Enough
December 2, 2015 8:19 PM   Subscribe

America's gun problem is completely unique: Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change? To understand that, it's important to grasp not just the stunning statistics about gun ownership and gun violence in the United States, but America's very unique relationship with guns — unlike that of any other developed country — and how it plays out in our politics to ensure, seemingly against all odds, that our culture and laws continue to drive the routine gun violence that marks American life.

BBC: "Just another day in the United States of America. Another day of gunfire, panic and fear."

@igorvolsky retweeting offers of prayers from elected reps alongside how much they received from the NRA in campaign contributions.

Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again.

How the NRA stifled gun violence research

The rise of the Second Amendment as a serious obstacle to U.S. gun control legislation is astonishingly recent...

...[Chief Justice Warren] Berger said the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud -- I repeat the word ‘fraud’ -- on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”


**Bonus longread New Yorker piece on the 2nd Amendment: Battleground America by Jill Lapore**

John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research

Harvard Injury Control Research Center Firearms Research:
1. Where there are more guns there is more homicide (literature review).
2. Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide.
3. Across states, more guns = more homicide

Multiple studies show that armed bystanders are almost never able to act in any effective way to prevent shootings when they occur.

There is “no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime.”

Mother Jones' special report on Guns in America (2012) and their data on every mass shooting from 1982-October, 2015.

The majority of American support some gun control regulations. Unfortunately, this does not translate to passing any measures because of the charged atmosphere and rhetoric around the issue. Here are gun safety regulations that even NRA members support.

How to help reduce gun violence when you've had enough of mass shootings.

Tell Your Representative It's Time To Act on Gun Control (script included).

Educate yourself, your friends and family about gun violence

Organizations to support:
Americans For Responsible Solutions
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Brady Campaign
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Everytown

GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS
posted by triggerfinger (931 comments total) 224 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oops, forgot to link another article I really liked: Two years after Sandy Hook, the gun control movement has new energy (WaPo)
posted by triggerfinger at 8:29 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS

Finally someone in the media had the balls to come out and fucking say it. Thoughts and prayers are bullshit. You want to help? Call your fucking congressperson, donate some money and don't just vote; get out there, make your voice heard and work from the start of the process not the finish.
posted by Talez at 8:30 PM on December 2, 2015 [74 favorites]




@igorvolsky retweeting offers of prayers from elected reps alongside how much they received from the NRA in campaign contributions.

Holy shit this is amazing.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:33 PM on December 2, 2015 [126 favorites]


I just don't think that meaningful gun control will happen in my lifetime. Sadder than the non-arrival of gun control measures is the critical lack of gun education.

My education consisted of my father showing me how to respect and maintain a firearm; it wasn't perfect, and while heartwarming it wasn't enough. I'd reckon a lot of people get significantly less than that.
posted by ulteriormodem at 8:36 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh come on, guns didn't cause this tragedy. Everyone knows a disgruntled employee could leave a company party and just as easily come back and wring the necks of 14 people with just their bare hands. People kill people, not guns. Or mentally ill people...or not enough armed bystanders...or something...

Anyway, the NRA need not worry about the government taking away their guns so much as 300 million horrified citizens who are sick and tired of their public safety being hijacked by a bunch of good ol boy rednecks with small penises.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


So , when in America's history has the second amendment been helpful? Serious question. I can see the value of freedom of speech, religion , press etc., but everyone having a bunch of guns ? I don't get it. Like if I wanted to hunt deer couldn't I just check a gun out from a park ranger and give it back when I'm done like with a kayak? When I think of guns it's like, "What the fuck would I ever do with a thing like that?"

Also joining the NRA because you have a gun for hunting seems like joining the KKK because you have some concerns about completely unchecked immigration. Do people not get that it's an extremist group?
posted by freecellwizard at 8:42 PM on December 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


Fix The Second Amendment With Five Words and ban the sale of ammunition.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:44 PM on December 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


I wonder what the story is behind the San Bernardino shooting. The fact that there were three assailants speaks against the disgruntled/disaffected employee angle, but the choice of target and the "tactical" equipment they used don't really jive either.

I hope it wasn't motivated by radical Islam.
posted by flippant at 8:45 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


There were two mass shootings today, one in Savannah, Georgia and one in San Bernadino. It's the third mass shooting *since* the Planned Parenthood attack on Friday. There have been 355 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. More mass shootings than there have been days. (Mass shootings defined as any incident where four or more people are hit by bullets.)

The gun range a few miles from my house has full parking lot every time I've driven past. Local gun dealers are anticipating a huge, huge, HUGE Christmas. Because nothing says love like hot lead.

So, now, not only do we have to worry about Army of , and random terrorism from the usual suspects, now we really need to worry about the new Army of Heroes who think that because they own a shiny new pistol and took a class on how to load it, they're going to Save The Day(tm), and the death tolls are going to rise from crossfire and vigilantes who shoot people because "they was looking like they were reaching for a gun".

It's become fucking apocalyptic, and nothing is going to change. Nothing. There will be the usual "we shouldn't let this become routine", the various talking heads deciding who gets to be the focus of the two-minute hate, and then the next one will happen, and they'll be off to the races again, chasing the ambulances of the innocent dead who are sacrificed every single day so that gun manufacturers keep churning out wheelbarrows of cash to fill the gaping holes where the souls of our elected representatives used to be.

posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:47 PM on December 2, 2015 [58 favorites]


Thank you. This is the post I wanted to see today. I've gotten some traction by pointing out that the NRA's rhetoric is hurting responsible gun owners. Although I don't remember it, I'm told I was taught how to use a gun at an early age, growing up on farms. Although I question my mom's judgement on that, it gives me an in to start a dialogue on how the NRA's lobbying against reasonable gun control prevents reform. Bang bang, I'm one of you, you're a victim, too. No shame, I'll do whatever I can to encourage reform.
posted by Ruki at 8:48 PM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


So , when in America's history has the second amendment been helpful? Serious question.

It probably seemed a lot more rational (which is not to say wise) in the pre-modern era, when you might actually have been able to win a conventional war if you had enough people with smooth-bore muskets on your side.

But now? The 2nd amendment is an absurdity; an historical vestige of a completely different time in human civilization, not merely this nation's history. The NRA clamped onto that Constitutional amendment like a fucking lamprey, knowing full well that they had hacked America's legal system, and they've been getting rich and perverting this nation's civil society thereby for 40 years now.
posted by clockzero at 8:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [92 favorites]


On the other hand, I live in a town where there is a shooting range directly across the street from one of our middle schools. My daughter learns with the sounds of gunshots daily, plus, I can hear it from my house. So WTF?
posted by Ruki at 8:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


We don't need to revise the 2nd Ammendment. Let's just start paying attention to two overlooked words in the very first sentence : well-regulated.
posted by bgal81 at 8:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [131 favorites]


retweeting offers of prayers from elected reps alongside how much they received from the NRA in campaign contributions.

Some of the follow-up comments about House members express surprise that their complicity can be bought for a $2000 donation per election cycle. I think that's misguided. The $2000 is a mere token, a reminder that any slacking will lead to much more money going to any primary challenger who shows appropriate obeisance to Moloch.
posted by holgate at 8:53 PM on December 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


One of the LA stations (doing continuous coverage of the San Bernadino shooting) had a commentator who repeatedly said something to the effect of "If only the people at the party had been armed." and once or twice "The assailants backed away, maybe because someone shot back."
posted by Death and Gravity at 8:54 PM on December 2, 2015


I've gotten some traction by pointing out that the NRA's rhetoric is hurting responsible gun owners. Although I don't remember it, I'm told I was taught how to use a gun at an early age, growing up on farms. Although I question my mom's judgement on that, it gives me an in to start a dialogue on how the NRA's lobbying against reasonable gun control prevents reform.

I wanted to include links to orgs that responsible gun owners use as an alternative to the NRA but I'm not a gun owner so I have absolutely no knowledge of them and didn't want to guess. The NRA is absolutely toxic and I would really love to see a movement where all responsible gun owners withdraw their support of them in favor of something more reasonable.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:58 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again.

Mark my words, the change-of-subject distraction on offer this time around is going to be "prayer shaming."
posted by psoas at 8:59 PM on December 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


Anil Dash ‏@anildash
One thing Zuckerberg could do for less than $45 billion is a link on Facebook's homepage to contact your congressperson about gun control.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:01 PM on December 2, 2015 [73 favorites]


I'm with bgal81 on this one - we've completely overlooked the importance of "well-regulated" in the second amendment. I'm fine with people owning guns, but I think you'll also find that my definition of "well-regulated" would make a Swiss watch maker proud.
posted by fremen at 9:03 PM on December 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


One of the LA stations (doing continuous coverage of the San Bernadino shooting) had a commentator who repeatedly said something to the effect of "If only the people at the party had been armed."

That person is going to have to eat their words b/c the news are reporting now that one of the assailants in San Bernardino was an attendee at the party who got insulted, then went home and came back with his guns and body armor and friends and shot the place up!

Sorry for inappropriate jokes but I am in Los Angeles and punch-drunk-angry about this whole bullshit "unstoppable" gun violence thing and the only thing making me not cry a lot is making bad jokes
posted by holyrood at 9:08 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sure seems to me (and I guess I'm kinda baffled that the legal scholardom of the United States apparently disagrees) that the whole point of the Second Amendment is the need for the militia, not the right to bear arms: because a militia is a useful thing, people will need to own arms (ie barrel-loading muskets) so they can serve in it.
posted by Flashman at 9:09 PM on December 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


That prayer shaming article had me yelling at my monitor. I don't care if they pray. I care if that's all they do. Surely they've heard that god helps those who help themselves.

I love that Daily News headline.
posted by irisclara at 9:11 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Igor Volsky deserves major props for his response on all this today.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:11 PM on December 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


Triggerfinger, I agree. It is toxic. But the NRA has cultivated so much fear that otherwise responsible gun owners are blind to that fact. The best thing we can do is show how the NRA is victimizing responsible gun owners, so they will turn their allegiances elsewhere. From my experience, responsible gun owners need to be reassured that no one wants to take their guns away. When the NRA doubles down on its rhetoric, it causes the other side to double down as well. The NRA is lobbying against reasonable gun laws, and their rhetoric convinces RGO's that we want to ban guns, full stop. To create meaningful dialogue, they need to be convinced that is not the truth.
posted by Ruki at 9:13 PM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I work in San Bernardino, a couple of miles from where the shooting was today. My office had our annual "harvest lunch" at that complex a few weeks ago, in one of those conference rooms. Multiple people I know have friends who work in and around that area. I also used to live in Redlands, where more of the story is happening this evening. In fact, I keep expecting to hear a familiar name come over the wire.

I find myself, hours after the events unfolded, neither angry, nor numb, nor afraid.

I am just sad. Very, very sad.

San Bernardino has had a hard time for the last 30 years. I have half-joked with LA friends that San Berdoo and Redlands never make the LA Times unless it's bad news. In fact, back in July the Times did a series of articles and photo essays on the city. One example, "No room at the inn for innocence" -- subtitled, "At a San Bernardino motel, children grow up in the shadows of drugs and despair." That hotel is a couple of blocks from my office. I've probably seen some or all of those kids while driving to or from the freeway.

There are thousands upon thousands of Americans and others dead from gun violence. This wasn't even the only shooting today in the United States. There are many speeches to be made, laws that probably won't be passed, and this latest horror will be forgotten when the next one comes along. I get all that.

And it does turn my stomach to see "thoughts and prayers" handed out like they're supposed to mean something by duplicitous politicians and others.

It's just that there are 14 people never going home again. At least 17 more whose lives will never be the same. Countless relatives, friends, and acquaintances.

And there's me. By comparison, inconsequentially affected. Sad.

Got an email earlier that our office will be open tomorrow. So I'm going back to work.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [64 favorites]


I am honestly, truly and deeply conflicted about the second amendment. I absolutely believe that it was written with the intent that every person should haver the right to remain armed to protect themselves from oppression. Just read the framer's thoughts on guns. Jefferson was the original gun nut.

And yet the oppression gun owner is meant to protect against is the oppressed population that are the most harmed by gun ownership. Both in losing legal avenues to own guns, and being gunned down by police.

Every time I sit and think about how the second amendment got it wrong, I turn and see issues like Ferguson, Eric Garner and even the walls they're building around the city I live in, and I think "this is who and why the Founders wanted Americans to be armed. This needs and armed revolution to fix." But the wrong people are armed. The wrong people are dying and should we pass stricter gun control laws, it will be the drug war all over, with blacks primarily bearing the brunt of the law.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


That person is going to have to eat their words b/c the news are reporting now that one of the assailants in San Bernardino was an attendee at the party who got insulted,

Tne New York Times says this ...
The identities and motive of two of the gunmen were not clear. One has been identified as Syed Farook, an inspector with the San Bernardino County Public Health Department.
So it seems posssible that there is a connection. The name of the alleged shooter scares the crap out of me, however. I am really hoping the other two aren't from the same demographic, or things are going get even more ugly for American Muslims.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:18 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


How has the NRA hurt gun owners? Would the anti-RKBA politicians be less zealous if the NRA were itself less zealous? You don't see Planned Parenthood conceding the necessity of the partial birth abortion ban in an effort to reduce opposition to first trimester D&Es.
posted by MattD at 9:21 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


It probably seemed a lot more rational (which is not to say wise) in the pre-modern era, when you might actually have been able to win a conventional war if you had enough people with smooth-bore muskets on your side.

Citizen militias can still defeat modern armies, or at least hurt an invader badly enough to make them give up and go home. Consider the 2003 Iraq war, or the 2006 Lebanon war. If one had no desire to invade foreign countries, a well regulated militia could defend America against the implausible threat of foreign invasion far more cheaply than the current army.

A well regulated militia would store its assault rifles and RPGs in a secure bunker outside of town.

None of this should be considered relevant to discussions about private gun ownership.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:21 PM on December 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


I did the math a while ago and it worked out that you'd need approximately a company of well-trained redcoats firing at maximum rate to get into the same neighborhood of rate of fire of a single semi auto such as the ever popular AR-15. Of course, you can keep swapping out clips well after the redcoats slow down.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:24 PM on December 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


I absolutely believe that it was written with the intent that every person should haver the right to remain armed to protect themselves from oppression.

But then the state would label those people criminals. And the NRA is always telling us laws can't prevent criminals from getting guns. So, no problem.
posted by ctmf at 9:24 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wanted to include links to orgs that responsible gun owners use as an alternative to the NRA but I'm not a gun owner so I have absolutely no knowledge of them and didn't want to guess. The NRA is absolutely toxic and I would really love to see a movement where all responsible gun owners withdraw their support of them in favor of something more reasonable.

It would be nice to know if such a thing existed. But as far as I know, the organizations that have popped up as an NRA alternative did so because they felt the NRA was too moderate.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:24 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twitter turned Igor's #thoughtsandprayers reporting into a "moment". It' easier to see who he's talking about/to in this format.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:26 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The NRA has hurt gun owners by convincing them that liberals want to take their guns away, full stop, instead of enacting stricter laws. Likewise, most pro-choice activists don't agree that a woman should have a third trimester abortion "just because." Red herrings, in both cases.
posted by Ruki at 9:26 PM on December 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am starting to think of myself as a single issue voter and that single issue is gun control. There are so many issues that are actually more important to me, but all those issues are issues that domestic terrorists seem to think are issues worth killing people over. We can't have a true national debate about ANYTHING if there are people out there who feel entitled to murder those who disagree with them and have a convenient and quick means to carry out said murder. So I've come to see strict, strict gun control as a prerequisite for democracy. Disgusting but true.

I will not vote for any candidate who pays even mild lip service to gun "rights". I don't consider owning a tool whose only purpose is to wound living things to be a right.
posted by town of cats at 9:28 PM on December 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


guns don't kill people, inadequately armed bystanders going shopping or to a movie theater without planning to engage in an exchange of live fire at a moment's notice do

I made an offhanded remark about "wow, that's the first one this week" when I heard about the most recent one, and was shocked and horrified (and that takes a lot at this point) when it was pointed to me that it wasn't even the first one today
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:30 PM on December 2, 2015 [71 favorites]


The best thing we can do is show how the NRA is victimizing responsible gun owners

I disagree with the NRA on a lot of issues, but I don't see how they hurt me as a gun owner.

Maybe one of these mass shootings will finally be shocking enough to trigger serious gun restrictions, but nothing seems to have been bad enough yet. And I suspect that the possible options even then will be far more mild than the Australian example, rightly or wrongly.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2015


I am a responsible gun (long and hand) owner who thinks the NRA are as batshitinsane as the gun control advocates think. I think the only way to be called a responsible gun owner is to oppose the NRA assholes among other requirements.

I believe that at the time the 2nd Amendment was written, it's intent was good and probably needed. However, times change. I have fired an AK-47 for fun, and it is fun, but I see no reason whatsoever that a citizen should have the right to own one. There is no sport in it and it is, pardon the pun, overkill in the right/need to protect one's self.

I do not know how to change the fact that there are people who either are not deterred by the moral implications of killing another human or by the legal consequences. A highly motivated person looking to kill can find a way without a gun.

As for candidates that are both religious and anti some form of gun control supporters, I would sooner shoot them than vote for them.
posted by AugustWest at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


So, now, not only do we have to worry about Army of , and random terrorism from the usual suspects, now we really need to worry about the new Army of Heroes who think that because they own a shiny new pistol and took a class on how to load it, they're going to Save The Day(tm), and the death tolls are going to rise from crossfire and vigilantes who shoot people because "they was looking like they were reaching for a gun".

This terrifies me. Like no other. The number of people I've seen making the argument that they'd be able to protect another person, myself included. No, I do not want this and think you would just escalate and situation if not make it worse.

The second thing that terrified me? That someone will intervene and kill the shooter. We will never ever have meaningful gun control after that happens. It will not matter how statistically rate or how many shooting deaths rise because of increased gun ownership. That on time will seal the deal.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:31 PM on December 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


From my experience, responsible gun owners need to be reassured that no one wants to take their guns away

Speak for yourself. I want to take their guns away. Hunting rifles are defensible, but handguns should be illegal.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:33 PM on December 2, 2015 [78 favorites]


Fuck guns. At best, they're either incredibly dangerous toys, or they're part of some misguided attempt to defend oneself against largely imaginary criminals or the US army. The first is childish, the second delusional. We'd be better off with none of them.

Yes, this liberal wants to take them all away. Boo. And fuck the second amendment while we're at it, whatever it may mean.
posted by chortly at 9:33 PM on December 2, 2015 [54 favorites]


.

Just.

.
posted by qcubed at 9:34 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


those darned liberals, trying to politicize their desire to not to be murdered arbitrarily for being in public spaces
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:34 PM on December 2, 2015 [91 favorites]


"That someone will intervene and kill the shooter. ... That on time will seal the deal."

It's already happened a bunch of times. You don't hear about it on the national news because it's common enough to not be newsworthy.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:36 PM on December 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


Thanks for the great post, triggerfinger.
posted by oluckyman at 9:37 PM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


...a bunch of times

i call bullshit. ten incidents over ten years is not common - not even comparable to the number of shootings we've had this year.

let's make it interesting...go ahead and let the CDC do academic studies - they'll tell you what's common.

'to stop a bad guy with a gun, you need a developmentally disabled minor or his caretaker with a gun.'

ffs.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:45 PM on December 2, 2015 [27 favorites]


"That someone will intervene and kill the shooter. ... That on time will seal the deal."

It's already happened a bunch of times. You don't hear about it on the national news because it's common enough to not be newsworthy.

That article quotes 10 instances between 1998 and 2015. Meanwhile, in 2015 alone there have been 355 mass shootings to date.

I wouldn't call it 'common' in any meaningful sense.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:46 PM on December 2, 2015 [58 favorites]


The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a bazooka.
posted by mazola at 9:47 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]




...a bunch of times

That article shows ten incidences (two of which were by off-duty military) going back to 1997. Compare that to 33 mass shootings (54 dead, 111 injured) in just the past month.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:49 PM on December 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


The section of the Constitution that speaks to the organization, training, discipline and purpose of the militia is largely unknown or ignored. People repeat a few words from the 2nd amendment as the sole justification for gun ownership. Perhaps awareness of that section could help with understanding the intent of the those who wrote the Constitution. See Article 1, Section 8.
posted by X4ster at 9:49 PM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


> I disagree with the NRA on a lot of issues, but I don't see how they hurt me as a gun owner.

Because they push lies and bullshit and panic and fear. Because they obstruct even reasonable safety and restriction regulations that most gun owners say are good things. Because they are not on your side. They are on their side: their side is power and money.
posted by rtha at 9:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


Except that the CDC can't do academic studies of gun violence, because the NRA successfully pressured Congress to cut funding to the CDC when it did so.

In 1996.

Yes, that's twenty years of data we don't have, thanks to the NRA and our craven political representatives.
posted by chicainthecity at 9:51 PM on December 2, 2015 [99 favorites]


From my experience, responsible gun owners need to be reassured that no one wants to take their guns away


FUCK. THEM,

I WANT THEIR GUNS TAKEN AWAY!
posted by Cosine at 9:57 PM on December 2, 2015 [27 favorites]


>The NRA has hurt gun owners by convincing them that liberals want to take their guns away, full stop, instead of enacting stricter laws.

The "liberals" (scare quotes because Diane Feinstein, for one) have done that first part themselves.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:57 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


i call bullshit. ten incidents over ten years is not common - not even comparable to the number of shootings we've had this year.

The shootings are often done at places where guns aren't allowed anyway so it's hard to work out a bunch of hypotheticals about how much carrying guns can or can't help if as many people were armed as the pro-gun crowd seems to want. Obviously sometimes they can help, but a lot of times even professional armed guards aren't enough.

As for the 2nd, when I look at civil wars I've read about or seen in the media the anti-government forces are just as or often more brutal to citizens than the government is, even when the government sucks. If there are going to be armed people in our country, I would like that group of people to be heavily regulated in some way.

>> I disagree with the NRA on a lot of issues, but I don't see how they hurt me as a gun owner.

The thing to remember about the NRA is that they work for gun companies, not gun owners. Sometimes your interests are the same as theirs, sometimes they aren't.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:58 PM on December 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


Cheryl Wheeler
posted by X4ster at 10:01 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




I absolutely agree that the CDC or other appropriate agency should be able to do proper studies and that the politically motivated refusal to fund such studies is bullshit.

I was responding to the claim that it will only take "one" instance of someone intervening and killing the shooter to "seal the deal" and ensure that there will never be gun control.

Since that's already happened several times, either you decide the deal is sealed and give up or you realize that incidents of so-called good guys with guns stopping shooters is not enough to settle the debate. Hell, I'm in favor of gun rights and even I don't think those examples are sufficient evidence to declare the deal sealed.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:06 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


the deal is sealed and give up

Pretty much.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:08 PM on December 2, 2015


The best thing we can do is show how the NRA is victimizing responsible gun owners...

Of course, we must remember the real victims.
posted by adept256 at 10:09 PM on December 2, 2015 [24 favorites]




The second suspect killed by police was identified as Tashfeen Malik.
posted by Justinian at 10:15 PM on December 2, 2015


Regardless of whether you're ready to give up on gun control legislation, we're rapidly reaching the point where average people will be able to just 3D print gun parts and assemble them at home. I expect that even countries with really strict gun control laws are going to have a problem with homeprinted guns within a generation. So other approaches to gun violence besides more gun control laws are necessary.

Want to stop a majority of mass shootings? Figure out WTF is wrong with young men's brains and/or the culture of toxic masculinity that pushes them to choose this outlet. (Bonus: also probably transferrable to fighting terrorism.)

Want to stop the majority of gun violence? End the War on (Some) Drugs.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


The USSC has said clearly that licensing of firearms owners and registration of firearms is constitutional.

Add in a requirement that RESPONSIBLE gun owners be able to show proof of financial responsibility for losses caused by accident or negligence. Post a bond or get an insurance policy.

That way, when the police come across an unlicensed owner, unregistered weapon, or an irresponsible gun owner who can't or won't take responsibility for the potential risk, they just impound the weapon then and there.

It won't stop anyone, but it will get the mitigate the risk of the currently UNREGULATED Militia's supply of weapons..
posted by mikelieman at 10:20 PM on December 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


So, mikelieman, basically regulate guns like cars/driving? That's one of the most politically viable ideas I've heard.

I'm a self-proclaimed gun nut and hardcore Libertarian and while I wouldn't personally vote for that, I wouldn't get worked up over it either. Basically, the same way I feel about indoor smoking bans -- I'm against them on principle, but I don't get upset when they pass.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:26 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I did actually stop. We enacted laws, a gun buy-back, and a comprehensive ban, in Australia. No mass shootings since that. That hasn't happened for over a decade. It stopped, when we banned guns. It really is a brainless thing. People are being shot? Ok, with what? Guns? Ok, ban them.

My surprised face, when people stop getting shot.

You put a man on the moon, you can do this too.
posted by adept256 at 10:29 PM on December 2, 2015 [135 favorites]


Police unions across the country are asking the National Football League to rescind its ban on guns for off-duty and retired officers at games following a series of terror attacks in Paris.

"Current events, not least the unconscionable acts of terrorism we have recently experienced, only add to the desirability of having readily available armed law enforcement officers even if they are not officially 'on duty,'" a draft of the letter read, as quoted by the newspaper.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:34 PM on December 2, 2015


America's gun problem is completely unique: Why is it that for all the outrage and mourning with every mass shooting, nothing seems to change?

Nothing changes because guns are the means by which the right will regain control of the country if and when voter suppression, election fraud, Gerrymandering, and de facto control of the mainstream media are no longer enough -- and they are fully aware of that.
posted by jamjam at 10:35 PM on December 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


Sounds like this couldn't have been a spur of the moment workplace-thing because they had 3 explosive devices (I assume pipe bombs) with them. Still could have been a planned out workplace thing but it was definitely premeditated.
posted by Justinian at 10:38 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Red State: The Left’s First Talking Point on #SanBernardino

The political realities of gun control, however, are nothing compared to the fact that the Left simply does not want to concede that evil exists, because evil cannot be controlled. Guns can be controlled. Words can be controlled. Ideas can even be controlled. That is how the Left wants to make the world better. Attack things until they submit. But, evil doesn’t submit. It can only be fought against. That is the reality of the situation in San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Paris, Aurora, and every other major tragedy that claims innocent lives.

There is evil in the world, and it cannot be controlled. That simply does not fit into the grand idea of utopia that the Left has decided it will create. Ignoring that reality, that evil is out there, is why they will continue to politicize everything. They seek a way to control something they refuse to understand.

posted by Drinky Die at 10:42 PM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's the kind of worldview one should have outgrown in college. It's completely childish.
posted by Justinian at 10:48 PM on December 2, 2015 [80 favorites]


There is evil in the world, and it cannot be controlled.

So they clearly don't think any policy changes at all are worth thinking about.

Ignoring that reality, that evil is out there, is why they will continue to politicize everything.

Nope, no policy change consideration ever. That's what politicize means, and apparently that's bad!
posted by asperity at 10:48 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


So how do you non depressed people have hope amongst all this? Cause I seriously am losing hope in humanity when I read that it has happened 300+ times this year. I'm not American so I could sit here and say that it is just your country but it feels like this insanity (and not in a mental illness way) is taking over the globe of late. What can people do individually to counteract this disease of... Murdering each other? Is there anything that I can encourage my American friends to do that will make a difference?
posted by kanata at 10:50 PM on December 2, 2015


Unless that "evil" is a woman's authority over her own body. Then you're all for sweeping legislation to exert total political control at the expense of individual autonomy, ain't ya?
posted by Errant at 10:52 PM on December 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


So how do you non depressed people have hope amongst all this?

Well, here's my coping method.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:52 PM on December 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


In light of what's been said above, it should probably come as no surprise that the word filtering through the Nor-Cal hayseed hinterlands of my facebook feed is that the latest shooting is a "false flag " operation that Obama's gonna use to take our guns away. I wish I was shitting you.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 10:52 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm really trying to figure out how 30,000 dead a year and 80,000 more wounded/maimed a year can be called a success story for gun ownership by any sane human being.

This is three years and hundreds of shootings ago, but still holds true: The Simple Truth About Gun Control
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:52 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, one thing to remember is that mass shootings, similar to terrorism, are high profile but not statistically huge- in aggregate, the rate of gun violence in America has fallen drastically since 1993. So take heart in the numbers.

That said, just like terrorism, mass shootings have a more insidious effect on society- they warp our cultural norms and desensitize us to barbarity. They polarize us and poison our civil discourse. We must take our culture back.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:56 PM on December 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


Anyone interested in the Australian figures, this is a fantastic overview with lots of statistics. It is all the more impressive because it was a conservative politician who brought about the shift. (Arguably the single best thing Howard did in his terms as PM.) Circumstances between Australia in 1996 and the US now are indeed very different, but I still think it makes for a pretty compelling example.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:57 PM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


So how do you non depressed people have hope amongst all this?

Gun violence is actually at historic lows.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:57 PM on December 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


...in Australia. No mass shootings since that.

There have been mass shootings (4+ people shot) in Australia since the 1996 ban. Monash University (7 people shot), Hectorville (6 people shot), the Hunt family (5 people shot), and those are just the ones in which people died. There might be additional mass shooting incidents without fatalities that didn't get added to the "List of massacres in Australia" page. The cafe hostage crisis last year seemed this >< close to becoming another one.

You can argue that the Australian gun ban significantly reduced mass shootings but claiming that it ended them entirely is just a lie. Being dishonest like that just alienates people from considering your side so you might want to rethink your talking points.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:58 PM on December 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


I am for gun control. Full stop. Take them away. I also own a hand gun. Life is complicated.

I am severly outnumbered at work. 2 main sentiments expressed to me today.

1. This shooting is so awful, doesn't it make you want to go out and get a gun to defend yourself?

2. I wish this company would let me conceal carry, sure would make me feel safer.

I am beginning to think that more and more people actually want the wild west back.

I would like to believe that our police departments exist so we don't have to carry firearms. Unfortunately the police are all to happy to protect me (I am white) while gleefully (see what happened in San Fran today) gunning down unarmed African-Americans.

So, if the police can't be trusted and we obviously cannot be trusted to arm ourselves without disasters happening, what in the hell do we do?
posted by M Edward at 10:59 PM on December 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gun violence is actually at historic lows.


I don't have the facts handy but I believe the numbers for gun violence have taken an uptick in the past 2-3 years, I'll add link if I do find it.
posted by Cosine at 11:00 PM on December 2, 2015


Seems to me that a good chunk of the blame should go to the NRA, and the way it uses fear of mass shootings to achieve its political ends: to stop any talk about modifying the 2nd amendment. Black Friday saw the highest number of background checks for gun purchases in a single day.
posted by monospace at 11:01 PM on December 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:07 PM on December 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


There have been mass shootings (4+ people shot) in Australia since the 1996 ban. Monash University (7 people shot), Hectorville (6 people shot), the Hunt family (5 people shot), and those are just the ones in which people died.

Shootings ≠ deaths. 10 people have been killed in three "mass shootings" in Australia since 1996. The one which involved the most deaths, the Hunt family murders, involved a man shooting his wife, three children and himself - accounting for half of those "mass shooting" fatalities. While a tragic event, it's a far cry from the kinds of mass shootings we hear about happening in the US.

Meanwhile since 2013, there have been 994 mass shootings in the US, resulting in the deaths of 1260 people and 3606 injured. Oh wait, those figures are only as of 1 Oct 2015. Guess we can add to those stats, huh.

It doesn't matter how you interpret the statistics. Gun crime in Australia is minuscule compared to the US. There are far fewer guns in Australia than there are in the US. These two facts are not unrelated.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:13 PM on December 2, 2015 [56 favorites]


"...it feels like this insanity (and not in a mental illness way) is taking over the globe of late."

You're probably seeing an uptick in horrible things happening in the world because of an increase in your access to and/or attention paid to news about horrible things happening in the world. Because horrible things have ALWAYS been happening in the world.

"So how do you non depressed people have hope amongst all this?"

While I'm generally in favor of people staying informed, if it starts to affect your own emotional health then it may be time for a news fast. I take one myself sometimes when I feel too depressed or hopeless. Or if a news fast is too extreme for you, you could try increasing the amount of positive news in your mix and also reading a bit about the progress being made in economic development.

With the exception of the environment, things in general are on an upward trend these days in comparison to the rest of human history.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:14 PM on December 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I disagree with the NRA on a lot of issues, but I don't see how they hurt me as a gun owner.

As I understand it, they are blocking the sale of smart guns in the USA, which is something I would want if I were for some reason to have a gun in my house.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:17 PM on December 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm just sitting here trying to fit together the suspects, and what little we know about them, with the horrific act they ended up doing. Something just does NOT seem right here. It isn't like anything else, there's no pattern that makes sense to me. More details will inevitably arrive, but I'm feeling a crawling sensation all over my skin just trying to make sense of it.
posted by naju at 11:18 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


That said, just like terrorism, mass shootings have a more insidious effect on society- they warp our cultural norms and desensitize us to barbarity. We must take our culture back.

I've said thins before, but when conceal carry passed in Wisconsin, all the signs forbidding guns in local spaces went up, and it changed my perception of safety. Suddenly I knew there were guns around me. I am reminded everywhere I go there are guns among us. Suddenly, there is a little more edge to everything.

I went to a movie at a theater for the first time in a long time a few months ago. I had a niggling worry "what if tonight is the night, and someone decides to shoot up this theater, here?" We went anyway, knowing the number was statistically low, but feeling mildly uneasy.

That's what gun culture does. It erodes our sense of safety. My reaction would never be "guns" as it would only increase my awareness of the guns and lack of safety. But not for others, others will be reminded they should be carrying a gun. So the spiral worsens. And it's these thoughts that make me learn towards the second amendment being wrong.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:21 PM on December 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


I seriously am losing hope

- three week news moratorium: web, tv, radio, print...
- take a walk outside everyday
- snuggle your kid/cat/goldfish/partner. a lot.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:24 PM on December 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't have the facts handy but I believe the numbers for gun violence have taken an uptick in the past 2-3 years, I'll add link if I do find it.

Nope, gun violence is at historic lows in this country. Those are the facts.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:25 PM on December 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Gun crime in Australia is minuscule compared to the US."

I don't think anyone is claiming that it's not?

But when someone claims there have been *no* mass shootings since the 1996 ban then I have to wonder what else they're lying (or just grossly misinformed) about and thus their entire argument loses credibility.

Your side already has enough of an uphill climb from "TEH LIBRULS WANNA TAKE ALL Y'ALL'S GUNZ!" without adding "AND THEY'LL LIE THRU THEIR TEEFS TO DO IT!" on top of it.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:26 PM on December 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


People calling for banning guns could just as well hope for purple unicorns to come save us all from the evil gun menace....it's not going to happen. We need to focus our energies on strategies and goals that actually have a chance of being implemented. Spleen venting is not really helpful at this point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:29 PM on December 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would suggest a lying down protest, except I'm worried about the possibility of everyone getting shot lying down. Police or civilian, it doesn't matter.

I just really want change to happen, but I'm racking my brains trying to think of organizing tactics...we need to move forward. I want me and my loved ones to be able to go outside without having to worry about getting shot for no damn reason.
posted by yueliang at 11:33 PM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar: it's not going to happen

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
posted by traveler_ at 11:35 PM on December 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


Your side already has enough of an uphill climb
My side? I am Australian. I don't have a side in this. I am only worried about the Americans I know and love who could wind up being victims of the next mass shooting, since that is a hell of a lot more likely to happen in your country than in mine.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:36 PM on December 2, 2015 [46 favorites]


What's the NRA's cachet with younger generations? I feel that the gun question, like drug decriminalization, may be one of those issues that can only be solved with the passing of time. And with such issues, what's key is continually educating the next generation about the issues and facts, so that they may be able to effect change when they are in charge. Not that I'm saying that this battle should be forfeited yet.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:38 PM on December 2, 2015


People calling for banning guns could just as well hope for purple unicorns to come save us all from the evil gun menace....it's not going to happen. We need to focus our energies on strategies and goals that actually have a chance of being implemented. Spleen venting is not really helpful at this point.

Overton window. Mastered by the right-wing - used too little on the left because of this exact line of reasoning.
posted by scrowdid at 11:41 PM on December 2, 2015 [29 favorites]


Nope, gun violence is at historic lows in this country. Those are the facts.


We need to be careful about throwing terms around like "at historic lows", accuracy matters if anyone else is going to be swayed.

From the CDC:

US gun homicides 1999: 10.828
US gun homicides 2013: 11,208

Not just cherry picking two years either:

Average for the most recent 3 years that the CDC has stats on: 11,300

Average for the oldest 3 years that the CDC has stats on: 10,992

I said an uptick, which is correct.
posted by Cosine at 11:43 PM on December 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


"We need to focus our energies on strategies and goals that actually have a chance of being implemented."

I need to go to bed now, but in general I'm up for people bouncing their ideas off me to get an honest appraisal from a gun nut about how likely I would be to actively oppose various policy proposals and if there are any tweaks that would make them more palatable. I doubt that I'm representative of all gun nuts but there's only a few of us (corb, where are you?) still willing to participate in these threads on MetaFilter so you'll just have to make do with what you get. :)

If my reaction is "I don't like it but meh" then you might be onto something politically viable.

Banning handguns will always be a non-starter for me because stalkers. Banning long guns would be an ecological disaster in areas where deer are populous. But I'm willing to consider that guns could be regulated differently than they are now and that those changes won't necessarily lead to everyone getting murdered by criminals and/or the evil gubmint.

See y'all tomorrow.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:47 PM on December 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


And those numbers are only those that scientists at the CDC were allowed to collect. Can't be allowed to threaten the Second Amendment with science.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:47 PM on December 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Good luck!

I said an uptick, which is correct.

Not if you take into account the population increase of about 37 million that happened between 1999 and 2013. I mean I guess we have to clarify that we are both talking about per capita and not raw volume.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:50 PM on December 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


What's the NRA's cachet with younger generations?

The majority of America supports, at least in some form, the second amendment meaning private gun ownership is a basic right. The NRA seems to have the reputation on the 2nd of being like the ACLU. The ACLU is best explained by being the people who defend the right of Nazis to march in the public square. They defend the rights even if the results can be distasteful. A lot of Americans see that as a positive act that exemplifies positive American values about justice and rights.

I disagree with that view of the NRA. As I mentioned above, they are an industry lobbying group. An industry lobbying for the best legal climate for their industry is not the same thing as a non-profit defending rights because they are rights. It's a totally different agenda.

I wish that gun owners with reasonable views who understand this about the NRA would create an alternative organization that might eventually gain at least some influence which is more in tune with the rights of citizens than of industry, but they face the same barriers to fighting corporate political influence everyone does in this day and age.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:57 PM on December 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


There is a young man in my remote Alaskan town of 800 who is very vocal about the right to have guns and how he would be on the front line to defend the town from the bad people. Can't really figure out who he is referring to. He weighs about 300+ pounds. This is not fat shaming I am trying to do here, what I am trying to say is that he thinks the simple fact of owning a firearm somehow endows him with the ability of a highly trained soldier. Knowing how to pull a trigger is not the same thing as being able to fight a ground war. Any suggestion to this kid that he is deluded is met with the kind of sputtering tea party fury that is impossible to get through.

He lives in a combined household of two families, among them is a toddler. He is the type of person who will have a loaded gun next to his bed "just in case", in a town where we don't lock our doors and practically everybody leaves the key in the ignition. I fear for that toddler.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 12:03 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment (includes a good deal of NRA history)
posted by artlung at 12:04 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina came out swinging against President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for politicizing the mass shooting in California.

“Without knowing any of the facts of what has happened there or why, President Obama and Hillary Clinton immediately came out and made a political statement for gun control,” Fiorina said during an online town hall on Wednesday evening. “Instead of Mrs. Clinton calling for more laws, why don’t we enforce the laws that we have and, as well, enforce the Second Amendment?”
posted by Drinky Die at 12:17 AM on December 3, 2015


Jacqueline: Banning long guns would be an ecological disaster in areas where deer are populous.

Ok, I'll start by just flat-out telling you that's baloney—and I say that as a deer hunter. I would be more polite with my words but we're talking about people dying here. Deer reproduce quickly and starve often; resource limitations are the constraint on their population, just as for almost all animals. Hunting, like predation, is a blip that changes how some fraction of the year's dead deer get that way. It has only a tiny overall effect on how many.
posted by traveler_ at 12:21 AM on December 3, 2015 [82 favorites]


Honest question because I care about these issues not trying to make a point or anything...Is there a valid argument that a gun death is more humane than starvation? Or car impact? (Yes I am from PA how did you know?)
posted by Drinky Die at 12:23 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


A reminder that The Onion has found the one case where scrolling automatically to the next article works.
posted by ckape at 12:53 AM on December 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


Jacqueline: here's one:

Gun insurance. Like car insurance, fire insurance, liability insurance. You have to pay a different policy for each gun you want to own. Different guns command different rates- an assault rifle will have higher premiums.

Like all insurance, your premiums will vary on your demographics. Isolated loners can expect higher premiums, due to their propensity for suicide/mass shootings.

We all have to pay insurance to cover the consequences of abusing cars, or our own health. Why should we not have the expectation that innately dangerous objects should require insurance to mitigate the impact of their abuse.

And it's entirely a part of making a 'well regulated militia'.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 12:59 AM on December 3, 2015 [64 favorites]


Wednesday was an absolutely wonderful day for weapon and ammunition manufacturers, and for those who retail it all, also. Their stock value has got to have risen -- I don't know that, I'm not a money guy, but I'm sure that plenty of people here on metafilter have a good money head and could track the valuation of various weapon and ammunition manufacturers, and see how well they do after mass murders, due to the fear factor, gun lovers afraid they've got to buy their AK47 now, today, pronto, and ammo for it, too, as much as they can fit in their cart, because, hey, they might not be able to next year.

