A few radical proposals


The traditional sacred American ritual was performed in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio this weekend. I’m beginning to suspect that there’s some bloody Cabin in the Woods scenario being played out — to appease the blood gods spawned by the evil establishment of European hegemony in America, there must be a regular sacrifice of the innocent, and those gods are getting hungrier.

In any given week in America, you can watch as a different ritual of childhood plays itself out. Perhaps it will be in El Paso, at a shopping mall; or in Gilroy, at a food festival; or in Denver, at a school. Having heard gunshots, and been lucky enough to survive, children emerge to be shepherded to safety by their parents, their teachers, or heavily-armed police officers. They are always frightened. Some will be crying. But almost all of them know what is happening to them, and what to do. Mass shootings are by now a standard part of American life. Preparing for them has become a ritual of childhood. It’s as American as Monday Night Football, and very nearly as frequent.

The United States has institutionalized the mass shooting in a way that Durkheim would immediately recognize. As I discovered to my shock when my own children started school in North Carolina some years ago, preparation for a shooting is a part of our children’s lives as soon as they enter kindergarten. The ritual of a Killing Day is known to all adults. It is taught to children first in outline only, and then gradually in more detail as they get older. The lockdown drill is its Mass. The language of “Active shooters”, “Safe corners”, and “Shelter in place” is its liturgy. “Run, Hide, Fight” is its creed. Security consultants and credential-dispensing experts are its clergy. My son and daughter have been institutionally readied to be shot dead as surely as I, at their age, was readied by my school to receive my first communion. They practice their movements. They are taught how to hold themselves; who to defer to; what to say to their parents; how to hold their hands. The only real difference is that there is a lottery for participation. Most will only prepare. But each week, a chosen few will fully consummate the process, and be killed.

A fundamental lesson of Sociology is that, in the course of making everyday life seem orderly and sensible, arbitrary things are made to seem natural and inevitable. Rituals, especially the rituals of childhood, are a powerful way to naturalize arbitrary things. As a child in Ireland, I thought it natural to take the very body of Christ in the form of a wafer of bread on my tongue. My own boy and girl, in America, think it natural that a school is a place where you must know what to do when someone comes there to kill the children.

I’d also add that 8chan is the holy scripture of its acolytes, a meandering screed that combines the mindless repetition of a manic prayer wheel with the ravings of the book of Revelation. Free Speech is its shibboleth.

Until law enforcement, and the media, treat these shooters as part of a terrorist movement no less organized, or deadly, than ISIS or Al Qaeda, the violence will continue. There will be more killers, more gleeful celebration of body counts on 8chan, and more bloody attempts to beat the last killer’s “high score”.

There’s a radical suggestion right there. If there were an online forum in which Muslim terrorists gleefully shared tales of glorious murder, urged each other to outdo each other in suicidal mass killings, and celebrated every time one of these incidents occurred, the FBI would be all over it, tracing communications and working to arrest the ringleaders. 8chan, though, is fueled by the frustrations of disaffected middle class white men, so no, nothing will be done. It will continue to fester and spread its toxins.

So, here’s my first radical suggestion. Only it’s not that radical.

  • Shut down 8chan. Arrest anyone who tries to revive it. Publicly shame anyone who participates in it.

That’s just the start. Another obvious problem is ready access to guns. There is incredibly stupid resistance to any form of common-sense gun registration, background checks, etc., and so gun manufacturers continue to flood a willing market with weapons of mass destruction. We’re making no progress on rational gun laws. Therefore, let’s take a different tack.

  • Criminalize gun manufacture. Lethal weapons can only be made under a license for sale to the military,
    and the military will be prohibited from allowing remarketers to sell their surplus. Hunting weaponry will also be licensed and the sale tightly controlled. The police will crack down on black market sale of guns; no more gun shows. Manufacturers will be held liable for the crimes committed by their weapons, so Glock, Smith & Wesson, and Remington will be the enforcers who regulate gun sales.

I’m just getting warmed up. People have been talking about revising the constitution to get rid of that useless vestige, the electoral college. Don’t stop there. There’s another political institution that does nothing other than enrich its members and allow a rich elite to throttle progressive laws.

