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Sacrificing children on the altar of the Constitution

We have a new low — and there have been so many lows — in the gun fondler canon. Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, the dumb right-winger adopted as a pal by the McCain presidential campaign, has weighed in on the Isla Vista murders.

I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now, wrote Wurzelbacher, who became something of a mascot for John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential campaign. But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

His precious Constitutional rights…how come they never pay attention to the second and third words of that amendment?

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

It’s a bad amendment that has been no end of trouble throughout our history, particularly because of its sloppy wording and lazy interpretation, but also because it is no longer true — technology has progressed to the point where a militia is pretty much useless in providing security. What we need is another amendment to bring the Constitution into the 21st century, rather than the 18th, and then of course, because it will be in the Most Holy and Inviolable Constitution, every right-winger will respect it and get their guns checked and registered, as well as accepting limitations on access to particularly deadly weaponry. Right?

I have another question, though. Wurzelbacher also complains about gun-grab extremists who want to capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends. I’d love to know, though…what are those political ends? How does he think we gain, and who profits, from enacting laws that limit the flood of weapons of mass destruction within our own country?

Other than not seeing our children murdered, that is.

Which he’s already said he doesn’t think is as important a goal as allowing him to stroke his rifle.


Dammit. I spoke too soon. Right after I say, “Look at this amazing new low,” someone has to go and dig a deeper hole. In this case, Todd Kincannon of South Carolina, who gets all macho and blame-the-victim.

No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

Comments

  1. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    The gun fondlers keep ignoring the reason why some of the framers of the Constitution and Bill Of Rights wanted a well armed, militia, to put down slave uprisings. They wanted citizens, white men, to have enough fire power to protect the antebellum way of life.

  2. zenlike says

    The ‘political end’ is trying to get less people killed, either by gun-related accidents or straight-up (mass)murders. But Joe has clearly stated he doesn’t give a fuck about people’s lives.

    How much money you bet that this guy is a so-called-‘pro-lifer’?

  3. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

    I feel so sorry for Mr. Fuckhead Machoballs’ son, who is probably being drowned daily in a toxic infusion of Essential Oil of Bullshit and Cliven Bundy Teabags.

  4. Alverant says

    “But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”
    Except he also thinks his opinions trump our Constitutional rights. That’s assuming he thinks everyone else has Constitutional rights.

  5. says

    No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara.

    Sigh. And there are so many who want to insist that toxic masculinity doesn’t exist, nope.

  6. says

    No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a b!tch at UC Santa Barbara.

    Sigh. And there are so many who want to insist that toxic masculinity doesn’t exist, nope.

  7. whheydt says

    What Kincannon’s kid would probably achieve would be upping to body count. Given the number of bystanders that get hit when the cops get into firefights, the expectation that Kincannon’s kids can hit their targets is likely to be rather low.

  8. Pen says

    How come they never pay attention to the ‘security of a free state’ part. Given that the security of the free state is clearly being placed in jeopardy by people wandering round with guns doesn’t that cast a shadow on the entire logic of that amendment.

  9. zmidponk says

    But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

    Does anyone know if he thinks they also ‘trump’ the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence, that being the right to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’? I ask, because the people who are now dead had their right to life ‘trumped’, never mind the other two, and any attempt to put any kind of check, no matter how mild, on anyone at all getting a gun is immediately opposed, usually rather vehemently, by people just like him.

  10. Randomfactor says

    On a minor note, explaining that not having Jesus prayers at a City Council meeting or having to permit a mosque to be built in your town is “the price we pay for your First Amendment rights” doesn’t cause any comprehension to dawn…

  11. says

    Actually, the Citizen Militia never really worked that well. They were mostly a joke. At their best, they were little more than gangs of hired thugs to keep slaves, indians, and never-do-wells in line. Like so many of our problems, the 2nd Amendment came about do to an attempt to do things on the cheap.

  12. Sili says

    “Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right.”

    Supposedly Lenin said of Denmark, that after the Bolshevik revolution had swept over the globe, Denmark would still be Conservative.

    Yet our constitution is at worst 165 years by now (at best 61, and it’s high time we rewrote it).

  13. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    George Peterson, my point was not how effective the “well armed militia” was. It is the racist roots of this, so called, claim of unfettered access to lethal weaponry.

    And Todd Kincannon is only one or two generations removed from being a raving Klansman.

  14. DBP says

    “I know your kids died and everything and that is bad and stuff. But let’s truly be honest, the real victim of this murder is me. Because it might interfere with me getting some very specific toys I want. Not all of them, but some of them. And THAT is the greatest tragedy of all.”

  15. Al Dente says

    Shorter Wurzelbacher: “I don’t care about your dead kids, I want my bang-bangs.”

  16. beergoggles says

    The fastest way to enact gun control would be to arm every single member of Occupy. The moment those leftist hippies get guns, there’ll be a collective rightwing freakout to get them out of ‘dangerous’ hands.

  17. A Masked Avenger says

    Neither the 18th NOR the 21st centuries are a good place to live in this respect. Currently the nations’ militaries–and by far, the US military–have unanswerable might in the form not only of nukes, but of drones, satellite surveillance, and 24×7 surveillance of pretty much everything anyone does via any electronic medium. Bush and Obama have both claimed that the President has the power to use this might to kill anyone he deems an enemy of the state, without any need to corroborate this claim through due process or via an independent judiciary.

    The state would gladly be your ally in eliminating the threat of armed whackjobs, if they could. However, if you showed any real likelihood of reining in the almost unimaginable power of the state, you would more than likely find yourself declared an enemy combatant, or otherwise find yourself put a stop to.

    Comparing evils is itself evil, or at least runs the severe risk. Comparing body counts is particularly icky. That said, gun-related deaths in the US come to approximately 330K since we invaded Iraq in 2003. The global war on terror has claimed an unknown number, estimated to be about 655K by the Lancet.

    I’d like to see private individuals deprived of the ability to kill easily, especially to mass murder. I would also like to see the federal government stripped of its mass-murdering capabilities as well. This creates the conundrum that I’m uncomfortable trusting a mass murderer to take action that ostensibly reduces the danger from other mass murderers, but which also increases the power of the bigger mass murderer to at least some degree.

    (More generally, that’s my hesitation in most calls for government action. I agree with the goals. If the government weren’t blatantly corrupt, complicit in mass murder, and with an unremitting track record of perverting even the best-intentioned initiatives to serve connected special interests, I would also agree with the means. But as it is… would we collude with rapists, regardless how noble the goals? Would we collude with rapists in anti-rape initiatives? If not, how can we collude with mass murderers to address the problem of mass murder?)

  18. jxbean says

    Todd Kincannon’s son, after being surprised by a gunman and having half his head blown off, would turn around and like the Terminator calmly shoot the bad guy with one single, perfectly aimed bullet. It’s all fantasy. There was a cop present at the Columbine shooting who exchanged gunfire with the two killers as they continued to kill. The Gabby Giffords shooting was over before the various guns present were unholstered. There were cops present when the gun was fired in Isla Vista. The idea that a “good guy with a gun” can stop a “bad guy with a gun” instead of becoming a moron with a gun or a dead guy with a gun is nothing more than stupid, testosterone and media fueled fantasy (sorry guys, I love you, but….)

    UCSB, Class of ’79

  19. A Masked Avenger says

    @beergoggles:

    The fastest way to enact gun control would be to arm every single member of Occupy. The moment those leftist hippies get guns, there’ll be a collective rightwing freakout to get them out of ‘dangerous’ hands.

    Indeed. Earlier iterations of “gun control” legislation were explicitly aimed at disarming minorities. If you’re of a certain age, you remember that before “assault weapons” there were “Saturday-night specials.” The name was a kind of racist dog-whistle, suggesting that these small, inexpensive pistols were a favorite of minorities for use in robbing liquor stores of a Saturday night. Decent middle-class white folks carry expensive pistols, of course.

  20. A Masked Avenger says

    @jxbean:

    The idea that a “good guy with a gun” can stop a “bad guy with a gun” instead of becoming a moron with a gun or a dead guy with a gun is nothing more than stupid, testosterone and media fueled fantasy…

    Yep. Law enforcement are trained (via various exercises) to realize that the advantage belongs overwhelmingly to the attacker. Also, that most gunfights last 2-7 seconds. A decently practiced person can draw and fire within two seconds, but then you have to factor in bystanders, confusion, adrenaline, etc. The attacker knows in advance when the attack is going to be, has most likely braced himself against the confusion and excitement, doesn’t care if he hits bystanders, and so on.

    This doesn’t make firearms useless, of course–otherwise, cops would go unarmed. Which, actually, I’d like to see more of. But a rational notion of what they’re used for should not include gun fights at the OK Corral, prolonged shootouts, out-drawing the bad guy, bad guys who can’t shoot and good guys who can shoot holes in a nickel, and all that TV rot.

  21. jamessweet says

    Wurzelbacher also complains about “gun-grab extremists” who want to capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends. I’d love to know, though…what are those political ends? How does he think we gain, and who profits, from enacting laws that limit the flood of weapons of mass destruction within our own country?

    Wellllll, for what it’s worth, I was just making a comment on Facebook saying that while I felt like mass shooters were not representative of the actual gun violence problem in the US, then maybe since a spree killer is more attention-getting then suicides, jealous lovers, and random accidents, that the former will be what finally shifts the conversation away from the absolutely ridiculous arguments put forth by the pro-gun side. I kinda get what Wurzelbacher is saying, just from the other side: If a mass shooting is what gets people to pay attention to the tens of thousands slaughtered each year by more mundane gun violence, I’m not going to split hairs.

  22. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For hard questions like these, wouldn’t it be great if there was an (semi)official document written by the same people who wrote the constitution, as a guide to the constitution, and which was accepted by both federalists and anti-federalists as the authoritative guide to the constitution? We could refer to it, and our courts could refer to it often in decisions as well. If there was such a thing, I think that it should be written under the pen-name of The Federalist.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed28.asp

    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single state, if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. The usurpers, clothed with the forms of legal authority, can too often crush the opposition in embryo. The smaller the extent of the territory, the more difficult will it be for the people to form a regular or systematic plan of opposition, and the more easy will it be to defeat their early efforts. Intelligence can be more speedily obtained of their preparations and movements, and the military force in the possession of the usurpers can be more rapidly directed against the part where the opposition has begun. In this situation there must be a peculiar coincidence of circumstances to insure success to the popular resistance.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed46.asp

    To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.

    Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes.

    /snark

    I don’t know where this fiction started that gun rights were only to keep down slave revolts. It’s historical revisionism akin to David Barton’s work. The writings of legal philosophy at the time are more than clear. It fits perfectly with with the legal theories and moral philosophy underlining the US constitution.

    Now, if you continue with some of those quotes in to the full papers, you can see that it’s more nuanced than some gun nut jackoffs may make it seem. They envisioned the fight to be largely between the state with its untrained average folk with guns – aka the militia – against federal usurpers.

    There’s a reason it’s called “the militia” and not “a miltia”. Check the relevant laws.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Acts_of_1792

    Hell, even today if you are an able bodied male between 17 and 45, then you are a member of the militia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Act_of_1903

    Also see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_%28United_States%29

    I believe my favorite almost-pithy argument is from this district court decision:
    http://polyticks.com/polyticks/beararms/emerson.htm

    Collective rights theorists argue that addition of the subordinate clause qualifies the rest of the amendment by placing a limitation on the people’s right to bear arms. Id. However, if the amendment truly meant what collective rights advocates propose, then the text would read “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the States to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, that is not what the framers of the amendment drafted. The plain language of the amendment, without attenuate inferences therefrom, shows that the function of the subordinate clause was not to qualify the right, but instead to show why it must be protected. Id. The right exists independent of the existence of the militia. If this right were not protected, the existence of the militia, and consequently the security of the state, would be jeopardized.

    PS: This is an entirely separate discussion from whether the second amendment is a good idea today. But please don’t engage in historical revisionism.

  23. says

    The fastest way to enact gun control would be to arm every single member of Occupy. The moment those leftist hippies get guns, there’ll be a collective rightwing freakout to get them out of ‘dangerous’ hands.

    The Black Panthers walking around with guns scared the hell out of them.*

    *I really hope they leave that up. Watch it while you can, anyway.

  24. dianne says

    @Masked avenger 17: The state would gladly be your ally in eliminating the threat of armed whackjobs, if they could

    Not really. The state actually has more of an interest in keeping guns unregulated. Makes it easier to, say, destablize the governments of neighboring countries by providing weapons to their whackjobs. If the government wanted to take your guns from you, they would have done so long ago and your little weapons in your untrained hands wouldn’t have scared them one bit. They don’t want to.

  25. says

    The people who worry about supposed gun grabbers think that after all the guns are gone the gun grabbers will impose Marxism/Islam/One World Government/Your alternate paranoia here on America. They believe that a bunch of people having guns will stop this because they’ve bought into the American myth that plucky patriots with their muskets rose up and chased away the mighty British crown. In reality the American Revolution has a lot of similarities with the Vietnam war(s) and the Soviet experience with Afghanistan. Citizens in a colonial territory revolted against the colonial power/its surrogate. They were a nuisance until the colonial power’s enemies decided to get involved and support the rebellion. This eventually made the rebellion complex and expensive to suppress, and the colonial power decided the effort and resources required wouldn’t be worth the benefits the colony would provide. And that was in the days where the only real tech advantage a professional army had over civilians was artillery, not the 21st Century when the military has numerous tools armed civilians don’t.