I would lay money that the NRA also saw and will see a huge surge in new memberships, renewed memberships, extended memberships. Probably even straight-up contributions.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:02 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wednesday was an absolutely wonderful day for weapon and ammunition manufacturers, and for those who retail it all, also. Their stock value has got to have risen -- I don't know that, I'm not a money guy, but I'm sure that plenty of people here on metafilter have a good money head and could track the valuation of various weapon and ammunition manufacturers, and see how well they do after mass murders, due to the fear factor, gun lovers afraid they've got to buy their AK47 now, today, pronto, and ammo for it, too, as much as they can fit in their cart, because, hey, they might not be able to next year.

To draw any meaningful conclusions, you'd need control data. And to get that, you'd need some period of time in which mass murders weren't happening. Sorry.
posted by kafziel at 1:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


A state representative in Kansas has given up his seat to become an NRA lobbyist. Said lawmaker was the point man for making Kansas one of the few states that allow concealed carry without a permit.

Save for obscenities, words fail me.
posted by bryon at 1:42 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jacqueline wrote: You can argue that the Australian gun ban significantly reduced mass shootings but claiming that it ended them entirely is just a lie.

Adept256's statement was incorrect, but calling it "a lie" implies that you have access to his internal beliefs. The "no mass shootings" claim has been widely reported; maybe he was repeating a report like that, maybe he was just mistaken.

You linked to the Wikipedia list of massacres in Australia. By your account, there have been precisely two mass shootings since 1996. One of those (in 2011) was a crazy guy shooting his neighbours; I don't know if that should be counted. The other was in 2002 and resulted in a dramatic further tightening of Australian gun laws. There have been none since then, although (as you say) we may have narrowly avoided one last year.

So the actual evidence is that gun laws reduce the incidence of gun violence, and further laws reduce it further. But, even counting both your examples, and counting all other incidences of gun homicide, the Australian homicide rate (adjusted for population) is about a twentieth of the USA's. Here are the statistics for the last five years, taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
2010    2011    2012    2013    2014
36	33	42	36	35
Being dishonest like that just alienates people from considering your side so you might want to rethink your talking points.

I can see that you're angry, but that's a pretty lousy thing to say.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [85 favorites]


To answer a question I saw asked earlier in the thread, the militia is a legacy of the Colonial days.

Broadly speaking, we were British colonies that were far away from Britain and it also cost money to keep British troops over here. Why not let the men in town train every now and again with their muskets to fend off Indian/French raids? It saved the Empire money. It kept the colonists happy (since they don't have to wait hours or days for the British to march from Fort Whatever, if there even WAS a Fort Whatever since a lot of the colonies were still The Boonies). Win for everybody. It also hooked into the fugitive slave patrols, especially down south.

Of course it kind of backfired to have a bunch of armed and organized men when you decided to crack down, but so it goes.

And the Founders were extremely suspicious of a standing state army being used by a tyrant to oppress the people (thus things like the Third Amendment as well as the Second), or embark on foreign adventures, which is why we didn't have a large Regular Army for many years. The idea being we'd keep a small, elite cadre just in case, and then if we were attacked, we'd call up the militias and volunteers for self-defense purposes. Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days of service during the opening of the ACW, for example.

It's only relatively recently we have a standing army at all, much less the one we have now.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:51 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's was mentioned up thread but at the bottom of it is a failure of democracy.
The majority of Americans don't want to get shot or shot at.
A minority of gun manufacturers want to sell lots of guns. To insure this they have engineered a climate of fear and anxiety that can only be soothed by buying a gun.
Then, they bought a bunch of politicians to make sure the government didn't stand in their way.

Until someone buys back to politicians nothing will change. If I were writing a story about it, I would imagine that the death of a very wealthy guy's beloved would provoke this.

I'm so sorry for the family of those who died.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:56 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, if the police can't be trusted and we obviously cannot be trusted to arm ourselves without disasters happening, what in the hell do we do?

Logically, it would be working on inequality and race issues (same thing mostly, but not always), and supporting communities, but that's even more pie in the sky than asking people to give up their guns, I guess.
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:57 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've never gotten over Sandy Hook. I'm at an all time low here. I have come to believe in my heart that a significant majority of Americans truly believe thousands and thousands of deaths are a totally acceptable thing. We're never going to fix this. Everyone here is eventually going to lose somebody they love to a gun and its never going to change. The NRA will continue lobbying, gun companies will keep on posting greater and greater profits and laws that make it easier to kill people (like Stand Your Ground) well get passed in greater numbers by craven politicians.

I can't stop working towards making things more sane but it's a sissyphusian task. The NRA will always, always win and since there is no afterlife they will just die rich and pass their blood money on to a new generation of nightmare people.

Monstrous, monstrous.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again.

I'm a Brit looking in at this from the outside, but I've visited America a great deal and I know the country reasonably well. What I don't understand is this:

Why is it that all the passion and practical activism on this issue seem to be gathered on the NRA's side?

Why doesn't the US have a grass-roots movement for gun control that's equally as persistent and effective as the NRA?

If an organisation like this were to outspend and out-lobby the NRA, wouldn't craven legislators tend to support gun control instead?

Given the attraction of a slogan like "We're saving innocent American lives", couldn't corporate sponsors or a Silicon Valley billionaire be found to help fund such a campaign?

Might Obama be persuaded to run it after his final term's completed?

If no such organisation exists now, wouldn't this be a good time to start one?

I know none of this is easy, and I know any meaningful change would take huge commitment over many years. The fact remains, however, that there are far more sane Americans than crazy ones, and in that sense the numbers hugely favour gun control. Part of the problem is that many people react to each new atrocity by shrugging their shoulders and glibly assuring us that nothing can be done.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:11 AM on December 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


People calling for banning guns could just as well hope for purple unicorns to come save us all from the evil gun menace....it's not going to happen.

It is a simple answer. It would work (if there were the will, and if there weren't the fear).

I think it's also an easy thing for those of us not from the US to say, because American attachment to guns and gun culture is so alien and incomprehensible to us. For most non-Americans (and plenty of Americans, of course), a gun seems like it would be an easy thing to give up. It's not central, important - it's a tool or maybe a hobby. But in the US, it seems to have been woven into the idea of personhood (and much more besides). It's hard to wrap one's head around.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:16 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why doesn't the US have a grass-roots movement for gun control that's equally as persistent and effective as the NRA?

There is a large gun control lobby in the US. Some of the biggest lobbying groups are linked in the FPP. They just have lost the debate for a few different reasons. It's not for lack of trying or lack of a base of support. The Supreme Court gave the movement some severe blows and it never really recovered.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


fremen: "but I think you'll also find that my definition of "well-regulated" would make a Swiss watch maker proud."

Or even a Swiss gun-owner.
posted by chavenet at 2:48 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


So , when in America's history has the second amendment been helpful? Serious question. I can see the value of freedom of speech, religion , press etc., but everyone having a bunch of guns ? I don't get it. Like if I wanted to hunt deer couldn't I just check a gun out from a park ranger and give it back when I'm done like with a kayak? When I think of guns it's like, "What the fuck would I ever do with a thing like that?"
One of the primary examples the NRA provides when asked what exactly they have in mind for the uses of gun rights is the Battle of Athens, Tennessee in 1946, which if nothing else is a really interesting piece of American history. Dirty cops in the town of Athens ruled the county with an iron fist by rigging elections, imposing arbitrary fines, shaking down travelers, getting paid by the state per arrest, and arresting anyone who objected. Things came to a head when GIs returned from the war and organized an opposition candidate who was expected to lose despite overwhelming popular support due to obvious fraud. This resulted in The Battle of Athens when those GIs took up arms and chased out the county government by force and fairly counted the ballots.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:48 AM on December 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Is there a valid argument that a gun death is more humane than starvation? Or car impact? (Yes I am from PA how did you know?)
posted by Drinky Die

I just coughed up $5 after lurking for years, because I feel so strongly about animal starvation. Its really dehydration and small scavengers don't wait until cardiac arrest. We took out the large predators so its pretty much on us to pick up as much slack as we can. Auto vs. deer if not fatal still usually is going to mean fractures and the same miserable death.
Here's a little background since this is my first post, I'm Scotch-Irish/NDN, way to liberal to be a Missouri Republican and way to hillbilly for Democrats.
posted by ridgerunner at 2:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


As to why they've lost the debate, I'd say there's several things.

While there may be support for more gun control, there is very little support for an outright ban on handguns. There's also significant support for the NRA and for concealed carry of handguns. Obviously that data is from 2014, but then, there were mass shootings in 2014 as well. (God help us).

So the first problem is that many people support some measures, but otherwise many people still like the idea of having guns around in some fashion, even if it requires a background check or training course. The NRA is able to paint liberals and those on the left as hysterical jackbooted gun-grabbers (actual words from NRA literature, not exaggerated!) and widely circulates images of liberal and leftist politicians hollering BAN ALL GUNS BAN THEM ALL I HATE THEM. Which people don't support. Many on the left play right to type with this.

The second problem is that to just ban them all, you'd have to repeal an Amendment, which is an incredibly difficult legislative process and usually requires substantial effort. That's the system working as intended. it's designed to be hard. So even if you could get some measure of a mandate, you have to mobilize the will not just to get politicians elected on the national level, but on the state level as well. I won't go into the whole process, but we've repealed all of one amendment since 1789 and that was Prohibition.

So, okay, you can't ban them all. What can you do? Here we come to one of the third problems, which is two-fold: the politicians writing firearms legislation don't know a damn thing about guns, so they write legislation full of loopholes. As an example, the Assault Weapons Ban banned several things by name, but leaned heavily on a list of what could be called "scary cosmetic" features like folding stocks and bayonet lugs.

Basically, I have a semi-automatic AK clone with a scary folding stock and bayonet lug? I slap it in a regular wooden stock and take a grinder to the bayonet lug, hey, no problem, it's 100% legal, I can buy it by the crate.

Effects on crime were minor, if any (read the Wiki articles if you want to delve into the studies) since they're widely regarded as scary but weren't used in that much crime. (Whether that's changed in the current surge of mass shootings, I don't know!).

So we come to a circular loop of "It's hard if not impossible to write gun control laws that will make it through the legislature, while the ones that do make it through the legislature are minorly effective at best, so even if gun control passes, nobody sees a big difference, so support for gun control is hard to maintain."

In the meantime, the group that represents manufacturers also represents firearms owners, and a lot of those are single issue voters that'll go vote in whatever the NRA tells them to vote in, be it some local election or be it electing Bernie Sanders to spite the other guy. Many on the left don't vote in regional or local elections (and have to be motivated to turn out for national elections). The hardest core gun owners will vote for Bernie Sanders if the NRA tells them to. Can you imagine liberals/leftists voting for Trump if the Brady Campaign told them to?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


LeRoienJaune
I've got $100K of insurance more if sued, it covers everyone in the household (4). There was no questions about how many or what kinds of guns we use. Its not even a separate line in the farm policy, its just covered like a bull or a tractor on the road. The cost is way less than $50/mo.
posted by ridgerunner at 3:13 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not that this will make any difference to xenophobic wingnuts (or apparently a large number of Congressional Democrats), but apparently one of the assailants was born, raised, and apparently spent his whole life in the US. Legislation targeting refugees wouldn't have prevented this, but it regulation or banning of straw purchases and federally-standardized import laws for interstate transport would.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:25 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I don't consider owning a tool whose only purpose is to wound living things to be a right.

This is not the only purpose. Many people shoot only for sport (eg, target, skeet) and won't even shoot at paper targets with people on them. It's an Olympic sport, so even countries with strict gun control laws allow their athletes to use various kinds of guns. I'm a staunch supporter of gun control, but I see this statement all the time and it's just flat-out wrong.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


I would love to believe that gun control was merely a public policy issue, since that would imply that the normal levers of rational persuasion such as risk likelihood, cost-benefit analysis, and reasonable tradeoffs would apply. But it isn't. As Garry Wills so powerfully argued, guns are America's death cult. They are our Moloch:
The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.
Needless to say, the NRA are the high priests of this form of radical religious fanaticism. Unfortunately, Americans also have a bizarre reverence for the Constitution, a badly flawed and dated document that also has built-in mechanisms that make it difficult-to-impossible to revise significantly, so the Second Amendment, which has gone from being a quaint relic to an active enabling force for evil, will probably never be stricken.
posted by informavore at 3:34 AM on December 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


There is only one viable argument against strong gun regulation.

'Fuck off, I like guns.'
posted by sfts2 at 3:35 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


So , when in America's history has the second amendment been helpful?
Wounded Knee '73?
posted by ridgerunner at 3:40 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


There's so much to cover at this point that the media won't be able to properly report on each incident of mass murder in the USA. We'll start getting summaries of mass murder alongside stocks and football scores. "Today's mass shooting: San Bernardino, 20."

Fucking fuck.
posted by duffell at 3:57 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Many people shoot only for sport (eg, target, skeet) and won't even shoot at paper targets with people on them. It's an Olympic sport, so even countries with strict gun control laws allow their athletes to use various kinds of guns. I'm a staunch supporter of gun control, but I see this statement all the time and it's just flat-out wrong.

I have shot for sport and won't shoot at paper targets with people on them. I enjoyed it. That doesn't mean the point of guns isn't killing things. I ended up deciding that I wasn't comfortable handling guns. Reasonable people can arrive at a different decision (my brother went to lengths to buy a rifle in the most responsible manner possible), but it doesn't mean that the point of guns (or their guns) is suddenly sport.

It's also worth noting that Olympic shooting events are dominated by soldiers. I'm sure there are a people without military experience, but it's a competition where an awful lot of the participants do not limit their contact with firearms to sport.
posted by hoyland at 4:13 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


Just sick over the latest shooting of so many, only to have a friend who called to invite me to a Christmas concert say "if they outlaw guns only the bad guys will have them. " This from a supposedly intelligent woman who the minute before was sad about all the violence. Sad to say she is a big fan of talk radio and an anti-gay bigot, but she is also a friend since childhood so not someone I can just ignore and she is otherwise a decent person.
posted by mermayd at 4:21 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Room 641-A: This is not the only purpose. Many people shoot only for sport (eg, target, skeet) and won't even shoot at paper targets with people on them. It's an Olympic sport, so even countries with strict gun control laws allow their athletes to use various kinds of guns

See, now we're getting somewhere-- limit people to Olympic shooting event weapons? So single load and five shot .22 pistols and rifles or over-under shotguns? Sure! They can still can be deadly, but not to this extent.
posted by bluecore at 4:21 AM on December 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


'Fuck off, I like guns.'

Yeah, I've always thought the gun nuts' real slogan should be:

"The NRA: Because your dead kids are a price worth paying for our fun".
posted by Paul Slade at 4:23 AM on December 3, 2015 [73 favorites]


I just contacted my Congress critters. Their contact forms says EVERYTHING about how they think about this issue.

Amazing progressive Senator (D) -- has a category for gun control, also has every possible honorific you can conceive of
Right-ish of center Senator (R) -- has a category for security
Right-wing Tea Party Congressman (R) -- has a category for Second Amendment Rights, and an honorific for Reverend but not Rabbi (Senator-D with every honorific imaginable had both)
posted by mostly vowels at 4:30 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I always find it interesting, how much people just get used to things. America, which is often in the news, has an astonishingly large prison population and massive number of gun deaths. And that's just sort of the way it is. Britain has (well, had until recently) absurd libel laws that massively favour the suer, an impartial television news service and an incredibly brutally partisan newspaper business. France has a 70% (!!!) muslim prison population. I'm sure that we can all point out things that look utterly insane to an outside viewer.

I have, in my life in the UK, seen and handled a gun on two occasions, one on a shooting range under heavily regulated circumstances, and once on a hill in Yorkshire failing to hit clay pigeons while being mocked by an elderly Yorkshireman. I have never seen a handgun, or ever had the urge to see one. I cannot imagine living in a nation where you could be sitting on a train where someone has a weapon which could kill you almost instantly.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 4:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [22 favorites]


Well for one thing, we don't really have trains here (she says as she sits aboard an eastbound train--but it's my first train trip in years and most Americans in most of the country other that eastern and western coasts will never board a commuter train).

Anyway, it also is true that how big a part of your normal life people packing heat is depends on where you live. I know people in my progressive Appalachian city have guns but I live in such a liberal bubble I have the luxury to not usually think about the people around me having guns on their persons.

That said, there was a mass shooting/SWAT stand off a few blocks from my house (I was home, it was a Sunday morning) several years ago. Unsurprisingly it was a young white male who was a charming white supremacist and thought Obama was gonna take his guns. He shot and killed three cops by setting up an ambush when his mom (who he lived with) called 911 for a domestic dispute with him. He shot it out with SWAT for like three hours.

I really want more people to make the connection between police militarization and the ubiquity of guns. When the people you're trying to police are armed to the teeth, it's an easy next step to "well, we just have to be armed to the teethier." If you want a less paramilitary police force, how about we all deescalate together, as a society?
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:58 AM on December 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Thanks for this terrific post and discussion. Truth be told, with every incident like this, the United States drift away from that wonderfully energetic ideal that the country represented in my youth. Of course I wanted to live there! After trying a couple of times to make that happen, I gave up in my twenties. Frustrated, because it truly was my dream. But things worked out anyway.
With news like this, day in, day out, I cringe when I think back of my old ambitions. Obama's presidency looked like a game changer, but while I'm still convinced he tried to change the mentality of the country, I see a weary man, done fighting. And it looks sad. One man is not enough to make a difference. Not even Obama.
As far as I am concerned the US are part of the problem. I feel for the US mefites with their hearts in the right place, but Murica has become a joke.
posted by ouke at 4:59 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Dear San Bernardino, on Your Day After: But for me, as the early days wore on, the realization my girlfriend was now a statistic, a case out of hundreds now part of one of the truly unnecessary narratives of this generation, put a tight burning sensation around my chest I feel each time I read reports of another person killed with a gun.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


limit people to Olympic shooting event weapons? So single load and five shot .22 pistols and rifles or over-under shotguns? Sure!

It's a starting point, absolutely. This is all 5am/no caffeine yet/off the top of my head but you could let people own handguns, or grandfather in the handguns they already own, but only sell ammo at licensed firing ranges. Maybe you even only "rent" the ammo: buy a box of 100 rounds, return a box of 100 shells. (Something like the Chris Rock solution. NSFW) Or talk about antiques, or special sport licenses.

But in any event, simply separating sport from other uses as a discussion point could be a huge step in bringing people to the gun control side. The details don't even matter; now we're having a productive conversation that could lead to solutions. But saying guns only exist to hurt living things is like saying Planned Parenthood only provides abortions. You can adamantly oppose abortion but still support using public funds to help women who need healthcare. You can be in favor of strict gun control laws but still support legal uses.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:10 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


The killers were "devout" Muslims. Shit. Expect the terror angle to start soon and the tenor of the discussion switch to Islamophobia. Trump will probably gain in the polls. It's like watching fascism come in slow motion.
posted by Talez at 5:16 AM on December 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


Finally someone in the media had the balls to come out and fucking say it.

Maybe the problem is that the media that you consider the media is the same media that corporations use to sell security systems to morons. MY media has been saying it for over a dozen years - every time it happens. If you think MSNBC and FOX are giving you different points of views maybe you should rethink your ability to discuss politics. I haven't willingly watched cable news since the beginning of the Iraq war and it floors me what supposedly educated and open minded people consider valid political discussion.
posted by any major dude at 5:20 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't watch cable news either, mostly because I don't have cable, but it seems weird to claim authority about something that you haven't been exposed to in over 10 years.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


"...but only sell ammo at licensed firing ranges. Maybe you even only "rent" the ammo: buy a box of 100 rounds, return a box of 100 shells."

If you make it difficult / more expensive to buy ammo, you're just discouraging people to practice, which seems like it would lead to more accidents because people would be less likely to hit their intended targets when they do shoot.

Also, anything that has to be mediated through a gun range is impractical in rural areas. Around here, people do their target practice in their backyards.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:23 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


We love our guns more than we love ourselves.
posted by tommasz at 5:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


MattD said: How has the NRA hurt gun owners? Would the anti-RKBA politicians be less zealous if the NRA were itself less zealous? You don't see Planned Parenthood conceding the necessity of the partial birth abortion ban in an effort to reduce opposition to first trimester D&Es.

Hey, look, everyone! A warmed over Rush Limbaugh talking point!
posted by kewb at 5:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why doesn't the US have a grass-roots movement for gun control that's equally as persistent and effective as the NRA?

Ghostride The Whip covered this really well. The US is an oddity, as the article notes, in part because there is very widespread support (especially among people who vote) for legal gun ownership. There is also broad support for increased common-sense restrictions and controls on gun ownership, but those more nuanced proposals seem to be very easily blocked. I'd call that a failure of our political process and a sign of how corrupt national politics is, and it has also proved to be exceedingly hard to mobilize people around with any effectiveness.

It's also true that the gun control measures of a couple of decades ago (including the Assault Weapons Ban) turned out to be mostly a joke, almost effortless to bypass and not providing much check on the actual sources of violence, which doesn't help this at all.

I own guns. Almost everyone I know and work with owns guns, some of them crazy numbers of guns. The majority of them, and myself, are fully in favor of common-sense controls (like effective background checks, say), but that support disappears the instant any tinge of "let's ban all guns!" appears. For all that he is sadly not viable as a candidate, one of the things I like about Bernie Sanders is that he has some credibility on this issue from years and years of supporting gun rights; none of the other candidates from either party have that kind of bipartisan credibility and I can't imagine any of them leading a path towards sensible controls.

Hunting, like predation, is a blip that changes how some fraction of the year's dead deer get that way.

This is not at all true nationally, though it is probably true in places (like suburbanized stretches of the eastern seaboard) where population density precludes most hunting. Hunting has a huge impact on animal populations, deer included, and hunting regulations and access are adjusted year to year to control and maintain populations.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:37 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I do like the gun insurance idea, though, since it would internalize some of the externalities of gun ownership and insurers could offer discounts for responsible behavior like completing substantial training. But for it to work, premiums would have to be low enough to not price everyone but the very rich out of being able to afford to defend themselves, nor should it be used as a backdoor gun ban by imposing so many regulations on the insurers that no company will issue a gun insurance policy.

So that's another one of those proposals that I might not vote for personally but I also wouldn't campaign against either. It goes hand-in-hand with the general "regulate guns like cars" idea, which I've been warming up to over the years.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:41 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I watch MSNBC (mostly Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow) and don't really appreciate the condescension of saying I'm not informed. Like everyone else, most of my news comes from various internet sources, including Mother Jones.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:42 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Room 641-A: But saying guns only exist to hurt living things is like saying Planned Parenthood only provides abortions.

Poor analogy and a bit of a derail. Also, I completely disagree with you. Guns do only exist to hurt living things. Every secondary use (home defense, hunting, target practice) comes from the fact that it's a deadly device. Practicing with paper targets is just that: practicing at killing. There's a reason a lot of the targets are man-shaped or deer-shaped, just as there's a reason home defense advocates talk about "stopping power." Taking pleasure from developing accuracy doesn't change the fact that it's fundamentally a device to put a deadly fast moving piece of metal into soft flesh. If it's only about accuracy or skill, let's try limiting firearm ownership just to air rifles (also used in Olympic shooting) and see the uproar that follows that.
posted by bluecore at 5:43 AM on December 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


any major dude: You really ought to give Al Jazeera America a try. I bet it would change your opinion of cable news channels.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:44 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think we've already seen what happens when more people have guns...there's that biker gang shootout in Waco. It doesn't seem to diffuse the situation at all.
posted by xingcat at 5:45 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah: you see friendly fire deaths in situations where the "good guys" are trained, coordinated, have advanced warning, and can communicate with each other. It's bizarre to me that anyone expects a positive outcome when a bunch of independent, uncoordinated, not-necessarily-trained, surprised folks start shooting at attackers in crowded public spaces. It's a fantasy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:49 AM on December 3, 2015 [41 favorites]


Also, if everyone pulls out a gun and starts shooting at the assailants, then the police can't distinguish between the attackers and the responders. When I did active shooter training, the trainer said that you had to be 100% sure not to be holding a gun when the cops arrived, because they would shoot anyone with a gun on the spot. This was in the context of a situation where you could get the gun away from the shooter, but I assume it would be equally true if you had your own weapon.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:53 AM on December 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


But in the US, it seems to have been woven into the idea of personhood (and much more besides). It's hard to wrap one's head around.

The nut is that for many of us, the idea of owning a gun is hard to wrap one's head around. I have gun owners all around me and I cannot fathom of having one in my house (I'm going to get twitchy the first time BIL comes to my house, though maybe it won't be an issue since I think he finally realized he can leave it locked in the car when he comes out to my parents' house1.)

So you have the folks who cannot fathom on both sides, and here we sit staring at each other.


1. Last year, they come in for a visit. BIL is carrying on his hip (which I didn't even know until then that you can open carry in this state, if that tells you anything). He wanders into the house. Mom says "And just what is that you're wearing?"

Instead of turning around right then and saying right, so sorry, back out to the car, he doubles down. "It's to protect your daughter with!"

We all stared at him. "Or maybe I'll go lock this up in the car."

Dumbass. My sister tried to fumble through an explanation that he'd forgotten he was wearing it. That one took my breath away.
posted by joycehealy at 5:57 AM on December 3, 2015 [42 favorites]


Dumbass. My sister tried to fumble through an explanation that he'd forgotten he was wearing it. That one took my breath away.

Wow....just wow.
posted by Fizz at 6:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Honest question: does anyone have a serious plan to decrease gun violence in the USA?

All of the proposals I've heard have been total window dressing. Banning "assault rifles" or what not is a favorite of the Democrats, but seems to be a non sequitur since crimes are overwhelmingly committed with other weapons. Even if one could ban guns entirely, a large proportion (not sure how much) of crimes are committed with illegal weapons, so banning those is ineffective. But of course banning guns entirely is a very controversial move with essentially no one willing to take it up because of the many in opposition to it (gun enthusiasts, NRA, many who think that "the government taking away your guns" is the ne plus ultra of government oppression -- the USA is the most heavily armed per capita country in the world btw). In short, the mainstream proposals seem ineffective, and the radical proposals seem unachievable.

It should be noted that these spectacular mass shootings are only a small fraction of gun crime (and gun crime itself is only a small fraction of preventable deaths, btw, eclipsed by traffic accidents, suicide, etc.). So, although these are clearly awful incidents that should, in an ideal world, end, it gets us off on the wrong foot to consider those "the problem" as far as guns in the USA are concerned, IMHO.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm very proud of my old hometown news paper today. Way to go Daily News. Bravo!
posted by Splunge at 6:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honest question: does anyone have a serious plan to decrease gun violence in the USA?

End the War on (Some) Drugs. That's the root cause of the vast majority of gun violence.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:14 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Instead of turning around right then and saying right, so sorry, back out to the car, he doubles down. "It's to protect your daughter with!"

From what?!? Awkward dinner conversation?
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:14 AM on December 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Cosine: "From the CDC:
US gun homicides 1999: 10.828
US gun homicides 2013: 11,208
"

But the U.S. population is higher, right? If I adjust for the population listed here for 1999 and 2013, it's gone down from 38 to 35 deaths per million.
posted by RobotHero at 6:18 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Not here to pile on to the debate.

Just to say thank you to triggerfinger for shaking me out of my sadness and providing the links. This morning I emailed my congressman AND requested a personal meeting with him.

It may not be much, but I can't just be sad every day.
posted by archimago at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


What that doesn't acknowledge, of course, is that women are more at risk from intimate partners than from random assailants. The person from whom the daughter is most likely to need protecting is him.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:20 AM on December 3, 2015 [46 favorites]


End the War on (Some) Drugs. That's the root cause of the vast majority of gun violence.

This is not true, because a majority of gun violence in the US is suicide. If you're talking about homicides, it's still untrue, because even the outlier among studies of drug-related homicide (a 1994 DOJ study) put the number at about 50%, while more recent studies have put it in the 5-25% range. (source) I really like your contributions in these threads usually as someone who I disagree with but argues in good faith, but if you're going to chide people for being "dishonest" about Australian gun control, you should try to be more careful about statements like this.

That said, yes, ending the drug war would put downward pressure on gun violence (and many other problems) and we should do it.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:21 AM on December 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


But the U.S. population is higher, right? If I adjust for the population listed here for 1999 and 2013, it's gone down from 38 to 35 deaths per million.

Um. yay. I guess down is better than up but compare that to any other developed country.
posted by octothorpe at 6:24 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, anything that has to be mediated through a gun range is impractical in rural areas. Around here, people do their target practice in their backyards.

My only concern is correcting the statement that guns only have one use. The suggestion that we only use weapons used in the Olympics at least acknowledged that so I threw out an example of how the conversation could continue. I have no solutions.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:26 AM on December 3, 2015


I am honestly, truly and deeply conflicted about the second amendment. I absolutely believe that it was written with the intent that every person should haver the right to remain armed to protect themselves from oppression. Just read the framer's thoughts on guns. Jefferson was the original gun nut.

I absolutely believe that it was written by committee, which is why it's the most incoherent of all the first ten amendments. It's trying to accommodate Virginia's bottom-up self-organised militia -- Jeffersonian, though Jefferson was in Paris at the time -- and New York's top-down state-organised militia.

That's to say, the philosophical conflicts that result in thousands of deaths each year are embedded in the text, as if written with poisonous ink.
posted by holgate at 6:32 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


tonycpsu: Thanks for the correction and the updated statistics!

No, I wasn't counting suicides when I said that.

And I'm surprised to see the drug-related number is so low now -- but the last time I read in-depth on the topic was in 1999-2003 (oh god i'm old) and the stuff I was reading back then could have been based on even older data.

So, not a vast majority of gun violence as I'd thought, but still a plurality of homicides, yes?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Room 641-A: But saying guns only exist to hurt living things is like saying Planned Parenthood only provides abortions.

bluecore: Poor analogy and a bit of a derail. Also, I completely disagree with you. Guns do only exist to hurt living things.


Much of the gun-control debate isn't just over living things -- it's over protecting the right to shoot other people. People who go into a gun shop with the purpose of getting a conceal-carry permit or a gun for self-defense is not about target shooting or hunting; those purposes are all about the need to shoot a human being.

Sure, they like to say that they don't want to shoot a person right now, but they're just planning ahead for the random someday there may come a time when punching a couple holes in a person from a few yards away is possible.

And the subtext of the 2nd amendment, and the 'we need to protect ourselves from our government', again, isn't about target practice, it's about shooting people. Our government is people, armies and militias are assembled for the purpose of shooting other people, both domestic and foreign.

Hunters, law enforcement, sportsmen, military, farmers: a gun is a tool in their line of work, I understand why they need a gun. Most everyone else, it's about shooting people the instant they feel justified in pulling the trigger. I may be a bit more frou-frou hippie liberal, but anyone who is so concerned over the possibility of really, really needing to shoot a human being that they absolutely must have a gun on themselves full-time makes me suspicious of just how little of a justification they need to pull the trigger.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [26 favorites]


also has every possible honorific you can conceive of

This is a tangent, but I really wish that wasn't a required field. I am non-binary, so I don't go by Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss. I am not a doctor or a judge or a rabbi, and I haven't been a Rev. for about 4 years now.

For what it's worth, Congressman Lacy Clay (D) does not have an entry appropriate to gun control unless it's "Health" or "Homeland Security" (gag) or "Social Issues".
posted by Foosnark at 6:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


That they chose to burden their six month old baby girl with their acts for her entire life is incomprehensible to me.
posted by y2karl at 6:37 AM on December 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


All of the proposals I've heard have been total window dressing. Banning "assault rifles" or what not is a favorite of the Democrats, but seems to be a non sequitur since crimes are overwhelmingly committed with other weapons. Even if one could ban guns entirely, a large proportion (not sure how much) of crimes are committed with illegal weapons, so banning those is ineffective. But of course banning guns entirely is a very controversial move with essentially no one willing to take it up because of the many in opposition to it (gun enthusiasts, NRA, many who think that "the government taking away your guns" is the ne plus ultra of government oppression -- the USA is the most heavily armed per capita country in the world btw). In short, the mainstream proposals seem ineffective, and the radical proposals seem unachievable.

The idea that banning assault rifles is the "only thing" anyone has come up with is 100% myth, and for that matter were largely addressed by several links in the FPP. Among the legislation and executive actions proposed just since the shootings in Newtown (most of which are not new) have been:
  • "Straw purchases," i.e. purchasing a weapon for someone else
  • Background checks, up to and including universal and mandatory checks
  • Improvements in the background check systems at both the federal and state levels
  • Increased interoperability between those systems
  • Prohibiting sales to people with violent criminal records
  • Prohibiting sales to people with domestic violence records
  • Stricter regulation of and requirements for carry licenses
  • Increasing research into gun violence
  • Buybacks and/or destruction of weapons used in violent crimes
This isn't a complete list, and most of these (again, addressed in FPP links) not only have support of the population at large, or any political party/ideology, or even gun owners as a whole, but NRA members themselves. So to speculate that bans are the mainstream proposals is well off the mark.

It should be noted that these spectacular mass shootings are only a small fraction of gun crime (and gun crime itself is only a small fraction of preventable deaths, btw, eclipsed by traffic accidents, suicide, etc.). So, although these are clearly awful incidents that should, in an ideal world, end, it gets us off on the wrong foot to consider those "the problem" as far as guns in the USA are concerned, IMHO.

Thankfully, almost no one concerned about gun violence considers mass shootings "the problem," but rather a public and horrifying symptom of the actual problem of widespread homicide and suicide made possible by lax gun regulation.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:39 AM on December 3, 2015 [35 favorites]


Room 641-A: My only concern is correcting the statement that guns only have one use. The suggestion that we only use weapons used in the Olympics at least acknowledged that so I threw out an example of how the conversation could continue.

My suggestion that we only use guns from the Olympics comes from the fact that they're only .22 pistols and rifles with at most five round clips, so they're less deadly. I still think guns are designed for one thing: killing, and target practice is just practice killing. I was curious, so I looked it up-- at the 1896 Olympics they had an event called "military rifle shoot", they shot at deer shaped targets, and they killed live pigeons. The root always goes back to being able to kill a living thing.
posted by bluecore at 6:41 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The idea that banning assault rifles is the "only thing" anyone has come up with is 100% myth, and for that matter were largely addressed by several links in the FPP.

Yes, but those things you listed aren't going to do very much to curb gun violence. Really, we need to get rid of guns.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:42 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can we not pretend that the Second Amendment was ever about giving rights to "every person"? Women were not seen as having that right. Black and Native American men were not only unworthy of rights: they were what gun rights were protecting white men from.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:42 AM on December 3, 2015 [50 favorites]


I've been avoiding social media the last few weeks (mental health, depression, never-ending cycle of horrifying news/media). I know exactly how twitter and facebook are reacting right now. No thank you. I think I might just carry this self-imposed ban all the way through the holidays. It's just easier on my brain.
posted by Fizz at 6:44 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


GOP lawmakers blocked a bill Tuesday that would prevent terror suspects from legally buying guns.

Fuck these people.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:44 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.
posted by judson at 6:45 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Instead of turning around right then and saying right, so sorry, back out to the car, he doubles down. "It's to protect your daughter with!"

This is really frightening, given that a guns in a house are by far (65%) the most likely weapon used to murder girls and women in that household (PDF), and at best have shown to have "no protective effect." It also shouldn't come as a surprise that this is because of a significant magnification effect of guns being used by abusers to kill their victims (PDF).
posted by zombieflanders at 6:47 AM on December 3, 2015 [37 favorites]


like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.

Not even remotely the same thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.

Does the door on your house have a lock? How about your car?

Are these security measures easy to circumvent with, say, a rock or a large screwdriver? And how often does that actually happen?
posted by Foosnark at 6:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [32 favorites]


> banning guns will not stop people from getting guns.

If that were true, there would be as many guns in countries with strict gun control as there are in countries with no gun control. This is not the case.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:51 AM on December 3, 2015 [49 favorites]


Also banning guns would prevent a shit ton of police violence, like the man in San Francisco whose execution by SFPD was filmed on Instagram.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Good post. Thank you.
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an American no longer living in my home country, it saddens me because it is absolutely fucking true that being able to own a damn gun is infinitely more important any human life. I should not be surprised, but here we are.
posted by Kitteh at 7:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


> I disagree with the NRA on a lot of issues, but I don't see how they hurt me as a gun owner.

I would say they haven't , so far. But there is a serious problem that is seriously building up over time, and because they will not allow ANY solutions to move forward, there is a continuous build-up of tension and opposition to the NRA's position.

It may take decades to play out, but it is not going to end well for the NRA.

Right now, Republicans have control of both the House & the Senate. This will not continue forever. What do you think is going to happen the next time the Democrats have control of the Congress & Presidency?

If we were able to make a little tweak here, a little tweak there, this would help to address the issue and (from a political perspective) defuse it a little. But over time as it continues going on and on, without even the SMALLEST successful attempt to address it, it gradually and by necessity becomes a top issue of one of the parties, and one of the first things they will want to address when they have the opportunity.
posted by flug at 7:06 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


So, not a vast majority of gun violence as I'd thought, but still a plurality of homicides, yes?

If you click through to the Atlantic piece, you'll notice how widely the estimates vary, owing to how hard it is to synthesize the available state and local data to quantify the exact causes of various types of gun violence nationwide. Considering that the floor is 5% of homicides and the ceiling is 50% of homicides, I don't think it's very wise to be trying to even estimate any kind of "plurality", which, if not a majority, assumes some other stratification of the data beyond "drug-related" and "non drug-related" that you haven't specified.

In other words, I hope we can just agree that rolling back the drug war is a good thing for any number of reasons, one of which is probably that it will put downward pressure on gun homicides, and that's a good thing. Saying anything beyond that doesn't seem to be supported by the available data.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


every gun owner thinks they're a responsible gun owner. it's a meaningless phrase. it's right up there with everyone saying they're a good driver or a good person at heart. very few people think the opposite of themselves.
posted by nadawi at 7:09 AM on December 3, 2015 [48 favorites]


Saying anything beyond that doesn't seem to be supported by the available data.

We really need to remove that stupid ban against funding gun violence research so we can get some better data to argue over.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:11 AM on December 3, 2015 [38 favorites]


I don't watch cable news either, mostly because I don't have cable, but it seems weird to claim authority about something that you haven't been exposed to in over 10 years.

I frequent many message boards and discuss politics daily with associates, I'm exposed to it, and it gets creepier and more Orwellian every year.
posted by any major dude at 7:15 AM on December 3, 2015


assumes some other stratification of the data beyond "drug-related" and "non drug-related" that you haven't specified.

I was thinking along the lines of categories like drug-related, domestic violence (I'm guessing this would be the second-highest category), robberies/muggings gone wrong, etc.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2015


I think the focus on weather or not gun deaths are at historic lows (or whatever), while maybe true, is misguided. Because even if we are at historic lows, we still have nearly 30 firearm homicides per million people, with the next developed country on the list being Switzerland at a little under eight homicides per million people (stats from the first Vox link).

Focusing on the absolute number of deaths in the US alone completely misses the point that no other similar country even touches our numbers, which show that the majority of our gun deaths are almost entirely preventable.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:20 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


People repeat a few words from the 2nd amendment as the sole justification for gun ownership

It's rather amazing how sacrosanct this one particular part of the Constitution is held, when nearly every other Constitutional 'right' has all sorts of hedges and bounds around it. Everything from freedom of speech to right to a speedy and public trial has all sorts of regulations and exceptions, and everybody just kind of hems and hums along with them, no problem. The 4th Amendment (freedom from search, seizure, etc) is routinely trampled all over--all our electronic communications are seized, routine searches are in places at all sorts of required checkpoints, and the police are, apparently, now seizing more assets than burglars steal in a year.

Most Americans want to put more restrictions on gun ownership--eliminate loopholes that allow guns to be sold without a background check, require guns to be secured more safely, and the like. Those can and should be put into place without infringing on the Constitution.

And they would help a lot to cut the mass of loose guns that are sloshing around the country and (very obviously) getting into the wrong hands far too often.
posted by flug at 7:21 AM on December 3, 2015 [34 favorites]


like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.

It's not trivially difficult to cook a gun in your kitchen or grow one in your basement.
posted by Etrigan at 7:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's not trivially difficult to cook a gun in your kitchen or grow one in your basement.

Wait until 3D printers become common home appliances.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:24 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]




There is a large gun control lobby in the US. Some of the biggest lobbying groups are linked in the FPP. They just have lost the debate for a few different reasons. It's not for lack of trying or lack of a base of support. The Supreme Court gave the movement some severe blows and it never really recovered.

This, and the WaPo link in my first comment brings up the following issue (of which I was not aware. Emphasis mine.):

Guns are exempt from federal consumer-safety laws, and many guns used in crime appear to come from a few “bad apple” dealers. In response gun control advocates filed or supported lawsuits on behalf of cities and individuals affected by gun violence. Pro-gun activists fought back, and 33 states quickly enacted laws banning such lawsuits. In 2005 Congress pulled the plug nationally by providing immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers (with some important exceptions).

This slammed the courthouse doors shut for gun control advocates. Indeed, the 2005 law probably had a bigger impact on the gun control movement than did the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 ruling that the Constitution protects an individual right to a gun for self-protection.

posted by triggerfinger at 7:26 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was thinking along the lines of categories like drug-related, domestic violence (I'm guessing this would be the second-highest category), robberies/muggings gone wrong, etc.

Drug addict mugs someone for drug money. Is that drug-related or "robberies/muggings gone wrong"? You can imagine similar scenarios where things could be counted differently depending on who's writing up the reports that feed into the data.

Given how hard it is to find good data on anything justice-related, and, again, given the massive range of the estimates we've seen, I continue to believe this is an unhelpful distraction. Drug-related homicides are a significant component of all homicides. Beyond that, the data just isn't there.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:28 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


End the War on (Some) Drugs. That's the root cause of the vast majority of gun violence.

No, guns are the root cause of the vast majority of gun violence.

I'm all for reforming drug law—but other countries have drug prohibition, and don't have our astronomical levels of gun violence. That's because they aren't awash in guns.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:29 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.

All experience says that this idea is quite wrong. The more restrictions in place, the less guns--per capita, or however you want to measure it--available in a particular country or jurisdiction.

