What kind of sick coward murders 14 children?


Another mass shooting.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said 14 students and a teacher were killed in a mass shooting at a school in the city of Uvalde on Tuesday.

Abbott said Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident, entered the school with a handgun and may have been carrying a rifle. Inside the school, a gunman “shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly” more than a dozen children and a teacher, said Abbott (R). The gunman is also dead, and it is believed that officers responding to the scene killed him, Abbott said.

Since this is Texas, the response is not going to be sensible gun control. Instead, Attorney General Ken Paxton. wants to arm teachers. More guns.

That is the most likely change we’ll see. We know congress will do nothing.

Comments

  1. weylguy says

    It won’t end until the children of Republicans are gunned down in cold blood. Even, then they won’t change their minds about gun control, because the 2nd Amendment is their God.

  2. wzrd1 says

    @weylguy, no their god is the campaign contributions from the guns and ammunition lobbyists from the NRA.
    They’re rented cheap and a good investment for those lobbyists.

    Still, untrained teachers with guns for security, whatever could go wrong? Maybe, if we’re really lucky, the next one will be with 14 shot by the gunman, the rest of the 140 shot were by “good teachers with gunz”, which would be OK in this Bizarro World.

    BTW, the gunman allegedly may have had a rifle and a handgun, handguns are prohibited to those under age 21 by federal law. Hold any handgun purchaser/owner liable, criminally and civilly.

  3. wzrd1 says

    Owosso Harpist, pro-life until they’re born, then they’re completely expendable.

  4. says

    And it didn’t take 10 minutes for Republican politicians to start accusing gun control advocates of “politicizing the tragedy.”
    As if their own politics plays no role in these events. As if politics isn’t how we make laws in this country.
    It’s how they shut down any meaningful discussion of the issue.
    Of course there are those who are blaming it on “taking God out of our schools,” which is also politicizing the tragedy. And they will offer up their prayers and pretend they care.
    Now I see what they need that “domestic supply of infants” for.
    Target practice.
    Nothing will change, because this is a fundamentally insane society that is more comfortable with violence than it is with sex.
    How sick is that?

  5. nomdeplume says

    Guns and bullets have resulted in lead poisoning of the American brain. To the rest of the world it is incomprehensible that 400 million people can think and act this way.

  6. PaulBC says

    More guns, right.

    The Buffalo shooter was faced with a paid ‘good guy with a gun’, a security guard who in fact fired his gun at the shooter. The shooter was wearing body armor and was able to fire back and kill the guard.

    This may be unusual now, but the use of body armor will probably grow. The idea that our public spaces should be in a perpetual state of war is completely insane. I used to think people might come to their senses, but there is a large segment of the US public that is entirely committed to making guns readily available. I’m not sure if they’ve yet given up claimed falsely that these guns “make us safer” but ultimately that doesn’t matter. This is what gun nuts want society to look like. They really don’t care who gets killed, but they absolutely must have their toys.

  7. blf says

    @6, Alleged-governor Abbot is scheduled to speak at that Huston NRA tankie meet.
    So is hair furor and alleged-senator Cruz.

  8. tallgrass05 says

    Standard responses expected:
    Sending thoughts and prayers.
    Don’t turn this tragedy into a political issue.
    He must have been mentally unbalanced.

  9. Bruce says

    For too many Texas kids, life is defined by high school, apparently with nothing expected after that. Sad.
    But I guess that’s Making America Great Again.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    It won’t be enough until we rid ourselves of this sub-culture of paranoid, racist, hyper-individualists who value their weapons and a list of outdated “rights” over the lives of people, even children.

    Watch, as always, some Bible-bumper will blame legal abortion and/or a lack of forced Christianity in public schools for this atrocity rather than the accessibility of firearms. Watch as the mentally ill are scapegoated, blamed for this crime because only the “insane” would kill children. (Oh Republicans, if mentally illness is to blame, then perhaps we need to fund psychological and psychiatric services? No? You say that, like gun control would be “dirty communism?”) Watch, as any effort to do something will be answered with “this is no time for politics!”

    Also, isn’t Texas the gold standard for second amendment freedom where you can sachet about town with your AR-15 slung on their shoulder? Where were all the “good guys with guns” you keep talking about?

  11. jrkrideau says

    The worst of it was when I saw the headline, in Sputnik of all places, I had this sick but resigned reaction, “Oh, another one”. I was not surprised, unfortunately.

    @ 7 nomdeplume
    We have these attacks here in Canada but usually one every few years.

    NPR says, “It’s 19 weeks into the year and America has already seen 198 mass shootings”. It is a very sick society. I begin to wonder if it can be healed. Worse, from my very selfish viewpoint, how much of this is spilling over the border?

    Still, some sensible gun control might help. As I once read, “It is hard to do a drive-by axe attack”.

  12. blf says

    US ‘active shooter’ incidents jumped by 52 percent in 2021:

    […]
    There were 61 “active shooter” incidents in the United States in 2021, according to newly released FBI data — a 52 percent increase from the previous year and the highest on record.

    Last year’s attack spread across 30 states, leaving 103 people dead and 140 wounded […]

    […]

    The department defines an “active shooter” as someone engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a public space in a seemingly random fashion. About one in five “active shooter” incidents in 2021 were also mass killings.

    […]

    The attackers ranged in age from 12 to 67 years old and were predominantly male, with only one incident involving a female shooter.

