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Another Shooting
August 24, 2012 9:34 AM   Subscribe

The Onion reacts in real time to news undercutting a bitterly satiric headline.
posted by psoas (150 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice sting at the tail:
"Napolitano then urged the visibly saddened Americans to be careful, get back home as soon as possible, lock all their doors, and never leave their homes unless it is absolutely essential."
posted by doctornemo at 9:36 AM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Every time there is a mass shooting in the U.S., those opposed to gun control say that it is inappropriate to discuss legal changes that might prevent future calamities, because it is too soon after the shooting. Since there seems to be a shooting every week or so now, it looks like there will never again be an appropriate time to discuss limiting access to firearms.
posted by grouse at 9:37 AM on August 24, 2012 [106 favorites]


Ouch. The Onion really is at its best when things are at their worst.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:37 AM on August 24, 2012 [49 favorites]


I haven't seen the Onion this biting and on-point since 9/11. They're really doing a great job over there.
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on August 24, 2012 [25 favorites]


(I mean, for the last few months, maybe even year, not just this specific incident.)
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, geez. That made me wince.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2012


At least this is better than another cat thread. (I have two cats. They are wonderful. But the deletions this morning were ridiculous.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many Onion staffers drink themselves into a stupor after work every day.
posted by rtha at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2012 [37 favorites]


Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh.
posted by Madamina at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012


Fuck. I hadn't even heard about this one.

.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ouch. Wow. That was nicely done.

griphus: "I haven't seen the Onion this biting and on-point since 9/11."

This set the bar, in my opinion.
posted by zarq at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012 [29 favorites]


(to the situation, not the Onion... damn them for actually being relevant, AGAIN)
posted by Madamina at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012


This set the bar, in my opinion.

I'm probably just getting sentimental in my old age, but that one makes me cry every time I read it.
posted by rtha at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Artw: "Fuck. I hadn't even heard about this one. "

Don't rely on Metafilter for your breaking news.
posted by zarq at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sounds like it was actually a "workplace shooting" not a "mass shooting". Has anyone done a taxonomy of American shootings yet?

But yes, point taken. Enough already.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:43 AM on August 24, 2012


Yeah, that's exactly the article I was thinking about, zarq. The whole "Holy Fucking Shit: Attack On America" thing was just absolutely brilliant and a really, really refreshing counterpoint to how fucking somber and scared the entire city (and country) was in the weeks after.
posted by griphus at 9:43 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This set the bar, in my opinion.

Ayup. Though I'm not re-reading that right now because I'm at work and I know I will cry again when I get to "He wept" part and fuck it now I'm already crying.

I always thought the woman bakes flag cake one was particularly poignant too, but in a much more understated way.
posted by kmz at 9:44 AM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Onion is like the Incredible Hulk. It's more powerful when it's angry.
posted by jonp72 at 9:46 AM on August 24, 2012 [77 favorites]


I had a friend who stopped reading the times around 2003 because the stories seemed to be the same as The Onion.

I am thinking about quitting the Times.
posted by shothotbot at 9:47 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A quibble- the shooting is certainly tragic, horrific, and measures should be taken to prevent similar events in the future. But was it really a mass shooting? The shooter had one specific target and in the aftermath with the police, several bystanders were injured (and fortunately they seem to be minor injuries according to the news).

I bring this up for two points. One, it seems like these incidents aren't so much "mass" shootings as they are high profile public terror shootings. They occur in the light of day and affect many people. Perhaps this suggests a distinct type of shooting (though, unfortunately, by no means new).

Two, I think one of the problems with this sort of thing is that it sort of overshadows gun violence that "just happens." Every time this sort of high profile event happens, right-wingers point out similar shootings in inner-cities or so forth. As if they were some sort of excuse. But this does sort of highlight our natural blindsight to gun violence that happens from day to day. Maybe this sort of public shooting is the equivalent to MWWS? They shock us out of our comfortable middle class suburban shells to realize that gun violence could strike anywhere. But lest we forget, there are people in this country who have to deal with this threat every day and night.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:47 AM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


If it's not totally clear, the original item was actually posted yesterday
posted by theodolite at 9:49 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




If it's not totally clear, the original item was actually posted yesterday

Can anyone confirm that there really was an article yesterday that got "updated"?
posted by advicepig at 9:52 AM on August 24, 2012


advicepig, one of the deleted threads linked to this article earlier, and I don't think the 'updates' existed then.
posted by jcrbuzz at 9:53 AM on August 24, 2012


Can anyone confirm that there really was an article yesterday that got "updated"?

For what it's worth, I followed a link to it this morning before the update. I didn't take a screenshot, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:53 AM on August 24, 2012


Yeah, I read it yesterday.
posted by gaspode at 9:54 AM on August 24, 2012


Screenshot from my RSS reader.
posted by griphus at 9:55 AM on August 24, 2012


Faint of Butt: "Ouch. The Onion really is at its best when things are at their worst."

I think I just came upon a new conspiracy theory!!!
posted by symbioid at 9:55 AM on August 24, 2012


A quibble- the shooting is certainly tragic, horrific, and measures should be taken to prevent similar events in the future. But was it really a mass shooting?
You're right! You might make a whole week after all.
posted by Jehan at 9:56 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some of my facebook friends like to post links to Onion headlines. Others like to post links to real-news headlines. For the past month or so, I've been having a really hard time distinguishing the two.
posted by adamrice at 9:58 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon, you bring up an interesting point. When I first moved to NY the Post had a column called 'The Toll' and it was just a list of all the shootings in the city for that day.

I really think we tend to think this is a new thing, and it's not. Mind you, it's still an argument for gun control.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:58 AM on August 24, 2012


Thanks MeFites, I was wondering how I'd ever find out if it was a real update or the Onion being the Onion!
posted by advicepig at 9:58 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ouch. The Onion really is at its best when things are at their worst.