And the fewer guns, the fewer gun deaths. (Keep in mind that homicides are only one part of the picture--accidents and suicides are both other, large parts, and both of those happen far less with fewer guns available in a particular country or jurisdiction.)

Of course, you are never going to make it impossible for a few people to obtain guns by some illicit means. But--even short of an absolute ban--we could take steps that would vastly cut down the hundreds of millions of guns sloshing about the U.S. in a completely unregulated fashion, and if we did the result would very certainly be far fewer deaths.
posted by flug at 7:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I suspect there is a deep resentment of the NRA and their ilk building, and the eventual backlash against their steadfast refusal to take even baby steps towards solving the problem will result in much harsher gun control laws eventually than would otherwise be put into place.

But it is difficult to overstate just how deeply ingrained the attitude of guns as integral to a person's status as a person of importance or significance is. I taught at a small semi-rural middle school a couple of years ago and around 50% of the boys at the school wore little silver bullet necklaces from the NRA. The attitude was that guns were inherent to manhood, that you couldn't be a man without a gun.

There are all manner of laws that could be beneficial here without actually banning guns.

Insurance is a good start.

Ammunition control is a good start.

Another is mandating that all gun owners keep their guns in locked gun safes when not being used.

Mandating background checks for all gun transfers, including gifts between family members, is a good idea as well.

Shutting down gun dealers who are known to sell to straw purchasers is another good idea. Over 50% of guns used in crimes come from less than 1% of dealers, dealers who are knowingly and deliberately selling to straw purchasers. But they are allowed to continue to exist and sell for reasons that are incomprehensible to me.

Well funded gun buybacks can help get some out of circulation, that should be an ongoing federally funded project not an occasional thing done by city police departments.

And, of course, we need to end the utter foolish macho posturing of concealed and open carry for any random person who wants it. Joe Average does not need to be carrying a gun everywhere. As noted with the BIL who forgot he was carrying, it causes a culture of carelessness among gun owners. So far toddlers and infants have shot and killed dozens of people who were careless about their guns becuase they had become too comfortable, to casual, with carrying them. A gun is not a fashion accessory.

If the self proclaimed responsible gun owners want to preserve their guns, they need to start, RIGHT NOW, working on getting laws passed that will address the problem and are tolerable to them. Because if they keep up the mulish insistence that no restrictions are tolerable and, in fact, they must be granted ever more freedom to have more and more guns and carry them absolutely everywhere, then eventually the backlash is going to result in genuine gun grabbing. It isn't to that point yet, and that's horrifying, but eventually it will happen if the gun owners don't split from the NRA and its cult.
posted by sotonohito at 7:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [15 favorites]


I had taken a train to Newtown from New York City, and the man I met told me he used to live there, in lower Manhattan. After 9/11, the way he thought about the city changed. He didn’t want his daughter to experience what he had. He wanted her to be safe. So he picked an idyllic town in Connecticut.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:39 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


What I always think about is how opposition to gun control really got started in the sixties as a white response to Black self defense. People talk about the Black Panthers, and that's part of it, but it's also the fact that armed Black civil rights activists in the South were sometimes able to stand off white mobs, and there was a strain of civil rights/racial justice activism that urged people to arm themselves. There is a little exhibit at the Charlotte history museum about Black activists in the South arming themselves , or at least there was when I was there a couple of years ago. Once again, racism and white supremacy are the drivers of American "exceptionalism".
posted by Frowner at 7:39 AM on December 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


Also, I linked the New Yorker article by Jill Lapore in the FPP and if you haven't read it already, I would highly recommend it. I think it's one of the best journalism pieces I've read (and I've read a few) on the 2nd Amendment and the rise of the NRA as a gun rights organization (which is indeed a very recent thing). It's really remarkable. We discussed it here.

A few excerpts:

The National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 by two men, a lawyer and a former reporter from the New York Times. For most of its history, the N.R.A. was chiefly a sporting and hunting association. To the extent that the N.R.A. had a political arm, it opposed some gun-control measures and supported many others, lobbying for new state laws in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, which introduced waiting periods for handgun buyers and required permits for anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon. It also supported the 1934 National Firearms Act—the first major federal gun-control legislation—and the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, which together created a licensing system for dealers and prohibitively taxed the private ownership of automatic weapons (“machine guns”). The constitutionality of the 1934 act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939, in U.S. v. Miller, in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, argued that the Second Amendment is “restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security.” Furthermore, Jackson said, the language of the amendment makes clear that the right “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The Court agreed, unanimously. In 1957, when the N.R.A. moved into new headquarters, its motto, at the building’s entrance, read, “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation.” It didn’t say anything about freedom, or self-defense, or rights.

...

In the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. began advancing the argument that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to carry a gun, rather than the people’s right to form armed militias to provide for the common defense. Fights over rights are effective at getting out the vote. Describing gun-safety legislation as an attack on a constitutional right gave conservatives a power at the polls that, at the time, the movement lacked. Opposing gun control was also consistent with a larger anti-regulation, libertarian, and anti-government conservative agenda. In 1975, the N.R.A. created a lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, headed by Harlon Bronson Carter, an award-winning marksman and a former chief of the U.S. Border Control. But then the N.R.A.’s leadership decided to back out of politics and move the organization’s headquarters to Colorado Springs, where a new recreational-shooting facility was to be built. Eighty members of the N.R.A.’s staff, including Carter, were ousted. In 1977, the N.R.A.’s annual meeting, usually held in Washington, was moved to Cincinnati, in protest of the city’s recent gun-control laws. Conservatives within the organization, led by Carter, staged what has come to be called the Cincinnati Revolt. The bylaws were rewritten and the old guard was pushed out. Instead of moving to Colorado, the N.R.A. stayed in D.C., where a new motto was displayed: “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.”

...

In 1986, the N.R.A.’s interpretation of the Second Amendment achieved new legal authority with the passage of the Firearms Owners Protection Act, which repealed parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act by invoking “the rights of citizens . . . to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.” This interpretation was supported by a growing body of scholarship, much of it funded by the N.R.A. According to the constitutional-law scholar Carl Bogus, at least sixteen of the twenty-seven law-review articles published between 1970 and 1989 that were favorable to the N.R.A.’s interpretation of the Second Amendment were “written by lawyers who had been directly employed by or represented the N.R.A. or other gun-rights organizations.” In an interview, former Chief Justice Warren Burger said that the new interpretation of the Second Amendment was “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

posted by triggerfinger at 7:40 AM on December 3, 2015 [40 favorites]


If the self proclaimed responsible gun owners want to preserve their guns, they need to start, RIGHT NOW, working on getting laws passed that will address the problem and are tolerable to them. Because if they keep up the mulish insistence that no restrictions are tolerable and, in fact, they must be granted ever more freedom to have more and more guns and carry them absolutely everywhere, then eventually the backlash is going to result in genuine gun grabbing.

I don't see how this follows. The NRA isn't going anywhere, and the current SCOTUS interpretation of 2A is good for the foreseeable future no matter who gets elected in 2016.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:40 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns.

This level of violence must be stopped.
(Ronald Reagan, 1991)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know I've been making a big deal about this recently, but it really is concerning: we're now reaching a point where the the right to bear arms is being used as a lever, both by private citizens and occasionally governmental powers-that-be, to effectively neuter other rights. I'm not only talking about the ones directly in opposition to poorly-made gun laws, such as threatening women who support gun control , or try to intimidate legislators who oppose ineffective or more dangerous laws like open-carry, although those are definitely a problem. It's entire swaths of demographics and causes that are being targeted. Armed white supremacists killing parishioners of historically black churches. Armed white supremacists attacking protestors against police violence. Armed Islamophobes threatening mosques and Muslim homes and planning confrontations with Muslim citizens. Armed anti-choicers attacking and murdering people at abortion clinics over and over and over and over and over again. Armed "activists" showing up at neighborhood meetings in opposition to gun stores in an RV "with a large picture of gun-wielding Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui-Cho depicted on its side and the words, “BLOODSHED IN THE WOMB SHOOTERS LEAD TO BLOODSHED IN THE STREETS 2ND AMENDMENT DISARM CITIZENS STUPID DECISION” and threatening the families of children in elementary school.

What's worse is that this mindset is leaking into everything, including inciting potentially violent culture wars in pop culture. Gamergate started as death and rape threats, often from armed misogynists, against women speaking out against violence and bigotry in the gaming industry. So far, there hasn't been any physical violence, but it has resulted one of their targets dropping out of a public speech because state law allowed open carry but refused to offer significant protection, and another threatened by someone displaying his firearms supposedly "for the lulz." The "Sad Puppies" movement--whose founders (one of whom is a former NRA lobbyist and gun store owner) and supporters have all explicitly expressed support for Gamergate and derision for their targets--had a prominent supporter "jokingly" threaten to sic the cops on a well-known author by claiming that he was the actual threat, and has gotten to the point where other supporters are planning on coming to cons (illegally) armed for so-called "self-defense" reasons against peaceful "SJWs." You can't even compete in Pokemon, a game made for kids and teenagers, without the threat of armed gunmen.

Not coincidentally, this has been implicitly and explicitly supported by elected officials at all levels of government, often with counter-accusations turned around towards marginalized groups who are threatened with violence merely for existing, even though you're much more likely to be killed by someone that agrees with those sentiments. These fires are being stoked by violent rhetoric, often by the same people who turn around and say what we need is more guns, refuse to let us research gun violence, and want to prevent survivors and the family of the murdered from having any significant legal recourse. And how long until armed "voting rights activists" show up around polling places with majority-PoC or Muslim or even just plain non-conservative populations, or just use the threat of doing so as de facto voter suppression? I think it's time to admit that we have a dangerous addiction to guns that is rapidly approaching the point where, like they were in the Confederate (and later, Jim Crow) South, being armed means that you can have control over the conversation. The entire rest of the world thinks we need an intervention, and they're right.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2015 [136 favorites]


spectacular mass shootings are only a small fraction of gun crime (and gun crime itself is only a small fraction of preventable deaths, btw, eclipsed by traffic accidents, suicide, etc.).

FWIW the number of homicides by gun in the U.S. has varied between about 9000 and 17000 per year since 1976. The number of firearms-related suicides was about 20,000 in 2010. (source) That makes a total of approx. 29,000-37,000 gun-related deaths annually in the U.S. FWIW people in countries with few firearms choose other methods to attempt suicide and nearly always survive. Whereas people who attempt suicide via gun almost always succeed.

During that same time period, the number of traffic-related fatalities in the U.S. has ranged from a high of about 55,000 to the current 33,000 annually. (source)

So, currently annual firearms deaths and annual traffic fatalities are about equal in number (33,000 vs 29,000). Over the past decades the numbers have been well within the same order of magnitude, though traffic fatalities have generally been just a bit higher.

So, personally, how I would break down the stats and characterize the issue (which I recognize is slightly different from the way you are doing it), is to say that gun-related deaths and traffic related deaths are both serious problems of about the same, far-too-large magnitude.
posted by flug at 7:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. It's a hard topic, please don't make it harder by being nasty to other people in the thread; you can make your points without the over the top caricaturing of other members.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nadawi: Sorry, I'll back down. I was pissed and shouldn't have snapped. I think, stripped of the exaggerated accent, my point is valid and that Jacqueline was trying to derail in a condescending and insulting way, but my peevishness isn't helpful.

Tonycspu: by "eventual backlash" I was thinking of something 20 or 30 years down the road. There's a lot of momentum on the gun fondler side right now, but polls show increasing support for gun control as the death toll rises. It'll be a long time coming, but if they don't start giving ground and coming up with laws they can tolerate but at the same time actually address the problem I am certain there will be a backlash and it will result in a much more draconian anti-gun situation than they want to live in.

If the "responsible gun owners" want to keep being gun owners 20 or 30 years from now than they need to stop blocking every law that might fix the problem, or if none of the current proposals are tolerable to them, make some proposals of their own other than the tired bullshit mantra of "enforce existing laws, and anyway 3D printing means you'll never be able to legislate guns anyway so there".

They keep up that stance, there will (eventually) be a backlash that really does take away their guns.
posted by sotonohito at 7:53 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would like to see a push for clean bills requiring all pistols & revolvers carried off the owner's property be in holsters that cover the trigger to guard against accidental discharge, and all long guns in full length scabbards or for people like me in a rack in the pickup. The latter to stop people like the dipshits in Ft. Worth last year from annoying me and the asshole stalking the Moslim lady would have been a clear case of brandishing.
posted by ridgerunner at 7:53 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


gun-related deaths and traffic related deaths are both serious problems of about the same, far-too-large magnitude.

I will say that one things that--like the apparently overweening love of guns--really does puzzle me about the U.S. national character, is the almost complete lack of outrage about traffic injuries and deaths.

Traffic fatalities are well into the tens of thousands annually in the U.S. and serious injuries easily into the millions. And (like gun deaths) most of these injuries and deaths are rather easily preventable.

Yet we just seem to accept them as a natural part of life--a rather fatalistic approach that seems out of step with the national character.

The movement to put an end to traffic fatalities seems to have varied between nonexistent and anemic in the past. One thing that gives me a bit of hope is there now seems to be some real energy growing behind the Vision Zero movement in the U.S.
posted by flug at 7:58 AM on December 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


Not to make this the Jacqueline show, but re

an honest appraisal from a gun nut about how likely I would be to actively oppose various policy proposals

Isn't the problem here, per zombieflanders, that self-described gun nuts now apparently have unchallengeable veto power, because they have in their pockets: a) all the guns, b) the GOP and blue-dog Dems.

Can't even gun nuts recognise that it's a bit fucked up how any gun regulation proposal is now seen as having to pass The Gun-Nut Test, as opposed to having the support of people who don't want to be shot at their holiday parties.
posted by holgate at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2015 [51 favorites]


But it is difficult to overstate just how deeply ingrained the attitude of guns as integral to a person's status as a person of importance or significance is. I taught at a small semi-rural middle school a couple of years ago and around 50% of the boys at the school wore little silver bullet necklaces from the NRA. The attitude was that guns were inherent to manhood, that you couldn't be a man without a gun.

As an NRA Life Member, I can confirm this. For a lot of responsible "gun nuts", the issue is really personal. Proudly rural, working-class people, feel very misunderstood by those whom they perceive as out-of-touch urban elites.

People and organizations advocating for various forms of licensing and restriction is experienced by some as a personal insult - "What, you don't trust me? You think I'm going to snap and become one of those people?". And indeed, most gun owners are responsible, and operate within the law. But it takes only a tiny percentage of criminal, irresponsible, or malicious gun users to taint the responsible 99.99%.
posted by theorique at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


responsible 99.99%.

I don't believe that's an actual statistic, with the number of people who are injured or who die from gun violence each year.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:02 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


I think, stripped of the exaggerated accent, my point is valid

sotonohito, i absolutely agree (and you aren't the only one who did the accent thing in this thread). i admit it's a sore spot for me because i say y'all and fixin' and no one can ever tell if i'm trying to say pin or pen - i also grew up southern and country and surrounded by guns and military family members- and i am very much a gun control advocate. the accent stereotype makes me feel defensive about something where we agree...
posted by nadawi at 8:03 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


jacqueline wrote:
any major dude: You really ought to give Al Jazeera America a try. I bet it would change your opinion of cable news channels.

I really have no need for tv news, they don't have the time to commit to real journalism. I can a read a well researched long form first person account in a magazine that tv can't begin to approach in depth. I've never come across anyone more informed than myself who gets their primary news from television - in fact I can pretty much predict what they consider an important political topic by the amount of people I come across brainwashed by the same topics propagated on cable news. 90% of things that are important on cable news rarely come across my news feed. How much time have cable news-heads wasted this past year thinking about Donald Trump when he will almost certainly not be the Republican nominee? How many front page posts have been dedicated to this xenophobe? On the internet I can sidestep these topics, not on tv. Researching issues on the internet lead me to all sides of the issue - guess what, sometimes there is more than two! I fear going back to television in any form will give me a false sense of authority over issues that too many people carry around today because they trust the opinion of the person who presents them their "news".
posted by any major dude at 8:05 AM on December 3, 2015




I will say that one things that--like the apparently overweening love of guns--really does puzzle me about the U.S. national character, is the almost complete lack of outrage about traffic injuries and deaths.

Well for cars we have licences, registrations, insurance, research on making them safer, banning dangerous drivers, imprisoning banned drivers, doctors able to pull licences, mandatory implementation of safety features on government regulated schedules.

So I'm game to bring guns at least up to the standards of cars.
posted by Talez at 8:10 AM on December 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


In the USA, do we have disproportionate numbers of deaths/injuries by car accident (per person per mile traveled, let's say) as compared to other nations?

(The gun numbers are known to be much greater.)
posted by theorique at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Obama sounds like he's just given up. It's heartbreaking.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


People and organizations advocating for various forms of licensing and restriction is experienced by some as a personal insult - "What, you don't trust me? You think I'm going to snap and become one of those people?"

Really though, why should we? We're talking about a "tool" designed as a weapon with the exclusive purpose of destroying objects or wounding/killing living beings. It serves no other function, useless or otherwise. The real insult here is that the rest of us usually not asked but demanded to trust someone. We're supposed to believe a complete stranger is skilled and careful and responsible 100% of the time? We don't know who judged you on that skill and responsibility, and if that person or organization was qualified to make that judgement or just a lobbying firm. We don't know your mental health, or your prejudices, or what might trigger you to see innocent people or actions as threatening. We don't know if you own that gun legally or that you're allowed to carry it legally. There's no background, military or law enforcement or average citizen, that automatically qualifies you as that 100% trustworthy guy (or gal) with a gun.

And indeed, most gun owners are responsible, and operate within the law.

Yes, yes, the "good guy with the gun" myth. Not only do we not know if you're the good guy with the gun, we don't know if something could make you the bad guy with the gun.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [40 favorites]


People keep asking, "When will we learn?"

And it makes me so sad, because the is obviously "NEVER."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wanted to include links to orgs that responsible gun owners use as an alternative to the NRA but I'm not a gun owner so I have absolutely no knowledge of them and didn't want to guess. The NRA is absolutely toxic and I would really love to see a movement where all responsible gun owners withdraw their support of them in favor of something more reasonable.

Pickings are slim. There's the Liberal Gun Club, which favors "mitigation for violence prevention: stronger mental health care, addressing poverty, homelessness and unemployment" over gun control. Previous alt-NRA orgs like the American Rifle and Pistol Association and the American Hunters and Shooters Association died on the vine. Current orgs like the American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership seem to be little more than a facebook group and a web page. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is an anti-gun control trade association.

One of the real drivers for NRA membership is money. Range & club insurance, grants….
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association, estimates there are 10,000 shooting ranges in the United States. Ranges that are open to the public can't exclude customers who do not belong to the NRA, but private clubs may set membership rules as they wish.

Only the NRA knows how many private clubs require NRA membership, but gun owners who object to the organization's ties to conservative politics say it can be difficult to find a place to shoot that doesn't require membership in the gun group.

"It's this sort of self-fulfilling thing where the NRA continually gets money from people who would rather not give it to them, because it's the only game in town," said Mark Roberts, president of the Liberal Gun Club, a left-leaning gun owners group.

The NRA says it has awarded more than $11.3 million for safety improvements and equipment upgrades at nearly 2,200 public and private ranges since 1994.

For a $35 annual fee, more than 14,000 affiliated organizations also get access to attorney referral services and discounts on business services such as credit-card processing. More than 8,000 clubs get their insurance through the NRA, according to the group's promotional materials.

In return, the NRA gets a recruitment channel to reach millions of gun enthusiasts who aren't already members. Clubs can earn up to $10 for each new NRA member they sign up and $5 for each annual renewal, according to an online manual for club officers.

Clubs that require all of their members to join the NRA get another important benefit: the chance to apply for grants of up to $5,000 per year to help improve and develop shooting facilities.
posted by zamboni at 8:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


45-50 years ago, smoking was an unthinking way of life among a lot of of white middle-class Americans. I'll speak for that group because I don't have enough info about others.

Now? Not so much. A combination of tax increases and simply making it more difficult to find public places to smoke did the trick. In other words: the gubmint (specifically, state and local governments) stepped in, followed by private enterprise when non-smokers started to outnumber smokers.

If we can see a sea change in social behavior around ONE OF THE MOST ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCES ON THE PLANET, it can happen with guns too.

I saw a wonderful tweet about what might happen if we treated a guy who wanted to buy an assault rifle the same way we treat a woman who wants an abortion. Make him have to cross state lines to buy it... make sure the hours of the store are odd ...
posted by Sheydem-tants at 8:18 AM on December 3, 2015 [27 favorites]


For a lot of responsible "gun nuts", the issue is really personal. Proudly rural, working-class people, feel very misunderstood by those whom they perceive as out-of-touch urban elites.

This is one place among many where I wish the NRA took a different tack, and where their absolutist position is damaging to the possibility of compromise: they've tried, here in Pennsylvania, to change the law to let them sue cities over gun ordinances that necessarily don't extend beyond the city limits. There's a Catch-22 happening where appeals for national laws are invalid because of rural gun ownership, but appeals for local ordinances that don't impact rural gun ownership are equally invalid. As a proud urbanite, I feel deeply misunderstood by the NRA.
posted by cjelli at 8:19 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]




Theorique, that depends on which other countries you look at. But I was surprised to see that y'all have three times as many traffic casualties as we do, and we are such a crowded place. Maybe driving lessons aren't such a bad idea?

Numbers found here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:20 AM on December 3, 2015


there is very widespread support (especially among people who vote) for legal gun ownership

If true, that's precisely why the other people need to start voting too.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:21 AM on December 3, 2015


You're probably seeing an uptick in horrible things happening in the world because of an increase in your access to and/or attention paid to news about horrible things happening in the world. Because horrible things have ALWAYS been happening in the world.

If you can point to the last year where mass shootings happened every day of the year, like they have in 2015, I would be curious to know which years those were. I'm sure the sources exist since we've had things like news and records for a while now.
posted by gehenna_lion at 8:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


But it takes only a tiny percentage of criminal, irresponsible, or malicious gun users to taint the responsible 99.99%.

Regardless of the percentages, this dichotomy isn't the right way to regard the presence of guns in the US.

It takes a split-second for a Responsible Gun Owner to become a "criminal, irresponsible, or malicious gun user", and while the current NRA-driven narrative is to retroactively strip that person of Responsible, the reality is that guns turn a moment of impulsive anger or a brief mental crisis or a stupid moment of forgetfulness into a bloody mess on a daily basis right across the USA.

The bleak, cynical mirror-image of the gun-enthusiasts' mantra of ever-preparedness is to treat all gun owners as potential mass murderers, because it only takes a split-second for the most Responsible of gun owners to stop being so. But that's no way to live, just as the NRA's creed is no way to live.
posted by holgate at 8:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [25 favorites]


Also, guess what? Rural, responsible gun owners don't need guns.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:23 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm a many generation native Texan on both sides; I grew up with a handgun in my house (my father used it for shooting sharks from his boat before he and my mom had me). I learned to shoot from peers and friends. I like eating game though I don't hunt myself. I know people who do. There weren't guns in racks at my high school but I lived close enough to the suburbs that it was a thing I knew and wasn't bothered by.

I now live in Austin, where our only governor is trying to force UT to allow concealed carry on its grounds despite the fact that nobody wants it, not students, not faculty, not the administration, who are all desperately looking for a way around the law that gun nuts passed in the last session of the legislation. I wasn't scared of guns when I was younger, but I sure am now. It's like people don't understand that there is a time and place for guns and it's not the movie theater or the store or school. It's where you're going to use them. Are you going to use a gun in those places? Don't bring it!

As for the Second Amendment, I've scanned this thread but I don't think the context of early American militias and slaveowning has really been brought up. What did militias do in the South? They kept slaves in their place. The history of white men enforcing their will with guns has a long history in America. Maybe it is time to retire the Second Amendment in its current form. It's supposed to protect "us" from tyranny but I'm pretty sure I'm not part of that "us" any more; I'm part of the people being tyrannized by people with guns. I don't feel safe around guns any more and it's not because the guns have changed that much. It's the people whose behavior I want to change.

(And yes, war on drugs, demilitarizing police, etc. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, too. Stop the war on drugs AND restrict guns.)
posted by immlass at 8:25 AM on December 3, 2015 [25 favorites]


Re: guns as a public health issue/threat in comparison to other forms of violence and disease:

On Guns, We’re Not Even Trying (emphasis mine)
It’s too soon to know exactly what happened in San Bernardino, but just in the last four years, more people have died in the United States from guns (including suicides and accidents) than Americans have died in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq combined. When one person dies in America every 16 minutes from a gun, we urgently need to talk about remedies.
Guns killed more Americans in 12 years than AIDS, war, and illegal drug overdoses combined (again, emphasis mine)
In the abstract, it's hard to appreciate just how catastrophic this death toll is. So we made a chart to make things more concrete. It compares the number of Americans killed by guns between 2001 and 2013 to the number of Americans killed by war, AIDS, illegal drug overdoses, and terrorism combined during the same time period. It turns out that guns killed more Americans than all of those horrors put together
posted by zombieflanders at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm hesitant that a a few gun regulations will help*, because of the the long history of the gun in the U.S. as need for protection against an enemy. It's almost as if the social fabric our country has been knitted from standing together against an enemy, or "other", and we might fall apart without it. From the French-Indian war to the British to the thought of the slaves rising up and "murdering us in our beds," to the opposing sides in the Civil War, from the Spanish to Native Americans, from Wobblies and union organizers, from various immigrant nationalities to "druggies" and race riots to Communists and now Muslims, there's always been an excuse to have guns, even if most of that violent conflict was instigated by "us" and those fighting back were only defending themselves. (When I was growing up, the push back against gun registration was that Communists could come take all of our guns- a battle fought even on the silver screen, through the movie Red Dawn (they took away their guns! The only way they could fight back was with guns!) and excellently answered with The Day After Tomorrow and the gun death at the end.) The brick building of our country's history is held together by a mortar of gun violence and has been since the beginning.

every gun owner thinks they're a responsible gun owner.
This is exactly right. I was raised around guns with a huge emphasis on gun safety, and the first thing I was taught and instilled in me over and over again is a) there is no such thing as a safe gun and b) there's no such thing as a safe gun owner. (I know a gun who used to teach gun safety courses for a living - he was in a tree, hunting, and shot himself when he accidentally dropped his gun.) You cannot trust a gun, ever, and you need to respect it at all times no matter how you use it, as it has one purpose only: to kill.

And that's what depresses me most about the NRA and its line: if you truly loved guns, you would respect them, and part of that respect would be an ingrained culture of gun safety, which would include some regulation - and they actually did support some of that at one point in time. (Hell, the NRA supported instant background checks until 9/11 happened and fear of Muslims took over.) And that's why I'm not so sure the issue with gun "rights" and gun "control" is actually about guns. At its heart I wonder if the real issue is white male supremacy and the ability to enforce it, with violence if necessary, and guns are seen as the primary tool. (Which would speak to why white males are so rarely called terrorists - it practically takes using a bomb instead of a gun to get that label.) If there's even an iota of truth in that, then solving gun violence in America will be much, much harder than it seems - just look at efforts to eradicate racism.

And frankly, I'm terrified of how that could play out. I'm remembering Ruby Ridge and other enclaves of white supremacy from the 90s, and how we have politicians running for President and leading in the polls whose rhetoric can be boiled down to, "The country has gone downhill because white guys have lost a few ounces of their tonnage of privilege, and we can't allow that to happen anymore," and it scares me.

*not saying we shouldn't try
posted by barchan at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2015 [26 favorites]


like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.
As a Canadian, I'd like you morons down south to clean up your act so your legal guns can stop ending up in our black market:
The United States is the primary source for smuggled firearms or firearms parts into Canada -- due in part to its close proximity, differences in gun control legislation, and a large firearms manufacturing base.

I wonder how long America's gun manufacturers could keep their factories running if the legal trade in handguns was suddenly curtailed. Is Smith and Wesson going to set up a bootleg factory in the Colombian jungle and send crates of pistols up here on mules? I hope we get the chance to find out.
posted by klanawa at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [23 favorites]


(whoops, not The Day After Tomorrow, The Day After, sorry)
posted by barchan at 8:37 AM on December 3, 2015


As a Canadian, I'd like you morons down south to clean up your act so your legal guns can stop ending up in our black market

As an American who lives in a place with strict gun laws, I can sympathize. Any time someone tells me the strict gun laws in DC or Chicago or California or wherever else are useless, I find it necessary to remind them that the trafficking of guns from places with looser gun laws is the largest contributor to the problem:
About 50,000 guns are found to be diverted to criminals across state lines every year, federal data shows, and many more are likely to cross state lines undetected.

In New York and New Jersey, which have some of the strictest laws in the country, more than two-thirds of guns tied to criminal activity were traced to out-of-state purchases in 2014. Many were brought in via the so-called Iron Pipeline, made up of Interstate 95 and its tributary highways, from Southern states with weaker gun laws, like Virginia, Georgia and Florida.
[...]
The New York Times examined gun trafficking by analyzing nine years of data compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as an index of state gun laws developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Law enforcement officials express frequent frustration that they are not able to track every gun that crosses state lines, which means the estimates here are conservative. When the police do recover a gun tied to criminal activity, typically after an arrest, they can trace the gun to where it was last sold through a federally licensed dealer.

Chicago offers perhaps the starkest example of trafficking. There are no retail gun dealers within city limits, because Chicago has some of the tightest municipal gun regulations. Yet bringing a gun into Chicago can be as simple as driving less than an hour to a gun show in Indiana, where private sales are not recorded and do not require a background check.

“If you’re in the city of Chicago on the South Side, you may be closer to Indiana than you are to the Magnificent Mile,” said Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, referring to a well-known part of Chicago’s downtown.

Many guns follow a complex path from the original sale to the underground market. Most guns are originally bought from retail stores, but people who can’t pass a background check typically obtain guns from friends, family or illegal dealers.

According to an anonymous survey of inmates in Cook County, Ill., covering 135 guns they had access to, only two had been purchased directly from a gun store. Many inmates reported obtaining guns from friends who had bought them legally and then reported them stolen, or from locals who had brought the guns from out of state.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:39 AM on December 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


whoops, not The Day After Tomorrow, The Day After, sorry

i was like? the one with the wolves? at the zoo?? and that russian boat? and the incorrect knowledge of nyc's geographic elevation?

posted by poffin boffin at 8:41 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


A few observations about this latest tragedy:
It seems to me the question of terrorism got raised much more quickly in this incident than the Colorado shooting just a few days ago.

Many people, including law enforcement, have speculated that this had been planned far in advance based on the "tactical clothing" and number of weapons involved. As mentioned upthread, people who own guns often own several, and a quick glance at the survivalist/prepper community reveals that none of what has been reported is particularly unusual for people to possess in this country. I personally know a number of people (including military and law enforcement types who have this stuff for their jobs) who on the spur of the moment could run home and after a quick change of clothes and grabbing a couple of duffle bags and/or ammo boxes come out ready for urban warfare or mass murder.

There was a Southern Baptist preacher on NPR this morning who had supposedly been providing counseling for the victims ranting about how if people at the party had been armed this wouldn't have happened. Not only did I have to wonder how effective his "counseling" might have been, but it seems to me that someone from a denomination formed to promote slavery has enough baggage to deal with without advocating for an increase in gun violence in this country. (On the other hand, the Southern Baptists are apparently so unaware of their own history that they have let the church on the site where they split from the abolitionist Baptists deteriorate to the point where it has been condemned.)
posted by TedW at 8:43 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even if one could ban guns entirely, a large proportion (not sure how much) of crimes are committed with illegal weapons, so banning those is ineffective.

But banning guns entirely would be effective in keeping them out of the hands of the average citizen would it not? How many of the shooters in the last decade would have the wherewithal to get firearms from the street? How many of them were involved in organized crime? Gun violence for robberies, corner wars, etc. has little to do with the "purpose" of public massacres. Many criminals are not particularly interested in being caught and being incarcerated though those in organized crime realize that they may need to serve some time. The reasons behind criminal gun violence are usually focused within the world they live, i.e. focused on rival gangs or rivals in general.

Wouldn't a ban make it more difficult for legally purchased firearms to find their way into the illegal arms market?

like drugs, banning guns will not stop people from getting guns. it won't even slow them down.

Is this true? Again, how many of the massacres have been caused by individuals who are already part of the criminal underworld? Massacres don't strike me as a popular objective for those in the criminal underworld. Executions and threats? Sure. I know the Republicans look at countries like Brazil, Mexico, or Colombia and pray for the day when they can live in gated communities all the while increasing poverty for the "lazy" people and then refuse to acknowledge that poverty is a huge factor in crime and attribute crime to "evil" and of course lazy people. When the States has about a 1/3 or more of it's people in poverty (and maybe this is already the case and if not, very soon) maybe then we'll get crime related massacres as a result of territory or drug wars but I really don't see the current American criminal class having any interest in public massacres and I'm not sure that those who have commited these massacres wouldn't have a harder time getting illegal arms rather than legal arms but I confess I'm not deeply familiar with each case. Maybe those who committed the massacres were already in the criminal underworld. I just don't know.
posted by juiceCake at 8:46 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


It seems to me the question of terrorism got raised much more quickly in this incident than the Colorado shooting just a few days ago.

Well, it was a) not "white" people, b) ostensibly devout Muslims committing these acts, and c) not "white" people.
posted by qcubed at 8:48 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


In the USA, do we have disproportionate numbers of deaths/injuries by car accident (per person per mile traveled, let's say) as compared to other nations?

Generally, with respect to traffic injuries/fatalities, the U.S. is doing better than '3rd World' type countries but doing notably worse than its peer countries in the developed world.

This wikipedia article allows you to sort the data in various ways and you can see that result pop out easily.

This article has a pretty good summary of the situation:
Americans are killed by traffic at an appalling rate compared to residents of peer nations, as shown in a review of dozens of countries by the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group [PDF]. In Japan, the traffic fatality rate is much lower — 4.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2011. In Germany, the rate is 4.9 per 100,000. In Sweden, 3.4 per 100,000. And in the United Kingdom, just 3.1. If the United States had a comparable street safety record, tens of thousands of lives would be saved each year.

What’s shocking is not only that those countries have much lower rates of traffic deaths — it’s that they’ve also reduced those rates at a much more effective clip than the United States. The streets of our peer countries are becoming safer, faster.
FYI the current rate in the U.S. is 11 traffic deaths per 100,000 population, which is down from 27 per 100,000 back in the 1970s.
posted by flug at 8:49 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Even if one could ban guns entirely, a large proportion (not sure how much) of crimes are committed with illegal weapons, so banning those is ineffective.

So why have any laws? If murderers are going to just ignore the law, why not just legalize murder?

In addition to banning the CDC studying gun deaths, there have also been strong efforts to block law enforcement from having the ability to track gun purchases, even in the interest of solving actual crimes. So much for "enforcing existing laws".

Properly designed licensing, registration, and insurance mandates would go a long way, without really limiting the ability of upstanding gun owners to buy their toys.
posted by jetsetsc at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


And those numbers are only those that scientists at the CDC were allowed to collect. Can't be allowed to threaten the Second Amendment with science.

responsible gun owners need to be reassured

seriously. what's the responsible reason to need to own a handgun of any kind? If you think it's blah-blah-blah self-defense or whatever, you are as clear in your research and arguments as the anti-vax crowd. That is, it is statistically way more dangerous for you and your loved ones for you to have such a weapon in your home than not.

So please don't insult me (or the dead) by pretending you have a grain of anything but fear-greed-xenophobia-irrationality-ignorance-cynicism on your side if you're arguing for no change whatsoever in American gun laws.
posted by philip-random at 8:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


I think the quick jump to terrorism is probably just racism/ Islamophobia, but there are, as I understand it, a couple of things that point to advanced planning: the pipe bombs and the detail about dropping the baby off in advance. I suppose it's possible that someone actually did, by coincidence, have a doctor's appointment on the day that Farook happened to crack. The pipe bombs are harder to explain. I don't think the number of guns or the tactical gear point to terrorism at all.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


And of course, advanced planning doesn't in any way mean it was terrorism. It just means that it wouldn't have been triggered by the alleged argument at the party.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:54 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I lived in the USA for five years and whenever the topic of guns or gun control came up I was surprised to learn that most Americans seem to think that no one in Canada owns guns. I'm from a very rural part of Ontario and, let me assure you, we love our guns just as much as you do. Many of us own them and it's not all that difficult to buy one.

Here's how you get a gun license in Canada:

1. Pay $80
2. Take a firearm safety course
3. Pass a firearm safety test
4. Pass an RCMP background check
5. Wait 28 days

(6. repeat steps 1,3 and 4 every five years if you want to renew)

Once that is done, you are legally able to buy or import a gun, with a few limitations: It can't be less than a foot and a half long and it can't be capable of fully-automatic fire. Also, they must be unloaded when being transported between places where it is legal to discharge them (firing range, non-restricted wilderness, and your own property (depending on municipality)).

You can also apply for a special harder-to-acquire license to allow you to own guns of restricted types, but they can only legally be loaded and discharged at a licensed firing range and must be kept under lock and key at all other times. And even with a Restricted license, most types of assault rifles are still illegal.

This doesn't seem particularly draconian, but it does a whole hell of a lot to curb gun violence. And we still get to keep our guns.
posted by 256 at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2015 [62 favorites]


For a $35 annual fee, more than 14,000 affiliated organizations also get access to attorney referral services and discounts on business services such as credit-card processing. More than 8,000 clubs get their insurance through the NRA, according to the group's promotional materials.


I wonder if part of the solution is to put pressure on companies (like credit card companies) that give implicit support to the NRA through discounts?

The rate of gun ownership is actually down in the United States. The thing is, the people who do own guns own more of them than ever before.

I know this has been a trend for awhile now and I am very interested in knowing what the effects of this will be. Gun ownership is becoming more stigmatized is some areas so fewer total people are buying and owning them. You can never stop things like people stealing guns or accidental deaths from mishandling or improper storage but could fewer people owning guns have any kind of an impact on anything?
posted by triggerfinger at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2015


a quick glance at the survivalist/prepper community reveals that none of what has been reported is particularly unusual for people to possess in this country.

Or particularly expensive. As I suggested elsethread, a few thousand dollars will get you well tooled up for the zombie apocalypse mass murder at Bubba's Tactical Bullet Barn. In fact, you can buy enough kit to add yourself to the annals of murderous infamy for less than the average monthly health insurance premium. Yay capitalism.
posted by holgate at 8:59 AM on December 3, 2015


Oh, and you can apply for a license to carry a loaded gun in public in Canada in one of two scenarios:

1. You have a job that requires it (most security guard jobs do not qualify)
2. You can show a credible threat to your life

DISCLAIMER ON THIS AND MY PREVIOUS COMMENT: I am not an authority on gun laws in Canada, just a Canadian who likes guns. I welcome more informed Canadians to correct any mistakes.
posted by 256 at 9:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


This doesn't seem particularly draconian, but it does a whole hell of a lot to curb gun violence. And we still get to keep our guns.

This past summer I traveled through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary--all countries with supposedly onerous firearms restrictions and gun violence death rates far lower than the U.S. (roughly 1/4 to 1/10 the U.S. fatality rate, per this source).

I amused myself during the trip by photographing all the hunting blinds I saw. At times it seemed the literally every farmer's field had one. I came back with photos of dozens and dozens of hunting blinds, and I wasn't even particularly going out of my way to look for them.

Point is, hunting in rural areas seems alive and well in these places. If you listen to the gun extremists in the U.S., putting some restrictions and checks on gun ownership is going to make it IMPOSSIBLE for hunting to continue and DESTROY the rural way of life (ie, hunting).

But actual experience in other countries seems to say a big nope to that idea. They figure out some way to soldier on with their hunting etc while meanwhile the firearm death rate is dramatically lower.
posted by flug at 9:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


This is about so much more than gun control. It's about what our culture values, which is not peace and life. Look at all of the most popular TV shows (which I admittedly watch and love). Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead -- most episodes have some sort of gun fight in them (and the premise of SoA was an illegal gun smuggling operation) -- these shows are watched by millions. Where is the responsibility of the media? What is the responsibility of the media, if any?

This stuff seeps into our psyches and fuels our fascination with violence and gun worship.
posted by archimago at 9:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


You know that saying, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"? The NRA is like that, but with guns, and maybe bullets. Any problem of violence could have been solved with more guns in the hands of more people.

Which is like a sugar lobbyist trying to talk to dentists about tooth care. "Have you thought about eating more sugar?" No, that won't help. "Really, try some more sugar. It'll make everything sweeter!"
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


So There’s Just Been a Mass Shooting
So there’s just been a mass shooting. The newsfeed is full of it, the TV can’t stop. Ugly scenes. SWAT cops running around in combat armor like beetles with ballistic shields and submachine guns. Ambulances and camera crews somewhere where they’re not supposed to be, where they shouldn’t be. The reports are confusing. Maybe the shooter is dead; maybe he’s still at large; maybe the cops killed him, maybe he killed himself (regardless of outcome it’s pretty safe to assume the shooter is almost certainly a “he”). The current casualty count is uncertain. Some victims may pull through; others may succumb. The dead bodies are still warm.

Here’s what happens next. Depending on circumstances and timeline, some of what follows may be attenuated, some of it may be condensed. But here’s what you should expect, and what you should know.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:10 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where is the responsibility of the media? What is the responsibility of the media, if any?

Honestly, I think this might be a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg kind of thing. In one of our previous discussions, somebody else (maybe tonycpsu?) linked to evidence showing that of lot of pro-gun rhetoric was built upon myths of the "Wild West" and similar examples of alleged American exceptionalism portraying guns as far more necessary and useful than they actually were.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


most episodes have some sort of gun fight in them

Research shows that people who are armed are far more likely to assume that everyone else around them is armed as well (source). This begins to inform their behavior in fairly predicable ways.

I think that violent, gun-fighty tv shows and movies have much this same effect. We start to assume that the vastly more people are walking about armed than actually are.

