I get email — gun-fondler edition

So, so tired of the gun-fondlers in my in-box…their arguments are so bad, so stupid, so off, and they don’t see it. It’s like the creationists who write to me with their sloppy reasoning and wacky assumptions — they aren’t persuading me, they’re just convincing me how wrong they are.

Here’s the latest.

Dear Dr. Myers:

I have e mailed you before to present the other side of the issues you talk about on your blog. I would like to try to explain the concept of how firearms prevent crime.

Yeah, he’s mailed me multiple times. Every time I start reading them, go “gaah, what an idiot”, and trash them without reply. Since he’s not going away when I ignore him, time to let everyone else laugh at him.

Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease? But not only that, doesn’t the fact they have a gun contribute to that feeling of well being? I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero. Another example is that of an armored car. The little “ports” you see on them allow the guys inside to stick their guns out if anyone was to try something. There are also warnings on the vehicle “do not approach”. It is essentially the threat of looking down “the business end” of a gun that is the true deterrent. Wouldn’t you agree that the chances of an attempted robbery are close to zero with an armored car because of guns and the possibility of being shot? Again guns are preventing crime.

Did he just compare trained police officers with responsibilities, a uniform, and a specific role in the community to random jerkwads with a pistol tucked in their pants? That the police dissuade crime is their job; I would not feel more at ease in a restaurant if everyone was sitting there, armed. Quite the contrary.

If most of us are unarmed, relying on a few delegated officials to suppress crime, it’s true, we’re less likely to have crime scenes erupting all over the place. If everyone’s carrying a gun, we’re more likely to have criminal activity that turns into a blazing bloodbath. Not interested. Not convinced at all.

And then he goes on to suggest my daily life would be improved if I were living in the equivalent of a fucking armored car? This guy is nuts.

Now let’s take this a step further to the ordinary citizen. Do you think a criminal is going to try to commit a crime somewhere he might get shot by a law abiding citizen carrying a concealed gun? A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law, will go and commit crimes in “Gun Free Zones” like churches, schools, hospitals and other places the local authorities deem should be “Gun Free”. Look where mass shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora took place. Also look at places like Chicago that have a lot of gun violence, because, until recently, law abiding citizens have been unable to carry concealed firearms to defend themselves against criminals. Criminals know where they can commit gun crime without fear of being shot. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that men can be “taught not to rape” if there were the probability of being shot by the woman!

Right. Let’s trade gun-free schools, churches, and hospitals for places where we all walk in fear, just so these obsessed kooks can strut about with weapons. How about instead if we regulate guns more tightly, cut off the killers at the source, and have fewer guns in our communities? That would also reduce the problem. And that’s his solution to rape? Make women carry firearms around and shoot people? Fucking barbarian.

But oh, I forgot — this is all about giving gun-fondlers carte blanche to cling to their object of affection everywhere they go.

Of course there are no statistics on crimes that have not been committed. It is not known exactly how many crimes have been prevented by law abiding citizens carrying concealed guns. The best way to extrapolate how many crimes have been prevented is to look at the crime rate, which has been steadily falling since enactment of concealed carry laws. Just try to “think like a bad guy” with this. Our elected officials can enact all the gun control legislation they want, but that is NOT going to stop criminals one iota.

They do love that fraud, John Lott. Lott is the primary source for this claim that concealed carry laws and an armed populace reduce crime. He’s been exposed as a phony way back in 2002.

Earlier this year, Lott found himself facing serious criticism of his professional ethics. Pressed by critics, he failed to produce evidence of the existence of a survey — which supposedly found that “98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack” — that he claimed to have conducted in the second edition of “More Guns, Less Crime”. Lott then made matters even worse by posing as a former student, “Mary Rosh,” and using the alias to attack his critics and defend his work online. When an Internet blogger exposed the ruse, the scientific community was outraged. Lott had created a “false identity for a scholar,” charged Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy. “In most circles, this goes down as fraud.”