  26. beergoggles says

    @SC (Salty Current), OM: Heck if you remember 2008, black men with a uniform and billy club scares the hell out of them.

  27. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    A Masked Avenger @19:

    Earlier iterations of “gun control” legislation were explicitly aimed at disarming minorities.

    That does make a ton of sense. It’s been many moons since I took medieval economics, but I vaguely recall something about the price of knightly weapons such as broadswords and the like being artificially inflated by the nobility to keep them out of the hands of the peasantry.

    Also Japan. The samurai successfully turned back the clock of technology by outlawing gunpowder weapons for a time because those long hollow sticks filled with black powder completely undermined the supremacy of the katana-wielding class.

    As with all vaguely-remembered lessons, please take with a grain of salt. I’d have to go home and search my old textbooks for the reference, or do some scholarly Googling.

  28. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Rick Perlstein blogged about how gun control went from being an issue of the far right in the sixties to being a leftist issue in the seventies and how the NRA because a political organization. (I am sure a lot of this will end up in his book about Ronald Reagan that he is currently finishing up.)

    Part 1

    <a href="Part 2

  29. says

    Rick Perlstein blogged about how gun control went from being an issue of the far right in the sixties to being a leftist issue in the seventies and how the NRA because a political organization.

    Thanks for those links. (All good except the very last paragraph. :))

  30. shadowspade says

    Wow! I can’t imagine saying anything like that to a parent, sibling, friend, acquaintance, or, well, anyone with a relationship to a murder victim. Even if one believes the statement what kind of person says it out loud?

    The 2nd Amendment is horribly outdated but heaven forbid (for many a gun fondler they literally believe heaven forbids) anyone actually talking about updating the thing. In reality it doesn’t matter what the men who wrote it intended – the entire point of our Constitution was for us to be able to update our laws as times changed. What we need to ask is what is our intent now? Sadly, for far too many I think their intent and their only answer to this violence is more guns. I’m not sure what the answer is but I know that what we are doing now isn’t working. I’m also really tired of hearing more guns, more guns, more guns. There has to be some better ideas out there if anyone was even willing to talk about them.

  31. sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 says

    Enlightenment liberal: The writing from the Federalist doesn’t contradict the arguments about early motivations or uses of second-amendment rights, because both can be true at the time time. Alcohol prohibition happened in this country thanks to an strange-bedfellows coalition of feminists, Protestants, anti-Catholic bigots, and of course the thousands of people who knew the troubles of rampant alcoholism firsthand. There doesn’t have to be a single “reason” for any given constitutional amendment. And even if the Second Amendment was inspired entirely by the supposedly-noble motive of giving people an opportunity to fend off their own government, that doesn’t mean the early militias didn’t mainly point their guns at Native Americans and slaves.

    Regardless, Washington himself saw fit to put down a major armed rebellion during his term, and I don’t recall any Founding Fathers who opposed him on that (except by opposing the taxes which lead to rebellion), so it’s not like the Founders were actually in favor of citizens using guns in that particular way, when push came to shove.

    Meanwhile, whenever gun-control opponents open their mouths after the latest shooting, I’m vaguely comforted by how little they can keep a straight face in making the only strong argument their position affords them: That liberals have everything backwards, you see, and the way to prevent shootings is to arm everyone. Even this plumber fellow explicitly suggest that dead kids are the price paid for gun availability, not a price paid for gun control.

    If they did go more down that route, then they’d have to shy away from a purely libertarian take on the issue and insist that all Americans be required to own a gun and show they know how to use it in the event of a shooting, and this would require immense regulation of guns. It’s inconsistent to blame these shootings on laws that prevent college professors and students from arming themselves, while considering it perfectly okay for them to make the choice not to arm themselves. Per NRA logic, not carrying a gun everywhere you legally can (and even places you can’t) is actually a morally atrocious choice.

    (Or I suppose if I want to be fair, the NRA could say it’s an acceptable choice but they’re being reckless at their own risk, like skydiving or something. Or, third option: It’s not that everyone should be armed, but schools should have armed guards, as Wayne LaPierre explicitly called for after Sandy Hook. But what would these guards be doing besides patting people down for… guns? Which sounds an awful lot like gun control, something that is supposedly unenforceable even if it were remotely ethically okay. “If your armed guards keep out the kids with guns, then you’ll just have kids with knives! Or kids with better-concealed guns! And the NRA-sanctioned solution to gun violence miniature police state will just ban more and more things!”)

  32. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    After the assassination of JFK, the NRA was vocal about how they supported – hell, they wrote models – gun laws.

    What changed, really, was the Civil Rights era. Once white men could no longer (openly) call upon the law to enforce white supremacy, they needed their guns.

  33. A Masked Avenger says

    Dianne, #24:

    The state actually has more of an interest in keeping guns unregulated. Makes it easier to, say, destablize the governments of neighboring countries by providing weapons to their whackjobs.

    Lots of countries with strict gun control have no difficulty exporting arms. The UK for example, exports all sorts of weapons all over the place, such as sniper rifles and submachine guns to Saudi Arabia.

    If the government wanted to take your guns from you, they would have done so long ago and your little weapons in your untrained hands wouldn’t have scared them one bit. They don’t want to.

    Agreed, but only partly. They could easily confiscate weapons, overwhelming whatever resistance showed itself. However, the US is a soft police state, not a dictatorship: the President may be able to call down death from the sky on anyone he wishes, and invade pretty much any country he wishes with only token resistance, but he must nevertheless stand for reelection. Approximately half the country will vote against anyone who seriously attempts the confiscation of guns. If it were actually attempted, it’s hard to predict the exact outcome, but it would be ugly (at least politically).

    You’re right, though: if they wanted to badly enough, they are more than capable.

    Conversely, they are more than capable of instituting a police state without disarming the populace. If an administration actually were to attempt it, they wouldn’t disarm the gun-toters: they would issue them armbands and turn them loose on the Hispanic and Muslim populations.

  34. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal
    Number of times militias in the U.S. overthrew tyrannical governments: 0
    Number of times militias in the U.S. defended the U.S. from foreign aggression:0
    Number of times militias in the U.S were used to put down attempted slave rebellions: a few dozen, not to mention the ongoing slave-catching and general enforcement (travel papers checking, intimidation, and freewheeling terror).
    Given that, it is clear what the actual purpose of the militias was, regardless of what the claimed reasons where.
     
    That said, I actually take issue with P.Z.s statement in the OP that” but also because it is no longer true — technology has progressed to the point where a militia is pretty much useless in providing security. “. Indeed, I would prefer it if our defence were entirely provided by such. The thing is that the U.S. didn’t actually have anything that could reasonably be described as a ‘well-regulated militia’ until the formation of the National Guard in 1933. This is the case regardless of whether ‘well-regulated’ is interpreted in the modern way (having many rules and laws which apply to them), or the way it would have been at the time when the article was written (at which time it would have meant ‘trained and disciplined to a military standard.’ The old slave-catching militias weren’t trained or disciplined to any such standard, by the standards of the day or by those of the modern era, because thugs and enforcers don’t need to be; their victims are at enough of a disadvantage already that they can’t usually fight back effectively. The real stumbling block in the original writing, of course, is that the State to which they referred could only meaningfully be described as ‘free state’ in the sense of the state not being subject to the jurisdiction of another state (i.e., they had a separate government). It would be hard to make the case that the U.S. could now reasonably be described as a ‘free state’ in the sense of ‘a state in which the inhabitants are free’, and certainly was not the case at the time the Constitution was written.

    timgueguen

    And that was in the days where the only real tech advantage a professional army had over civilians was artillery, not the 21st Century when the military has numerous tools armed civilians don’t.

    The other thing they had that the militias didn’t was the training, practice and discipline to stand shoulder to shoulder and lay down 5 volleys a minute and then charge with the bayonet in unison. That’s what ‘well-regulated’ was supposed to mean, but the militias never achieved it.

  35. samihawkins says

    In the past few years I’ve gone from completely supporting the right to bear arms to thinking we should have a total ban on guns and it’s entirely due to the gun fondlers disgusting lack of empathy or decency. They seem incapable of discussing the subject without making it obvious why they shouldn’t be trusted with a deadly weapon.

    Random Example: The other day I was listening to Johnny Cash songs on youtube when I got to ‘Don’t Take Your Guns to Town’. For those that’ve never heard this song it’s an absolute tearjerker about a young man who hotheadedly reaches for his gun in an argument and gets blasted down in the prime of his life. The entire point of the song is that if he had just left the damn gun at home this whole tragedy could have been avoided. So what’s the first thing I see glancing at the comments? Some ****head ranting about his second amendment rights and how that kid totally deserved to die. One of those moments when you wish it was possible to smack somebody over the internet.

  36. siaran says

    Tony @6:

    How does “we need sensible gun control laws in the US” translate into “we’re coming to take your guns and eliminate the 2nd Amendment”?

    To be fair, as a non-USAnian, taking everyone’s guns and repealing the 2nd Amendment do sound like sensible gun control laws to me…

  37. siaran says

    Also, this seems relevant.

    “He hated weapons, and not just because they’d so often been aimed at him. You got into more trouble if you had a weapon. People shot you instantly if they thought you were going to shoot them. But if you were unarmed, they often stopped to talk. Admittedly, they tended to say things like, ‘You’ll never guess what we’re going to do to you, pal,’ but that took time. And Rincewind could do a lot with a few seconds. He could use them to live longer in.”

    -Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

  38. says

    Okay, I’ve known people who come of age to tend to be iconoclastic in their views and behavior, but this whole blog just looks like a mental disorder.

  39. lochaber says

    Anybody remember that bit with the shooting outside the empire state building a while back?

    There were “trained professionals”, or “good guys with guns” trying to stop a “bad guy with a gun”, and something like 9 wounded, none of which were wounded by the “bad guy with a gun” (although he did kill one person previously).

    Would having more people with guns (and probably less training) have reduced the amount of wounded in that situation?

    I used to have really mixed feelings about gun control, but frankly, the pro-gun contingent scares me. They come across as unstable, violent individuals looking for an excuse to kill someone. Plus, they seem to have really poor firearm safety skills/training.

  40. A Masked Avenger says

    Would having more people with guns (and probably less training) have reduced the amount of wounded in that situation?

    Being in law enforcement (but not a police officer), I train with cops. Instructors will freely tell me (but probably not you) that cops, in general, have unbelievably awful gun-handling skills. They want to be cops not because they like guns, and using guns is an annoying job requirement. Most of them basically never touch a gun except to qualify annually, which they barely manage, often on a second or third (which they’re not supposed to get) try.

    …the pro-gun contingent scares me. They come across as unstable, violent individuals looking for an excuse to kill someone.

    In one sense you can take comfort from the fact that there are some 40 million households in the US with at least one gun–about 1/3 of all households. If all of these gun owners had murderous intent, then it would already be a bloodbath. Most of them are clearly not “violent individuals looking for an excuse to kill someone.” However, some of them obviously are, and they’re highly visible for obvious reasons.

    Plus, they seem to have really poor firearm safety skills/training.

    That’s hard to quantify. The majority of gun owners probably own a hunting firearm, and the majority of them probably seldom or never use it for anything. They’re neither murderous, nor trained, but neither does it matter–their gun is home in a cabinet somewhere. Of the ones most actively involved with firearms, many are pretty well trained and practice safe handling skills; many are in fact better trained than cops, because they have the interest that cops lack, and an additional motivation because, unlike cops, they are likely to be arrested if they screw up in some way. I said “many,” not “most,” however, because I wouldn’t begin to guess at the relative numbers.

    Of the folks I’ve personally come into contact with, overall I’d trust them with a gun before the average cop. If I saw a cop drawing a firearm, I’d dive for cover: as a rule of thumb, the only safe place is behind him. I’ve said this to cops at the range, and while some of them get pissed off, the instructor has never failed to agree with me. Bearing in mind of course that “anecdote” is not the singular for “data.”

  41. coragyps says

    Kincannon’s comment is the most fucking foul, obscene thing I’ve read in a month or two. He needs his mouth washed out with an entire bar of Lava Soap.

  42. lochaber says

    A Masked Avenger>

    I get most of what you’re saying (why I put “trained professionals” in scare quotes…).

    I’ve also personally known some very responsible firearm owners, who really stressed firearm safety.

    I probably should have been more specific, and I’m thinking of the cases where a pro-gun politician pulled a gun out and pointed it at a journalist, or that guy more recently who used the laser sight (still attached to his pistol) as a pointer in a demonstration, or any of the dumbasses who shoot themselves or bystanders with a concealed weapon while fumbling for a wallet, etc., etc.

  43. ibyea says

    These people treat the constitution like it’s some holy document handed down from God or something.

  44. anteprepro says

    But: As harsh as it sounds, your worship of an overly general 250 year old law in a document that was explicitly designed to change itself as needed does not trump my right to safety.

    Also: Good to see Joe the fucking plumber is still trying to plumb the depths of the Republican sewer.

  45. anteprepro says

    (Oh, correction, it is 223 years)

    Andrew Daniels:

    I’ve known people who come of age to tend to be iconoclastic in their views and behavior, but this whole blog just looks like a mental disorder.

    Your ableism is noted. As is your use of “iconoclast” as an insult while simultaneously doing nothing but essentially saying “I don’t agree with you hah hah hah”.

    Your trolling needs work. Are you a pitter or a freelancer?