This sets the tone of the debate in many ways, but particularly in the fear we feel and the things we think we need to do to defend against that fear.
posted by flug at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's actually not that hard to get a license to own a handgun in Canada -- take the classes, pass the classes, pass a background check. You need a license to transport it (from, say, your house to a firing range) and it has to be kept locked at all times. And I think away from the bullets, but I don't remember the details. ISTR that you can't take it on public transit, either, only a private car.

I might be mixing up the specific rules in Quebec (stricter), but my sister at about 18 got a license to own a handgun without much trouble. (It lives at a firing range.)
posted by jeather at 9:21 AM on December 3, 2015


That is, it is statistically way more dangerous for you and your loved ones for you to have such a weapon in your home than not.

This is crux, to me. All the rhetoric about protection for your family, etc....you protect your family by NOT having a gun in your home.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


We are looking at moving next year, perhaps, and I'm disgusted to find that one of my serious criteria for where to move is how the state ranks on gun deaths per capita and/or gun laws. While it's not a perfect correlation, it is strong.

And then I feel stupid because some of the lowest deaths/strictest laws states are:
California.
Connecticut.

So yeah, even the most horrible and newsworthy of all the mass shootings happen in states with strict laws. But I take some solace thinking that the overall per capita death count makes me a LITTLE less likely to die.

Fuck.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:28 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Not that it matters, but what rankles me is the idea of people who loudly swear allegiance to the Constitution, when the only thing they really like about it is one of the amendments, and only half of that one.
posted by Flexagon at 9:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


You can also apply for a special harder-to-acquire license to allow you to own guns of restricted types, but they can only legally be loaded and discharged at a licensed firing range and must be kept under lock and key at all other times. And even with a Restricted license, most types of assault rifles are still illegal.

That is a fantastic idea.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2015


Where is the responsibility of the media? What is the responsibility of the media, if any?

Start with the Terrorism thing. The thing that drove me to white hot anger yesterday was so many people wandering around stunned, saying, "We don't know yet if this is terrorism."

Of course, it's f***ing terrorism. You're terrified.
posted by philip-random at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is, I realize my personal chances of dying are pretty low no matter where I live, but I'd rather not pay taxes to a state that goes out of its way to provide easy gun access.

And then I realize that gun deaths are also strongly correlated with poverty and education and etc, and am I part of the problem if I refuse to live in those places?

Fuck.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's a modern world cartoon out there that says this, but this is too much for me to actually go look for it. Anyway, we have decided, as a culture (yes, we believe in more restrictions, background checks, etc., but then we don't actually do anything when it comes to voting on it) that there is an acceptable death rate that accompanies gun ownership. That number seems to be about 30,000 people (going from the statistics above) per a year. Most other countries that we like to compare ourselves to (European countries, Japan, Canada, etc.) have decided that a number like this is way too high.

This is not about to change. The USSC explicitly has said that the right to own a pistol is enshrined in the 2nd amendment. As much as assault rifles, etc. are scary, in 2011 (the only date I can fight data from quickly) handguns killed approximately 4 times as many people as rifles. The purpose of almost every handgun is to shoot a person at a relatively close range. (There are a few that are used for shooting animals at close range, but those are few and far between.) Canada's restriction on barrel length strikes me as one of the sanest gun control measures ever.

But there are tens of millions of pistols in the US. There will be riots violent protest (white people don't riot, remember?) if there is any move to reduce the number of pistols in circulation.

I think this is because Americans have always been scared. In the beginning, it was fear of Native Americans. Later, it was fear of Black people and people from the wrong parts of Europe. By the 1920s, we had the specter of Communism to fear. Now there is the fear of Muslims and terrorists. When you are perpetually afraid, it does things to your brain. It rewires things, induces stress related injuries to the body. I'm not sure how this could be solved. I don't know how you put an entire country into therapy. Terrorism isn't necessary, we've been terrified for the past 200 years. (With a brief, weird gap in the 1990's. Remember how the country really wasn't sure what to do with itself?)
posted by Hactar at 9:37 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


We could ban all guns tomorrow and there would still be over 250 million guns in private hands. Americans own 42% of all privately-owned guns in the world.

An Australian gun buyback program would be an absolute failure.
posted by Automocar at 9:40 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Start with the Terrorism thing. The thing that drove me to white hot anger yesterday was so many people wandering around stunned, saying, "We don't know yet if this is terrorism."

They meant, "we don't know yet if this is Muslims". It sounds a little more inclusive if you say "terrorism", though.
posted by theorique at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Anil Dash ‏@anildash
One thing Zuckerberg could do for less than $45 billion is a link on Facebook's homepage to contact your congressperson about gun control.


Yeah, but there's no tax write-off for that, unfortunately.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:44 AM on December 3, 2015


This doesn't seem particularly draconian, but it does a whole hell of a lot to curb gun violence. And we still get to keep our guns.

As 256 pointed out, the other thing about firearms legislation in Canada is that our laws governing their careless use, improper storage, etc. are pretty strictly enforced.

One scenario of how this could work: a neighbour hears a gunshot from your house because you accidentally discharged your weapon, and calls the cops. You'll probably catch a careless use charge - and so you should.

Moreover, "Pointing a firearm" - loaded or not - is a Criminal Code offence here - in some US jurisdictions (and you can correct me if I'm wrong) you can get away with brandishing a gun at someone who wanders on to your property - if you do that here, you stand a good chance of being criminally charged, and potentially ending up in jail. This would depend on whether your conviction is "indictable" or "summary."

Careless use of firearm, etc.


86. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons.

Contravention of storage regulations, etc.

(2) Every person commits an offence who contravenes a regulation made under paragraph 117(h) of the Firearms Act respecting the storage, handling, transportation, shipping, display, advertising and mail-order sales of firearms and restricted weapons.

Punishment

(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment

(i) in the case of a first offence, for a term not exceeding two years, and

(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 86; 1991, c. 40, s. 3; 1995, c. 39, s. 139.

Pointing a firearm

87. (1) Every person commits an offence who, without lawful excuse, points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded.

Punishment

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 87; 1995, c. 39, s. 139.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


The USSC explicitly has said that the right to own a pistol is enshrined in the 2nd amendment.

They also said that the owner, to exercise that right, must be eligible for a license, and they must register their pistol.

It's a short step to mandatory proof of financial security, so that other people don't have to pay for the gun owners' potential accident or negligence...
posted by mikelieman at 9:46 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


And indeed, most gun owners are responsible, and operate within the law. But it takes only a tiny percentage of criminal, irresponsible, or malicious gun users to taint the responsible 99.99%.

Well, as recently as 2010, there were north of 159,000 arrests for weapons violations, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of arrests for murder, assault, battery, and a host of other crimes that require the use of a firearm but aren't broken out with enough granularity for a precise count. So unless the population has increased by several orders of magnitude, I would humbly suggest that your perspective on the responsible/irresponsible ratio is a bit skewed.
posted by Mayor West at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Joshua Holland: Tactical Experts Destroy the NRA’s Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy
Not pulling a weapon is often the wisest course of action in active-shooter situations. While a number of conservatives declared that Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, the scene of a mass shooting last week, was a gun-free zone, the truth is that several concealed carry holders were present, and they wisely decided to leave their guns holstered. Veteran John Parker later explained to MSNBC, “We could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was… if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.”

 David Chipman says the Secret Service’s history is instructive. “Here’s an agency that has all the weaponry that they could ever need, all the training that they could ever need, and they’ve never fired a weapon in defense of a president during an assassination attempt. You’re trained to throw your body in front of the protectee, not to open fire. Just look at the picture taken immediately after Reagan was shot and count the guns in that photograph. They’re all being held by highly-trained experts and not one of them fired. They didn’t shoot [would-be assassin John] Hinckley. And that’s because you’re likely to do more harm than good in that situation.”

The gun lobby and some conservative politicians have seized on a “study” by Davi Barker, a conservative blogger, which purports to show that when a “good guy with a gun” is present during a mass shooting, an average of 2.5 people die, but in similar situations where nobody is armed, there are an average of 18 deaths.

It’s provided the basis for claims that gun-free zones are, in former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s words, “sitting duck zones.” But Barker later admitted that his methodology entailed analyzing “10 shootings I found listed on some timeline somewhere.… I honestly don’t even remember where.” And Pete Blair from Texas State notes that by definition, shootings with fewer than four casualties aren’t “mass shootings,” and incidents with as many as 18 casualties are exceedingly rare. Blair acknowledges the possibility that shooters may be more likely to seek out places they see as soft targets, like gun-free zones, but adds, “Trying to prove that is difficult to do.”

Blair co-authored a study for the FBI that looked at 185 mass shooting events over a 13-year period. It found that while around one-in-five were stopped by civilians before police arrived, in only one case was it done by a typical “good guy with a gun” (professionals—an off-duty cop and an armed security guard—used their guns to stop two others). In most cases Blair and his colleague studied, civilians ended a rampage by tackling the assailant.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:56 AM on December 3, 2015 [30 favorites]


We could ban all guns tomorrow and there would still be over 250 million guns in private hands. . . . An Australian gun buyback program would be an absolute failure.

See, I don't think that is true at all. We could have a buy-back program that proportionately would be just as effective as the Australian one.

And regardless of that, "ban all guns tomorrow" wouldn't eliminate all guns by tomorrow, but it would certainly dramatically reduce the overall number over the coming few decades. Guns don't last forever, and you can gradually work on turn-in and buy-back programs over years and decades.

This isn't going to be solved tomorrow, but we shouldn't thrown up our hands and do nothing just because we can't do everything we might wish.
posted by flug at 9:59 AM on December 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


There's a modern world cartoon out there...

This and this.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Not for nothing, but many of the pictures circulated as being Facebook pics of Syed Farook may be wrong. His brother is also Syed Farook, but with a different middle name. The Farook implicated in the shooting died with his wife, the also-implicated Tashfeen Falik. The Farook in the famous selfie pic in the light sportscoat seems to have a Russian wife. So it may be his older brother or someone else entirely. It would be easy enough to provide links to the incorrect Facebook page as a citation on that, but given that we're talking about a possibly innocent person being tied online to killings, maybe let's not do that and just take my word for it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Are things really getting this much worse or am I just older and tired?

I could post this on half the threads on any given day. (sigh)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


every gun owner thinks they're a responsible gun owner. it's a meaningless phrase. it's right up there with everyone saying they're a good driver or a good person at heart. very few people think the opposite of themselves.

Oh, I'll be the first to admit to being a terrible driver! Easily in the bottom quintile of people legally allowed to drive. Really, all y'all should be more worried about me being behind the wheel than you are about me having a gun. :)

Back on topic, I've actually heard many gun owners admit to having been irresponsible gun owners, at least in the past tense. The context is usually a "whoa I did this really stupid thing once and I'm lucky it didn't end badly" negligent discharge story followed by some variation on "I'll never do that again / make sure you don't make that mistake too." But those stories are almost entirely about violations of one of the four basic gun safety rules, which focus entirely on what to do when handling a gun and not on what to do with your guns when you're not using them.

"Responsible gun owner" shouldn't be a meaningless phrase. We need to develop standards for what constitutes a "responsible gun owner" beyond just safe gun handling practices and for those standards to become as widely known and revered as the four basic gun safety rules.

Some ideas for "basic responsible gun ownership rules":

- Get adequate training. "Adequate" needs to be quantified, and IMO should significantly more than most states' current education requirements for concealed carry permits. After taking Insight Training Center's series of weekend-long defensive handgun courses, I found the state-mandated 1-day lecture-only courses in Nevada and Virginia to be a fucking joke. I'd like to see something modeled after high school drivers ed in terms of comprehensiveness, contact hours, hands-on training, and accessibility/affordability for the average person.

- Regular target practice. Again, needs to be quantified, preferably as a scientifically-based schedule of how often one needs to practice to retain competence would be nice. Personally, I'm currently waaaaaaaaaaaay behind on this -- I've only been shooting a couple of times since I moved away from Seattle (and my stalker) ten years ago. While my skills haven't *seemed* to degrade much during the long gaps between target practice sessions, I wish that I actually knew where shooting skills fall on the scale of "it's like riding a bike: you never forget" to "it's like mastering a musical instrument: you have to practice every day."

We need an easily-remembered rule-of-thumb like "see the dentist every 6 months" and "get an oil change every 3,000 miles" (and yes I know that 3,000 number is outdated for modern cars but you get the idea). Like dentist visits and oil changes, not everyone will follow the recommended schedule but at least they'll have an objective standard to aim for. Plus then gun ranges could send out little reminder postcards like dentists and lube shops do.

- Secure your guns when you're not using them. I think a checklist of what constitutes secure (e.g., "If minors reside in or visit your household, do you have locks or other physical barriers preventing access to your weapons?" "Would you immediately notice if they'd been stolen?" "Are your stored weapons unloaded?" etc.) is a better approach than specific technical standards for safes, trigger locks, etc. because specific technical standards are too easily manipulated by companies lobbying to get their proprietary product specs made the standard. A checklist approach also allows flexibility for people with physical limitations (e.g., too arthritic to use a standard trigger lock) to find alternate ways to meet the standards.

- Don't sell your guns to random strangers. This may be legal in most states (very few to no restrictions on private party sales) but it's definitely not responsible. And while my knee-jerk Libertarian position is to oppose a universal background check law for private party sales, it would be really really REALLY nice if private individuals selling guns could *voluntarily* run background checks using the same NCIS background check system that FFLs use. My husband and I have accumulated a small arsenal because while we'd love to sell our extra guns at fair market value (which we can't get from a gun store or pawn shop), we don't want to sell them to random strangers at gun shows.

Or even to people we know, these days. Our most recent acquisition is a rifle that my husband bought off one of his customers because dude seemed a bit off and husband thought maybe he shouldn't be driving around with a rifle that day. Literally a couple of hours later, dude got into a shootout with police. Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously injured, probably because he only had a handgun on him after my husband relieved him of his rifle. That incident increased my paranoia about selling our extra guns considerably -- my husband had known the guy for years, knew that he already owned a bunch of guns that he'd presumably been able to purchase legally, and prior to his weird behavior that day he was someone that my husband would have probably felt comfortable selling a gun to if he'd been in the market to buy instead of sell. We're in Virginia so it would have been perfectly legal for us to sell him a gun despite having no way to run a background check. But if we'd had access to NCIS, it would presumably have caught the new domestic violence warrant out for dude's arrest (something we learned about in the newspaper the next day).

I'd like to think that my husband and I are representative of most gun owners in our concern for not only our legal liability, but also our moral liability for any guns we sell. I think a lot of people would choose to voluntarily run background checks for private party sales if they only had access to the system.

- Don't deliberately intimidate people with your guns. Again, my kneejerk Libertarian position is that open carry in public should be legal, but etiquette-wise I think those people who go around in large groups open carrying rifles at Walmart etc. are jerks. IMO, concealed carry should be the standard for most people in most places. (My husband disagrees and open carries at his shop as a deterrent to robbery, but everyone around here owns guns anyway so he's not worried about offending his customers.)

- Carry liability insurance, if gun insurance policies become a thing. Now I bet you're expecting me to say that my kneejerk Libertarian position is to not make this insurance legally mandated but I am not just a Libertarian, I am an economics major! And thus I understand about externalities. Since I'm fine with using permits and taxes to internalize the costs that pollution imposes on society, then to be consistent I suppose that I should also be fine with mandatory gun insurance to internalize the costs that gun ownership imposes on society. But it would need to work like car insurance in that it is reasonably affordable to average people and isn't used as a backdoor gun ban by adding so many regulatory standards for the insurance that no insurance company is willing to sell a policy.

Am I missing anything important that should be on the list? The list can't be too long -- everyone knows the four basic gun safety rules because there's only four of them to remember -- so some prioritizing and paring down might be in order.

I love my gun rights but am disgusted and alarmed by a lot of American gun culture. Fortunately, culture is not immutable; we can develop new mores and practices. I think that coming to an agreement with our non-gun-owning fellow citizens about what "responsible gun ownership" actually means and then striving to live up to those standards would be a good start.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:18 AM on December 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


posted by zombieflanders Yes, yes, the "good guy with the gun" myth. Not only do we not know if you're the good guy with the gun, we don't know if something could make you the bad guy with the gun.

I don't know who the good guys with guns are, but the bad guys with guns are Wayne LaPierre, the NRA, and the sycophantic, pandering, craven apparatchiks he and his psychotic organization support.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:20 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Regular target practice

The requirements for actual police officers are astonishingly low. I was taking a shooting course with a firearms instructor who also trained local police, and he described the requirements for officers. They had to go to the range a couple of times a year in order to stay certified in the local jurisdiction. Feeling safer now?

Carry liability insurance

I get marketing emails from the USCCA all the time (like, daily) and this is one thing that they pitch all the time. The idea that if you defend yourself and have to go to trial or get sued, you have a legal defense fund already in place.

Makes obvious sense - the parallel with auto insurance is pretty apparent.
posted by theorique at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not only do we not know if you're the good guy with the gun, we don't know if something could make you the bad guy with the gun.

Schrödinger's gun owner
posted by Existential Dread at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


My understanding is that the gun lobby preemptively had their minions put legislation in place effectively making it impossible to sue gun owners or manufacturers for liability in most states. Is that not accurate?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:27 AM on December 3, 2015


My understanding is that the gun lobby preemptively had their minions put legislation in place effectively making it impossible to sue gun owners or manufacturers for liability in most states. Is that not accurate?

Anywhere in the country, in fact.
posted by Etrigan at 10:30 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


posted by Existential Dread Not only do we not know if you're the good guy with the gun, we don't know if something could make you the bad guy with the gun.

Schrödinger's gun owner



Schrödinger's gat.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:31 AM on December 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


Joshua Holland: Tactical Experts Destroy the NRA’s Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy

You don't even need a tactical expert to destroy the "everyone should be armed" argument; all you have to do is read the news. At the time of the shooting, they were reporting that there were three shooters; now news stories are reporting that in fact, there were probably only two shooters -- the two that have already been killed. And of course, there's the problem in a nutshell: during a firefight, or even just a shooting that isn't a firefight, people have no idea whatsoever what's going on, even for something as basic as how many people are shooting at them with outfitted with flak jackets, masks, and assault weapons. The idea that a guy with a sidearm could stop a mass shooter is just complete fantasy, and yet that's the new party line for the the wingnuts. It's infuriating.
posted by holborne at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Regarding liability and insurance, I would argue that we need owners to retain liability for their guns until they dispose of them in a regulated manner, or sell them to a third party in a regulated and recorded transaction (background checks, etc.). That is, if your gun is stolen and used in a crime, you and your insurance policy are liable for the medical costs of the victims. This would go a long way in incentivizing gun owners to think long and hard about what guns they have, and how they store them safely and securely. I'm open to some reduction of liability if you report your weapon stolen and had been storing it in an approved manner, but we need gun owners to assume responsibility for the injuries and deaths their weapons cause.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Thanks to Jacqueline for responding at length. On one point:

IMO, concealed carry should be the standard for most people in most places.

I have a problem with that, because by definition, concealed carry is concealed, and for those who don't want guns on their property or in their workplace, that standard is an imposition, not an expression of cultural difference. It's not incumbent upon me to ask people if they're packing heat before I invite them into my house.
posted by holgate at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


Guns don't last forever, and you can gradually work on turn-in and buy-back programs over years and decades.

EXACTLY. I started supporting better gun laws when the Bradys became active in the 80s. Imagine if we’d actually enacted really tough laws like a civilized Western country back then.

I look back at decades of witnessing this madness. My early adulthood: The Brady shooting bookended by the gun deaths of two musicians I admired, Lennon and Gaye. Preceded by a childhood in which my earliest memory of a national event was JFK’s assassination! Then fast forward to the 2000s, and a murder-suicide at my workplace several years ago, and just a few weeks ago a lockdown due to a nearby “incident.”

We’ve always been an insane, third-world country masquerading as a superpower.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I should have the right to know who is carrying a gun anywhere near my family.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [24 favorites]


In the "Wild West," in many towns, people had to check their firearms while in town. So we're actually more lawless and out-of-control than the Wild West.

Yay, 21st-century America.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:42 AM on December 3, 2015 [28 favorites]


"Proudly rural, working-class people, feel very misunderstood by those whom they perceive as out-of-touch urban elites."

Especially in discussions about rifles. Those of you who live in cities have no idea how bad the deer are out here. On the roads I typically drive on, deer are as much of a danger to my life as drunk drivers are. They destroy crops and gardens. They spread lyme disease. They are horrible pests.

So to us, wanting to take rifles away from rural areas makes as much sense as wanting to take away mousetraps and rat poison from NYC. Sure, we could find other ways to kill deer and you could find other ways to kill rodents, but we're barely keeping them at bay as it is. Don't make it harder by taking away the most effective tools for the job.

Of course the gun debate is about a lot more than just hunting rifles, but not acknowledging the very real need for hunting rifles in some parts of the country is very alienating to those of us who live here.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


They are horrible pests.

They are also animals with the same right to exist that you do.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:46 AM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]


The NRA has to be exposed for what they are every single time they are mentioned casually because so many people truly believe that they are just protecting existing rights rather than stoking these fires of paranoia and furthering the problem.

I was at my uncle's house over Thanksgiving. He's a big gun guy. Used to work for the sheriff's office. Has Wayne LaPierre's book on his mantle. But most of the time he doesn't mention it much besides that he went to a shooting range or something recently. But I saw some of the NRA materials he had lying around and they were just bizarre. Apparently he has an NRA insurance plan that includes armed mercenaries helicoptering in to save him from whatever conflict he may find himself in. Why he thinks this is necessary is a bit confusing considering he spends 90% of his time in a quiet senior community. But the paranoia is real and he has it in his mind that danger is everywhere. I just find it sad more than anything that people are so afraid all the time. The feeling of fear is strong and overwhelming for a lot of people. I don't know how to assuage that.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:46 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The idea that a guy with a sidearm could stop a mass shooter is just complete fantasy, and yet that's the new party line for the the wingnuts. It's infuriating.

Not that this would work in a majority of instances, but as luck would have it, things panned out this way in this place on this day: René Jalbert was someone who brought a halt to a mass shooting in the Québec legislature by talking to the shooter.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:46 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a deer ever got a chance, it would eat you and everyone you cared about.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


How about we just amend the 2nd, and replace "the people" with "women"?
posted by fings at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


My understanding is that the gun lobby preemptively had their minions put legislation in place effectively making it impossible to sue gun owners or manufacturers for liability in most states. Is that not accurate?

Yes. And this is what happens if you try anyway: We Lost Our Daughter to a Mass Shooter and Now Owe $203,000 to His Ammo Dealer
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm for allowing hunting rifles.

However I think anything even semi automatic should be illegal.

That video of a police officer murdering Laquan McDonald... That was not an automatic weapon. I don't know how he was able to fire so quickly.

No one should have access to weapons Ike that. No one.
posted by sio42 at 10:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


So to us, wanting to take rifles away from rural areas makes as much sense as wanting to take away mousetraps and rat poison from NYC.

Are you talking about hunting deer in season, or catch as catch can? Because if the former, it seems like we could come up with a solution to that, and bringing up deer seems like kind of red herring.
posted by OmieWise at 10:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


While we were all focused on San Bernardino, we missed the other mass shooting yesterday. And the other one, too.


For people who clutch their pearls about all those "illegal" guns out there, you might want to stop and realize that with the exception of a very few homemade weapons and even fewer things like stolen military hardware (I once had a neighbor who had a LAWS rocket in his closet for some reason), all those weapons started out as legal guns, legally sold, legally owned, and allowed into the hands of criminals with no discussion about the responsibility of the last legal owner. The NRA has become nothing more than a (very effective) marketing group for gun makers, and their only goal is to sell as many guns as possible. Who gives a fuck where they end up as long as the check clears.
posted by TedW at 10:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Those of you who live in cities have no idea how bad the deer are out here. On the roads I typically drive on, deer are as much of a danger to my life as drunk drivers are. They destroy crops and gardens. They spread lyme disease. They are horrible pests.

Maybe you should have thought of that before you killed all the wolves.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2015 [52 favorites]


"if they outlaw guns only the bad guys will have them. "

I hate this line of thought, and usually shut it down with "But isn't that true of pretty much every law? Don't ban murder, only criminals would murder? Don't ban theft, only criminals would steal." It's not an elegant argument, but it does usually shut people down such lazy thinking.

On the other hand, the "well regulated" taking point I see upthread really seems like a poorly chosen taking point based on semantics, and not intent of the law. The idea behind it was that we need to make sure enough Americans had guns that could be called up in times of war, to avoid needing a standing army. We failed a few times, with too few actually responding to the need of military force, and that was the reasoning for getting ourselves a standing army. "Well regulated militia" is a poor hill to die on; cuz we got enough citizens with guns these days.

I really wish the left would do more to understand the history of the second amendment, it's really a "know your enemy" issue the gun control advocates and the left generally fail hard on. Every gun threat here reads just like the Right's talking-point fueled uncle at Thanksgiving.

If we want to make meaningful changes to gun laws, we need a lot better understanding of this issue on the left. Some here do seem to have it, and have also by in large mentioned being gun owners. The irony.

I mentioned early being deeply torn over the second and part of that is due to the the rational of the second to begin with. It makes a certain level of sense. It's just that we are using guns to oppress the people that they should be protecting, and any gun control laws will disproportionately harm blacks, while leaving the crazy white dudes untouched. I think the Black Panters had the right idea with arming themselves. I'd love to see that resurgence today, but many black men have had that right stripped away, and the movement would have to happen fast; before white people had a chance to step in and repeated the gun control issue that happened last time this was tried.

I'm not saying more guns are the answer. I am saying that the second was written to theoretically prevent the bullshit oppression of Americans we see by the American "Justice" system. Part of me would love to see blacks legally open carry at protests and demonstrations. That would change the national conversation quite quickly and let America's true colors about guns shine brightly.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:54 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Reports are now that the perpetrators here were radicalized and in touch with people under active investigation for activities related to international terrorism. This is looking less and less like a typical (and I hate that I can say typical in this context) workplace massacre.
posted by Justinian at 10:54 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


So to us, wanting to take rifles away from rural areas makes as much sense as wanting to take away mousetraps and rat poison from NYC.

Except that mousetraps and rat poison don't have a history of being used to kill large numbers of people with more or less predictable frequency. And even if deer are so big of a problem and are entirely uncontrollable except via the use of firearms, there's literally zero reason the firearms in question need to be wielded by any random person who plonked down $20 for a hunting license, as opposed to a heavily regulated, insured, and monitored employee of the state.
posted by tocts at 10:55 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


what's the responsible reason to need to own a handgun of any kind?

Even if I didn't have a violent stalker, I'm still a woman. Unarmed, I can be easily overpowered by most men. Armed with a handgun, I have a chance to defend myself. Even if he's armed too, at least now we're even instead of the previous huge disparity of force in his favor.

I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:56 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Part of me would love to see blacks legally open carry at protests and demonstrations. That would change the national conversation quite quickly and let America's true colors about guns shine brightly.

I used to say that, too. Then Tamir Rice and John Crawford were "legally" murdered in public for having airguns. I don't even want to think about how many lives would be lost and how little change it would engender.
posted by Etrigan at 10:57 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]




That video of a police officer murdering Laquan McDonald... That was not an automatic weapon. I don't know how he was able to fire so quickly.

It was (most likely) a standard issue police sidearm, which suggests a Glock single-stack or zigzag stack automatic (65% of police departments use these). The number of shots suggests that it was a higher capacity magazine.

It's a semi-automatic pistol which means that the officer depressed the trigger once per shot. So he must have had a very fast index finger.
posted by theorique at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.

This is a messed up statement on so many levels, sorry. As a woman who has been threatened with a gun, still nope.
posted by Kitteh at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2015 [48 favorites]


[Jacqueline and others here have been through this a hundred times. Since we've been around and around on the kind of standard talking points many times, deer hunting and self-defense, etc, maybe it would make more sense to steer in the direction of what common ground there is, in terms of what regulations would be ok, rather than just restating and restating where folks already know they disagree?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


On the roads I typically drive on, deer are as much of a danger to my life as drunk drivers are. They destroy crops and gardens. They spread lyme disease. They are horrible pests.

Interestingly, New Jersey has had to come up with other ways of dealing with that issue. There are tons of deer there, posing the same danger that a large deer population does anywhere else, but as it's the most densely-populated state, hunting them with guns is difficult (what with the high likelihood you'll hit humans in their backyards.)

Non-hunting methods of deer population management include repellents, fences, and my personal favorite, deer contraceptives.
posted by asperity at 11:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


So he must have had a very fast index finger.

Semi-automatics can be fired very fast but accuracy suffers, I believe the maximum "aimed" speed is usually taken to be about 1 per second. Of course at the range a lot of these police shootings occur they don't have to be - and often aren't - very accurate.
posted by Justinian at 11:05 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Part of me would love to see blacks legally open carry at protests and demonstrations.

Well, this is just a white guy talking here, but my sense is that a cause of a great deal of inner city gun ownership is the absence of effective policing for minority residents. People who don't have the luxury of police protection justifiably feel that they need to take measures to protect their families and themselves, and that often takes the form of a firearm. So, that's another problem caused by white supremacy!
posted by chrchr at 11:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Jesus how it is that less than automatic.(re Justinian's comment)
posted by sio42 at 11:07 AM on December 3, 2015


Every time I get overwhelmed about mass shootings, I work on my list. I added April this morning. At first I was just trying to remember the dead, read their stories - but after I started posting my lists on Facebook, I noticed that those who'd been mildly vocal in support of gun control before were now more vocal, and some who weren't vocal at all before were now a little bit vocal. Perhaps being confronted with all these names and ages helps make the situation seem less like numbers are more like people getting shot, usually for no good reason.

Anyway, it does make me feel better, to gather data like this and see what comes of it.

I do notice, actually looking at the data, that the standard five-point template that the media loves to highlight - the 1) angry 2) young 3) socially-isolated 4) white 5) man who goes on a rampage due to some imagined slight - is only correct in one out of five areas (the "man" part). I've done up to April this year so far, and this latest high-profile mass shooting is the only one I've seen where any of the shooters have been female. The fact that four out of five of the standard tropes of mass shooters are false really only makes it much more shocking that the fifth is so, so very true.
posted by FeatherWatt at 11:07 AM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course the gun debate is about a lot more than just hunting rifles, but not acknowledging the very real need for hunting rifles in some parts of the country is very alienating to those of us who live here.

I really think this whole hunting thing is a derail. Others have given their own reasons why this is a bad comparison, but even gun owners themselves place "hunting" as a reason for gun ownership well behind "protection."

I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.

Even besides the research I posted upthread showing that availability of guns in households is the biggest weapon threat to women, pretty much all research on having guns shows that being armed has little to no positive effects for a target of assault. Combined with gun lobby's attacks on women's groups and groups dedicated to combating sexual assault and domestic violence, this seems more like propaganda than actual fact. I appreciate that this is a personal thing for you, but it seems less likely to guarantee you safety than an illusion of it.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


News says that Farook met his wife and started his radicalizaion on the Hajj in 2013.

Sounds to me like they were preparing for something for some time (you don't whip up pipe bombs in an hour) and something at a workplace party set off Farook so they decided it was Go Time.
posted by Justinian at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Non-hunting methods of deer population management include repellents, fences, and my personal favorite, deer contraceptives.

Those are all fine, but as a New Yorker I feel compelled to point out that re-introducing a large population of wolves to New Jersey would definitely be better.
posted by The Bellman at 11:10 AM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Ugh. This is not gonna go well.

I may need to take a media break for a few days bc I am not ready for the onslaught of xenophobic racist horseshit that will be piling on top of what is already there

And I recognize my incredible privilege in being able to do just ignore things for a bit and it makes me sad that I can at the same time that I know I may need to just for my own mental well being.
posted by sio42 at 11:12 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sounds to me like they were preparing for something for some time (you don't whip up pipe bombs in an hour) and something at a workplace party set off Farook so they decided it was Go Time.

Well, I'm glad the panopticon was once again successful in preventing a tragedy. Clearly, the answer is heavier surveillance.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:13 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yesterday shook me up more than I would have anticipated. I'm not sure why this was the tipping point that gave me a day-long panic attack, but I'm definitely at a place now where I have to plan for leaving this country. I just don't know what else to do, because any sort of legislation or social progress on this issue seems extremely unlikely, and I cannot bear to think that someone in my family could be part of this statistic in the future.

The absolute gut punch to this, however, is working across from an "LAPD Gear" store that this goddamn, fucking morning after this crazy tragedy, put a Santa balloon outside their business who is wearing fucking tactical gear and camo and says "God Bless America." I literally cannot avoid seeing this shit on a daily basis and I used to feel that I was pretty shielded from it all.

We are hostages in this country and I'm sick of walking on eggshells around this issue, mincing my words just in case gun owners double-down on their "Fuck you this is my right" rhetoric if I'm not respectful enough.

America is a goddamn tragedy.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:15 AM on December 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


[One deleted - if you're going to describe a scenario of violent attack, please don't cast it in terms of it happening to a specific person in the thread; may seem like a small change, but it makes a big difference to cast it in terms of "a person" rather than "you."]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Does anyone know what this is about? Was Farook on a no fly list?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:19 AM on December 3, 2015


Are you talking about hunting deer in season, or catch as catch can?

You can apply for permits to hunt deer out of season if they are damaging your property, which I am totally doing this spring to protect our garden from those nasty little fuckers. They've completely destroyed our every attempt at gardening for the past four years and I'm fed up. BRING IT ON, DEER. I'VE GOT A NICE CHEST FREEZER WITH YOUR NAME ON IT.

I'll personally be using a crossbow because there are a couple houses about a mile away in the direction I'll be shooting and I don't want to worry about stray bullets, but for most people and properties a rifle is the best tool for the job.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:20 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


If the government takes away our guns then the terrorists win. If we keep shooting each other then aren't we the terrorists though? So who wins? Nobody, except the NRA and gun manufacturers.

We have proven time and time again that we as a country do not care about schoolchildren, minorities, the disabled, college kids, what have you. We do not have the political will to make meaningful changes here. Guns are more important than all these things. It's OK to let these people get shot and killed because it makes some small percentage of middle America feel "safe" to have those guns sitting there. Our politicians will sadly shake their heads at the carnage, then look thoughtfully and soulfully into the camera to assert that access to guns makes crime and death possible, so the only solution is more access to guns, and we will happily swallow that oxymoron because guns. The NRA lobbyist behind your Senator will try hard to look solemn and empathetic, but inside he'll be smiling as he hands over the re-election donation check.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:22 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Those of you who live in cities have no idea how bad the deer are out here. On the roads I typically drive on, deer are as much of a danger to my life as drunk drivers are. They destroy crops and gardens. They spread lyme disease. They are horrible pests.

Well thank goodness this here city girl grew up in the boondocks that has one of the highest deer populations and never once heard gun ownership used in relation to deer population until, interestingly, mass shootings started happening.

What is it with mass shootings that bring out defensiveness amongst gun owners? I'll answer that myself, since I was raised in the mindset. Because gun owners know full well that they own guns in order to be able to kill. They don't want to be associated with bad murderous killers, they want to associate themselves with self-defense hero killers. As a result, guns have to be elevated to extreme heights of untouchableness.

On preview:
You can apply for permits to hunt deer out of season if they are damaging your property, which I am totally doing this spring to protect our garden from those nasty little fuckers.

Look. Like I said. I grew up with this mindset and am still connected to people with it. You're using all the dogwhistles and thinking you'll get away with it because you're amongst city folk. Build a tall enough fence and deer won't be able to jump over it. Tada. I just non-violently solved your problem with a centuries-old solution that I learned from my grandfather. Yes. The fence has to be really tall. But then you don't risk stray bullets hitting cyclists on nearby roads.
posted by fraula at 11:23 AM on December 3, 2015 [59 favorites]


"Does anyone know what this is about? Was Farook on a no fly list?"

If I remember correctly, Obama said in his first press conference on this during the daytime yesterday that it's sad that people on the No Fly list can buy guns. This was before anything was known about the shooters.
posted by I-baLL at 11:25 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


roomthreeseventeen:
"Does anyone know what this is about? Was Farook on a no fly list?"
President Obama mentioned that, too - the legislation that got shot down that would prevent people on the no-fly list from buying a gun. Hmm...
posted by charred husk at 11:25 AM on December 3, 2015


GOD ISN'T FIXING THIS
So on the dock I sit in silence
Staring at a sea that's full of violence
Scared to put my line in that water
Coz it seems like there's no religion in there
Naively so I give it another go
Sitting in church hearing legitimate woes
Pastor tells the lady it'll be alright
Just pray so you can see the pearly gates so white
The lady prays and prays and prays and prays
And prays and prays and prays and prays...it's everlasting
"There's nothing wrong with praying ?" It's what she's asking
She's asking the Lord to let her cope
So one day she can see the golden ropes
What you pray for God will give
To be able to cope in this world we live
The word "cope" and the word "change"
Is directly opposite, not the same
She should have been praying to change her woes
But pastor said "Pray to cope with those"
The government is happy with most baptist churches
Coz they don't do a damn thing to try to nurture
Brothers and sisters on a revolution
Baptist teaches dying is the only solution
Passiveness causes others to pass us by
I throw my line till I've made my decision
Until then, I'm still fishin' 4 religion
Arrested Development, Fishing for religion
posted by el io at 11:26 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Sounds to me like they were preparing for something for some time (you don't whip up pipe bombs in an hour) and something at a workplace party set off Farook so they decided it was Go Time."

When the police chief said that the black SUV was rented and was due to be returned yesterday that implied to me that the party seemed to be the intended target in the first place. This makes me wonder if the argument was him trying to get somebody to leave the party before the planned shooting.
posted by I-baLL at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


The no-fly list news is a couple weeks old, pre-dating the Colorado Springs shooting. In other news, Harry Reid apparently has the same deficit of fucks available as Obama when it comes to this shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:28 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


it's sad that people on the No Fly list can buy guns.

And now we're in a weird place where liberals accept that the no fly list actually means something. I can see how this is an effective wedge to use against the GOP, because it pits the gun nuts against the anti-Islamists, but in any other thread on this website discussion of the no fly list would be met with derision.
posted by chrchr at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


For instance, here's an article on the no-fly list from Nov 18, although apparently NPR reported on it over two years ago.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2015


My reaction to finding out this morning that these shooters were Muslims was "welp, it was a nice republic while we had it."

Not that what's about to follow is particularly new, as has been noted upthread. America's natural state is to have a Great and Perilous Enemy, whether it be the British, the Germans, the Soviets, the Japanese, native American tribes, the Mexicans, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, uppity negroes, the existential threat of Communism, Aztlan, the Iron Sheik, al-Qaeda, or Janet Jackson's uncovered nipple so that people can get all fidgety and warlike and prove that America is Number One And The Best via sustained firepower.

This will not be the last radicalized Muslim shooting in America, not by a long shot. It will lead to harassment of and violence directed at those who look Arabic in America, whether they are Muslim or not, whether they are radical or not. It will lead to renewed calls for war by conservatives. It will lead to many otherwise well-meaning individuals pulling a Dennis Miller and submerging themselves in xenophobic terror. And it will serve ISIS well because it will lead to an us-versus-them mentality on both sides of the religious divide and more converts to radicalization on each side.

It will not be the last shooting because it is incredibly fucking easy for people in this country to get their hands on very dangerous guns. And it will not be the last shooting because, frankly, anyone so intent on their religion being the only true religion that they're willing to kill over it shouldn't be trusted handling anything deadlier than a bag of Legos.
posted by delfin at 11:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jesus how it is that less than automatic.(re Justinian's comment)

It's just the way the term is defined. Automatic means squeezing the trigger may fire multiple rounds. This is either a burst - typically three rounds in rapid succession - or else "fully automatic", or cyclic, which fires until the trigger is released or ammunition feed is empty.

Semi-automatic means that the chambering of a new round is automatic (making the weapon ready to fire again), but the weapon won't actually fire until the trigger is released and squeezed again.

What that means in the McDonald shooting is that each of those shots fired was a choice (conscious or else unconsciously trained) by the police officer.

(Regular uniformed officers don't generally use automatic weapons - they are the domain of military units and police SWAT teams. Civilian ownership of fully-automatic weapons requires a dealer license and is heavily restricted.)
posted by theorique at 11:33 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


Fix The Second Amendment With Five Words and ban the sale of ammunition.

For anyone who didn't click through to the article this is the proposed change:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

I've been talking about this as a solution for a while now and I think it makes perfect sense. The "personal protection" arguments are nonsense that have no consideration for the context of the amendment. It has ALWAYS been about the militia.

So think people should be able to have whatever guns they want, tanks, artillery and other really serious military hardware if they can afford it. But, it has to be a part of your "well regulated militia". Those weapons and weapons platforms MUST be secured at all times and may only be used in the course of a member's duties in the militia. The state can track and regulate whatever militias are around and we can pass all kinds of sensible regulations that we need to to feel safe with these militias around. The people get their safety valve in case they ever need to stage a violent revolution again and private ownership of guns can look more like it does in the rest of the world.
posted by VTX at 11:34 AM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


in any other thread on this website discussion of the no fly list would be met with derision

Don't get me wrong, the no-fly list looks like BS, and I've seen liberal commentators say that it's not good policy for firearm legislation. But when discussing the hypocrisy of "THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING" pants-wetters, it's an excellent example.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I am totally baffled why anyone is bringing the no-fly list into this (least of all Obama). The no-fly list is a complete shitshow, basically a pure propaganda effort that does nothing to keep us safe, while also being totally arbitrary and inordinately targeting people of color. Why we would want to tie gun regulation to it is a mystery.
posted by tocts at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

Then we would be arguing about the definition of a militia. Remember the 90s, anyone?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:37 AM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Gun Joke
posted by qcubed at 11:38 AM on December 3, 2015 [20 favorites]


Obviously there will be some Islamaphobic reactions to this by our lovely politicians and the idiots who believe them. However, given the Colorado Springs shooting just a few days before and the fact that there will be another white dude shooting up something before the end of December, it seems stupid to try unless the fight they want to start is "Why are Muslim Terrorists so much more organized than White Terrorists? Are White Men being left behind again?!"
posted by bgal81 at 11:49 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Funny how the pundits seem to think that the alleged terrorism connection "changes everything." Uh, no. It changes nothing. The fact remains that, thanks to the NRA and its supporters, it's ridiculously easy to legally purchase this kind of lethal weaponry, regardless of whether you're a religious misogynist, a virulent racist, a disgruntled high school student, or a wannabe jihadist.
posted by monospace at 11:50 AM on December 3, 2015 [19 favorites]


Most times after a shooting incident like this, there is a lot of talk about gun regulation of various sorts. I think back to that NRA saying from decades ago: "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

Since there are so many guns in this country (I see the "over 300 million" quote often), this statement doesn't make sense (except to elicit fear = increase gun sales). More/new regulations, background checks, mental health requirements, waiting periods, gun-free zones, etc., won't make much difference because there are so many guns out there that it is easy for any "outlaw" or the mentally ill to acquire weapons.

