

    Hell, I’d argue that even manslaughter due to irresponsibility** is marginally “better” than outright murder. One of then requires a conscious decision; the other doesn’t.

    *I swear, I still have floorspace! Now, if you’re talking about clean socks….

    **Skipping safety regulations != manslaughter due to irresponsibility.

    Holms:

    Any moderately well written legislation on this topic would ban guns by category rather than market name.

    I think you’re assuming competence here :D.

    Ms Feinstein vowed on Monday to bring the bill forward, telling CNN: “It’s going to be strong, and it’s going to be definitive. And it’s going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    Emphasis added.

  173. 173
    joed

    In the US, Mass Child Killings are Tragedies. In Pakistan, Mere Bug Splats
    By George Monbiot
    Barack Obama’s tears for the children of Newtown are in stark contrast to his silence over the children murdered by his drones.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33361.htm

  174. 174
    consciousness razor

    Yes everyone is responsible for their actions and consequences of those actions, yet I honestly think my use of ‘irresponsible’ and the concept of irresponsibility in general was clear in context.

    It’s not clear to me.

    I also still don’t know what you support about your revised version. Put all the fragments together, and it’s still not even a complete sentence.

  175. 175
    carlie

    yet I honestly think my use of ‘irresponsible’ and the concept of irresponsibility in general was clear in context.

    “Irresponsible” is when you don’t give any consideration to the consequences of your actions. I’m pretty sure that guy knew exactly what the consequences of his actions would be.

  176. 176
    Ichthyic

    If you wanted to offer your own beliefs, you can do that without distracting from the problems with what Dawkins said.

    I can’t disagree with that at all. Dawkins does have a repeated tendency, historically, to be quite sloppy with his verbiage when speaking publicly sometimes, and is often allowed to slide on it simply because in his writings, he has been much less so (at least wrt to popular science outreach).

    one of the negatives of being a highly public figure, is that it comes with the price that people will tend to look to you as an authority figure, for better or worse, and saying something exceedingly sloppy will, and probably should, come back to bite one in the ass a bit more forcefully than if one wasn’t a public figure.

    I tend to give Richard a lot more room than I probably should, but then I’m getting old and have met the man personally, albeit over 20 years ago now. I think Richard has had plenty of time and lots of room to slide. He should know better by now.

    He should fix it. probably by making a nice, long blog post about it on his site.

  177. 177
    Ichthyic

    it’s going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    my bet:

    most of those will be outdated weapons from multiple different manufacturers, all approved BY the manufacturers for inclusion in the bill, because they represent so little of their active market.

  178. 178
    Marcus Ranum

    That was Heinlein that came up with that, wasn’t it? I think it was “An armed society is a polite society.”

    Yes, but only in his right-wing fantasy-land. For example, out in the real world, societies that had duelling (Heinlein’s favorite fantasy) were usually stratified – nobility carried weapons and if you couldn’t challenge someone to a duel that was higher-ranked than you. If you weren’t a noble, you couldn’t challenge anyone to a duel at all. So the way it worked out in practice was that the upper class could beat down or kill anyone who annoyed them, with impunity. Hardly a “polite” armed society. Voltaire, for example, got into an altercation with the Chevalier De Rohan (not of Tolkien fame) – De Rohan’s response was to have a bunch of goons beat Voltaire, whereupon Voltaire started learning how to use a sword and De Rohan used a lettre de cachet to order Voltaire’s imprisonment – which is how Voltaire ended up in London for a while, learning English and familiarizing himself with the discoveries of Isaac Newton. For humanity, all in all, Voltaire’s beating probably had a silver lining.
    In feudal Japanese culture, Samurai had the right to cut down anyone who annoyed them of a lower social class (kirisute gomen) and, of course, could not challenge up the authority pyramid. In England, the rare duels were almost exclusively fought down the authority pyramid. I don’t know much of other “armed, polite” societies but I suspect that it’s always a ratification of power and not the other way around.

    Now, for US society, we see the same thing. Urban poor are assumed to be doing something illegal if they are carrying too much cash or (dog forbid!) a weapon and are much more likely to be shot by police than to be spoken to politely by them. And, of course, the American West was hardly a bastion of cultural sophistication and courtesy.

    Heinlein’s myth “an armed society is a polite society”: busted.

  179. 179
    Marcus Ranum

    Air marshals, which I presume is what you meant, presumably face a higher degree of screening than some yokel walking into a gun store.

    Aahahahhahaahaha! You’d think that, wouldn’t you.

    Now, do you want to take a look at the typical TSA screeners you see at airports, and try that again?

  180. 180
    A. R

    Stop the planet please, I want to get off.

  181. 181
    Holms

    @168 icthyic

    we don’t believe that, really.

    hence why juveniles are not treated as adults capable of full consent, and why we have a different justice system for them.

    Different contextual meanings, don’t mix them up.

    @170 strange

    I’ll read it as what you actually said, in regard to what he actually said.

    Which is why I offered a replacement, since I agree that I didn’t express myself clearly the first time.

    @172 nightshadequeen

    And it’s going to ban by name at least 100 military-style semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    Ah missed that, that could indeed render the entire thing futile.

  182. 182
    consciousness razor

    Chevalier De Rohan (not of Tolkien fame)

    Are you sure? “Knight of Rohan” sure seems like a dead giveaway to me.

  183. 183
    Holms

    @178 marcus

    Now, do you want to take a look at the typical TSA screeners you see at airports, and try that again?

    As far as I am aware,TSA screeners are not the same as air marshals. Different job, different people, different employer organisations.

  184. 184
    Ichthyic

    Different contextual meanings, don’t mix them up.

    I didn’t.

    in fact, it supports your claim that substituting “irresponsible” makes Dawkins statement more palatable.

    we don’t let children buy guns.

    why?

  185. 185
    Holms

    Are you sure? “Knight of Rohan” sure seems like a dead giveaway to me.

    According to Professor Wiki, it is also the name of multiple regions, towns, castles and even a line of nobility, mostly in France. So, ‘Knight of Rohan’ is quite plausibly a real person.

  186. 186
    Holms

    I didn’t.

    You did.

  187. 187
    Marcus Ranum

    As far as I am aware,TSA screeners are not the same as air marshals. Different job, different people, different employer organisations.

    Correct. But the homeland security industry has become a catch-basin for a lot of folks who really probably aren’t the ones you want taking guns on planes or securing the perimeter. Do a couple google searches for “incompetent sky marshal.” Many sky marshals are ex-secret service or other branches of law enforcement. No doubt that means you’ve got some serious professional top-notch people. It also means you’ve got some real losers.

  188. 188
    rorschach

    I’m not so worried about those opportunistic political fuckweasels who try to suggest that the US as a whole got punished by god through the shooting death of 26 people for wobbling in their faith.

    I’m more worried that there are so many people in that country who do not immediately understand that this is not what happened.

  189. 189
    Ichthyic

    You did.

    you really like insisting people just don’t understand you.

    good luck.

  190. 190
  191. 191
    Argle Bargle

    During late 16th and early 17th Centuries Henri Duc de Rohan was the acknowledged leader of the French Huguenots. His great-grandson Guy de Rohan-Chabot, often referred to as the Chevalier de Rohan, was the Duke of Rohan. He was best known for his altercation with Voltaire.

  192. 192
    samsalerno

    Excuse me Mr. President, but have you seen or heard this god you speak of. Well then if you cannot produce this god than be so kind as to keep him to yourself. We are trying to solve problems here. Has god done anything ever about war, famine or Human trafficking A.K.A. kidnap and rape. No. Well then can you please keep your delusions out of this intelligent conversation thank you.

  193. 193
    rorschach

    @ 189,

    Why do people point to inanimate objects and make believe beings when stuff like this happens and don’t pay any attention to the purposeful dosing of a developing mind with poorly studied psychotropic medications?

    Because if this dosed with poorly studied psychotropic medication mind had been in Australia or Sweden instead of the USA, there would not be 26 dead people now.

  194. 194
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Because the availability of guns, exposure to gun violence, and the gun culture(s) give people pre-defined outlets and toy with which to effect their fantasies to devastating ends. That’s why.

    The U.S. isn’t the country what had a “wild west” for no reason. The reason is the availability of firearms and their casual-to-fervent acceptance.

  195. 195
    Rey Fox

    Why do people point to inanimate objects

    Oh give it a rest.

  196. 196
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    PZ Myers asked :

    Anyone have any confidence that Obama will make any substantial changes?

    I really don’t know but I hope so, things seem slightly different this time from what I’ve read and heard and Obama has, I gather, promised to support a bill being introduced to Congress to ban assault weapons.

    It seems, again from what I’ve heard and read, that the Newton massacre has even NRA chastened, shocked and for a while silent. Hope? After this worst massacre yet has been a “tipping point” and actually led to people rethinking and acting to make massacres like this if not impossible then at least much harder to committ and thus rarer. Maybe? What the alternative?

  197. 197
    Christopher

    Because if this dosed with poorly studied psychotropic medication mind had been in Australia or Sweden instead of the USA, there would not be 26 dead people now.

    And you know this how?

    Didn’t some douchebag kill a bunch of kids with a gun in Scandinavia not that long ago?

    Didn’t some douchebag attack a bunch of kids in china last week with a knife?