  46. says

    Andrew Daniels @41:

    Okay, I’ve known people who come of age to tend to be iconoclastic in their views and behavior, but this whole blog just looks like a mental disorder.

    First off, ditch the bigoted views.
    Second, “the whole blog”? You must have read quite a bit, yet this is all you have to say?
    Thanks for the contribution. The door is that way—->

  47. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375
    I can agree to that. I was wrong and/or spoke wrongly. But please don’t say “it’s just for catching slaves”, as that does gross injustice to the actual history, and ignores all of the public discourse on the topic. The Federalist papers were originally published as newspaper letters. It was understood by all to be the user’s guide to the new constitution. Even today’s Supreme Court references them somewhat frequently as authoritative documents of intent and description.

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    Odd, I count at least one case where the militia in the US overthrew a tyrannical government. Described from England, it was a bunch of hooligans and terrorists who are acting against the public sentiment at large, causing ruckus, destroying public property, and raising up militias against the internationally recognized legitimate government. It was called the American war of independence. I don’t know my history as well as I should, and I wonder how much they were used in the war of 1812 as well. Of course, IIRC it didn’t go so well for the Americans in that one.

    PS: Again, I am in favor of closing loopholes on background checks, and especially on better licensing. Think of it as a driver’s license to own a gun, with the required course, tests, and anual check-ups. Or even on the difficulty of a pilot’s license. I have a few gun nut friends, and they all agree to that. PPS: anecdotes is not data, I know.

  48. says

    Salty current @ 30

    Yeah. I think that last paragraph was an appeal to (a) mythology. It certainly doesn’t reflect reality, is sort of strangely constructed, and includes a further mythological use of “democracy”.

  49. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal

    . I don’t know my history as well as I should,

    You’re right. You don’t. The Continental Army, trained to military discipline by French military advisors and former British officers now members of the revolution, precisely because the militias were getting their asses kicked up one side and down the other. That was an army, not a militia.

  50. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Err, to continue to both sc_a5d5b3a48ba402d40e1725cbb3ce1375 and Dalillama, Schmott Guy – The history of the right to bear arms predates the American slave trade entirely. It was rooted in the struggles between Catholics and Protestants in England, again as the Federalist mentions. Saying it’s about the slave trade when the Federalist and others cite legislative history, and clearly express their intent, is akin to saying that the Federalist and other sources were lying. I am not ready to swallow that pill, and I have not seen the sufficient evidence to convince me that the Federalist was lying when he (they) wrote those letters, plus all of the other sources I’ve seen on this topic as well.

    Sure the slave states supported it in addition because they wanted to keep slaves under control, but that is a secondary concern. The primary concern is exactly what they said it was, the right of the people to fight back against tyrannical governments, when they just finished a war of the people against a tyrannical government.

  51. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    Did most of those people have training before the war? No. Where did most of those guns come from? Could that strategy have worked if the British had previously declared all guns to be forfeited and successfully enforced the law?

    Again, your idea of militia is colored by today’s facts of war. It was different then. The amendment was written for a different time. What the Federalist describes is exactly happened. People had guns, and then they were trained to become a “well regulated militia”. AFAIK, armies at the time were often considered different from militia. Militia was the everyday citizens, and an army was often foreign mercenaries and often not members of the actual community.

  52. Alverant says

    @Masked Avenger
    I think the whole “responsible gun owner” is another “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy. All gun owners claim to be responsible until they screw up and someone gets shot. We don’t know the exact numbers because the NRA and their politicians keep the CDC from collecting data on gun violence. (Gee I wonder why.) I was nearly killed twice by “responsible gun owners” who were careless for one second. The first was at Thanksgiving when my cousin-X-removed wanted to show off his new rifle. Don’t worry, it wasn’t loaded. At least it wasn’t after he pulled the trigger by accident when it was pointed in my general direction. If I didn’t read so many stories on Darwin Awards about people accidentally getting shot, I probably won’t be here today. The other time I was walking home from work and nearly got hit by a stray bullet because an old woman thought she saw a burglar. Actually it was a meter reader who had an appointment but she forgot.

    The point is, there are people in this country who are careless with their weapons. There’s no real difference between someone who is actually responsible with their firearms and someone who is thinks is responsible but isn’t who’s just gotten lucky so far. I don’t think it’s a violation of the Constitution to require gun owners to register their weapons and carry insurance. We can take away someone’s keys to their car if they are physically unable to drive safely, well we should be able to do the same with gun owners.

  53. Useless says

    PZ commented “His precious Constitutional rights…how come they never pay attention to the second and third words of that amendment?”.

    Both appellate courts and SCOTUS have changed their minds on this point many times, but in 2008 with District of Columbia v. Heller, SCOTUS has informed us that “The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller).

    You may mistakenly think that corporations are persons either. (I’ve considered changing my name to Monsanto to pick up a little more clout.) For a much broader discussion on the history of the second amendment and its interpretation, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution.

    Please, though, don’t tell us to read the wording when we have a SCOTUS decision that may last for a few more years that informs us of the exact meaning of the amendment. Your only beating your head against the wall.

  54. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    Joe the Plumber; a man few rational people would want as a plumber; much less a constitutional scholar.

    And let’s be honest and just admit that the 2nd Amendment is defending what for most people is nothing more than a hobby. They are not law enforcement or members of any militia, and don’t give a damn about anyone’s “rights” but their own, which seem to only go as far as owning lots of firepower, defending the sanctity of zygotes, and hating gay people.

  55. Rasalhague says

    …cowering like a bitch…

    What. The. Fuck.

    How does the person who thought this would be a reasonable thing to say maintain their status as a fully paid-up member of humanity?

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please, though, don’t tell us to read the wording when we have a SCOTUS decision that may last for a few more

    Quit pretending SCOTUS, with a different panel who understands what a well-regulated militia means, might not come to a different conclusion. So you shut the fuck up, as the game isn’t over.

  57. Ichthyic says

    I’ve often wondered if McCain deliberately chose Palin and “Joe” as a poke to the GoP who refused to take his warnings about how utterly nuts the GoP base was becoming, back in 2000. Their response then was to laugh him off the stage and deny him the nomination.

    maybe he finally just gave up and decided to become a clown instead.

    Poe’s law comes into this somewhere, I’m sure.

  58. Ichthyic says

    Both appellate courts and SCOTUS have changed their minds on this point many times,

    if this was actually your point, and the rest of your post just sarcasm, you have to recall that all of our sarcasm detectors around these parts have been broken for years.

    if it wasn’t, then… you have a conflict in your thinking that obviously needs some resolution.

  59. says

    I feel for Kincannon’s son. I hope he doesn’t embrace his father’s horrible attitudes, but regardless it’s sad that anyone has to grow up with a parent who thinks this way and can speak so glibly about his child’s hypothetical death.

  60. Ichthyic says

    I watched the whole documentary that SC posted on the counter culture movement of the 60s.

    I now hate Ronald Reagan even more than I did yesterday.

    I didn’t think that was even possible.

    the man was simply a traitor to humanity.

    his entire speech to the University basically boiled down to complaining the university wasn’t telling their students to respect authoritah enough. Makes me wonder if the Eric Cartman character might actually have been based on Reagan.

    and yet… I still meet people today that think he was a fucking saint, and saved the world from communism.

    sad.

  61. says

    EnlightenmentLiberal#59
    When you’ve already admitted you don’t know much about the history in question, maybe you should shut the fuck up about it already.
    To be more specific

    Did most of those people have training before the war? No.

    No, they didn’t. Because the militias hadn’t provided it. The fact that untrained people were trained to become soldiers is not what makes it a militia; that’s what makes it an army. The vast majority of the soldiers the U.S. sent to the World Wars also had no military training before the war, because we had a relatively small military immediately before those wars. That does not make them militias.

    Where did most of those guns come from?

    France. Since you ask.

    Could that strategy have worked if the British had previously declared all guns to be forfeited and successfully enforced the law?

    Yes. There is no reason to suppose that French blockade runners or naval elements would have been any less effective in that case, nor that the former officers and noncoms of the British army serving in the Continential Army would have been any less skilled.

    Again, your idea of militia is colored by today’s facts of war.

    I apparently have a vastly better appreciation of the facts of war at the time the Constitution was drafted than you do, as well as the specific circumstances of the American Revolution.

    It was different then.

    Yes and no. The details of armament vary, but trained, disciplined forces still beat undisciplined rabble pretty much every time, just as they always have.

    The amendment was written for a different time.

    Yes, it was, and it should be changed or indeed abolished for the present time, but that’s not actually relevant to any of the flaws in your argument.

    What the Federalist describes is exactly happened.

    No, it isn’t, as you’d know if you’d read actual history and not hagiographies of the ‘Founding Fathers’. Or their political rants, for that matter. It’s important to also know what actually happened.

    People had guns, and then they were trained to become a “well regulated militia”.

    No, you nitwit, they were (eventually) trained to become a well-regulated (relatively; the British Regulars still had better drill and discipline, but they were on the end of a long-ass supply train and the British government had a lot of places they were needed, especially since France was rattling some heavy sabers and John Company screaming for more troops in Mysore and the Deccan) army.

    AFAIK, armies at the time were often considered different from militia.

    Yes, they were. Armies were composed of full-time soldiers who went places and fought, while militias were part-time troops who practiced on weekends and defended the walls of their home city (or other relevant local fortification), and weren’t expected to stand and trade volleys with regulars.

    Militia was the everyday citizens, and an army was often foreign mercenaries and often not members of the actual community.

    Your getting your times and places confused, you’re thinking of about a century earlier. There still were some mercenary troops around (the famously hired Hessians, for instance, from that war), but they were at that point primarily specialists, not the primary force, which was a national army composed of regular troops, like the British Army.

  62. Gregory Greenwood says

    But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.

    Wow – he actually comes right out and places his creepy love for his gun over the lives of children. It horrifys me that anyone actually thinks that way, but sadly it no longer surprises me. And I bet Wurzelbacher is anti-choice as well – it would fit perfectly with their callous disregard for the lives of children that kicks in the second they are actually born.

    As a Brit, the scary part for me is that I am certain that there are any number of Samuel Wurzelbachers right here in the UK. They may spell things with a few extra ‘u’s, but the only thing stopping them from engaging in the self same gun-fondling obsessiveness as Joe the dehumanising, gun-fondling arsehat Plumber is a few gun control laws that could all too easily be repealed.

    There but for the grace of vaguely rational gun legislation go we…

    No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

    But there is of course no connection whatsoever between the culture of gun-fondling and rampant misogyny, dontchaknow…

    And lets say that this genius’ son did have his gun to hand, and actually did get the opportunity to get a few shots off – how would that help the situation? All this would acheive is a situation where a minimally trained or untrained person was firing into an area occupied by innocent people. Even highly trained law enforcement marksmen with excellent scores on the firing range miss an awful lot of the time in real crisis situations, and when you have someone without even a fraction of that training firing at a moving target who is likely firing back, all while panicking people are most likely running or trying to hide between the two gun-toting idiots indulging in their shootout, then the outcome is all but certain to be an increased civilian body count. More dead bodies, more greiving families, and all so that some gun obsessed nincompoop can try (and fail miserably) to live out their Die Hard-esque fantasies.

  63. Monsanto says

    #64 Dearest Nerd of Redhead…

    I’ll bet you don’t think a corporation is a person either. At least I quoted my sources. What are your sources that make you think that SCOTUS is about to change its mind? Do you think your opinion somehow trumps the Supreme Court’s opinion? What kind of “different panel” did you have in mind? A well regulated militia that will replace our Supreme Court for us? I love your unbounded irony.

    You also have the option of shutting the fuck up.

  64. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    Ok. I’m wrong. I’m delusional or demonstrably wrong. I am in good company in my delusion that the militia can overthrow a tyranny.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed46.asp

    To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence.

    And legal rulings deal with legislative intent, even if the legislative intent was based on mistaken premises. My point is not to sit here and say the second amendment is a good idea. My point is to point out the flagrant historical revisionism I see in this thread, and otherwise, among anti gun rights people in general.

    You sir, as trained as you are in history, should know the basis of the right to bears as it existed earlier in England.

    Which means I’m on a gigantic red herring. I hope that wasn’t purposeful of you.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You also have the option of shutting the fuck up.

    You first. And bad decisions make for looking at the decisions again.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What kind of “different panel” did you have in mind? A well regulated militia that will replace our Supreme Court for us? I love your unbounded irony.

    The same old thing. Scalia and Thomas retire, to be replaced by not idiotlogues who read the whole sentence, not just what they want to see and presuppose. The well regulate militia is call the nation guard these days, and is purely voluntary. The NG gets their weapons from the government. They don’t expect folks to bring their own rifles. I’m 60+ years old, and have never attended a meeting of the “well regulated militia”. It doesn’t exist….

  67. Ichthyic says

    What are your sources that make you think that SCOTUS is about to change its mind?

    why… that would be YOU.

    Both appellate courts and SCOTUS have changed their minds on this point many times,

    nothing in your post countered your initial factual contention, that indeed SCOTUS has changed its mind many times, and often as a result of shifts in membership.

    one new liberal member and a revisit would be all it takes.

    most constitutional scholars thought the 2008 decision on the second amendment was absolutely ridiculous, and still do.

  68. says

    Montsanto:

    I’ll bet you don’t think a corporation is a person either.

    Oooh, I forgot! The Supreme Court said so, therefore corporations are now people!
    Yeahbutno.
    Do you worship at the altar of all SCOTUS rulings?

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Montsanto:

    I’ll bet you don’t think a corporation is a person either.

