1. Hex says

    There are things we can do to stop this, but they involve direct action against fascists in power and the systems that protect them, and will only be successful when enough people understand it’s needed and support such measures. But I don’t believe that’s going to happen.

  2. Hex says

    I recently experienced the terror of not knowing whether a loved one was ok during a crisis situation that made national headlines. It was only for a few minutes, as they quickly responded they were safe, but it was one of the worst pains I had ever experienced in my life, and I’m still having nightmares about it.

    Speaking as a trans person who has gone through so much awful shit myself and has watched so many of my friends suffer and die at the hands of state-sanctioned violence and neglect, I’m so fucking tired and feel hopeless. Fascists aren’t going to be voted out. They will brutally enforce laws that protect them and ignore the ones against them. They aren’t going to stop unless their power is stripped away from them forcefully. They routinely call for and achieve violence against the already oppressed and marginalized and absolutely nothing is dealt back to them in return. It pisses me off so much that every day so many of them get on their platforms, podiums, pulpits, call for genocide against people based on the color of their skin or gender or orientation, and barely anyone other than their targets dares suggest action against them. And when the people targeted speak up, we’re beat down with cries of “incivility” or “stooping to their level”.

    If things are to change, people need to start advocating for direct action against those who are responsible for this shit, and to bring an air of encouragement when it does happen. Every time a fellow trans person is murdered, the right gloats about it. They normalize our brutalization. They call people like Kyle Rittenhouse a hero and more people follow in their footsteps and kill more of us. It fucking works for them. Meanwhile a war criminal dies and half of you are arguing with the other half over whether it’s ok to celebrate. This shit is why I don’t have any hope.

    I don’t like seeing people in pain and suffering. I don’t believe in free will and I don’t think even the most horrible people “deserve” to endure it. But the continued existence of these fascists and the systems that allow them power means allowing them to continue to propagate lies and hatred, massive amounts of suffering and death towards people based on the color of their skin, gender, orientation, place of birth. They needed to be stopped yesterday.

  3. says

    The 2A was written by perfect men at a time and under conditions absolutely no different than now. Therefore there is no reason not to ignore the first clause of it, and to take the most extreme interpretation of the remainder. Also, profits are at stake.


  4. raven says

    I sometimes wonder what would happen if we had an “active shooter” on my campus

    ??? Don’t you have “active shooter drills”?
    For Cthulhu’s sake, even the local elementary schools have active shooter drills.

    You also need an “active shooter” plan before you have those drills.

    Hmmm, I’m forgetting something here.
    Oh yeah, you also need to make out a will and have End of Life directives in place.
    For when the active shooter plan fails or everyone panics and forgets what it was.

  5. Hex says

    I’ve experienced the sheer terror of being in a situation where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out alive for fear of being shot. What’s even worse than that is the fear of safety of loved ones. I’ve been in a situation where people were shooting at a crowd. It was terrifying but adrenaline kicks in and overrides a lot of the worst emotions. The worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life, however, has been when I was uncertain if a loved one was safe during a tragedy that made national headlines. It was only for a few minutes as they responded they were safe quickly, but it still reverberates for me.

    I typed a longer post originally but when I submitted it it didn’t seem to post. It’s already been excruciating pushing thru the ptsd to type what I have, but all I want to say is that I hope the absolute worst for fascists in power right now. I don’t believe in free will and I don’t believe anyone deserves pain or suffering or death, but every day goes by that they and the systems that allow them power aren’t dealt with, is another day of brutalization of their victims of the lies and hatred they spread. They want me gone because of my gender, orientation, and disabilities. They want some of my closest friends gone based on all that and the color of their skin. We cannot coexist, and tolerating their hatred means tolerating our oppression.