    Even if you could somehow magically eliminate the ~200 million firearms in the US, how would that stop someone from attacking defenseless children while tweaked out on big-pharma brain drugs?

    Ban guns and murder-suicide nutjobs will go back to blowing up schools instead of shooting.

    or use baseball bats…

    or use fire…

    Shall we ban sticks and fire as well. Maybe if everyone is bound in a straightjacket from birth we will finally be safe from murder-homicide douchenozzles. That is until some jackasses googles Houdini….

  198. 198
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Shall we ban sticks and fire as well. Maybe if everyone is bound in a straightjacket from birth we will finally be safe from murder-homicide douchenozzles. That is until some jackasses googles Houdini….

    And your pessimism and irrationality solves the problem how? What a jackass.

  199. 199
    Christopher

    And your pessimism and irrationality solves the problem how? What a jackass.

    How is anything I said irrational?

    And I’m only pessimistic that the knee-jerk reaction that people have in response to a rare occurrence is unlikely to have any effect on whether such a incident will happen again. This pessimism is born from looking at data across time and cultures.

    Oh, and if anyone cares, violent crime in the US has been falling for the last several decades (despite the sunsetting of the AW ban, massive proliferation of shall-issue CCW states and record gun sales year upon year, and the introduction of highly graphic first person shooters). graph

    This is a science blog at it’s core, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we be looking at data and statistics and not be falling for the same failings we make fun of religious nutjobs over?

  200. 200
    Christopher

    er decade and a half

  201. 201
    consciousness razor
    Because if this dosed with poorly studied psychotropic medication mind had been in Australia or Sweden instead of the USA, there would not be 26 dead people now.

    And you know this how?

    Let’s put this another way. If his mother hadn’t owned all those guns, would they have magically popped into existence in some convenient place (before or after he started practicing with them by the time he was 9 years old), just so your story will work?

    Regarding Fanapt, I don’t know where this information is supposed to be coming from. The article you linked cites another article from the NY Daily News, but unless I missed it somehow, that one doesn’t say anything about it at all.

  202. 202
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    This is a science blog at it’s core, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we be looking at data and statistics and not be falling for the same failings we make fun of religious nutjobs over?

    And what citations did you make to real literature? Just inane mewlings..typical of someone who isn’t being scientific and facing facts.

  203. 203
    aaronpound

    Michael Moore, in his piece on Columbine, pointed out that Canada has more guns per person than the US, yet around a tenth of the gun use violence.

    I don’t know if it was true when he made the film, but it isn’t true now. Canada has about 30 privately owned guns per 100 residents. The U.S. has about 88 per 100 residents.

  204. 204
    Useless

    What a beautiful poem! [Retch.] In spite of your best efforts, you’ve still got it wrong. It’s because of all the drugs we’re feeding our kids: http://us.mg4.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch#minty.

    After Columbine, while most journalists and lawmakers focused on whether or not my answer to protecting children by arming teachers was the right solution, it seems everyone missed my understanding of the root cause that drove these kids to commit such atrocities!

    The root cause was and continues to be the psych drugs that are being pushed on our children!

    In some cases children as young as kindergarten age!

    After Columbine, nobody wanted to believe the founder and director of the nation’s largest firearms training institute when he pointed his finger at psych drugs as the cause of the problem. During numerous radio, TV and newspaper interviews I would bring it up and it would fall on deaf ears with no reaction at all.

    There you have it. By the way, the “founder and director of the nation’s largest firearms training institute” is Ignatius Piazza of Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, a completely unbiased source on gun control.

  205. 205
    Christopher

    Regarding Fanapt, I don’t know where this information is supposed to be coming from. The article you linked cites another article from the NY Daily News, but unless I missed it somehow, that one doesn’t say anything about it at all.

    Ug, looks like it got scrubbed since the last time I looked. Orwell would be proud.

    Here is another source, screen-cap it while you can

    And what citations did you make to real literature? Just inane mewlings..typical of someone who isn’t being scientific and facing facts.

    Got any primary source citations that banning firearms in some way shape or form will stop people from murdering defenseless children while on a drug fueled psychotic break?

  206. 206
    consciousness razor

    Ug, looks like it got scrubbed since the last time I looked. Orwell would be proud.

    Here is another source, screen-cap it while you can

    That’s not “another source.” It links back to the same primary source, which no longer says that. Same reason we don’t count four gospels as “independent” evidence of Jesus.

    Got any primary source citations that banning firearms in some way shape or form will stop people from murdering defenseless children while on a drug fueled psychotic break?

    You suppose he would’ve gone there and killed all of those people without a weapon?

  207. 207
    Rey Fox

    Didn’t some douchebag attack a bunch of kids in china last week with a knife?

    Yes, and nobody died.

    But yes, let’s do nothing about far and away the most efficient and least controlled homicide device, because obviously gun control wouldn’t result in nobody ever being killed by anyone ever again.

    Fuck, you people are tiresome. By the way, there’s a whole thread about “blaming the cray-cray”, you might want to check it out.

  208. 208
    Christopher

    You suppose he would’ve gone there and killed all of those people without a weapon?

    Humans have been creating weapons before we created writing. Arguably before language.

    And it’s not like it is super hard to make a gun either.

    But even if you could do some magical thinking and ban the very knowledge of firearms from human consciousness, douchenozzle scumbags would still kill the defenseless because they could.

    That’s not “another source.” It links back to the same primary source, which no longer says that.

    It was the same source, pre-scrubbing. I never said otherwise. That source had a direct interview with a close relative that described the prescription of a very specific drug. I highly doubt that the uncle didn’t say that. Why was that line scrubbed? No one knows and the paper isn’t telling.

  209. 209
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But even if you could do some magical thinking and ban the very knowledge of firearms from human consciousness, douchenozzle scumbags would still kill the defenseless because they could.

    Why be a nihilist about it, when the type of weapon can make a huge difference in the body count? But the, you only appear to care about the attack happening, not the body count….No empathy…

  210. 210
    Christopher

    Yes, and nobody died.

    …murdered eight children with a knife… killed seven children and two adults… killing 3 children and 1 teacher… and that’s just on the english wiki page for the ’10-’11 sprees.

    But yes, let’s do nothing about far and away the most efficient and least controlled homicide device,

    What weapon that most Americans can legally acquire is more controlled than firearms?

    Fuck, you people are tiresome. By the way, there’s a whole thread about “blaming the cray-cray”, you might want to check it out.

    I’m not blaming the cray-cray, I’m blaming the drugs that have supplanted any sort of real treatment for the cray-cray. Drugs that cause suicidal-homicidal thoughts often enough to be included on the warning labels. Who knows, the benefit that the majority of prescription psychotropic drug users receives from their chemical cocktail might be worth the occasional mass murder on a some sort of fucked up balance of good weighing. But that is the conversation we need to be having, not what weapon we would rather have someone attack our children with.

  211. 211
    consciousness razor

    Humans have been creating weapons before we created writing. Arguably before language.

    And it’s not like it is super hard to make a gun either.

    But even if you could do some magical thinking and ban the very knowledge of firearms from human consciousness, douchenozzle scumbags would still kill the defenseless because they could.

    I asked about him specifically. I want you to tell me the story of what you think would’ve happened if he, personally, did not have guns which were readily accessible. (You might also want to tell us what it would’ve been like if he hadn’t been practicing with them by the time he was nine, but that is an optional bonus question.)
     
    Just to be really fucking clear, I’m not asking what would happen somewhere to someone at some time, if all knowledge of firearms were erased from human memory. I think those are fairly distinct questions.

  212. 212
    Christopher

    Why be a nihilist about it, when the type of weapon can make a huge difference in the body count? But the, you only appear to care about the attack happening, not the body count….No empathy…

    Fuck you.

    My heart aches over human suffering. I want to minimize it as much as possible, which is why I have been encouraging people to stop pouring their energies into things that won’t do a lick of good while ignoring the elephant in the room.

    You want to talk body count, I previously posted a link to the happyland fire. Eighty-seven people murdered. Burned to death with a couple bucks of gas. You don’t need guns for high body counts.

  213. 213
    hypatiasdaughter

    Well, we don’t really know if all those 20 children are running about in heaven. Some of them might not be xtians or the RIGHT kind of xtians. (Now WLC says that all kiddies under 7 get a free pass into heaven, but I have never heard of any biblical evidence to support this.)

    #135 Marcus Ranum My guess is that the police had their guns out because they don’t know if there are more shooters. Probably there were other cops searching the school while these ones were escorting the students and teachers to safety.

  214. 214
    consciousness razor

    I’m not blaming the cray-cray, I’m blaming the drugs

    Which I’ve seen no evidence for. You realize the uncle’s report could’ve been wrong, right? That could explain why they pulled that part from their story, though the others have not caught up with it.

    Instead, you immediately reach for “Orwell” like a fucking conspiracy theorist.

  215. 215
    Christopher

    I asked about him specifically. I want you to tell me the story of what you think would’ve happened if he, personally, did not have guns which were readily accessible. (You might also want to tell us what it would’ve been like if he hadn’t been practicing with them by the time he was nine, but that is an optional bonus question.)

