What are we going to do about Missouri?

For one thing, we have to deal with the rise of Missouri Man, rival to the ubiquitous Florida Man.

On April 18, Republic Police Department officers were called to a Price Cutter to respond to a call about a robbery in which a man held an employee at gunpoint so that he would be served meat.

Larry Gene Gay, 70, of Springfield, is charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon and a felony count of armed criminal action.

Court documents show that officers responded to the scene and ordered Gay to get out of his truck so they could arrest him. After he was taken into custody, an officer removed a loaded semi-automatic pistol with a bullet in the chamber from Gay’s hip holster.

In an interview, Gay said he went to Price Cutter to buy steaks. He told the “good man” who was helping him that they needed to weigh the steaks. However, the meat department was closed. Gay said at that point, he showed his gun “Just to say I’m not stealing. I need you here to help me to get a couple of these steaks. I’m not going to hurt you.”

The officer asked Gay why he thought the people in the store called police and told them he was threatening them with his gun.

“I don’t know,” Gay said in the interview. “I have no idea.”

Hand stupid people a gun, and at some point they’re going to use it to deal with some minor inconvenience. Missouri has a lot of guns, and a lot of stupid people, it’s an inevitable problem. But we could wave that away, it’s a problem with a few individuals, I’ve met a lot of good people in Missouri, and we can’t blame the whole state.

Here’s wider problem, though. Missouri is run by a gang of regressive Republicans who have been passing all kinds of ugly laws. They hate transgender kids, you know, and want to deny them good healthcare. The state Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, set up a ‘snitch line’ where random concerned citizens could submit their complaints about those danged transes and their wicked doctors who poison them all with estrogen and testosterone. It’s not clear what Bailey was going to do with those complaints…arrest everyone who was androgynous? Send out genital inspectors to check the accused? It was the usual preliminaries, I suspect, where the fascist builds a list in anticipation of the day he can send out the brownshirts.

It didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

Bailey said his office set up the tip line for parents to submit concerns about the gender-affirming care their children received from transgender youth centers. He also issued an emergency rule severely restricting access to gender-affirming care.

PROMO, a Missouri LGBTQ advocacy organization, said Bailey “fanned the flames of hate” in issuing the emergency rule.

“The Attorney General’s claims are maliciously cherry-picked and come from unverified sources that allow him to promulgate disgusting, obstructive, and misleading information into an emergency rule,” PROMO said in a statement. “It should be clear to anyone paying attention that the real threat to Missourians is the attorney general himself.”

Social media users on TikTok, Twitter and Tumblr ensured that Bailey’s office would have plenty of evidence to sift through for the investigation, flooding the site with fake complaints and other ephemera.

When the online form first launched, it lacked a CAPTCHA, which savvy Twitter users quickly used to their advantage by using bots to spam the site. Users also employed a generator to churn out fake names and fake Missouri addresses. Others just dumped text into the complaint form, ranging from the entire script of the “Bee Movie,” to Billy May’s OxiClean sales pitch, to Walter White’s introductory monologue in “Breaking Bad.” TikTok users said they submitted the “most raunchiest fanfic from AO3” and “a saucy love story of Mario and Luigi.”

Love wins in the end, right?

But here’s my dilemma. I’m a regular tourist visiting Missouri — I go for Skepticon every summer. The question I wrestle with is…should I refuse to go again, and not contribute my travel dollars to a fascist, theocratic state? Or should I go, and contribute my travel dollars to the good kinds of Missourians who support a liberal skeptical conference? I’ve got time to resolve this internal debate since the organizers haven’t even announced a date for the event.

They could fix my problem for me by moving the whole Skepticon show north, to a progressive state (not Iowa), but that leaves the good Missourians in the lurch. I dislike these kinds of decisions. My problem would go away if Missouri would just throw the rascals out, but that isn’t going to happen this year, or maybe even in years to come.


  1. raven says

    Repost from previous thread.
    What AG Bailey is doing is likely illegal.

    I’m glad to see that MOAG Bailey’s actions are finally getting some national attention, but one thing that seems to be overlooked in most of the coverage of it is that this isn’t a ban. It’s worse.

    This might not be legal.

    This Attorney General in Missouri is writing a series of laws without any sort of legal basis that I can see.
    This is dictatorial Rule by Decree AFAICT.
    In every state, the legislature passes laws and the governor signs them.


    Missouri to Restrict Medical Care for Transgender Adults, Citing Consumer Protection Law
    In his emergency regulation, the state attorney general said it was necessary to put up “substantial guardrails” around gender-transitioning treatments, because they were considered “experimental.”