My correspondent is not only making a bad argument, it’s a dishonest one.

You suggest keeping a telephone by your bedside. Fine and well. By the time the police arrived, you could very well be dead. 1500 feet per second is the response time that I advocate in dealing with someone who has broken into my house. Often, just showing the gun to a perpetrator is enough to diffuse the situation.

Oh, god. The 1500 feet per second bullshit. If I’m at the point of having to outrace a goddamn bullet, it’s too late and a gun isn’t going to help. What I have to do in these situations is make it so hanging around isn’t cost effective anymore, and knowing that the police are on the way is a good deterrent.

Besides, the speed of my signal down the fiber optic line to my house is 300,000,000 meters per second. I win on that facile and stupid comparison.

Gun control advocates are quick to blame guns for high murder rates. But let me ask you; when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

Does he think rational gun control advocates imagine that guns are floating about autonomously blasting away at people? Of course not. We know that the problem is that guns are in the hands of the weapon wankers. When a kid throws a rock through a window, the plan is to tell him to stop throwing rocks.

Also, you know rock throwing isn’t as casually lethal as firing a gun, right? Right? I’m not so sure these guys are that clever.

Expanding from our local communities and states to that of a National level, to namely our Armed Forces, who, with other tools use GUNS to prevent the invasion of foreign powers unfriendly to us. It is the presence of GUNS and the threat of retaliation by us that protects and defends the sovereignty of The United States. It is the presence of the very GUNS you despise that affords you the freedom to be a godless liberal. GUNS also afford you the freedom to post mindless ejaculations on the internet.

Again, this buffoon is trivializing the specific purpose and specific training of police and military forces to equate them to his fellow gun-lovin’ goons. No, I don’t rely on armed guards to be able to post on the internet, you goddamned thimble-witted gun-waving dogma-loving right wing ideologue. Fuck off and stop sending me your feeble parroting of NRA bullshit.

Deadbeat corporation

You had to know just from the name that Freedom Industries had to be an exploiter — that’s how right-wing capitalist thugs always name their enterprises. No surprise: they’re filing for bankruptcy.

Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the chemical spill that left 300,000 West Virginians without tap water for the better part of a week, filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday.

“I think they underestimated the liabilities just a tad,” attorney Aaron Harrah, who firm filed a purported class action lawsuit against Freedom and West Virginia American Water Co., told the Wall Street Journal. According to the Charleston Gazette, the company’s assets and liabilities are each listed as between $1 million and $10 million. Freedom owes $3.66 million to its top 20 unsecured creditors, over $2.4 million in unpaid taxes dating back to at least 2000 and nearly $93,000 in Kanawha County property taxes, about half of which were past due and had become delinquent.

They haven’t paid their taxes in over a decade? And no one in West Virginia thought to crack down on the deadbeats, or that maybe a company that can’t pay their bills might be delinquent on safety maintenance as well?

Gun culture in America

Write one post about gun control, and guess what happens? Your inbox fills up with crap from people who love their guns. Just love ‘em. It’s everything from calm descriptions of existing gun laws, and aren’t they onerous enough already (no, obviously, they aren’t) to veiled threats to show me how useful concealed handguns are in putting down enemies of Liberty. After reading enough of them, I’ve decided that it is inappropriate and inaccurate for me to always be mentally referring to these people as gun nuts. Sorry, you’re not gun nuts at all, which is unfair to people who are mentally ill; you’re gun assholes, instead.

For example, on Twitter I’ve got this person who is quite insistent about ‘refuting’ me, giving me these lovely anecdotes taken from gun asshole sites to prove how wonderful guns are at helping people.

Tweet Child O’ Mine @EwwMoist
.@pzmyers – Concealed carry permit holder stops mass shooter. bearingarms.com/concealed-carr…

Really? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if now and then in the flurry of flying bullets, someone managed to shoot a bad guy — although I do kind of object to the idea of living in an atmosphere of hurtling chunks of lead — but then I read the story, and it isn’t even an accurate summary.