    He was reported as a bit of an Aspy. I would imagine he would hit the internet or the golden book of chemistry and build a few incendiary devices and/or poison gas bombs and take out the whole fucking school at the monthly assembly.

    Chemistry ain’t that fucking hard, especially for someone with lots of time on their hands and a knack for geeking out on details.

  216. 216
    Christopher

    Note, the aspy comment was in refence to geeking out on chemistry, not in wanting to murder everyone. Most of my friends are aspies…

  217. 217
    Christopher

    You realize the uncle’s report could’ve been wrong, right?

    They didn’t quote him as saying that his nephew was “on something” he cited a specific drug that hasn’t been kleenexed into the lexicon like Prozac. I doubt we’ll ever know for sure as any talk about the kid’s medical records gets deep sixed into the memory hole.

  218. 218
    consciousness razor

    Note, the aspy comment was in refence to geeking out on chemistry,

    It’s still a fucking offensive stereotype which shows you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. Aspies are not geeks.

    And it’s still doing anything and everything to try to take guns out of the equation, which is just fucking absurd.

  219. 219
    consciousness razor

    They didn’t quote him as saying that his nephew was “on something” he cited a specific drug that hasn’t been kleenexed into the lexicon like Prozac. I doubt we’ll ever know for sure as any talk about the kid’s medical records gets deep sixed into the memory hole.

    So you’re going to drop that story, right? A potential side effect of a drug he might have been taking isn’t much to work with. It’s one possibility stacked on another, and it’s especially bullshitty when you’re not going to take the rest of the situation into account. Like the fact that he had guns readily available to him, for example.

  220. 220
    vaiyt

    Louie Gohmert: “I wish to God she [the principal] had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids”

    After which, he puts a cigar in his mouth, climbs on the killer’s corpse, and poses, saying in a gravelly voice: “Hail to the King, baby”.

    Ann Coulter: Only one policy has ever been shown to deter mass murder: concealed-carry laws.”

    [citation fucking needed]

    Megan McArdle: “I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. “

    Because rushing the killer helped Breivik’s victims so much…

  221. 221
    Christopher

    It’s still a fucking offensive stereotype which shows you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. Aspies are not geeks.

    “Geeking” as a verb, not a noun. In my colloquial group it means being highly focused on one thing to the point that you have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the specific details that make up the item of inquiry. Not everyone who geeks out on stuff is a geek, but all geeks geek out on stuff :)

    (weird errata, while looking on the great internet to see if others verb geek the way we do, it seems like some call a cocaine binge geeking out. That is also not what I meant.)

    And it’s still doing anything and everything to try to take guns out of the equation, which is just fucking absurd.

    Why is that absurd? Weapons are weapons. Guns are a bit better than some weapons, and quite a bit worse than others given the situation. If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife or an inferno or a club or a predator drone would their parents mourn any less?

  222. 222
    sadunlap

    @ Aaronpound # 202

    I don’t know if it was true when he made the film, but it isn’t true now. Canada has about 30 privately owned guns per 100 residents. The U.S. has about 88 per 100 residents.

    Beware of comparing statistics compiled by different sources. Your count goes by firearms per 100 residents. Moore, from what I recall from that movie, stated the per capita stats for firearm owners per 100 residents. The figures you quoted – by number of firearms – allow a relatively small number of gun collectors each with more than one firearm (some have hundreds) to “duke the stats.”

    Do you see how the number of weapons per 100 residents is not a very meaningful way to analyze gun ownership? What does it say about me and other non-gun-owners that someone else has hundreds of firearms? Would not the number of gun owners compared to the number of non-gun owners make for a more useful comparison? If not, why not?

  223. 223
    vaiyt

    Portable rocket launchers for everyone!

  224. 224
    Christopher

    So you’re going to drop that story, right? A potential side effect of a drug he might have been taking isn’t much to work with.

    When pretty much all of the mass murder-suicide perpetrators follow a similar pattern (middle class, usually white, male with a prescription for drugs designed to fuck with the mind), you have to start wondering… It’s not like this is the first fucking time this has happened

    It’s one possibility stacked on another, and it’s especially bullshitty when you’re not going to take the rest of the situation into account. Like the fact that he had guns readily available to him, for example.

    Lots of people have guns readily available to them. Even more have other equally (or even more) dangerous weapons available to them.

    Access to an object that can kill something does not in and of itself have direct side effects that result in “aggression, and delusion have been reported frequently.”

  225. 225
    logicalcat

    I live in Florida and could get a gun stupid easily. Why would anyone suggest making it easier to acquire these things?

    The point of gun control is that you make it harder for such crimes to be committed. Every time someone says “oh you can rack a high body count with such and such weapons”, always neglects the fact that it requires extra work and knowledge with those weapons whereas with a semi-automatic I would barely have to aim.

  226. 226
    consciousness razor

    In my colloquial group it means being highly focused on one thing to the point that you have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the specific details that make up the item of inquiry.

    Therefore *poof* he’s a fucking wizard at chemistry and has all the raw materials needed to kill people however he wants. Because that’s what Asperger’s is.

    If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife or an inferno or a club or a predator drone would their parents mourn any less?

    Wrong fucking question. Still haven’t answered mine either. You’re bad at this “conversation” stuff.

    Here’s the question:
    If he had a knife or an inferno* or a club or a predator drone**, how likely is it would’ve killed just as many people?

    *How the fuck? He has “an inferno” just like that?
    **I didn’t think your credibility could’ve gotten lower, but it just did.

  227. 227
    sadunlap

    #209 Chistopher

    Why is that absurd? Weapons are weapons. Guns are a bit better than some weapons, and quite a bit worse than others given the situation. If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife or an inferno or a club or a predator drone would their parents mourn any less?

    I’m sorry, you actually need to have someone explain to you why this is absurd? Have you never seen the Monty Python skit in which a cliche of a screaming drill sergeant trains his recruits to defend themselves from assailants armed with vegetables? How do you think the murderer from CT is supposed to get his hands on a Predator drone? Someone has already pointed out that a nut in China attacked school children with a knife but no one died. You honestly do not see the difference between assault rifles and clubs or knives? You would actually bring a zucchini to a gun fight? (Don’t under-estimate the zucchini – in the right hands it’s very deadly!).

  228. 228
    Christopher

    I live in Florida and could get a gun stupid easily. Why would anyone suggest making it easier to acquire these things?

    Who is suggesting that anyone make it easier.

    And it’s not like Florida needs guns to come up with some odd ways and reasons to kill other humans

  229. 229
    logicalcat

    Lots of people have guns readily available to them. Even more have other equally (or even more) dangerous weapons available to them.

    Like what pray tell? What weapons are you thinking of that are more readily available, are in the hands of more people and is deadlier than a gun with requiring less training and education?

    The point is we are trying to make it harder to commit such acts. It wont eliminate them all I know, but why in the freaking hell would you be OK with making it easier? Would you be OK if everyone had ready and easy access to predator drones? After all; a weapon is a weapon right?

  230. 230
    Christopher

    I’m sorry, you actually need to have someone explain to you why this is absurd? Have you never seen the Monty Python skit in which a cliche of a screaming drill sergeant trains his recruits to defend themselves from assailants armed with vegetables? How do you think the murderer from CT is supposed to get his hands on a Predator drone?

    That was a sad reference to the children that we have killed with our taxpayer dollars. That we can actually do something about legislatively, but alas, cute white kids on TV are worth so much more than brown kids half a world away….

    Someone has already pointed out that a nut in China attacked school children with a knife but no one died. You honestly do not see the difference between assault rifles and clubs or knives? You would actually bring a zucchini to a gun fight?

    A knife or a club is much different than a zucchini.

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different? How about home made poison gas bombs? What if he had disabled the doors and set the whole building on fire? There is an infinite number of ways to kill defenseless children. Playing wack-a-mole with the objects of attack is a fools errand.

  231. 231
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Would someone please explain to Christopher that the US has an epidemic of GUN violence? Not fire violence. Not knife violence. For some *strange* reason when people in this country want to kill someone, they turn to firearms by a wide margin. I wonder what makes firearms the weapons of choice (miss my comic sans)?

  232. 232
    Valde

    if I am emotionally unstable and fly off the handle, it’s gonna be easier for me to grab the gun and start shooting people, vs burning them alive, knifing them, and so on

    guns.make.murder.really.easy

  233. 233
    Christopher

    Like what pray tell? What weapons are you thinking of that are more readily available, are in the hands of more people and is deadlier than a gun with requiring less training and education?

    Bleach and ammonia

    with not much internet searching, sarin gas

    ammonium nitrate

    And if we limit to weapons that are equally deadly in the same situation (murder-suicide asshole trying to kill as many primary school kids as possible), pretty much any mele weapon, DIY or bought.

    The point is we are trying to make it harder to commit such acts.

    How would it make it harder?

    It wont eliminate them all I know, but why in the freaking hell would you be OK with making it easier? Would you be OK if everyone had ready and easy access to predator drones? After all; a weapon is a weapon right?

    I’m happy with the current regulation scheme for destructive devices that would need to be complied with to arm a civilian owned drone with explosives. It sure is a lot more strict that the days of the privateer…

  234. 234
    consciousness razor

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different? How about home made poison gas bombs?