    That fiction came about so a corporation could own property, even in states that required a person to be the owner. But for purposes of free speech? It’s a commercial enterprise, and anything it says should be regulated as commercial speech, and political speech and contributions forbidden. It isn’t a true person, only a fictional one.

  70. PaulBC says

    What would it even take for Wurzelbacher or Kincannon to wrap their peabrains around the the notion “This isn’t about you, or your guns, or big gummint coming for your guns, or the constitution or whatever you seem to think it’s about.”

    Six innocent kids, all with promising futures, just got killed for no reason at all. As far as I know, they haven’t even had a memorial service in the time it took for the two aforementioned to exercise their first amendment right to prove themselves scumbags in public.

  71. says

    Doesn’t the constitution entitle people to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? It seems to me that allowing access to guns to commit mass murder. Is a major infringement of that right.

    Which right rules supreme?

  72. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Doesn’t the constitution entitle people to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

    Nope, those words are from the Declaration of Independence.

  73. Monsanto says

    Yep. I grovel at the feet of SCOTUS and their unparalleled wisdumb. They’re so superior to common sense that I’m in profound awe. However, until we find replacements for Scalia or Scalia Wannabe, I suspect we’re stuck with what they say as the Supreme Objective Truth. (And as we all know, Objective Truth is God-given and can’t change.)

    And to Nerd of Redhead, “After you, my dear Aphonse.” (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Alphonsegaston.jpg)

  74. Ichthyic says

    The Supreme Court said so, therefore corporations are now people!

    FWIW, I do believe Monsanto was expressing sarcasm there.

    I grovel at the feet of SCOTUS and their unparalleled wisdumb

    pretty sure.

  75. AndrewD says

    I am surprised that Salty Current hasn’t pointed out in all the discussion about Militia’s that the one political stream of thought that has always supported the militia concept are the Anarchists. Does the NRA/GOP really think we want to be associated with them, or them with us?

  76. lorn says

    Goodbye Enemy Janine @ #1:

    Good to see that others get that right. That bit about the militia was added as a concession to the slave holding states, They called the groups of otherwise unemployed young men “militia” even though they had little or no actual regimentation or training. Militia patrolling of the highways and borders, and networks of informants, were vital to southern efforts to deter runaways and keep the social structure based upon cheap labor intact.

    This highlights exactly why the slave states were so incensed at the free states. If there were no free states there would be nowhere for the slaves to run to. Of course proximity breeds contempt and the slave states closest to the free states tended to protest the loudest. Without hundreds of miles of heavily patrolled and watched territory to to deter self-theft the slave owner lived in fear of their property wandering off.

  77. mirrorfield says

    With respect, while Mr. Wurzelbacher’s commentary may have been harsh, I cannot find fault in his reasoning. If you believe that safety and security trump constitutional rights, you should equally approve of nullifying many others amendments. The Freedom of speech, by that account, is equally dangerous with demagogues and has resulted in millions of dead. Many lives could be saved if the Police didn’t have to worry about legal impediments like search warrants. And so on.

    Saddam’s Baghdad was statistically much safer than any american big city (well, if you weren’t politically involved or religious minority), precisely because his police didn’t need to worry about pesky details like civil rights or false positives.

    Freedom is not free. (ObJoke: I know, it’s $1.05)

  78. Nick Gotts says

    The primary concern is exactly what they said it was, the right of the people to fight back against tyrannical governments, when they just finished a war of the people against a tyrannical government. – Enlightenment Liberal@58

    Well if we’re going to argue in terms of “It was different then” (#59), the British government of the time was not, by the standards of the time, tyrannical in its treatment of the colonists. It wanted them to pay some taxes and customs duties, submit to restrictions on direct trade outwith the Empire, and accept limitations on “settlement” (stealing land from the Indians). Ordinary white men in the American colonies in 1776 had more liberty than their counterparts anywhere in Europe, except perhaps Switzerland.

    Could that strategy have worked if the British had previously declared all guns to be forfeited and successfully enforced the law?

    There was no police force and a customs force far too small to prevent smuggling on a huge scale, so this is akin to noting that things would have been a lot harder for the rebels if the British had had helicopter gunships and cruise missiles. Counterfactuals can be very useful in historical arguments, but they have to be realistic.

  79. Nick Gotts says

    Freedom is not free. – mirrorfield@86

    How much freedom do Elliot Roger’s victims have? Or the thousands of other victims of gun homicides and accidental fatal shootings who would be alive today were it not for gun-fondlers like you?

  80. says

    mirrorfield:

    If you believe that safety and security trump constitutional rights, you should equally approve of nullifying many others amendments.

    That I believe safety and security trump *one* constitutional right does not mean that the same holds for *other* constitutional rights. I’m talking about one right that conflicts with another. How should we resolve these conflicting rights?
    The 2nd Amendment grants a right that is long since outdated, and is IMO, interpreted incorrectly. The prevalence of guns and the ease with which they can be acquired contribute to the gun violence in the US resulting in tragedy after tragedy. When I measure 2nd Amendment gun rights against the right of US citizens to live free from gun violence, the latter beats out the former every damn time.
    Now, while I *would* support eliminating the whole damn 2nd Amendment, I realize it’s not practical. So stronger gun control laws are needed to reduce the gun violence. At the same time, calling attention to toxic masculinity is important too (that way we can tackle the mentality that says “shoot a gun, become a man”)

  81. lochaber says

    hah, that’s fuckin rich.

    Especially considering that the camp that is known for vehemently defending the 2nd amendment generally has no problems with the first, fourth, and fifth amendments getting thrown under the bus in the interest of ‘security’. The “war on drugs”, and the “war on terror”, and all the anti occupy* backlash.

    And why is it that ownership of firearms is somehow more important then, say, free speech, or freedom from warrantless searches?

  82. randay says

    “Militia” is mentioned 4 times in the Constitution. In Article 1 section 8:

    “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States[I'll get back to that part later];…

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions….

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;…”

    “Article II, section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States…”

    It is clear that the 2nd Amendment was written with these in mind. Individual “rights” to own arms or guns are not mentioned elsewhere. The irony of self-styled militias is that only Congress can call forth the Militia. They would do so to suppress those self-styled ones.

  83. Gregory Greenwood says

    mirrorfield @ 86;

    With respect, while Mr. Wurzelbacher’s commentary may have been harsh, I cannot find fault in his reasoning.

    I find little reasoning of merit in the notion that a fascination with gun-stroking should outweigh the lives of children.

    If you believe that safety and security trump constitutional rights, you should equally approve of nullifying many others amendments. The Freedom of speech, by that account, is equally dangerous with demagogues and has resulted in millions of dead. Many lives could be saved if the Police didn’t have to worry about legal impediments like search warrants. And so on.

    This is something of a false equivalency, to put it mildly. Neither the freedom of speech nor legal protections limiting the police authority to search private property amount to an entitlement for people to own lethal weapons specifically designed to kill other people with minimal controls in place.

    Freedom of speech can certainly be used to incite violence indirectly (though in many jurisdictions direct calls to violence are still illegal without any discernable denegration of free speech rights), but it doesn’t allow individuals with real or imagined greivances the capacity to engage in mass murder with relative ease. Saturating a society with guns will inevitably create opportunities aplenty for tragedy, and the excuse that it is somehow necessary to rein in government power is nothing short of laughable in this day and age – if it came down to a clash between citizens armed with handguns and the odd assault rifle versus an oppressive government in command of a military with main battle tanks, helicopter gunships, drones and aircraft carriers, then the outcome is already a foregone conclusion. It is nothing but the most supreme, arrogant narcissism that leads gun-fondlers to fantasise that their pop gun is the only thing upholding ‘truth, justice and the American way’ in the face of some unevidenced evil government conspiracy.

    The Second Amendment is an anachronism that has been poisoning American civil society for centuries. It serves no credible purpose in defence of civil liberties or individual political freedoms, and indeed functions as nothing more than a constitutional guarantee that allows gun-fetishists to carry on with their favoured hobby no matter how large the butcher’s bill grows.

    The sooner it is abandoned the better off you will all be.

  84. says

    I have a response for anyone who starts the “hobby” argument.

    I like picking locks. It’s a fun, challenging little hobby. Buying a lockpick set and a cheap (or expensive) padlock, feeling the tumblers and trying to figure it out is a puzzle. It’s easy to learn, difficult to master, and impossible to put down.

    I cannot own a lockpick set in Virginia. It is a Class 5 Felony, punishable up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $2500. It’s a bullshit law – that owning a lockpick set is evidence that the owner is going to commit a crime.

    So shut up about regulation of your goddamned “hobby.” I have no sympathy for you.

  85. mirrorfield says

    @88: The Victims had their right to life violated by an apparent lunatic. No gun violated anyone’s rights. The Man who wielded it bears full responsibility, but (fortunately or unfortunately) he is beyond further punishment and cannot harm anyone any more with 100% guarantee.

    I blame the lunatic, not the tools that he wielded. Also, there are no accidents with guns: There is only negligence by wielders.

    @89: The Right to keep and bear arms does not conflict with anyone’s rights. It doesn’t hurt anyone else in itself. What you (and other liberals) seem to be unable to comprehend that the right to bear arms comes with responsibility. If some lunatic/criminal/whatever abuses this right, he should bear the full responsibility for his misdeeds. Up to and including paying for them with his own life.

    @90: I do not approve of the abridgements of any other amendments nor do I think that those are any less important. Well, 18th was a bad idea, but it was dealt with properly with 21th and I think that 17th is also a bad idea that should be dealt with in same manner, but that’s another matter.

  86. says

    @Mirrorfield:

    That’s the thing. We want responsibility. The “gun-grabber” response is the minority on sites like this. We understand that people want to own guns and that’s fine.

    The Conservative argument is all guns all the time no questions asked.

    The Liberal argument is that we should regulate and restrict guns.

    Mass murder will still happen, but it won’t be so frequent.

  87. says

    mirrorfield:

    The Victims had their right to life violated by an apparent lunatic. No gun violated anyone’s rights. The Man who wielded it bears full responsibility, but (fortunately or unfortunately) he is beyond further punishment and cannot harm anyone any more with 100% guarantee.

    I blame the lunatic, not the tools that he wielded. Also, there are no accidents with guns: There is only negligence by wielders.

    Yes, and in the US, there are a *lot* of negligent wielders. Hence the level of gun violence. Which needs to be reduced (eliminated, really; but that’s a pipe dream at this point). The damn things are designed to make killing people (and occasionally destroying things) more efficient. When placed in the hands of irresponsible people, as happens time and time again, people die. Stronger gun control laws are intended to reduce the number of irresponsible people who have guns.

    FFS, you fucking gun lovers always love to show up and declare your love for your killing machines. You treat them as more important than human lives. There is no reason the vast majority of USanians need guns. I don’t give two shits about “it’s my hobby”, when people with near unfettered access to your killing tools get ahold of them and kill others. Or when irresponsible adults leave loaded guns at home which children kill themselves with. Or when a father shoots what he thinks is a burglar sneaking into his home only to learn it was his child he just killed. Go into a career where carrying a gun is necessary (and even then, you better get fully trained), or go to a shooting range to play. Hell, go somewhere designated for hunting. Other than that, keep your damn Death Tools away from the rest of society. We, all of us, deserve to keep living.

    Up to and including paying for them with his own life.

    Your concern for your fellow humans is touching.

  88. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No gun violated anyone’s rights.

    Liar. Rodger used guns to violate their rights. Quit lying to yourself. People use guns to kill people. Quit ignoring that reality.

  89. pentatomid says

    I blame the lunatic, not the tools that he wielded

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Guns don’t kill people, people do… You know what people? PEOPLE WITH GUNS.

  90. says

    Well if we’re going to argue in terms of “It was different then” (#59), the British government of the time was not, by the standards of the time, tyrannical in its treatment of the colonists. It wanted them to pay some taxes and customs duties, submit to restrictions on direct trade outwith the Empire, and accept limitations on “settlement” (stealing land from the Indians). Ordinary white men in the American colonies in 1776 had more liberty than their counterparts anywhere in Europe, except perhaps Switzerland.

    Their response to people fighting a genuinely tyrannical regime. (“[I]t is probably the interest of all nations that [arms] should be kept out of hands likely to make so bad use of them.”*)

    * I don’t have that book so can’t confirm the source/quotation.

  91. Amphiox says

    No gun violated anyone’s rights…

    And reasonable gun control restricts no gun.

    It simply enforces responsibility for people who abuse their right to ownership of guns.

  92. PaulBC says

    “With respect, while Mr. Wurzelbacher’s commentary may have been harsh, I cannot find fault in his reasoning. ”

    I fault his complete lack of human decency. His (largely unfounded) fears of any incremental movements towards gun control after the latest mass killing do not “trump” the need for compassion towards grieving family and friends of the victim.

  93. PaulBC says

    Typo above. I meant “victims.” So I’ll add that if the parents of the victims ever need tutoring in the constitution, they can surely find a more appropriate time and a more qualified teacher than Wurzelbacher. I can’t imagine any context around his statement that would cause me to read any further and consider the “reasoning” involved.

  94. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    A Masked Avenger @46:

    If all of these gun owners had murderous intent, then it would already be a bloodbath.

    Thirty thousand fire arm deaths per year. Five times as many Americans killed in the US by fire arms as US service members were killed in Iraq over a decade. Yup. No bloodbath there.

    mirrorfield @94:

    I blame the lunatic, not the tools that he wielded.