  • Abolish the Senate, or at least reduce it to a purely ceremonial function. Right now, the Senate is nothing but a relic of an elitist era, when it was considered important to preserve a version of aristocratic privilege, and power was distributed based on arbitrary property lines. It’s undemocratic. It needs to go. It’s not as if it will be doing anything to end the tyranny of the assault rifle in America.

Is that enough? I know it’s all unrealistic, and isn’t going to happen, unless there’s a revolution (which, at the rate we’re going, isn’t entirely unlikely). Basically, I’m suggesting that we correct the failings of the first American revolution, which wasn’t revolutionary enough, change our mindset to make capitalism accountable, and shut down the most extreme propaganda organ. It’s not as radical as it could be — a real socialist would suggest that the people should seize total control of the production of weapons, for instance, but I’ve become less trusting of the will of the people nowadays.

I’ll toss in one more, just for the heck of it.

  • Outlaw the Republican party. Throw its leadership in jail, unless they repudiate all the principles of greed and bigotry that currently drive it.

That one might not be necessary if the other suggestions were implemented.

Comments

  1. Sili says

    Get rid of a(n in)directly elected president in favour of a parliamentary system with proportional representation. (No more FPTP single-person districts.)

  2. mastmaker says

    This should be the chant of every sensible person: “Guns do not belong in civilized society”.

    Ban all civilian hand guns, automatic/semi-automatic weapons, shotguns, etc. Only allow single shot hunting gun, but heavily, heavily regulate its storage and use. Reduce police use of guns. Over a period of 5 years, remove military hardware from Police. Over a decade remove 90% of SWAT.

  3. says

    So many Americans will rush to explain why gun control can’t possibly work. Whatever happened to that proud “can do” independent nation?

    Meanwhile, 3% of gun owners own 90% of the guns, and they are almost entirely white. Those that own guns often claim its for home defense. Against who? The Indigenous People have been put down. Who are they prepping against?

  4. mastmaker says

    Also, let’s talk about second 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.
    Every one talks about second half, but sweep the first half under the rug. The first half is no longer true (and hasn’t been for 130 years or so). No militia of private gun owners is going to stand up to a foreign aggression or is competent enough to overcome a rebellion. So, why can’t we (courts? government? ballot proposal?) just declare second amendment is null and void because first half (‘being necessary’) doesn’t apply anymore?

  5. stroppy says

    Moscow Mitch belongs in the stockade, for sure. As for president Burgertube, his crime family, and all his little ass-wipe cronies, pack ’em off to Gitmo. Might as well do something useful with that dump.

  6. sqlrob says

    That one might not be necessary if the other suggestions were implemented.

    I don’t think you could do the other ones without this one.

  7. raven says

    .1. The main issue of Trump and the GOP for 2020 will be…racism!!!
    Trump and the GOP have already started feeding the flames of racism with 1 1/2 years to go.

    .2. This even makes a warped sort of sense.
    That was their main campaign issue in 2016 and it won them the election.

    .3. Which means, white supremacist terrorist attacks will become more and more common.
    Already we’ve had two in a week with Gilroy and El Paso.
    It’s going to be a long and bloody 1 1/2 years until the election.

  8. raven says

    I noticed the GOP 2020 campaign strategy of open racism right away.
    Not that it was hard, it was obvious.
    So has everyone else.
    Oddly enough, one of the main, key supporters of Trump and the GOP are…fundie xians.
    Even for a religion those cults are twisted.

    Is Trump’s Use Of Identity Politics An Effective Strategy? | FiveThirtyEight
    Jul 25, 2019 – Donald Trump Holds MAGA Rally In El Paso To Discuss Border Security … Filed under 2020 Election … him and the GOP electorally, even if he at times veers into racism … Trump’s vote share among voters whose most important issue was … to be skeptical that his rhetoric on race and identity was the main …

    Racism as Campaign Strategy – The Atlantic
    Jul 15, 2019 – The president’s tweets are an invitation to a racial conflict that pits … the reaction, welcoming a battle over race at the ballot box in 2020. … Of course, the key difference is that he is white, whereas (say) … The open embrace of racism as a political strategy is, however, …. 4 The GOP Finally Rejects Trump.

    Still believe Trump’s racism won’t get him re-elected? That’s what you …
    5 days ago – There’s zero downside for Trump in his hateful rhetoric. Don’t underestimate the depth of racism in America.