    People have pairs of swords and poison gas bombs lying around the fucking house? Have you been to reality lately? It’s not like that.

    What if he had disabled the doors and set the whole building on fire?

    Windows can be broken. Also, people right outside can see the smoke/fire, know right away that bad shit is happening, and may even be able to help some (or all) escape.

    There is an infinite number of ways to kill defenseless children. Playing wack-a-mole with the objects of attack is a fools errand.

    Limiting their options isn’t wack-a-mole, fool. It means this shit is less likely to happen and less likely to be as deadly or injure as many people.

  235. 235
    Christopher

    Ug, blockquote fail.

    sorry

  236. 236
    logicalcat

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different?

    Yes you idiot. The body count would have been different, or at the very least there would be an increased chance of something being done to stop him seeing as its a lot harder to kill someone with a sword when compared to the range of the gun. Not to mention if the gun was semi-auto. So unless he was a fucking ninja (again would require severe training, if this training even exists), then all you are doing is dismissing the chance to reduce violent crime by making it harder to commit these them all because someone at sometime might have taken a pill or used homemade explosive/gas/fire or any other BS method of murder that’s not as easily available, as easy to execute and as ingrained in our culture than guns currently are .

  237. 237
    Christopher

    Can someone explain to Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ that violent crime in the US has been on a huge decline for the last decade and a half (huge privately owned arsenal of guns not withstanding, ~5mil new guns a year purchased during that entire downturn in violent crime)

  238. 238
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Swords…??!!
    Really??
    Yeah because those are as effective at killing lots of people in the shortest time over great distances.

    Oh and fire?? Really?? Because no one would have noticed him dousing the school in gasoline, which would take time. And of course everything in the school is flammable. And schools haven’t been doing fire drills since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

    Can you find something else that is easy to acquire that kills over a long range in the shortest amount of time?

  239. 239
    Christopher

    People have pairs of swords and poison gas bombs lying around the fucking house? Have you been to reality lately? It’s not like that.

    I have a machete for weeds. I have bleach and ammonia for cleaning. I can buy diesel and fertilizer between here and anywhere.

    Welcome to reality: mele weapons and chemical agents are everywhere.

  240. 240
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Christopher, we are talking about gun violence, not violent crime. Stick to the subject.

  241. 241
    Christopher

    Swords…??!!
    Really??
    Yeah because those are as effective at killing lots of people in the shortest time over great distances.

    Oh and fire?? Really?? Because no one would have noticed him dousing the school in gasoline, which would take time. And of course everything in the school is flammable. And schools haven’t been doing fire drills since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

    Can you find something else that is easy to acquire that kills over a long range in the shortest amount of time?

    Who the fuck needs range when you are trying to kill defenseless little kids holed up in their classroom?

    What the fuck is a fire drill going to do when the only exits they train on are on fire or locked?

  242. 242
    Christopher

    Christopher, we are talking about gun violence, not violent crime. Stick to the subject.

    WTF? Is gun violence not violent crime? Is violent crime which is not committed with guns somehow better for the victims?

  243. 243
    Valde

    wow, as an observer I must say, Christopher is kinda dense!

  244. 244
    consciousness razor

    I have a machete for weeds. I have bleach and ammonia for cleaning. I can buy diesel and fertilizer between here and anywhere.

    Welcome to reality: mele weapons and chemical agents are everywhere.

    When you look at the figures for murderers who use melee weapon and chemical agents and compare those who use firearms, which is responsible for more deaths and injuries?

    I’m not talking about what could happen in a hypothetical scenario with an evil genius where everything goes according to plan. I’m talking about what does in fact happen.

  245. 245
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Bobo:
    So dense in fact that I am temporarily at a loss for words. I mean, the above two responses from him (?) are so nonsensical ON THE FACE OF IT. To think that someone still thinks equal damage would occur ONCE YOU THINK THROUGH the sequence of events is beyond me.
    I may need some time to take in the idiocy of thinking a pair of swords can do as much damage in the same time as a long range automatic weapon…

  246. 246
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    @Christopher

    Guns: Ease of use. Killing efficiency. Ease of access.

    Consider these points. To go from “I wish to murder a large group of innocents” to actually murdering that large group of innocents, the shortest

  247. 247
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    cr: tag. You’re it. I need a break from the stoopid. It is causing the hair on my bald head to fall out.

  248. 248
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Sorry, operator finger error. Trying again:

    @Christopher

    Guns: Ease of use. Killing efficiency. Ease of access.

    Consider these points. To go from “I wish to murder a large group of innocents” to actually murdering that large group of innocents, the shortest path to doing so with the least effort and the highest effectiveness is satisfied by the use of guns. Pick it up, load it, point it, pull trigger. Dead child. No mixing of chemicals or splashing of fuel All Over A School required.

    That the gun culture in the U.S. argues such ease of access to efficient killing power defines manliness and individual agency is a huge part of the problem. And if you don’t get that, you’re also part of the problem.

  249. 249
    Valde

    A few months ago an anti-abortion activist tried to blow up a Planned Parenthood clinic.

    He failed. Idiot was totally fail at making bombs.

    Now put a semi-automatic in the hands of said idiot and he would have probably have managed to actually kill people.

  250. 250
    logicalcat

    Bleach and ammonia

    with not much internet searching, sarin gas

    ammonium nitrate

    And if we limit to weapons that are equally deadly in the same situation (murder-suicide asshole trying to kill as many primary school kids as possible), pretty much any mele weapon, DIY or bought.

    Last out of me since I need to get to bed.

    I’ve asked for weapons which were easier to get than guns, and more dangerous. You got the more dangerous part but easier? LOL hell no. Again, I could go to the gun store and in 3 to 5 days have a semi-auto. Or I could borrow my friends and maybe even steal it from him if I didn’t give a shit. Gun are also easier to use since you just need to pull it out and start popping. I’m no chemist but I’m pretty sure ammonium nitrate is not that easy to produce, as with any of the other chemicals. Any chemist here to school me on this? And as for bleach with ammonium. Again I must say that if this was easier to use, more readily available and more reliable to use as a murder weapon, then people would be using that instead but they dont do they?

    And as for melee weapons. If you honestly think that any melee weapon is more dangerous than a firearm then you seriously have a loose grasp on reality. If these weapons (melee or chemical) were easier to obtain and easier to use, then people would be using them in preference over guns for these kinds of crimes. But they don’t because you are full of shit. I’m repeating myself because I think this needs to be drilled in.

    Good bye and peace out.

  251. 251
    consciousness razor

    Sorry, Tony, I’m pretty much spent too.

    Christopher will just have to regale others with stories for the rest of the night.

    If I’m not back tomorrow, it’s within the realm of possibility that a drug-addled geek with a predator drone and too much time on his hands has killed everyone in my village. Probably not with a gun though.

  252. 252
    Kagato

    But even if you could do some magical thinking and ban the very knowledge of firearms from human consciousness, douchenozzle scumbags would still kill the defenseless because they could.

    Yes, ten school attacks (if I counted correctly) in the past two years is horrifying, and it shows China obviously has their own serious social ills to address. Around 21 dead and 90 injured, across those 10 attacks, and apparently none using guns.

    Compared to Sandy Hook: one attack, one perpetrator armed with an assault rifle. 26 dead.

    Sometimes people do horrible things. We can always do better at identifying and assisting the disturbed, having better social programs or whatever; but there is no way to ever prevent the odd person from ‘flipping out’ and deciding to inflict harm on others. But their easy access to efficient methods of inflicting that harm can be curtailed.

    My heart aches over human suffering. I want to minimize it as much as possible, which is why I have been encouraging people to stop pouring their energies into things that won’t do a lick of good while ignoring the elephant in the room.

    If someone wants to kill lots of people, and has access to either a knife or a gun, they will choose the gun. Because it is the more effective tool for the job. We’ve established that restricting access to firearms won’t stop people trying to kill each other, but it will, pretty much by definition work towards minimising harm.

    (A more tenable argument could be that gun control legislation won’t be effective at keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them for murder; but that’s not your argument, is it? You’re saying successfully restricting gun access won’t help, which is ridiculous.)

    You want to talk body count, I previously posted a link to the happyland fire. Eighty-seven people murdered. Burned to death with a couple bucks of gas. You don’t need guns for high body counts.

    Yes, there are countless objects and materials that can be used for crime and murder, such as gasoline.

    Given the right set of circumstances (such as: a big gathering in a not-to-code building with no fire safety systems and only one open entrance) one could do massive harm with gasoline.

    The right circumstances for doing massive harm with a gun? Having it in your hand.

    Furthermore, gasoline’s primary purpose is as an engine fuel, with many follow-on societal benefits, so it is desirable for it to remain readily available.

    Firearms have the following purposes:
    * Killing people
    * Killing animals
    * Simulation of killing people or animals (target shooting)

    Assault rifles have the following purposes:
    * Killing multiple people quickly

    So tell me. What is lost to society by a lack of ready access to assault rifles?

  253. 253
    vaiyt

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different?

    There’s a reason why we stopped using swords. Think about it.

    How about home made poison gas bombs?

    Why aren’t more people killing each other with home made poison gas?

  254. 254
    vaiyt

    What is lost to society by a lack of ready access to assault rifles?