Police on Sunday afternoon said they believe the gunman went in and started shooting, hitting the three victims. As he was on his way out, somebody at the bar shot him.

The actual story is that a gun asshole, angry at being denied entrance to a “Gentleman’s Club”, shot three innocent people, and then as he was leaving, another gun asshole shot the first gun asshole.

I count that as 4 people getting shot by two gun assholes. No one won. And this is an argument against gun control…how?

The other argument this @Ewwmoist person keeps flinging at me is that there are 300 million guns floating about in this country, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and therefore there’s nothing that can be done. That’s about the dumbest argument for maintaining a state of destructive lawlessness I’ve ever heard.

Hey, the US consumes 300 metric tons of cocaine every year. I guess we should just give up and install vending machines in the public schools. Hey, 7500 gallons of an industrial chemical just tainted the drinking water in West Virginia. Looks like a great argument for less regulation of chemical storage! Hey, we’re pumping almost 10 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year. Time to give up! (That last one is actually a serious argument used by many Republicans.)

I don’t know about you, but when I spill toothpaste on my countertop, I don’t enshrine it as a new fixture of my bathroom decor, and I don’t decide to squirt even more on top of the blob. I clean it up. And it looks like we’ve got a very big cleanup job in the US. Thanks, gun assholes!

Meanwhile, what are we liberals doing? We’re basically performing surreal Portlandia skits. That link is to a story about a couple going out to dinner and seeing that someone in a neighboring table has a handgun stuffed into the waistband of his pants. What to do, what to do? They eventually tell their concerns to their server as they’re leaving (who dithers about not knowing what to do either), and then they write a blog post asking whether their reaction was appropriate.

What the fuck? The restaurant has a sign prohibiting firearms inside. There is no argument, no second guessing, no hesitation. The instant you see a gun asshole carrying in such a place, you go up to the manager, and you say, “I suspect there’s a gun asshole over there with a deadly weapon; I don’t feel safe here, and I expect you to do something about it or I’m leaving.” That’s it. And you don’t freakin’ feel guilty about having a reasonable expectation of safety in a public place.

And that’s gun control in America. The gun assholes orgasm over shootouts in strip clubs, while the liberals tiptoe about, afraid to ask if we can get a little relief from the gun culture at a restaurant.

Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé and the crime of love

Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé has died after being released from prison.

On January 10, 2014, we learned that Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé had died in Cameroon. Roger had been sentenced to 3 years in prison because he sent another man an SMS that said "I’m very much in love w/u" – in a country where it’s illegal to be gay.

The details of how Roger died are not yet clear – but what we know is this: In prison he faced physical abuse and medical emergencies. Out of jail he was attacked and turned away from employment, school, shelter and even critical healthcare.

Actually, we are learning a little bit more about how he died, and it’s horrible. Mbédé had testicular cancer, and had surgery last summer, but had ongoing problems that needed treatment. His family refused him that treatment; they wanted him to die.

Alice Nkom, a lawyer who worked on his case, said he died on Friday after his relatives removed him from the hospital where he had been seeking treatment for a hernia.

She said: ’His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die.’

The only curse here was his hateful family.

America has a disease

A man and his wife are out on a movie date, and before the show starts, he talks to his 3-year-old daughter at home on his cell phone. And apparently he was doing some texting, too. Clearly, our big problem is our dependency on these ubiquitous little telecommunications devices…

Wait, no, that’s not it. The problem is that sitting nearby was Curtis Reeves, 71, a retired police officer, who resented the chatter before his movie came on, and Mr Reeves was carrying a goddamn fucking gun in the theater, and argued with the talkative father and eventually shot him dead and wounded his wife.

The Tampa police seriously “considered if this could be a ‘stand your ground’ case but decided the criteria did not apply.” Obviously not. The victim was white. But holy shitballs, they considered this? An armed asshole guns down a man over some noise during the movie previews and they contemplated letting him go?