And I note that when these incidents happen, there often seems to be a rush of gun sales that adds to the number of weapons out there. Is there an, "Uh oh, I'd better go buy some guns now because they are going to ban guns after this!" mentality going on?

Another question: Is arming police with the high tech, high capacity, military type weapons working to reduce these incidents? Or has it increased more tragic incidents?

Gist: there are so many guns out there in this country *right now* that I don't see a viable solution(s) to these gun tragedies. Steps toward a solution that indicate "first we should _____" are ineffective in the short term, mid-term (decades), and perhaps only viable as a millennial solution with so many weapons extant.

::sigh::
posted by CrowGoat at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Regarding the request a while back for names of reasonable gun rights organizations as alternatives to the NRA:

I quit the NRA a long time ago for the JPFO, which I doubt meets your definition of reasonable. But now I'm thinking about jumping ship for the Pink Pistols.

Historically, the Pink Pistols have been focused on self-defense training and equipment for LGBTQ people (slogan: "Armed gays don't get bashed"), but it seems they've been expanding into more general gun rights advocacy and activism. I need to read up on their positions and actions before making a decision, but it sure would be nice to be part of a group where I know that the gun rights stuff I like won't come with an occasional side order of disgusting homophobia.

(Being a Libertarian is SO HARD! My husband wants to join the Republican Party because around here it's pretty much that or nothing for politics and general networking. Even though I've always been far more political than him, I told him he's on his own with that because while I might agree with the local Republicans on ~75% of issues, their positions on the other ~25% tend to make me apoplectic with rage.)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:54 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


But it would need to work like car insurance in that it is reasonably affordable to average people and isn't used as a backdoor gun ban by adding so many regulatory standards for the insurance that no insurance company is willing to sell a policy.

Help me to understand this. If the external costs (of gun ownership) are too high to suit you, then you aren't responsible for the external costs of your own choices? And the rest of us should continue to pony up for your hobby of gun ownership, as we do now?
posted by Killick at 11:54 AM on December 3, 2015 [17 favorites]


there are so many guns out there in this country *right now* that I don't see a viable solution(s) to these gun tragedies

What about going door to door confiscating everyone's guns?
posted by el io at 11:55 AM on December 3, 2015


The Armed Citizen.
posted by buzzman at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2015




What about going door to door confiscating everyone's guns?

My assumption is that it will lead to people with guns shooting at people coming to their doors.
posted by qcubed at 11:58 AM on December 3, 2015 [6 favorites]



What about going door to door confiscating everyone's guns?


I suggest imagining how differently this would go in Wealthy Suburb and Poor Neighborhood, and the likely consequences of that. Not to mention the person-hours needed, and whether it would involve, like, actually tossing everyone's apartment to see if they were hiding anything and how this would work out in terms of people's right to privacy, and the guns that would get buried or hidden in random places.

If we're going to say that we're postulating an America with enough extremely dexterous, racial justice-oriented cops to handle this, we might as well postulate an America where a gun buy-back would work.
posted by Frowner at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


As was mentioned upthread, guns don't last forever. If we banned their sale tomorrow, I'd venture that 50% or more of those 300 million will be rusted beyond salvation in a couple of decades. You gotta play the long game, although I too would like to see them all disappear today.
posted by monospace at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Then we would be arguing about the definition of a militia. Remember the 90s, anyone?

Back when I lived in Las Vegas, someone added me to their wacky local militia Facebook group. That means I can own all the guns I want, right?
posted by Jacqueline at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2015




What is it with mass shootings that bring out defensiveness amongst gun owners?

That's a good question. I can't speak for all gun owners, but personally I feel a lot of guilt and shame sometimes that I'm contributing to the problem. As a "responsible" gun owner who agrees gun control is necessary I'm perfectly poised to come up with solutions but haven't done jack shit besides voting and writing a letter or two. Merely distancing myself from the gun "extremist" isn't a solution and obviously I enjoy the "freedoms" current gun laws give me, much like someone can benefit from privilege without contributing to it. That's a natural recipe for being defensive.

There's also a barrage of propaganda that can come at you as a result of gun ownership/recreation, and that shit can be super insidious even if you shrug or laugh at it most of the time. And being brought up in a gun culture doesn't automatically mean my values are okay, either, and that takes some examining. We all know how hard that can be, and how much effort it takes to change, especially if it involves overcoming very ingrained cultural values and upbringing/going against friends & family, etc.

So I've become very careful with my positions about guns, because I'm at the point with gun ownership that, much like when accused of sexism and racism, if my first reaction is to feel defensive my second reaction should be to examine why instead of getting up on my defensive horse to charge forth. (Well, I try.) I may not like the answer, either. But it's taken me a very long time to get to this point, and I know what effort it took - a change of perception which IMHO is also something that needs to be considered in terms of building successful rhetoric for gun control. (A rough, imperfect analogy might be the kind of conversations it took to change the legality of gay marriage, maybe?)
posted by barchan at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2015 [18 favorites]


What about going door to door confiscating everyone's guns?

So you want to trash the 4th along with the 2nd?
posted by Jacqueline at 12:03 PM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Especially in discussions about rifles. Those of you who live in cities have no idea how bad the deer are out here.
At any given time there are four of five of them in my yard and I live in the middle of the capital city of British Columbia. I have no problem with hunting, or picking off these vermin by whatever means, but the desperation of so-called "rural" people (yeah, it's no secret that you all get your hot dogs at Wal-Mart) to distinguish themselves from us soft, ignorant, urbanites (you know, the ones you pay to keep your roads paved and your lights on) is comical.

I've done the rural thing. It isn't half as complicated or difficult as you make it out to be, and the deer problems aren't any worse. 99% of the rounds fired by my "country" neighbours are fired into the sky, the lake, random trees and old cars. The I-need-a-gun-because-I'm-a-country-girl argument is bullshit.
posted by klanawa at 12:03 PM on December 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


Americans are killed by traffic at an appalling rate compared to residents of peer nations, as shown in a review of dozens of countries by the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group [PDF]. In Japan, the traffic fatality rate is much lower — 4.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2011. In Germany, the rate is 4.9 per 100,000. In Sweden, 3.4 per 100,000. And in the United Kingdom, just 3.1. If the United States had a comparable street safety record, tens of thousands of lives would be saved each year.

You need to normalize for miles driven. American drivers drive more almost 3 times the distance of the Japanese. If you further break out certain specific southern problems with infrastructure, booze & drugs, poverty and health care American car safety actually looks pretty impressive internationally.
posted by srboisvert at 12:08 PM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


So you want to trash the 4th along with the 2nd?

FWIW, the 4th has already been shot to pieces in the past couple of decades, and the way we treat it is a lot less sacrosanct than we do the 2nd.

Not saying it excuses it, but I am saying that it's a weak defense.
posted by qcubed at 12:09 PM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile in Quebec, they're starting their own long-gun registry after the previous government abolished the national one. Because after massacres, smart people keep trying to do something sane no matter how long it takes.
posted by Kitteh at 12:09 PM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Can we drop the classist shitting on rural areas as outlined just recently in a Metatalk about how shitty and prejudiced that is.
posted by barchan at 12:10 PM on December 3, 2015 [16 favorites]


This 2nd Amendment debate is a red herring. Even the hardcore pro-individual-right justices of the current Supreme Court have held that there are plenty of regulations which could pass muster. Just not a blanket ban. The 2nd Amendment has no bearing on significant background check regulation, many types of regulation of gun characteristics (magazine size, etc), and so on.

We don't need to fight over the Constitutional issues for things which are not remotely unconstitutional. I say this as someone who accepts as a general proposition that the 2nd probably should be read as more or less an individual right.

Until Congress is debating a ban of some sort (spoiler: they wont) arguing over the Constitution just plays into the hands of the gun lobby.
posted by Justinian at 12:12 PM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Can we drop the classist shitting on rural areas as outlined just recently in a Metatalk about how shitty and prejudiced that is.

But there must be a valid way of saying "I don't think this is a valid method of moving this country forward anymore" without people's feelings getting stomped on.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:13 PM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Don't know if it's already been posted in the thread and don't know if it will help at all, but here's a link to let you figure out who your members of Congress are and how you can contact them about the issue of gun control:

Contacting The Congress
(Note that you don't need to enter your full address, zip code will suffice)

For the slain: .
posted by lord_wolf at 12:16 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can we drop the classist shitting on rural areas as outlined just recently in a Metatalk about how shitty and prejudiced that is.

???

Unless the mods are doing some lightning-quick deletions, the closest thing I've seen to "shitting" in this thread is people talking about their personal lived experiences in rural communities.

"I live/lived there and have criticisms A, B, C about it" is different from "ha ha everyone who lives there is A, B, C."
posted by Jacqueline at 12:20 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can we drop the classist shitting on rural areas as outlined just recently in a Metatalk about how shitty and prejudiced that is.

I was addressing the mistaken view of United State's vehicle safety stats that are unfairly damning. It's pretty well established that the Southern states have a problem with just about all the established measures and for just about all of the reasons and are outliers in road safety even when compared to the states where it snows regularly in the winter. This has a lot to do with the more rural nature of the southern states, the lack of alternative transit and the corresponding impaired driving problems that follow that lack and a much older pool of vehicles.

Unless you are complaining about something somebody else said.
posted by srboisvert at 12:26 PM on December 3, 2015


So you want to trash the 4th along with the 2nd?

A conversation you might start thinking about having with yourself is whether people on the whole have demonstrated, at this point, that they can be responsible gun owners. Because to increasing numbers in this country, as more people get slaughtered, that assumption is becoming less and less obvious, amendment or no.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:31 PM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd call characterizing rural people as desperate and then following up with "(yeah, it's no secret that you all get your hot dogs at Wal-Mart) to distinguish themselves from us soft, ignorant, urbanites (you know, the ones you pay to keep your roads paved and your lights on)" as classist, but maybe that's me. *shrug* I don't really want to argue about it, it's a derail, I was just asking people not to assume that gun ownership isn't a situation belonging to a particular class and locality of people or that everyone in those localities feel/act/are the same way.

(and no, srboisvert, not you)
posted by barchan at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


Congress could create under the commerce power and its right to enforce the Second Amendment by legislation a uniform national regulatory regime which closes gun-show loopholes and tightens up on lunatics and gang-bangers obtaining guns, but which also overrides the prohibitionist laws in New York and California.

The NRA might well consider 50-state must-issue to be something worth a trade.
posted by MattD at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


RE: 3d printed guns. Any gun made of plastic will fire exactly once.

3d printing of steel is both a long way off and of such marginal utility for home use that I would be extremely surprised if it becomes a consumer product in the next 30-50 years.

relevant example: infiniband (direct memory networking, vastly superior performance, single kernel across multiple machines, etc...) has been an available tech for the past 14 years. Consumer, heck even prosumer grade machines have never and will never get it. it just doesn't make sense, and it never will.

Similarly, nothing you need at home will be milled at home out of solid steel at high enough precision specs to make a gun.

Ever.

Those things will be delivered to you by cheap drones from people willing to spend $50k-$500k on the capital equipment and those people sure as shit aren't gonna make you a lower receiver. And if you can afford $50k you're an excellent saver, probably not going to rob people and most likely have better things to do than run amok.

Sorry, it's just not gonna happen.
posted by Freen at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2015


Then we would be arguing about the definition of a militia. Remember the 90s, anyone?

I don't think so because militias have to be well regulated. A facebook group wouldn't meet the regulations. They can keep on calling themselves a militia all they want, they still don't get to buy guns because they can't check all the boxes.

And the regulations that I envision would have to scale up with the size and capability of the group but at the least I think it would require stuff like the weapons being locked up under dual-control (IE: It takes two people to open the lock) and access is logged, ammo is locked up separately and also under logged, dual-control, any exercise involving the discharge of a weapon requires X-days notice to local authorities, and thorough background checks with fingerprint ID for all applicants with appropriate requirements for documenting and auditing that process.

I'm sure that are other things that would need to ironed out but that illustrates the direction I would take it. Sure, you can have whatever guns you want, so long as you check all the boxes and being able to check off those boxes creates a pretty high barrier to entry.

It's the closest thing I can come up with the scheme where the nutters get whatever guns they want that addresses the "but the 2nd Amendment" cries and lets the rest of us have sane gun laws. I'd rather we just assume that our sanctioned revolutions (IE: Election day) will be good enough and close the book on the idea of a violent military revolution but it seems I can't have that. This is a close as I think we could reasonable come.

But, no matter how good an idea it is or how good it would work, it doesn't matter. We started at the bottom of a slippery slope with the 2nd amendment (everyone gets all the guns all the time!) and have been trying to push our way back up it ever since.
posted by VTX at 12:36 PM on December 3, 2015


Gun TV: home shopping channel aims to sell weapons to viewers

According to a report by the Desert Sun newspaper, in California, the executives behind Gun TV insist that their channel aims simply to meet demand for gun ownership in America, rather than generate it.

“We saw an opportunity in filling a need, not creating one,” Valerie Castle, one of the co-founders of the channel, told the Guardian. “The vast majority of people who own and use guns in this country, whether it’s home protection, recreation or hunting, are responsible.

“I don’t really know that it’s going to put more guns on the streets.”

posted by infini at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"A conversation you might start thinking about having with yourself is whether people on the whole have demonstrated, at this point, that they can be responsible gun owners."

Hence my long-ass post about changing American gun culture so that "responsible gun owner" actually means something.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2015


Grauniad is trolling? ;p
posted by infini at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2015


In America, logic or commonsense has no place in legislation. Every politician who gets elected based on the premise of being an outsider (code word for clueless idiot) makes the problem worse because they don't know how the ideal system should work.
posted by JJ86 at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2015


N.Y. MIL. LAW § 2 : NY Code - Section 2: Militia of the state; division and composition

1. The militia of the state shall be divided into the organized militia, the state reserve list, the state retired list and the unorganized militia. The organized militia shall be composed of the New York army national guard; the New York air national guard; the inactive national guard; the New York naval militia; the New York guard whenever such a state force shall be duly organized and such additional forces as may be created by the governor.

2. The unorganized militia shall consist of all able-bodied male residents of the state between the ages of seventeen and forty-five who are not serving in any force of the organized militia or who are not on the state reserve list or the state retired list and who are or who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, subject, however, to such exemptions from military duty as are created by the laws of the United States.

3...
Seems to me 'unorganized' == un-regulated, but YMMV...
posted by mikelieman at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another law I could get behind is gun mounted flashlights. How can you not point your gun at things you don't want to destroy if you're waving it around trying to find your target?! Put a flashlight in your off-hand, brace your gun-hand on top your off-hand barrel UP, find if you have a target, if so check the background, if clear then if you have to, take the shot. And guns with trigger mounted light switch? How can you NOT violate the rule, keep your cotton picking finger off the damn trigger until your ready to fire? Unless you can prove (x number) of hours per quarter in a SEAL grade shoot house a flashlight on your gun should be a misdemeanor. (I don't know the right number of hours needed to maintain that skill set, ask a SEAL or Smedleyman)

I think laws to reinforce good gun handleding skills should be easier to pass and some of the gun cultures need a wake up call.
posted by ridgerunner at 12:48 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, I had this vague impression that the national guard kind of IS the state's militia. If that's the case then my scheme up there is basically, "each state should create it's own branch of the national guard" which looks like it's already been done.

So, move along, nothing to see here folks.

That DOES lend a bit more strength to phase two (have sane gun laws for everyone NOT in the militia) of my plan.
posted by VTX at 12:50 PM on December 3, 2015


Contacting The Congress

I sent each of mine a message this morning, which felt nice until I got my boilerplate email reply from Dick Durbin's office. Starts with two paragraphs of oh yes, this is a terrible problem, we need common sense solutions, but hunters are good people too... Then the last paragraph:
Gun violence is a complicated problem, and there is no one solution that will stop all the tragic shootings. Reducing this violence will require dedicated efforts by families, community leaders, law enforcement, employers, faith leaders, and elected officials to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands and to address the conditions which create violence. Unfortunately, in recent years common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence has been blocked in Congress by well-funded political organizations. But I'm not giving up. I will continue to work to ensure the federal government helps address violent crime in our communities.
WTF? You're trying to pass the buck on to families? Employers? Law enforcement? I'm sorry that well-funded political organizations are making your job difficult, but people are dying here. How much money do we have to cough up to make gun control an issue worth fighting for?
posted by gueneverey at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


[One deleted. If anyone wants to continue the meta-discussion about rural stereotypes etc, probably better to take it over to the MetaTalk on that issue, since it's still open. Otherwise, yeah, folks can just be aware of that concern as we go, in here.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2015


This 2nd Amendment debate is a red herring. Even the hardcore pro-individual-right justices of the current Supreme Court have held that there are plenty of regulations which could pass muster. Just not a blanket ban. The 2nd Amendment has no bearing on significant background check regulation, many types of regulation of gun characteristics (magazine size, etc), and so on.

There is some truth to this, but it's a bit more complicated than you're letting on here. Yes, the Heller and McDonald cases cited some types of regulations that weren't precluded by their decisions, or were found to be lawful by other precedents cited in the decisions, but that's a lot different than an affirmative statement that those regulations are constitutional if those issues were to come before the Court in isolation. Furthermore, the NRA need not even believe that the regulation is unconstitutional to tie it up in litigation for years, and they've certainly got more money to bring those suits than the jurisdictions have to defend themselves against them.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Aram Roston: Brother Of San Bernardino Shooter Is Decorated Navy Veteran
Syed Raheel Farook enlisted in August 2003 and left the service in August 2007.

He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy records show.

Syed Raheel Farook was an Information System Technician, Third Class. He was on duty on the USS Enterprise; in the Surface Warfare Officer School Unit, in Great Lakes, IL; and at the Recruit Training Command, in Great Lakes, IL.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:14 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


So my idea is a national monument to the victims of guns. Just that, nothing more specific than that. Buy a little plot of land, as close to the U.S. Capitol as possible, get a Kickstarter or something to fund it, have a prominent contest to come up with a design.

Slather the whole effort in accurate statistics about gun violence (because every gun nut I've met seems entirely ignorant of what the real numbers look like) and heartbreaking true stories. Make sure every one in the country knows you're doing it, use it as the starting point for protest marches, and make it an obligatory stop for political and diplomatic speeches and wreath-laying, just like the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Why do you think? Would this be a worthwhile effort?
posted by newdaddy at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2015 [34 favorites]


If I could allow her childhood to remain unstained by moments of pure terror, I would.

But I can't. I can't because there have been 355 mass shootings in America already this year. I can't because she's being raised in a world where emergency fire drills have been replaced by active shooter drills in our schools, a world where little boys and little girls climb into school buses in the morning and never return home.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:31 PM on December 3, 2015


[A few deleted; let's skip having a weird totally unnecessary tussle over what military service decorations mean.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:32 PM on December 3, 2015


Would this be a worthwhile effort?

Flagged as a fantastic idea.
posted by TedW at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2015


Why we would want to tie gun regulation to it is a mystery.

I would like to tie gun regulation to the no-fly list because I think the resulting collision of idiocy would effectively destroy the no-fly list.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


RE: 3d printed guns. Any gun made of plastic will fire exactly once.

3d printing of steel is both a long way off and of such marginal utility for home use that I would be extremely surprised if it becomes a consumer product in the next 30-50 years.


even the first model of the liberator was able to be shot repeatedly and has since been improved, and there are already home cnc mills intended specifically to manufacture lower receivers that can be had for less than $2k (i realize not technically a printer but functionally the same). that genie is already out of the bottle
posted by p3on at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


I woke up to at least two articles on the front page of my favorite Australian news outlet about this shooting. Only a handful of US mass shootings filter their way in nowadays. Seeing this endlessly repeating tragedy from the outside is like looking at some kind of abusive relationship where the victim refuses to leave. I know it's becoming a norm for you, but this is not normal.

It is in our nature to maintain the status quo until somebody is seriously injured, or dies. Unsafe drugs, speeding, railings, etc. etc. This is the only issue that springs to mind where the body count keeps rising and yet nothing changes. That is pathological. I sincerely hope that this anger builds enough momentum to enact meaningful change.

Also, I do not see why so many arguments are based around reaching some sort of happy compromise with gun lovers. That's basically aspiring to an asymptote that by its definition will take forever to to achieve. Take them all away. Let the gun lovers claw back to the happy compromise from the other side. At least during the intervening period there will be less deaths.
posted by kisch mokusch at 2:31 PM on December 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also, I do not see why so many arguments are based around reaching some sort of happy compromise with gun lovers. That's basically aspiring to an asymptote that by its definition will take forever to to achieve. Take them all away. Let the gun lovers claw back to the happy compromise from the other side. At least during the intervening period there will be less deaths.

1. Outright banning won't happen without amending the Constitution.
2. Amending the Constitution is difficult and requires a broad consensus.
3. Achieving the broad consensus necessary to go about banning all firearms will be significantly more difficult than finding common ground with the large number of gun owners who actually support gun control legislation.
posted by Seamus at 2:36 PM on December 3, 2015 [7 favorites]


Achieving the broad consensus necessary to go about banning all firearms will be significantly more difficult than finding common ground with the large number of gun owners who actually support gun control legislation.

As long as everyone keeps thinking that way, yes.
posted by scrowdid at 2:38 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


3D printed guns are a red herring to the whole discussion. There have **ALWAYS** been crapful handmade guns. They're not a major concern, and while 3D printing is an amazing and nifty thing, it won't be revolutionizing crapful handmade guns anytime soon.

The whole thing is just a diversionary tactic by gun cultists to keep you from talking about the real issue.

I do think there's one step that could reduce the number of mass shootings, and that's ending the absurd practice of legal open carry.

See, the flipside of that tired old NRA slogan, "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns", is that if only outlaws have guns then it's really damn easy to identify the outlaws.

Outlaw open carry and you know, right away, that the person stomping around with an arsenal strapped to himself is a criminal hellbent on murdering someone. You don't have to wonder if they're just a jerk who likes to intimidate people or if they're a spree killer getting into position, if open carry is illegal you will know, instantly, that someone carrying a gun openly is up to no good. It eliminates so much uncertainty.

I don't think a lot of the open carry yahoos realize quite how threatening the mere presence of a visibly armed person is. You have no idea if they're going to start shooting just because they feel grumpy or if they're spree killers on their way to their chosen killing field or what. Note that the people who shot up the BLM protest were openly carrying their guns before they started shooting.

I'd argue that the same could easily be applied to concealed carry. Outside a minuscule number of people who have genuine need (licensed professional bodyguards maybe? Probably not even most of them) no one outside law enforcement should be allowed to carry a concealed gun.

If the only place to legally have a gun is on your own property or at a shooting range then you instantly, automatically, know that someone carrying a gun elsewhere is up to no good.

Plus, ending the foolishness of letting anyone and their dog concealed carry will go a long way to ending the dangerous culture of casual gun ownership that results in so many accidental shootings or shootings by a child who gets an unattended gun. Concealed carry people are often horrifyingly casual about their guns, as evidenced by the many instances of people being shot by toddlers who took the gun from their mother's purse.

Basically, keep guns in safes or on the shooting range and a lot of problems go away and it becomes vastly easier to identify killers.
posted by sotonohito at 2:43 PM on December 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


Last time I lit up; I took all my guns apart. Truth. /I'll sit down now; thanks.
posted by buzzman at 2:46 PM on December 3, 2015


I don't understand, scrowdid. Since we aren't going to ban guns right now, should we then do nothing to fix the systemic issues we now have. Should gun control activists move exclusively on "ban and confiscate" policies and rhetoric and drive a good portion of those of us who own firearms and support legislation into the NRA's camp and the rest of us into apathy, silence or irrelevance?
I would rather there be a discussion in the US that isn't being had.
I know more gun owners who support gun control legislation than I know people who support bans. And I live in a very liberal place. It seems that our discussion in this country are dominated by the extremes. No. Dominated by one extreme, the NRA. Unfortunately, I don't think those at the other extreme are not going to fix this by becoming like the NRA. i believe that this madness is only going to be fixed by the majority working together, and that means gun owners are going to have to be a part of the solution.
I don't think we can afford to wait for banning and confiscation to become a viable option.
posted by Seamus at 2:49 PM on December 3, 2015


Am I missing anything important that should be on the list? The list can't be too long -- everyone knows the four basic gun safety rules because there's only four of them to remember -- so some prioritizing and paring down might be in order.

I guess I'm at a loss as to how making Gun Culture better will reduce mass shootings. I don't think America has a shit-ton of mass shootings because gun owners don't get enough target practice. And people aren't terrified when someone is open carrying because they're worried 'I wonder if that person wouldn't get gun liability insurance.'
posted by shakespeherian at 2:52 PM on December 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.

hmmm....maybe pepper spray.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Republicans say no to new gun control legislation

So, to recap for the folks playing along at home:

Republican reaction to the specter of welfare fraud and/or minuscule number of confirmed cases with non-significant impact: We must act now to shut it down, make it hard to get, and demonize people who use it.

Republican reaction to the specter of voter fraud and/or minuscule number of confirmed cases: We must act now to make it harder to vote. We shall require ID that citizens must pay to receive and also reduce or reduce access to the number of places that even issue the damned ID.

Republican reaction to pathetically fake video about Planned Parenthood: We must act now to defund Planned Parenthood and in general make it harder for women to control their own health and reproductive rights. Also, we will allow corporations to claim to have religions so that they can deny coverage of birth control because reasons.

Republican reaction to multiple incidents of gun violence: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ + thoughts and prayers
posted by lord_wolf at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2015 [85 favorites]


Prayers are quite literally the least you can do about gun violence.
posted by Justinian at 3:02 PM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


There was a bit on Last Week Tonight recently about the penny. The marginal cost of making each penny is now over $0.01, nobody really uses them for anything, and other countries (like Canada) have recently phased out their pennies without incident. It seems like ditching the penny would be a simple, obvious, and apolitical decision with bipartisan support, but it just doesn't happen. The industry that sells zinc to the Mint lobbies against it. Die-hard Abraham Lincoln fans write angry letters to their representatives. Congress can barely pass those bills that thank firemen for being heroes. The government is apparently incapable of solving the simplest problems.

If we can't get rid of the penny, how the hell are we going to do anything about guns?
posted by theodolite at 3:14 PM on December 3, 2015 [12 favorites]




> I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.

If that were true, then countries with strict gun control would all be very sexist and backwards with regards to the position of women in society. This is not the case.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:20 PM on December 3, 2015 [36 favorites]


See, the flipside of that tired old NRA slogan, "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns", is that if only outlaws have guns then it's really damn easy to identify the outlaws.

Also gun suicides would plummet, which is itself is a worthy goal.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


They just told America on the ABC nightly news that if somebody attacks your workplace, if you can't run or hide, you have to fight, and that they should think of themselves as warriors if they want to survive.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2015


They just told America on the ABC nightly news that if somebody attacks your workplace, if you can't run or hide, you have to fight, and that they should think of themselves as warriors if they want to survive.

that sounds laudible to me, gun debate aside. we established the cultural meme of fighting back against hijackers after 9/11. if you have no other options, then trying to disarm a gunman is probably better than waiting to die
posted by p3on at 5:04 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


@KagroX: If you want [your] heart broken, ask [your] kids what they learn in "Lockdown Drills." Best part: "You're not allowed to cry or you might get shot."

Yep. Remember, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrantsschoolchildren and caregivers.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:13 PM on December 3, 2015 [25 favorites]


I've known people (brilliant, wonderful people) who were murdered by three different spree shooters. A fourth spree killer claimed the son of co-author.

When I told my (heavily armed, arch-conservative) father this, he gave me this huge, smug smile and told me I just needed different friends.

Which is one of the many, many reasons I don't talk to him anymore.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:31 PM on December 3, 2015 [29 favorites]


Today the Senate democrats tried to pass a bill to extend background checks to include terrorist watch lists and the no fly list. The Republicans voted it down.

There are many modest measures we could take in the way of removing the ban on federal funding research on violence, funding the ATF to help them deal with their case backlog and investigations, modest changes to background checks.

The gun lobby is blocking it all.
posted by humanfont at 5:50 PM on December 3, 2015 [13 favorites]


we established the cultural meme of fighting back against hijackers after 9/11.

No, we didn't. We should have, because 9/11 ended in a field in Pennsylvania that same day, but we established a meme of security theater and cowardliness instead.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:05 PM on December 3, 2015 [8 favorites]


Since elected officials are bought and paid for, how can ordinary citizens fight for something better? I'm so despairing of business as usual.
posted by agregoli at 6:06 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just to add a bit more to 256's comment about the Canadian approach, one of the first laws enacted was a restricted magazine size of 8 rounds for handguns and 5 for rifles, shotguns I think were left alone because they don't generally have detachable magazines, so an 8 round pump shotgun was fine. Larger existing clips were grandfathered in. Just the manufacture and sale going forward was to be to the new standard.

A gun license is also required to buy ammunition now too.
posted by phoque at 6:32 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


That time Ronald Reagan outlawed open carry.

Also, some more on Canadian gun control.

Outlaw open carry and you know, right away, that the person stomping around with an arsenal strapped to himself is a criminal hellbent on murdering someone. You don't have to wonder if they're just a jerk who likes to intimidate people or if they're a spree killer getting into position, if open carry is illegal you will know, instantly, that someone carrying a gun openly is up to no good. It eliminates so much uncertainty.

I don't think a lot of the open carry yahoos realize quite how threatening the mere presence of a visibly armed person is. You have no idea if they're going to start shooting just because they feel grumpy or if they're spree killers on their way to their chosen killing field or what. Note that the people who shot up the BLM protest were openly carrying their guns before they started shooting.


This is eminently sensible. Stripping out arguments around gun ownership itself, people marching around in public strapped with deadly weapons can and should be subject to arrest just for menacing people. Like, you're standing in line at the grocery store and someone's carrying an AR-15 or AK-47 on their shoulder or at port arms? Fuck that noise. That's just someone threatening everyone around them.

Even someone who's open carrying a pistol in a belt holster is just that much less threatening. Not that I agree with that either, but marching around with assault rifles should just be a reason for a police takedown - and I'm no cop fan.

The question is whether you want to live in a civil society or not. The King of England is not up in your grill anymore. Relax and put the gun down. You can buy groceries without the assault rifle.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:59 PM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


I believe handguns are as essential to women's liberation as birth control.

If that were true, then countries with strict gun control would all be very sexist and backwards with regards to the position of women in society. This is not the case.


Funnily enough, this rule also works if you apply it in the same way when looking at the oft-repeated assertion of the NRA et al. that more guns make us safer.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:01 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


See, the flipside of that tired old NRA slogan, "when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns", is that if only outlaws have guns then it's really damn easy to identify the outlaws.

Where I grew up (country where you can have lots of guns, but as tools and sporting gear, not for killing people, not for intimidating people), criminals avoid guns because of what you just said.

The motivation of a criminals is for their criminal enterprise to succeed. So they generally avoid things that provoke attention or suspicion or make their crime harder to get away with. Like guns.

And of course, because criminals don't bother with guns, the police don't have itchy trigger fingers, so not only are criminals not shooting anyone, but police aren't shooting anyone who twitches either.

Double the win, it's quite a nice system.
posted by anonymisc at 7:13 PM on December 3, 2015 [21 favorites]


Guns don't protect our political liberties. There's no shortage guns in Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. If you have a political beef and you start making demands from the barrel of a gun, it rarely leads anywhere good. The so called "good guys with guns" don't seem to understand that having a gun doesn't make you bullet proof.
posted by humanfont at 7:14 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


You put a man on the moon, you can do this too.

Dear U.S.A.

You remember when Kennedy said "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard"?

You stopped doing that.

Metric system? Too hard.
Universal health care? Too hard.
Give up the death penalty? Too hard.
Control guns? Too hard.

Other countries have done the hard things, and are nicer to live in as a result.

You can do it too.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:30 PM on December 3, 2015 [60 favorites]


You can do it too.

I'm not really sure if I believe that. This country is just too broken to fix anytime soon.
posted by octothorpe at 7:56 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]




(the first responder appears at the 5:40 mark of that video)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]




I wonder if part of the solution is to put pressure on companies (like credit card companies) that give implicit support to the NRA through discounts?

I think this is an excellent idea. I'm renting a car next month, but it won't be from Hertz. And, I was sure to let them know why.

Check before you buy.
posted by Gotanda at 8:17 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


The New York Daily News doubles down.

Sadly, the death threats they will receive for that will prove their point.
posted by peeedro at 8:24 PM on December 3, 2015


The New York Daily News doubles down

that is amazing.
posted by sio42 at 8:29 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it is great that we are finally, at least once in a while, beginning to use the term "terrorist" for white guys. But it is not so great that doing so brings with it all the power of the carceral state, and will lead to more people under surveillance and being profiled.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


A Mother Jones writer splits hairs at the NYT: How many mass shootings are there, really?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:42 PM on December 3, 2015




terrorism means engaging in politically motivated violence against civilians, i don't think it's useful to muddy the waters even further than it is already being muddied by the usgov using it to apply to any violence committed by its particular nonstate opponents. wayne lapierre may advance reprehensible positions but calling him a terrorist robs the term of any meaning.
posted by p3on at 9:07 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


> the police are, apparently, now seizing more assets than burglars steal in a year.

Civil Forfeiture Is a Civil Shitshow
posted by homunculus at 9:26 PM on December 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wayne Llpierre may advance reprehensible positions but calling him a terrorist robs the term of any meaning.

I consider his efforts to ensure criminal terrorists have access to military grade weapons without effective licensing, registration, and insurance to be material support of them, myself.

Why would lawful users take issue with the proper licensing of their skills, registration of their weapons, and carrying proof of financial security, a waiting period, etc? Nope. All it does is make Law Enforcement's Job harder and risker.
posted by mikelieman at 11:25 PM on December 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


wayne lapierre may advance reprehensible positions but calling him a terrorist robs the term of any meaning

Hardly.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:32 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


You need to normalize for miles driven. American drivers drive more almost 3 times the distance of the Japanese.

First, I'm sorry introducing this topic upsets you. It is not in any way intended as an attack on rural, southern states. This is a nationwide problem--and the primary place the huge improvements can/should be made is in our cities and towns, where the vast majority of Americans now live (and drive).

Second, even normalized by fatalities per mile driven, the U.S. still does notably worse than pretty much all other 1st world/developed countries, including those most similar to the U.S.: Canada, Australia, U.K., etc. You can sort on fatalities per mile driven here and easily compare.

Third, probably the single most important way to reduce traffic fatalities is precisely by reducing the amount of driving. You figure out how to design cities and towns (where by far most Americans now live) so that people can go about their daily lives--work, school, shopping, medical care, etc etc etc--while taking 10%, 20%, 30% less automobile trips. Cities, towns, states, and countries that do that find themselves reducing traffic fatalities approximately in proportion to reduction in miles driven, yes. That is one of the goals.

So from that perspective, looking at the injuries/fatalities per mile driven is really misleading. Why the $#&*& are we driving so many miles? And taking a step back, why do we design our cities and towns so that driving is required to do anything? It's possible to design cities and towns otherwise, but we don't even try to do so because we love cars.

The rational response to a situation where you have a tool--like both guns and automobiles--that is both very useful and yet at the same time, harmful, would be something like this:

- Minimize the need for the tool as much as possible, seek and cultivate alternatives to the extent possible. Using this tool is HARMFUL; you can't just allow unlimited use of it for any/all reasons.

- Regulate use of the tool carefully--regulations should be designed to minimize the harmful side effects above all; require operator training; continually improve design of the tool and protocols for using it with safety/minimizing harm as a top priority

- Avoid the situation where individual tool users get to accrue all the benefits of using the tool but shift the cost of the harmful side-effects onto others. This gives individual actors the incentive to use the tool as much as they like because they receive all the benefits, while creating another class of victims of the 'side effect' of the tool, who suffer all the injury and have no recourse.

You'll note that all of the solutions here require unified social action, which Americans tend to strongly dislike. When you receive all the benefit of guns/automobiles while paying little or none of the social cost, it makes you feel strong and independent as an individual, which Americans very much like.

Thus, we love our guns and automobiles and don't have much interest in taking even reasonable, small steps to ameliorate their downsides.
posted by flug at 11:36 PM on December 3, 2015 [26 favorites]


That Daily News cover is awesome:

"Syed Farook joins long list of murderous psychos enabled by NRA's sick gun jihad against America in the name of profit,"

fuck yeah
posted by From Bklyn at 11:37 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


A correction to 256's first comment: you don't have to pass the test again when you renew, just the background check and paying the licensing fee.

The background check is a bit of a funny one though, because our firearms licensing database has a feature called "continuous eligibility screening" (CES). Basically, every day (possibly more frequently), the licensing database plugs in to the police database and sees if anyone with a firearms license has (among other things): been charged with a violent crime or weapons offense, been convicted of a violent crime or weapons offense, been made the subject of a peace bond, been taken into custody for the purpose of (involuntary) psychiatric assessment, been kept in custody for the purpose of (involuntary) psychiatric treatment, etc. It works the other way too; when someone is e.g. arrested on charges involving violence or the misuse of firearms, the police computers look up any matching individuals in the firearm licensing database so that the suspension of their license and the surrender of their firearms can be made a bail condition (or just plain done if they don't make bail for whatever reason).

Where it gets funny is that in spite of this system, a firearm licensee looking to renew their license has to answer 4 questions with a slightly broader scope than the CES checks (attaching an explanatory note if there's a "yes", which effectively functions to narrow the scope back down to what the CES catches).

Superficially, the redundant questions on the renewal form seem to provide that general benefit of redundance on making sure ineligible licensees do not continue to be licensed. Unfortunately, it also creates a system of perverse incentives. The most obvious case would be a gun owner who's going through a rough time and has responsibly limited their access to firearms by handing their guns off to a hunting/range buddy for safekeeping while they work through it (as they're taught to do in the course we have to take to get a license). Maybe they're thinking about talking to their doctor about it, and getting a referral to a therapist who can help. But then they'd have to check off on their license renewal the next year that they received treatment for an emotional problem--on second thought, maybe they can work through it on their own.

Maybe they figure their marriage is basically over, but want to wait until next year, after their license renewal has gone through (since the lookback period on some of the questions is only 2 years, while a license is valid for 5) before they actually move out and file for divorce.

I don't deny that the questions make a lot of sense on an application for a new license, where the applicant hasn't been under CES for at least the past 5-ish years, and may be interested in purchasing a gun for The Wrong Reasons, but I'm unconvinced that they have a place in the renewal process.

It's pretty wildly tangential, but I bring it up because it's the sort of gun control debate that I wish we could have, if only the completely insane polarizing nonsense weren't getting broadcast across the 49th parallel on an almost-constant basis.
posted by kiwano at 11:56 PM on December 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's interesting. Do people lose eligibility if they file for divorce?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:25 AM on December 4, 2015


To throw a little bit more fuel on this particular fire (and get out a bit more if my disdain for the people who keep pushing the extreme views on gun control--from either side)...

From my perspective up here in Canada, a lot of the self-defense measures I hear about are completely devoid of any sane analysis of the risks involved.

The classic is the loaded gun in the nightstand: in any half-decent neighbourhood, the risk of an intruder in one's home (who isn't just a senile neighbour or stoned teenager entering the wrong house in a cookie-cutter subdivision) is really small--even smaller when you reduce it to intruders who'd get violent (instead of just running the hell away) when they realize they've been discovered.

Ok, so that's the risk that's being mitigated by keeping a loaded gun in the nightstand. Somehow this risk routinely gets assessed as being higher than the introduced risks of: shooting the non-harmful intruders I mentioned in the last paragraph, a member of the household using the gun to commit suicide, a member of the household being shot by a negligent discharge, or even a violent intruder getting the gun first. And it's the sum of these introduced risks that the mitigation has to exceed for the nightstand gun to be even remotely sane.

On the other end of things there's this bizarre willful blindness to how ecosystems work. I've seen no fewer than half a dozen comments so far (and I'm sure I missed a bunch) which characterize guns as evil because they function to wound or kill living things. The problem with this is that's how we get food. This isn't something that vegetarians can legitimately claim to be exempt from; growing vegetables for humans involves keeping those other species from coming in and eating the vegetables. To be fair, it isn't strictly necessary to use guns for this purpose (otherwise we'd never have gotten to the point of being able to invent guns); a smaller farm or garden can manage varmints by keeping some carnivores (like dogs or cats) around to eat some and chase the rest away. Insects are also living things which have to be controlled in order to have a viable farm, though the approach here tends towards poisons rather than firearms (though predators have been used to great effect at some farms).

As easy and tempting as it is for someone who's never really interacted with their own food chain, to buy into the anthropomorphic animals in the cartoons, and believe that killing an animal is tantamount to murdering a favourite cartoon character, the reality is that if you want to eat, someone's going to have to do some killing.

Even if guns weren't so useful for the noble purpose of preventing starvation, I'd still look sideways at any effort with a goal of eliminating them entirely. The reason for this is our struggles as a species with nuclear (non-)proliferation. To be able to manufacture a nuclear weapon, you basically need a mid-sized national economy at your disposal, and yet new nations keep joining the list of nuclear powers in spite of our having established some international law whose sole function is to prevent that specific thing from happening. Whereas coming back to the guns, we can note that when the USSR set out to design the AK-47, one of the design goals was that it could be manufactured without requiring too much--well--capital. Sure enough, there are no shortage of stories about gunsmiths using nothing but hand-tools to manufacture AKs in countries ending with "stan". Even if the food-gathering argument were absent, and it somehow became a good idea, I don't see us putting this genie back in its bottle any time soon.