    Let me tell you, we already have plenty of assault rifles around here in the hands of criminals. I only shudder to imagine what would happen if every schmuck could get them.

  255. 255
    Kagato

    I spent way too long formatting that last one, and the thread rolls on…

    More from Christopher:

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different?

    er… YES?
    You can’t kill a room full of people by standing in the doorway and pointing a sword at them.

  256. 256
    Julia Sullivan

    Bryan Fischer appears to be confusing God and Dracula.

  257. 257
    Ichthyic

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different?

    I don’t just think it, I can provide actual data in support.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_killers:_School_massacres

    sort it by country.

    sort it by weapon.

    see for yourself.

  258. 258
    Ichthyic

    Who the fuck needs range when you are trying to kill defenseless little kids holed up in their classroom?

    This guy, for one:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/14/world/asia/china-knife-attack/index.html

    how many kids died there?

    hint: Less than 1.

  259. 259
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Kagato:
    Your @253 made me LOL.

  260. 260
    jefrir

    Christopher, why do you think armies use guns rather than melee weapons? And have done for a few hundred years now, even when guns were significantly less effective than they are now.

  261. 261
    Holms

    188 icthyic

    you really like insisting people just don’t understand you.

    good luck.

    Yes, I am saying that I believe the fault lies with you – that you did not understand me. How is this different to your insistence of the reverse, that I failed to communicate with you? This strikes me as an accusation based on your lack of understanding.

    _____________________________________________________________________________
    196 Christopher

    Didn’t some douchebag kill a bunch of kids with a gun in Scandinavia not that long ago?

    Didn’t some douchebag attack a bunch of kids in china last week with a knife?

    Couldn’t help but notice your change of wording there. Yes, the guy with a gun killed a bunch of people, while the guy with the knife attacked a bunch of people. Notice that the gunner was a whole lot more effective at converting ‘attack a person’ to ‘kill a person’? That is because the gun is by far the most dangerous of the two. Controlling guns means controlling the easiest way to kill people; there are many other methods, but every single one of them is less effective.

    Ban guns and murder-suicide nutjobs will go back to blowing up schools instead of shooting.

    or use baseball bats…

    or use fire…

    Shall we ban sticks and fire as well. Maybe if everyone is bound in a straightjacket from birth we will finally be safe from murder-homicide douchenozzles.

    All of which are less effective than the firearm as an implement of murder, and all of which have alternate uses quite apart from killing things. So no, you’re making dishonest comparisons.

    And I’m only pessimistic that the knee-jerk reaction that people have in response to a rare occurrence is unlikely to have any effect on whether such a incident will happen again.

    …Rare occurrence? The hell are you talking about? Killing sprees are infrequent yes, but what about all the other single or double murders? The murder-suicides? The gun crime statistics of the USA have been linked in this thread, I suggest you check them out (or just go to wiki) before trying to put forth the idea that massacres are the only murders that matter. The fact that you take the background noise of less headline-worthy murders absolutely for granted is depressing.

    Got any primary source citations that banning firearms in some way shape or form will stop people from murdering defenseless children while on a drug fueled psychotic break?

    Yes, I’ve linked it once before but here is the URL again for convenience:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/16/gun_control_after_connecticut_shooting_could_australia_s_laws_provide_a.html
    It is a journalistic piece rather than peer reviewed literature, but it contains many links to a number of actual studies. It uses Australia’s gun reform of 1996 as an example of what happens to gun crime statistics after such reform.

    And it’s not like it is super hard to make a gun either.

    But even if you could do some magical thinking and ban the very knowledge of firearms from human consciousness, douchenozzle scumbags would still kill the defenseless because they could.

    And how is that relevant to controlling what is currently the most easily accessible + most efficient killing method? All of the other options are still viable methods of murder I agree, but they are less so than simply walking into a gun store and dropping some money.

    It was the same source, pre-scrubbing. I never said otherwise. That source had a direct interview with a close relative that described the prescription of a very specific drug. I highly doubt that the uncle didn’t say that. Why was that line scrubbed? No one knows and the paper isn’t telling.

    So, anecdotal evidence? Maybe they scrubbed it because a newspaper for once had the intellectual responsibility to retract some blatant horseshit… but no, you keep your tinfoil hat theory.

    …murdered eight children with a knife… killed seven children and two adults… killing 3 children and 1 teacher… and that’s just on the english wiki page for the ’10-’11 sprees.

    By my count that tally is… 21, i.e. less than this single gun spree.

    What weapon that most Americans can legally acquire is more controlled than firearms?

    You’re asking if there is an item that is a) more controlled than a firearm but also b) more available than a firearm? By definition, anything that is more difficult to obtain legally is more controlled, rendering your question self defeating. The fact that pretty much any type of personal firearm is available to the average citizen is itself a concern.

    Note, the aspy comment was in refence to geeking out on chemistry, not in wanting to murder everyone. Most of my friends are aspies…

    I’m not racist, I have black friends!
    I’m not sexist, I have female friends!
    I’m not homophobic, I watch lesbian porn / have gay friends!
    etc.etc.etc.

    Why is that absurd? Weapons are weapons. Guns are a bit better than some weapons, and quite a bit worse than others given the situation. If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife or an inferno or a club or a predator drone would their parents mourn any less?

    Lots of people have guns readily available to them. Even more have other equally (or even more) dangerous weapons available to them.

    Again with the completely useless comparisons. The reason we don’t such outcry over those other implements is because they are less accessible than the personal firearm, or less dangerous, or requires more technical knowledge.
    Yes, a knife is more accessible than a gun, but it is less lethal.
    Yes, a club is more accessible than a gun, but it is less lethal.
    Yes an inferno can have a high body count, but it requires more strict conditions eg. location before it becomes possible.
    Yes a predator drone is a more chilling weapon in many respects, but how the FUCK is a civilian going to get one? Sersiouly, you compare military fucking hardware to civilian gun ownership? What next, a nuke? “OMFG NUKES CAN KILL MILLIONS THEREFORE LEAVE GUNS ALONE” is exactly the same dishonest comparison as drones to guns.

    The personal firearm basically ticks every ‘easy to use’ box: no technical knowledge requirement and no training requirement and no need to build the fucking thing and very portable and very efficient at multiple ranges and cheap and concealable (depending on the gun) and no access restriction…

    How many of those criteria does a fucking multi-million dollar drone tick? Goddamn…

    That was a sad reference to the children that we have killed with our taxpayer dollars. That we can actually do something about legislatively, but alas, cute white kids on TV are worth so much more than brown kids half a world away….

    While that is a worthy conversation, it is not the one we are having at the moment. The current conversation is concerned with domestic gun violence, try again.

    Do you honestly think that if the asswipe in CT was wielding a pair of swords, the body count would be significantly different? How about home made poison gas bombs? What if he had disabled the doors and set the whole building on fire?

    Yes actually, swords would result in a much lower kill count because a sword is not as proficient at killing. This would explain why swords have been superseded by guns in militaries world wide… As for the others, they have the potential to match or even exceed the body count, but lose in terms of accessibility, knowhow required, construction, time taken or any combination thereof.

    Funny how these bizarre scenarios aren’t considered a problem of the same magnitude as gun violence… maybe because they barely ever fucking happen? Or something.

  262. 262
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    *puts on self-defense instructor/karateka hat*

    One huge difference between a knife and a gun – if multiple adults are willing to get injured and/or killed in order take down someone with a knife, the odds are heavily in their favor. This is not true for a gun.

    I.e., if the shooter here had been armed with edged weapons instead of firearms, the odds are good that he would have been stopped when the principal and school psychologist tackled him, and never gotten to a classroom at all, rather than simply shooting them and moving on.

    Also, using a knife effectively against someone forewarned is pretty difficult, takes a lot of energy (chasing them around), and generally requires a lot more training than “point and shoot”, to pull it off.

  263. 263
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Quick recap:
    Many commenters want stricter gun laws (some, myself included, would not mind banning guns from civilians, but this is simply not realistic at present, so next best thing…)
    Christoper thinks “stricter gun laws would not be helpful bc massacres and homicides by baseball bat, swords, arson and drone strikes would replace gun violence”

    I’m just gonna let that one sit there.

  264. 264
    Holms

    Dammit! I missed a few replies while typing that thing up, plenty of which is simply echoing what has already been said.

  265. 265
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Christoper,
    #198

    Oh, and if anyone cares, violent crime in the US has been falling for the last several decades (despite the sunsetting of the AW ban, massive proliferation of shall-issue CCW states and record gun sales year upon year, and the introduction of highly graphic first person shooters).

    Irrelevant. It’s still ridiculously high and gun control would lower the rate and the lethality of attacks.

    #203

    Ug, looks like it [report from uncle regarding the shooter's medical history] got scrubbed since the last time I looked. Orwell would be proud.

    Good. I don’t think it’s appropriate to have his medical information leaked everywhere. Just I don’t think it was appropriate for the mother to compare her son to mass murders online under her real name with a photo attached.

    #208

    I’m not blaming the cray-cray, I’m blaming the drugs that have supplanted any sort of real treatment for the cray-cray.

    You’re still othering him, just in the opposite direction.
    People say “He was cray-cray, I’m not like that. I’m okay to have my gun.”

    You’re saying,”People aren’t like that. It must have been the drugs that make him go cray-cray.”