    Trump’s premeditated racism is central to his 2020 strategy – Axios
    Jul 17, 2019 – Why it matters: It’s central to his 2020 strategy, they say. ….. Details: Several candidates blamed Trump for a rise in white supremacist-related …

  9. consciousness razor says

    Mass shootings are by now a standard part of American life. Preparing for them has become a ritual of childhood. It’s as American as Monday Night Football, and very nearly as frequent.

    It’s actually much more frequent, when 4 or more are victims of a “mass shooting.” Not all shootings result in “mass murder,” and the 4+ figure (used for the table in the link below) is not including the shooter.
    This year, it’s been more than once per day. August 4 is day 216 this year, and there are 251 reported so far here:
    https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting?year=2019
    They reported 340 for all of 2018. At this rate, 2019 will probably surpass amount that by October 20 or 21, with 71 or 72 days of mass shootings left to go.
    Then 2020? Probably even more violence because of the election.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    raven @8:

    It’s going to be a long and bloody 1 1/2 years until the election.

    If Trump loses, it could be bloodier after the election.

  11. willj says

    #1

    Get rid of a(n in)directly elected president in favour of a parliamentary system with proportional representation. (No more FPTP single-person districts.)

    Not gonna happen. Republicans can’t win without it, since they can’t win the popular vote (ref: GW Bush and Hillary Clinton). I don’t know the exact numbers, but something like 29% of the population identifies as republican and 35% as democrat. Also, as Moscow Mitch understands, they can’t win without Russian help. Or gerrymandering. Or voter suppression.

  12. says

    You should disarm the police before anyone else.
    The police WERE afraid of armed black people in the 1960s.
    Which is why gun control laws against cheap “saturday night specials” were passed.

  13. mykroft says

    I can think of only two scenarios where gun use would be seriously restricted in this country:
    – We get a Democratic president, and second amendment zealots attempt the armed uprising against the government that they’ve threatened for decades.
    – A major Republican donor event is attacked, by people with assault rifles and extended clip hand guns. If the donor class starts realizing the guns can be turned on them, they would be outlawed quickly.

  14. says

    @mykroft, I can’t help but suspect the second scenario would somehow be manipulated into cracking down on various groups that have nothing to do with the attack.

  15. nomdeplume says

    Has always seemed curious to me, as a non-American, that American gun owners have, or pretend to have the belief, that guns are needed in order to overthrow the government if necessary. On the other hand they believe, or pretend to believe, that they live in the “World’s Greatest Democracy”. Spot the contradiction.

  16. rrutis1 says

    Nomdeplume @18, because Murica is the greatest at everything!!!! Especially at contradictions!!!!

    /s I wish I didn’t need to say /s

  17. fishy says

    I like to know what’s happening in New Zealand after the ban. Our media has collectively ignored it.

  18. fishy says

    I’d like to know what’s happening in New Zealand after the ban. Our media has collectively ignored it.

  19. stopthemadness says

    Given that the likes of PZ have completely discarded the concepts of “rationality” and “objectivity” as evil tools of masculine oppression, it is probably useless to try to call for a rational level-headed examination of the mass shooting situation, but be that as it may, I will go ahead anyway.

    The facts are that there is no association with the prevalence of guns and mass shootings.

    In the USA alone, the most violent areas are the ghettos, which are predominantly black and latino, where you can buy guns everywhere, and where everyone is strapped, because they have to be. And people get gunned down in massive numbers there, all day every day, but has there ever been a single mass shooting in those areas? None that I am aware of.

    All the mass shootings happen in suburban comfortably middle class areas, predominantly white. Which is why you hear a lot about them as a major problem while the endemic violence in poor areas is ignored. After all, who cares if a bunch of n***rs is Englewood gunned down each other. A mass shooting in a suburban predominantly white area, on the other hand? Now that affects people whose lives matter, we have to talk about it all the time.

    Same thing at international level — the US isn’t even the country with the most guns, that honor goes to places like Yemen. But again, have there been rampage shootings in those places? No, there have not been, and it is not observational bias — in the US there have been mass shootings in schools and other places leaving dozens dead. Third world or not, something like that will make it to the worldwide news stream.