    The report also identified an emerging trend of “roving active shooters”, in which an attacker targets more than one location. Roughly 27 of the recorded incidents in 2021 fell into that category, according to the data.

    […]

    The FBI noted that its active shooter report does not encompass all gun violence or even all mass shootings. The Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit tracker, has recorded 211 mass shootings in just the first five months of 2022 alone.

    […]

  13. robro says

    The NRA will be meeting in Houston this weekend. Make of that what you will.

    As I recall, the NRA tried to move their official business location to Texas to escape a law suit.

  14. robro says

    blf — And “mass shooting” is, I believe, 4 or more shot. So, if it’s < 4 it’s not a mass shooting. Oh boy. That makes a difference.

  15. wzrd1 says

    @PZ, you realize who their top speaker is? Trump.
    I jest not.

    @Akira, I highly value my firearms, largely because the models that I use on a regular basis are high end precision marksmanship models. I don’t own any of the yahoo models, ain’t worth wasting money on.
    And for the record, not a lick of lead in my competition rifle ammunition, they’re solid copper match grade rounds, designed for competition. My hunting rifle has lead core ammunition, but I rarely load it – even when hunting, if that’s what you wanna call wandering the woods that I know that the deer left months before.
    A chuckle is, Pennsylvania has always been open carry, save in Philadelphia (cities of the first class require only concealed carry with a permit to do so from the sheriff). It’s rare that anyone bothers, why lug around a chunk of steel and bullets?

    The latest that I’ve saw was, there might have been a rifle with him, but a handgun was used. Being 18, he’s not legally permitted to possess, purchase or own a handgun. The only exception is for licensed armed security guards and only when on duty.
    I’m taking the body armor with a grain of salt, it’s rather expensive and more often than not, what the press called armor turned out to be a equipment vest, which is about as bullet resistant as a sheet of toilet paper.
    I used to have a load bearing vest, but when I retired from the army, I got rid of it. The only things I kept were my knives and compass.

  16. wzrd1 says

    @robro, yeah, the NRA tried to dodge litigation, the court told them no, they have to appear despite their move or risk summary judgement against them.
    Good.

  17. blf says

    A snippet from the Grauniad’s current teh nra approves live blog: “In 2020, firearms surpassed auto accidents as the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 19 years old.” It links to an NPR article from about one month ago, Firearms overtook auto accidents as the leading cause of death in children:

    For decades, auto accidents have been the leading cause of death among children, but in 2020 guns were the No. 1 cause, researchers say.

    Overall firearm-related deaths increased 13.5% between 2019 and 2020, but such fatalities for those 1 to 19 years old jumped nearly 30%, according to a research letter in New England Journal of Medicine.

    Researchers analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that there were a record 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the US in 2020.

    Patrick Carter, one of the authors of the research letter and co-director of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, said about 10% of those deaths — 4,357 in total — were children.

    […]

    “Firearm deaths we haven’t made much progress on, in fact it increased in recent years. And we have had a decrease in moto[r] vehicle deaths,” he said. [… Referring to the decline in motor vehicle deaths:] “We can do the same thing with firearms. We just haven’t been able to do that in the same amount of years yet,” he said. “It takes time to figure out what the underlying issues are with the problem and then finding the solutions.”

    [… T]hough mass shootings, which have drastically increased over the past 30 years, are clearly part of the problem, the vast majority of kids are killed by guns in smaller, day-to-day incidents.

    “Most commonly what makes the news is these horrific mass shootings, but they are a small aspect of the overall problem,” Carter said. “The smallest portion are the mass shootings. … it’s these daily deaths that are occurring making up the totality of what we are seeing.”

  18. daved says

    As long as we’re going to be having these people shooting up schools, shopping malls, etc, why can’t one of them invade an NRA board meeting and unload on them? I mean, talk about poetic justice. Not that I’m really trying to savor the deaths of a bunch of other people, but if it’s going to happen, why not in a really apropos location?

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 18

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. I own a couple of firearms myself. What I was referring to was the paranoid strain of gun culture who think that they need near-military-grade weapons because the Deep State is coming to vaccinate them or that BLM is coming to loot there exurban home. The ones who write checks to the NRA and will vote for any fascist politicians that will pander to their paranoia.

  20. wsierichs says

    After years of debate and thinking, I have become a 2nd Amendment originalist. I believe people have a right to own as many black-powder, muzzle-loading guns as they wish. Any guns or ammo developed after 1791 -when the 2nd A was passed – are not protected and can be banned or restricted severely. The authors of the 2nd A did not know any other weapons, such as modern assault or semi-assault or auto-reloading guns or bullets that were encased with propellant in a metal shell.

    I blame the whole conservative movement for all these horrors as it’s conservatives who have routinely opposed any sensible gun laws. I don’t care if some individual conservatives are for sane gun laws. The whole movement is responsible for blocking sane laws. I do not excuse all of the Democrats who are on the NRA’s pay rolls either. But the NRA and its conservative employees in Congress and increasingly on court benches have been the worst opponents of sanity.

  21. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    Were all of the victims shot by the shooter?

    Ever since the police cornered the Boston marathon bomber in a “shootout” that lasted several hours and had enough stray rounds flying that they had to close the hospital over a mile away — only to find the suspect unconscious and unarmed, I’ve been a little wary of police using guns.