    Same shit.

    It doesn’t take a “crazy mass murder cocktail of pills” for a person to commit such a crime. Accept it and stop othering the “bad guys”. This isn’t a movie. This isn’t Max Payne where a pill makes someone a unfeeling, unthinking, unstoppable killing machine. People suck. There will always be violence but we can take make it harder for people to get their hands on tools like guns, which are quick, easy, deadly, and long range.

    You really should read the other thread because people like to bring up mental health issues to distract away from gun control since American is so gun attached.

    This
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/14/before-you-reach-for-the-its-not-guns-its-the-cray-cray-argument/
    thread is where the health care issue is discussed. People are tired and angry and don’t want to go through the whole fucking show again because you are too lazy to go read the right thread.

    Drugs that cause suicidal-homicidal thoughts often enough to be included on the warning labels. Who knows, the benefit that the majority of prescription psychotropic drug users receives from their chemical cocktail might be worth the occasional mass murder on a some sort of fucked up balance of good weighing. But that is the conversation we need to be having, not what weapon we would rather have someone attack our children with.

    You really think the maybe, might have been affected by medication mass murders are more frequent and a bigger issue than gun control/gun attitude?

    Really?

    And who the fuck says we don’t care about health care as well? You’re assuming we don’t give a shit since we’re not talking about your hobby horse right now in every thread.

    Not to mention you’re claim of

    ” I want to minimize it as much as possible, which is why I have been encouraging people to stop pouring their energies into things that won’t do a lick of good while ignoring the elephant in the room.”

    in #210. if you really cared, you’d be for stricter gun control as well as talking about medication. There are fucking studies done and talked about how gun control would help. We’ve been through this already on another thread. It’s tiring and stupid that you aren’t doing your own critical thinking and research.

    Pharyngula is the shark tank, not the 101 term and you’re just too dense to survive in here.

  266. 266
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Me,

    Just I don’t think it was appropriate for the mother to compare her son to mass murders online under her real name with a photo attached.

    For clarity:
    I forgot to include the important when he was 9 fact.

  267. 267
    shawnthesheep

    #2,

    Someone choosing to sacrifice themselves to save others is not “awful and ridiculous.” But the notion that the solution to the problem of mass shootings is training people to charge shooters is “awful and ridiculous.”

    McCardle basically stated that the real solution is to get rid of guns, but that is too difficult. What? 3,000 Americans were killed on 9/11, and in response the US spent trillions of dollars in wars that killed thousands of US troops and tens of thousands of civilians. More than 10,000 people are killed by gun violence in the US every year. A massive political response is not unwarranted.

  268. 268
    Ichthyic

    Yes, I am saying that I believe the fault lies with you – that you did not understand me

    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

    Now I’m thinking you were just trying to dig yourself out a hole.

    wanna try again?

  269. 269
    shawnthesheep

    “Why do people point to inanimate objects..?”

    Probably because inanimate objects can be tools of death. In the case of guns, death is their primary purpose. On 9/11, terrorists used inanimate objects called “airplanes” to kill thousands of Americans. The immediate response was stricter regulation of the airline industry. Why can’t the same process be applied to guns?

    Short of using your bare hands or beating someone to death with some kind of varmint, pretty much all murders involve the use of inanimate objects. The use and availability of inanimate objects that are deemed to be a risk to public safety are heavily restricted in most cases. More violent deaths are caused by guns than any other inanimate object. So restricting access to guns seems appropriate.

  270. 270
    swestfall

    Huckabee made very close to vomiting, and thus I couldn’t listen to all the others. I knew it was coming.

    As someone who lives in the bible belt with lots of Fundie Facebook Friends, I got to see statements like his reiterated over and over and over and over. That paining of Jesus in the school with the kids really was a low blow.

    My parents were both elementary school teachers, and this tragedy has caused me an unusual amount of grief. In elementary school, you want it to be the safest place possible for children, because in so many situations, that’s the only safe place they will ever know. I also know that schoolteachers can tick off parents very easily, just for giving a kid a bad grade. It’s the main reason I steered away from that career, but I know without good teachers, I’d be nothing. They have to deal with so much in the classroom, and to worry about a possible massacre is just one thing they just shouldn’t be thinking about.

    As someone who owns guns and hunts, I can say that we need meaningful gun regulations. I have long thought the NRA was a very irresponsible organization. All it ever does is demagoguery around even the slightest common sense gun law.

    It’s a myth that everyone who owns guns is Dale Gribble conspiracy theorist teabagger. I do own guns for hunting purposes, and I do want common sense gun laws. There is no reason why anyone needs a Bushmaster to hunt deer.

    I’m sort of an oddball in this sense. I’m someone who is a secular liberal right down the line. I firmly accept evolution and the science that reveals that climate change is a real problem, but one thing that often gets me in trouble with some progressive is that I do mention that I like hunting. I would never hunt an animal that was endangered, and I really do want things like jaguars and wolves to return to their native haunts.

    It’s just when you have one foot on one side and one foot on the other, the people with both legs on each side can kick you.

  271. 271
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Black skeptics has a great post up about the constitution of masculinity as violent and the problem with only looking for brown people to find dangerous persons.

    I happen to agree with her: whiteness (in general) and masculinity is predicated on dominance and violence, hence the fascination with different ways to kill people and imaginary battle scenarios that seem to fascinate the general public, whenever something like this happens.

    The post certainly provides a rather clear way to look at why we’re all shocked when the nice white kid down the road shoots up a school.

  272. 272
    speed0spank

    I don’t understand the huge hissy fit about tightening gun regulations unless some of the people having those fits think they might not pass a test to own one.
    I don’t have a driver’s license and so I can’t go hop in a car and drive around legally because I could seriously injure or kill somebody. That seems to be the purpose behind learner’s permits and driver’s tests…to make sure the people using deadly weapons are sufficiently trained. To know that millions of Americans see this as common sense but applying the same logic to guns as blasphemy is quite a frightening thing indeed.

  273. 273
    Holms

    wanna try again?

    It may have been my failure to communicate or your failure to understand, I don’t care enough to continue. Not really interested in lengthy semantics arguments over the wording of what was just a tangential point at most.

    Interpret this however you wish.

  274. 274
    Nick Gotts

    Jesus wept, another arsehole repeating the same stupid crap about school massacres with knives, gas, bombs… It wouldn’t in the least surprise me to see one of these shitbags try to carry one out, just to prove their point.

  275. 275
    Cosmic Teapot, not the Antichrist.

    To add insult to injury, Westboro Baptists are apparently in Newtown today, picketing the funeral of Dawn Hochsprung, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal.

  276. 276
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Tony: The comments, as always should be avoided. Third one in talked about how xe was more scared of pitbulls than gun violence.

    Yeah,w ell, It is Daily kos. They don’t like atheists or staying on topic.

  277. 277
    Kagehi

    The gun crime statistics of the USA have been linked in this thread, I suggest you check them out (or just go to wiki) before trying to put forth the idea that massacres are the only murders that matter. The fact that you take the background noise of less headline-worthy murders absolutely for granted is depressing.

    Ironically, we also don’t know all the statistics. Last night, on MSNBC, one pundant pointed out that the right wing has been taking on, to every single bill they could, for decades, “temporary” restrictions on the ability of the ATF to release *its* statistics. You know.. the people responsible for keeping track of things like drugs, alcohol, and…. GUNS. So, basically, due to this constant, since of of them pass with the rider, denial of the ability of the public to find out what the ATF knows about the subject, we don’t even know how bad it actually is (and, I am guessing it has to be bad, otherwise why would the party with the largest number of gun nuts be apposed to the public knowing it?).

    That said, apparently a big monopoly, called, ironically, Cerberus, which had been buying up damn near every gun maker in the US, has opted to try to find someone else to buy their “gun making” endeavors. Apparently, when their stock holders start questioning their investment in such an enterprise, even Hades and the underworld get a bit squeamish over gun manufacturing… What the F is it with right wing nuts picking names like Cerberus, or Morning Star, and the like, as church/company names, do they think, “Satan’s Pride”, or, “Lucifer’s Luxuries”, etc., are like.. too obvious, or not tactful enough, or something? Its almost as sad as their use of Family, Values, and other complete misnomers (when they use them).

  278. 278
    dianne

    Apart from a ridiculously high rate of mass murders, the US also apparently has the world’s highest number of serial killers Not that all serial killers use guns, of course.

  279. 279
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    I found Obama’s speech pretty obnoxious myself. If he actually means it, the “we have to do better” part was cool, but the rest? Ugh.

  280. 280
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    @Christopher

    What weapon that most Americans can legally acquire is more controlled than firearms?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knife_legislation#United_States_of_America

    Let’s try pretty much any large knife.

    or example, a San Antonio, Texas city ordinance makes it unlawful for anyone to knowingly carry within city limits “on or about his person” any folding knife with a blade less than 5.5 inches long with a lock mechanism that locks the blade upon opening

    Oh, wait, this makes my favorite boxcutter* illegal there.

    (Should check legality of my 2.3 inch swiss army knife before heading there, too.)

    *I also own a drill :D.