The Onion just keeps getting better.
posted by philip-random at 10:01 AM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mind you, it's still an argument for gun control.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:58 AM on August 24


And better mental health treatment availability.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:05 AM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Onion really is at its best when things are at their worst.

I said as much a couple of months ago, when they were spitting hot fire over the Penn State report. They've really been a roll lately.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:17 AM on August 24, 2012


griphus: "Yeah, that's exactly the article I was thinking about, zarq. The whole "Holy Fucking Shit: Attack On America" thing was just absolutely brilliant and a really, really refreshing counterpoint to how fucking somber and scared the entire city (and country) was in the weeks after."

Absolutely.

The "Holy Fucking Shit" graphic still makes me smile.

But yeah, that article still brings tears to my eyes. I can't read it all the way through either.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on August 24, 2012


From the CNN coverage:

"It's just a crazy scene here," said Rebecca Fox, who works across the street from the famous skyscraper. She said she had been getting coffee with her headphones on when she saw people running.

Living in NYC during what will perhaps be remembered as some of its safest years 2003–2009, my job as a field service technician involved a lot of sidewalk time. I would not have felt comfortable walking around plugged into headphones, whether shopping, crossing the street, or riding the subway.
posted by maniabug at 10:19 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why?
posted by griphus at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow.

I expect exactly zero soul-searching and debate in this country on the gun issue following this most recent incident. It's like we've been bullied into not ever saying anything on the issue, no matter how legitimate. The NRA is a monster that has made sure they have shut down any kind of rational, reasonable or sensible debate.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


griphus, sorry... i meant i can't read the "God Angrily Clarifies...." article all the way through without tearing up. The last third of it, and especially that last graph gets to me.
posted by zarq at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2012


I guess there's nothing that can be done.

Except buying more guns . . . . .
posted by birdhaus at 10:23 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought The Onion's recent three-pronged attack on Todd Akin was pretty spectacular

Fourth prong -- and I think this one's the best:

Poll Reveals You Live In Country Where Mentally Ill Man Still Has Good Chance Of Being Senator
posted by PlusDistance at 10:25 AM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Er, that "Why?" was re: maniabug.
posted by griphus at 10:26 AM on August 24, 2012


It's like we've been bullied into not ever saying anything on the issue, no matter how legitimate. The NRA is a monster that has made sure they have shut down any kind of rational, reasonable or sensible debate.

The frontier mentality still looms large in our thinking; in fact, the whole "I need guns to protect myself/my family from the freaks out there" is only heightened with every mass shooting (or incident like this, which probably doesn't qualify as a mass shooting)

i.e., the more gun violence there is, the more those people who cling to their guns tighten their grip.
posted by kgasmart at 10:26 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




@Apocryphon

it was a mass shooting by the NYPD. allegedly they shot 4 men & 5 women who were by-standers while attempting to gun down the guy :\ both Bloomberg & Ray Kelly admitted as much.
posted by liza at 10:33 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would not have felt comfortable walking around plugged into headphones
...
Why?


He was probably embarrassed that he didn't have that rad "Beats By Dre" kind, and didn't want to look like a buster.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:35 AM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


it was a mass shooting by the NYPD. allegedly they shot 4 men & 5 women who were by-standers while attempting to gun down the guy :\ both Bloomberg & Ray Kelly admitted as much.
posted by liza


I don't know about all 9, but the police must've hit at least 4 people if the info the mayor reported is accurate - The mayor said the shooter's handgun had an eight round magazine. He shot his ex-cooworker 3 times, leaving 5 rounds. 9 people were shot aside from the shooter and initial victim. Even if the shooter shot 5 bystanders, the police (who reportedly fired 14 rounds) would be responsible for the rest.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:37 AM on August 24, 2012


I work in business, so if teh capitalism knows I am talking about it, it might kill me...

But I've been wondering. The basic premise of capitalism is that competition among providers creates increasingly better options for consumers.

What if that competition is heightening in some measurable sense that is increasing the stress and anxiety that all people--even somewhat successful ones--are feeling? Are we turning up the pressure cooker on ourselves?

There seems to be an explosive amount of heretofore sublimated rage that is boiling over. The Aurora shooting tapped into it, and now we're having mass shootings regularly.

What if the stress is something we really can't eliminate from our system?
posted by jefficator at 10:42 AM on August 24, 2012


Wow.
posted by cashman at 10:42 AM on August 24, 2012


Good question, griphus. Risk is accrued in layers, accidents result from chains of factors, and one never knows when a lowered sensory awareness will be an important variable. This particular person might have caught a bullet if the timing were different, but without the headphones, perhaps could have been clued in to the situation faster by hearing people speak nearby.

On preview, haha, I would never own swanky headphones because they get lost or destroyed way too often.
posted by maniabug at 10:44 AM on August 24, 2012


But lest we forget, there are people in this country who have to deal with this threat every day and night.

19 people shot in overnight shootings across Chicago
posted by desjardins at 10:51 AM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't know about all 9, but the police must've hit at least 4 people if the info the mayor reported is accurate

This is what fills me with trepidation about the myth that bystanders should shoot back.
posted by immlass at 10:52 AM on August 24, 2012 [34 favorites]


for a brief second, I thought they were going to just leave the "never mind" in the updated byline and not update the body of the story. and i thought that would have been just it, you know. perfect, done.
posted by ninjew at 10:56 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mayor said the shooter's handgun had an eight round magazine. He shot his ex-cooworker 3 times, leaving 5 rounds. 9 people were shot aside from the shooter and initial victim. Even if the shooter shot 5 bystanders, the police (who reportedly fired 14 rounds) would be responsible for the rest.

An 8 round magazine means 8+1. When you put a full 8 round magazine into the gun you rack the slide and that chambers the bullet. If you do not do that you could pull the trigger all day and nothing is ever going to happen. Unlike a revolver which turns the chamber with every click, it is only the action of the slide that ejects the shell casing, if any, and moves a new bullet into the chamber.