  6. Hex says

    All that said, I don’t have hope. Direct action needs to happen but most people will only resort to it if they are directly targeted, and the fascist strategy is to pick off minority groups one by one. Barely anyone has actually learned from “First they came for…”
    By the time any meaningful change happens, if it even does, countless people will have already suffered and died, and the ones most likely to survive are the very ones who benefited from systems of white supremacy and used it to shield themselves, and will probably just end up replicating it. This world is cosmically cruel and unfair

  7. says

    As I commented elsewhere, humans are doing a great job of destroying this world and our (now false!?) sense of safety without any outside interference from AGI. I am still aghast at the ‘neighbor’ of mine who warned me by E-mail not to approach him at the grocery store because he was ‘packin’. WTF, some have turned grocery stores into the O.K corral! I’m still looking for a place that has not been badly infected by this type of insanity, but, I’ve not found one.

  8. tacitus says

    Things are a mess in the UK after Brexit and a decade of Tory misrule, but at least students don’t have to go to class fearing for their lives. Just 28 people were murdered using a gun in the entire UK during the year up to March 2022. When mass shootings happen, which they do every decade or so, there’s no burying them in the crime statistics. They stick out like a sore bloody thumb.

    In fact, women were more likely to be murdered from being burned alive than being shot to death (not honor killings as far as I can tell, but either unintentionally or intentionally by arson in attempts to cover up other crimes).

    Meanwhile, in my home town of Austin, Texas alone, 71 people was murdered last year, a majority of with firearms, and that’s not even counting the police shootings. In Texas as a whole, violent crime is up over 50% in the last ten years since and during major loosenings of the gun laws, and it’s only going up from here. Who’da thunk it…

  9. says

    I hope we have not reached the time when the earth should have a sign hanging over for all to read that says:

  10. says

    @8 tacitus said: Meanwhile, in my home town of Austin, Texas
    I reply: I wish you well. It is sad, we buy computer parts from parts-people in Austin. They are quite civilized and decent. And, Austin has (had?) a reputation in general for being one of the more civilized areas of texass. But, the current government is run by flaming barbarians.

  11. tacitus says


    I typed a longer post originally but when I submitted it it didn’t seem to post.

    Always a good idea to copy long posts to the clipboard (Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C) before posting. Saved me a lot of hassle over the years! It’s also a good idea to click the back button a couple of times to see if the browser has remembered the text you entered.

    Stay safe and I hope you find hope in something or someone somewhere. Life is pretty bleak without it.

    Sometimes the right move is to disengage for a while and focus on the smaller things that you can control. There’s nothing wrong we that — we all have our limits. I have friends whose lives are stressful enough from family issues they have to deal with that they don’t have the bandwidth to worry about what’s going elsewhere and so they choose not to look. We can’t all afford to do that all the time, but when needs must… (a British expression for “when it’s necessary”).

  12. says

    @5 Hex and @11 tacitus. I open a plain text editor and key my comment in there so I can refine/correct it if necessary. The comment can then be copied and pasted into the comment panel on pharyngula.
    Good, positive ideas tacitus. Sometimes our immediate circumstances can be overwhelming if we don’t redirect our minds to something positive for a while (especially if you have a tendency to obsess). Take a break, people. I suggest listening to something like the old song ‘Out in the Country’ by 3dog night as a soothing diversion.

  13. tacitus says


    : I wish you well. It is sad, we buy computer parts from parts-people in Austin. They are quite civilized and decent. And, Austin has (had?) a reputation in general for being one of the more civilized areas of texass.

    Thanks. I’m fortunate enough to live in a pretty safe part of town, though having said that, the IRS building a manic flew a plane into is just 2.5 miles from my door, and the nearest multiple shooting (three victims) was a mile closer than that!

    Austin is still quite civilized and decent for the most part. We are suffering the usual growing pains associated with becoming a major city, and while the local government sometimes tries to do the sensible thing, you can bet that the state government will find a way to block it.

    It’s not quite as bad as Houston yet, where the state government installed a new school superintendent who has decided to close all the public school libraries in the city and turn them into “disciplinary centers” (along with the usual cutting of qualified teachers and replacing them with unqualified ones). They’ve also taken over the running of Houston’s elections since they’re clearly electing too many liberals these days…

    It’s becoming more of a shitshow every year…

  14. tacitus says


    I open a plain text editor and key my comment in there so I can refine/correct it if necessary. The comment can then be copied and pasted into the comment panel on pharyngula.