  22. springa73 says

    It is certain that mass shootings, as well as the less publicized but much more common shootings of one or two people, will continue to be a major cause of death in the USA as long as stronger gun control remains impossible for legal and/or political reasons. It seems to me, however, that in the case of mass shootings especially there must be other factors in addition to wide availability of firearms. The mass shootings seem to be much more common now than they were decades ago, even though guns were if anything even easier to obtain in earlier periods of US history. I think that there are other kinds of societal illness intersecting with the gun problem.

  23. Walter Solomon says

    The NRA will be meeting in Houston this weekend. Make of that what you will.

    They did the same in Colorado after Columbine. At that meeting, a crusty, old ape named Charlton Heston proclaimed “from my cold dead hands.” He’s now, thankfully, cold and dead.

  24. John Morales says

    springa73:

    I think that there are other kinds of societal illness intersecting with the gun problem.

    Sure, it’s a salient symptom of a syndrome, so not the only symptom.

    But the USA is such an outlier because it’s not a symptom in other rich and developed countries. The ones without a gun culture.

    The mass shootings seem to be much more common now than they were decades ago, even though guns were if anything even easier to obtain in earlier periods of US history.

    Perhaps the longer this gun culture goes on, the more its effects are manifest.

  25. nomdeplume says

    Disappointed (amazed) to see one or two gun supporters (lovers) on Pharyngula.

  26. robro says

    Steve Kerr, the head coach of the the Golden State Warriors, had a pre-game presser this afternoon in Dallas before their game. He didn’t talk about the game, the team, or anything basketball related. He talked about the murder of children. I know he’s just a pro basketball coach but he is a somewhat prominent public person and his emotion and anger is palpable.

  27. silvrhalide says

    @27, 6 I was thinking of the NRA convention in Columbine CO pretty much right after the Columbine shooting. And how sickening it was that that walking human crapstain Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) was, disturbingly, the voice of reason in that whole disaster. Also, when the BOE at Columbine had a chance to actually DO something, install metal detectors, change the rules, pass gun legislation, make the school safer… they did nothing except ban trenchcoats. Literally. They decided that because Dylan and Klebold wore trenchcoats and called themselves the Trenchcoat Mafia, the trenchcoats were the problem.
    But there were plenty of thoughts and prayers lobbed in the general direction of Columbine, the survivors and the mourners.

    What kind of sick coward murders 14 children?
    Losers who punch down.
    If you look at the one thing most of these assholes have in common, other than misogyny, homophobia and racism, is that they all punch down. Whether it’s a racist shooting Sikhs in the middle of their time and place of worship, an incel shooting women who (wisely) wouldn’t date him or racists who attack elderly Asians, the thing they all have in common is that they pick on people noticeably weaker and smaller than themselves. This shooter attacked 5th graders. He was 18 and he also shot his grandmother. The Newtown shooter shot at 6 year olds. They all shoot from behind, as it were, there is never any pretense at a fair fight. They never shoot at the bigger, the faster or the stronger. Kind of how like the radical animal rights activists only ever dumped red paint on rich old ladies wearing fur and never leather jacket-wearing Hells Angels.

  28. William George says

    @29 nomdeplume

    We’re dealing with a social movement/ culture that wants nothing less than the extermination of the people they take don’t like for whatever reason. The members that go out and do the shootings are just the ones too impatient for the on-going right wing coup to be finished.

    The leftists, liberals, and progressive who do own guns and learned to shoot are simply ahead of the very steep learning curve the rest of us are going to have when the violent part of their coup begins. And it will happen because that movement/ culture very desperately wants it to happen.

  29. John Morales says

    William @32,

    The leftists, liberals, and progressive who do own guns and learned to shoot are simply ahead of the very steep learning curve the rest of us are going to have when the violent part of their coup begins.

    See what I mean? Gun culture. Can’t think outside ‘more guns = better’.

    (How is owning a gun and knowing how to shoot it gonna stop a coup?)

  30. PaulBC says

    @32 Count me out. I have the means to leave (dual citizenship for silly reasons) and I will leave if it comes to that. My kids are approaching adulthood and will have to decide for themselves. I don’t feel like spending my retirement in a war zone. The US is already an ungovernable mess and I see no way of fixing that even without bullets flying.

  31. microraptor says

    springa73 @26:

    The mass shootings seem to be much more common now than they were decades ago, even though guns were if anything even easier to obtain in earlier periods of US history.

    I’m pretty sure that 50 or 60 years ago, if someone decided to shoot a bunch of black people it wouldn’t be considered news Certainly not national news.

  32. wzrd1 says

    Up to 18 kids now. Fox had someone recommend not buying kids wasteful things like tools, toys and games, parents buy their kids ballistic blankets.
    I guess they’ll use them to stay warm in their ride to school in the new schooltanks.

  33. vucodlak says

    @ nomdeplume, #29

    Let me give you some perspective:
    After the insurrection attempt of January 6 2021, I started engaging in a little activism on my congressman’s website. He sends out this weekly newsletter, which I’d pretty much ignored before then. I was curious to see what he had to say about the insurrection, however, so I checked it out.

    He talked about the destruction and the violence, but he didn’t name the people responsible even once. In fact, he implied that it was the doing of Black Lives Matter and antifascists. My congressman is an insurrectionist, you see- he was posing for selfies with the insurrectionists shortly before they invaded the Capitol. He continues, to this day, to flog the lie that Trump won the election. He belongs in prison, but he’ll never see any negative consequences for his actions.