    So what is the key variable that can explain mass shootings if it is not guns? To be noted, there is a very strong correlation between guns and deaths from guns and violence, so the argument that guns should be restricted is sound; but we are not talking about that right now, we are talking about rampage shootings.

    The key variable is social alienation of the kind that US suburbia breed in abundance. You don’t get rampage shootings on the South Side of Chicago, even though people are killed in vast numbers there, because you don’t have the same social alienation — the gangs provide a fairly strong social structure, and in addition to that, people mostly live in multifamily building units where some sort of a community can emerge.

    Nothing of the sort in the typical US suburb — single family detached houses, long commutes, people barely know each other, both because they are physically separated and because they don’t have time, everyone is alone and isolated, etc. etc.

    This is the kind of environment that generates the type of individual that feels completely isolated and snubbed by society and decides to go out with a bang as a revenge and because he sees it as the only way to leave some sort of a legacy.

    So if you want to eliminate mass shootings, eliminate suburbia. It is not a coincidence that there weren’t really mass shootings in the US before the second half of the 20th century. The suburbs are really a post-WWII project, and all the additional factors that add to it also came together after that.

    It is required anyway for sustainability reasons — whoever thinks we can power our current lifestyles at their current scale with “renewables” is a deluded ignorant idiot, plain and simple. It is physically impossible — reduce the number of people by a factor of 10, move them to apartments, eliminate private cars, etc., and now we are talking something that might work. But what we have now? No chance.

    Ironically it tends to be the same people who engage in such fantasies and who also like to rail against gun ownership, the republicans, and other distractions.

    But dismantling suburbia would require a complete rethinking of our “cherished” lifestyles, and we can’t have that, can we?

    It is also the same people who promote identity politics, clearly without understanding that this is making the problem worse. Given that it is social alienation that is the root cause of mass shootings, who in their right mind would think that further atomizing society by pushing forward identity politics, especially its various forms having to do with sex and gender, would not make things worse?

    Yet this is precisely what we have on startling display here…

    Humans are social primates and they have an innate need for “fitting” in society and having some way of gaining social status and respectability. You make it seem to them that they have no such options, and there will be consequences. You can rant all you want about “misogyny”, “racism”, and other buzzwords of the sort, but you are not going to change that underlying reality. And you will keep reaping what you are sowing unless you reexamine your approach.

  20. Saad says

    Just imagine how much help Trump and the Republicans will be getting from foreign countries in elections moving forward now that they’ve seen they’re allowed by the United States to do it.

  21. raven says

    ….pretend to have the belief, that guns are needed in order to overthrow the government if necessary.

    Actually in Realityland, a place where the NRA/GOP/Trump never go, you don’t need guns at all to overthrow even an oppressive, dictatorial government.

    The proof is easy.
    The other Superpower, the USSR. fell when an unarmed citizenry went out into the streets.
    The huge army and thousands of nukes weren’t much use in keeping the commies in power.

    The same thing happened in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Romania.

    The reasons are many but one key one is obvious.
    The police and army are made up from the people. They are likely fed up also.
    And then you ask them to slaughter their friends, relatives, children, and neighbors.
    That is asking too much.

  22. says

    nomdeplume
    4 August 2019 at 5:38 pm You are absolutely correct and number 19 below your comment is as well. Scary as hell to me in this f’d up country.

  23. stopthemadness says

    The other Superpower, the USSR. fell when an unarmed citizenry went out into the streets.
    The huge army and thousands of nukes weren’t much use in keeping the commies in power.

    The same thing happened in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Romania.

    This is not at all what happened, only people with no understanding of the history could believe that.

    The USSR fell apart because the party nomenclature got tired of going to UN meetings and various diplomatic negotiations with its western counterparts and realizing that those people were all millionaires and billionaires while they had to live in tiny apartments on a few hundred rubles a month of income, just as the everyone else in the USSR, even though they were controlling resources worth trillions.

    So they decided to convert their political power into economic power, but for that the system had to be dismantles. And so it was.

    That decision long preceded the events of the late 80s and early 90s.

    P.S. This is also probably the deep reason why Stalin did the purges — the problem of the power of the nomenclature was well known already in the early Soviet years. The purges solved it for a few decades, by physically exterminating the people who were becoming entrenched, and replacing them with new fresh faces that were starting from nothing and were loyal to the system. But there was nobody to do that in the 1960s, and we saw what happened.