People who are real concerned about Every Bullet will put the magazine in, rack the slide, eject the magazine, put another bullet in, then put the magazine back in. Now there's one in the chamber ready to fire and 8 more to be loaded. Total of 9.
posted by phearlez at 10:57 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Total of 9.
posted by phearlez


Ok, so even if that's the case he still used three bullets in the initial shooting, leaving six. Police (or someone....) were responsible for the others. He only walked around the block and reportedly had the gun hidden in a bag, so unless he took the time to reload fully (which nobody is reporting) in that two minute walk, I think there's definitely some people shot by the police.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:07 AM on August 24, 2012


My God, look at the red lines in the sidewalk coming from beneath a victim in the lead photo on the front page of the NY Times site right now.
posted by jamjam at 11:12 AM on August 24, 2012


Sure. Bloomberg himself acknowledged that.
posted by phearlez at 11:13 AM on August 24, 2012


Looking around The Onion site. I just tweeted & "liked" on FB this poignant piece. I'm hoping some of my teapublican friends/ relatives see the word "illegalize" and read it, thinking it's about brown people.

Has The Onion had some staff changes in recent months, perhaps explaining some new bite to their bits?
posted by NorthernLite at 11:34 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


They just moved to Chicago, leaving some staff behind, so I can assume things are a little rough over there.
posted by griphus at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2012


It's like we've been bullied into not ever saying anything on the issue, no matter how legitimate. The NRA is a monster that has made sure they have shut down any kind of rational, reasonable or sensible debate.

I heartily (though despairingly) agree with this. The NRA and their lobbyists have made sure there is literally no national voice whatsoever for people (I count myself among them) who can simultaneously hold the beliefs that gun ownership should be legal AND that such ownership must come with restrictions and regulations AND that such restrictions and regulations can be reached using a combination of basic statistical research and common sense.

There are local and state governments falling all over themselves these days to restrict the right to vote, for example, and millions of people who otherwise announce their total worship of the flag and the constitution support that just fine without any evident cognitive dissonance whatsoever. But follow a massacre with the vaguest suggestion that perhaps not all members of the public need to have access to their own military-style arsenals, and you have shit on the constitution, rolled it up, and raped the corpses of our forefathers with it.
posted by scody at 11:38 AM on August 24, 2012 [47 favorites]


Why is it that people who talk about "the American way of life" never mention the feeling of having bullets chew through you? It's like they're not into that part or something.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:50 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like we've been bullied into not ever saying anything on the issue, no matter how legitimate. The NRA is a monster that has made sure they have shut down any kind of rational, reasonable or sensible debate.

Put another way, if it's a legitimate issue, the NRA has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
posted by nickmark at 11:54 AM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


What the anti-gun control wingnuts choose not to understand is that these shooters barely have their lives together. Their shit is falling apart to the point that killing a bunch of people sounds like the easiest way to make things make sense. Totally illogical except the part where killing civilians is and always will be easy to do if you have the tools. Put boundaries on gun ownership and more of these broken people will literally shrug their shoulders and do some other impulsive thing. Most shooters are impulsive and that's why we're seeing this rash of copy cattery right now. You might not stop a Norway or an Aurora shooting but you sure as hell will stop a lot of these murder+suicide by cop asshats.

The other piece is the culture where we bring up boys with no emotional outlets and teach them that nihilistic individualism is strength and asking for help is weakness and guns are fun toys/status symbols instead of tools. And don't forget, collective community support is really just a front for dirty communism.
posted by Skwirl at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can anyone confirm that there really was an article yesterday that got "updated"?

Yes, as when the news broke my second thought after "Well, fuck" was to wonder what they were going to do about that article. I think they hit the right note with it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:20 PM on August 24, 2012




The group Stop Handgun Violence was founded by a recreational shooter, and advocates for responsible gun ownership and rational gun policy in the US. I have been a supporter of the group in a small way for years; I think they do excellent and on-message work.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


This set the bar, in my opinion.

Let's not forget the classic Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'.
posted by Gelatin at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


I take an express bus into the city every morning, that runs Westbound down 34th Street in Manhattan and turns North, up Sixth Avenue. The Empire State Building is at 5th Avenue and 34th Street. I normally take an earlier bus, but my son woke us up at 3 in the morning and as a result, our whole house overslept. So I was running late, and on a bus that passed by the ESB at around 9:05, or perhaps 9:10.

The map and timeline of the shooting show that my bus probably went past the corner of 34th and 5th just after the shooting had happened. I know there were stopped emergency vehicles on 34th between 5th and 6th, because I looked up when the flashing lights caught my attention. That and the stopped traffic. But I didn't look closely at them.

I was oblivious: I had headphones in, was watching a tv show on my phone while sitting in the back, on the opposite (North) side of the bus. Unreal.

Considering the circumstances, I'm relieved more people on the sidewalk weren't hurt. That area gets very crowded with foot traffic during rush hour.
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what fills me with trepidation about the myth that bystanders should shoot back.

Exactly. These were trained police officers and they still couldn't control the path of every bullet they fired.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:37 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


More importantly if the police show up while bystanders are shooting back there may be some confusion about who the police ought to be shooting. That would be fun. Or not.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


From September's GQ. I was considering making a post out of it this morning, but in light of today's incident, I think I'll just leave it here.
"I had come to Arizona, the most gun-friendly state, to listen to the conversation the rest of America was apparently having. One in three Americans owns a gun. About 59 million handguns, 46 million rifles, and 28 million shotguns—nearly 135 million new firearms for sale in the U.S. since 1986. We are the most heavily armed society in the world. If an armed citizenry is a piece of our national identity, how is it that I'd never even met it?

In Arizona, anyone over 18 can buy an assault rifle, at 21 you can get a pistol, and you can carry your gun, loaded or unloaded, concealed or openly, just about anywhere. The IHOP was said to be the only restaurant in Yuma that prohibited you from bringing your gun in. "Needless to say, most of us won't eat there," Ron said. On the rack behind him, assault rifles stood stupid as pool cues, black and blocky, with long magazines protruding erotically this way and that.