    By David W. Chen
    April 14, 2023
    The Missouri attorney general, citing a consumer protection law normally used to prosecute fraudulent business practices, issued a new state directive this week that would severely restrict gender-transitioning treatment for both adults and minors.

    In the emergency regulation announced on Thursday, Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, said it was necessary to put up “substantial guardrails” around such medical treatments because they were considered “experimental.”
    Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri promised swift legal action, saying that the rule was “based on distorted, misleading and debunked claims” and an attempt “to play politics with lifesaving medical care.”

    And PROMO, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group in Missouri, said Mr. Bailey had “fanned the flames of hate by including transgender adults’ ability to access care in his culture war.”

    Well, OK there are multiple legal problems with this Emergency Rule.

    .1. It’s doubtful that the AG has the legal authority to do what he just did.
    He is using “a consumer protection law normally used to prosecute fraudulent business practices,” to dictate health care for both adults and minors.

    .2. He is flat out lying. Trans medical care is not “experimental” any more than any other health care.
    .3. He is already being sued by the ACLU and other legal defense groups.
    The Federal courts have already ruled against restricting some Trans care in minors and adults would be an even more protected class.
    They cite the 14th Amendment Equal under the law and Due Process rules.

    Mostly Bailey is a scary clown doing a Virtue Signaling Dance for right wingnut xians. “See, look at me, look at me. I can hate more and better than any of you. Ook, Ook, hate, hate.”

    PS The collecting names thing is also pretty disturbing and likely also illegal.
    We’ve seen that movie many times and it never ends well.
    He is launching a witch hunt for Trans and LGBTQI people.

    PPS Is this what the GOP means by “Cancel Culture” and “Freedom”?

  2. raven says

    The Evil Clown, I mean AG of Missouri is being sued by a large number of organizations including Planned Parenthood, a hospital, the ACLU, and Lambda.

    He is way out of line here legally. Here is what the St. Louis newspaper has to say.

    Editorial: Citing social contagion,’ state attorney general invokes powers he doesn’t have
    By the Editorial Board Mar 21, 2023 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    The attorney general doesn’t get to write his own laws, then unilaterally enforce them.
    Neither the constitution nor Missouri state code mention any power by the attorney general to invoke emergency powers.
    Bailey does appear correct, however, about a spreading social contagion —(deleted) Symptoms include acute inflammation of the ego, delusions of grandeur, and visions of legal powers that exist only in the sufferer’s mind.

    The newspaper also points out that Bailey doesn’t have a medical degree either.
    None of what he is doing is likely legal even under Missouri law.

    The lies of the anti-Trans include the cause being “social contagion”.
    What is clearly a social contagion is the spreading anti-Trans hate among the GOP and fundie xians.
    They’ve found a tiny, powerless minority that isn’t a specific protected class under the law and they are going to persecute them any way they can just to be vicious and cruel.

  3. says

    My impression of Missourians (from years of call center work doing surveys, mostly with Republican voters) is that they are very slow. Slow thinking, slow speaking. Like, do they not have coffee in Missouri? There is a fundamental dimness about them that cries out for caffeine.
    I know that’s a sweeping generalization, but that was my experience.
    As for the guns, and the way they use them, I think decades of telling them they have an inalienable right to bear arms and use them in “self-defense,” to protect their precious “way of life,” and, oh my gosh, the children, followed by proclaiming someone or something to be some sort of grave threat (socialism, wokeness, transgender people, whatever) is practically guaranteed to result in violence. I know Republicans are bad at math, but that’s pretty much two plus two equals four.
    As for the guy with the meat issues, when it’s been hammered home repeatedly that guns solve problems, I guess they start to see guns as the solution to everything, even the simplest problems.
    Q. If farmer A has six apples, and gives two of them to farmer B, how many more apples does farmer A have than farmer B?
    A. I pull a gun and take all the apples.

  4. says

    Lobby that Skepicon move to a better location. Illinois is right next door and while downstate is pretty regressive, overall it’s definitely better than Missouri

  5. raven says

    All the reasons Bailey gave for his fake emergency rules are just lies.

    .1. Bailey in a statement on Thursday said his office has so far uncovered “a clandestine network” of clinics across Missouri “who are harming children by ignoring the science.”
    They don’t exist.

    .2. Trans people become Trans people because of Social Contagion.
    He is blaming TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram for Trans people. Never mind that they existed before the internet.

    .3. It is all the fault of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.
    Which never existed and doesn’t exist now.

    .4. Trans medicine is experimental.
    It’s not.