  24. William George says

    … it is probably useless to try to call for a rational level-headed examination of the mass shooting situation, but be that as it may, I will go ahead anyway.

    My eyes rolled so hard at this post I almost passed out.

  25. raven says

    This is not at all what happened, only people with no understanding of the history could believe that.

    You are a loon and troll posting gibberish and wasting electrons, photons, and our time.
    This is an assertion without proof and data like everything you’ve said and may be dismissed without proof or data.
    You are wrong again.

    There were a lot of reasons why the USSR fell including the fact that it was an empire by conquest and keeping a dozen or so non-Russian ethnic groups down was going to be a never ending task.
    In fact, the Georgians and other SSR’s revolted first.
    The fact remains that the USSR government ultimately had no popular support and fell without a huge amount of guns pointed by an armed citizenry.
    The fact remains that you don’t need armed groups of guerrillas to overthrow even a Superpower.

    The same thing happened in the Eastern European satellites.

  26. raven says

    stopthemadness the idiot troll:

    Given that the likes of PZ have completely discarded the concepts of “rationality” and “objectivity” as evil tools of masculine oppression, it is probably useless to try to call for a rational level-headed examination of the mass shooting situation, but be that as it may, I will go ahead anyway.

    Sign of a true crackpot.

    i’mthemadness starts out by insulting his audience.
    That is always a winning argument anywhere.

    Then he lies.
    No PZ Myers did not discard rationality and objectivity.

    Then he lies again.
    ….to call for a rational level-headed examination of the mass shooting situation, …
    i’mthemadness has nothing to offer normal people but insults, lies, assertions without data or proof, and gibberish.

    A troll wasting people’s time. Boring.

  27. raven says

    FWIW, we know why the mass shooters kill.
    It’s no mystery at all.
    They often just tell us and make sure we know why they did it.
    Both the GIlroy and El Paso shooters were white racists, and using a rifle in an act of right wingnut terrorism.

    To be sure, this is only a subset of mass killers, but it is a large and growing one.
    50 US people were killed by terrorists last year according to the ADL.
    At least 49 of them were killed by right wingnut terrorists.

  28. stopthemadness says

    The fact remains that the USSR government ultimately had no popular support and fell without a huge amount of guns pointed by an armed citizenry.

    This is a rather remarkable statement given that a referendum was conducted in 1991 on whether to preserve the USSR, in which people voted overwhelmingly for it (but were not listened to), except in the Baltics,

    And that to this day a majority of people in the region have favorable views of their lives under communism and negative opinions about what happened after that.

    People wanted access to the same consumer goods that were available in the West, and they were against the system because it was not providing them that access. They thought that it is possible to keep all the benefits of the system while also gaining that access, because they were naive and misinformed (and Soviet propaganda did a lot to cause that — people learned not to trust to such an extent that they did not trust it even when it was telling them the truth, i.e. about the vast masses of poor, homeless, etc. people in the West). Well, they got their wish regarding the access to consumer good. At the cost of losing everything else. And now they understand their mistake but it’s too late. Meanwhile the party nomenclature successfully transformed itself into an economic oligarchy.

    The same thing happened in the Eastern European satellites.

    That is correct — the process started in the USSR in the mid-1970s the latest, perhaps even earlier. Then “the same thing” happened in the satellites.

    Because it was allowed to, top down, not because the masses made it happen.

    In the 1940s and 1950s any unrest have been crushed, and it could be crushed in the 1980s too, but it wasn’t. Why?

  29. roiduvoyageur says

    Abolish the Senate, or at least reduce it to a purely ceremonial function.

    Is there any use in making it more like Canada’s Senate, where it serves as the chamber of “sober second thought”?

  30. HawkAtreides says

    Interesting to note: The founder of 8chan believes it should be shut down. I mean, a site that was founded by people who were “too toxic” for 4chan, itself a site founded by people who were “too toxic” for the Something Awful forums, and that back in the day when hard-r n-bombs wouldn’t earn you a disciplinary strike, being a breeding ground for white supremacy and far-right violence? In the immortal words of Philip J. Fry: “I’m shocked! Shocked! Well, not that shocked.”