The simple fact of the matter is that guns are useful but dangerous, and they're not going away any time soon. Pretending that we can get rid of them entirely, or pretending that it's reasonable to treat them like any non-hazardous good is just going to distract people from the debate that we need to have on how to regulate them effectively.
posted by kiwano at 12:49 AM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


The simple fact of the matter is that guns are useful but dangerous, and they're not going away any time soon.

I really think the issue is... I dunno... Let's go with the cheap and easy availability of the assault rifle platform.

Myself, I think pretty much every need for a firearm can be filled with a lever gun, so a 30 round magazine doesn't have a 'civilian application'. If you can't kill a deer with the first and maybe a second, you probably shouldn't be shooting at deer.

but 30 rounds? No.

Same in the context of self defense. A lever gun with 5 rounds of .357 in it is just as effective deterrent as an AR-15 against intruders, etc...

And of course, the reduction in risk across the board is obvious.

Does anyone really object to Grandpa's Deer Rifle?
posted by mikelieman at 1:00 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Joe in Australia:

There's no good answer to the divorce question. In Canada, filing for divorce won't raise any flags on its own (though having ready access to firearms when the bill from the divorce lawyer comes in might seriously elevate the risk of suicide). That said, having filed for divorce in the past two years will raise a flag on an application for a firearms license (whether a new one or a renewal). I know that a party to a divorce can apply for a restraining order in family court, in addition to the general ability of someone who feels threatened to apply for a peace bond in criminal court, though I don't know if the family court can put weapons prohibition clauses on restraining orders in the same way that the criminal court can put them on peace bonds. My hunch is that they can, and that a restraining order would hit the continuous eligibility screening and cause the license to be pulled.

That said, restraining orders are asked about in the same question as peace bonds and criminal charges, while divorce is asked about in the same question as job loss. My own experience with job loss tells me that applying for unemployment benefits after losing a job does not cause any changes to the status of a firearms license.

The divorce/job loss/etc. question on renewals strikes me as the oddest of the lot. It makes sense on an application for a new license, to make sure that the applicant's motive isn't connected to that sort of stress. On a renewal however, it's a pretty safe bet that the applicant's motive is to keep on doing whatever it is that they got the license for in the first place. Consequently, the question seems at least a little misguided in that context.
posted by kiwano at 1:05 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


mikelieman:

I hunt deer with a military surplus rifle. The base design is more than a century old, so it doesn't inspire the same sort of reactions as a contemporary infantry weapon, but it is still a military-pattern firearm. I don't really expect to use the bayonet on any game animals, but not only is it permanently attached (on a hinge so that it can fold back), but the sights were adjusted at manufacture to the point of aim with the bayonet extended (barrel harmonics are an interesting thing).

Because of this, I'm a little more sympathetic to someone who might want to hunt with an AR-15. I don't think a magazine capacity beyond 5 rounds is particularly sporting, but that's probably because my hunting rifle has a 5 round magazine. One of the guys I hunt with has an old Lee-Enfield with an integral 10 round magazine that the hunting regulations up here don't require him to pin down to a lower capacity (OTOH our shotguns are required by the regulations to be pinned down to a capacity of no more than 3 rounds total between the chamber(s) and magazine(s).)

I also have no idea what impact (if any) magazine capacity restrictions have on firearm violence and firearm fatalities. Given the overwhelming share of firearm fatalities that are suicide (when I took my licensing safety course up here in late 2003, the stats it gave for Canada were 81% suicide, 14% homicide, 5% accident), I'm gong to hazard a guess that magazine capacity doesn't really have a significant impact--though maybe it's still enough to justify some limits (we need more research on that one).

That said, I also don't know virtues a high capacity magazine has, beyond the fact that when I've plinked away on a range with a gun that held more bullets, it was more fun. As for hunting with an AR-15 (semiautomatic only, no burst or full auto; whatever capacity of magazine gets figured out in some other debate), my understanding is that they're nice and light, quite accurate, and easily customized (e.g. for improved ergonomics). They also cost 10x as much as my Mosin, use a cartridge that is underpowered for moose, and are restricted in Canada (so they can only be shot legally on a range, and are therefore illegal to hunt with). Needless to say, I won't be getting any first-hand knowledge of their virtues as a hunting gun any time soon.
posted by kiwano at 1:26 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kiwano,

I'm cool with bolt actions. Heck, any manual action is fine by me, as there's an upper limit to the amount of lead that can be delivered that, while effective militarily a century back, doesn't offend my sensibilities for "Civilian Usage" in modern terms.

IIRC, the Mosins were developed as a counter to the Winchesters, eh?

So, I guess my gripe can be summed up as "Civilian Semi-automatic"... Which can definitely be solved by a financial security requirement. Semi-automatic weapons pay a higher premium for insurance due to the additional potential risk.

Makes total sense to me...

tl:dr: We're fucked
posted by mikelieman at 1:52 AM on December 4, 2015


I've been thinking about this more.

Are there any civilian applications for semi-automatic rifles, and if so, shouldn't the owners pay higher insurance premiums to cover the additional risks presented by them?

I mean, I have no problems with an old lever or bolt action rifle As I said before, there's a reasonable upper limit to the damage that can be done. But once you get into semi-automatic rifles, the risk, as we've seen, increases exponentially.

The only way to manage this risk is to MANAGE THIS RISK.

LICENSE -- to certify your knowledge, skills, and eyesight.

REGISTRATION - The one tool that really enables law enforcement to get firearms out of the hands of people who aren't licensed, and don't have insurance.

INSURANCE - Why should anyone else pay for the costs of an accident or negligence involving your firearm? If you're a "responsible gun owner", you won't have any objection to being a "financially responsible gun owner" will you? You want a semi-automatic rifle? Pay the surcharge on the premium. You want a tommy gun? If you can afford the premium, knock yourself out...

Then people won't be able to build private miltiary arsenals, but their RKBA is protected.
posted by mikelieman at 2:01 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hey, can we just call responsible gun owners responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners irresponsible gun owners? Repeatedly talking about "responsible gun owners" using scare quotes isn't helpful.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:43 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


3d printing of steel is both a long way off and of such marginal utility for home use that I would be extremely surprised if it becomes a consumer product in the next 30-50 years.

Nah. I've seen these machines run. I'll be amazed if this isn't a couple thousand dollar product within 5 years, 10 at the absolute most. Even within the laser domain the costs of stuff has gotten so cheap. Laser projectors went from five figure big cinema and rich person home theater items to $500 casio office projectors within a couple years. Laser engraving made similar strides, and now mall kiosks are running them. Look at even high powered pocket laser pointers.

A 200 watt laser might sound like a huge deal, but there will either be a solution to using a smaller laser, multiple cheapo small lasers, or something. A LOT of people and corporations are throwing money at this "3d print metal" thing. It's going to happen. In the same way that the gold rush on multitouch smartphones happened that took them from $800 luxury items to $10 sale rack units with 75% of the same functionality. Shit, remember how big of a deal high powered LEDs(and arrays) were even a few years ago?

3D printing metal isn't just about guns, it's about a ton of shit. It's practically the video-on-tape of this era. It's the next big thing in automated manufacturing(not to mention rapid prototyping and small scale).

The solution here isn't "meh, that's not happening". It's something better than this plus harsh laws. We're not going to stop it, but we can stop internet tough guys and neonazis from doing it without serious work and hacking(or buying hard to get illegal bypass chips to mod in, etc). Coupled with actual reform, it'll have the same effect as general proper control.

But DMLS is the cat out of the bag. It might be expensive now, but so was a lot of tech that had strong arguments for what made it so. In the end, it's a laser and metal shavings. Remember when CD writers cost like $2000? In a couple years there's going to be an FPP about the new cheapo unit that can do something to that effect, with lots of "wow, that's actually a really clever solution that gets right past/solves X, Y, and Z" comments stacked in it.

It's also worth remembering that under current laws, this hypothetical home DMLS machine wouldn't have to print the whole gun. Just the receiver. That needs to be fixed, to at least up the bar these systems need to jump. I really doubt it's going to buy us much time though. I can't even count the amount of "oh, they're never going to overcome THAT cheaply" i've heard about everything from 3d printing to tablets.
posted by emptythought at 4:38 AM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hey, can we just call responsible gun owners responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners irresponsible gun owners? Repeatedly talking about "responsible gun owners" using scare quotes isn't helpful.

There's an argument to be made by many that owning a gun is inherently irresponsible.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:49 AM on December 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


The background check is a bit of a funny one though, because our firearms licensing database has a feature called "continuous eligibility screening" (CES). Basically, every day (possibly more frequently), the licensing database plugs in to the police database and sees if anyone with a firearms license has (among other things): been charged with a violent crime or weapons offense, been convicted of a violent crime or weapons offense, been made the subject of a peace bond, been taken into custody for the purpose of (involuntary) psychiatric assessment, been kept in custody for the purpose of (involuntary) psychiatric treatment, etc. It works the other way too; when someone is e.g. arrested on charges involving violence or the misuse of firearms, the police computers look up any matching individuals in the firearm licensing database so that the suspension of their license and the surrender of their firearms can be made a bail condition (or just plain done if they don't make bail for whatever reason).

I would love to see some version of this in the US. Right now in the US buying a gun from a dealer (and let's just agree that the gun show loopholes obviously need to be closed) means going through a basic background check that looks for similar stuff to what you describe for Canada, but it is just a single point in time and is never repeated unless you buy another gun someday. Speaking as a gun owner, I think it would be fantastic if this was repeated on a rolling basis (daily, monthly, yearly -- I don't know what the best approach would be) so that as long as I am on the books as a gun owner, I get periodically cross-checked that I am still legal to own guns. (The caveat is that this would work for warrants and convictions, but not for mental health issues for which there is not any central database, but at least it would be an improvement over the current system.)

Black Friday saw the highest number of background checks for gun purchases in a single day.

I had to go to Cabelas last weekend. I wasn't there to buy a gun, but I walked past the gun counter just to browse, and they were absolutely slammed with people buying guns. I hadn't looked at their sales flyers, so I don't know if it was just good sales or if it was another one of those panic buying sprees in fear of some fictional government gun restriction plan, but clearly people are buying like mad.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 AM on December 4, 2015


I also have no idea what impact (if any) magazine capacity restrictions have on firearm violence and firearm fatalities.

Jared Lee Loughner had a 33 round magazine that's available for $34.99 when he opened fire and killed six people and injured another thirteen. That magazine was illegal to procure prior to the expiration of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

He was tackled after emptying his clip and being forced to reload.

If he was limited to a ten round magazine...
posted by Talez at 5:09 AM on December 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


There's an argument to be made by many that owning a gun is inherently irresponsible.

My argument is explicitly, "If you can't show proof of financial responsibility for the potential risks of your firearms, you are NOT a responsible gun owner"....

So, current usage, without that proof should be qualified. Got a better way to identify so-called-responsible.. than quoting them?
posted by mikelieman at 5:38 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's certainly a very sound argument that both concealed carry and open carry are irresponsible on the face of it given the low chances of intentionally doing anything good and high chances of accidentally doing anything bad. Open carry comes off as especially irresponsible, as it both serves as a form of intimidation and is now starting to complicate active shooter situations. It goes back to the whole "good guy with a gun" myth, because as brilliantly illustrated in Ruben Bolling's "How to Tell the Difference Between an Open-Carry Patriot and a Deranged Killer" comic, it's impossible to tell the difference until they start trying to murder people.

Also, there's no guarantee that anyone is a responsible gun owner. Every gun owner thinks they're responsible, even if they will admit to doing something irresponsible. Most of them are lucky that nothing happened and/or no one said anything to the authorities about it. The #GunFAIL hashtag on Twitter illustrates the problem in pretty stark terms, and those are just the instances that were severe enough to make the news! For each of those, there's many more where (fortunately) no one barely missed being shot, or was injured or killed. Furthermore, if a "responsible" gun owner witnesses irresponsible gun behavior and does nothing, why should we consider them responsible themselves? They've just let someone get away with something that could have had horrific consequences, like looking the other way when someone who's wasted gets into a car and drives off. That shouldn't be something you just shrug or laugh off with a jovial "oh, you." We fight not to let alcohol culture not to take precedence over safety, so why let gun culture override safety and social norms?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:39 AM on December 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


Check before you buy.

I should not have read that long enough to get to the Cs, where we discover the NRA discount at Casket Royale.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:54 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really think this whole hunting thing is a derail

Absolutely, it's irrelevant - in the UK we have fairly strict gun control (if you don't count Northern Ireland) and it has no real impact on hunters or people who need guns for pest control, because the kind of guns you need for hunting and pest control are perfectly legal.

All you have to do is tell the police you'd like one, what you need it for (acceptable reasons: hunting, pest control, collecting, sport) and show that you can store it safely. As long as you don't have a criminal record or history of mental health problems, they'll give you a certificate and you can toddle off and bag yourself a tasty deer/shoot the fox scaring your chickens/whatever.

You can even legally own a handgun if you need to humanely kill large animals from time to time!

So, why do pro-gun people in the US even bring up the subject of hunting and pest control? Could it be that they're completely full of shit and know that it'll waste gun control advocates' time and rile up people who need guns for hunting and such, but who won't really be affected by gun control?
posted by jack_mo at 5:59 AM on December 4, 2015 [33 favorites]


The more I think about it, perhaps prayers _are_ the appropriate response to mass shootings. To get gun control measures passed in the US that would be effective, comprehensive and intelligently drafted would require divine intervention on an unmistakable scale.

The Christian God, however, hasn't delivered on that so I'm going to try a few others. Today will be Idunn and Freyja, and if that doesn't work I'm moving on to some of the other European pantheons.
posted by delfin at 6:00 AM on December 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Repeatedly talking about "responsible gun owners" using scare quotes isn't helpful.

It's not the people deploying quotation marks who line up after bloody gun-assisted tragedies and retroactively declare how certain gun owners were never responsible in the first place so stop lumping them in with responsible gun owners also too shut up. The quotation marks are meant to challenge the way in which that label is deployed independent of behaviour and the fallacy of infallibility around it: the implication that responsible gun owners never fuck up, and that those who do fuck up were just pretending to be responsible.

I think we can now imagine a future when people look back at personal automobile use and are amazed that their parents' and grandparents' generations were allowed to drive, given the everyday carnage that resulted. People fuck up, and it doesn't take much fucking up with a gun or a car for horrendous consequences.
posted by holgate at 6:24 AM on December 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


My classroom walls are entirely glass, so I must fit 17 children into a tiny, windowless bathroom (not as broad as my wingspan in any direction), and entertain them quietly (with poetry) until the all-clear,” she wrote. “Sheltering takes organized practice; our space is so small each kid has to know exactly where to stand (three on the toilet seat, steadied by floor-bound friends, two on a box, two under a shelf). As the humidity rises, kids draw smiley faces on the fogged-up mirror.”

“I keep a flashlight and A.A. Milne on the shelves in the bathroom,” she wrote. “It’s harder to be nervous when Pooh and Christopher Robin are present. The kids think we practice in case there’s a tornado.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:38 AM on December 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


It's not the people deploying quotation marks who line up after bloody gun-assisted tragedies and retroactively declare how certain gun owners were never responsible in the first place so stop lumping them in with responsible gun owners also too shut up.

For future reference, if I'm asking someone to shut up my comment will contain the words "shut" and "up." It seems there is no MetaFilter comment too short to be misread.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:13 AM on December 4, 2015


So, why do pro-gun people in the US even bring up the subject of hunting and pest control?

Because some anti-gun people (including several in this very thread!) keep saying they want to ban all guns.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:29 AM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have never, in my 35 years, heard any evidence that banning all guns isn't a bad idea.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:33 AM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


^^^ see?!
posted by Jacqueline at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


It seems there is no MetaFilter comment too short to be misread.

The feeling's mutual. How about we do the sensible thing and treat responsible/irresponsible as a meaningless distinction and useless distraction?
posted by holgate at 7:36 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is three years and hundreds of shootings ago, but still holds true: The Simple Truth About Gun Control

This is worth seconding, it is the the best piece of gun control argument I've seen.

We know that gun control reduces gun violence. We know it. As surely as we know that medicines cure disease, not 100% of the time, but enough to be worthwhile.

We just don't want to do it.

It is disrespectful to the thousands of people killed by guns, every year, to shake our heads and say we just don't know how it could have been stopped.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:41 AM on December 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


Just because there are people in this thread saying they'd like to ban all guns doesn't mean that banning all guns is even remotely what people are talking about when they talk about gun control. There isn't a single Democrat in Congress who wants to ban all guns. That is not what the debate is about. It's not gonna happen. For gun owners to pretend that it might happen is frankly paranoid, regardless of the views of a few Metafilter commenters.
posted by Asparagus at 7:53 AM on December 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, I'm under no illusion we are going to ban all guns, even if I think that's the only sensible thing to do.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:57 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]




I hadn't realized, until reading some pieces these past few days, just how many people we're talking about. 33,000 people killed by firearms in 2013. That's more people than the town I grew up in. My entire hometown, fucking gone. The entire undergrad population of large state universities, fucking gone.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:10 AM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hell, I'm a (clearly conflicted on the matter) gun owner and I'd support banning them all. It's not happening, though, and anyone with sense should be able to see that. So pushing back on it seems about as important as responding with information about gravity when someone says they'd like to flap their wings and fly around the room.

Yeah: you see friendly fire deaths in situations where the "good guys" are trained, coordinated, have advanced warning, and can communicate with each other. It's bizarre to me that anyone expects a positive outcome when a bunch of independent, uncoordinated, not-necessarily-trained, surprised folks start shooting at attackers in crowded public spaces. It's a fantasy.

I've come to think that there's no greater exemplar of Dunning-Kruger than the belief so many gun owners have about this ability to draw and defend themselves. My go-to whenever anyone brings it up is to link to the 2012 Empire State Building Shooting where officers shot more people than the killer and injured 9 in total. These people have more training and experience than is required for gun ownership (on average, none) or even concealed weapons permit holders (on average, a few hours in a classroom and a few minutes on the range - and even that the NRA consistently works to get reduced).

I have had friends-of-friends on Facebook respond to that with variations of yeah, well, that's the police so what do you expect? The level of magical thinking is astonishing. Even if you have little respect for police and their training (ahem) they have something which is more than nothing. And even with that they cause more collateral damage than the target, who in the 2012ESB incident had all of 2 rounds in his pistol when they showered him and other citizens with lead.

I'm considering carrying around a red foam rubber ball that I can pull out of my pocket and toss to people who blabber this nonsense in my presence. I can say "pew!" 13 more times afterwards if I feel like I need to demonstrate that I can do all that before they can get their pistol out, even if it's open carry on their hip. But I'd have to listen to their subsequent bullshit about how yeah, but if the person started with someone else they'd be able to unlimber and end the situation so it's worth it. Then I'd have to dent the cement wall with my head a few thousand times and what good is that to anyone?

I hadn't realized, until reading some pieces these past few days, just how many people we're talking about. 33,000 people killed by firearms in 2013. That's more people than the town I grew up in. My entire hometown, fucking gone. The entire undergrad population of large state universities, fucking gone.

If you're a Hamilton fan that's the number of redcoats in NY harbor in an early song. A literal army deployment to subjugate an insurrection, dead. In modern terms it's almost an entire corps.
posted by phearlez at 8:17 AM on December 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


On gun violence and how to end it, the facts are all in, the evidence is clear, the truth there for all who care to know it—indeed, a global consensus is in place, which, in disbelief and now in disgust, the planet waits for us to join. Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that.

That Gopnik piece is very good. Dead kids vs. deer pests. Got it.
posted by OmieWise at 8:18 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This, and the WaPo link in my first comment brings up the following issue (of which I was not aware. Emphasis mine.):

Guns are exempt from federal consumer-safety laws, and many guns used in crime appear to come from a few “bad apple” dealers. In response gun control advocates filed or supported lawsuits on behalf of cities and individuals affected by gun violence. Pro-gun activists fought back, and 33 states quickly enacted laws banning such lawsuits. In 2005 Congress pulled the plug nationally by providing immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers (with some important exceptions).

This slammed the courthouse doors shut for gun control advocates. Indeed, the 2005 law probably had a bigger impact on the gun control movement than did the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 ruling that the Constitution protects an individual right to a gun for self-protection.


Talk about culture indicators. Compare that to the constant defensive lawsuits that electronic devices - betamax, napster, aereo, etc - have to engage in to fight claims about substantial risk of their shit taking some pennies out of Sony's pockets. You can argue about whether or not the individual product is more than just a pretext for copying other people's stuff but you can actually argue about it rather than being legally prevented from even filing the suit. And the presumption falls primarily on the other side, with a requirement to show some "legitimate" use.

Maybe if someone finds a gun that shoots movie industry profits we can actually get some traction.
posted by phearlez at 8:27 AM on December 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


What We Learned This Week: America Has A Gun Problem And Other Uncomfortable Facts

Gun Industry Executives Say Mass Shootings Are Good for Business

Man’s hoard of nearly 5,000 guns shows ease of amassing arms in U.S.
“This has completely changed our definition of an ass-load of guns,” said Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks. Six weeks after the discovery, officers are still cataloging the weapons, many of which have proved stolen, and the final tally is expected to be close to 5,000. “I don’t know if there’s ever been (a seizure) this big anywhere before,” Brooks says.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:50 AM on December 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


On the topic of insurance, because it's come up a few times, I should probably point out that I have two insurance policies specifically covering my ownership of firearms.

The first policy is the sort of sort of policy many people here expect a gun owner to have: $2M (maybe it's $5M now, I forget) liability insurance covering anyone getting hurt or anything getting damaged by my guns. I pay the national gun lobby $45 a year for my membership, with this insurance provided as a benefit. It's also possible to buy a no-insurance membership from the same group for $30/year, so it's a pretty safe estimate to say that this insurance costs $15/year. (Incidentally, I also have a similar policy from the provincial hunting lobby, but it doesn't cover firearms not legal to use for hunting, and does cover other hunting weapons like bows.)

The second policy I hold is a legal defense policy, to cover the costs of challenging any rejected license renewal, or defending against criminal charges relating to my guns. To be eligible for coverage, I need to have a valid firearms license, and the policy costs $95/year (I get it discounted to $85/year because of my gun lobby membership).

What gets me about this is that the cost of the legal insurance is approximately 6 times the cost of the liability insurance. Particularly when a lot of these costs (which are only the defendants share of the costs; the cost of prosecution and or running the court in which the case is heard, is still borne by society) could be mitigated by a few changes to gun policy that would probably not have a significant impact on public safety.

The first change, that I've hinted at before, would be to remove the screening questions from the renewal application. If it's not important enough to be picked up by continuous eligibility screening and can be safely ignored in the ~60% of cases when it happens early enough after a license is issued to have timed out by the next renewal, it's almost certainly not worth paying the police, lawyers, and courts to huff and puff about the ~40% of cases when e.g. the divorce does happen in the 2 years leading up to a renewal.

The other change would be to remove the "careless" storage/transport/handling/use/etc. charges for firearms from section 86(1) of the criminal code, letting the 86(2) charge of storage/transport/etc. contrary to regulations pick up the slack. The regulations have been in place for 20 years now, so it would be fairly straightforward to scan through the past two decades of successful 86(1) prosecutions to see where the regulations need to be beefed up to maintain the degree of public safety we currently enjoy.

This second one is really the biggie, because I've spoken with the lawyer who defends the insured cases (and who is incidentally counsel for the gun lobby, and a director of the hunting lobby), and the overwhelming majority of criminal charges that he defends are 86(1) and 86(2) charges that arise from some other form of police contact (e.g. reporting a break-in). In a lot of these cases the police are under pretty heavy political pressure to lay a charge if there's a gun that they can conduct a ballistics test on (to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is legally a gun) without destroying any of the owner's other property (except the round of ammunition they use up in testing). There may not be any particular merits to the case, but it's a great way for politicians to tap into the "not-Americans" aspect of our national identity when looking for votes.

Rolling the uncovered facets of carelessness into the regulations and ditching the catch-all charge would give gun owners some added certainty about how they need to handle their firearms to be ok with the law, while at the same time providing the public safety benefit of clearly enumerating activities that are not ok to people who might believe them to be ok (and causing them to stop doing the things that are not ok, in order to comply with the newly unambiguous law).
posted by kiwano at 8:55 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]




Regarding background checks, one of the ways I've often thought licensing could be introduced in the USA is to present it as a sort of preclearance for background checks and waiting periods. I know some people who'd be interested because of the convenience, and others who'd be interested because they can't realistically subject themselves to a background check at the point of sale.

One example of the latter class of gun owner is a woman I visited in Alaska, who lives in an off-grid cabin in the interior, about 15 minutes hike down a trail whose head is maybe an hour's drive or so from Fairbanks. Because she's off-grid, she just plain can't produce any of the sorts of documents that a cashier (even an Alaskan cashier) is required to check in order to verify her address for the background check. It's particularly interesting in her case, that the requirement for a background check blocks her as a side-effect for reasons that correlate pretty strongly to being a subsistence hunter (for the record she is a subsistence hunter and either hunts with guns borrowed from friends, or acquired through the "gun show loophole").

In a lot of ways, I find it interesting that the Alaskan woman's access to guns would probably be improved by licensing, and see it as exactly the sort of nuance that is vitally important to consider when crafting public policy, but which gets completely overlooked when the debate devolves to "ban all guns" vs. "constitutional right".
posted by kiwano at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]




Hey, can we just call responsible gun owners responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners irresponsible gun owners? Repeatedly talking about "responsible gun owners" using scare quotes isn't helpful.

Whenever any sensible ideas about gun control are mentioned, someone inevitably feels the need to say some kind of variation on the theme, "Won't someone think about the responsible gun owners?" in order to shut down discussion — basically to get people to "shut up". So maybe ask yourself where that frustration is coming from in earlier responses, when you're basically doing the same thing here, but in a more indirect way.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:12 AM on December 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


The feeling's mutual. How about we do the sensible thing and treat responsible/irresponsible as a meaningless distinction and useless distraction?

It's really not, though. In the mammoth Sandy Hook thread, for example, one of the principal defenders of "responsible gun owners", vocally proclaiming herself to be one of the good gun nuts, admitted to keeping a large stash of completely unsecured guns in her apartment , on the pretext no one else was "allowed" to be in the apartment. Gun safes, she claimed, were just a convenient suitcase for burglars to steal guns in. I've never forgotten her comments because she perfectly illustrated the need to be extremely wary of the self-described "responsible gun owners", who are all too subject to common human cognitive biases and blind spots.

Since "personal responsibility" is a core mantra of the right wing efforts to deny collective action, it is essential we be allowed to examine and comment on how that responsibility plays out in the real world.
posted by Rumple at 9:16 AM on December 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


Hey, can we just call responsible gun owners responsible gun owners and irresponsible gun owners irresponsible gun owners? Repeatedly talking about "responsible gun owners" using scare quotes isn't helpful.

What habits and other practices define a "responsible gun owner"? Without specifics, the term is meaningless.

When talking about whether someone is *handling* a gun safely, we can look to whether they are following the four basic gun safety rules. But gun *ownership* involves a bunch of other issues beyond just gun handling, and we currently lack an equivalent set of widely agreed upon standards for that.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


gun *ownership* involves a bunch of other issues beyond just gun handling, and we currently lack an equivalent set of widely agreed upon standards for that.

let's see, uh, perhaps we could enumerate those standards and find a way to measure if they're met. then we could apply penalties for breaching the standards, even apply some kind of liability. in the most extreme cases we could rescind the privilege to own or operate a firearm.

perhaps some sort of - I don't know - law. it could be called 'The 2015 Gun Control Act'.

I'm sure you could get behind that.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:24 AM on December 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


j_curiouser:

You forgot that first we have to agree on what those standards are before we can enumerate them. In light of this additional step, I think it maybe necessary to call the law something else, like "The 2018 Gun Control Act".

(Taking cues from the research step that Obama took before repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell would probably be prudent in this situation, and I think it took about 2 years to survey the service members, compile the results, etc.)
posted by kiwano at 9:32 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Could we at least have the "2015 Let the CDC conduct actual research on a fucking public health crisis" act??!
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2015 [35 favorites]


The media is mobbed inside the house right now and broadcasting live. Bizarre as hell.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


45-50 years ago, smoking was an unthinking way of life among a lot of of white middle-class Americans. I'll speak for that group because I don't have enough info about others.

Now? Not so much. A combination of tax increases and simply making it more difficult to find public places to smoke did the trick. In other words: the gubmint (specifically, state and local governments) stepped in, followed by private enterprise when non-smokers started to outnumber smokers.


The Gun Industry Has Systematically Demolished Regulators And Avoided The Fate Of Cigarettes
posted by homunculus at 9:47 AM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]




Wow, I unfortunately (or fortunately?) don't have access to a TV right now, but people on twitter are like "wtf cnn"

Am I correct in thinking that this kind of thing probably goes against protocol for responsibly covering shooters in terms of preventing future shooters? Like aren't a lot of mass shooters partially motivated by everyone on the news talking about them like this?
posted by Asparagus at 9:51 AM on December 4, 2015


WHAT.
THE.
FUCK.
MSNBC?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whether or not you're a gun owner, you have to at least admit that the NRA have very good reasons for preventing the CDC for just wanting to conduct research on gun violence and is totally fucked up. It's research, not law, but hey god forbid they let actual stats and facts come into play.

As I said in my first comment way upthread, the US has become a nation where guns are more important than lives and it will never change. If we didn't do anything when children were killed, we're sure as hell aren't going to start now.
posted by Kitteh at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]




Jesus. H. Christ.

I don't care what the apartment owner said. I don't think there is any scenario where what MSNBC just did doesn't deserve massive censure due to the ethical issues therein. If there's any way they can be prosecuted, I hope the book gets thrown at them.

Fucking ghouls, the lot of them.
posted by tocts at 9:57 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


MSNBC just doxed the mother of the male gunman, on live television.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:57 AM on December 4, 2015


Wow, I unfortunately (or fortunately?) don't have access to a TV right now, but people on twitter are like "wtf cnn"

Honestly basically everyone on the air for CNN was saying WTF live.
posted by Drinky Die at 9:57 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I only looked online for a minute and I saw someone's work ID, drivers license, and social security card. Disgusting. I really hope that everyone who was in that apartment faces serious consequences.
posted by acidic at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


@FanSince09 this dude just walked out with a popsicle. pic.twitter.com/EaoyNlwcOM— Adam R. Loyd (@UnrealAdamLoyd) December 4, 2015

posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:23 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


"If we ban guns then only criminals will have guns."

"Well, and the police and the military and oh I see your point."
posted by ckape at 10:29 AM on December 4, 2015






I am pretty sure that landlords aren't legally allowed to let random people into apartments. At least, in my jurisdiction they have to give me 24 hours notice before they let anyone in for any reason that isn't emergency repairs.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:38 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


24 hour news media, somehow squeezing an extra bit of disgusting out of their murder coverage.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2015


There are literally just people milling around the apartment now. I can't believe a reporter actually took a popsicle from the house and opened it up on live television. WTF
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:50 AM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Reporters are expected to be nosy, but why the hell doesn't the FBI have that apartment locked down tight? I think that's a far more important question, really.
posted by Rumple at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it just me or did society just, like, completely collapse in the last couple of weeks? I feel like I don't understand anything anymore and everything is utterly terrible.
posted by Frowner at 10:53 AM on December 4, 2015 [40 favorites]


I wonder if there was still crime scene tape at the apartment. CNN reporter who went in the apartment said that the owner used a crow bar to open the door and let people in. Insanity. Cops have had plenty of time to show up and stop this but haven't. Not good.
posted by futz at 10:56 AM on December 4, 2015


Society and civilization as a whole is fine. I can and will repost that CDC study about gun violence having gone down dramatically since the '90s. Even if the study is just damned statistics, it's unarguable that in aggregate, gun violence has decreased. Statistically speaking, mass shooting by deranged gunman isn't too far from terrorism. They are a form a terrorism, because the toll isn't in sheer bodycount, but by the cultural effects they wreak upon society.

The way it seems, is that the culture is sick. Gun control and mental health are very important, but I feel that the way these attacks are seen in society is really becoming normalized. How fucked up is it that "active shooter" is now an emergency drill that schoolchildren have to go through? This literal media blitz just makes me think that the way these attacks are represented in the media plays a role in how our culture is shifting towards accepting that mass shootings are a thing that will happen, that they are the new normal.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:04 AM on December 4, 2015


I'm going to re-post what I previously wrote about the Trollhättan attacks in Sweden, which explicitly was not a gun attack:

That Gladwell piece is good in showing how that this sort of attack has become ritualized, a subculture, textbook, normalized behavior of sorts. I was talking about this in the Roseburg thread, how while gun control and better mental health care will go a long way towards reducing the problem, it doesn't hit the core causes- alienation in society. (As this form of violence goes global, it's going to adapt to local cultures. So gun control, while important, is not a panacea.) I think the New Republic response to Gladwell, while having an overly-combative and contrarian title and tone, actually complements his analysis quite well. The piece quibbles about Gladwell's metaphor of school shootings to a slow-burning riot, and pins the blame on weakening social ties.

What would turn a potential copycat shooter away from killing? Gun restrictions would obviously go a long way in stemming the bloodshed. But it’s also worth looking at the structures of our society. Psychologists have argued that shooters across the spectrum are driven by a desire for recognition and respect. [...]

This recurring desire for recognition has led psychologists to conclude that communities need to do a better job of “help[ing] disillusioned youths find a place for themselves in society, something many of them feel they lack.” They suggest guiding would-be shooters to find jobs or activities at which they excel and encouraging them to discover ways to use their talents that will earn them positive attention.

People used to belong to churches, to civic associations, to communities. Now we find kinship on the internet, with imagined, virtual projections of personalities, some not even alive. If anything, these toxic ideologies- anti-immigration, white nationalist, PUA/anti-PUA, etc., are just another channel for disaffected youth to rally around.

In many ways, I feel that the internet and the media- information- are responsible for these attacks in the same ways guns, swords, or explosives are- they are all tools that enable the mindset of a spree killer to form.

Has anyone since Columbine brought up The Stranger by Camus in the context of these shootings? That whole book really explains it all, doesn't it? The anomie, the nihilism, the senseless violence.

As an aside: weren't serial killers all the rage back in the '80s? Or maybe in the '70s, after the Manson murders and Zodiac. The media's lurid, sensationalist coverage, the way people set up twisted fandoms of the murderers, etc. Isn't school shooting a present-day equivalent to that dark fixation? How did serial killing cease to become a pop cultural phenomenon?

And what happened to the '90s after going postal? When did the stereotype of mailmen snapping stop being a joke?

---------

The media fawned all over serial killers and workplace shootings. I can't but to think that the attention society paid to such atrocities led to more copycat atrocities. Yet, those phenomenon slowly disappeared- or did they? Maybe the news cycle found something else to chase after. Maybe there were just as many horrible things happening in the 2000s, but Islamic terrorism was en vogue. Yet, if serial killings and workplace shootings did go down, perhaps this violent moment will similarly pass.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Society and civilization as a whole is fine. I can and will repost that CDC study about gun violence having gone down dramatically since the '90s.

This is misleading.

Between 1993 and 2000, the gun homicide rate dropped by nearly half, from 7.0 homicides to 3.8 homicides per 100,000 people. Since then, the gun homicide rate has remained relatively flat.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The way it seems, is that the culture is sick. Gun control and mental health are very important, but I feel that the way these attacks are seen in society is really becoming normalized.

Yeah, see, this is precisely what I mean by society collapsing. I mean, obviously not literally collapsing, what with the internet still functioning, stores still open, buses running, generally not gunfire in most streets, etc, but these past couple of weeks have just been bewildering with the speed and awfulness of what's happened, and so much of it seems to be media/internet driven. The people who shot the protesters here in MPLS, for example, were basically doing it to impress their internet buddies with what badasses they were, and this business with the San Bernardino shooter's family is just terrible. And the speed with which racism and xenophobia are...not spreading but becoming inflamed and active....I feel like I'm in shock a bit.
posted by Frowner at 11:12 AM on December 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


New Gopnik piece: Our Shared Blame For the Shooting in San Bernadino: The collective responsibility that all Americans share is the responsibility of allowing too many people to have too many guns; guns of a kind that no civilian ever needs can be bought in this country by almost anyone who wants one. We have been running an experiment of a kind that no sane ethicist would allow: what happens when, in a country large enough to contain every imaginable kind of crazy, from the inward-turning, maniac sort to the outward-turning, politicized kind, you make sure that almost anyone can readily buy any kind of gun? And now we know the answer: you get more gun massacres than there are days in the year.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:14 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




Did media coverage of workplace shootings stop in the '90s because the new trend after Columbine was to cover school shootings instead? And then school shootings waned because of 9/11 so then terrorism was the hot topic? Could this phenomenon of different types of attacks be feedback loops, initially seeded by one massive attack, then replayed again and again by copycats and those seeking to gain attention?

We used to fear war. We used to fear rebellion. Maybe in the modern world, we end up inventing more elaborate fears, and in doing so we inspire those who would profit from such fear to bring them to life.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2015


The eagerness to insist that it's Islamic terrorism and also the use of the phrase "looks like a duck..." on Reddit, newspaper comment sites, and even someone I know in real life leads me to believe some right wing spin is going on.

And it's bullshit. The media was blamed before for being too sensational with this shooter/attack coverage, and this time at least some of the outlets have shown some restraint. LA Times was especially good for reporting more about the victims. Isn't it a good thing when we let things cool off before coming out with the most incendiary information?
posted by FJT at 11:32 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The eagerness to insist that it's Islamic terrorism and also the use of the phrase "looks like a duck..." on Reddit, newspaper comment sites, and even someone I know in real life leads me to believe some right wing spin is going on.

It appears from the FBI's involvement over the past 24 hours and the briefing going on right now that it is actually much more than right wing spin.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:34 AM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because some anti-gun people (including several in this very thread!) keep saying they want to ban all guns.

I'm for this, and i know it's not going to happen in my lifetime.

I'm also for legalizing most drugs, guaranteed minimum income, pardoning most nonviolent criminals, national single payer health care, state or municipal ISPs, stricter telecom regulation, and a lot of other dirty hippie/commie/etc shit that would never EVER pass.

I recognize that there are Reasonable People to whom an absolute ban/buyback/etc is a non starter. I recognize that this is not only enough people, but our elected officials, and for anyone who will be electable for at least several decades this is unacceptable and they wouldn't dare even imply it.

Literally any meaningful forward motion and proper regulation would make a huge difference. So no, i'm not trying to take your guns. Lets do anything at all that we can get a decent number of people to agree on. This is a house fire, and even a garden hose is better than nothing even if i don't think it's ideal.
posted by emptythought at 11:36 AM on December 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


@FanSince09 this dude just walked out with a popsicle. pic.twitter.com/EaoyNlwcOM— Adam R. Loyd (@UnrealAdamLoyd) December 4, 2015

This is me. It's a screwdriver, not a popsicle. I was helping landlord, who was right beside me, take off the board.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2015


posted by Elementary Penguin @FanSince09 this dude just walked out with a popsicle. pic.twitter.com/EaoyNlwcOM— Adam R. Loyd (@UnrealAdamLoyd) December 4, 2015

It's an Active Looter situation.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


> So, why do pro-gun people in the US even bring up the subject of hunting and pest control? Could it be that they're completely full of shit and know that it'll waste gun control advocates' time and rile up people who need guns for hunting and such, but who won't really be affected by gun control?

Discussions of gun control online usually break down into arguments between two vocal extremist camps – pro-gun people opposed to any regulation of firearms at all, and anti-gun people who insist on overturning the 2nd amendment and banning all civilian ownership of firearms. The latter often direct a lot of their anger at hunters, even though hunters rarely murder people.

I'm pro-gun-control, but not anti-gun or anti-hunting. I favor adopting a gun licensing system modeled on New Zealand's. People like me are usually pushed out of the discussion when tempers are high, and they usually are after mass-shooting incidents like the ones we've had recently.

I agree with you that it's stupid to discuss the issue in these terms, with only the most extreme points of view having much of a voice. We shouldn't be arguing about hunting, but that's where we end up a lot of times.

Many pro-gun people seem not to understand that the Supreme Court disagrees with their interpretation of 2nd amendment. The Court has interpreted the amendment as implying an individual right to own firearms "for traditional purposes", but also recognizes the government's right to regulate firearms and firearms ownership to prevent other citizens from being murdered, raped, robbed, etc. by gun owners, and to deny people a right to own firearms with due process. In other words, the Supreme Court recognizes a right to own firearms, but also recognizes that it may be restricted in view of other rights, just like any other constitutional right.

A lot of anti-gun people don't seem to realize that most countries with bans on most civilian gun ownership that they want to emulate make exceptions for hunting and farmers owning guns for pest control and putting down sick or injured livestock. Most of them also don't seem to recognize that, although hunters make up a big chunk of gun-owners in the US, they're not responsible for a high proportion US murders.

All that said, this thread has been calmer and more thoughtful than any I've seen on MetaFilter on this subject. (I know the moderators deleted some stuff.) I hope this represents a shift in the political climate. We need to be thinking and talking seriously about this stuff.

We already have overwhelming majorities of US citizens supporting basic gun control legislation like criminal and mental health background checks, closing the gun-show loophole on criminal background checks, and establishing a federal database of gun purchases. These laws and proposals are supported by majorities even of people who describe themselves as gun-rights supporters. (See the Pew Research Center for stats) We need to be talking how we can get gun-control legislation passed that consensus-level majorities of Americans agree on and overcome the gun manufacturers' lobby's financial influence on our government, not spewing class-bigoted insults at each other.
posted by nangar at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


It appears from the FBI's involvement over the past 24 hours and the briefing going on right now that it is actually much more than right wing spin.