    That too is a good idea, although I rarely intend to write a long comment and by the time it becomes one (which happens way too often) it’s just easier to finish it in situ!

  15. Hex says

    @11 it apparently ended up going through and was my second post.

    I do need to disengage. This shit just fucking triggers me though. I don’t wish anyone to have to go through a shooting. It’s been over three years now and I still have nightmares and panic attacks. I hate living in a world where people are more accepting of marginalized, powerless people continually getting shot up than the assholes in power who constantly stoke bigotry and lies. If nothing is ever going to get done about this shit, then I honestly hope the AI doomers are right because at least a world with no life at all isn’t going to have the massive, perpetual suffering of this one. If anyone thinks I’m being harsh, I don’t care. Try going through what I and so many of my community has experienced and tell us to our faces that our pain and oppression is worth continuing this shitshow so a bunch of ignorant assholes and their enablers can thrive while the best people I’ve known are struggling and dying. It’s not fucking fair.

  16. kome says

    Look at all that freedom on the front page. Good thing the 2nd amendment protected their freedom to send those texts and enjoy that 1st amendment right.

    The US is a collapsing empire, and as it collapses around us all a huge segment of the country is cheering that this is how things should be.

  17. says

    Hex, violence is pretty much always an option. Voting, not so much on the “always”. Can’t really criticize people for wanting to run with the nonviolent option while it’s still available (GQP efforts towards gerrymandering and voter suppression notwithstanding).

  18. says

    Years ago I was working with a youth group and was in a room full of 11-16 year olds when a former member walked in with a rifle and pointed it at me. He had mental problems and his family had institutionalised him for treatment. The facility used to let him out on weekend release and he used to use this to get high. He was on weekend release when this happened.
    While nobody was at home to supervise him he found the key to his brother’s gun cabinet and stole the rifle and he was drug-affected when he entered the room. All I could do was talk to him while hopefully some of the children could escape. At one point he seemed more relaxed and I said that his gun looked like a nice one and asked if I could have a look at it. Unbelievably he handed it over. I passed it on to another adult who was more familiar with guns than I was and continued the conversation. We were eventually able to contact his family and they collected him and the gun. His brother was very apologetic and promised to make sure the gun was more secure in future.
    I still have the occasional nightmare because I know it could have ended very differently. You need way better gun control. Taking AR-15s out of peoples hands, cold and dead if necessary, would be a start.

  19. microraptor says

    I knew two people, a professor and a student who also volunteered at the same animal shelter I did, who were killed in a mass shooting on a college campus.

  20. StevoR says

    @ ^ microraptor : My sympathies for whatever little they might be worth.

    @ garydargan : Respect. That was very well done and I think almost certainly saved lives.


    This is all just incredibly distubing and sad and horrific really. What else can I say?

    It isn’t normal and this is a particularly American nightmare that needs to change. I think most Americans – certainly the reasonable and informed ones – want gun control toatleast some degree and I hope that somehow someday they manage to get it but the gun culture the USA is is just beyond horrible and uterrly destructive and the NRA are disgusting beyond words.

    It makes me and many others globe-wide very glad we’re not American FWIW.

  21. StevoR says

    Those wanting gun control in the US of A are a majority :

    A growing one from a few years ago :

    Reaching record new levels :

    So you’d think in a Democracy they’d get their way and be most representated, yeah?

    I don’t know if that helps but its worth knowing the gun nut extremists are a minority and a shrinking one.

  22. says

    Sadly, I don’t have to imagine. It was 1992. I was in Jr. High. I was in 7th grade when we went into lockdown. This shit’s been going on for a lot longer than most people think. No shots fired but he did bring a gun to school and, last I heard, he was attempting suicide by cop. I guess I was fortunate because they just made an announcement over the intercom that we needed to stay in our classrooms and would be told when we could move on to our next class. “Ignore the bells” I remember that. Didn’t find out what was going on until the next day. We actually finished out the school day when we were a hare’s breath from a school shooting. AND NOBODY said a thing to us the rest of the day. No canceled classes. No go home early, we just finished the day and then hours later we found out we could have been shot at. No wonder I’m so jaded.