"I'm kind of surprised you carry assault rifles," I said to Ron.

"There's no such thing as an assault rifle," he said. "These are 'military-style rifles' or 'modern sporting rifles.' "

"But they're assault rifles," I noted. I knew that much from TV.

"Assault is one of the worst things the media has ever done to us," he said. "Have any of these rifles ever assaulted anyone?"

He went on to say I could buy as many of them as I wanted and walk out with my arsenal today. "These guns have helped our industry tremendously," he said. "They've attracted a whole new generation.... Is there one you want to try?" He brought down a Colt AR15-A3 tactical carbine, slammed in an empty magazine, and handed it to me. It felt disappointingly fake, an awesome water pistol, perhaps, or a Halloween prop. I asked if I would need to tell him why I wanted to buy a gun like that or what I intended to do with it. He squinted and smiled and appeared politely speechless. "Would you have to do what, now?" he asked.

posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine has a theory that these kinds of incidents will become more common, because in hard times suicide is not really all that remarkable. It used to be, "I'll show you all! I'll kill myself!" Now you have to take people with you to get noticed.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:41 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think the famous Bush inauguaral piece the Onion did in January 2001 -- "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over" -- has got to be the greatest article they ever did, maybe one of the great pieces of journalistic commentary in US history. I mean, 8 months before 9/11 they predicted it ALL, the entire next decade -- war, depression, catastrophe. Seriously, read the piece. Have you ever seen anything so spookily prescient?
posted by zipadee at 12:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [35 favorites]


They just moved to Chicago, leaving some staff behind

Here's hoping that works better for them than when they moved to NYC.
posted by phearlez at 12:43 PM on August 24, 2012


What happened when they moved to NYC?
posted by zipadee at 12:46 PM on August 24, 2012


homunculus: A Modest Proposal to End a Summer of Mass Shooting

That was really powerfully stated. Thanks for posting the link.
posted by Superplin at 1:14 PM on August 24, 2012


@liza
it was a mass shooting by the NYPD.

I support gun control for cops
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah. I've definitely noticed an "angrier" editorial voice at the Onion over the past few months. I wonder how much of this has to do with the Chicago move, and how much has to do with our nation's shit collectively hitting the fan.

I'd hate to see them become too political, although their list of things that they get angry and talk seriously about doesn't seem to have changed all that much.
posted by schmod at 1:29 PM on August 24, 2012


Humor is always better, and more relevant, when based on truth.
posted by Chuffy at 1:33 PM on August 24, 2012


We are the most heavily armed society in the world. If an armed citizenry is a piece of our national identity, how is it that I'd never even met it?

I wouldn't be surprised if the distribution of firearms among residents of the United States matched a Pareto distribution, similar to the 1% vs. 99% income distributions highlighted by Occupy Wall Street. If the top 1% have 40% of the nation's wealth, can we also expect that the 1% of American residents will have 40% of the guns?
posted by jonp72 at 1:33 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




Skwirl: "Put boundaries on gun ownership and more of these broken people will literally shrug their shoulders and do some other impulsive thing."

Ok I'm with everyone else here on gun control, but NYC is one of the hardest places in the nation to get a handgun legally. Assuming he got his legally, it would have probably taken him 6 months and cost close to $1000 just to get the license, which you need before anyone will even let you handle a handgun in a store.

Basically, I think we could do really well if all we did was implement NYC's laws on the rest of the country, and yet this still happened. Laws are only one part of the effort. There's something else in American society that we need to address.
posted by danny the boy at 1:47 PM on August 24, 2012


Ok I'm with everyone else here on gun control, but NYC is one of the hardest places in the nation to get a handgun legally. Assuming he got his legally, it would have probably taken him 6 months and cost close to $1000 just to get the license, which you need before anyone will even let you handle a handgun in a store.

You know I got that argument a lot when I lived in NY. The problem with that is that you can drive over the border to a state with no waiting period, and no background check, buy 5 guns and come back to NY, and sell them for twice your cost.

If gun laws continue to be different from state to state, all you're really doing is allowing the black market to drive up prices in some states.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Except you can't just do that. Not without breaking a bunch of laws. You can't bring guns from one state into another, without being in compliance with the new state's laws. In NYC you can't have handguns without a NYC license, which is difficult to get. So you'd be doing it illegally.

Also, no NJ gun shop is going to sell handguns to a NYC resident.
posted by danny the boy at 1:56 PM on August 24, 2012


Sidhedevil: "The group Stop Handgun Violence was founded by a recreational shooter, and advocates for responsible gun ownership and rational gun policy in the US. I have been a supporter of the group in a small way for years; I think they do excellent and on-message work."

Recreational shooters largely aren't the ones fighting reasonable gun control measures. The paranoid survivalist types seem to comprise most of the NRA members that I know...
posted by schmod at 2:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole premise that a bunch of rugged individualists with handguns tucked into their mom-jean waistbands is going to somehow thwart the UN socialist horde is the least believable thing since Battlefield Earth. Modern war is fought with drones, an absurdly large supply of drones, with over-the-horizon standoff weaponry, persistent surveillance, robots, with ballistic armor, etc etc. If they were really worried about the Feds turning against them, then maybe they shouldn't have poured near-infinite money into the Defense Department for the last several decades.

I mean to say, it's a stupid and pernicious myth - both the threat and the hope that somehow personal firearms could make any difference. It was probably a useful myth, for a long time, to generate support for the NRA et. al. But here we are, a generation later, and a significant subset of the population now actually believe in it.
posted by newdaddy at 2:12 PM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


In other news, I can't be the only person who hopes for new editorials from Larry Groznick.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 2:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NRA and their lobbyists have made sure there is literally no national voice whatsoever for people (I count myself among them) who can simultaneously hold the beliefs that gun ownership should be legal AND that such ownership must come with restrictions and regulations AND that such restrictions and regulations can be reached using a combination of basic statistical research and common sense.