    How convenient. Yet another mass murder completely and totally unrelated to any other mass murder ever committed since he was a “lunatic” so it is an isolated incident just like all the other mass murders of the past 20 years.

  95. says

    SC:

    No. Nonhuman animals “deserve to keep living” too.

    You’re right, and I apologize for that part of my comment. We are no more special or deserving of life than any other creature on this planet.

  96. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    The snarky reference upthread to the British Army in 1776 having helicopter gunships and cruise missiles is actually something approaching a point, so I’d like to expand on it.

    In the eighteenth century, a military-grade weapon was essentially identical to the weapon the average farmer would have to kill animals menacing his farm. So “the militia is defined as all adult males” made sense, as the only thing they were required to go out and get was something indicating (a uniform, a hat, a badge, etc) that they were acting in militia capacity. It was reasonable for an average citizen to have a military-grade weapon, and for military leadership to presume that the average household to have a musket. What differentiated the average citizen-militiaman from the average professional soldier was training. The Army, in addition to a crapload of dudes with guns, had some cannons, but most other war matériel were things like “carts” and “oxen to pull said carts.”

    Nowadays, a military-grade weapon is not the same thing as the typical weapon the average gun owner has for personal protection and/or dealing with predators and/or hunting. There is some overlap, but there are substantial differences between a pump-action shotgun and an M-16, there are vanishingly few reasons why a civilian to want the latter, and it is not reasonable for military leadership to presume that the average household has one. What differentiates the average civilian-with-guns from the average professional soldier is training and access to better-quality weapons and backup. The military, in addition to people (dudes and non-dudes) with guns, has a bunch of artillery, helicopter gunships, cruise missiles, airplanes, etc etc etc.

    If you listen to the rhetoric of the gun-fetishists, a lot of them talk about fending off TPTB, as if a dude with all the guns in the world could actually win against a missile strike.

  97. anteprepro says

    mirrorfield

    I blame the lunatic, not the tools that he wielded. Also, there are no accidents with guns: There is only negligence by wielders.

    Riiiiight. I assume that you will be defending people with bomb and grenade collections next.

    “There are no accidental explosions, just improper defusings!”

    What you (and other liberals) seem to be unable to comprehend that the right to bear arms comes with responsibility.

    Which is why and your right-wing brethren try to remove any rules and regulations and requirements, right? You have a weird definition of “responsibility”. Where we are prevented from making sure that the people using dangerous weapons are responsible and knowledgeable, because FREEDOM, but where we are fully within our rights to let people die because of the irresponsibility we did nothing to correct. If you ran the country, you would allow toddlers to drive and justify your decision by saying that, hey, bad drivers will either die or get arrested, so it will sort itself out. You have no concern for human life and your idea of “responsibility” is just an excuse for you to sit back and watch the death that you salivate over. Go fuck yourself.

  98. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Shooter was a racist MRA who was bitter about his extended virginity. Shocker.

    No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

    This Kincannon bloke is a complete fucking arsehole, and a delusional idiot to boot.

  99. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    …there are no accidents with guns: There is only negligence by wielders.

    That, my friends, is what we call “A distinction without a difference”. Does mirrorfield suppose they have actually made a point here?

  100. anteprepro says

    Kevin

    I cannot own a lockpick set in Virginia. It is a Class 5 Felony, punishable up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $2500. It’s a bullshit law – that owning a lockpick set is evidence that the owner is going to commit a crime.

    Here in Massachusetts , they are strict about all the cool old weapons that aren’t gunzzzz

    Whoever, except as provided by law, carries on his person, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, any stiletto, dagger or a device or case which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, any ballistic knife, or any knife with a detachable blade capable of being propelled by any mechanism, dirk knife, any knife having a double-edged blade, or a switch knife, or any knife having an automatic spring release device by which the blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one-half inches, or a slung shot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles, nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends; or whoever, when arrested upon a warrant for an alleged crime, or when arrested while committing a breach or disturbance of the public peace, is armed with or has on his person, or has on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a billy or other dangerous weapon other than those herein mentioned and those mentioned in paragraph (a), shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half years nor more than five years in the state prison, or for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction, except that, if the court finds that the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, he may be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a jail or house of correction.

    Yes, Massachusetts has a ban on blowguns, stilletto knives, shuriken, nunchaku, and various polearms. They also ban sawed off shotguns and machine guns (though they at least give more jail time if you break the law for those items…).

    But of course, we still have conceal and carry permits and let you have regular old gunzzzz. So I also am not very receptive to the crocodile tears from gun hobbyists.

  101. Nick Gotts says

    @88: The Victims had their right to life violated by an apparent lunatic. No gun violated anyone’s rights. The Man who wielded it bears full responsibility – mirrorfield

    He certainly bears responsibility, but so do the misogynists who encouraged his hatred of women, and the gun-fondlers like you who made it easy for him to acquire guns, and foster the notion that owning guns, and using them to avenge perceived slights, is “manly”. You yourself said “Freedom isn’t free”, so you explicitly accept that deaths like these are the predictable result of easy access to guns. Since you advocate that easy access, you bear responsibility for the deaths, but you are too much of a moral and intellectual coward to admit it.

  102. PaulBC says

    Just checked for more context around Wurzelbacher’s comments and the results are unsurprising. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2014/05/27/joe-the-plumber-sounds-off-dad-ucsb-shooting-victim/LE1J5P5tPEVSlBQCpnsd7J/story.html

    In short, the real victim in all this is Wurzelbacher, because he had to listen to Richard Martinez, father of shooting victim Christopher Martinez, say mean things about gun owners.

    That’s the extent of the “reasoning” here. He protests repeatedly about how he cares about the kids who were killed, but his language belies any real concerns other than being offended by liberals who dare to speak out against the NRA. Clearly, he finds it galling that one of them has a guaranteed soapbox. I’m pretty sure Mr. Martinez would readily yield that soapbox to the nearest gun fondler if he could have his son back.

    I’m not even sure why Wurzelbacher would think this was a worthwhile thing to express in these words, except that he’s going to get some attention for it. If you want anyone to think you care about their children, you don’t refer to them as–and I won’t repeat it (let along what Kincannon said). In 2008, I thought Wurzelbacher was kind of a clown, but this is just too much. Maybe there are people who admire him as some stalwart defender of the constitution, able to say the harsh words that “need” to be said. But anyone, who thinks Wurzelbacher’s statement needed to be made, in those words, at this time is simply lacking in basic human decency.

  103. Rasalhague says

    @mirrorfield 94

    …there are no accidents with guns: There is only negligence by wielders.

    I wonder if the person who got shot in a Wal-Mart yesterday gives a shit about the semantics?

  104. says

    I think there arguably is such a thing as a “responsible gun owner.” I would define them as gun owners who are very consistent in performing the actions necessary in handling a gun to prevent accidents. They add steps between losing one’s temper and having a shoot out, such as holster straps, safeties, trigger locks, and loading, so that they have time to reconsider whether drawing a weapon is the best course of action or at least give the people around them time to react and question the rationality of their actions for him. The biggest physical barrier they add to a short temper is, obviously, storing one’s guns in some form of securely locked container when they don’t have a reason to carry one in the first place. Presumably, the ability to acknowledge and understand the value of these behaviors and barriers implies a good degree of self control and self-awareness, which act as psychological barriers.

    The problem is that gun fondlers seem to think a responsible gun owner is merely one that hasn’t caused injury or death, yet.


    It’s been interesting to get my memory refreshed and expanded on the history. This is one more context where intent isn’t magic. Laws may be written with a particular intent, but they can easily have consequences beyond what the writers allegedly intended if they’re written poorly. I’m certainly in favor of putting the second amendment up for review and revision so that we can actually argue about what’s best for the country and pass a law/amendment with that in mind. We don’t seem to be getting anywhere better by idolizing the outdated thing.

  105. Rasalhague says

    Bronze Dog,
    I think mirrorfield is using “responsible” in a different sense, as in “they will be held responsible”. In other words, gun owners are expected to not do anything bad, and if they do, they will suffer the consequences! After everybody’s dead. And that will make everything better.

    Of course, as is typical in cases like this, the perpetrator is also already dead, but at least we can be 100% sure they won’t do it again! And that will teach them a lesson. Or something. But I’m probably just a stupid liberal who is just unable to comprehend the more subtle points of (gun owners) freedom to do whatever they want. As long as they’re responsible (for it).

  106. Crimson Clupeidae says

    What pisses me off about so many of these conversations with gun fondlers, is their inconsistency.

    Many of them, like, for instance, mirrorfield, who post on liberal leaning sites like to come across as the voice of reason, supporting mild regulations that might keep a completely obvious psycho from owning 40 (but not 39) guns with nearly unlimited ammo. They claim to be responsible, that most gun owners are responsible, yadda yadda…..

    But two things give them away: 1) The rhetoric (don’t blame the guns, blame the people bullshit) and 2) They are posting here, and not at the right-wing-pro-gun-in-any-circumstances websites.

    I’m willing to be shown wrong about point 2, and await with baited breath……

  107. caesar says

    What do gun rights have to do with the Santa Barbara shooting? Seems to me that even in a state with highly restrictive gun laws, the perp was still able to get several weapons because somebody dropped the ball on reporting his mental illness. Looks like the focus should be on accurate reporting on people’s mental state in their background checks, rather than talking about so-called gun fondlers.

  108. anteprepro says

    caesar

    the perp was still able to get several weapons because somebody dropped the ball on reporting his mental illness.

    By god caesar, are you ever not an asshole? Go fuck yourself, as always.

  109. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Looks like the focus should be on accurate reporting on people’s mental state in their background checks, rather than talking about so-called gun fondlers.

    Oh FFS. We have to talk about the gun culture in the US because it’s a significant component of the toxic misogynistic bullshit worldview being perpetuated by, among others, gun fondlers. Trying to lay it all at the feet of mental illness is at best a red herring and at worst more of the same destructive, dishonest bullshit being spewed out by the vile fuckheads in the NRA.

    Jesus unholy fuck this makes me sick.

  110. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Looks like the focus should be on accurate reporting on people’s mental state in their background checks, rather than talking about so-called gun fondlers.

    Which is a more responsible gun fondler, one who carries concealed in public, or one who opens and unloads the gun, and carries it separate from the ammunition in public? Likewise, who is the responsible gun fondler, one who leaves unattended a loaded gun in the bedroom night stand, or one who locks the unloaded gun and ammunition in a gun safe? Safety first should be the motto every gun owner. Too often, it isn’t.

  111. PaulBC says

    “Looks like the focus should be on accurate reporting on people’s mental state in their background checks, rather than talking about so-called gun fondlers.”

    The two are not mutually exclusive. Let’s have better mental health reporting and better accounting of firearm possession.

    Anyway, the gun fondlers come out of the woodwork with these events and do a lot of talking about themselves, and their guns, and big bad gummint coming to take their guns, so it really doesn’t matter whether or not I have any interest in talking about them.

    Frankly, I don’t have much interest in talking about Rodgers either.

    I think the “focus” for the moment should remain on these people:

    http://graphics.latimes.com/towergraphic-santa-barbara-shooting/
    George Chen, 19
    Katherine Breann Cooper, 22
    Cheng Yuan Hong, 20
    Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20
    Weihan Wang, 20
    Veronika Weiss, 19

    …not that it would be any less of a tragedy if each and every one of them weren’t (by all accounts) really nice kids with promising futures, but it sure sounds like they were.

  112. mirrorfield says

    @96: US has a violence problem, period. Also, I find your dismissal of agency in humans troubling.

    @103: Argument Ad Misericordiam.

    @109: There is also reckless endangerment and solid reasons why large amounts of explosives require proper storage. Also, the toddler comparison is not valid: We are talking about adult responsibility.

    @109, @113, @118: You (and many other liberals) remind me of Stanislaw Lem’s _Return from the Stars_ along _Clockwork Orange_: You do not believe people have (or should have) free will. And no, the point of responsibility is not that it’s enforced externally. It comes from within. Look up Jared Remy; he took responsibility of his (unacceptable) actions.

    @116: I agree on your characterization of “responsible gun owner”, though some details might vary. Also, if you know you can’t control your temper (or drinking, or…), it is your responsibility to abstain from owning guns. To quote a movie, “a man’s gotta know his limitations”.

  113. PaulBC says

    @103: Argument Ad Misericordiam.

    Uh no, I would say Wurzelbacher’s statement provides fairly convincing empirical evidence for his lack of compassion.

  114. PaulBC says

    Argument Ad Misericordiam. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_pity
    would go more like “Look at Mr. Wurzelbacher. Poor guy thinks he’s a plumber, though he has no license. Indeed, he can’t even get his own first name straight. Please, let’s not judge his pronouncements too harshly.”

  115. PaulBC says

    One final thing. Even in court, you don’t get to make your case if you don’t behave yourself. Wurzelbacher isn’t observing basic standards of human decency, so it’s really ludicrous to suggest that I consider his “reasoning” at all. Let him apologize first and then he can take his place at the table of debate. Color me skeptical that he has the key argument that’s going to resolve this matter once and for all, but I’m willing to keep an open mind if he’s willing to make amends and present his views in reasonable language.

  116. says

    mirrorfield:

    @96: US has a violence problem, period. Also, I find your dismissal of agency in humans troubling.

    You need to fucking point out where I did such a thing.
    And yes, the US has a violence problem. Part of that is GUN violence.

    ****
    caesar:

    What do gun rights have to do with the Santa Barbara shooting?