    This made me very angry. I began fact-checking his newsletter every week in the comments.

    The newsletter is read by a lot of locals. I started getting death threats. People regularly post graphic fantasies about murdering me and everyone who isn’t part of their little fascist club. One of these people began stalking me, talking about how I was going to “get my head crushed” or “be torn apart.” The scariest threat is when this person told me they were going to go to the police and claim I was a satanic child murderer. I don’t trust the cops not to fall for that kind of shit anyway and, being as I am not a Christian, a lot of them would consider me automatically guilty.

    I don’t know who the people threatening me are, or exactly where they are, but I do know that most of them in this area. Every time I go outside, I worry one of these assholes will be waiting in a car across the street with a loaded gun or worse. I worry my neighbor, who started flying a Trump flag around the time of the insurrection and for some time afterward, might kick in my door some night with murder on his mind. I worry about firebombs flying through my windows- the bars on the windows won’t stop a Molotov.

    I don’t own any guns. I don’t like guns. Having someone stick one in my mouth soured me on the concept. But I do think about buying one more and more often. I have no doubt at all that some of the people making these death threats mean them, and if they ever find the courage they will attempt to make good on them. If the fascist scum manage take over, they will find the courage. I sleep with a bat beside my bed and a knife even closer. But neither is much use against someone armed with a gun. I really don’t want a gun, but I may need one someday.

  34. StevoR says

    @ ^ vucodlak : I am so sorry. I can only just begin to imagine what that is like. I know you already know this but you deserve so much better. Respect and more power to you.

    @32. William George : Does the January 6th Attempted Physical Coup count as the / a violent pat of that coup?

    @31. silvrhalide :

    The Newtown shooter shot at 6 year olds. They all shoot from behind, as it were, there is never any pretense at a fair fight. They never shoot at the bigger, the faster or the stronger. Kind of how like the radical animal rights activists only ever dumped red paint on rich old ladies wearing fur and never leather jacket-wearing Hells Angels.

    Well, that sure took a weird turn to the uttelry irrelevant. Shooting with deadly weapons vs destruction of property and protest with paint. Not exactly comparable. I don’t necessarily agree with that tactic of animal rights activists or some of their more extremist acts & ideas but I don’t think its nearly as cowardly or in the same league as, y’know, murdering children.

    @ 21. daved & 22. johnson catman : Kinda tempting and can undertsand the urge but can youimagien the reprsials and wher ethat would likely lead? I don’t think the result would be the Gun-fondlers and Repugliklans seeing the error of their ways and suspect that they would take that as a “license” / “excuse” to do the same only worse at Democratic and gun control events. Not taht some of those people don’t already fantasise about doing thingsliek that already.. but still.

    Also there was the shooting of Steve Scalise as related here :

    https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/05/28/terrifying-story-of-the-congressional-baseball-shooting-steve-scalise/

    Via a potentially dubious reichwing source ( one of top Google results) which gives an indication of what they’d make of it..

    @ 29. nomdeplume : So much for the “echo chamber, hive mind idea, leftwing = intolerant of hearing other POVs myth yet again huh?

  35. StevoR says

    @ ^ Do I need to fix these sort of typos or do people get the gist and understand? Sorry, I really do suck at typing ..

    ..but can you imagine the reprisals and where that would likely lead? Not that some of those people don’t already fantasise about doing things like that already.. but still.

    @1. weylguy :

    It won’t end until the children of Republicans are gunned down in cold blood. Even, then they won’t change their minds about gun control, because the 2nd Amendment is their God.

    And like all “Holy Texts” its been massively misinterepted, re-intrepreted and argued over. Starting with the well-regulated militia part.. Also like (almost?) all gawds used as an excuse for violence and killing..

    @16. robro :

    The NRA will be meeting in Houston this weekend. Make of that what you will.

    As I recall, the NRA tried to move their official business location to Texas to escape a law suit.

    Somany echoes of Michael Moore’s movie Bowling for Columbine and NRA events there. The unutterable moral cowardice of Charleton Heston and the NRA rocking up tot he scene of the massacre afterwards.

  36. StevoR says

    ^ Of course, this scene this scene is the one I’m thinking of particularly with Heston’s deplorable ethical cowardice.

    The line in Bob Dylan’s Masters of War about “put a gun in my hands then you hide from my eyes..” also springs powerfully to mind here.

    The NRA turning up to massacre scenes afterwards is arguably just bullying, abusive trolling rather than gutless..

  37. William George says

    John Morales @33

    I thought of clarifying but I decided that you putting words in my mouth means you get nothing.

    StevoR @39

    Absolutely. Expect more of it with ever escalating violence. Just hope the military decides to side with the rest of us instead of them. It sure won’t be the cops coming to our rescue.

  38. TGAP Dad says

    Regarding the “good guy with a gun” nonsense, Jordan Klepper batted that down back in 2015: Jordan Klepper: Good Guy with a Gun. Turns out that an armed individual, even when the gun was at the ready, and knew bad guys were entering the room, still couldn’t stop, or even slow down the bad guys.