The lack of a middle ground on this is very frustrating for me. I like owning and shooting guns (if I'm counting correctly, we have 3.5 firearms per capita in this household, give or take a few). There's middle ground, a lot of it, between total bans and total free-for-all, with room to help ensure that people who aren't nuts can buy and own firearms and that at the same time we as a society have a handle on the issue.

But pretty much, there's no political voice for that, and no serious and realistic middle-ground proposals on the table.
posted by Forktine at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2012


The paranoid survivalist types seem to comprise most of the NRA members that I know...

And they have several assault rifles and cases of ammo buried in sealed boxes, just in case. How do you get the toothpaste back in the tube?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


danny the boy: " Also, no NJ gun shop is going to sell handguns to a NYC resident."

They don't have to. Presumably, if you ask a friend who lives there to buy one for you, all you'd have to do is pick it up from them and drive it home, yes?
posted by zarq at 2:16 PM on August 24, 2012


The problem with that is that you can drive over the border to a state with no waiting period, and no background check, buy 5 guns and come back to NY, and sell them for twice your cost.

How many times can you actually do this before the FBI bust you for smuggling arms across state lines?
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on August 24, 2012


Except you can't just do that. Not without breaking a bunch of laws. You can't bring guns from one state into another, without being in compliance with the new state's laws. In NYC you can't have handguns without a NYC license, which is difficult to get. So you'd be doing it illegally.

A lot of people don't have a problem doing this illegally. And if they have a "friend" who's a NJ resident, then the "friend" can make the purchase. Some years back the Washington Post did an article (or a series? I can't remember) about straw purchases in VA gun shops and how those guns ended up in DC.
posted by rtha at 2:18 PM on August 24, 2012


griphus: " How many times can you actually do this before the FBI bust you for smuggling arms across state lines?"

Frontline: How do criminals get guns?
posted by zarq at 2:20 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happened when they moved to NYC?

9-11
posted by drezdn at 2:24 PM on August 24, 2012


How many times can you actually do this before the FBI bust you for smuggling arms across state lines?

Without tighter gun control laws, how would the FBI know about this to bust you in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:26 PM on August 24, 2012


Forktine: "no serious and realistic middle-ground proposals on the table."

I'm not sure what you mean by middle ground. Middle ground at this point would involve a large number of very significant concessions by the NRA and gun manufacturers, who've gotten their way in nearly every battle over gun legislation in the last 30 years. Even the dreaded assault weapons ban expired. A few state/municipal governments nibble around the edges, but nobody has a hard time getting almost any gun they want, and nobody ever has.

I linked to this up-thread, but here you have a tale of a gun manufacturer that isn't willing to implement microstamping to ease ballistic investigations by police departments because it'll cost them a few bucks. Working out the math on the dollar value they place on each human life that could be saved by tracking down murderers sooner is left as an exercise for the reader.

If a single manufactuer won't take this simple baby step that could save many lives, how is there any hope to negotiate larger, more effective steps with the entire gun lobby lobby?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:27 PM on August 24, 2012


danny the boy: " Also, no NJ gun shop is going to sell handguns to a NYC resident."

They don't have to. Presumably, if you ask a friend who lives there to buy one for you, all you'd have to do is pick it up from them and drive it home, yes?
posted by zarq


Not even really an issue, because its quite difficult to get guns in NJ (legally). Anyone planning to skirt the law in this way would go to Pennsylvania.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something else in American society that we need to address.

Perhaps there's the myth — a myth baked into very nearly every aspect of popular culture — that violence is the first, best and only solution to all problems. Oddly, this value system gets put out there as a romanticized or glorified way to deal with impersonal social and economic systems that constantly remind you that you are worthless. You can be a tough guy (or woman), just pick up a gun and shoot your way to glory. We need gun control/bullet insurance badly, but there's little that laws can do about the larger cultural impulse that values and glorifies violence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


but nobody has a hard time getting almost any gun they want, and nobody ever has.
posted by tonycpsu


Well, there's at least one person.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:34 PM on August 24, 2012


There's something else in American society that we need to address.
something Going Postal something, something
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:36 PM on August 24, 2012


What would the middle ground actually look like? "I should have guns, but crazy people shouldn't"?
posted by newdaddy at 2:36 PM on August 24, 2012


The whole premise that a bunch of rugged individualists with handguns tucked into their mom-jean waistbands is going to somehow thwart the UN socialist horde is the least believable thing since Battlefield Earth.... If they were really worried about the Feds turning against them, then maybe they shouldn't have poured near-infinite money into the Defense Department for the last several decades.

This is a great point. If you really wanted firepower parity with the US government, you shouldn't just be stockpiling automatic weapons, you should also be cutting Pentagon military spending to the bone. I see potential for an alliance between left-wing peaceniks and heavily armed right-wing nutcases!
posted by zipadee at 2:43 PM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Guardian is reporting that all 9 civilian victims in the shooting were shot by the police, and that the gunman didn't open fire on anyone except his erstwhile manager.

Yes, more guns would certainly stop gun violence.
posted by Phire at 2:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


+1 for the middle ground. I'm as scared of the survivalist types as I am of the lunatics and criminals.

My hunting rifle new in the box came with an NRA membership application. Thanks, but no thanks. I wish the national advocacy organization for firearms were more like the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association, which emphasizes its educational mission, supports reasonable regulation, and mostly eschews political activism [on behalf of another murderous technology whose misfortunes are instant news fodder].

Perhaps the contrast between these advocacy groups reflects the difference in the existing regulatory environment. The FAA is mostly an up-and-up service organization, with plenty of flaws but basically true to its original mandate of promotion and safety. From what I've read, the ATF's role has been to facilitate profitmaking by big players in its industries and does not have much use for other considerations such as public health.

To legally command an aircraft, you have to periodically certify that you do not have certain mental health issues. I don't know what happens if you lie about this on your medical, but I'm sure you'd be subject to an enforcement that could keep you out of the air.

