Brings back old memories

There was a shooting in Seattle yesterday, at 3rd & Pine, and I said to myself, “I know that place — that’s where I was shot at!” This was around 1978, and I was often catching a late night bus at 3rd & Pike. This one evening, there was an altercation on Pine; a sex worker (I was there so often I recognized many of the ladies working those corners) was screaming angrily at someone in a car, and I could hear it a block away. Then she pulled out a handgun and started firing away.

She didn’t hit the guy, she didn’t even hit the car. The bullets were coming my way — I’d see a flash and hear a little “tch” sound as they struck the sidewalk near me, followed by a faint “pop” from the gun. I scrambled to hide behind a lamp post, thinking this would be a really stupid way to die, as an unintentional target of an angry woman who couldn’t hit a car ten feet away from her. Honestly, though, it was some small caliber pistol, shots were all over the place — one did make a little “pok” sound when it punched through a store window — even if one hit me by chance, it was unlikely to be lethal. I don’t think her target was hit at all, and he just drove away.

So just like the shooting yesterday, in the same place at least. Except this time the shooter was a bit more heavily armed and went on a far more determined shooting spree: one dead, seven injured, including a 9 year old boy.

We can’t change human nature easily — there will always be angry incidents and violent responses, just as there were in 1978 and 2020. What we could control, if we had the will, was the availability of lethal technology. The shooting yesterday was a product of human nature amplified by deadly weapons that had no place on a civilized city street.

It’s time to recognize gun worship as a cult which has the second amendment as its holy text

Tony Perkins says that teaching kids about evolution leads to mass shootings.

Perkins said that teaching children about evolution is one cause of mass shootings.

“We’ve taught our kids they come about through chance through primordial slime and then we’re surprised they treat their fellow Americans like dirt!” he exclaimed. “It’s time we talk about the result of the left’s systematic march through our institutions, driving religious expression from the public square.”

Perkins complained that children are not being taught that they are “created in the image of God.”

“We’ve driving religion from our public life and we’re shocked that we no longer have morality and we no longer value human life,” he remarked.

As a totally godless human being who has been teaching about evolution for a few decades, I’ve noticed that I and my fellow biologists and atheists are less casual about taking life than our gun-totin’ Christian brethren in general. Evolution teaches that we’re kin to everything; it doesn’t bring us down, it elevates every living thing on the planet in our eyes. To claim that we have no morality is a lie. We have many of the same values that our fellow citizens do, we live quiet lives finding happiness in our families, our children, in service to others, in simple pleasures. Most Christians are the same way, except when their priorities have been distorted by misplaced fanaticism, which, unfortunately, the kinds of Christians who listen to Tony Perkins are fed constantly.

Take Representative Matt Schaefer of Texas, who has a similarly perverse and horrid idea of the “root of the problem”.

Godless, depraved hearts. That IS the root of the problem. Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus. May God be near to those suffering in Odessa and Midland, and everywhere that evil has struck a blow.

He is quite confident that the solution to everything is conversion to Christianity. Everyone must believe in Jesus to stop the mass shootings! As if no Christian had ever killed anyone senselessly.

The real root of the problem is this: that a fervently Christian legislator has decided that he must oppose all actions to restrict the “god-given” ownership of AR-15s. Apparently, the Christianity he wants us to convert to is the version that has all the followers of Jesus armed to the teeth. He’s going to do nothing but pray, and hand out more guns.

“Do something!” is the statement we keep hearing. As an elected official with a vote in Austin, let me tell you what I am NOT going to do. I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period. None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent. I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks. What can we do? YES to praying for victims. YES to praying for protection. YES to praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent. YES to fathers not leaving their wives and children. YES to discipline in the homes. YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age. YES to your God-given, constitutionally protected rights. YES to God, and NO to more government intrusions.

You know, the guy who went on a murder spree in Odessa and Midland doesn’t seem to have been either a vocal Christian or a vocal atheist — just another angry white man who loves guns. Maybe instead of trying to answer everything with stories about which religion they did or did not follow, we should be addressing the gun-worshipping cult that crosses boundaries between believer and non-believer.

One thing for sure, Matt Schaefer won’t be doing anything about that, because he’s a card-carrying member of that cult.

DING DONG THE WITCH IS…fired, anyway

I just got home from a long day of wrangling student registration and doing bureaucratic paperwork and not getting to play with spiders, and I was kind of dragging, and then I got the cheery news.

NRATV has been cancelled, and so has Dana Loesch!

…the NRA has officially shut down production of NRATV. (Though they may continue to air past content.) The organization has apparently felt the network and its operating company Ackerman McQueen have become too extreme and too far removed from their core values. Also, according to the New York Times, there’s some sort of legal dispute between the two, as the NRA began audits of their contractors in relation to its tax-exempt status, and accused Ackerman McQueen of refusing to comply.

