Bianca Roberson and the tragedy of the NRA

I hated driving in Philadelphia — the drivers there are the worst in my experience. It wasn’t just the vigorous honking and the aggressive tailgating, either, I personally witnessed a driver pull out a pistol and pop off a series of shots at a truck that passed him. Every day that I made that awful commute from King of Prussia to North Philly I was convinced that I was going to die (we got smart and moved to Jenkintown, finally, where I could take mass transit to work, in part because I was pretty sure I was going to have a nervous breakdown).

The story of Bianca Roberson brings back ugly memories. Any place along the highway were you were forced to merge two lanes together was going to provoke some people to fury, needlessly. All I had to worry about generally were the obnoxious drivers who’d flip you off and pound on their horn and drive recklessly to insist that they get to merge ahead of you. Bianca Roberson met a fellow driver who pulled out a gun and shot her in the head.

This is rank madness. You do not need a gun to drive on a highway, no, not even the Schuylkill Expressway. A gun does not help in any way. It makes everything worse, to no good purpose. You do not need to be armed at all times. You do not need a gun at a movie theater. You do not need a gun at school. You do not need a gun on your daily commute.

You need a gun when you go deer hunting, or if you’re going to a range to practice marksmanship. If you happen to have one with you on the way to the gun range or the hunting grounds, it should be unloaded and safely stowed someplace safe, like in the trunk. This is why we need more gun control and a culture of healthy respect for dangerous tools, not strident fanaticism and recklessness like we get from that criminal organization of evil assholes, the NRA. Actually, guns don’t deserve respect, people do…something the NRA and gun-fondlers everywhere do not understand.

The USA is a dangerous place to live or visit. Although, I can at least say I got out of a danger zone and moved to rural Minnesota, where people still have guns, but when you’re on the road you mainly have to worry about the constant expectation that you will wave to everyone.


  1. daved says

    One of Bill Maher’s panelists on Friday noted that gun sales have fallen off drastically since Trump became president, and the NRA was no longer able to pull its “booga! booga! Obama is coming to take your guns!” horse manure. They’re desperate to drum up sales.

  2. wcorvi says

    A fellow I met in a bar explained it all to me. He had this dream of someday he would be in a restaurant, and an insane fellow with a gun would come in and start shooting away. Just as he takes aim at the pretty girl (sic) at the next table, my commenter would pull out his piece and slay the insane guy, thus saving the girl (sic) and making her forever in love with him and in his debt. Without his right to carry his gun (and the right of the insane guy, too), he would be a virgin the rest of his life (my analysis, not his). If you had met him, you would see what I mean. The point is, without guns for all, his dream would never happen. He was waiting every day for this event, though.

  3. hotspurphd says

    Yes, on Bill Maher it was said that the right is now saying, in the aftermath of the shooting of the republicans playing softball, that the left is evil and violent so we need to buy guns to protect ourselves. The left has suddenly changed from snowflakes, Volvo driving, latte sipping…. to violent thugs

  4. cyrus says

    Switzerland is often lauded by gun nuts, when obama got elected, i forum i used for expats got enquiries from nuts looking to move there under the impression that people carry guns around everywhere.

    Absolutely not the case, yes, near every male gets issued with an assault rifle. No, you can‘t walk around with it loaded, no, you can‘t walk around with a concealed pistol. You absolutely must lock it up, ammo stored seperately, you can take it hunting, or go to the gun range, but you transport it unloaded, in a lockable box, that should be locked.

  5. gijoel says

    I hope that shithead gets life, but I doubt it.

    @4. Chances are that idiot will get shot in the back, cause bad people never play fair. Ah who am I kidding, he’ll probably be the nutcase that goes on a shooting rampage.

  6. microraptor says

    wcorvi @4:

    Yeah, that describes most of the concealed carry nuts I’ve met, too: they live in a world where at any moment, an action movie could break out. If they have a gun, they can kill the bad guys, win the girl, and be the hero. If they don’t have a gun, they’re going to be a bystander who gets killed by the villain to show that he means business.

    I tend to point out the Umpqua Community College shooting in 2015 whenever they do: there were (at least) three people with licensed concealed carry firearms on campus when the shooting happened, none of them did anything to affect the event.

  7. thirdmill says

    I’m a gun owner who hates the NRA with a purple passion. Not only do they make all gun owners look like crazed fanatics, but they also stand in the way of basic, common sense regulation.