The inflation of significance of whether or not it's Islamic terrorism and the use of the term in to attempt to silence discussion on or gain some talking point against issues related to gun control and refugee resettlement is right wing spin. The fact they are even focusing on the term is a total right wing response to Democrats who have decided not to use the term.
posted by FJT at 11:58 AM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is me. It's a screwdriver, not a popsicle. I was helping landlord, who was right beside me, take off the board.

That guy desperately needs someone to knock him the fuck off his own Twitter account, like, immediately.
posted by Etrigan at 11:59 AM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


What habits and other practices define a "responsible gun owner"? Without specifics, the term is meaningless.

That's between you and the underwriter of your ad&d/liability coverage... I expect they'll want them secured in some UL rated box and other things... Nothing not already on the "Good Guys Guide Proper Storage and Handling of Guns" list...
posted by mikelieman at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2015


Popsicle dude might want to stop tweeting until he checks in with his lawyer. The landlord doesn't have the authority to let the media in. The lease transfers to the estate of the deceased tenant.

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf
Tenant’s Death
Suppose that a tenant who has a tenancy
for a specified term (for example, a one-year
lease) dies. The tenancy continues until the
end of the lease term, despite the tenant’s
death. Responsibility for the rest of the lease
term passes to the tenant’s executor or
administrator.
Now suppose instead that the tenant had a
month-to-month tenancy. In this case, the tenancy
is terminated (ended) by notice of the tenant’s
death. The tenancy ends on the 30th day
following the tenant’s last payment of rent before
the tenant’s death. No 30-day or 60-day notice is
required to terminate the tenancy.
posted by cnelson at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


That guy desperately needs someone to knock him the fuck off his own Twitter account, like, immediately.

He appears to be a conservative windbag in general, bet he is having the time of his life with this.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:05 PM on December 4, 2015






Comey says this is now a federal terrorism investigation headed by the FBI.
posted by Justinian at 12:39 PM on December 4, 2015


My money is still on workplace violence, with the wife coming along for the ride...
posted by mikelieman at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2015


My money is still on workplace violence, with the wife coming along for the ride...

I mean, no offense, but that doesn't make any sense knowing what we know now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Did I miss some news about the Husband? So far it's been about her, I thought...
posted by mikelieman at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2015


It would seem to be a triangulation of: 1) susceptible dude (mental health); 2) politicized wife (radicalism); 3) easy-access to guns (guns!).

Without all three in place I'm not so sure this would have happened.

</speculation>
posted by mazola at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]




Even the generally shitty and conservative SPJ thinks journalists storming the apartment was unethical.
posted by Artw at 1:19 PM on December 4, 2015


generally shitty and conservative SPJ

I don't care for a number of the SPJ's outlooks, but conservative? They are staunch proponents of the view from nowhere. To the extent that they are "conservative" they are conservative in the traditional establishment don't-rock-the-boat sense, not politically conservative as in tending towards the right.
posted by phearlez at 1:32 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're big on Fox News style "both sides" style narratives, which tend to be inherently right wing.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




What the fuck is that "political correctness line" one about?
posted by notsnot at 2:10 PM on December 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Artw, I guess this comes down to arguing about whether someone is a conspirator or a useful idiot, and my not-so-humble opinion is that VfW advocates are the latter. View from nowhere proponents really believe that it's in service of fair/non-partisan reporting and the both sides idiocy is done in service of it. The unhinged extremes - almost exclusively right-wing - has mastered exploiting it in order to seem like they're not extreme and holding a position that is fringe and minority. Trump uses it in service of extremism by way of lying, which the VfN makes it hard to flat-out call lying.

Which is somewhat of a derail, but I would say that the SPJ is above-average in its ethics claims when viewed in a vacuum. Some of their positions, like reporters always having to identify themselves, I view as being just as anti-truth as the VfN but in a very different and very staunchly upright way. Their minds are unknowable, so I guess it's possible they do all this with the knowledge that it'll work well for conservatives, but I will just leave it with I disagree that they're ideological in that way.
posted by phearlez at 2:12 PM on December 4, 2015


What the fuck is that "political correctness line" one about?

Presumably that people wouldn't rush to calling it a terrorist attack based on the fact that the person has a "funny name" and the wrong color skin. I mean, why would you want to presume a mass shooting is "just" a mass shooting simply because they're common and most of them are driven by assholery not ideology? The artist, Lisa Benson, is identified as explicitly conservative.
posted by phearlez at 2:16 PM on December 4, 2015


At this point we believe that the media is self-radicalized and more inspired by looters than actually told to loot.
posted by el io at 2:18 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A 7-year-old girl died at soccer practice Thursday night and a family friend who had been experiencing paranoia is accused of shooting her in the head before taking his own life.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:27 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jesus fuck
posted by Vibrissa at 2:34 PM on December 4, 2015


As for the Second Amendment, I've scanned this thread but I don't think the context of early American militias and slaveowning has really been brought up. What did militias do in the South? They kept slaves in their place.

The Slave-State Origins of Modern Gun Rights: The idea that citizens have an unfettered constitutional right to carry weapons in public originates in the antebellum South, and its culture of violence and honor.
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on December 4, 2015


The idea that citizens have an unfettered constitutional right to carry weapons in public originates in the antebellum South, and its culture of violence and honor.

I have a little theory, half-formed, that the US has been deeply affected by Scots-Irish marcher culture and its values.
As always, any political problem in the world can be traced back to the English.


EDIT: It's not even my theory! Beat again.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:44 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]




Interesting to note how normalized this has become that its compared against other mass shootings rather than against peace and quiet of a stable working first world highly industrialized and organized society. Unlike say the DRC.
posted by infini at 2:52 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A 7-year-old girl died at soccer practice Thursday night and a family friend who had been experiencing paranoia is accused of shooting her in the head before taking his own life.

Oh, but you're not allowed to count that because less than 4 people died.
posted by kisch mokusch at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2015


Seems a little unlikely, I suspect it's your own cowboy myth/KKK history biting you in the butte.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on December 4, 2015


This chart is incredibly frustrating for so many reasons - "Islamic Extemists" vs "Other Extremists" and the fact that so many shootings that probably should have been classified as "extremism" aren't even accounted for.

This is not looking good - Can't wait to see what horrible policies are put in place in the name of "terrorism" now, while we largely ignore anything actionable that would do more to foster an environment where this sort of incident is even less likely than it is today.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would a separate FPP on the media storming the apartment stand? I would love to get the MF take on that debacle.
posted by Clustercuss at 3:08 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's not, and instead just keep it in here?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:09 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know a lot of you are probably sick of hearing comparisons to other countries, I think it it is worth emphasising that Lindt cafe gunman in Sydney was unable to get hold of an automatic weapon beforehand, even when he approached bikie gangs. Because even when only criminals have guns, they don't like giving them to mentally unstable individuals, and the scarcity and price of guns on the black market is prohibitive to mass accumulation of weaponry.

So the Australian gun laws pretty effectively disabled Man Haron Monis from holding anything more than a shotgun, in contrast to the US laws, which have enabled this couple. Any shift of the debate away from gun control towards immigration/terrorism/Islamic extremism is a reversion to security theater.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:19 PM on December 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


It seems to me like there is room for both of those conversations. Just as there was room for conversation about both gun control and rampant misogyny when that guy shot up the sorority a couple years ago here in California. Things can, and usually do, have multiple facets.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on December 4, 2015


Well if one can be used to enact change on the other (e.g. Republicans enable terrorists), then it might be worth it. But Islamic extremism has pre-dominated the public consciousness for 15 years now, to what benefit? It's a convenient thing to get people fearful about and distracted with, and is used with great efficacy to obfuscate real issues.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2015


Sure, there is room for both conversations - but they all have a commonality: easy access to guns. Reasonable gun policy is actually something that is much more actionable than dealing with any sort of "islamic extremist" terrorism, as well as addressing any concerns that would come up with regard to the "mentally unstable" having easy access to guns.

There is a political habit of trying to address any shooting by thinking "OK, so what can we deal with that is specifically not related to easy access to guns" - and these issues are things that aren't always specifically actionable, and in many cases, would not address the shooting itself that sparked the dialogue. We need to analyze the commonalities that these shootings have in common, and address those first.

I'm not losing any sleep waiting for that to happen, of course.

But lets look at the facts behind the "islamic extremism" here - He was a US citizen. She was here on a green card, if I'm not mistaken - so she had to pass some relatively strict screening for this. So our entire security apparatus that is supposedly in place to deal with this failed.

So how would we prevent this attack? Would we not allow people to come in on a green card who come from nations that are supposed hotbeds of islamic extremism?

And if we are going to be combating terrorism, why not look for a solution that will address home-grown domestic terrorism as well?

How do you address these issues of extremist ideology from a legislative or security perspective? Or do you - just perhaps - make it more difficult for someone who has extremist views to obtain high powered weaponry?

One of these is much easier to legislate effectively than the other, and has proven beneficial results.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:04 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The story that is unfolding is horrible. Some shy, lonely muslim guy gets recruited into a death cult using a dating site. Kid who is created as part of their cover story is left orphaned.
posted by humanfont at 4:08 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am finding it hard to believe that's what happened. It seems like a Hollywood script. Some variant on Arlington Road or whatever.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on December 4, 2015


Seriously, I'm supposed to believe that this was an ISIS honey trap? I... if that's what happened I want to get off this timeline.
posted by Justinian at 4:17 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


So the Australian gun laws pretty effectively disabled Man Haron Monis from holding anything more than a shotgun, in contrast to the US laws, which have enabled this couple.

In the US you can buy a gun, but you can't buy a Kinder Egg because they're dangerous.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:19 PM on December 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


To further my point - We (the US) have already spent several billion dollars on enhanced security:
- We have instituted new departments such as the TSA in the name of enhanced security.
- We have established the single largest surveillance operation in history, covering our own citizens, as well as foreign surveillance.
- We regularly target overseas extremists in positions of power and eliminate them - and I'm not saying we should, simply that this was done in the name of combating terrorism. Never mind the side effects of that.
- We have waged warfare in the name of combating terrorism.
- We have tightened border controls considerably

None of those would have prevented any of the incidents of "islamic extremist terrorism" that we have seen within our own borders. Literally nothing we have done in the name of combating terrorism so far would do so - and we have been doing so at the expense of our own privacy and liberties.

What possible actionable policy could we take that would have prevented these that doesn't involve restriction to high powered weaponry? And yes, I realize that wouldn't have stopped the Boston Marathon bombings. If you can tell me any actionable policy that would have, I am all ears.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:20 PM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]




And so it begins, the 'it's not about gun control it's about terrorism' narrative.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:52 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


In that narrative, the wives of young men who met them online through introductory services will be doubly scrutinized.
posted by infini at 5:04 PM on December 4, 2015


You would think after the past 10 years of policy and surveillance changes that there wouldn't be much privacy and dignity left to erode.
posted by kisch mokusch at 5:19 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Presumably that people wouldn't rush to calling it a terrorist attack based on the fact that the person has a "funny name" and the wrong color skin. I mean, why would you want to presume a mass shooting is "just" a mass shooting simply because they're common and most of them are driven by assholery not ideology? The artist, Lisa Benson, is identified as explicitly conservative.

Any time you see "MSM" or its full version, the Mainstream Media, you can be sure you're dealing with a hardline conservative. That is a famous Limbaugh dogwhistle, claiming that THEIR media are balanced but all other media are 110% liberal apologists. Some truth, some remarkable levels of projection. (I don't call the conservative media machine the Mirror Universe Media for nothing.)

But "political correctness" in this case covers quite a lot of ground. Obama and, to his credit, Dubya have steadfastly maintained that America is not at war with Islam, or even with a subset of Islam, but against terrorists who use Islam as a motivator. Many consider that to be foolish, that the menace of radical Islam needs to be explicitly named and targeted. Many consider Islam itself to be suspect along with all who follow it, no matter how moderate they appear. Many consider America to be the last true outpost of Christianity and are more than ready for a war of philosophies, a clash of civilizations, a modern Crusade, Jesus vs. Muhammad in Thunderdome where two cultures enter, one culture leaves. Many wonder why we haven't carpetbombed the entire Middle East already and handed it all to Israel with a bow on top. Many think that it'd be easy for America to just go out and stomp ISIS flat if we had the will to do it.

Many are downright stupid. But it's out there, and stupidity in groups grows exponentially.

Jay: People are smart. They can handle it.
Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


So there's your "political correctness" -- it's an unwillingness to poke the bear aggressively, to provoke a war that would be the greatest recruiting tool radical Islam could ever have. Is Obama wrong to refuse to give radical Islamists and Islamophobes the demonization of Islam that both of them want?
posted by delfin at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


You would think after the past 10 years of policy and surveillance changes that there wouldn't be much privacy and dignity left to erode.
posted by infini at 5:30 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whenever anyone says "you would think...", I've found that while many would think that, what they think is never the case.
posted by qcubed at 5:40 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any time you see "MSM" or its full version, the Mainstream Media, you can be sure you're dealing with a hardline conservative.

Maybe ten or fifteen years ago, but it's pretty widely used now.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:24 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been away from the internet today and catching up with this thread now. Popsicle guy deleted his tweet, so here's an article with the picture he posted and I would like to reiterate that THAT IS A FUCKING POPSICLE.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2015


Also, the first editorial on the front page of the NYT since the 1920's: End the Gun Epidemic in America
posted by triggerfinger at 6:49 PM on December 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


From the NYT editorial:


Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:59 PM on December 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's a screwdriver, it's just the motion blur and picture of a TV screen image quality that makes it look like a Popsicle. Dude isn't gonna lie with cameras from every news organization in the world there.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2015


You would think after the past 10 years of policy and surveillance changes that there wouldn't be much privacy and dignity left to erode.

If Ari Fleischer wants to hook himself up to a GoPro and a livestream so that we can make snarky comments when he shits, then I'll make the sacrifice of watching it.

But it's an absurdity, the notion that you should be allowed to buy whatever the fuck you want from Bubba's Bangstick Bazaar or some other cheerily-named emporium of projectile slaughter, but then be surveilled upon in case you want to do something naughty with your personal arsenal. You have to be deeply fucked in the head to think that's the way to go about things.
posted by holgate at 7:17 PM on December 4, 2015


The couple appears to have done plenty of stuff right in the open on various networks already under domestic surveillance. If anything this case shows how completely ineffective these domestic surveillance programs are. They even bought their weapons, tactical gear and ammo online.
posted by humanfont at 7:19 PM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can't buy beer or wine online in my state.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dude isn't gonna lie with cameras from every news organization in the world there.

Unfortunately, lying in front of cameras with evidence of those lies laid before them doesn't stop many people from being lying liars. There is no shame in lying anymore and there rarely consequences for it.

but yeah, that is probably a screwdriver.
posted by futz at 7:24 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a screwdriver which is being held by the business end. Probably similar to this one.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2015


This is me. It's a screwdriver, not a popsicle. I was helping landlord, who was right beside me, take off the board.

"I wasn't looting, I was burgling!"

then looting
posted by dirigibleman at 8:29 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, it's a screwdriver. This is just making me want a popsicle but it's late and nothing's open :(
posted by triggerfinger at 8:35 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


What good would research into gun violence do?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:15 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


What good would research into gun violence do?

Well, we'd at least have hard data that as a country, we'd ignore, because gun rights have been privileged over lives. It'd at least put it in the same neighborhood as our discussions about climate change.
posted by qcubed at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


What good would research into gun violence do?

For starters, we'd have much better facts to throw at each other round here.
posted by monospace at 9:27 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Regarding background checks, one of the ways I've often thought licensing could be introduced in the USA is to present it as a sort of preclearance for background checks and waiting periods. I know some people who'd be interested because of the convenience, and others who'd be interested because they can't realistically subject themselves to a background check at the point of sale.

Quite a few people I know, including myself, picked up a concealed carry license for exactly this reason. I don't need to ever carry a pistol for "protection" (from what?), but being able to avoid waiting periods is the firearms equivalent of having TSA Precheck. It's a small luxury and well worth putting oneself through a preemptive basic background check.

That's between you and the underwriter of your ad&d/liability coverage... I expect they'll want them secured in some UL rated box and other things... Nothing not already on the "Good Guys Guide Proper Storage and Handling of Guns" list...

People have probably mentioned this before, but no home owners or renters insurance I have ever gotten has ever cared about guns, except to ask if I have enough to need a special rider to cover their value.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:32 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


What if the freedom to bear arms is also the freedom to be a jihadi? (Slate)
If you can’t stop ideas from crossing borders—if you can’t surveil every node of every network, peer into every soul, and know in advance who’s becoming radicalized—then you have to look for some other, more material transaction to monitor or control. The most obvious such transaction is the acquisition of weaponry. In the ideal world of the National Rifle Association—a world in which guns are freely available and our sole method of regulating their use is through mental health treatment, or sometimes through criminal background checks—anyone with a clean record can buy all the guns and ammo he wants, without raising any alarms. Including Syed Farook.
posted by monospace at 9:39 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The constitution doesn't really apply to Muslims in the US at the moment.

They are under surveillance (violation of the 4th amendment, perhaps the 5th), if they even dare translate videos that say the wrong things they are 'giving material support to terrorism' (where if a KKK member wants to publish a video calling for the overthrow of the US govt, that's 1st amendment, yo)... So in theory the freedom to bear arms is also the freedom to be a jihadi, but in practice, not so much.
posted by el io at 10:03 PM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beyond Gun Control
McBride wanted President Obama to make Ceasefire and similar programs part of his post-Newtown push to reduce gun violence. He had brought a short memo to give to White House staffers, outlining a plan to devote $500 million over five years to scaling such programs nationwide. His pitch to Biden that day was even simpler: Don’t ignore that black children are dying, too.

In response, the vice president agreed urban violence was very important, McBride said. But it was clear that “there was not a lot of appetite for that conversation by folks in the meeting,” McBride recalled.

Later, other ministers who worked with McBride would get an even blunter assessment from a White House staffer: There was no political will in the country to address inner-city violence.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:09 PM on December 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


What good would research into gun violence do?

Yeah, what has the careful scientific study of societal problems ever done for us, anyway?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:11 PM on December 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


Would we not allow people to come in on a green card who come from nations that are supposed hotbeds of islamic extremism?

That seems likely. Also probably some ill-advised laws regarding increased surveillance of anyone who watches anything from Daesh or similar types, probably extending it to reading news stories from insufficiently on-side non-USA sources. Or I'm a cynic.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


"shootings" is such an ugly term. we could surely make shootings go away by renaming these things "interpersonal ballistic events", or IBE's. you know, like there's no bombs anymore since they invented IED's.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:41 PM on December 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


jesus, is your keyboard made of 100% Dry? That was astounding.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:53 PM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


If the answer to the question "What good would research into gun violence do?" Is nothing, then why does the NRA oppose it?

I know that facts mean little to the mainstream media, but hard data still carries weight amongst policy makers.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought some cities such as NY and Boston or Chicago had additional gun control measures in place. Data from other countries such as Australia are often brushed aside as 'not applicable' to the US. If there were findings that, in the US, added gun control saves lives, that would make a stronger case for more widespread regulation.
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:04 PM on December 4, 2015


Lindsey Graham says he's been hearing about marriage green-card-plots for a while now -- is he just making shit up at this point?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:11 PM on December 4, 2015


If there were findings that, in the US, added gun control saves lives, that would make a stronger case for more widespread regulation.

Doubtful. Remember, you've got hunters who need extra large clips and fully automatic rifles to take care of that nefarious pest, the deer.
posted by qcubed at 11:16 PM on December 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


[A couple of comments deleted. It's fine to link to pertinent info, but let's try to skip the "all republicans are psychos/nazis etc." (and avoid derails about how this is like saying "all Muslims are terrorists, etc.").]
posted by taz at 11:32 PM on December 4, 2015


Re: the shooting in Taylor, MI. - A 7 y.o. killed by a paranoid family friend with a "legal" gun. What, we just need to arm more elementary schoolers? If so, that should be easy. There's gun shops every couple of miles here. Or let's go to a gun show - there's one every weekend, including right in Taylor.

I also looked at that NRA member discount list for my state. Participating places of business include an ice cream parlor and a small-town arts center.

People from other, sane countries - that's how entwined, like a metastasizing cancer, the gun culture is here.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:43 PM on December 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because there's no tragedy republicans can't make hay from, Ben Carson says San Bernardino shooting should end debate on Syrian refugees.
posted by Feyala at 12:13 AM on December 5, 2015


I have a little theory, half-formed, that the US has been deeply affected by Scots-Irish

I'll agree there's a basis for a lot of the stereotypes about the Scotch-Irish, but the implication we're more prone to killing just ain't right. Our violence is more "I'll kick your ass." than "I'll cap your ass." That's way more a Cracker culture thing down south.

Here's a pretty good map of where the Scotch-Irish ended up before the 1930's, although it doesn't differentiate between hillbillies of Appalachia and the Ozarks and our daughter culture the rednecks out on the flatlands.
www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=254456
And the bottom map here shows the high murder rate countys shoaling out against the east of the Appalachians and the bottom of the Ozarks.
http://projects.oregonlive.com/ucc-shooting/gun-deaths
Might could be them there theories need to be refined in light of new evidence, ya think?

Unfortunately , the second map down shows we don't mess around with "cry for help" knife wounds or ODs, just "I'm done." Bang.
posted by ridgerunner at 2:29 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


marriage green-card-plots for a while now

To note, from prior experience in the previous century, the marriage/green card only works for US citizens. Its very difficult for a green card holder to bring a wife over. Either you marry while on h1b visa or wait 10 years till you're a citizen.
posted by infini at 3:47 AM on December 5, 2015


People have probably mentioned this before, but no home owners or renters insurance I have ever gotten has ever cared about guns, except to ask if I have enough to need a special rider to cover their value.

At best, a homeowner's policy covers theft and damage, like any other personal property. Yes, if they're expensive, a rider for the additional value is an option.

That's not the policy I'm talking about. I'm talking about coverage for:

1) Accidental Death caused by the policyholder's guns.

2) Bodily Injury caused by the policyholder's guns.

3) Property Damage caused by the policyholder's guns.
posted by mikelieman at 5:13 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a huge difference between using a tragedy to talk about the causes of that tragedy (gun access, gun culture, mental healthcare), and using a tragedy to try to gain support for something completely unrelated (syrian refugees). The woman was not a refugee, and the vetting process for fiancee visas is different from the vetting we do for refugees. It's an attempt to profit politically by painting innocent people with the brush of radical islam and the blood of those slain.

Carson qualified his statement by saying that "someone told me this today" but that he would "have to check it out" to confirm the information.

Malik was born in Pakistan and lived in Saudi Arabia. She reportedly entered the country in 2014 on a K-1 "fiance visa." Because that type of visa would require a U.S citizen as a second party, Malik would have undergone a drastically different screening process than what refugees undergo. That process would also take less time — under a year — while refugee screenings take as many as three years.

posted by Feyala at 6:37 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The math of mass shootings: Each gun was used to kill an average of three people, not counting shooters. The 794 people came from nearly every imaginable race, religion and socioeconomic background, and 134 were children or teenagers.

(Every victim's story is linked)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:59 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


While any sensible reading of that would suggest that maybe Pakistanis and Saudis are different from Syrians, especially because they consider themselves different, and have a long history of proof to that effect, I don't think that's going to matter to "Real Murricans" who don't understand that Sikhs are not Muslims, let alone Muslins.
posted by qcubed at 7:43 AM on December 5, 2015


There's a huge difference between using a tragedy to talk about the causes of that tragedy (gun access, gun culture, mental healthcare), and using a tragedy to try to gain support for something completely unrelated (syrian refugees).

The war in Syria appears to without doubt be a part of the cause for this tragedy. Refugees are a major issue with that war. It seems pretty relevant to discuss to me.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The war in Syria appears to without doubt be a part of the cause for this tragedy.

Do you have any evidence to support this?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:48 AM on December 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


The alleged shooter who posted about loyalty to ISIS leads me to believe the Syrian War is relevant. What evidence suggests these people were mentally ill?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:50 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Shooting 35 people seems pretty prima facie evidence, there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:50 AM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think they were mentally ill. But motive aside, the entire cause of the tragedy is that these folks had access to guns.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The woman was not a refugee, and the vetting process for fiancee visas is different from the vetting we do for refugees.

Well, quite, but born-in-the-US citizens are generally quite ignorant of their country's immigration laws and procedures, and an ignorant presidential candidate isn't going to lose points for being ignorant in front of an equally ignorant audience, whether it's conflating brown people or conflating those fleeing wars with those wanting to fight them.

(The K-1 takes about six months to process, more if the fiance(e) is coming from certain countries.)
posted by holgate at 7:54 AM on December 5, 2015


I don't think they were mentally ill. But motive aside, the entire cause of the tragedy is that these folks had access to guns.

It's an extremely large portion of the cause. But it's not the entire cause. Without guns they still could have killed people, just likely fewer.

The international influence of ISIS is also a major issue.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:55 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The refugees are fleeing ISIS.
The gunmen were fans of ISIS.

Using this shooting to tar the victims of ISIS with the actions of their attackers is victimizing them again, and is nothing but pandering to Islamophobia. Stricter control of refugees would not have prevented this tragedy. Carson has an existing vendetta against refugees and is trying to use this tragedy to validate it.

This is to say, it's not unexpected but I still think it's worth calling out.
posted by Feyala at 8:01 AM on December 5, 2015 [20 favorites]


Ben Carson says San Bernardino shooting should end debate on Syrian refugees.

Well since neither shooter was a Syrian refugee, he's right in a way…
posted by mazola at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


On Saturday in Colorado Springs, a man exercising his right under state law to openly carry a rifle in the streets went on a rampage, killing three people before police took him out in a hail of bullets. Just before the attack, an alarmed neighbor saw the man walking around armed and dialed 911. The dispatcher explained to her that it was legal to carry a gun in public. Her 911 call wasn't deemed urgent—the police did not process it as "the highest priority call for service," a Colorado Springs PD official confirmed to Mother Jones yesterday. She soon dialed 911 again, after the killing had begun.
Open Carry Gun Laws Make It Harder to Protect the Public, Police Chiefs Say
posted by melissasaurus at 11:16 AM on December 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


The president of the Liberty University is urging students to carry concealed weapons on campus in order to “end those Muslims” who would attack the campus.

“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” President Jerry Falwell, Jr., told students at convocation Friday, according to the News & Advance.

“It just blows my mind when I see that the President of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said. “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”

Students reportedly erupted into applause at the call to arms.

posted by futz at 12:36 PM on December 5, 2015


Falwell encouraged students to take the free class to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon offered by the Liberty University Police Department.
posted by futz at 12:53 PM on December 5, 2015


Students at Liberty could perhaps stand to open their bibles:
Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell."
Its not Muslims they should fear, but Falwell.
Matthew 5:43-46"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those whose persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?

Matthew 5:38-41 "You have learnt how it was said: 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.' But I say to you, Offer the wicked man no resistance. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him."

Luke 6:27-28 "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly."

Luke 6:46 "why do you call me, "Lord, Lord" and not do what I say?"
posted by Blasdelb at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of conservative blog Red State, read the New York Times editorial and decided that it required a mature, thoughtful and reasonable response.

So he shot it.
posted by delfin at 1:23 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


So he shot it.
Lol, the douchebag couldn't even consistently hit the editorial.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:26 PM on December 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


mikelieman

If you subtract out vehicles, medical, flood, I'm paying, <$50/mo for farm coverage. Farm insurance includes damage to the barn, well, equipment, fences, house & contents etc. Plus liability, i.e. temp & contract labor injuries, my bull killing my neighbors 's bull, the tractor going down the road, etc.

The insurance co. doesn't offer a discount for not having any guns, nor do they care that I have a dozen, (exactly twice as many as I need, in case somebody wants to go hunting with me) including an AR-15 and an SKS I use once every 3 or 4 years when the feral hogs get out of hand.

The premiums wouldn't go up even if I got a CCL and bought a dinky little pistol to carry everywhere. Their exposure from insuring gun owners barely registers, unlike a big ass pickup to haul things. :(
posted by ridgerunner at 1:27 PM on December 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post is running the Jerry Falwell / Liberty University story as well with this bit:
Some theologians believe that Jesus would call on Christians to put down their weapons in the face of violence. In response, Falwell referenced the story from the gospels of Jesus chasing money changers out of the temple with a whip.

“Jesus said ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,’ and part of that was to go to war, protecting whatever nation was under control of the king,” Falwell said. “I wouldn’t agree with any interpretation of Scripture that was used to say that a man or a woman shouldn’t protect their families.”
I'm boggled that Falwell would use the passages where Jesus condemns the commercialization of the church and the need to pay taxes, of all things, to justify his flock strapping heat.
posted by peeedro at 2:27 PM on December 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of conservative blog Red State, read the New York Times editorial and decided that it required a mature, thoughtful and reasonable response.

So he shot it.


Hey, yutz! Guns aren't toys. They're for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face.
posted by Talez at 2:33 PM on December 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one trail of spent ammunition,
It was then that I gunned those motherfuckers down for you."

posted by tonycpsu at 2:44 PM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The headline of this NY Times article pretty much sums up the current state of gun control: "In Wake of Shootings, a Familiar Call to Arms Drives Latest Jump in Weapon Sales" (tl;dr: Gun sales are way up, and politicians and sheriffs in many places are telling people to arm themselves.)

The feedback loop between mass killings and gun law liberalization seems to have become firmly established in the last decade or so here, exactly the opposite of how gun laws were tightened in the UK and Australia in response to killings, and also the opposite to how gun controls were increased in the wake of at least a few past shootings in the US (such as restricting mail order sales after the JFK assassination or the Brady bill in the 1980s). It's too easy to blame just the NRA for what is a broader cultural shift.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm boggled that Falwell would use

I'm always embarrassed to admit the Falwells et al. are part of my culture, but then Rome probably couldn't have converted my (g to the Xth) grandparents away from Thor without the Old Testament as bait.
posted by ridgerunner at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2015


Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of conservative blog Red State, read the New York Times editorial and decided that it required a mature, thoughtful and reasonable response.

So he shot it.


He literally shot the messenger. Huh. Makes sense.
posted by the painkiller at 3:28 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


There appears an element of radicalisation in the San Bernardino shooting but there is also very much an unsubtle hint that this was a religiously motivated workplace shooting that was something along the lines "fuck this guy, I've had enough of his shit, ah well in for a penny, in for a pound".

I'm aware that could read like victim blaming and I'm absolutely not seeking to justify the killers' actions, merely suggest that support of IS was not necessarily as primary a motivation as that of just having had enough directed abuse as seems to have happened.

A grown up would take this up with HR or change jobs (see numerous AskMe posters complaining about shitty colleagues) rather than rolling up loaded for bear but clearly the shooters were already a little ways down the road of irrationality (they clearly had sufficient armaments to commit a mass shooting, plus body armour and IEDs).

Electronic monitoring being as widespread as it is it'll come out eventually, it just seems more like they snapped to me. There's more to it and I fully expect some flak on that position but we'll have to wait and see as more information comes to light. I'm more than happy to be wrong in this case :(
posted by longbaugh at 4:57 PM on December 5, 2015


I don't want to engage in victim blaming, either, but the more I read about that guy, the more I want to point out that Messianic Jews are, generally speaking, Christians who appropriate the trappings of Judaism, rather than Jews who embrace Jesus as the Messiah. They generally have very little to do with (and in my limited experience don't have a lot of sympathy for or understanding of) any mainstream Jewish community in the US.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:21 PM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The energy which is being expended on this particular framing of the story makes me suspicious enough to remember that the FBI cultivates fragile people in their counter-terror operations.
posted by rhizome at 5:28 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


He did seem to be somewhat of a total asshole from what I've read. Doesn't excuse killing him, or anyone for that matter.

We had a "Jew for Jesus" (as he described himself) in our work many years ago. An utter dipshit of a man who had never read any religious text so far as I could tell. He was very opinionated about things regardless but that does seem to fit the pattern of behaviour for fundamentalists. The less they know, the more willing they appear to be to hold forth on the subject.

The FBI, whilst more than happy to create fake terrorists in order to buff their stats, do seem to have a reasonable handle on those they influence. They usually step in long before things go tits up. For all their being a joke of a law enforcement agency they do actually keep a close watch on those they push into jihadism.

I think we'll see the wife is the main culprit (her time in Saudi *ignore the elephant* being a likely period of radicalisation) and her influence resulted in fantasy stockpiling and that this event just made them kick off early.

There are many more useful targets in terms of a significant payoff for causing terror but the workplace environment will more than likely have both exacerbated and accelerated any radicalisation that took place. I think they might well have done something at some unknown period in the future but this was perhaps a last straw?

It just seems so badly thought out. Again, not exactly rational actors, but still.
posted by longbaugh at 6:30 PM on December 5, 2015




"Messianic Judaism", huh. Yeah. I could go on for hours, but in a nutshell, accepting Jesus' New Covenant means giving up on the Abrahamaic and Mosaic Covenants, so you really can't mash the two together.

I've suggested earlier that this was workplace violence and not terrorism, especially without any message other than "I hate my co-workers".

Sure shoved the real cop-killing terrorist in Colorado off the front-page, though...
posted by mikelieman at 8:23 PM on December 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Electronic monitoring being as widespread as it is it'll come out eventually...

If he was under surveillance (dragnet or specific) its doubtful that any information gleaned from that will ever be shared with the press. The NSA generally doesn't even share with the FBI, and when they did it's not the specific information (they don't hand over emails, they tell the FBI - 'check that dude out').

There's a bunch of reasons why this is the case. Ostensibly it's to protect 'methods and sources', but given as we are all given to understand there is widespread dragnet surveillance that excuse is getting weaker all the time. Part of it might be turf war stuff (agencies are hesitant to share, in part because they don't trust the opsec of other agencies, which may be a fair reason). Another reason (and a reasonable one, I guess) is that the intelligence community doesn't get any specific advantage from sharing. When you hear about 'high placed sources at the CIA have revealed...' you can assume that the 'leaks' are for their own benefit and agenda (and may or may not be true) and certainly aren't so the public can be informed.

Anyway, we'll get a lot of information about details of what went down through good old fashioned police work, not from the spooks.

/intelligence discussion derail.
posted by el io at 11:27 PM on December 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The international influence of ISIS is also a major issue.

I think a lot of people share that view. I wonder if it's a comfort thing. Externalisation of the problem to somewhere overseas. Means you don't have to look at your own backyard.

The initial target was somebody the husband worked with. Which means it was almost certainly personal. And as horrific as it was, you should be grateful that this was most likely an incident of workplace violence. A cold, ISIS-inspired act of terrorism co-ordinated by two individuals with this much arsenal could have been Bataclan-level devastating.

If you truly fear ISIS-inspired terrorism, then you should be massively scaling back access to automatic weapons. Because unlike Paris there is no need for would-be terrorists to BYO their own assault rifle to the US, you provide everything quite literally at the click of a button!
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:02 AM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if it's a comfort thing.

It's a, "This is what one of the shooters publicly claimed during the attack," thing.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:09 AM on December 6, 2015


So did Monis. We still saw him for what he was: A mentally unstable individual, not some hand of ISIS.
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:26 AM on December 6, 2015


A facebook post pledging allegiance to ISIS by the wife of the health worker who shot up his office Christmas party doesn't in any way imply her 'cell' wasn't larger than just herself.

Wear a Guy Fawkes mask, and you're part of Anon. Post to Facebook, and you're part of Daesh...
posted by mikelieman at 12:37 AM on December 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, the women who along with her husband stockpiled guns, ammunition, and bombs in her house said that.

I said was that the worldwide influence if ISIS is a concern. That doesn't require a membership card and official tote bag, guys.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:42 AM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, you said it in a thread about gun control.
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:47 AM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just wish the root-cause of workplace harassment didn't get lost in all the "Muslim extremists" noise. And I particularly despair that resources to address the actual terrorist risk -- the terrorists who kill because they have a message like, "No more baby parts" -- won't be addressed.

Oh, it's bourbon-o'clock again....
posted by mikelieman at 12:49 AM on December 6, 2015


[One comment deleted. Drinky Die, you've made your point several times. Consider it stated, and let people go on with the larger discussion.]
posted by taz at 1:26 AM on December 6, 2015


Bethania Palma Markus: ‘They are coming for you’: Sandy Hook truthers escalate threats by posting home address of victim’s sister
The family is particularly nervous as the December 14 anniversary of the shooting spree approaches.

“This is very scary to our family and as 12/14 approaches we are even more scared that this will escalate into physical violence,” the family wrote. “We have been through enough and each day is harder than the one before. This just makes it all very stressful for us during an already difficult time.”

A heartbreaking photograph of Carlee Soto sobbing upon learning the news of her sister’s death has been used by conspiracy theorists to “prove” she is a crisis actor.

The family has been harassed to the extent that they applied to trademark Vicki’s name to stop people from using it online for harassment and other nefarious purposes.

Survivors and loved ones of the Sandy Hook shooting have long been victims of harassment. Scarlett Lewis, whose first grade child was killed in the massacre, was harassed online after writing a book about her journey through grief.

Last month, Matthew Mills of Brooklyn was arrested for confronting Soto’s younger sister, Jill, at a charity event for Vicki Soto with his conspiracy theories.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:39 AM on December 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Marco Rubio wants to know why nobody's talking about 'bomb control'. Are you sure you want to go there, Marco?
posted by peeedro at 5:21 AM on December 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


"She had been the youngest one shot on just her fourth day of college, and she was also one of the survivors in the worst shape: Lung punctured. Kidney pierced. Ribs cracked. Nerves compressed. Stomach stapled. Abdominals torn. She couldn’t yet sleep flat in bed, or walk unassisted, or do much of anything beyond lie in the recliner on her left side. “Very lucky, considering,” was what she had been told by one trauma medic, who specialized in treating soldiers after combat. But Cheyeanne had signed up for Writing 115, not a war, and the idea of luck hadn’t occurred to her yet."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:51 AM on December 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Police are looking into reports that the suspect yelled, "This is for Syria," during the attack,

YouAintNoMuslimBruv trending as Britons hail bystander’s riposte
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:18 AM on December 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Obama to address nation regarding CA shooting, terror concerns

President Barack Obama plans to deliver a prime-time address to the nation Sunday night on the attack in California and the government's efforts to keep the nation safe.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:31 AM on December 6, 2015






YouAintNoMuslimBruv trending as Britons hail bystander’s riposte

This is my country.

I was a bit worried it might have gone away after the bullshit bombing vote, glad to see its still there.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on December 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


U.S. rethinking strategy on fighting homegrown attacks: NYT

(Reuters) - U.S. officials, faced with an evolving threat of deadly attacks by homegrown extremists, are rethinking their strategy on battling domestic terror after Wednesday's assault that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The United States should beef up airline security by increasing agents in overseas airports, bolster standards for visa waiver programs, and improve communications between officials and Muslim communities to help locate threats, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told the Times.

posted by Drinky Die at 9:24 AM on December 6, 2015


I do wonder why President Obama feels it necessary to have an Oval Office address tonight. Only his third ever, and I don't think there's anything really to say right now, other than calm down.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sandy Hook truthers escalate threats by posting home address of victim’s sister

For fuck's sake. These people are completely psychotic.

Family operating the support page for Vicki Soto said they have tried reaching out to the police and Instagram for help. As of Saturday evening, the post is still being shared by numerous Instagram accounts.

Useless assholes.
posted by homunculus at 11:01 AM on December 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois the only Republican Senator to vote with the Democrats on four crucial gun rights votes last week.

He's the guy who took over Obama's seat, and from watching "House of Cards" I am under the impression that those relationships doesn't end there.

Regardless, it's an interesting finger-in-the-CPD-wind.
posted by rhizome at 11:31 AM on December 6, 2015


I no longer see Rwanda as something that can't happen here. There are enough guns in this country to upgrade the slaughter from retail murder by machete to wholesale by assault rifle. The guns allow small numbers of committed nut jobs to terrify those who don't see the need to keep so many guns in case dozens and dozens of their neighbors need killing. A fascist demagogue like Trunp is just what we need to get that particular horror show started.
posted by bigbigdog at 11:54 AM on December 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sigh:

The president of Liberty University, a leading evangelical Christian college in Virginia, urged students to apply for concealed-weapons permits and said that if more people did so, then “we could end those Muslims.”

Know what? youaintnochristianbruv
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:07 PM on December 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


To be fair, people often ignore the part of the Sermon on the Mount that implores believers to apply for a concealed-weapons permit. I think it's somewhere in between the bits about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:24 PM on December 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


You know who uses the construction "a leading (whatever)?" Companies and organizations who aren't leading. Also, I'm sure this guy was apoplectic about Ahmedinejad all those years ago, never seeing the irony.
posted by rhizome at 12:52 PM on December 6, 2015




You know who uses the construction "a leading (whatever)?" Companies and organizations who aren't leading.

Liberty University apparently is actually a leading evangelical college. It's apparently considered the largest Christian university, when online enrollment is counted. Bernie Sanders spoke there a few months ago.
posted by jaguar at 1:33 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh I know who they are, but most of their existence is to give evangelically-homeschooled kids a reason to feel like they went to a real school.
posted by rhizome at 1:54 PM on December 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Know what? youaintnochristianbruv

Well said. We need that hashtag too.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:34 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oops. I, uh, should have caught up on the rest of the thread before I popped in to post about Liberty University. Oh well, sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.

Anyway, today is the 26th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre here in Canada.

That led to further gun control measures up here - one of which, the long gun registry, was repealed by Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

Here is an interview with Nathalie Provost, who survived being shot during the massacre.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:47 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


We should block the foreign gun manufacturers from giving money to issue organizations like the NRA. This would have a measurable impact on their budget.
posted by humanfont at 3:06 PM on December 6, 2015


Aren't most of them based there or have major divisions there? America is mostly an exporter of guns.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is HK USA foreign?
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




It sounds like Obama is calling mass shootings "terrorism".
posted by triggerfinger at 5:04 PM on December 6, 2015


I think it was the best non-campaign speech I've seen him make. I wish more people would really listen. His style of leadership is really right to deal with the threat of international terrorists like ISIS. He is being patient and reasonable in a time when a lot of leaders would lose their cool and make mistakes.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:17 PM on December 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a big Obama fan, and I sort of thought the speech was vague and mediocre.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Remember when 9/11 happened and initially the country was pretty much united behind our president? The Republicans seem to think San Bernardino is another 9/11, but within hours of Obama's speech the Republican candidates are already calling our Commander-in-Chief weak and ineffectual. And that's not the only thing they forgot. All of them seem to want to start up the War on Terror again. I guess that's not surprising, since Trump seems to just made up a memory of people cheering after the 9/11.
posted by FJT at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love how the GOP candidates are all, we're at WAR now, and I'm like, wait, then what were we doing those past 14 years?
posted by monospace at 8:52 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




What good would research into gun violence do?