Of course, determining on a systemic level who is and is not "crazy" is some difficult territory. The bar for sanity can't be unrealistically high, and such screening must be only a piece of the overall effort because much mental dysfunction goes untreated. Still, aviation manages it to some extent, and there are no mental health restrictions whatsoever for firearms ownership.

It's curious that I had to undergo firearms safety training to get my first hunting license, but not to actually buy my first gun.
posted by maniabug at 2:52 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What would the middle ground actually look like? "I should have guns, but crazy people shouldn't"?

Sure, that sounds like a start, at least (and I say that as someone with a history of mental health issues who's very much an advocate for "crazy people"). Also, limits on gun and ammo sales over a certain period of time (no more than two guns per person per year or something?) might help prevent stockpiling of weapons and ammo.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:54 PM on August 24, 2012


I wouldn't be surprised if the distribution of firearms among residents of the United States matched a Pareto distribution, similar to the 1% vs. 99% income distributions highlighted by Occupy Wall Street. If the top 1% have 40% of the nation's wealth, can we also expect that the 1% of American residents will have 40% of the guns?

The people I see at the range with the Obama targets are not in that bracket.

I was in a Wal-Mart getting some emergency keys cut at 2:00 am the night of a recent mass shooting. I forget which one. The key cutting machine was in the gun section and I had to wait a bit, so I walked around. I had to look at the shelf tags within the gun cabinets to figure out what was usually there. If you didn't know, Wal-Mart carries assault rifles.

They still had several plinkers and a few .410 shotguns, but everything heavier was gone. Same with the ammo. They were not just out of stock. I asked. They'd had a run that day.

It wasn't because people were frightened of evil. The clerk told me the gun buyers were quoting a viral e-mail about increased gun control in the wake of the shooting.

I could also tell stories about trying to buy a box of 12 gauge slugs right after Obama was elected or how my neighbor bought lots of guns and fortified his house in preparation for the turn of the century.

There are lots of people out there who can't parse the news for shit, and they are heavily armed.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


rtha: "A lot of people don't have a problem doing this illegally. And if they have a "friend" who's a NJ resident, then the "friend" can make the purchase. Some years back the Washington Post did an article (or a series? I can't remember) about straw purchases in VA gun shops and how those guns ended up in DC."

Yeah but at that point, you're dealing with people who are fine with breaking the law, so why would any more gun laws decrease their desire or ability to get guns? Yes, if guns were equally hard to get everywhere as they are in NY, NJ, Boston, etc., then we'd have something. I would love for that to be the case, but that would require something like what they did in Australia and I don't think that's ever going to work in the States.

The problem I see is that there are a lot of people on the gun control side who don't know the law very well, and don't know guns very well. And it shows. The gun nuts aren't entirely crazy when they feel like they are constantly on the defensive against arbitrary laws that make no sense but are politically popular. They feel the way we do when the government tries to make laws about the internet. People respond emotionally to tragedies like this, and demand action. But what we get doesn't protect anybody AND makes things worse for people who aren't doing anything wrong.

I think there's a way to carve up this argument where there is a middle ground, and you can get 80% of people on board, and piss off the extreme 10% on either side, but I doubt I'll ever see it in my lifetime.
posted by danny the boy at 3:59 PM on August 24, 2012


And regarding the "friend" scenarios, no one in states where you have to register or get a license (like NY and NJ) to purchase a firearm is ever going to buy a gun illegally for anyone else. Their mentality is this: if I fuck up and something comes back to me, I will lose all my precious guns forever. This is why mandatory registration is a good idea, but gun people will fight you tooth and nail on this.

In states where there are robust gun laws, gun stores are really really strict and won't even let the appearance of impropriety happen. They have too much to lose.

Guns shows... that's a whole other story. It's a giant grey market loophole that I'm amazed exists.
posted by danny the boy at 4:08 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the January 2001 Onion article - "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over":

"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012,"

Well, fuck.
posted by littlesq at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


What would the middle ground actually look like? "I should have guns, but crazy people shouldn't"?

As noted above, there's the huge problem of how you handle the effects of decades of largely unregulated gun sales; how you handle that I have no idea.

But basically (ignoring the political reality that it's all a non-starter, obviously), I'd start with an evidence-based approach. Meaning that the real issue here isn't the very rare mass shootings, but rather the incredibly high rate of violence that is heavily concentrated in small neighborhoods in places like Chicago and New Orleans. And to talk about that, you are going to have to talk about poverty and the totally failed war on drugs, among other things. And the crazy militarization of our police forces, which no one seems to talk about but is not a good thing at all.

That stuff matters a lot more than feel-good things like banning guns that look scary, honestly.

And then (keeping on the theme of political third rails, right?) I'd totally support making the same level of training and oversight that I had to go through to get a concealed carry permit to own a handgun. It's seriously not that onerous (just take a class and get a police background check, repeat every few years), and would hopefully catch a few of the people who can't keep their hands clean.

But in the end, it's not about guns themselves, but rather our societal attitudes towards violence. Address those, and gun laws will follow -- worrying about gun laws first misses the actual issue at play.
posted by Forktine at 4:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd totally support making requiring the same level of training and oversight that I had to go through to get a concealed carry permit to own a handgun.

ahem
posted by Forktine at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since there seems to be a shooting every week or so now, it looks like there will never again be an appropriate time to discuss limiting access to firearms. It's official.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Guardian is reporting that all 9 civilian victims in the shooting were shot by the police, and that the gunman didn't open fire on anyone except his erstwhile manager.

They're showing the video on TV now. The cops managed to hit 9 civilians while apprehending a guy about 10 feet away.
posted by Justinian at 5:17 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Guns shows... that's a whole other story.