  23. StevoR says

    @ ^ For that Gallup one Google said this :

    A record-high 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with U.S. gun laws, marking a seven-point increase over the past year. Democrats are far less satisfied than..

    (Emphasis added.)

    Was in there somewhere – I expected it would be there at the start. But I’m not seeing it skimming through. However, that was meant to be my main point from it. Sigh.That’s odd and very annoying. Also Google is misleading and not representing what’s actually in things now? Grr..

    Mea culpa, I shoulda checked this better more rather than rushed.

  24. StevoR says

    @27. John Morales : “In the USA, it is the norm. Can’t get more normal than that.

    The USA isn’t “normal” ..

    Nowhere else on the planet has this big a problem or not co-incidentally this awful a gun culture.

  25. John Morales says

    StevoR @30, “In the USA, it is the norm” is not a claim that the USA is normal.

    So you’re not disputing my claim. There, it is normal.

    The USA is an outlier in more facets than that, of course.
    E.g. imprisonment rates.

    (Those are normal there, too)

  26. microraptor says

    @25: Thanks. I didn’t know either of them well- I’d taken one course from the professor several years earlier and had only met the student a couple of times, but it was still shocking to find out that some of the victims were people I’d met. And also that there was a shooting at a place I was familiar with. Still, it’s been long enough that my own personal trauma has faded aside from a reflexive tendency to check for potential cover when I enter a building.

    As far as the American public and gun control goes, remember that Republicans have long been on the NRA’s take and the NRA’s goal is to dismantle all gun control regulation and prevent any sort of new gun control laws from being passed. It doesn’t matter what the public wants if the lobbiests don’t want it.

  27. says

    A couple things:
    First, always be aware of the wording in polls. A poll might find that 70% of the population doesn’t like current guns laws. That doesn’t necessarily mean that 70% want stricter gun laws. It could well be that 40% want that while 30% want fewer restrictions. This brings me to what I consider to be the most useless question asked in political polls: “Do you think the country is headed in the wrong direction?” It should be obvious that people can agree with this assertion while not at all agreeing on what the “right” direction is.

    Second, mass shootings are not “normal”. They are without question more common in the USA than in other industrialized democracies, but that alone does not make them normal. Increased frequency does not equal normality any more than its reverse. For example, people with green eyes are not common, yet no one would assert that they are “abnormal” and/or treat them differently because of it. The most you could say is that they are atypical. In contrast, mass shootings are not “normal” in the sense that they are not common occurrences which people accept as part of their daily lives (like, say, catching a head cold). An overwhelming majority of Americans do not accept this situation but our politics, being what it is, continues to stymie efforts to bring it under control.

  28. John Morales says

    Second, mass shootings are not “normal”. They are without question more common in the USA than in other industrialized democracies, but that alone does not make them normal.

    Increased frequency does not equal normality any more than its reverse.

    How many days without at least one mass shooting so far in 2023?

    (It happens daily, but it’s not normal. Got it)

  29. birgerjohansson says

    There is a majority for a lot of things in USA, judging by opinion polls.
    The oligarchy “donates” money to both parties to stop them doing something about those things, and own the media that define what is normal and what is unacceptable.

  30. raven says

    (It happens daily, but it’s not normal. Got it)

    You could say it is common but not normal.

    Common does not equal normal.

    The vast majority of the US population will not become mass shooters and killers using guns.

    Let’s say, there are 500 mass shooter killers per year in the USA.
    That is out of a population of 332 million.
    So 0.000151 % of the US population per year will become mass killers.

    At least we can say that normal people in the USA don’t end up in the headlines every day.
    (The problem here is that “normal” isn’t defined and in fact, is hard to define.)
    I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining why cold blooded mass murderers aren’t normal.)

  31. StevoR says

    Ok, “Normal” is a fraught and problematic word to use that depends and is defined so much on context. It is a word usually best avoided or strictly confined by surrounding context for clarity.