  39. Louis says

    I’m aware of the problems inherent in “looking at stuff from a distance”, e.g. “Oh namaste, Eastern wisdom is, like, so wise”, and other patronising garbage, but quite genuinely one of the things I have never understood viscerally (understanding on paper is another thing, I understand on paper) is US gun culture. I see all the arguments about responsible gun ownership, the 2nd amendment, the need to protect oneself from the tyranny of the state, coups by fringe (fringe? majority?) political ideologues etc and yet my mind boggles. I understand (some of) the cultural context, the USA is not merely a country I briefly lived in, it’s a country I like and admire in many ways. I love the idea of the USA as an experiment in a specific type of democracy. We can argue about whether that experiment is working, accurately represented, or meaningful, but the founding principles that are stated (not necessarily the ones enacted) emerged from a (not-unproblematic, but still…) attempt at something derived from Enlightenment principles. Principles I generally share (not-uncritically).

    Simply put: USA! USA! USA! (okay, you have to let me have that one!)

    Again, acknowledging my limitations derived from “looking from a distance”, my mind, as stated above, simply boggles at this. A single shooting of this (or the Buffalo) type should have been a good reason to question and change the nature of the gun laws and access to guns in the USA. Not tens/hundreds per year. One. Ever. Don’t worry, I’m aware other nations are fucked up in many ways, and have fucked THIS up in many ways too. I’m not picking on you. (I am sure, by the way, my USA chums’ minds boggle equally at things we non-USA people do too. And rightly so)

    The entire group of developed economies, almost without exception, survive without this level and type of access to guns, and I am sorry my American friends, you are not uniquely free no matter what you tell yourselves. No grand tyrannies, no terrifying uprisings that would have been stopped by “good guys with guns” etc exist, outside of the “Red Dawn” fantasies of people that should possibly examine their biases with the aid of a competent therapist (hey, we could all do with that!). Everywhere has it’s problems, I can dig out a dozen things about what’s wrong with any European nation, the UK, Japan etc etc, sure we all have our problems, but we are not in a situation where a significantly non-zero number of kids are shot at school each year. And have been for decades. From the outside (limitations noted) this situation is horrific and bizarre in equal measure. I’m not sure precisely how so significant a part of the US population doesn’t see this, even given a really decent understanding of the US context and culture.

    Given the scale of the issue, gun control is in essence a public health problem. Nations across the world tolerate hideous problems in public health, but we all rightly celebrate those people who have intervened in such a manner as to improve a nation’s public health. I can only hope such a champion comes forward in the US.

    Louis

  40. PaulBC says

    Louis@45

    things I have never understood viscerally (understanding on paper is another thing, I understand on paper) is US gun culture

    You may find more Americans who agree with you than you think.

    The 2nd amendment is a stain. It should be repealed, and there’s a constitutional process for doing that. No, it isn’t going to happen, but it doesn’t mean that all Americans believe we need more guns.

  41. Louis says

    Paul,

    Oh I agree. I know loads upon loads of Americans find this as baffling as I do. In the blurb, I mentioned “…so significant a part of…”, I really, REALLY do not think (nor would wish to tar) even the majority of Americans with the brush of supporting gun laws in the US as they are.

    Maybe that’s optimistic of me, but I think people are generally inert/opposed to change as a principle based on not rocking boats/not wanting to put in the thought or effort, instead of actively supporting the status quo. I don’t think that’s a better situation, but all I’m referring to are those people who actively support the gun culture or defend personal gun ownership/”good guys with guns” etc in a manner that, to me as an outsider, is utterly bizarre.

    Louis

  42. Louis says

    I think I did done a non-English there…I hope what I mean is still clear-ish

  43. TGAP Dad says

    PauBC@46:
    I believe a large part of the problem is the deliberate misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment as conferring to individuals to keep arms, when the intent of the amendment seems clearly intended for states. This deliberate misinterpretation was then cemented into law in the infamous Heller decision. Only an unambiguous constitutional amendment (given the court’s current cabal of originalists) would accomplish this. Repealing the 2nd amendment, thus rendering the constitution silent on the issue, would merely throw it into chaos, which we have a bit too much of now.

  44. Doc Bill says

    Here in Texas the legislature looked at “arming” teachers. In their infinite wisdom they figured out (by their own selves) that having teachers walking around “strapped and ready” was not a good idea. There was strong push back to having pistol packing Mama’s in the Fourth Grade classroom. So, in their infinite wisdom, they came up with a Workable Solution ™, a term that in Texas would make a normal person go, “Huhhhhhh?”

    Gun lockers in the classroom. Yes, a gun locker! An idea so simple how could they have missed it? Each pistol qualified teacher would have a gun locker in which to secure their Weapon o’ Choice, a loaded magazine of ammo, some more ammo and a Kevlar accoutrement. Teacher would have the key. Problem solved.

    The fly in the ointment was some pesky consultant, probably from Boston, who observed that in the time it would take for even a trained and eager-to-kill teacher to realize an active shooter was at work, grab the key, run to the locker – well, you get the picture – the shooting would be over.

    Uvalde – over.
    Santa Fe – over.
    Majorie Douglass – over.
    Buffalo – over.

    Yet, in light of the stark facts that arming teachers, providing arms for the teachers, providing armed guards at schools are all ineffective – WON’T WORK – there are still calls this very morning from Governor Abbott, Lt. Psychopath Patrick and Indicted AG Paxton, and other legislators to USE MORE GUNS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

    It is madness, pure madness. We are a terminally sick nation. If we can’t wear a mask, addressing mass murder is well beyond our grasp.

  45. blf says

    TGAP Dad@49, Nobody has the faintest clew what the second amendment means because its text makes no sense. Quoting myself from the February 2018 thread, An A+ rating from the NRA ought to disqualify you from political office:

    Second Amendment says:

    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.