Yes, I went to one in Central Pennsylvania some time ago. No I.D. required and I saw some booths discretely showing automatic conversion kits. They also had full automatic high-powered compressed-air lethal dart blowguns.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:18 PM on August 24, 2012


Oh, they managed to hit 9 people with 14 shots. Nice.
posted by Justinian at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2012






Fucking dumb cops shot more people than the actual criminal. They're getting sued. I think the decade of post 9/11 NYPD hero-worship just ground to a halt.
posted by Renoroc at 6:09 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gun control won't do anything for mass shootings. Crazy people are crazy and will find other means of mass killing. In fact, going back to Columbine even, most guns used in mass shooting have been legally purchased...don't know exactly what they went through; background check, waiting period etc?

OTOH, I have a solution for virtually every other gun crime: serialize ammo. If manufacturers can lazer etch coke bottles, they can damn sure etch slugs and casings. No ID, no ammo. Screw the weapons, trace the ammo. It's old tech too so it can't be terribly expensive...5 or 6 cent a round maybe?

Yea, I've already thought of the problems like home-loading, shotguns and rifling. If your a patent lawyer, call me.
posted by snsranch at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2012


Is it really fair to characterize this as a mass shooting? Dude had huge beef with another dude and shot him. Then the cops shot 9 people.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is it really fair to characterize this as a mass shooting?

Sure it's a mass shooting... by the police.

Ok, that's not right either, because there's no way that those poor officers started the day wanting to shoot anyone, much less nine people. But it does suggest that those breathless fantasies of "if only people in the theater were armed!" a couple of weeks ago were pretty silly. If two trained police officers shooting in daylight from eight feet away still managed to hit nine people, imagine what a theater full of armed people would have been like.

But it's also a good example of how the focus on new gun laws is misguided. According to the article I just read, he bought the pistol in 1991, and his ownership was illegal under NYC law. Stricter laws would not have prevented this.
posted by Forktine at 6:48 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nation Celebrates Full Week Without Deadly Mass Shooting

There's a "mass" shooting just about every night in Chicago and Oakland that no one ever hears about. This thing in NY was all over the international news.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:51 PM on August 24, 2012




Forktine: According to the article I just read, he bought the pistol in 1991, and his ownership was illegal under NYC law. Stricter laws would not have prevented this.
He bought it in Florida; I suspect stricter laws in Florida could have had an impact, yes.

But maybe it doesn't matter. I've come to believe that we in the US will never clamp down on guns, will never eliminate this sort of public suicidal shooting, because there's a powerful fraction of the US population which more or less enjoys such events. Men who enjoy thinking the world is dangerous and unpredictable, who enjoy planning out personal reactions and strategies to any number of hypothetical adrenaline-charged situations, who even fantasize about performing such acts themselves more than they would ever admit.

In the same way we're opposed to taxing the rich (because hey, becoming a billionaire could happen to anyone) we're opposed to gun control (because hey, you never know if you're going to need to go out in a blaze of gun-smoke).
posted by Western Infidels at 7:10 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


What would the middle ground actually look like? "I should have guns, but crazy people shouldn't"?

People always talk about why no one ever did anything about the crazy person before he shot a bunch of people, but then when someone is detained for talking crazy and making threats on the internet, people go apeshit and start talking about the first amendment.
posted by desjardins at 8:40 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


People always talk about why no one ever did anything about the crazy person before he shot a bunch of people, but then when someone is detained for talking crazy and making threats on the internet, people go apeshit and start talking about the first amendment.

Surprise, these may in fact be different people.
posted by grouse at 9:00 PM on August 24, 2012


Video of Jeffrey Johnson being shot down by the police on Fifth Avenue by the Empire State Building.
posted by nickyskye at 10:35 PM on August 24, 2012


Gun control won't do anything for mass shootings.

Why not? It has in other countries. Australia experienced a pretty awful mass shooting in 1995 - the Port Arthur massacre, which claimed 35 lives. The shooter used an AR15 assault rifle, from memory. Soon after, Australia enacted stringent gun control laws, outlawing all automatic and semi automatic rifles and shotguns, and only allowing ownership of other kinds of guns, including handguns, in particular circumstances (ie, farmers and sport shooters). The Goverment also implemented a mandatory gun buy-back scheme for the banned weapons. These reforms were proposed by the conservative side of politics, but recieved widespread bipartisan support.

Between 1995 and 2006, there was a 56% drop in gun violence in Australia. Also, we haven't had a 'mass' shooting (more than 4 deaths) since Port Arthur. In the 2 decades before Port Arthur, there were 13 such shootings. So I think that there is evidence that gun control does, in fact, work. Will madmen find other ways to kill people? Probably. But there's no reason to make it easy for them. Port Arthur wouldn't have been so terrible if the guy had only a knife.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [28 favorites]


Video yt of Jeffrey Johnson being shot down by the police on Fifth Avenue by the Empire State Building.

Also (previously): Video of man shot 40+ times by US police released
posted by homunculus at 12:23 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Between 1995 and 2006, there was a 56% drop in gun violence in Australia

There you go again with that whole logic thing.

We don't really do that here in the USA
posted by freakazoid at 7:18 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


People always talk about why no one ever did anything about the crazy person before he shot a bunch of people, but then when someone is detained for talking crazy and making threats on the internet, people go apeshit and start talking about the first amendment.

This may not be a good example. My impression was that people were upset because the likelihood of him ever receiving any actual psychological help was infinitesimal versus the likelihood of a prison sentence that leaves him in worst psychological shape and realistically greater chances of, afterwards or during, continuing to inflict harm on others.

If people believed he were being detained for the purpose of mental health evaluation and treatment, I think responses would have been different.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:21 AM on August 25, 2012


Oops sorry should have italicized the first paragraph - quoting desjardins.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:22 AM on August 25, 2012


My God, look at the red lines in the sidewalk coming from beneath a victim in the lead photo on the front page of the NY Times

That's a (gruesomely) fascinating image: this man's life leaving his body on a Midtown sidewalk, trapped in the cartesian grid pattern of Manhattan. You can see the guy on the chinos watching it flow, probably also thinking how weird and meta this is.
posted by Flashman at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2012


Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

So even the police are saying that officers caused all the injuries, except, obviously, for the original murder.