  31. ColonelZen says

    Just read this … and in ironic projection thought …. the logical end of this would be to have drone strikes targeting last locus of the leaders along with public declarations that the “collateral damage” is justified by the risk the target poses, or vague imputations that they somehow deserved it for being in the environs.

    My next reaction was utter horror that really – and shockingly – no longer think the the outcome of my absurdist projection is at all absurd as I had intended my intended indulgence in sarcastic fantasy to be.

    I could just imagine the announcement of some 8chan terrorist leader being taken out…. with “unforunate” collateral damage as such leader could only be successfully targeted while having dinner at a restaurant regularly frequented by say MSNBC or WaPO pundits and regular guests. I really wish I felt this scenario was as absurd as it should sound …. but some how that part of my mind that should be ringing out in dissonance at the scenario is almost silent.

    — TWZ

  32. Taylor Baker [Student] says

    Amerikkka deserves to be killed.

    I think more needs to be instead of PZ suggested, though. I at the very least need to started taking vengeance myself. I think most important thing to do is destroy Amerikkka’s “freedom.” I have always despised that so-called value from a political standpoint. Had I known that everyone here would lose their minds like this after September 11th, 2001, I would have happily called that day a blessing in disguise.

    Most of all, though, I really want it to be my turn to start killing as many people as I can.

  33. John Morales says

    Taylor Baker:

    Most of all, though, I really want it to be my turn to start killing as many people as I can.

    Walter Mitty, you’ve gone insane.

    (Or you’re just trolling. One or the other)

  34. John Morales says

    Meh. I think Hell doesn’t deserve me, Taylor.

    (You, however, would fit right in)

  35. Taylor Baker [Student] says

    @ John Morales

    Oh, that’s cute. I didn’t know atheists had the right to decide who gets to burn for all eternity like christians do.

    People like you apparently don’t fucking get it that there is no measure of health to be so adjusted to such a profoundly ill society. One of these days the shoe is going to be on the other foot, and those that have been oppressed their whole lives by people like the alt-right are going to one day have their dues. I live in the asscrack of the deep south, Georgia, and I know what it’s like to be under someone else’s thumb constantly. Have I mentioned that I am autistic and asexual, and never once used that as an excuse? My healthcare and right to an education are both going to be taken away from me any day.

    I have every right to be losing my mind right now. This has to be the breaking point.

    You need to fucking check yourself.

  36. John Morales says

    Taylor:

    Have I mentioned that I am autistic and asexual, and never once used that as an excuse?

    You just did.

    I have every right to be losing my mind right now.

    Fine. Be demented.

  37. wzrd1 says

    Et al, perhaps we should address the worst part of American Exceptionalism, the absolute worship of violence to resolve all problems.
    Seriously, it’s been a long time building, from the early motion picture era until now, incessantly building all problems are resolved with a fist to a face or drawing the ‘ol six gun or five gun. Hell, when I was still in school, Dirty Harry was a thing, “Stood in the door with his .44″…

    No, PZ wants the entire Constitution withdrawn and single party rule. Talk about losing perspective and faith in a nation and people! No more Constitution, imprison one and all of an opposing party, heaven knows who is next and since the Constitution is repealed, someone kindly shoot me!
    On second thought, someone kindly shoot PZ with my ten gauge shitgun, loaded with shaving cream. Twice.
    For the record, a ten gauge weapon or pipe would be an inch across, never said how long the load is. But, considering what a bolus I have left over the decades, it’d likely require a pipe a few yards long.

    Who said shotgun? Never found a proper use for one, other than removing door from hinge and lock. Other than that, utterly useless, far too imprecise.
    Yes, a shitgun would also be imprecise, but in its case, who gives a shit?

  38. John Morales says

    [wzrd1, you should distinguish between et al and et alia and et alii.

    (I think you intended inter alia)]

    — not that I am cartomancer!

  39. says

    For what it is worth, here is one datapoint from the velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia:
    My father was a member of People’s militia. They were mobilized and ordered to march on Prague to put down the student-led revolt. They refused to go armed “against children”.
    So there definitively were instances during the revolution where armed forces, spontaneously, either joined or at least did not oppose the rebelling civilians.

  40. George says

    Abolishing the Senate would require a Constitutional Amendment. To pass, that Amendment would require at least Two-Thirds vote by the Senate. How likely are you to get 2/3 of the Senate to vote to takeaway their power?