    .5. The emergency rules are to protect at risk youth who will later regret transitioning and may de-transition.
    All the studies have shown that regret levels of Trans people are very low.
    The largest one shows around 1% regret their decisions.

    There is no way that it will ever by 0% though.
    Who hasn’t made decisions they later regret in life? It is everyone. That is life.
    Half of all marriages end in divorce and so on.

  6. kome says

    Don’t go and communicate your reasons why to the organizers. Encourage them to find a better location.
    Gamers did this with one of the biggest charity fundraising gaming events – Summer Games Done Quick – which was slated to be hosted in Orlando. But Games Done Quick backed out because of all the anti-LGBTQ bullshit. They’re now running their event in Minnesota while eating the cost of having signed a contract with folks from Florida. Weird thing for me to say, but maybe skeptics could take a cue from gamers on how to act.
    It sucks. But you can donate your money to good causes in Missouri without spending your money in ways that validate their governments’ model of how to run the state.

  7. asclepias says

    Wasn’t something like this set up in Texas around the new abortion laws there? As I recall, they got the same results. I’m glad to see so many great lessons were learned.

  8. Matt G says

    What are we going to do about Missouri?

    Are nukes off the table? Asking for a friend….

  9. says

    Lobby that Skepicon move to a better location. Illinois is right next door and while downstate is pretty regressive, overall it’s definitely better than Missouri

    Across the river from St. Louis is St. Clair county, which is one of the most progressive in Illinois. There’s a commuter rail train that crosses the river. The real issue is that the only decent hotel near a train stop in IL would be the casino.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    I think the more important question is “What are we going to do about the Red States in general?”

  11. says

    How do you solve a problem like Missouri?
    How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
    How do you find a word that means Missouri?
    A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!

    For some reason the song from Sound of Music popped in my head.

  12. fishy says

    If I could buy a few tickets to skepticon for some marginalized young people from St. Louis MO, I would be happy to do so.

  13. charley says

    I vote for supporting the Skepticon people in MO by attending the conference. The more sanity that leaves these kinds of states, the more concentrated the fascism becomes, and the better the fascists like it. Have we ever seen a state like this turn itself around in response to young/educated/liberal people leaving?

    hypocrite PNW refugee from the midwest

  14. moonslicer says

    @ raven #6

    I think this post of yours pretty much says it all. If only we could get 4, 5, 6 basic facts into some people’s heads, it would be a different world. As for this:

    “He is blaming TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram for Trans people. Never mind that they existed before the internet.”

    It’s stuff like this that shows the abysmal ignorance of our enemies. How can they not know that trans people have been around forever and in all cultures, notably, e.g., in India, in Native American societies and among Polynesian nations? They don’t know because they have no interest in getting some real information about us. Lies and misinformation will do very nicely, thank you.

    My favorite bit of evidence, which I cite quite often, is the novel “The Metamorphoses” (often translated as “The Golden Ass”), written in Latin in the 2nd century CE by Lucius Apuleius, a Roman citizen from the province of Africa. A very entertaining book and one I can recommend.

    There is a lengthy passage in the book involving some people who are quite clearly transgender women–just like me. Sometimes it gives me a little shiver to recognize that 1900 years ago there were people in this world just like me. This group were traveling priestesses. I.e., they went around with an image of their little goddess, performing rituals in various places and collecting donations from her devotees. They were out, and they could actually make a living.

    Sadly, they were depicted as exaggeratedly effeminate, sexually licentious and thieves. This is especially disappointing because when you read Apuleius’s writings you see that he was clearly an intelligent man. So it goes. Two things ever-present in this world: transgender people and anti-trans prejudice.

  15. says

    “A trigger-happy gaggle of manly men, being necessary to prevent the woke soyboy mob from denying red meat to real men, the right of the…” Wait, that’s not how it goes…?

  16. weylguy says

    The crazies in this country are taking over everything, while the Adults in the Room (progressives) just sit on their collective asses without a clue as to what to do. “First they came for the Jews” will be followed by attacks on the rest of us, while we do nothing.

  17. says

    Another option would be to keep the convention there, but use it to make some real noise. First off they’re allowing you to have it there, so there is some common ground (I know, bare fucking minimum) . But either way being on the “inside” makes it easier to force an issue.

  18. chrislawson says

    More seriously, on the question of should you go to Skepticon, I think the answer is in some calculus of…

    (1) are you at personal risk? — probably low for a straight white professional-class male, but others may be at more risk

    (2) how much of the money you spend goes to propping up the neofascism vs. how much goes to people who are working against neofascism — in the case of Skepticon, I would be surprised if its economic activity were to have an adverse impact on the vulnerable people of Missouri

    and (3) how important it is to make a demonstration by not attending conventions in states run by Mussolini-wannabes, although I agree with others that if this is your reasoning, it should be communicated to the con organisers.