    • the ease with which Elliot acquired his weapons; stronger gun control laws are intended to make it more difficult for the wrong people to acquire guns; many gun control advocates (myself included) advocate for psychological testing to determine whether or not an individual is fit to own a gun *before* they can even purchase one.

    • the fact that Elliot’s primary weapons were firearms in a country with people who idolize guns; the pro-gun culture in the US helped foster a sense in Elliot that turning to killing machines-yes killing machines-is the way to fix his perceived problems.
    Any other insipid questions?

    Also, I laugh at your inability to see what gun rights has to do with a killer going on a spree using guns. If you knew the first thing about gun violence in the US, or the gun culture in the US (which results in people worshiping the 2nd Amendment), or if you actually read what gun control advocates are saying, you would have discovered the answer.

  117. Rasalhague says

    @109, @113, @118: You (and many other liberals) remind me of Stanislaw Lem’s _Return from the Stars_ along _Clockwork Orange_: You do not believe people have (or should have) free will. And no, the point of responsibility is not that it’s enforced externally. It comes from within. Look up Jared Remy; he took responsibility of his (unacceptable) actions.

    …and when it doesn’t “come from within”, where do all the innocent dead people go to get their lives back?

    By the way, I have no idea why you imagine Jared Remy’s newly found “responsibility for his actions” wasn’t enforced externally. He only finally accepted responsibility as a result of law enforcement and the judiciary giving him no other options.

  118. Nick Gotts says

    What do gun rights have to do with the Santa Barbara shooting? Seems to me that even in a state with highly restrictive gun laws, the perp was still able to get several weapons – caesar@120

    If any private citizen can get hold of several weapons, only a glibertarian fuckwit gun fondler would claim the state in which this is possible had “highly restrictive gun laws”.

    You do not believe people have (or should have) free will. – mirrorfield@127

    On the contrary, I believe they should not have it taken away from them by being slaughtered by a gun fondler.

  119. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    This is for the libertarians and 2nd Amendment fetishists.

    Perhaps I’m naive, or because I’m a Canadian, or perhaps a naive Canadian, but I have a (perhaps overly simplistic) question. Just for the sake of argument, lets pretend the 2nd Amendment doesn’t exist, so there is not even a vague hint that owning a firearm is a Constitutional right in the U.S.

    Now give me your reasons for why you should be allowed to possess firearms. I’d like to understand why, outside of “It’s my right, enshrined!” you demand access to and ownership of “tools” that are astonishingly optimized for taking human life. I’m hoping it’ll be something a lot more compelling than “bad guys might have a gun”.

  120. caesar says

    @131:

    • the ease with which Elliot acquired his weapons; stronger gun control laws are intended to make it more difficult for the wrong people to acquire guns

    There were laws to prevent people like Elliot from buying guns. The problem is that he wasn’t identified as a serious threat until it was too late.

    the fact that Elliot’s primary weapons were firearms in a country with people who idolize guns; the pro-gun culture in the US helped foster a sense in Elliot that turning to killing machines-yes killing machines-is the way to fix his perceived problems

    Or more likely, he was a very depressed, lonely kid who after a life or rejection, along with an inability to relate to others, was finally pushed past his breaking point, and decided to enact revenge against the world any way he could. It could have been via knives, guns, bombs, whatever. He was so far gone, it wouldn’t have mattered.

    , I laugh at your inability to see what gun rights has to do with a killer going on a spree using guns.

    I still don’t see what gun rights has to do with a homicial maniac going on a killing spree with knives and guns after failing to get stopped by California’s gun laws, concerned family members, police officers, and his therapist.

  121. David Marjanović says

    What we need is another amendment to bring the Constitution into the 21st century, rather than the 18th, and then of course, because it will be in the Most Holy and Inviolable Constitution, every right-winger will respect it and get their guns checked and registered, as well as accepting limitations on access to particularly deadly weaponry. Right?

    I think what you’ll get is a schism like the ones that produced the Orthodox Old Believers and the Old Catholics.

    The Black Panthers walking around with guns scared the hell out of them.*

    *I really hope they leave that up. Watch it while you can, anyway.

    Not available in Germany because it might contain music that could be a copyright violation. The usual.

    @121:

    are you ever not an asshole?

    Are you?

    caesar, dearest, you’re a sociopath. You wouldn’t know an asshole if it bit you in… OK, the metaphors are becoming confused here, but you get what I mean.

  122. David Marjanović says

    Or more likely, he was a very depressed, lonely kid who after a life or rejection, along with an inability to relate to others, was finally pushed past his breaking point

    The breaking point of depression is to kill yourself while making the least possible trouble for any other people.

    You have no idea what you’re talking about; why are you talking about it, then?!?

  123. caesar says

    @137:

    The breaking point of depression is to kill yourself while making the least possible trouble for any other people.

    Kinda like how sufferers of PTSD often suffer from depression, leading some of them to suddenly snap and kill others aaround them before killing themselves (Ex: Ivan Lopez in the April Fort Hood shooting). Wait, what? You were wrong about what depressed people sometimes do when they reach their breaking point? Say it ain’t so?

    You have no idea what you’re talking about; why are you talking about it, then?!?

    I’m not an expert on depression, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. Zing!

  124. caesar says

    @136:

    caesar, dearest, you’re a sociopath

    You might be right, because I felt no remorse for the way I just schooled you earlier.

  125. anteprepro says

    caesar:

    Kinda like how sufferers of PTSD often suffer from depression, leading blah blah blah blah

    Deliberately ignoring that you are including multiple variables or are you just stupid on accident?

    Regardless:

    caesar, your characterization of the perpetrator is inaccurate and shows far more sympathy towards him than you have shown towards anyone or anything. Telling.

    David, “the breaking point of depression” is more likely to be suicide, but don’t dismiss the fact that people with depression can get violent, and also don’t phrase in a way that implies that all people who are depressed behave the same way. They don’t.

  126. Amphiox says

    Kinda like how sufferers of PTSD often suffer from depression, leading some of them to suddenly snap and kill others aaround them before killing themselves (Ex: Ivan Lopez in the April Fort Hood shooting). Wait, what? You were wrong about what depressed people sometimes do when they reach their breaking point? Say it ain’t so?

    One does NOT take the exceptional outlier cases, the “some of them” and generalize them to a population of disease-sufferers at large, even by implication, and think that one has made a valid argument.

    At least not if one was actually honest.

    Which you, caesar, are not, so I doubt anyone here is surprised by your latest piece of disgusting excretion.

  127. Amphiox says

    There were laws to prevent people like Elliot from buying guns.

    There should be.

    And that indeed was the victim’s father’s POINT. Laws that WOULD have prevented him from buying guns WERE PROPOSED in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but they were blocked by the usual suspects. That is the very heart of the victim’s father’s “j’accuse”, that if the politicians had acted properly after Sandy Hook, Elliot would NOT have had access to firearms and would NOT have killed as many people.

    The problem is that he wasn’t identified as a serious threat until it was too late.

    He could have been and should have been. He had access to mental health treatment, received such treatment on multiple occasions, and if the politicians had acted properly after Sandy Hook, he WOULD have been so identified.

  128. Amphiox says

    Speaking of which, a person at the breaking point of depression is typically impaired (that’s part of what it means to be “breaking”) in all sorts of realms of cognition and intention and planning, relative to someone, (or the same person), in a healthier state of mind.

    It has been showed, definitively, time and time again (usually in the suicide literature), that if they are thwarted in their first attempt to obtain a dangerous weapon (whether for self harm or harm to others) by the most immediately obvious and easiest means, they typically do NOT work around that obstacle to obtain the same dangerous weapon by other, more complex means. They are basically flummoxed, and because (due to the fact that they are “breaking”) their problem-solving abilities are in fact significantly impaired, very many actually do not end up going through with whatever violent lashing out they had initially been contemplating, or they will settle for a less lethal weapon and do less damage.

    Putting that initial hindrance to the easy acquisition of a deadly weapon, even a smallish one that a regular person in full possession of their healthy faculties would be able to navigate around with only the smallest of convenience, has been shown to successfully deter many of the severely and violently depressed. It has been amply demonstrated in the psychiatric literature that such simple interventions, something as simple as a three-day wait period to purchase a gun, or a simple combination lock on where the ammo is stored, SAVES LIVES.

    Usually the life saved is the life of the depressed person, since by far the most common target of violence for the depressed person at the breaking point is him or herself.

  129. Ichthyic says

    was finally pushed past his breaking point

    finally pushed himself you mean.

    The problem is that he wasn’t identified as a serious threat until it was too late.

    wrong.

    he WAS identified as a threat, both by his therapist, and by BOTH of his parents. It was the police that were ill trained to recognize when a 5150 hold should be done, and simply turned around and walked away.

    you know, all of this was in the first articles published on this even.

    not like it was hard info to find. My guess is you’re a lonely guy who feels depressed, figures he identifies with the murderer, and wants the rest of society to feel sorry for you.

    so you come here to troll for attention.

    how’s that working out for you?

    wouldn’t therapy be a more productive use of your time?

  130. says

    As a conflicted gun owner (I’m a liberal/democrat in every other way – not a libertarian, most of those guys are nuts) and a committed lurker (lurking due to the fact that typing before thinking gets me into alot of trouble), I’d gladly give up my (2) firearms, or go through yearly licensing, or get specific gun insurance, if that was the way the law was interpreted.

    I’ve given up debating ‘friends’ who think they have a right and a need (emphasis on need) to own as many guns as they want. I’m under no delusion that a few sportsman or hobby guns have anything to do with maintaining democracy, or protecting anyone from the big bad gummint. .

    Why do I own 2? Well, the large caliber revolver was purchased when I spent frequent summer fly fishing/camping in alaska, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I doubt it would actually stop a charging bear – probably just piss em off good if I hit it. The one time I actually used it was to scare off a bear that wandered a bit too close. Sure, it scared the bear, but also blanked out my hearing for 2 weeks and scared the crap out of my fellow campers. The second is an old 22 from my dad I can’t seem to part with. On average I shoot both no more than 1x each couple years.

    I no longer have anyone under 18 in the house (hell, no one under 55) and they are secured in a locked cabinet.

    I’m all for getting rid of the things entirely – if that’s impossible, then I’m 100% in favor of long (even longer than 30 day) waiting periods, mandatory yearly licensing, accident insurance, registration, inspection, removal of all non-law enforcement concealed carry laws, no buying guns at guns shows etc. These are very deadly items and should be treated as such. To this day, on the few days I’ve been at the range, or out in the desert, I see drunk people shooting, people are bars or restaurants with them strapped to their waist drinking all day, etc – just insanity.

    To be honest , I also have a few very high end air rifles from England and Germany – beautiful collector pieces I occasionally enjoy target shooting. But it takes a while to prep for a shot – no way to fire like a firearm – and, unless one was very unlucky, they couldn’t kill a person (although I have used them to chase off coyotes with a low power shot on their butt, on the large plot of land I own). They are entirely sufficient for small game hunting, rather than using a firearm. (I’m opposed to hunting, personally – never killed a living thing and have no intention of ever doing so).

    I suppose someone living in Alaska, or in the rare (and getting rarer) lower 48 – perhaps a rancher concerned about predators (even then, there are usually far better choices than firearms) – these are the only circumstance that, to my mind, might require a firearm.

    Be that as it may, I’m dismayed by the people who hold that pieces of paper written in the 18th century are always and forever applicable to today’s society. Things change, and we no longer live mostly on farms and ranches, nor do we have enemies looking to take over the US en masse. I’m frequently debating whether or not to give up these guns, I suppose I just haven’t convinced myself it’s necessary, and I do have fond memories with my dad with one of them.

    The entire law should be removed – and something actually useful should be put in it’s place (like, maybe, the right to clean air and water, or the right to safe and secure housing, or the right to medical care – you know, something that really matters, not this 18th century mindset).

    For self defense or home protection, I personally would far rather a sword or dagger – within 6 feet I personally think I’d have better than 50/50 odds against someone with a firearm, and much better than that if the hooligan is unarmed. Beyond even that, I’d rather run/hide/get help than any other choice.

    Just my 2 cents worth (prepares to be ripped to pieces by the regulars here).

  131. says

    tinyal:

    Just my 2 cents worth (prepares to be ripped to pieces by the regulars here).

    You mentioned that you typically lurk around here. I don’t know how long you’ve been doing that, but given the above comment it seems you are aware that there are times that the regulars will rip comments to shreds. But surely you’re also aware that this doesn’t happen all the time. There are many times when new commenters are not criticized. In fact new commenters contribute their thoughts all the time without being eviscerated. I guess what I’m getting at is this: why would you think that anyone would rip into your comments?

    Based on what you’ve written, you support stronger gun control laws (and even give examples of the type of legislation that you would support) and you recognize that the Constitution isn’t sacrosanct. You haven’t put your right to own guns above the right of others to live free from gun violence. Your statements mark you as someone who has given this subject some thought and reached the same conclusion many of us have. I see nothing in your comment to rip apart. Rather, I’m glad to hear from another gun owner who supports stronger gun control.

  132. lochaber says

    Just out of curiosity caesar:

    Which laws were broken when Rodger obtained his weapons?