And on top of all of that, NRATV kept their viewership numbers secret, but it’s now being reported that the site had a measly 49,000 unique visitors in January. And Ackerman McQueen has reportedly been receiving $40 million annually from the NRA.

So it’s no wonder that NRA is cutting ties with the advertising firm. And that includes Loesch, who was apparently an employee of Ackerman McQueen, not the NRA directly.

Now the worry is what vicious violent sewer will adopt her as their rat queen next.

It’s either part of a nefarious plan, or mental illness, or both

Police raided a home near Los Angeles and uncovered a stash of thousands of guns. They’re currently sorting through them trying to figure out why this house needed that kind of armament.

My first thought: cat ladies. There is a kind of well known obsession where individuals collect cats, they overrun their homes, the person is unable to keep up with the filth they produce, and the animals are neglected and suffer, while the person insists that they love their animals and don’t want to be parted with them, all while their home becomes an unliveable hazard. This is not to imply that having cats is a mental health issue, but compulsive and excessive hoarding might be.

Maybe there should be a recognized problem like “crazy gun hoarder syndrome”. Affects mainly older men. Leads to houses cluttered with rifles and handguns everywhere, so many that they aren’t properly maintained and constitute a danger to the resident and the neighborhood. Makes everyone wonder why they can’t control their obsessions. Needs to be dealt with with sympathy and social treatment.

What reinforces that idea are some of the comments on that video.

‘Adam & Ramona’ are clearly in the early stages of the syndrome. No, you don’t need 20 rifles and 10 handguns. You certainly are within the allowed limits of the law, but you’ve got a problem. Before you defend yourself by saying you’re a “collector”, well, that’s not an escape clause. Collect things that don’t kill people, OK? Or maybe he removes the firing pins from his historical archive of period self-defense tools, which are all neatly stored with labels in locked cabinets.

‘P G’ might have a problem, too. The police find a house packed to the rafters with murder sticks, and you’re concerned that the murder sticks might get scratched? Your priorities are kind of messed up, guy.

They don’t even have feline toxoplasmosis to blame.

Alternatively, of course, maybe the house owner will turn out to be a far-right wannabe terrorist with grand plans to take over LA with a hodge-podge of guns. That’s not good either. Or he was a petty crook running an illegal gun store to sell to people who couldn’t even pass the minimal gun checks in our law. Also bad.

There’s nothing good about any of this!

Tragedy strikes the NRA

Oh no! The NRA’s income is plummeting!

The nation’s leading gun-rights organization saw its income drop by $55 million last year, after a record-breaking 2016 in which the group and its political affiliates spent unprecedented sums to elect President Donald Trump.

The National Rifle Association of America reported $98 million in contributions in 2017, down from nearly $125 million in 2016, according to new tax records obtained by The Daily Beast. Nearly one-fifth of its contributions last year came from a single anonymous donor, who chipped in nearly $19 million to the group.

Although, to put that in perspective, their total income was $312 million, so they haven’t gone broke yet.

If you’re concerned about the future of the NRA, I like Betty Bowers’ solution:

Another shooting. Nothing will change.

More mass murder by a right-wing fanatic in Pittsburgh. This one is clearly driven by anti-semitic bigotry. We’re getting the usual excuses.

The governor of Pennsylvania says “These senseless acts of violence are not who we are as Americans.” I wish that would go away. It is who we are as Americans — we’ve got a few perpetrators and a vast mob of people who are fully supportive of allowing weapons available to any one — they’re enablers. We’re living in a violent country where the people in power want to encourage more violence.

Like our president*.

Trump says protection inside the temple would have changed things…if the Pittsburgh synagogue that was attacked by a gunman on Oct. 27 had armed security, the results would have been far better.

We will solve our problems with guns with more guns. Right.

I think one important role of the federal government is to shut down the NRA

A core function of government is to provide for the safety and security of its citizens, according to the NRA. The NRA does not make me feel safe, therefore the organization ought to be dismantled.

Especially when they’ve got loons saying nonsense like this:

Texas is asking to spend federal Department of Education grant money to buy firearms for teachers that have gone through the states school marshal program. Teachers trained to carry firearms in school, in firearms, and the state needs permission to use federal money to do that. As you can imagine, the left is melting down. Anti-gunner’s outrage that the government would soon be funding firearms to put in the hands of educators. I would argue — of all the things schools use federal grant money for, this may be the most legitimate. It falls into the core functions of the federal government, provide for the safety and security of its citizens. In fact, using federal tax dollars to buy guns for teachers is more in line, and more in the boundaries of what the federal money should be used for than even textbooks or after-school programs. Guns in the hands of good guys has a direct impact on our safety, a core function of government.

Although he does have one point: education is not one of the core rights granted in the bill of rights. That’s more of a failure of the Constitution than an excuse to shut down education, and it’s certainly not a justification for arguing that educators ought to be supplied with guns before books.