    This is a pretty subjective calculus.

  19. chrislawson says


    Another possibility is to work with the con organisers to have some organised protests as part of the con, as well as outreach to marginalised groups, e.g. run a panel that raises donations for Planned Parenthood and/or PROMO.

  20. silvrhalide says

    Well, now the gun-toting, mouthbreathing carnivore can develop a taste for mystery meat. In prison.

    As far as the Skepticon dilemma… I’d say don’t attend but tell the organizers why. In writing.
    If the NBA can cancel or postpone playoff games over Black Lives Matter and the NBA All Star games can change venue over hateful LGTBIA+ laws, then Skepticon can change venues or cancel.

    The NBA basketball league will move its 2017 All-Star game from North Carolina in protest about a state law that it says discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
    The league said in a statement: “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”
    The exhibition game, which generates millions of dollars for its host state, could return to Charlotte in 2019 if there was an “appropriate resolution to this matter”, the NBA said.
    HB2 made North Carolina the first US state to require transgender people to use public toilets that match the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.
    A number of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman, have cancelled concerts in the state in protest against the bill and major businesses such as PayPal, Bank of America, and Apple have said they will boycott the law.

    I’m sure there were a lot of good people in North Carolina too. But if you don’t force the issue, nothing will ever change.

    “Have we ever seen a state like this turn itself around in response to young/educated/liberal people leaving?”
    Yes actually. Prior to the pandemic, a number of smaller towns in the flyover states were making some very generous resettlement offers to parents with young children or who were planning on having children to settle in otherwise dying smaller towns.
    It didn’t work out well for a lot of the newcomers, when they realized that they could live there but would never really be part of the local community–they tended to be shut out of social groups, civic organizations (ie., they were shut out of school board positions, local political offices, etc.) because the same group of insiders that shut everyone else out were shutting the solicited newcomers out too.
    The pandemic has also driven home the fact that small town living also means living–and in a lot of cases, dying–with crappy healthcare options, as your third tier crappy regional hospital gets quickly overwhelmed by the number of people needing lifesaving healthcare and an insufficient number of hospital beds, let alone ICUs.
    The lack of internet connectivity in the flyover states is an issue too. No one wants to live or start a business in a place that essentially has the functional equivalent of dial-up internet.
    My feeling? Fine, let the smaller towns be their own little cesspit of bigotry and exclusion until they die out from old age and/or inbreeding. Fuck the lot of them.



    It apparently hasn’t occurred to the remaining small town inhabitants that as long as you keep cutting taxes and starving public schools and libraries and generally making life unpleasant for anyone who isn’t cishet white male and conservative, the population exodus will continue. Especially the “we don’t want your kind around here” mentality in both laws and day-to-day living.
    Fine. Now you don’t have anybody.
    Last person out of fossilized Mayberry, turn out the lights.

  21. whheydt says

    The dilemma over Skepticon is rather like the dilemma over the 2023 Worldcon…which is being held in Chengdu, China. Skepticon does have the advantage that it can move out of problem location and then move back later, if that is warranted, while the Chengdu Worldcon is only going to be there once (unless they win a future bid…which at this point, looks rather unlikely).

  22. ANB says

    There are reasonable arguments for going or not going. I could make both, but I’m favoring pushing to have Scepticon held in another state, and clearly letting the people in MO know the reason why you are taking your dollars elsewhere. Yes, people will be hurt (but the same type of humble people holding service jobs in other states will benefit).

    There’s not point in not going unless you can make a clear political point (and show that with you dollars going elsewhere). If you can’t do that, go ahead, but still make the point that in subsequent years you will not be bringing your tourist dollars to MO. (And clearly demonstrate that Scepticon will be booking elsewhere). This is the only thing that “might” affect their policies.

  23. birgerjohansson says

    Silvrhalide @ 24
    Lack of Internet connectivity.
    Jeez, here you have to go far up into Lapland to have that kind of trouble. Having publicly funded infrastructure is nice.
    “Broadband internet for all” was a political slogan here in the early 1990s.

    The neoliberal kooks have really screwed you over. But the victims remain unaware of how much better off they could be. Instead they complain about immigrants…

  24. birgerjohansson says

    “What are we going to do with Missouri?”

    We have to test our bioweapons somewhere. Britain has too much expensive infrastructure for the “28 Days Later” stuff.