    Basically, any subset of knife that’s illegal in any state is more regulated than a gun. See butterfly knife, switchblade, etc. etc. Now, I have no clue why you’d want any of these (completely blunt butterflies excepted – they’re kind of cool when they’re harmless).

    And it’s not like it is super hard to make a gun either.

    Try making one that doesn’t blow up in your face – while in the middle of a psychotic break. Now finish the gun before you get out of the psychotic break…and you can see where I’m heading, right?

    He was reported as a bit of an Aspy. I would imagine he would hit the internet or the golden book of chemistry and build a few incendiary devices and/or poison gas bombs and take out the whole fucking school at the monthly assembly.

    ….what does being Aspy have to do with any of that?

    Yeah. It’s perfectly possible to make explosives out of household goods or random stuff you can find around Home Depot. It is, however, a million fucking times easier to just shoot people, and I say this as someone who both geeks out over chemistry** and is completely a-okay with playing around with fire (see Pam cooking spray flamethrower**).

    There’s a giant fucking difference between those of us, who when in the right mind, can use fire for awesomeness, and someone who would fucking torch a school.

    **who is, afaik, not Aspy.

    ***All controlled, I swear.

    Fucking seriously.

    You’re also assuming that he’s a) Aspy, b) that makes him a geek, and c) this assumed Adam Lanza who’s an Aspy and a geek geeked out in chemistry. Quite a few leaps.

    If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife or an inferno or a club or a predator drone would their parents mourn any less?

    I think there’s only one of those items you can buy off ebay.

    And that’s the least dangerous one.

    Moderate derail: It’s not that easy acquiring random lab-grade chemicals online, sometimes. Tried to get my hands on 200 proof ethanol last summer for a DNA prep demo, couldn’t. (the 70% isopropanol worked, but only because it was DNA from strawberries).

    Bleach and ammonia

    with not much internet searching, sarin gas

    ammonium nitrate

    And if we limit to weapons that are equally deadly in the same situation (murder-suicide asshole trying to kill as many primary school kids as possible), pretty much any mele weapon, DIY or bought.

    …you picked a slow poisonous gas, a nerve gas you have to get from a chemical supply company, a fucking oxidizing agent (which is not the same as an explosive), and melee weapons.

    …none of which are as deadly as a semiautomatic.

    Jesus haploid christ, Assassin Guild 3 is not real life.

    Seriously. If you think a machete is going to be as deadly as a gun, well, I don’t even. With bleach and ammonia, you could fucking hold your breath and run for it. Sarin gas, okay, let’s ban that one too. Make it so you can only purchase it from a chemical company if you have a valid lab PO number. (And if you have a valid lab PO number and want to kill a bunch of people, can I say lithium diisopropylamide?)

    Ammonium nitrate? Okay, I’ll throw in the fuel for you. Now you’ll have to a) keep it from blowing up in your face and b) get it to blow up when you want to. How is this easier than a fucking gun?

    Who the fuck needs range when you are trying to kill defenseless little kids holed up in their classroom?

    Because a laser pointer makes a difference in one case, and not another.

    What the fuck is a fire drill going to do when the only exits they train on are on fire or locked?

    Because it’s totally easy for someone to set all the exits of a school on fire.

    Also happyland:

    Before the blaze, Happy Land was ordered closed for building code violations in November 1988. Violations included no fire exits, alarms or sprinkler system.

    (from wikipedia)

    They were trapped. If that building followed fire code, I’d say that fewer people would have died.

    logicalcat

    I live in Florida and could get a gun stupid easily. Why would anyone suggest making it easier to acquire these things?

    One of my friends in high school had a .50 caliber. I don’t know why.

    Speaking of gun culture: Automatic Nerf Gun. While much perferable to real guns, seriously? IMO takes the fun right out of nerf gun wars. You’re supposed to have to scramble around for darts while trying to stay behind the sofa.

  281. 281
  282. 282
    Amphiox

    If the fuckwad in CT killed a bunch of kids with a knife

    On just about the same day as the CT mass shooting, a mentally deranged young man in China attacked a school armed with a knife. He wounded 22 children. He killed none.

    Bleach and ammonia

    with not much internet searching, sarin gas

    ammonium nitrate

    And if we limit to weapons that are equally deadly in the same situation (murder-suicide asshole trying to kill as many primary school kids as possible), pretty much any mele weapon, DIY or bought.

    Equally deadly? See above.

  283. 283
    logicalcat

    @253

    er… YES?
    You can’t kill a room full of people by standing in the doorway and pointing a sword at them.

    Link from Legend of Zelda can!

    Fuck guns man we need to start banning magical swords like right now. If you think guns would rank a higher body count than magical swords then you need a serious reality check. Don’t even get me started on gun-blades.

  284. 284
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    And Usual dumbfuck suspect Newt Gingrich

    When you have an anti-religious, secular bureaucracy and secular judiciary seeking to drive God out of public life, something fills the vacuum. And that something, you know, I don’t know that going from communion to playing war games in which you practice killing people is necessarily an improvement.

  285. 285
    Ichthyic

    And Usual dumbfuck suspect Newt Gingrich

    somehow, I think these guys still haven’t figured out they LOST the last election.

    but hey, continue on with the hate and fear mongering, conservative clowns. Your primary demographic will be listening from their graves, I’m sure, as they all drop from old age.

  286. 286
  287. 287
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ashley Miller offers excellent advice about gun regulations and safety measures: http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/12/18/10-sensible-gun-policy-changes/

  288. 288
    kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith

    Bleach and ammonia

    with not much internet searching, sarin gas

    ammonium nitrate

    Only someone completely ignorant about explosives thinks bomb making (efficient, lethal bombs, not stupid internet pipe bomb / “chlorine bomb” which can only at most blow off the fingers of the idiot who made it) is as simple as that.

    Most people don’t even know WTF ammonium nitrate is, beyond, there is some in fertilizers !1!!1!!

    Most people aren’t experienced in chemical synthesis, and those who are (like me, for instance), wouldn’t think it realistic or safe to engage in it without very specialized equipment, especially if the synthesized substance is a freaking explosive, and thus, demands excessively cautious handling in very specific conditions.

    And, to make a time and/or radio activated bomb, you need to be schooled in basic electronics as well (which, as it happens, I also am*). Somehow your friendly local electronics shop doesn’t sell detonators in packs of ten.

    Even then, given the necessary components and skills, making an efficient, lethal bomb (or making a lethal gas or biological with an efficient delivery system) is a huge lot of work, one that normally demands collaboration between people with different expertise. You have to make prototypes and test them without your neighbors wondering WTF you’re doing. All these activities – the buying of controlled substances and equipment, the tests, the documentation and questions to some people – have a very, very high chance of attracting unwanted attention.

    Compare this with going to a gunshop and coming out with the means of killings tens of people easily and with minimal training. Materials: credit card, clean criminal record.

    It’s easy to understand why this type of mass murder is quite rare outside of war/terrorism settings – settings where you get specific training and supplies from an extensive organization. You can always count on humans being generally lazy and careless, and the difficulty and amount of work necessary to bomb / chemical weapon making is a sufficient deterent against their use by spree killers, as the data in countries with less guns can attest.

    *I is dangerous

  289. 289
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    Somehow your friendly local electronics shop doesn’t sell detonators in packs of ten.

    Your friendly neighborhood online model rocket store does, though.

    Of course, connecting all that to a timed/radio-activated detonator system isn’t trivial in the way that acquiring a gun is trivial.

  290. 290
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Seriously. If you think a machete is going to be as deadly as a gun, well, I don’t even…

    Christopher: here is the proof that melee weapons can’t compete with guns.

    Your gingerbread has been eaten.

  291. 291
    Inaji

    Christopher:

    He was reported as a bit of an Aspy.

    There’s no such thing as “a bit of an aspy”. You’re either on the spectrum or you aren’t.

    Note, the aspy comment was in refence to geeking out on chemistry, not in wanting to murder everyone. Most of my friends are aspies…

    Shut up, you fuckwitted cupcake. Go the fuck away until you figure out just how much of an idiot you happen to be.

  292. 292
    Inaji

    Most of my friends are aspies…

    Golly. I’ll just bet you even let them use your bathroom.

  293. 293
    Ichthyic

    linky borked, Crip D.

    speaking of borked…

  294. 294
    Ichthyic

    *I is dangerous

    *calls homeland security*

    man, I’m gettin’ rich off of feeding their tip hotline for the reward money!

    ;)

  295. 295
    Ichthyic

    And as if things weren’t bad enough, the MRA’s march in.

    you’re fucking kidding me.

    *sigh*

  296. 296
    neuralobserver

    You want to talk body count, I previously posted a link to the happyland fire. Eighty-seven people murdered. Burned to death with a couple bucks of gas. You don’t need guns for high body counts. –Christopher @210 [emphasis mine]

    Yeah,… but,
    1) ‘walk in and purchase’ ease of access ( as described in many reports, i.e., gun shows, personal one-to-one sales), as opposed to difficulty obtaining pre-made or home made explosives by the average person
    2) no requirement of or lax registration for guns bought, again, at gun shows or personal sales
    3) high-power weapons/high capacity magazines, particularly if using specialized ammo
    4) characteristic inability to open defend against/deflect high speed, high energy projectiles that characteristically reap enormous damage after entering a human body
    5) flexibility of transport and use of such firearms
    6) ability to inflict damage with the perp at a distance, ie.. no close personal contact needed

    ….. make it a number of degrees more difficult to–excuse the term– execute massacres like this.