Then, minutes after I read that, aghast, I get a little beep, and someone sent me this link.

reddit-rifle

Reddit is selling personalized guns with their logo.

Personal privacy is prized among Redditors, most of whom participate on the site anonymously. A fervent pro-gun constituency among them makes the market opportunity for gun dealers all the more attractive. The primary subreddit on the topic, /r/Guns, currently has more than 154,000 subscribers, and GunsForSale, created in March 2011, has doubled in size in the last year, with more than 7,200 subscribers. Gun dealers using the site indicate that they’ve enjoyed a spike in demand in the past year, after the Sandy Hook massacre ignited a national debate and pro-gun activists whipped up fears about a regulatory crackdown.

Yeah, that’s the big worry with a bunch of dead kids — someone might grow a spine and a brain somewhere and take steps to regulate guns. They needn’t have worried: this is America, we’re aspiring to mutual bloody annihilation among the citizenry.

And christ, reddit.

How do you measure willingness to rape?

I was sent this horrifying data table: an awful lot of people think there are circumstances in which force is legitimate to use in order to get sex.

whenisrapeOK

Now an interesting twist. The source for that table is defunct, but someone else bought the url fearus.org and has put together a fairly detailed analysis of the claims. Before you jump to the conclusion that it was some MRA trying to debunk it, though, read the analysis: it’s substantial and impartial. The original study by UCLA researchers does exist, but it’s more complex than this oversimplified version can accurately reflect.

The actual data contained answers that were on a 5-point scale, rather than just a simple yes/no, so there’s some crunching going on here. But let’s crunch it some more.

Excerpts from the paper reveal that only 24% of men categorically rejected all use of violence against women…so apparently, about 76% of us considered some of those circumstances a possible reason to rape. That is disturbing.

Also disturbing: only 44% of the women categorically rejected all uses of violence against them. So 56% have absorbed the idea that they can be at fault for leading men on? Weird.

Anyway, the fearus site is an interesting effort to dig into the original data. It’s a little off — it seems obsessed with the idea that it is a gross error to simplify a 5-point scale to a yes/no answer — but it does make the excellent point that it is disgraceful that it is so difficult to get access to the original, published scientific data.

One of the Steubenville rapists has been freed

And his lawyer has released a statement on his behalf. Got your puke bucket handy?

Ma’Lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’Lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagination for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life. As with each other obstacle, Ma’Lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; he is braced for the balance of his life.  While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways.  He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family.  At this point, Ma’Lik wants most to be a high school teenager. In conjunction with his release, Ma’Lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma’Lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, Thank you.

He endured, he persevered, he grew, and become more mature and learned — why, raping an unconscious young girl has made Mr Richmond a better fucking person. What a great thing for his character, and the character of any teenager who wants to improve himself.

There’s also a statement from the lawyer for the victim.

Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist’s press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family – whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life. One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson.

What he said.

‘Corrective rape’ aimed at ‘curing’ lesbians

All right, I have to stop reading world news first thing in the morning. What did I encounter today? A crisis in South Africa — there is an epidemic of really stupid men who believe the way to ‘cure’ lesbians is gang rape.

"If we want to finish lesbians and gays they must be forcefully raped," says one, grinning at the camera. "A man must go back to his manhood. Women must be women. She must be ready and willing to have sex."

"They must be raped so that their gay and lesbian behaviour can come out," adds another.

The third raises his voice, points two fingers at his temple and concludes: "This gay and lesbian thing must end. I say bang bang bang!"

If I were a woman, those men would turn me into a lesbian, I think. Also, no illusions here: this isn’t about converting women to heterosexuality. It’s about intimidation and power. Some of the events in the story are about women being executed after the rape.

Please arrest David Brooks

He confesses to criminal behavior. He smoked marijuana in high school, although he later stopped.

I think we gave it up, first, because we each had had a few embarrassing incidents. Stoned people do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.