    The USA is an extreme outlier in terms of gun violence frequency and severity compared to most “advanced”, “western” OECD nations.

    See :

    Plus :

    The USA’s current level of school and workplace and public random or not so random gun massacres is also abnormal compared to its own past, I think, with the trend being an escalating but horrifically bad one.

    If school shootings were a thing back when the Founding Fathers were writing their Constituition I wonder if they’d still have included the 2nd Amendment or worded it the same way.* Of course back then slavery was “normal” and women didn’t vote so ..yeah. Also muskets then vs AR-15’s etc

    Thinking more in this is (ain’t!) “fine” terms :


    That gun violence has become “nomalised” and is now taken for granted and people despair of ever changing things despite the majority (?) seeing the absurdity and destructiveness of it is another thing too..

    .* Like could they be clearer and have added say “ONLY a well regulated ,repeat, really carefully controlled and legally restricted officially run accountable to govt militia should be able to bear firearms and not just any stinking murderous bigot who wants to go round killing folks like some cowboy .. Oh wait, that’s in our future where did our time machine go? Kinda wording. Rather than y’know a well regulated militia and yeah, people intrepreted words differently back then and now yadda, yadda.. when are we living in and in what kind of world and what do we want to do with it now?

  32. StevoR says

    Make that :

    ..the trend being an escalating but and horrifically bad one.

    Science really needs to repalce positive feedback with escalating feedback and negative feedback with stabilising feedback for clarity in my view given the other connotations that +ive & -ive have.

  33. says

    @37 Chigau: “hare’s breath”?

    I guess maybe that means “very small breath”? Kinda like hair’s breadth, but not quite as small??

  34. eastexsteve says

    I’ve been shot, been shot at, and used a gun to defend my family (without firing). All three incidents were separate. It should surprise nobody that fearful people carrying guns to places like stores and restaurants etc. have injured and scared the shit out of people while mis-handling the very thing they cling to for protection. Just a few months ago a permitted conceal carry person dropped their gun at a grocery store, when it went off it scared the people around them, fortunately not injuring anyone; a few years prior to that a woman out eating at a restaurant with friends was seriously injured when a customer dropped his legally permitted gun and it went off. Incidences like this happen fairly regularly. Fear is a commodity, a lucrative one. If someone is carrying a gun, concealed or otherwise they’re also carrying fear, just beware.

    Fear is why people get shot through locked doors. How many people do the police shoot and then say “I was afraid for my life”? Fear convinces people to go out and buy a gun for protection even though they may have never fired one. Hopefully most will at least learn how to handle it safely, commonality or normality is irrelevant, just get used to it and hope it doesn’t happen to you.

  35. Silentbob says

    @ 34 John Morales

    Morales is just being a fuckwit troll as usual. A quick Goog shows 2,000 people are struck by lightning a year or 5 a day.

    So according to Morales being struck by lightning is “normal” and “the norm”.

    Utter fuckwit troll.

    (Which is not to defend the insane situation in the US. BAN FUCKING GUNS ALREADY!)

  36. John Morales says


    A quick Goog shows 2,000 people are struck by lightning a year or 5 a day.

    So according to Morales being struck by lightning is “normal” and “the norm”.

    Your attempted analogy is feeble and misses the point, as usual.

    A proper analogy would have been that 2,000 people being struck by lightning per year or 5 per day is normal, if that’s what the statistics show.

    Utter fuckwit troll.

    Good sig there.

  37. StevoR says

    @41. jimf :

    @37 Chigau: “hare’s breath”?

    I guess maybe that means “very small breath”? Kinda like hair’s breadth, but not quite as small??

    Or the exhalations from the lungs of a member of the Lepus species that isn’t a jackrabbit maybe?

    ( )

  38. numerobis says

    Mass shootings in the US are utterly normal. Much like car bombings in Iraq were, or barrel bombs in Syria, or drone strikes against Ukraine, or unspeakable horrid in eastern Congo. You can find news about them if you look but it doesn’t make the front page.