    No, that is not precisely what it says. For one thing, the above is missing two of the three commas (,) — which drives people to distraction in the controversy over just what was intended. With the missing commas, the official version says:

    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.

    The meaning is opaque. Courts have decided both ways, that it is only a collective (milita) right, and that is (also?) an individual right. From Clause and Effect (Dec-2007):

    The decision invalidating [Washington DC]’s gun ban […] cites the second comma (the one after “state”) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the “collective” right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an “individual” right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia.

    How does a mere comma do that? According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one “prefatory” and the other “operative.” On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about “the right of the people … shall not be infringed.”

    The circuit court’s opinion is only the latest volley in a long-simmering comma war. In a 2001 Fifth Circuit case, a group of anti-gun academics submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief arguing that the “unusual” commas of the Second Amendment support the collective rights interpretation. According to these amici, the founders’ use of commas reveals that what they really meant to say was “a well-regulated militia … shall not be infringed.”

    […]

    Another problem with trying to find meaning in the Second Amendment’s commas is that nobody is certain how many commas it is supposed to have. The version that ended up in the National Archives has three, but that may be a fluke. Legal historians note that some states ratified a two-comma version. At least one recent law journal article refers to a four-comma version.

    However, as the quoted column goes on to note (which is essentially my position as well, the official version of the damn thing is utterly opaque and indecipherable, so focusing on what it “means” gets you precisely nowhere):

    Advocates of both gun rights and gun control are making a tactical mistake by focusing on the commas of the Second Amendment. After all, couldn’t one just as easily obsess about the founders’ odd use of capitalization? Perhaps the next amicus brief will find the true intent of the amendment by pointing out that “militia” and “state” are capitalized in the original, whereas “people” is not.

    Then there is what The Federalist Papers say…

  46. PaulBC says

    TGAP Dad@49 I disagree on several grounds.

    First off, whatever the founders meant, they did not express themselves well at all. The phrase “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” just hangs there. It is unclear if it means it’s the only context for bearing arms, or just one justification.

    Second, speaking more pragmatically, SCOTUS has made it clear that they intend to interpret it as an individual right. Overturning that precedent, which is not even on the table in the foreseeable future, would just leave the fragile workaround we had before Heller.

    Third, “arms” is not well-defined. No one has ever explained to me why the 2nd amendment applies to nearly any firearm but not to a switchblade, and improvised weapon like a Molotov cocktail, or homemade ricin. For whatever reason, nobody has a problem enforcing laws against all these dangerous items, but guns are sacrosanct.

    Finally, I question the premise. The US is primarily secured by a standing army of professional soldiers. While you can debate whether it’s a “free State” it strikes me that most modern republics are not protected by citizen’s militias, nor is there any particular reason to believe they are “necessary” other than an assertion made at a very different time in world history.

    Repealing the 2nd amendment, thus rendering the constitution silent on the issue, would merely throw it into chaos, which we have a bit too much of now.

    The constitution is silent on a lot of things. It is silent on the drinking age, for instance. States used to have different drinking ages. It was standardized at 21 through federal purse string power (highway funds). Chaos effectively ended.

    Silent? Right now, the constitution is way too loud about guns. If some state wants “open carry” they can have it. I will not travel there for business or recreation (in practice, there are already places I would avoid even if I had some reason to go there). But in places I choose to live, I would like to see robust gun control. What does that mean? Well, I grew up with neighbors in Pennsylvania who were deer hunters and a farmer next door who used a .22 for pest control. I’m comfortable with that, and indeed there is nothing stopping this kind of gun use in countries without the 2nd amendment. I have no interest in owning one though. AR-15s and similar weapons have been demonstrated empirically to pose a danger while serving no practical purpose, and states and localities should have the power to ban them. For that matter, densely populated areas should have the power to effectively disarm people unless they have a very good reason to be carrying and can be carefully monitored. This is common sense in most “free” countries in the world.

    I have little use for philosophical principles that have been refuted empirically. The “arms” available in the late 18th century may have made something like the 2nd amendment sound reasonable. Technology has changed in over two centuries since them. Moreover, there is zero evidence that gun ownership has preserved our “free State” and a great deal of evidence that it has increased harm to the population.

    “The right to bear arms” isn’t even a Lockean right. It’s a joke. It’s bullshit. Sorry, but the 2nd amendment has to go (and I know it won’t).

  47. PaulBC says

    I remember Nancy Lebovitz’s calligraphic buttons from the 1980s, sold at science fiction cons and at the time through a paper catalog. It looks like she’s still in business.

    Among the “funny” button slogans was “If guns are outlawed, how will we shoot the liberals?” At the time, I interpreted it as a mordant take on the old NRA canard “… only outlaws will have guns.”

    There was a time when I even thought it was funny (as a liberal, mind you, thinking “Yeah, cut the crap. I know who you want to shoot.”) A lot of the fans I knew back then were conservative or libertarian. I have to admit they laughed just a little too loud at this joke.

    Today it has become the de facto motto of gun nuts (see e.g. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who I’m ashamed to say share a surname with one of my ancestors).

    It’s not funny any more. Not at all. I don’t want to live in the US if we’re going to be Heinlein’s “polite society” getting politer with every mass shooting. And while I still feel fairly safe in the Bay Area, it is sort of like saying I feel safe in Rivendell at the start of the Lord of the Rings. Things are really going to crap in the US.