  133. CJO says

    tinyal:

    For self defense or home protection, I personally would far rather a sword or dagger

    Meh, it sounds good, but you’re just handing your assailant a sharp pointy thing if you’re not both an expert wielder of an edged weapon and stronger than them. (I’m not advocating guns for self-defense, but the same logic that results in the fact that carrying a gun makes you more, not less, likely to be shot applies to knives and stabbings too. People tend to believe a knife is like a a trump card in a physical altercation, but the determining factor is more likely to be aggressiveness. You’re gonna get one good stab/slice in, and if it doesn’t deter the attack…)

    Your comment, being thoughtful and to all appearances sincere, is very unlikely to get you ripped to pieces. As for the .22, why not just have it around but make sure there’s no ammunition in the house? You’d have your sentimental item, and it would pose no more threat than a 2×4 unloaded.

  134. says

    Tony: Good point. I suppose I’ve gotten a little careless at times, typing into a forum ‘off the top of my head’ without properly reviewing my thoughts – after which, I’m typically handed my head (and properly so).

    I DID try to put my thoughts in order from my previous post – upon reflection (and before I hit the POST button) I reviewed it, and it seemed to state my position honestly.

    Lack of self-confidence perhaps? Hopefully, a temporary condition – have been very stressed with work, the several public service groups I’m involved in, a multimillion dollar project I’m getting ready to start, and recurring (and increasing) symptoms related to my head-on auto accident several years ago all combining to produce instances where I really feel a bit overwhelmed….

    But I enjoyed (and agree with) your post re: my post – thanks!

  135. says

    CJO: That is an excellent idea (re the .22)!!! For someone who’s supposed to have a 130 IQ, I really should have thought of that. I don’t have much – I think selling what I do have is what I will do (and the cash is always handy).

    Re: the topic – I’m gradually am becoming convinced that there must be some kind of biological difference in the minds of each side of this issue (as well as the increasing distance between political thought here in the USA between ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ – I also hate those labels).

    I mean, how can people like that plumber idiot actually say (and believe) what they are saying? Is there something wrong/different about his mind??

    Or (my current theory) much of this is due to a fear-based outlook on life. When people are afraid (of anything – getting mugged, having their house foreclosed, losing their job, losing their belief-set (religion)) – when people are in fear, they’ll do most anything to prevent that which they fear most from occurring, even if it’s imaginary or ineffectual, overblown or ‘unconscious’.

    Ever since Reagan (here in the US), greatly enhanced by 9/11, I see more and more people living in fear all around me. Fear they’ll lose ‘the good ole days’. Fear their kids will learn something conflicting with their parents beliefs – fear the gov’t is acting out some conspiracy.

    Fear their very lives are no longer under their control (as if it ever was)….

    Religion (and, perhaps the ugly personal power that pervades some people when they pick up a gun) can, I suppose, easily convince someone living in fear that they ARE in control of their lives. Gives them a (false) sense of security in the face of a very rapidly changing life – moreso than (in my view) any other time in history.

    Don’t know where I’m going with this ‘fear’ angle, but I’ve done some writing on it recently, perhaps may post some one day.

    But, overall, I am not optimistic about the outcome :(

  136. Amphiox says

    I recall a Mythbusters episode where they did a gun vs knife standoff and showed that within a certain distance of about 10 feet, depending on the individual, the knife is the superior weapon. That sort of distance is precisely the kind of distance and circumstance as seen in home invasion. (Close quarters, cluttered environment, reduced visibility, etc, where initiative and surprise, aggression and willingness to strike become far more important than having the technically superior weapon.)

    Much the same logic applies when the knife is the superior weapon, pitted against an unarmed person.

    If one was really serious about properly arming for home protection, one actually needs to equip more than one weapon. Probably a shotgun, a handgun, a knife, a pepper spray can and perhaps even a flash grenade, so you can cover medium ranged, short ranged, face to face melee, and nonlethal eventualities. And of course be properly trained in all of them.

    Combined arms is the way to go. It’s what the special forces all do. They never go into combat carrying just one weapon.

  137. Amphiox says

    Probably should add a sniper nest to your roof, too, to deal with the very long range threats.

    But it is notable that most of these gun nuts are also anti-evolutionists, because the evolutionary scenario of the Red Queen arms race applies here. Predators are no better at catching prey, and prey no better at escaping, in each generation, despite millions of years of co-evolution, because the weapons of both evolve in response to one another.

    Arming yourself ever more heavily doesn’t make you safer. It merely results in your enemies coming for you with ever more powerful weapons of their own.

  138. lochaber says

    tinyal>

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve handled any firearm, and even then I had pretty limited experience, so…

    Perhaps instead of/in addition to not having ammunition on hand, you could remove the firing pin or bolt and store it separately. That way, with a bit of work you’d still have it available if you wanted to do some target shooting or whatever, but it would require more time and deliberation to actually use.

  139. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @tinyal, 150,

    Don’t know where I’m going with this ‘fear’ angle, but I’ve done some writing on it recently, perhaps may post some one day.

    On virtually every issue, the rhetoric of the right in the US appeals to fear. Fear of crime, fear of the government, fear of the foreigner, fear of terrorists, fear of liberated women, fear of LGBT people, fear of god. Even when the rhetoric is wrapped in macho and/or patriotic cloth (such as the big lie that the military protects our freedom), the underlying emotion is fear.

  140. Ichthyic says

    Probably a shotgun, a handgun, a knife, a pepper spray can and perhaps even a flash grenade

    what no bows?

    no catapult?

    no paint cans hung from the ceiling?

    what fun is that?

  141. caesar says

    @141:

    One does NOT take the exceptional outlier cases, the “some of them” and generalize them to a population of disease-sufferers at large, even by implication, and think that one has made a valid argument

    That’s great to know except the point I was making was that not all depressed people act in the same way when they reach their breaking point. It’s not always the case that a depressed person will choose to simply commit suicide and leave others unharmed.
    @142:

    if the politicians had acted properly after Sandy Hook, Elliot would NOT have had access to firearms and would NOT have killed as many people

    Or maybe he would have bought a gun illegally. Or maybe he would have killed just as many using completely different means. I don’t get the feeling that that he would have let some gun laws stop him, not that they did much to stop him anyway.
    @144:

    he WAS identified as a threat, both by his therapist, and by BOTH of his parents. It was the police that were ill trained to recognize when a 5150 hold should be done, and simply turned around and walked away.

    you know, all of this was in the first articles published on this even

    He wasn’t identified as a threat before he bought his weapons legally. You know, all of this was in the first articles published on this even. Sheesh!

    My guess is you’re a lonely guy who feels depressed, figures he identifies with the murderer, and wants the rest of society to feel sorry for you

    You got me. I have a confession to make. I am the Bay Harbor Butcher, and my dark passenger is my only friend, which is why I feel so much empathy towards Rodgers.
    @145:

    For self defense or home protection, I personally would far rather a sword or dagger – within 6 feet I personally think I’d have better than 50/50 odds against someone with a firearm, and much better than that if the hooligan is unarmed. Beyond even that, I’d rather run/hide/get help than any other choice

    That’s great that you’ve thought about what you would be comfortable doing to defend yourself in your home. I believe that everyone should be empowered to decide for themselves whether or not a gun is something they want to have in their home for protection or whatever use they might have with it.

  142. consciousness razor says

    That’s great to know except the point I was making was that not all depressed people act in the same way when they reach their breaking point.

    So the point you were making has zero relevance to the issue at hand.

    It’s not always the case that a depressed person will choose to simply commit suicide and leave others unharmed.

    So the fuck what?

    Or maybe he would have bought a gun illegally. Or maybe he would have killed just as many using completely different means.

    Maybe it’s not that all your “points” are irrelevant, but that you don’t even have a point.

    I don’t get the feeling that that he would have let some gun laws stop him, not that they did much to stop him anyway.

    Because of course, people just “let” things happen, by the sheer force of their willpower. I get the feeling that we need not concern ourselves with things like physical reality, or probability, or anything of the sort — just the mysterious events inside a person’s head which we know nothing about, so we’ll not concern ourselves with anything. Besides, there are just so many “possibilities” and “maybes” to pull out of our asses that there is simply no time to think about anything else.

    Or maybe it isn’t an issue with time. Maybe you have the time, but you still aren’t thinking. Maybe you just don’t give a fuck.

    He wasn’t identified as a threat before he bought his weapons legally. You know, all of this was in the first articles published on this even. Sheesh!

    So trying to predict who is a likely “threat” isn’t going to be helpful in at least some cases. We need to do something else besides pretend we can be mind-readers, or decide that we ought to have a surveillance state. We need to actually restrict access to guns, which serve no good purpose in society for anyone no matter whether they seem threatening to anyone else.

    You got me. I have a confession to make. I am the Bay Harbor Butcher, and my dark passenger is my only friend, which is why I feel so much empathy towards Rodgers.

    I don’t believe that. Nothing indicates you feel any empathy at all.

    I believe that everyone should be empowered to decide for themselves whether or not a gun is something they want to have in their home for protection or whatever use they might have with it.

    But everyone shouldn’t be empowered to decide to have gun control laws?

  143. ck says

    caesar wrote:

    Or maybe he would have bought a gun illegally. Or maybe he would have killed just as many using completely different means. I don’t get the feeling that that he would have let some gun laws stop him, not that they did much to stop him anyway.

    No argument too dumb to use, eh caesar? Maybe he would’ve bought a gun illegally, but that would’ve put him at greater risk of being discovered before carrying out his plan. Maybe he would’ve used a different weapon, but there really aren’t any other weapons available to the general public that kill as many as quickly as a gun does. And the quip about “not that they did much to stop him”, what gun law that was in force in the area could’ve been used to stop him? There aren’t any laws against gun ownership for misogynists, entitled assholes, or angry young men.

  144. Ichthyic says

    I am the Bay Harbor Butcher

    fiction becomes you.

    no, really.

    He wasn’t identified as a threat before he bought his weapons legally

    nor was he identified as a threat when he was 5.

    that has to do with me noting that he WAS identified as a threat by his therapist and parents in what way?

    are you prescient? did you know him all your life? or are you projecting…

    should we call homeland security?

  145. Ichthyic says

    I don’t get the feeling

    how many people have told you to your face that your intuition sucks?

    I can’t be the first, surely.

  146. Rey Fox says

    I got to say that overall I’m getting tired of the “Blah blah using tragedy/event to capitalize or push blah blah AGENDA” whine. “Agenda” is the word that apathetic and craven people use to describe the gnawing feeling they get every time somebody speaks about improving the world or afflicting their unearned comfort and privilege. From now on, I say no limits on pushing agendas.

    Well, unless you’re at a party and everyone just wants to have a good time.

  147. mirrorfield says

    @128-130: Nope. It is you in @103 saying that Mr. Wurzelbacher cannot criticize Mr. Martinez’ demand for gun control because Mr. Martinez has just tragically lost his son.

    I recommend going to primary source regarding Mr. Wurzenbachel’s open letter. Open Letter (Sorry about formatting)

    @132: As I said, you would volunteer for betrization instead of trusting yourself or others to control yourselves.

    Mr. Remy could have dragged the family through years of stressful trial with a fair shot of getting lighter sentence (this was Massachusetts, death penalty was off the table). Instead, he took full responsibility at the court. The Only greater way would have been to write up a full confession and commit suicide.

    The Best, however, would be to not commit such crime, but it is too late for him for that.

  148. PaulBC says

    “Nope. It is you in @103 saying that Mr. Wurzelbacher cannot criticize Mr. Martinez’ demand for gun control because Mr. Martinez has just tragically lost his son.”

    Obviously, there is nothing to stop Wurzelbacher from making that criticism. In @78, I had already acknowledged in passing that Wurzelbacher and Kincannon were exercising their first amendment rights.

    But I stand by this assertion: ‘His (largely unfounded) fears … do not “trump” the need for compassion’

    Needs are alway contingent. If I go out into a rainstorm, I need an umbrella or raincoat or equivalent if I don’t want to get soaked (but I can still go out without one). Likewise, if I presume to act as an amateur constitutional scholar, I need to follow basic precepts of human decency if I expect my views to get a fair hearing.

    Again empirical statement, not appeal to pity: I am offended by the suggestion that I pay any attention to Wurzelbacher’s reasoning. If I suggested that this fact had any bearing on the validity of his argument, you could call me on it. But that wasn’t my point.

    In fact, I feel the entire discussion of rights is pretty much off the point here. Wurzlerbacher and Kincannon said completely outrageous things. PZ’s main claim (I think) was that they have demonstrated themselves to be terrible human beings, a claim I consider to be supported by the evidence. (PZ said a bunch of other things, so the ensuing discussion is unsurprising.)

    The rest of it is mostly a rehash of the same discussion that comes up after every mass shooting.

  149. PaulBC says

    If you like, I’ll go with ad hominem though. Wurzelbacher and Kincannon have proved themselves terrible, terrible people by stating their views the way they did at this time. I admit it does color my views of nearly anything else they might have to say.

  150. Rasalhague says

    @132: As I said, you would volunteer for betrization instead of trusting yourself or others to control yourselves.

    That’s an incredibly childish argument. We accept (for good reason) all manner of regulations that limit behavior that is dangerous to other people around us precisely because people are frequently irresponsible and frequently make mistakes and it’s other people that bear the consequences. Again, when your infantile theories about people being responsible doesn’t pan out, where do the dead bystanders go to get their lives back?

    Why should we suddenly decide to invoke all this ridiculous rhetoric about “freedom” and “responsibility” only when it comes to guns, and when there’s already ample evidence that lots of people are needlessly dying because of it?

    Mr. Remy could have dragged the family through years of stressful trial with a fair shot of getting lighter sentence (this was Massachusetts, death penalty was off the table).