  297. 297
    Sili

    I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty

    Indeed. Using assault rifles is all wrong.

    Use rocks like God commanded you to, you heathens! (Happy is he that dasheth and so on.)

  298. 298
    Ichthyic

    Use rocks like God commanded you to, you heathens!


    Are there any women here today?

  299. 299
    Holms

    @278 nightshadequeen
    You have a footnote in that post:

    ***All controlled, I swear.

    …But it links to nothing in your main text!

    RRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGEEEEEE

  300. 300
    Amphiox

    Link from Legend of Zelda can!

    Even Link has to navigate on average 3 dungeons and slay 3 giant boss monsters before he upgrades to the all-killing magic sword, in most of the Zelda games.

    ie Four or five times more effort than it would take to get a gun in the USA.

  301. 301
    Amphiox

    And typically some holy entity has to bless Link first before he can get that sword.

    He has to pass a background check.

  302. 302
    Amphiox

    You want to talk body count, I previously posted a link to the happyland fire. Eighty-seven people murdered. Burned to death with a couple bucks of gas. You don’t need guns for high body counts.

    How many mass murders have been committed with fire in the last 30 years?
    How many victims have been killed?

    How does that compare with mass murder by guns?

    Having set a fire with gasoline, can you aim it? Can you shoot again to get the victims you miss? How easily? Do buildings come equipped with bullet sprinklers that will activate and reduce the severity of the damage caused by your bullets after you have fired them?

  303. 303
    dianne

    Re examples of how easy it is to kill people without guns: I note that two of the common examples are from the 1990s and one from 2001. There were 16 incidents of mass shootings in the US in 2012 alone.

    Furthermore, changes occurred after the OKC bombing and the 9/11 attacks. We can no longer take swiss army knives on planes. Buying loads of nitrate fertilizer will get you a visit from law enforcement. Gasoline is harder because people in the US fetishize cars almost as much as guns, but halfway decent fire prevention measures make arson a much less effective weapon.

    If now is not the time to “politicize” the issue, was 9/12/01 not the time to “politicize” what we could take on planes? Was 1995 a poor time to change regulations about the purchase of large amounts of ammonium containing fertilizer? Why is it bad to want to reduce a public health threat just after that it is identified?

  304. 304
    neuralobserver

    apologies,…
    necessary correction on my part @ 294: should read at end:

    ‘make it a number of degrees easier to–excuse the term– execute massacres like this.’

  305. 305
    rickk

    While everyone is focused on the emotionally intense but statistically insignificant mass shootings, the wrong people are getting shot every day in numbers that dwarf Newtown. Handguns and replaceable-magazine rifles are the only tools readily available in our society that are designed specifically to efficiently separate humans from their lives. Why does a peaceful, sane society need to make such human-killing tools widely available? And if you actually look at the statistics – when pointed at human these guns are vastly more likely to be pointed at the WRONG human. Guns used in crimes plus guns used in suicides plus guns used in domestic disputes plus guns used in gang battles plus guns going off accidentally vastly outnumber guns used in “personal defense”, no matter what Kleck or the gun industry want you to believe.

    So we have a tool designed to kill people that is usually used on the wrong people. And when it comes to kids – the kids killed in Newtown are a tiny fraction of the children shot each year in the U.S. even by the most conservative CDC stats.

    Ban the manufacture, import, sale and ownership of handguns. Period. Ban any rifle with a removable magazine. Period. For people who MUST own guns, establish criminal penalties if their gun is lost or stolen. Any measure that doesn’t put some gun manufacturers out of business is not good enough. And if you absolutely NEED to feel the kick of an AR15, then go to your local regulated, audited shooting range, rent a gun and target for an hour and blaze away, then turn in your gun, pay for the shells you used, and leave satiated and empty-handed.

    “Impossible!” People say. “Americans will never part with their guns.”

    “Impossible!” People said. “Women will never get the vote.”

    “Impossible!” People said. “America will never have a black mayor/judge/congressman/president.”

    Societies mature. Pinker’s latest book explains this in great detail. All we need to do is grow up a little bit more. But our children are worth the effort. I’d gladly pay taxes to a government program to buyback and destroy existing guns and to severely regulate the remainder.

    Yes, we won’t get all the guns. But we don’t have to be perfect to be a whole lot better. Yes, there are bigger killers of children. But this is the one in front of us now. Let’s use the opportunity. Write your representatives and support the absolute most restrictive bans and limits you can. Move the center of the argument as far as possible toward a peaceful community with a minimum of people-killing tools in circulation.

    Oh, and to the right-wingers who will scream about LIBERTY! – there are 26 citizens fifteen minutes away from where I’m sitting who just had their libery quite thoroughly stripped so that you can enjoy your Rambo fantasies.

  306. 306
    Kagato

    Aaaand now it’s because of video games.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/hill-eyes-video-game-use-by-shooter-85255.html?hp=l8

    Because he may have played Call of Duty and StarCraft.

    StarCraft.

  307. 307
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    …But it links to nothing in your main text!

    RRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGEEEEEE

    *mumbles something about pointers*

    It refered to the Pam cooking spray flamethrower.

    StarCraft.

    Seriously?

  308. 308
  309. 309
  310. 310
    Koshka

    As someone who has lost a child suddenly (though not violently) the poem makes me want to scream.
    The person who wrote this did so to make themselves feel better. They did not properly consider the parents of the dead children. They went to considerable effort to not give a shit about them.
    I was subject to some of this shit when people would tell me my son was in a better place, or he was being looked after by his grandmother in heaven. These people even knew my partner and I were atheists for fucks sake.
    Losing a child is for life. I think about it often. I can go from happy one moment to despair the next. The smallest thing can fuck me over. I remember the noise he made when I unsuccessfully gave him CPR. I remember my 5 year old daughter screaming that he was not dead when we went to view his body despite his small body being slightly deformed and stitched up from the autopsy. I dont want to remember these things but every time someone tries to glorify their concern for a dead child publicly I remember.
    The pain that this poem causes is relatively small compared to fact that your child is dead. But the point is that you do not need to fucking share it. Keep your fucking religion to yourself.

  311. 311
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Koshka:
    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

  312. 312
    Photon Capturer

    I noted that there is alot of blame amongst the reportings of anything BUT education. In particular, a reasoning, evidence based education. If people raise their children and NOT indoctrinate them, teach them to think for themselves and when they can make their own choices based on reasoning, then they can be subjected to any environment and make sense of it. I think as Richard Dawkins once said “the problem IS god.” After all, aren’t some of the worst atrocities committed by zealots and for no reason that a difference in opinion? But, if a voice in someone’s head tells them that genocide is okay and they call the voice god (Deutoronomy 20:17 “Completely destroy them–the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites–as the LORD your God has commanded you.”) then its no wonder that zealots have issues including probably not reading the very book they hold up as something to raise your children by. Fairy stories of DOOM!

  313. 313
    carlie

    Koshka – there is nothing we can say, but my heart goes out to you, and I support and share in your outrage at this as best I can.

  314. 314
    Koshka

    Tony, carlie,

    I thankyou for your comments. I do appreciate them. I also appreciate PZ making such a post as it hopefully gets some idiots to stop and think before they parade their thoughtlessness. There is little disagreement on the post about the appropriateness of this poem and the comments.
    However I would like to give a special mention to Christopher back up at #228

    That was a sad reference to the children that we have killed with our taxpayer dollars. That we can actually do something about legislatively, but alas, cute white kids on TV are worth so much more than brown kids half a world away….

    Fuck you, you cynical shit. If you think this is a site that doesn’t care about ‘brown’ kids you are an idiot. I have no idea what colour the murdered children are and I don’t care.

    I don’t disagree that dead children killed by western forces overseas are largely ignored compared to deaths in out own country but THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO BRING IT UP.

  315. 315
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Oh, Koshka – all the hugs. I’m so sorry.

    And I’ll just leave this here:
    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/12/19/we-screamed-at-the-sky/

  316. 316
    Koshka

    Alethea,

    Thanks. I quite liked the comic. In my circumstance there is not much that other people can do (except maybe donating to Sids for Kids who I don’t rate) except to not say stupid things. Such as asking, when we have our 3rd child “Is it easier the second time around?” , or asking my daughter “Are you excited to become a sister?” From people who were at the fucking funeral.

    For our 3rd child, who is now 10 months old (I now only slightly fear of waking up to find her dead), we followed the safe sleeping guidelines to the extreme. Never once has she fallen asleep on me – as soon as she nods off she goes in her cot. Who knows if it really makes a difference. My point is we did every reasonable thing in our power to not allow it to happen again. It required extra effort but considering the stakes it was nothing.

    What I don’t understand is that, in the case of this tragedy, some people propose to do nothing because they don’t value life over their right to have and use guns without restriction.

  317. 317
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    Koshka, I’m so sorry. Your words strongly remind me of those spoken at various points by my mother. I had a brother I never knew because he died before I was born as a result of a fall when he was almost three. Nearly 60 years later and her sorrow still finds its way to the surface when something triggers those memories.

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