  41. vucodlak says

    @ Taylor Baker [Student], #38

    Amerikkka deserves to be killed.

    In answer, one of my favorite quotes, which says it more eloquently than I ever could:

    For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled on the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No [person] earns punishment, no [person] earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.

    -From The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Most of all, though, I really want it to be my turn to start killing as many people as I can.

    There was a time when I felt much the same way, mostly because everything the fuckheads in the media were saying about school shooters fit me perfectly. I loved violent video games and music, I liked weapons, I hated school, I hated authority figures, I got shitty grades, I was bullied, I was abused, I wore black, yada yada yada…

    It seemed inevitable that I would shoot up my school at some point. Every time there was another shooting in the news I’d critique it in my head, filing away what went wrong and what seemed to work for future reference. Yep, I was definitely going to shoot up my school any day, except… I wasn’t doing it. I wasn’t planning it. I had access to guns, but I never even considered taking one to school. I actually began to believe there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t planning on shooting up my school. The very idea made me sick, and I couldn’t figure out why.

    Then I realized I just plain didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to traumatize or hurt my friends and acquaintances. I didn’t want to die at the hands of the cops or jailors. I didn’t even particularly want to murder the teachers or students I hated the most.

    I also knew it wouldn’t make my life any better. Best case scenario was that I’d die in the act, having accomplished absolutely nothing. Even then I knew vengeance well enough to know how hollow, how empty it left me feeling. I’d hurt people who’d hurt me before, and when it was done I felt no better. Usually I felt much worse, because there is no justice in inflicting suffering for the sake of suffering. I couldn’t have put that notion into words back then, but I understood it instinctually.

    You’re probably not going to listen to me, but I’m going to say it anyway:
    No amount of bloody revenge will ever stop the pain. At best, you’ll feel no worse when the bloodshed is over; at worst, you’ll really understand that the injustice of the suffering you create can never be balanced, and that you’ll wear the weight of it until the day you die.

    There is some truth to the saying that “the best revenge is living well.” Sometimes, the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the thought that I’m still alive when my enemies would have seen me dead, and I’m still more-or-less functional when they would have broken me. Call it defiance, perseverance, spite, whatever; I spit in the eyes of those who would destroy me by simply continuing to exist. It’s not much, but some days it manages to be enough.

  42. thecalmone says

    How about some simple reforms that may, in the long term, reduce the fragmentation of American society? I’m thinking of things that, to me as an Australian, seem normal and beneficial, such as:

    compulsory voting
    voting on a Saturday morning
    national school curriculum, that includes at least one second language
    universal health care, social safety net, etc

    Apologies if you already have some of these things…

  43. vucodlak says

    @ stopthemadness, #22

    reduce the number of people by a factor of 10

    Oh joy. You’re one of those. Would you care to explain your oh-so-rational plan for how we’re supposed to dispose of the billions of people that you claim have to go? I assume, given your screen name, that it will be a very orderly and well-mannered extermination, and I’m genuinely curious as to how you think such a thing would be accomplished.

    It is also the same people who promote identity politics, clearly without understanding that this is making the problem worse.

    Won’t someone please think of the poor, maligned racists? How must they feel when keep pointing out that the racist shit they do is racist? I mean, just because a white supremacist goes on a killing spree that deliberately targets the focus of their racist malice doesn’t mean it’s about racism, for gosh’s sake! Identity politics like calling racists racist are what’s tearing this country apart, not the sad, put-upon racists who keep murdering us. /s

    And hey, didya know that those suburbs you keep railing against are in no small part a product of racism? It’s true! The fact that you don’t seem to have a clue about this does not speak highly of your ability to analyze the situation with any accuracy.

    Yet this is precisely what we have on startling display here…

    As startling as casually mentioning that 90% of humanity has to die so that very stable geniuses like you can keep inflicting your wisdom [sic] on the unfortunate survivors?

    And you will keep reaping what you are sowing unless you reexamine your approach.

    See, here’s the thing that gets me- you spent the first half of your comment arguing that the empathy fostered by forcing people to live in very close quarters to one another is the key to stopping mass shootings, and then you turn around spend the last three paragraphs shitting all over the very concept of empathy (or “identity politics,” as you call it). Do you honestly not see the contradiction there?