    How is the weather on your planet? He brutally stabbed his girlfriend to death in front of multiple witnesses right after being released on bail on a domestic violence charge. How, exactly, did he have any sort of possibility of acquittal or a lighter sentence? He was done, and I’m sure his lawyers explained that to him. But I notice you didn’t address the important point about his “responsibility” being “enforced externally” which you claimed is not how things should work.

  151. PaulBC says

    Too late for this, but:

    @145 tinyal: I don’t fully understand the cause of your conflict, but if there’s a parallel universe out there where the US government has even an infinitesimal chance of taking away .22s used for target shooting, then I’d be scared even as a straight-down-the-line Democrat-voting social and fiscal liberal to live there. Not that I would even want an air rifle in my own house, but number of counterfactuals to get to such a universe would result in something unrecognizable (like laws requiring me to shave daily and program in C#, not that either of are these necessarily deal breakers… but who knows what else).

    It sounds like your firearms are in safe hands, and I don’t see any particular conflict between having them and your political views. When I was growing up (70s) there were plenty of deer hunting families (not my own) on the block with large arsenals, as well as adolescents roaming free with BB guns. It was an idyllic suburban existence punctuated by the occasional family murder/suicide, and I’ve never believed that gun control is a panacea. People will continue to want to kill each other and find ways to do it.

    But honestly, you should be able to say “Granted that we won’t end all murders, I wonder if some sensible policy could reduce the likelihood that somebody will kill a lot of people they don’t know before there’s time to stop them.” without getting instant (and offensively worded) pushback from the gun lobby.

    The weird thing is that these guys are scared by statements from people like Martinez, the same way that I just feel a sense of resignation about the whole thing. The great genius of rightwingers is their inability to admit that they’ve won a fight. They keep up the good fight even when there is just a tiny, tiny squeak of resistance left. I have no idea how they accomplish it, but I have often wished to see the same level of persistence in people I agree with.

  152. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    I had to go look “betrization” up. Why is mirrorfield dragging up non-existant medical procedures from some sci-fi book? Fuck sake.

  153. mirrorfield says

    @166: Blame drugs, fake remorse and so on. Oh, and most importantly: Offer a plea to the overworked prosecutor for Life with possibility of parole after 15 years instead of long jury trial which is always chancy. Have lawyer subtly ask victim’s family whether they’re willing to go through a long-term media circus and brutal cross-examination. What did he have to lose? Admittedly his chances were poor, but IMHO the possibility of pleading it down to Murder-2 was far from nonexistent.

    And perhaps I should have been clearer about taking responsibility: You voluntarily assume the responsibility, you fulfill it to the best of your ability and bear the consequences. You don’t blame poor childhood, make excuses or try to dodge the consequences of your actions if you fark up. Responsibility can cover many things, some external. However, taking responsibility comes from within.

    @168: Because that’s what liberals and many people in this thread seem to want: Absolute safety by preventing anyone committing violence. Since they don’t have fictional medical procedures, they start by things like gun control, opportunistically ratcheting “reasonable gun restrictions” and waving the bloody shirt after tragedies like this.

  154. PaulBC says

    mirrorfield, I’m curious who on this thread has expressed a desire for “Absolute safety by preventing anyone committing violence.”

    I know, I know ‘opportunistically ratcheting “reasonable gun restrictions”’

    Hint: You can’t use the failure to demand absolute safety as proof of hiding one’s true agenda. (Sorry I don’t have a fancy Latin term for this, but I think it is some variation of circular reasoning.)

  155. David Marjanović says

    Wow, caesar, you’ve begun to confuse your power fantasies with reality. Sure, I shouldn’t have implied that everyone with depression, in particular those with depression plus other disorders, has suicide without murder/manslaughter as their breaking point; but your point was to strongly imply that, if not all, then most people with depression turn violent at their breaking point – that’s still wrong, and you didn’t even notice.

    School yourself first.

    @168: Because that’s what liberals and many people in this thread seem to want: Absolute safety by preventing anyone committing violence. Since they don’t have fictional medical procedures, they start by things like gun control, opportunistically ratcheting “reasonable gun restrictions” and waving the bloody shirt after tragedies like this.

    The slippery slope is a logical fallacy.

    For illustration, look beyond the rim of your own dinnerplate (as we say in German): there are plenty of countries with much stricter gun control than the US, but they lack ratchets.

  156. Amphiox says

    Because that’s what liberals and many people in this thread seem to want: Absolute safety by preventing anyone committing violence.

    Don’t presume to think that you are in any way qualified to accurately pontificate on what “many people in this thread” want.

  157. inquiringlaurence says

    “Fuck him. He is a piece of shit. His tragedy sucks, but he blamed me for it and wants to take away my rights. The guy is trying to take away my rights to protect my family. Fuck him every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”

    I don’t understand this statement. How did he blame him for it? Kincannon just added in the “tragedy sucks” part so he wouldn’t be branded as terrorist, just under the guise of a God-fearing, American patriot.

    The insensitivity of this far-right winger obscenely insulting one who has suffered one of the worst tragedies possible is disgusting, frankly.

    I was thinking about making a snarky response, but honestly, it’s not worth it over such a pathetic comment on a such a sensitive, tragic event.

  158. Amphiox says

    Or maybe he would have bought a gun illegally. Or maybe he would have killed just as many using completely different means. I don’t get the feeling that that he would have let some gun laws stop him, not that they did much to stop him anyway.

    IF he committed his crimes BECAUSE he was mentally ill, then it is in fact VERY LIKELY that a gun law stopping him from getting his guns would have deterred him, because THAT IS WHAT THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE of people committing violence BECAUSE THEY ARE MENTALLY ill shows us.

    Not guaranteed, but highly likely.

    IF he was sound enough of mind and planning ability to have persisted in getting guns illegally, or planned a different (and crucially which you, caesar, once more dishonestly neglect to mention, EQUALLY LETHAL) means to murder, then it is HIGHLY LIKELY that he DID NOT commit his crimes because he was mentally ill. Because, once again, the empirical evidence of mentally ill people who commit violent acts BECAUSE OF THEIR MENTAL ILLNESS shows that this pattern of behavior is very unusual for that population of people.

    Again not guaranteed, but highly unlikely.

    Now if he was not mentally ill, or mentally ill BUT did not commit his crimes BECAUSE of his mental illness, then it is entirely possible that he might have worked around any existing gun control law to obtain his guns, but that was not what YOU were implying earlier.

    You cannot have it both ways, you dishonest emulsion of toxic ooze.

  159. Amphiox says

    And speaking of gun laws “stopping” people, it is a general and established fact that no passive mechanism, be it a law or a physical barrier or whatever, can perfectly deny access to a creative and intelligently adaptive human being to whatever it is he or she wants.

    So, no matter how elaborate a bike lock you have, if someone REALLY wants to steal your bike, they can get through your lock.

    No matter how sophisticated an anti-virus program you have, if someone REALLY wants to infect your computer or hack your system, then can do so.

    So long as they are willing to invest the effort and time into the endeavour.

    All your bike lock and antivirus program do is deter them enough that hopefully they no longer think it worth the effort.

    So, caesar, do you or do you not lock up your bicycle?

    Do you or do you not have an anti-virus program for your computer?

  160. Amphiox says

    And of course it goes without saying as well that if a potential perpetrator was really intent on mayhem, no amount of an armed populace will deter him or prevent him. So long as he knows that he will encounter such armed potential victims, he will simply plan around that by obtaining even more powerful weapons for himself.

    The idea that arming yourself deters criminal acts against you is predicated on the assumption that other people around you are not armed. Your home is bypassed by the home invader if he knows you have weapons not because you have weapons, but because the neighbour’s house does not have weapons and is an easier mark.

    Thus you the gun owner are really parasitizing off the greater vulnerability of your non-gun owning neighbours.

    Should the gun nuts’ utopia come to pass where every household contains a gun? The home invaders would not be deterred. They will simply come prepared with body armor, obtained off the same black markets from which they obtained their own guns. (Which will also be of higher caliber than the ones that will be most commonly owned).

  161. Nick Gotts says

    waving the bloody shirt after tragedies like this. – mirrorfield

    What a disgusting shit you are. When, according to you, is it not “waving the bloody shirt” to argue for gun control?

  162. Anri says

    Thumper (etc) @ 168:

    I had to go look “betrization” up. Why is mirrorfield dragging up non-existant medical procedures from some sci-fi book? Fuck sake.

    Because people on his side of the argument always resort to hypotheticals and fictions. They’ve got to. The real world just doesn’t support what they have to say.

    Totes unfair, I’d say.

  163. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @mirrorfield #169

    @168: Because that’s what liberals and many people in this thread seem to want[1]: Absolute safety by preventing anyone committing violence. Since they don’t have fictional medical procedures[2], they start by things like gun control, opportunistically ratcheting “reasonable gun restrictions”[3] and waving the bloody shirt after tragedies like this[4].

    [1]Only in your deluded mind. The vast majority of people on this page, myself included, realise that it is not possible to completely eliminate the danger of guns from society without completely removing them. However, we also realise that completely removing them would be draconian and unnecessary. We therefore propose a compromise: appropriate gun safety legislation which will lower the incidence of death and dismemberment due to guns. For example, here are my proposals:

    1 – A federal licensing system whereby your aquisition of a license is contingent upon passing a background check, mental health check, and basic gun safety course, as well as demonstrating that you have an appropriately safe and secure place to store the firearm and any ammunition.
    2 – Make it illegal to buy a firearm without a license, to own or be in possession of a firearm without a license, and (crucially) to sell a firearm to anyone not in possession of a license. Strict enforcement, no loopholes.
    3- Guns may only be sold by licensed vendors. If you own a gun, you may not simply sell it to your friend. You must sell it to, or through, a licensed vendor.
    4- All guns must be registered with the ATFE. Not informing the ATFE of any gun in your possession will be illegal. The paperwork is filled out at the shop, and the vendor sends it off. You, personally, don’t have to do anything.
    5- All guns must be stored unloaded in a secure place. Failure to store guns safely and securely is a crime.

    This does not seem at all onerous to me. You could quibble about #3, I suppose, but all of these laws are already in place in the UK (it is also illegal to own any sort of functional handgun, over here) and everyone gets along perfectly happpily, including gun owners/users. More happily than you guys, in fact, since we have far less gun deaths per head than you do. Because we have the above laws. Frankly I think it’s downright irresponsible of anyone to oppose such measures.

    [2] You brought up betrization, or whatever it was. No one here has ever advocated for invasive medical procedures against the will of the patient in order to effect a personality change. It sounds awfully eugenic-y, and raises all sorts of ethical questions, chief among which is the right to bodily autonomy… which is something of a biggy around here.

    [3] Ah, the good old slippery slope argument. No. I have no wish to ban guns. They can be useful, and I understand they can be fun. But they are also incredibly dangerous, and certain idiots just don’t seem to appreciate that. Therefore they must be regulated (and, in fact, already are. Can you own a fully automatic gun? No).

    [4] The reason gun control advocates point to tragedies like this one is because tragedies like this one are the reason we support gun control. What you just said is akin to asking someone who is discussing the problem of childhood obesity not to mention fat kids. It’s utterly moronic.

  164. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Anri #178

    Gawd damn lib’rul reality! *shakes fist*

  165. randay says

    Thumper @ 179

    I agree with your proposals which resemble those for having a car to drive. In the past, I have added two more. Like with your car, you should have to buy insurance and pay to register each arm every year.

  166. PaulBC says

    “Like with your car, you should have to buy insurance”

    Have to quibble, because I’m not sure what you want to insure against and how you avoid moral hazard href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard . In the case of cars, liability insurance makes sense because you’re at the risk of collision nearly every day, even if you’re practicing the safest driving habits possible. Depending on where you live and work, lack of a car is a significant hardship.

    A gun, on the other hand, is going to be used either in an emergency (self-defense) in which case insurance probably won’t make much difference in outcome, or under conditions such as target shooting and hunting where you really don’t want the gun user to go in with a big thumbs-up “I’m covered” grin (again, moral hazard). They’re doing recreational shooting by choice and have greater control over the safety of the situation. This won’t prevent accidents, but I don’t think the situation is analogous to driving.

  167. lochaber says

    I don’t know, I could see some aspects of requiring firearms to be insured as a way to help control without outright banning.

    Say, like have minimal rates for firearms kept at a secured range, and only used under supervision.

    Renewable discounts based on firearm/hunter safety training, or maybe random checks/tests.

    And of course, increased rates if one shows any sort of bigotry or violent language, etc.

  168. randay says

    PaulBC # 182 Lots of gun “accidents” occur. A hunter kills another hunter he mistook for game. Your young child gets a hold of your gun and kills his child friend. Insurance would at least be compensation to the family of the victim for the gun owner’s negligence. I remember that when I was a child living in the boondocks that when it was hunting season we had to wear bright orange vests while waiting for the bus to help us avoid getting shot.

  169. PaulBC says

    randay #186 Insurance would mainly need to mitigate consequences for the victims rather than the party responsible to avoid moral hazard. I’m not saying that it’s an intractable problem, just that the circumstances are not analogous to auto or home insurance. I imagine there are already some kinds of insurance available besides ones that will apply anyway such as life and health insurance. I’m in favor of criminal liability acting as a deterrent to unsafe gun use (whether malicious or negligent). I wouldn’t mind just saying that the responsible party pays until bankrupt and public funds cover the rest of the bill for the victim.