  48. Louis says

    @ Doc Bill #50

    Mind you, arming teachers would improve grades.

    “A D again, Louis? I’M GONNA WASTE YOUR DUMB ASS!”

    Motivational.

    Louis

  49. consciousness razor says

    Louis, #45:

    but we are not in a situation where a significantly non-zero number of kids are shot at school each year.

    Just to strengthen your point some more…. It’s actually more than one school shooting per week at this rate. Reportedly we’re at 27 so far this year, when this is week number 21. And there have been around 213 mass shootings, when this is day number 145 (so about 1.5 per day). And then there are all of the other incidents that caused injury and/or death, which is already somewhere in the thousands.

    PaulBC, #52:

    The phrase “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” just hangs there. It is unclear if it means it’s the only context for bearing arms, or just one justification.

    Of course, it was not like them to put pointless/inoperative language which “just hangs there” in the Constitution, where basically every phrase was very carefully constructed and meant to actually be used to guide the governing process.

    It’s supposed to act as at least part of the justification. The claim is that we need this, in order to have freedom and security … both of which have ironically been undermined by the 2A and/or the way it’s been interpreted.

    Even regarded as an individual right, it should still be limited in scope to protecting whatever is actually conducive to “the security of a free State,” not just what some dudes a long time ago might have wrongly believed about it. And obviously, that’s radically different from allowing all types of guns, for basically anyone, for basically any reason, in basically any setting/circumstance, with basically none of it regulated much less well-regulated — more or less what we’re doing with the 2A now.

  50. PaulBC says

    cr@55 The clause may be well-written and unambiguous according to the language conventions of the time. I’m not sure it is for that matter. They intended to be careful, but people make mistakes. Also, the whole document is a compromise and there are incentives for intentional ambiguity, each side assuming courts will eventually decide it in their favor.

    But granting your point, the meaning is not clear to the modern reader who is not a constitutional scholar. Simply updating the language would be sufficient justification to pass a new amendment to override it. As I made clear though, I would prefer simply repealing it. It is really stupid, dangerous, and obviously unnecessary.

    On the subject of the Bill of Rights, I’d like to see a lot more emphasis on 4th amendment rights. The current view of law enforcement is that any search and seizure you can get away with technologically is “reasonable.” Occasionally courts push back, but there is nothing like the advocacy over the 1st and 2nd amendment.

  51. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC, #56:

    The clause may be well-written and unambiguous according to the language conventions of the time. I’m not sure it is for that matter.

    Well, I’m certainly not claiming that, but I think it is clear enough that it’s not meant to create the sort of anarchic situation that today’s gun fondlers demand of it.

    As I made clear though, I would prefer simply repealing it. It is really stupid, dangerous, and obviously unnecessary.

    That sounds good. We should be amending it much frequently, if you ask me, even if it isn’t an easy process.

    However, the 2A doesn’t prevent Congress from writing gun control laws, so they should just do that. When the Supreme Court tries to stop this (which is practically guaranteed), Congress can simply tell them to fuck off.

    Do I expect that to happen? No, and I would be very surprised if it did. But it’s not hard, much less impossible. They just don’t want to do their job; all they seem to want is to get the job.

  52. consciousness razor says

    edit: “We should be amending it much more frequently”

    And “it” was referring to the Constitution as a whole, not the 2A specifically.

  53. John Morales says

    William @43, sure.

    John Morales @33

    I thought of clarifying but I decided that you putting words in my mouth means you get nothing.

    Heh.

    You can decide whatever you want, of course, but it doesn’t change reality.
    I adumbrated your cognitive bias, and this is the response you chose to make.

    (Brave Sir Robin!)

  54. John Morales says

    PS William, perhaps consider this, um, coincidence:

    The line has gone from crisis PR spin to Republican Party dogma. But while the “good guy with a gun” mantra has the ring of tough guy common sense, the empirical evidence suggests armed cops and civilians do less than nothing to deter mass shooters.

    Look no further than Texas Republicans’ responses to this week’s mass shooting in the small town of Uvalde, the deadliest at an elementary school since Sandy Hook. Speaking to Newsmax, Attorney General Ken Paxton, the top law enforcement and public safety officer in the state, said: “We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things. … We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. That, in my opinion, is the best answer.”

    (Links in original, source is https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/05/gop-school-uvalde-shooting-response-guys-with-guns.html)

    Different phrasing, same sentiment. Gun culture.

  55. vucodlak says

    @ Louis, #45

    A single shooting of this (or the Buffalo) type should have been a good reason to question and change the nature of the gun laws and access to guns in the USA.

    The US is a country built on slavery and genocide. Our highest law, the US Constitution, is built around the premise that some people aren’t people at all, but property. It was later amended to say that people can only be property if you can convict them of a crime first, which isn’t much of an improvement. The Second Amendment itself, which is the justification for allowing the proliferation of guns in this country, was intended to authorize the arming of militias to put down slave uprisings.

    While many, perhaps even most, nations have histories of slavery and genocide, we’ve mythologized our worst atrocities to an appalling degree. We built an entire film genre, the western, around the “heroism” of genocide, and it was the most popular genre for decades. We’ve got millions of Americans who worship those who betrayed the nation in defense of slavery, because they’ve been taught that slavery was a noble cause. We’re taught that slavers, thieves, and mass murders are heroes not despite their crimes, but because of them.

