Missives from Dystopia…I mean, America

I hope all the gun-fondlers have tissues at hand, because they’re probably going to need some cleanup. The rest of us are going to need puke buckets.

Recently, Sig Sauer won a huge military contract to provide the next generation of squad weapons. These will be the replacements for the existing M4 and SAW. They will be better at punching holes in people! I guess that’s what you want for the military.

The SIG-LMG lightweight belt-fed machine gun and SIG MCX-SPEAR Rifle are purpose-built to harness the energy of the SIG FURY 6.8 Common Cartridge Ammunition enabling greater range and increased lethality while reducing the soldier’s load on the battlefield. Both the SIG-LMG and MCX-SPEAR deliver significant weapon and technology advancements to the soldier and provide a solution for battlefield overmatch in comparison to the current M249 and M4/M4A1.

FOR THE FUCKING MILITARY. Sig Sauer, evil hell-sucking demon corporation that it is, is not satisfied with the billions they’ll get from the army, so they have also announced a civilian version of the weapon. Because we need it, apparently.

“This is a weapon that could defeat any body armor, any planned body armor that we know of in the future,” then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Army Times in 2019. “This is a weapon that can go out at ranges that are unknown today.”

“It’ll shoot through almost all of the bulletproof vests that are worn by law enforcement in the country right now,” said Ryan Busse, a former firearms company executive who is now a senior policy analyst with the Giffords Law Center and author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America.

I am no fan of the cops, but I don’t think selling a cop-killer is a good idea. I also don’t want to imagine what this thing could do to small children. I suspect it won’t be long until we find out.

The only saving grace here is that the thing costs $8,000. That will not deter any of the fanatics, unfortunately. Of anyone planning to buy one, I have to ask…what the fuck is wrong with you, sicko?

We’re not done with news from the hellscape, though.

Somebody suggest to one of the reality TV shows that moving a team of MAGA-hat-wearing, Confederate-flag-waving yahoos who have bought an MCX-SPEAR into some desolate wasteland somewhere where they have to fight Funny Dancing Robot Dogs to the death. I wouldn’t watch it, and I wouldn’t want to guess who’d win, but I’d be hoping for mutual extermination.

How did one sentence become the Sacred, Inviolable Word of the Constitution?

You know the sentence: “A well regu­lated mili­tia, being neces­sary for the secur­ity of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” It’s Holy Writ. It may not be questioned, or at least, the interpretation that means anyone can own a weapon of mass murder, may not be questioned. One may wonder how that came to be, especially given the more limiting interpretation that prevailed over most of American history. Here’s a good summary of the twists and turns that led to our current armed state.

“A fraud on the Amer­ican public.” That’s how former Chief Justice Warren Burger described the idea that the Second Amend­ment gives an unfettered indi­vidual right to a gun. When he spoke these words to PBS in 1990, the rock-ribbed conser­vat­ive appoin­ted by Richard Nixon was express­ing the long­time consensus of histor­i­ans and judges across the polit­ical spec­trum.

Twenty-five years later, Burger’s view seems as quaint as a powdered wig. Not only is an indi­vidual right to a fire­arm widely accep­ted, but increas­ingly states are also passing laws to legal­ize carry­ing weapons on streets, in parks, in bars—even in churches.

Many are startled to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule that the Second Amend­ment guar­an­tees an indi­vidu­al’s right to own a gun until 2008, when District of Columbia v. Heller struck down the capit­al’s law effect­ively banning hand­guns in the home. In fact, every other time the court had ruled previ­ously, it had ruled other­wise. Why such a head-snap­ping turn­around? Don’t look for answers in dusty law books or the arcane reaches of theory.

You know, it has the words “well regulated militia” right there in the sentence, and it turns out the phrase “bear arms” had a very specific meaning to the Sacred Founding Fathers: it didn’t mean to just carry a musket in case you saw a squirrel to shoot, it had the implication of being armed in warfare. That’s all been lost, thanks to the activities of one effective organization, the goddamned NRA. The NRA has only a partial quote on the wall of their building.

Today at the NRA’s headquar­ters in Fair­fax, Virginia, over­sized letters on the facade no longer refer to “marks­man­ship” and “safety.” Instead, the Second Amend­ment is emblazoned on a wall of the build­ing’s lobby. Visit­ors might not notice that the text is incom­plete. It reads:

“.. the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The first half—the part about the well regu­lated mili­tia—has been edited out.

Interesting. Also revealing is this interview with attendees at the NRA conference this past week.

The gun-waving fanatics will defend to the death the Holy Second Amendment, but they don’t even know what it says, despite being only one sentence long.

Then to learn that the whole modern justification for ubiquitous guns is built on lies, half-truths, and quote mining…jesus, what an embarrassing foundation of pseudo-scholarship.

Thomas Jeffer­son offers numer­ous oppor­tun­it­ies for pro-gun advoc­ates. “Histor­ical research demon­strates the Founders out-‘NRAing’ even the NRA,” proclaimed one prolific scholar. “‘One loves to possess arms’ wrote Thomas Jeffer­son, the premier intel­lec­tual of his day, to George Wash­ing­ton on June 19, 1796.” What a find! Oops: Jeffer­son was not talk­ing about guns. He was writ­ing to Wash­ing­ton asking for copies of some old letters, to have handy so he could issue a rebut­tal in case he got attacked for a decision he made as secret­ary of state. The NRA website still includes the quote. You can go online to buy a T-shirt emblazoned with Jeffer­son’s mangled words.