I’ve read his essays in the New York Times, and given that response to smoking weed, I suspect he’s still lighting up a couple of times a day.

But here’s the weird disconnect in this particular story: He and his buddies smoked weed back in the day. It was fun. They went at it for a while, and then It just sort of petered out, and, before long, we were scarcely using it. I’ve never done the stuff myself — I have kind of a phobia about smoking anything, from growing up in a house with chain-smoking parents — but that’s what I saw in all my friends, too. There might have been a brief stoner phase, but then they gave it up, or maybe would just have an occasional joint at a party, but it was not a serious problem. I knew more people lost to alcoholism than to marijuana.

Yet the point of Brooks’ column is that Colorado and Washington have made a major mistake in legalizing marijuana! Apparently he was a wise and sensible human being who could try a drug a few times without harm, but all those kids in those Western states? Not to be trusted. And how dare the government abstain from scolding activities that he once enjoyed!

But, of course, these are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.

Right. Subtly discouraging lesser pleasures involves throwing young people in jail.

It’s bizarre. Brooks really is a prim little snob; what he got away with should not be allowed for Youth of Today, and he’s got this weird thing going where he wants less government except that the government should be using threats and the police to make damn sure the kids like the arts rather than partying. So…does he also favor shutting down all state-run liquor stores? It would be the only consistent position to take, after all.

But it doesn’t matter. Brooks needs to be jailed, just to encourage a nurturing moral ecology for the rest of us and to get him off the pages of the NYT. If they can’t get him on drug charges, how about arresting him for wanton cruelty to logic and reason?

The silence of the men

A woman, alone at a bus stop, late at night. A series of men pass by, leering and sneering. One man accosts her persistently.

Over the course of five minutes, he verbally threatened me with rape, a beating, and kept trying to lurch closer to me. When I barked “BACK OFF” and raised my fists, he took a couple steps back, but unzipped his pants and started pantomiming taking his dick out while continuing to call me a bitch and a stuck-up ho. “I am going to slap you, bitch. You deserve to get raped. You deserve a dick in your ass. Stuck-up ugly slut. You’re gonna get raped because you’re a bitch and bitches deserve whatever they get.” At one point he made a motion as if he was going for something tucked into the back of his pants. I just kept yelling at him as loudly and aggressively as I could. But I was genuinely scared at that point.

Sounds familiar. I’ve seen second-hand that surly resentment from men on the internet — it takes some courage and strength to stand up against it in person. Then the bus arrives, and with it some hope of rescue.

It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. But we were in a brightly lit place, so I decided to stand my ground and keep yelling at him to stay the fuck away from me and hope the bus would arrive soon, which it did. I rushed to it. The doors to the bus opened, and I called to the driver, “this man just threatened to rape and beat me and started to expose himself, please don’t let him on.” Blank stare from the bus driver. My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver “pay this bitch no mind, she’s a crazy-ass prostitute” and laughingly told him, “she been harassing ME”.

And the driver shook the man’s hand, and ignored the woman.

The man is calling the woman a “bitch” and a “prostitute”, and the driver seems to find it unlikely that he’s been harassing the frightened woman. He does nothing. He says nothing.

The driver eventually ordered me to sit down. So I did. And then asked him: “why aren’t you doing anything? Why did you shake his hand and laugh? That guy threatened to hurt me and rape me. Why would you do that?” He basically ignored my questions. Ignored me.

I sat there, in shock, while my harasser continued to yell threats and insults at me from the rear of the bus.

And she still manages to remain charitable towards the driver.

This morning I called the Golden Gate Transit hotline and filed a report. I genuinely do not want to get the driver fired. He seemed young and totally clueless and lacking in empathy, but not actively unkind. I just hope that some sort of protocol adjustment happens. Some kind of conversation where it’s made clear to each and every driver that when a woman begs them to call the cops or to bar an aggressive man from their bus, they should DO THAT.

That’s all she wants? I wasn’t even there, and I want more. I want men to stop being accomplices in harassment.