    We’re now in the midst of a violent backlash against “Critical Race Theory.” The people currently leading the charge against CRT couldn’t define it accurately if their lives depended on it. My congressman, for example, recently sent out a missive claiming that CRT was coming for our healthcare, and his justification for this claim was a few lines in some policy or bill that acknowledged that racism has shaped aspects of our healthcare system, and advising healthcare professionals to be aware of that fact.

    That’s what the anti-CRT people are angry about- the acknowledgement that racism exists in this country. And they’re absolutely furious about this acknowledgement. They are, in fact, mad enough to kill.

    No grand tyrannies, no terrifying uprisings that would have been stopped by “good guys with guns” etc exist,

    I’m not interested in stopping a grand tyranny. I’m well aware that I have no such power, with or without guns. I am interested in keeping the people I love alive or, failing that, making sure I’m never taken alive again. I don’t keep a knife at hand all the time because I imagine I’m going to turn into Rambo when they break down my door. I keep it to cut my own throat.

    Given the scale of the issue, gun control is in essence a public health problem.

    We’ve sacrificed over a million lives and counting rather than force people to wear masks in public or hold them to vaccine mandates. What’s a couple dozen murdered children in light of that?

    I can only hope such a champion comes forward in the US.

    They’ll be shot dead. Half the country will cheer, and the other half will go on about their lives with our heads down and our fingers crossed, because that’s the only way we know how to live.

  56. PaulBC says

    vucodlak@61

    I don’t keep a knife at hand all the time because I imagine I’m going to turn into Rambo when they break down my door. I keep it to cut my own throat.

    I like the tragic imagery, but I suggest you consider something less drastic. (Not joking!)

    I keep a little slip of paper that says “Leabhar Teifeadta Breitheanna Coigríche” across the top. I obtained it for fun and because I could, but it helps to know I have a ticket out of crazytown that doesn’t require any shuffling of mortal coils.

    I’m not bragging (OK, I’m bragging) but we all need something to help sleep at night, right?

  57. Louis says

    @ Vucodlak, #61,

    Oh I know. Boy do I know. The history of the US, and the ideology that white washes it is terrifying. Again, I’m not meaning to pick on the USA, you’re bang on the money when you say other nations have exactly this kind of historical basis, and whitewashing of that basis. If I would pick the USA out as an outlier, in the negative sense, I think guns would be a bloody good choice!

    Your comments re: your knife, obviously I hope nothing ever happens of the nature you hint at. Your use of the word “again” is a bit scary (Today in: British Understatement!). If you’ve experienced the kind of trauma that implies, I can certainly understand your attitude. I hope, if you feel you need it, you are getting what help is relevant for that. Trauma is a bastard. If I’m wide of the mark there, I apologise in advance. The word “again” might have lead me down a blind alley.

    Louis

  58. Louis says

    One thing that always irks me, and I am not alone obviously, about these events is the post-tragedy rhetoric.

    Equally obviously, the tragedies themselves are more than merely “irksome”!

    Ineffectual “thoughts and prayers” are one vomit worthy style of commentary, but the one that drives me up the fucking wall are always the comments from those in power. Even Biden’s speech (political affiliations aside) was simply drivel. The “We Should Do Something (TM)” style of commentary.

    Here’s an inspiring idea for you: Use the machinery of the state to seize all guns.

    The US police is one of the more militarised police in the world. The US has a simply wonderfully huge military. Okie dokie folks, bring the lot home, and go house to house taking all the guns away. All registered gun owners lose their guns. No excuses.

    Ah, but then only the Norty People (TM) will have guns. Fair enough, the US police occasionally quite enjoy shooting people, simple problem, simple solution. Shoot ’em, take the guns. Then, after that’s done, and every gun has been sequestered or destroyed, then and only then can the Nice People (TM) apply to get their guns, and only for legitimate reasons like “I’m a farmer who occasionally needs to shoot at something to scare it away”, and not like “I have a very small penis and need a .44 Magnum to be able to make me feel like enough of a man to inadequately make love to my wife” (I’m looking at you NRA members … hurr hurr members). No one is allowed to be deemed a Nice Person (TM) simply for being white, either. The standard of being a Nice Person (TM) will be raised by Executive Order.

    Think of the fringe benefits, Keynesian economics. Pay a man to take away a gun and melt it down, pay another man to make a new gun. It’s a New Gun Deal that will revitalise industry in the US of A.

    This is my Modest Proposal.

    Bound to work. Practically guaranteed. A plan with no drawbacks.

    Louis

    P.S. Yes I am taking the piss. The “We Should D Something (TM)” rhetoric boils my urine to plasma. Very uncomfortable. “We Should Do Something (TM)” We. We? Fucking WE?! YOU’RE THE GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD’S ONLY SUPERPOWER, TRUST ME, YOU CAN DO SOMETHING! For fuck’s sake, the Democrats marriage to process is admirable, but if Trumplestiltskin and his chums can work out how to run ragged over process, stack the Supreme Court, and get away with simply naked criminality (although, let’s be clear he ain’t the only one to manage THAT over the years), then surely a cheeky Executive Order or two from the “We Should Do Something (TM)” crowd can make a minor contribution to minimising the rate of children experiencing rather serious bullet allergies in school.

  59. KG says

    What kind of sick coward murders 14 children? – PZM

    Typically, an American one, because non-American sick cowards find it more difficult to get hold of the kind of weapon required.

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