    Finally, no one actually believes that guns themselves are the cause of mass murders. I would, however, note that it’s damn hard to shoot a bunch of people if you can’t get ahold of a gun. Yes, you could still run some people over, or build a bomb, but both of those have limitations that guns don’t have. It’s a well-established fact that if you make a popular method of committing suicide non-viable, the number of suicides will go down. Yes, the very determined will still find a way, but many people simply won’t kill themselves if they can’t stick their head the oven. By the same token, if you make it harder to kill a whole lotta people quickly, it’s a safe bet that many would-be killers simply won’t bother.

  44. stopthemadness says

    Would you care to explain your oh-so-rational plan for how we’re supposed to dispose of the billions of people that you claim have to go? I assume, given your screen name, that it will be a very orderly and well-mannered extermination, and I’m genuinely curious as to how you think such a thing would be accomplished.

    A state of ecological overshoot can be resolved in one of two and only two ways — either the population gets back within the long-term sustainable carrying capacity of its environment, or it collapses chaotically, usually decreasing the carrying capacity of the environment in the process, sometimes all the way down to zero.

    Therefore anyone who is against draconian population control policies is in essence advocating for genocidal events at a scale that the world has never seen.

    “Draconian population control” does not have to involve the “extermination” of anyone. Most people simply go childless and the problem takes care of itself within a century. Yes, because most people are too ignorant to understand why that has to happen, in practice it would involve forced abortions, sterilizations, even infanticide, but this is trivial compared to the alternative.

    And this is the biggest problem with modern feminism and intersectional ideology — does anyone seriously expect people who get “triggered” by words and are constantly at each other’s throats over the most minor and insignificant disagreements, and who are in complete denial of objective biological reality on a wide range of issues, to ever agree with the need to reduce population (and consumption too)? This is the single biggest issue facing humanity right now.

    Of course not.

    They are just as bad with respect to their attitude towards scientific realism as the creationists, even worse in fact, because many of the creationists at least try to pass themselves for scientists, while in this case we have people who seem to want to destroy science (I’ve actually seen this in practice with graduate students in STEM departments at major universities). And philosophically, someone like the Catholic church is actually much closer to the true scientists than the feminists, at least they are both philosophical realists (and, of course, historically one gradually gave rise to the other) while the latter are not.

    A few months ago, there was one of those infamous guides on how to watch your mouth and behave that was doing the rounds, from Amherst. There was a very curious section there — that it is a thought crime to promote the idea that resources are limited because that is against social justice. Very openly and explicitly stated. As if there are no laws of conservation and no laws of thermodynamics…

  45. John Morales says

    stopthemadness, actually, that feminism you deride is about empowering women, and empowering women is the single biggest determinant for population control.

    The third way.

    (Look at the population demographics for developed economies)

  46. John Morales says

    PS

    A few months ago, there was one of those infamous guides on how to watch your mouth and behave that was doing the rounds, from Amherst. There was a very curious section there — that it is a thought crime to promote the idea that resources are limited because that is against social justice. Very openly and explicitly stated.

    <snicker>

    (Such infamy!)

  47. ck, the Irate Lump says

    roiduvoyageur wrote:

    Is there any use in making it more like Canada’s Senate, where it serves as the chamber of “sober second thought”?

    No, because it doesn’t even really serve that purpose in Canada. In Canada, it’s where politically connected people are sent to when their effective careers are over. Nothing useful has ever come out of the Canadian Senate except for the attempt to kill the GST before it was implemented. The rest of the time is split between taking votes that don’t matter or creating reports that no one will read. Half of them don’t even bother to show up to work a lot of the time.

    So, no, abolish the Canadian Senate, too. It’s less actively harmful than the American variant, but it’s effectively the appendix to the government — an organ that serves little useful purpose except to occasionally cause trouble.

  48. khms says

    If you really want a second chamber, you could think of something like the German Bundesrat, which is explicitly the representation of the Länder governments. That makes this the go-to place for anything that needs to be established on the interface between the feds and the states. Oh, and the president of the chamber rotates among the states (it’s the leader of the respective states’ government), and is the first deputy for the president (which over here is almost completely powerless, it’s the chancellor that leads the government).

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