    I completely agree with PZ that there is almost never a need to walk around in public with a loaded weapon. I also think that nobody should own a gun without first passing a gun safety course and passing a background check. Anyone who leaves a gun where a child can access it and kill someone should go straight to jail and stay there for a good long time. And furthermore, I don’t understand why any of that is even open to dispute; if there’s a contrary argument to any of that I sure don’t know what it is.

    Yet here in Florida, where I live, the NRA actually got a law passed that pediatricians can’t ask if there is a gun in the house, even though pediatricians obviously have a job to do in helping create safe spaces for children, and even though the rationale in asking was to follow up by asking about what safety precautions are in place to keep the gun out of the hands of children. So like I said at the beginning, I’m a gun owner, and as far as I’m concerned the NRA can go fuck itself.

  8. militantagnostic says

    wcorvi @4

    About 5 years ago, I worked briefly in a home depot store in Calgary in tool rental. At the time I wondered why the cashier training and loss prevention training placed so much emphasis on not drawing any attention if you being robbed. You were to provide “excellent customer service” to get the robber out of the store as fast as possible without anyone noticing. I knew concealed carry was a thing in many states, but I was unaware of how stupid American gun culture is. I now realize that in most of Home Depot’s locations there is a high risk of some concealed carry Jackass turning a robbery into a gunfight in a crowd.

  9. handsomemrtoad says

    To: 11. WMDKitty — Survivor

    RE: “One can hunt or target shoot with a bow, as well.”

    Or, a blow-gun! Lots of fun, near-zero risk of injuring yourself, great exercise, like lifting weights but using your muscles of exhalation (intercostal muscles and rectus-abdominus). I used to do it as exercise for improving breath-support for singing in opera and choir.

  10. handsomemrtoad says


    You’d be surprised by how powerful a blow-gun can be. I sometimes used a block of wood as a target; from 25 feet away I could make the dart embed so that I had to use pliers to pull it out of the target. Sometimes I used a paperback book as a target, and the dart routinely penetrated two hundred pages.

  11. snuffcurry says

    Absolutely not the case, yes, near every male gets issued with an assault rifle. No, you can‘t walk around with it loaded, no, you can‘t walk around with a concealed pistol. You absolutely must lock it up, ammo stored seperately, you can take it hunting, or go to the gun range, but you transport it unloaded, in a lockable box, that should be locked.

    Swiss soldiers transporting or storing at home ammunition for government-issued rifles is no longer permitted and hasn’t been for about a decade.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @handsomemrtoad #14:

    Sometimes I used a paperback book as a target, and the dart routinely penetrated two hundred pages.

    I bet that wasn’t a copy of ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’. I swear that paperback was so heavy the pages must have been impregnated with depleted uranium.

  13. says

    @8 handsomemrtoad

    Uh. I don’t disagree with your point, per se, but could you not just fling suicide videos into a discussion with no warning or preamble? There’s folk here with real experience with suicide and suicidal ideation. It’s… at best… jarring.

  14. emergence says

    Also, notice how the NRA calls progressives violent when, as was established in this article, sovereign citizens, white supremacists, antigovernment militias, and other right wing extremists kill and injure far more people. These NRA assholes are a bigger threat to the country than any of the progressives they’re claiming to defend it from.

  15. says

    I fly R/C airplanes at a club field near a nature center where last Sunday a woman’s body was found on the trails and subsequently been ruled as homicide.

    Yesterday, I was having a pleasant afternoon of flying with other club members when one sort of goes out the way to bring attention to the fact that he’s carrying a pistol in his pocket. Loaded. With his keys and other stuff in the same pocket. Now, I would assume that the safety was on, but you never can tell.

    To quote him after his calling attention to his being armed: “Christ, there was a woman murdered not two miles from here!” I wanted to ask him what good that pistol would do, but knew it was a hopeless conversation that would end up with a heated argument, judging by others at the field.

    I live in the middle of corn country Illinois, where like anywhere there is crime, including the occasional spousal murder. But holy shit, to be frightened into arming yourself by an isolated incident like this just blows my mind. I live in a not great part of town where the crime is probably higher than the average, but I walk the streets at night and have never felt threatened. To live with this kind of fear has to be the most oppressive thing I can think of.

    Another quote: “It’s just a .380, so it won’t do much.”

    Right. Got it.