I thought creationists were the most shameless of liars, but gun-fondlers are giving them a run for the money. Although I also suspect there’s a huge overlap between gun-fondlers and bible-thumpers.

Another map!

This one speaks for itself.

California’s rate of gun deaths has declined by 10% since 2005, even as the national rate has climbed in recent years. And Texas and Florida? Their rates of gun deaths have climbed 28% and 37% respectively. California now has one of the 10 lowest rates of gun deaths in the nation. Texas and Florida are headed in the wrong direction.

It’s too bad that data and evidence are irrelevant to what the Republicans will do.


Cool.

Days of grief and rage

Some days, I just want to lie in bed and cry. Cry for the dead, for the families of the dead, for this country. This video hit me hard.

If you’re at all human and humane, you have to feel the same.

But then, it also reveals that there are monsters among us. Ted Cruz was hogging the cameras with his ridiculous claim that we could solve the school shooting problem with doors and cops, anything but controlling access to slaughter guns. Republicans lined up to defend guns, not people. Not even children.

[Trolling parody deleted.]

And the trolls and liars and conspiracy theorists

Predictably, the worst of the lot were the white-nationalist-friendly trolls at the message board 4chan, who trotted out photos of a Hispanic transgender woman who they claimed was the shooter—a claim that was promptly debunked on Reddit, where the person whose photos were being used chimed in and denounced the claims as utterly and obviously bogus, since she didn’t even live in Texas and couldn’t possibly be the shooter.

However, that didn’t stop the bogus claim that the shooter was a transgender woman from spreading far and wide on social media, bolstered both by Jones’ Infowars program and by prominent far-right figures like race troll Candace Owens, white nationalist Dave Reilly, and Congressman Paul Gosar. Other Republicans wondered aloud whether the shooter—identified by law enforcement as 18-year-old Uvalde resident Salvador Ramos—was an “illegal immigrant.”

Are you angry yet? If you aren’t, what’s wrong with you?

Florida Men

Here’s another reason to avoid Florida: these idiots are on the road. Apparently there was a bit of a wrangle with one person tailgating, another person throwing a water bottle, and then this guy, Eric Popper, decides that the appropriate response is to fumble in the center well and pull out a gun, and proceeds to unload 11 shots sort of vaguely in the direction of his enemy.

I’m impressed. He shot up his own car door and window, dashboard, and windshield. He has his eyes closed and is just firing wildly. Tres macho.

Astonishingly, or maybe not since this is ‘Merica, this was the outcome.

According to the arrest report, both the victim and Popper reported the incident to the police. During the investigation, Popper told state troopers he believed he was shot at so that was why he began shooting. The other driver said he did not have a firearm but said he did throw a water bottle at Popper’s car. Surprisingly, there were no reported injuries. Both parties were released at the scene.

Were they given back their driver’s licences and allowed to get in their damaged vehicles and drive away? Neither of these guys should ever be allowed on the road again.

Despair

We had another mass shooting in a school in Michigan. It was carried out with premeditation by a dumb kid with gun nut parents; he got his gun from his father. This keeps happening, again and again.

There isn’t a plan by politicians to change our gun laws. This one isn’t even on the radar.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have learned an important lesson from the last election: cheat more. They’re gerrymandering districts aggressively. In Wisconsin, for instance, they’re working hard to finagle the next vote in advance to lock them into guaranteed victories.

All is quiet in the Democratic party while they watch themselves get maneuvered into extinction. Some Democrats are just trying to gerrymander their own districts.

Meanwhile, our disgraced ex-president, the criminal and con man, is getting ready to run for the presidency in 2024. The coup isn’t over, it’s just getting started.

Hey, why isn’t the traitor who fomented an insurrection at least indicted, if not held in jail? I don’t know. There’s a strange lack of urgency or concern in the halls of power.

Meanwhile, the Republican plan to pack the courts is paying off. The Supreme Court was stuffed with right wing ideologues by the aforementioned criminal president, and now they’re poised to overthrow Roe v. Wade. Remember when there were all those hearings to review their appointment to the court, and they were all asked if they were planning to tear down a woman’s right to choose, and they all said “No sir, I’d never do that”? They lied.

The court shouldn’t have even heard that Mississippi case; that they did tells us all we need to know about their intent. What are the Democrats going to do? Nothing. The senate rules are stacked against them, but they’ll do nothing to change those rules.

This is all an awful, terrible trend, a slow-motion destruction of the country engineered by conservatives backed by billionaires. It’s being carried out in the absence of any significant, principled opposition by the other party. It’s the Senate Democrats who filled me with the most despair, though, with this insipid tweet:

Yeah? We did. What did you accomplish? Why should we vote for you again when you do so little?

There’s a point where being slightly less toxic than the other party is not good enough, and the Democrats seem to be happy enough to ride that line.