3 people were shot directly; 6 were hit by bullet fragments.
posted by Malor at 10:37 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a spectacular level of fail. They should probably get some training with those things before they run around doing that.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a spectacular level of fail.

The guy was crouching behind a planter, with a gun drawn and pointed at the police. He had just murdered someone with that gun. It is a crowded rush hour sidewalk. It's very unlikely for me to say such a thing, but that guy had to be shot. Now. And I don't think it would have been easy to analyse all of the firing lines, with a hot smoking gun pointed at your face. I doubt that many trained professionals could have resolved that better than those officers did.

The real hero is the unarmed security guard who chased him to the street and identified him.

But as to the guy with the knife shot 40 times, that's inexcusable. They should have some kind of sticky throw net in their trunk for cases like that.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:02 AM on August 25, 2012


Police: All Empire State shooting victims were wounded by officers

So even the police are saying that officers caused all the injuries, except, obviously, for the original murder.

3 people were shot directly; 6 were hit by bullet fragments.


Kinda puts the lie to all those idiots who said if only everyone were armed, these shootings wouldn't happen. If trained officers can't do it without endangering people, how are the weekend warriors gonna shoot these people?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:44 PM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah they're not. The NYPD and I think most police departments maintain statistics about every single round fired, and it is truly eye-opening just how inaccurate they are. There was an article in the New York Times that said they hit their target about 1/3 of the time.

From people who train, and have to retrain, to use their weapons.
posted by danny the boy at 1:33 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah they're not. The NYPD and I think most police departments maintain statistics about every single round fired, and it is truly eye-opening just how inaccurate they are. There was an article in the New York Times that said they hit their target about 1/3 of the time.

From people who train, and have to retrain, to use their weapons.


I've been deeply involved in several use of force investigations, two lethal. They go over everything. And it is so high-pressure. My first was two months after I became a lawyer. Because I was the first associate hired for my firm, when we had a multiple officer involved situation, we split up and each took one officer. One second into the interview, I learned i had the officer who had fired the fatal shots. Gulp.

But it was absolutely clean and on forward-looking-video.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:37 PM on August 25, 2012


@desjardins

wait so what did this guy say aside from the axe thing, because that seemed kind of not literal
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:36 PM on August 25, 2012


Maybe it's time for the NRA to have a competitor. Reasonable gun control lobbying by reasonable gun owners. You won't have the backing of munitions companies, but I bet you can muster more votes.
posted by harriet vane at 12:57 AM on August 26, 2012


A lot of gun clubs and shooting ranges require their members to be members of the NRA. The NRA gives them discounted business/shooting range insurance in return.

The NRA is very deeply entrenched in the US gun community.
posted by ryanrs at 3:17 AM on August 26, 2012




Okay, so I'm guessing I'm not the only one, but truth is, if something happens when I'm driving and I get really angry, I suddenly turn into a bad and frankly dangerous driver. So I have to really calm myself down, because otherwise invariably I'm going to speed up, I'm going to make mistakes. I might miss that red light ahead. These are all really dangerous.

So I check what's going on with myself. Maybe I'll pull over. I'll force myself to slow down. I'll talk loudly to myself about what's going on. If my wife is there, she'll put a hand on my arm or leg, tell me to chill out.

And the thing is, a car isn't even designed for killing. And in most cases, the target of that rage is another car, so worst case scenario usually you end up in one of those "two-guys-in-sumo-suits" type situation where the cars are banged up and the passengers don't feel great, but no one is dead (I'm talking your standard bumper to bumper here).

Guns are for killing pretty much exclusively. And if you get angry and then put one in your hand, no good can come of that. Guns are great for hunting, they're fair to middling for self preservation in dangerous neighborhoods. But they should never be held in the hands of someone who is angry. And the fact that pretty much anyone can get angry at any time means that it's not unreasonable to ask someone buying a gun, "When you get angry, what do you do? How do you deal with your anger?"

As far as I know, prospective gun owners do not have to show that they know how to use a gun or have received any training on a gun. They also don't have to show any kind of mental fitness to own a gun. They just have to have a clean record (and even then, as I understand it, some places former felons can own guns -- I really wonder where most gun advocates stand on that point, considering that most of them probably have a "tough" stance on crime and also considering the skin color of most NRA members vs the skin color of many ex-cons). We expect more from drivers than we do from gun owners. Seems fair to put a higher bar of entry out there.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:35 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm still waiting for someone to say that if only more bystanders had been armed, they could have defended themselves against these crazed policemen.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:39 AM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


A lot of gun clubs and shooting ranges require their members to be members of the NRA. The NRA gives them discounted business/shooting range insurance in return.

Citation please? I've gone shooting at the NRA range itself and there's no requirement to be a member there. You get some discounts if you are, though. Since I'm unwilling to support their lobbying lunacy I pay full freight. No other range I have been to (of a whopping 4 across a few states) has had that requirement either.
posted by phearlez at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2012


Citation please? I've gone shooting at the NRA range itself and there's no requirement to be a member there. You get some discounts if you are, though. Since I'm unwilling to support their lobbying lunacy I pay full freight. No other range I have been to (of a whopping 4 across a few states) has had that requirement either.

That's my anecdotal observation, also. At the few places I've been, there's a big discount for NRA membership and sometimes a lot of promotional literature, but no requirements for it.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on August 28, 2012


NRA membership is often a requirement of gun club or shooting range membership. Not for day use.
posted by ryanrs at 10:32 PM on August 28, 2012


NRA membership is often a requirement of gun club or shooting range membership. Not for day use.

I've been a member at three, and never had NRA membership required, though it was always offered at sign up and there was a discount in each case if you were an NRA member. And I'm talking about rural ranges/gun clubs with pretty fervent second amendment support, including scheduled hours for fully automatic shooting at the range, concealed carry classes, etc.
posted by Forktine at 6:12 AM on August 29, 2012


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