This article has been open in my browser for a few days now, but I've been running around so much that I've only been able to read it tonight. I think it provides a pretty comprehensive answer to your question (I don't think it's been linked here yet). I've only pulled the most relevant parts - there's a lot more in the article: The Gun Industry Has Systematically Demolished Regulators And Avoided The Fate Of Cigarettes

Here is a look at five key ways advocates were able to hold Big Tobacco accountable for the damage its product was causing — all routes the gun industry has preemptively blocked.

1. Holding them liable
Then-Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) gave a House floor speech in support of the law and against “anti-freedom” lawsuits, at times repeating the NRA’s talking points verbatim. “Since 1998, dozens of municipalities and cities have filed suits against America’s firearms industry, somehow alleging that the manufacturer of a firearm can be responsible for the acts of criminals. These suits, following the model of the tobacco litigation, attempt to push the gun manufacturers into court to force a settlement, a large cash award, or cessation of a business,” she said. “Firearm manufacturers have a time-honored tradition of acting responsibly. They therefore should not be subjected to these frivolous suits.”

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre lauded it as “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years.”

“What we witness today is the culmination of a seven-year effort that included a comprehensive legislative and election strategy,” NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said at the time. “We worked hard to change the political landscape to pass this landmark legislation. As always, our members were up for the task. Key electoral victories in 2000, 2002, and 2004 helped pave passage of this law.”

A decade later, the law has been used to stop virtually all efforts to hold gun companies liable in court.

2. Muzzling the researchers
Thanks to a 1996 law, pushed by the NRA and one of its life members, then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR), the federal government does not do the same kind of in-depth research
[as used against the tobacco industry] on gun violence and its prevention. The “Dickey Amendment” stipulated that no funds “made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” A 2012 appropriations law put similar restrictions on NIH funding for that year.

Though the NRA claims this was not its intent, the effect of the amendment was not simply that the CDC did not advocate for gun control, it stopped the Centers from doing almost any research on gun violence. And, according to a 2011 New York Times story, before the few remaining firearm-related studies funded by the CDC get published, the NRA gets a heads up “as a courtesy.”

...Among those who now worry that the Dickey Amendment may have hampered lifesaving research: Dickey himself. After the Oregon college shootings in early October, Dickey told NPR that it and other similar tragedies have made him regret not making the restrictions on the CDC narrower: “I’ve gone back through it in my mind to say, what could we have done, and I know what we could’ve done. We could’ve kept the fund alive and just restricted the expenditure of dollars.”

3. Safe zones
Today, much of the country has adopted smoke-free workplace protections, which has been a major help in reducing smoking. ASH’s Bostic explained that “smoke-free places has been very successful. Look at a map: the states with more stringent smoke-free air laws (that have been around longest) correlate to low consumption,” he observed. “It’s had such an impact because, one, if people can’t smoke much of their day, it’s much easier to quit — and most smokers (70 percent) do want to quit and have tried but couldn’t — and, two, it de-normalizes smoking. There are places where kids, 15 or younger, have never seen anyone smoke in person, only on TV and movies.”

While smoke-free zones have kept millions of Americans safe from secondhand smoke and reduced smoking, the NRA has opposed gun-free zones in airports, churches, government buildings, and even bars.

4. Cost
ASH’s Bostic says one thing has proven “far and away the most effective and easily implemented interdiction to reduce tobacco consumption,” especially among kids: Tax increases.

As of October 2015, the average state tax on a pack of cigarettes is $1.60 per pack. The federal government adds another $1.01 per pack in taxes, bringing the average price for a 20-cigarette packet up to about $6.25. For a pack-a-day smoker, the expense would be more than $2,000 annually, a deterrent for many.

...localities like Cook County, Illinois and Seattle have attempted to reduce gun violence by enacting sales taxes on guns and/or ammo. The NRA denounced these efforts as “misguided and burdensome” and ineffective penalties on “law-abiding gun owners,” rather than criminals who “don’t legally purchase firearms.” (A comprehensive analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that most guns used in recent mass shootings were, in fact, purchased legally.)

5. Doctors
“Talking about smoking [with doctors and nurse practitioners] is a big predictor of willingness to quit and success in quitting,” he explained. “It has to be more than just saying ‘you shouldn’t smoke,’ but also saying, ‘here’s what you can do, here’s how I can help, here’s what I can prescribe.'” The National Institutes for Health’s smokefree.gov website urges smokers to “talk to your doctor or pharmacist about quit options.”

...But, with the support of the NRA, Florida’s legislature passed legislation in 2011 to chill even those conversations. The Privacy of Firearm Owners Act serves as a statewide gag-rule, prohibiting doctors in the Sunshine State from bringing up guns with their patients. In addition to insisting that “inquiries regarding firearm ownership or possession should not be made,” the law also prohibits the medical community from discriminating against patients on the basis of “firearm ownership or possession” — affording gun owners a public accommodation protection the state does not even afford LGBT people — and allows for disciplinary action for doctors who violate its provisions. Other states have contemplated similar laws and taken smaller steps, though none have gone quite as far as Florida.

...Jordan also noted that this is one area where the aforementioned lack of research has been evident: “We don’t have research funding on these things to collect data, to draw clear conclusions [on the Florida law’s impact]. We don’t have polling data to know how many practicing physicians know about the law, even.”

posted by triggerfinger at 9:08 PM on December 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


Okay, I guess it's hard to see the true extent of what the NRA has done to prevent literally any information on the dangers of guns getting out to the public (and the effects of this) with just those pullquotes, but believe me, the article makes it very clear. At this point the NRA controls pretty much the entire narrative. It's actually pretty fucking shocking, even to someone like me, who already more or less knows this.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:16 PM on December 6, 2015


It may have been mentioned already but PBS has two excellent docu's about the rise of the nra and its current political power/tentacles.
posted by futz at 9:52 PM on December 6, 2015


Are they Frontline episodes?
posted by triggerfinger at 9:56 PM on December 6, 2015


Found it, I think one of them might be this one.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:09 PM on December 6, 2015


Yes, and there is another older one that I am trying to find...
posted by futz at 10:19 PM on December 6, 2015


Remember when 9/11 happened and initially the country was pretty much united behind our president? The Republicans seem to think San Bernardino is another 9/11, but within hours of Obama's speech the Republican candidates are already calling our Commander-in-Chief weak and ineffectual.

Yeah, not surprising. Gore would not have lasted until October if it had happened on his watch. It's really sad to see as someone who does believe in striving for American unity rather than division that the immediate reaction to these events is to aggressively politisize them before anybody even knows what is really going on.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:44 PM on December 6, 2015




The father of San Bernardino suspect Syed Rizwan Farook told an Italian newspaper that his son expressed support for the Islamic State group and was obsessed with Israel.
-
San Bernardino shootings polarise US politics

The mass shooting in southern California last week has quickly become a divisive partisan issue with Republicans calling for tougher action against Islamist extremism and Democrats urging stronger gun control.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:41 AM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's the original interview (in Italian) with Syed's father. Farook sr. sounds quite a piece of work himself; he says he tried to discourage his son from violence by telling him
"Stay calm, be patient, in two years Israel will no longer exist. World politics is changing: Russia, China, America too, nobody wants the Jews there."
This is what Syed's father thinks is good fatherly advice; he doesn't even imagine that other people would find it objectionable. Farook sr. migrated to the USA in 1987 or earlier; he's not somebody fresh off the boat. So much for the melting pot theory of social relations.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:25 AM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah he sounds like a real winner. It's a mystery how his son turned out so great.
posted by Justinian at 1:30 AM on December 7, 2015


>So much for the melting pot theory of social relations.

Eh, come on. You know most Muslim immigrants to America are not like this family.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:25 AM on December 7, 2015 [11 favorites]






So much for the melting pot theory of social relations.

Meh, it's not so unusual.

To put it another way: if we rounded up every racist dad, uncle, or grandpa, a lot of families would have a much more fun and enjoyable holiday.

Also, I'm not advocating rounding up racist relatives. Just put them on the Santa watchlist.
posted by FJT at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Americans stock up on weapons after California shooting

“If people were armed, it would have changed the outcome totally,” Langley said of Wednesday’s assault by a heavily armed husband and wife that killed 14 people and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California. “Instead of 14 victims, there would have been zero, except for those two (attackers).”


President Obama Addresses the Nation on Keeping the American People Safe

For seven years, I have confronted this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing. And since the day I took this office, I have authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is. As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people.


NRO: Obama Actually Thought He Was Being Reassuring Last Night

President Obama’s Sunday night speech was about three-quarters of what the cynics and his critics expected. The lone bits of good news were the president’s belated acknowledgement that the Fort Hood shooting was terrorism – not “workplace violence” – and that he didn’t announce any new executive orders dealing with gun control.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:21 AM on December 7, 2015


Man, these guys are obsessed with the idea that the guy that whacked Osama Bin Laden might not know what terrorism is.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


He’s always so disappointed in us

Maybe Obama wouldn't always sound so disappointed in us if we started acting and thinking like Americans. Hell, just thinking in general would be a step in the right direction.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


“If people were armed, it would have changed the outcome totally,” Langley said of Wednesday’s assault by a heavily armed husband and wife that killed 14 people and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California. “Instead of 14 victims, there would have been zero, except for those two (attackers).”

The fantasy land in which these jerkoffs exist is just ridiculous. As if when they strap on a gun they become Quick Draw McGraw, with every shot a killshot and all the bad guys' bullets hitting everything but them. I had the misfortune of being a bystander in a high speed chase situation this weekend, and as soon as I saw the Camaro tailed by speeding police SUVs I sprinted for cover. I have no illusions about the random nature of injury and death in these situations. I'm just grateful that no gunfire was exchanged in my vicinity.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:50 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The idea that someone in an active shooting situation is going to be able to take down the shooters (and only the shooters) quickly, effectively and with no collateral damage seems a bit optimistic to me.

For instance there's a suggestion (linked to way up the page from here) that concealed carry be allowed (for off duty and retired police) at things like football games. Some part of me just has this vision of something initiating an attack at a big public event, then having lots of people in plainclothes running with their weapons to the scene and shooting at everyone with a weapon (or something that they think looks like a weapon), and hitting good guys, bad guys and completely innocent guys in the confusion, as well as hindering those trying to escape.
posted by Death and Gravity at 1:15 PM on December 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


More active shooters have been prevented by people jumping on to them or throwing a chair at them than the "good guy with a gun".
posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]






Supreme Court leaves assault weapons ban intact

It's a start.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2015




It's really getting to the point where the hair on the back of my neck stands up when I hear that sonofabitch say "We are going to make America great again."
posted by holborne at 2:14 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


A few reasons people gave for gun related deaths in November 2015

This is from Parents Against Gun Violence, who have these lists going at least as far back as June 2013. Just some warning: many of these describe violence against children and/or domestic violence among many other bigoted, appalling, or plain idiotic reasons. And remember, these lists are far from a breakdown of every gun-related death, given that there was an average of around 35 a day in 2014.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:14 PM on December 7, 2015


Donald Trump makes me ashamed to be American. Hell, Donald Trump makes me ashamed to be human.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:15 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not convinced that he's not some sort of a fungus with a combover.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:23 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]



A few reasons people gave for gun related deaths in November 2015


God, those are all so horrible. Half of them are tragic accidents and the other half make you feel like humans are no damn good at all.
posted by Frowner at 2:29 PM on December 7, 2015


>So much for the melting pot theory of social relations.

Eh, come on. You know most Muslim immigrants to America are not like this family.

I don't think I implied otherwise, and I can't see how that's relevant. This migrant family is obviously very, very anti-Semitic; and I suspect they're living in a social bubble where sentiments like this are OK. Otherwise, why would the father have thought that he was expressing the voice of calm reason?

I see a parallel here with other mass murderers, like Dylan Roof (who committed the Charleston church murders. The lower-level racism of South Carolina provides a background in which nuclei of more extreme racists can associate with each other. Racism is intrinsically violent; these groups accommodate and support people that are obsessed with violence, even if most of their members are not personally violent.

Dylan Roof's beliefs were not necessarily more extreme than the white supremacists he associated with; they disavowed his methods, not his ideology. Similarly, Farook senior thought his son's extremism lay in the fact that he wanted to go out and kill Jews. The fact that the desire for genocide was wrong in itself didn't enter his mind.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:40 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think I implied otherwise, and I can't see how that's relevant. This migrant family is obviously very, very anti-Semitic; and I suspect they're living in a social bubble where sentiments like this are OK. Otherwise, why would the father have thought that he was expressing the voice of calm reason?

Dylan Roof's beliefs were not necessarily more extreme than the white supremacists he associated with; they disavowed his methods, not his ideology. Similarly, Farook senior thought his son's extremism lay in the fact that he wanted to go out and kill Jews. The fact that the desire for genocide was wrong in itself didn't enter his mind.


I dunno. Maybe Farook senior had some reason to think it was important to say whatever he thought it would take to dissuade his son from going out and killing people.
posted by kafziel at 3:05 PM on December 7, 2015


Trump is officially a problem. Any time of regarding him as unelectable, a clown, a baffoon, should be over, because regardless of if he stands a chance of winning a primary or not, he is actively causing harm to the country with his words.

The biggest problem with the wide scope of Republican candidates and the media coverage of them is that we have a multitude of voices that are disproportionately guiding the discussion towards facist policies - many of whom, like Carson, are voices who wouldn't be given the time of day otherwise. If Trump was saying this sort of facist rhetoric NOT as a candidate, it wouldn't be getting the coverage it is - it would just be Trump being Trump. However, as a candidate, these words have the potential to affect the populace, and they go far to guide the perception of the US as a whole.

All of them are being treated as active politicians, and acting as if they can enact policy today - so what was a grim reality show at first has turned into a huge storm of voices advocating for various forms of facism, one that is a magnet to news coverage - and is guiding opinions and perceptions accordingly.

It may be true that the front-runners in early polls are not reflective of the outcome of the presidential primary - but I think it should be a cause for great concern that the top three - Trump, Cruz, Carson - are getting so much coverage and perceived support. No good can come of that whatsoever, and it is doing something that I had thought to be impossible over the past 16 years, which is pushing the window even further towards the extreme right.
posted by MysticMCJ at 3:06 PM on December 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


My first thought on hearing the latest is that Trump has got to be some type of what, ringer, designed to make the actual jagweed who gets nominated seem decent and rational by comparison.

Every year the difference between the top Dems, who think and talk like serious adults, and the idiocy and insanity of the Teapublican party is more pronounced. Unfortunately, there are still so many Americans who fall into some portion of their base: Either Uneducated, Unthinking of Unfeeling.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Two references in re Trump:

Lindberg by Woodie Guthrie. "When he said America First, he meant America Next."

The Plot to Destroy America by Philip Roth.
posted by OmieWise at 3:21 PM on December 7, 2015


It Can't Happen Here
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:25 PM on December 7, 2015


Trump's astonishing awfulness is making the other Republican candidates look sane and reasonable by comparison.
posted by rtha at 3:42 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know, you have no way of knowing who is and isn't a Muslim. It's not very hard to convert to Islam. You have to make a declaration of faith and poof!, you're a Muslim. If I wanted to, I could do it right now, right here, in my living room. And nobody has any way of knowing that I haven't done that. Donald Trump doesn't know whether I've done that. The TSA people don't know whether I've done that. The FBI doesn't know whether I've done that. For all anyone in the world knows, I could be a Muslim.

So here's my request. I want everyone to assume that I have made that declaration of faith and that I am a Muslim. Treat me the way you would treat me if I were Muslim. If you want to bug the phone of every Muslim, bug my phone. If you want to stop Muslims at the border, stop me next time I leave the country and return. If we are choosing sides, I choose the side of the people being persecuted by fascists, not the fascists.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:56 PM on December 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm willing to volunteer to be a Muslim.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:57 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trump's astonishing awfulness is making the other Republican candidates look sane and reasonable by comparison.

Which is frankly extraordinary. I don't know much about US politics, so I've summarised what I think to be the case and I'd appreciate correction:

The Republicans used to be as sane and decent as the Democrats, if not more so, until the southern Democrats effectively split over Civil Rights. The Republican party's decline can be traced to its leaders' decision to snaffle up the votes of those racist southern Democrats. Since that time they've been constrained by their desire to avoid alienating their racist supporters, and the party's consequent ideological and intellectual weakness made it a fertile home for loons. The loons are now driving the party and are getting ever-increasing percentages of an ever-shrinking (White, conservative, fundamentalist Christian) demographic. At some point you would expect this to fall over, but this hasn't happened yet; worse, loons are more willing to use destructive tactics (e.g., filibusters, voter exclusion) so they may extend their lock over some areas. Sound right?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:06 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump May Not Be A Fascist, But He Is Leading Us Merrily Down That Path - placing Donald Trump's campaign in the context of America's other moments of right-wing demagoguery
posted by mostly vowels at 4:22 PM on December 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


They are showing Trump's event and when the crowd chants in unison to drown out protestors it sounds an awful lot like HAIL VICTORY. You know, in german.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2015


That's a really good read, mostly vowels. Much better than I expected. The article is spot on in that he is much more dangerous than an outright facist. The history it goes into is really rich... If anyone still here hasn't read this yet, I can't recommend it enough.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:21 PM on December 7, 2015


Some part of me just has this vision of something initiating an attack at a big public event, then having lots of people in plainclothes running with their weapons to the scene and shooting at everyone with a weapon (or something that they think looks like a weapon), and hitting good guys, bad guys and completely innocent guys in the confusion, as well as hindering those trying to escape.

Exactly. People were saying the same thing after the movie theater one. I hope it doesn't take an actual demonstration for people to see how badly a bunch of amped-up but confused and inexperienced "heroes" with guns in a crowd is going to turn out. It's a terrorist's dream. The first shot will be like the first neutron in the reactor.
posted by ctmf at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm willing to volunteer to be a Muslim.

Here you go.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2015


Some part of me just has this vision of something initiating an attack at a big public event, then having lots of people in plainclothes running with their weapons to the scene and shooting at everyone with a weapon (or something that they think looks like a weapon), and hitting good guys, bad guys and completely innocent guys in the confusion, as well as hindering those trying to escape.

Death of Jean Charles de Menezes
posted by kisch mokusch at 6:28 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"An unarmed, emotionally disturbed man shot at by the police as he was lurching around traffic near Times Square in September has been charged with assault, on the theory that he was responsible for bullet wounds suffered by two bystanders, according to an indictment unsealed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday." NYT link

A year-and-change earlier:

"On August 24, 2012, a gunman shot and killed a former co-worker outside the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City. Following the initial shooting, the gunman, 58-year-old Jeffrey T. Johnson, was fatally shot by police officers after raising his weapon at them. Nine bystanders were wounded by stray bullets fired by the officers and ricocheting debris, but none suffered life-threatening injuries." wikipedia

I have no reason to feel assured that some Good Guy with a Gun will somehow be more competent. But I guess at least he won't be immune from being sued, unlike cops. Yay.
posted by rtha at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


There's a Common Law offence called affray that would cover this. The idea is that alarming people with a show of force is injurious in itself, even if they're not the ones directly targeted. I don't think it's an unreasonable idea, and it would probably be better to use something that directly describes the offence, rather than stretching the definition of assault.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:33 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Bank records show $28,500 deposit to Syed Farook's account two weeks before the shooting, source says

The loan and large cash withdrawal were described to Fox News by the source as “significant evidence of pre-meditation,” and further undercut the premise that an argument at the Christmas party on Dec. 2 led to the shooting.

Fox News is also told that investigators are exploring whether the $10,000 cash withdrawal was used to reimburse Enrique Marquez, the man who bought the two semiautomatic rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings. Marquez is now reportedly answering investigators’ questions.

“Right now our major concern at the FBI, the ATF, and the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) is determining how those firearms, the rifles in particular, got from Marquez to Farook and to Malik,” assistant special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, John D’Angelo, told reporters in California Monday.

-
In regards to the interview with the father:

Gunman’s Father Placed on FBI Watch List After San Bernardino Attacks

A spokesperson for CAIR told ABC News that the suspect’s father did not remember speaking with reporters. Members of Farook’s family said he is “not stable” and “not handling” the news of his son’s involvement with terrorists “well.”
posted by Drinky Die at 10:37 PM on December 7, 2015


and hitting good guys, bad guys and completely innocent guys in the confusion, as well as hindering those trying to escape.

When the Ulster County Sheriff suggested residents with concealed carry permits should go armed all the time so they could respond to a attacker, my comment was, "How are they supposed to identify themselves to arriving Ulster County sheriff's units as "NOT THE BAD GUY?""
posted by mikelieman at 10:59 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]




And that from a noted war criminal and literal evil cyborg.
posted by kafziel at 12:11 AM on December 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


Hey look, the Cyborg community has completely disavowed him. One bad apple. Ted Cruz also spoke out against it. It's a benefit for guys like this that Trump shouted what they usually dog whistle, it makes them look more reasonable. It's all good unless he, you know, wins the nomination.

Trump says Muslims serving overseas in U.S. military could come home.

How generous.

Ben Shapiro: So no, this isn’t a good idea. It’s a rotten idea all the way around: legally, ethically, practically. Trump’s supporters need to realize at some point that knee-jerk extreme reactions to events of the day don’t substitute for good judgment. It’s ugly when it’s President Obama looking to grab guns from American citizens without due process, and it’s ugly from Donald Trump. Given the poll numbers, it’s not clear whether Americans will get wise to that truth.

William McGurn: Guns are what you talk about to avoid having to talk about Islamist terrorism.

Not that there aren’t measures society can embrace to keep the innocent from being shot and killed. The best example may be New York City from 2002-13, during Ray Kelly’s last stint as police commissioner, when the NYPD was bringing the murder rate to record lows through America’s most effective gun-control program: stop-and-frisk.

This was gun control for bad guys, under the theory that when you take guns away from bad people—or at least make them afraid to carry guns on the street—you reduce shootings. But it was savaged by liberals. Because they don’t want just the bad guys’ guns. They want yours.

posted by Drinky Die at 12:18 AM on December 8, 2015


Here's your Stop and Frisk in reality...
posted by mikelieman at 12:28 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's a benefit for guys like this that Trump shouted what they usually dog whistle, it makes them look more reasonable.

The GOP knows that every fascist word out of Trump's mouth just makes them look worse. People are getting smarter about hearing the dog whistles in the rhetoric, and so, in the long run, his open racism makes the other Republicans look more openly like the racists that everyone knows they are and causes havoc in their own election strategies.

Candidates who were asked about Trump's dump on Monday were very anxious to make their disagreement clearly heard. When even non-candidates like Cheney are speaking out, you know they are all eating shit sandwiches: Everyone in his party having to pitch in to clean up his mess is a poor way to start the week's news cycle.

As much as Trump's fascist pandering gets the GOP base excited, open racism pushes middle-of-the-road voters away, motivates the opposition, and gets demographics to vote that generally do so in fewer numbers. Short of armed revolution or a Reichstag-like false flag event (which no one should put past them, at this point), the Republican base can't win their candidates a general election, and the extremist, white, gun-toting Christian core of the party has been getting relatively smaller and smaller in every election, as the country's ethnic makeup has become more diverse.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:09 AM on December 8, 2015




“You’re increasingly being compared to Hitler. Doesn’t that give you any pause at all?” ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked the Republican poll leader on Tuesday's "Good Morning America," in displaying an image of the Philadelphia Daily News' punning Tuesday front-page headline "The New Furor."

In response, Trump said no, invoking what he termed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "solution for Germans, Italians, Japanese many years ago" during World War II.

“This was a president that was highly respected by all," Trump said, remarking upon the Democratic president's actions during the war. "If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:01 AM on December 8, 2015




I'm trying to understand. He is saying that FDR was literally worse than Hitler?
posted by hydropsyche at 5:27 AM on December 8, 2015


Shit. Is he actually a Holocaust denier? It doesn't seem too farfetched.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:28 AM on December 8, 2015


On the one hand, he's not wrong, in that Executive Order 9066 remains one of the darkest stains in American history. On the other, saying that he's doing the right thing by being only slightly better (for now) but just as bigoted isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:34 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to understand. He is saying that FDR was literally worse than Hitler?

I read it as he is saying FDR did worse things than he (Trump) is proposing, and yet is seen as a hero, so therefore Trump's statements are totally reasonable. It makes just as little sense as anything else he says, but at least he isn't comparing FDR to Hitler.

Philadelphia Daily News Cover: The New Furor

Add a toothbrush mustache and he would look exactly like the aging Hitler in The Man In the High Castle.

I do like that the media descriptions of Trump are starting to take the implications of his rhetoric seriously. It's been slow to come and probably won't hurt his popularity at all, but it is important to say.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:35 AM on December 8, 2015


FDR being a horrible person has nothing to do with Trump being also a horrible person.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:37 AM on December 8, 2015


I am trying really hard not to Godwin every discussion of Trump, but it is getting increasingly hard. And that's a shame, because I still think he's more Mussolini than Hitler, and we should be careful to pick the appropriate fascist analogies.

Anyway, he's now an apologist for Japanese-American internment, which sometime in the past two months has apparently ceased to be a shocking stance for American politicians to take. He's just wrong about Italian and Germans during World War II, though. The American government treated German and Italian-Americans as individuals, recognized that the vast majority of them were loyal Americans, and only interned a small number whom they believed to be active threats to the US. And unlike Britain and France, which interned all citizens of enemy nations, the US government recognized that a lot of German and Italian citizens in the US were vehemently opposed to fascism and again only interned people whom they deemed to be a threat. Many citizens of enemy nations turned out to be anxious to help liberate their countries and very helpful to the war effort. The US only initiated blanket internment of one group, people of Japanese descent, and that was because of racism. I thought we were all clear that this was a terrible decision and a permanent stain on FDR's memory, but apparently not.

So I'm curious about what exactly people think we should be doing about Trump and his anti-Muslim rhetoric. I'm sort of at a loss.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:33 AM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


I can't wait to see what George Takei has to say...
posted by mikelieman at 6:45 AM on December 8, 2015


J.K. Rowling
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:46 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


He's already lost the Latino vote, the Muslim vote, probably also the votes of women, black people and Japanese-Americans. He's also losing the people who call themselves moderates, which is the majority of voters. Aging white racists may be a powerful constituency, but their numbers aren't strong. I'm not completely up to date on the demographics but I can't imagine he can lose many more votes and still be a contender. Though I've never thought he would get the nomination, my fear with Trump is how he's pushing the Overton window even farther to the right. Though I'm starting to wonder if there's a a tipping point with that, where someone can push it too far, too fast and lose the majority of their support. I think there might be, and I think Trump is almost there (if not there already) with his supporters.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:46 AM on December 8, 2015


I can't wait to see what George Takei has to say...

George Takei published a long, scathing letter to Trump on his Facebook page a few weeks ago, which I would link to, but I can't access FB at work. Here's something more recent.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:49 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


If George Takei isn't on the next Presidential Medal of Freedom list, I fucking give up.
posted by Etrigan at 7:01 AM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]






Sorry, I was mistaken. George Takei's facebook post wasn't addressed to Trump specifically, but to one of the mayors saying they wouldn't accept Syrian refugees. Here it is.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:51 AM on December 8, 2015


The Holy Quran Experiment - here's what happens when people think Bible passages are from the Quran.
posted by Rumple at 9:14 AM on December 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, it's certainly been an interesting 24 hours, what could the wingnuts say that could be any wor--

Fox News Tells Young Children To Run At Active Shooters

...ah, there it is.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:23 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]






The more I read about the San Bernardino shootings, the more they sound like previous mass shootings: The attackers operated on their own, "lone wolves" with no greater connection (at least for now). Like Rodgers, Holmes, and Cho they stockpiled ammo and trained at gun ranges before the attack. Like Lanza, they used weapons that belonged to someone close to their lives. And judging by the rented SUV filled with some of their arsenal, they may have wanted to instigate multiple attacks (like Rodgers again) OR force a large manhunt (like Dorner, who himself was finally cornered in the mountains of San Bernardino County over two years ago).

Mass shootings are basically a franchise model now in the US:

1) Gather weapons and ammo.
2) In your free time, train and possibly build bombs or traps.
3) Prepare a statement. Mail them or post it on social media shortly before attack.
4) Choose a target. Almost always a soft target, one with low security and will generate maximum damage for greater public response. Probably use it as an opportunity to strike against a group or individual that they hate.
5) Attack, and whatever odious idea gets into wider public consciousness.

Each subsequent attacker adopts it and plugs in their own idea like misogyny, terrorism, white supremacy, crackpot conspiracy, or just vendetta. Cho, Lanza, and Mercer all are known to have read/watched media on previous attacks or directly reference them. it's probably not too far fetched to say that attackers study and learn from previous shootings too.
posted by FJT at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Isn't there a point at which it becomes unethical for media organizations to continue to feature speeches by someone who is provably lying in ways that are distorting the truth in public policy debates, and doubling down on those lies? Isn't there a point at which basically every mention of Trump in the media should come with a piece-by-piece teardown of the lies he's spouting?

(Just kidding, we all know that ethics has no place in journalism in this country)
posted by tocts at 1:28 PM on December 8, 2015


They are exactly like other mass shootings, which is why it is a giant mistake to combat it via addressing "radical muslim extremism" or "terrorism." The one thing that is a bit anomalous is that there was more than one shooter, but while that's rare, it's not as if there is no historical precedent.

While it would appear that in this case, the shooters were pledging allegiance to ISIS, I think it's clear that they weren't directed to do this by any outside source or operative - This was of their own doing. Groups like ISIS will gladly claim responsibility for any incident like this if it can further their agenda, and stirring up conflict both inside and outside of the US fits into that beautifully. If it wasn't ISIS, it would likely be another extremist group - plenty of historical precedent for extremist groups to claim responsibility.

Acts like these are only terrorism if we allow them to be. I know that many wish we would label the prior shootings in the US - such as the planned parenthood shooting - as domestic terrorism, so that we are painting all of these incidents as such. Believe me, I get the temptation, and while I understand that there's a desire to grant equivalency between the acts of one extreme ideology and another (and I think they are equivalent - as hate crimes), I think further labeling of anything as terrorism does nothing good for us as a society. They are crimes, and should be treated as such. Yes, they are awful crimes, hate crimes, tragic crimes. But as soon as we label them as terrorism, we are allowing ourselves to be driven by fear. When we are guided by fear, it is natural to want to take immediate action. But good policy does not come out of fear - One must only look to our surveillance apparatus and the Patriot act for a couple of really good examples of fear-driven change.

All of the policy we are seeing proposed in light of this - from restricting refugees, to preventing entry from any muslims, to the really weak gun laws that would ultimately have not prevented this tragedy, to the mind-boggling suggestion that we further legitimize the terror suspect list - is driven by fear. A primary goal of terrorism is to use fear for disruption. Every time we turn the national conversation to terrorism, we are being guided by fear.

If we are addressing this as terrorism, then we are attempting to address something that is exceedingly rare as we define it. On the other hand, rational (and not fear-driven) public policy that could prevent mass shootings in general - perhaps dealing with the easy access to high powered weaponry - would have a wonderful effect of preventing mass shootings by extremists as well. Win-win, without the need to grant yet even more power to the unaccountable surveillance mechanisms that are well out of control already.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:31 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


If we are addressing this as terrorism

Has a clear message from the attackers been found? Something straightforward and to the point like "no more baby parts"? Otherwise, I still believe it's a case of a hostile workplace escalating into violent mayhem.

Stockpiling weapons and making pipe bombs is consistent with a escalation into workplace violence too.
posted by mikelieman at 4:21 PM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


You are of course free to believe whatever you want but at this point that's a real stretch.
posted by Justinian at 4:24 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


A response that's almost comically obtuse:
Amid terror fears, US House passes bill to make it harder to obtain American visa
The measure would require visitors from the visa waiver countries to obtain a visa to travel to the United States if they had been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


at this point that's a real stretch.

Aside from the popular narrative, what indicates that it's not a case of a Christian co-worker creating a hostile workplace driving someone already unbalanced to tip over the edge into violent retaliation?

How many times do you need to be told "Repent Sinner!" before it's harassment?
posted by mikelieman at 5:23 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Holy Quran Experiment

Owwww fuck, I read YouTube comments. Damn it Rumple.
posted by ctmf at 5:23 PM on December 8, 2015


Has a clear message from the attackers been found? Something straightforward and to the point like "no more baby parts"?
Shortly before the attack, one of the attackers reportedly posted a thing on Facebook pledging allegiance to ISIS, so yeah, I think so. I haven't heard any reliable evidence that they were involved with any organized terrorist group, but they do seem to have been thinking of themselves as terrorists. That's the problem here: in a gun-saturated society, "self-radicalized" people of whatever stripe don't need to be in cahoots with a larger organization in order to kill a lot of people. That's true of these people and of Dylann Roof and of the guy at Planned Parenthood.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:26 PM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


That McGurn piece is hilarious (in a sad way). It starts with what I see a lot from NRA-types but makes no sense to me: "California already has strict gun control".

What? I live in Los Angeles. I own multiple guns, plenty of ammunition, etc. Its not even remotely hard to buy a gun here. I can buy as many rifles as I want, and I can buy one handgun every month (without exploiting various other ways, just in a strictly by-the-book sense). This is not meaningful "control". The only real restriction is that I am no longer allowed to possess magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds (and thats a LA-specific restriction --- you can't buy them off the shelf in the rest of California, but there are ways to acquire them and once you have them its legal to possess).

Gun control is what countries like Japan or Britain have. I'm not really sure what the right answer is for America --- as I said, I'm a gun owner myself and a full Japan-style defacto ban on guns is probably wildly impractical. But the only way California can be deemed to have "strict gun control" is if you believe any laws or restrictions on guns are inherently wrong (as the NRA essentially does).
posted by thefoxgod at 5:58 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought this was a great article about the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives (which is a topic that takes my interest), that explains pretty well how mass shootings look from a conservative's viewpoint and why throwing all the facts and stats in the world at them won't matter.

Why mass shootings don't convince gun owners to support gun control:

A cherished myth of American politics (indeed, of democracy generally) is that it's fundamentally about persuasion, the contest of ideas. But in a political system already biased against action, in which members of both parties are becoming more ideologically and even psychologically distant, persuasion on issues that activate tribal identities is all but impossible. Our gun owner is not going to change his mind; everything gun control proponents consider evidence for their side, he considers evidence for his. The differences run deeper than evidence.

If there are ever to be gun laws passed in the US, any kind of policy response to the rising tide of mass shootings, it will be because the people who want it amass the political power to overwhelm the power of the gun lobby. It will be because they organize and deploy more intensity, money, and votes than their opponents. More mass shootings are not going to do the job for them.


(emphasis mine)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:05 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thats a good article, but I do think it is important to note that "gun owner" is not really the term they want. They're really referring to a certain kind of "gun culture" that a subset of gun owners fall into. There are a lot of gun owners who are not part of that fetishized, NRA, "good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns", John McClane - fantasy culture. And there are plenty of people in that culture who don't actually own guns themselves.

(For example, many hunters support some gun control. Some target shooters. Etc. I am definitely in favor of considerably more restrictions on both types of guns and ownership. But I'm also a person who, if I moved to a country with no guns, would be OK with that. The "gun culture" people find the idea of a gun-free society disturbing [I remember talking to an acquaintance from high school about the gun laws in Japan and his reaction was how horrible that sounded --- whereas I look at the almost nonexistant gun deaths there and would happily trade]).
posted by thefoxgod at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2015


My thought was that if concealed carry can stop these things, what does that say about gun owners, especially parents, who don't apply for CCW?
posted by rhizome at 7:47 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


They're really referring to a certain kind of "gun culture" that a subset of gun owners fall into.

Right, I agree with you about that, but at this point is there really a distinction? I know plenty of responsible gun owners who have moderate views but the gun culture we live in now is really all or nothing. Like, not only is there absolutely zero compromise from the pro-gun side (despite there being plenty of gun owners and/or supporters who would support stronger regulations), but they are actually doubling down and going further in the opposite direction. Suggesting things like arming all teachers or this lovely article

Fox News Tells Young Children To Run At Active Shooters

that zombieflanders linked above. My personal utopian stance is that I would like a society with no guns (except maybe for hunting) but I would be okay with highly regulated gun ownership. There is no such movement on the pro-gun side. As the article mentions, any sort of compromise is seen as a slippery slope towards total gun confiscation. I mean, I see what you're saying but I think that at this point "gun owners" are part of "gun culture" whether they want to be or not, because that is how the NRA has engineered it and there is virtually no alternate movement of less extreme gun owners that has gained any traction (or even been attempted).
posted by triggerfinger at 7:55 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


As the article mentions, any sort of compromise is seen as a slippery slope towards total gun confiscation

It doesn't help that any time someone makes a moderate statement it gets followed up by a couple of people expressing a desire to indeed take away all the guns. I mean, we all know those aren't mainstream opinions and there is zero chance of it happening, but it's still a constant in these discussions.

I know plenty of responsible gun owners who have moderate views but the gun culture we live in now is really all or nothing'

Simply in terms of political realism, you need to have a significant number (but by no means all) of gun owners and supporters helping out if you are going to pass gun controls. By making it all or nothing, those people aren't going to be part of that and you have the very definition of a hopeless cause.

At this point, though, the more interesting question about gun control is what you do about the eleventy-gazillion guns in private hands than it is how to increment restrictions on buying new ones. As long as they are stored indoors and not used much, guns don't wear out, and one that is decades old is just as good as a new one (and in some cases better, depending on manufacturing standards).
posted by Dip Flash at 8:23 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


The measure would require visitors from the visa waiver countries to obtain a visa to travel to the United States if they had been to Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the past five years.

No Saudi Arabia?
posted by kisch mokusch at 12:23 AM on December 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


That's the problem here: in a gun-saturated society, "self-radicalized" people of whatever stripe don't need to be in cahoots with a larger organization in order to kill a lot of people. That's true of these people and of Dylann Roof and of the guy at Planned Parenthood.

That is completely true. There is always a degree of pathology in any society that will manifest itself in violence. And more so in the US because of the ready access to weapons. But the moment one such element makes the slightest indication of affiliation with a bone fide terrorist organisation you get this overwhelming, irrational, non-linear response from the community. There is a fundamental difference between what happened here, which started in the gunman's workplace, and what happened in Paris. But based on the response of your country's leaders, you would think there was equivalence between the two! Which I think goes some way to why these people make such claims in the first place: Making such claims, at least in the US, undoubtedly makes for a greater impact. Look at this thread, and the added significance a single facebook post has given this event, which is horrific but not marked more than many of the other mass shooting you've had in the past 20 years.

I'll finish with a repeated reference to Monis, who had no links to Islamic State, despite his claim to be working for the terror group during the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney. By maintaining a degree of perspective, our government managed to not make matters worse. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same of the Australian community, which is ridiculously racist. But at least our press and our leaders, for all their faults, for the most part did no feed the Islamophobia, or score political points from it. And nobody was bandying the term 'terrorism' around in such a highly political and frankly unhelpful I-dare-you-not-to-call-it-terrorism manner as a means of diverting attention from gun control because, well, we already have gun control.
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:06 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Shortly before the attack, one of the attackers reportedly posted a thing on Facebook pledging allegiance to ISIS,

We Are Anonymous. The Corrupt Fear Us. The Honest Support Us. The Heroic Join Us. Expect Justice.

We're all in trouble now...

Any indication there were more than 2 people in their 'terrorist cell'?

Aside from a message no-one can read, did they have a clear political goal other than "If you're pissed at a jerk co-worker, don't go to the company holiday party"?
posted by mikelieman at 1:36 AM on December 9, 2015


Yup... When there are only 2 people in your cell, you're doing it wrong.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/california-shooting-shows-difficulty-iding-attackers-35663209

"They're not communicating with a terrorist organization, they're not doing those other things that we have typically looked for when we're looking for terrorists," said John Cohen, a former Homeland Security Department counterterrorism coordinator.

Yeah, when they're not actually part of a terrorist cell, they aren't doing those other things that total surveillance is looking for.

That's because they're not the terrorists you're looking for.

The 28 grand loan was legal, not some terrorist conspiracy...

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/san-bernardino-shooters-received-28500-loan-weeks-before-terror-act/

They're going to keep looking, because the 'workplace violence' narrative doesn't play into people's prejudices. If there's a White Christian creating a hostile workplace, when someone who isn't a White Christian snaps it must be that they're a "Radicalized Muslim" as opposed to a broken person who has been harassed to the point of going crazy...

But they're not going to find any evidence of a terrorist plot. If it hasn't been found by now, there is no, "Death to the infidels!" 'suicide note' explaining their actions in any other context.

tl;dr: If you see workplace bullying, make a written report to HR...
posted by mikelieman at 1:50 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Present evidence he was a victim of workplace bullying. When you find it, let the FBI know because they have the available evidence and have determined he was motivated by something else.

If you don't have any, it's kind of offensive to accuse people he and his partner shot at of starting the dispute.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:07 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]




Fair enough. Though I would have to say that when two bigots collide and we don't know which one is the bully, the one that turns to violent mass murder of everyone in range strikes me as having a higher chance of being the person likely to be the bully between them.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:26 AM on December 9, 2015


This is a tragedy all around.

I've said before that my despair is that in all the "radicalized muslim" hyperbole, the issue of a seriously broken person suffering a hostile workplace going crazy and murdering people is lost and the resources to keep another one from happening won't be there.

( and hostile workplaces are no surprise to anyone with state/county employment experience, are they? )
posted by mikelieman at 2:33 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Though I would have to say that when two bigots collide and we don't know which one is the bully, the one that turns to violent mass murder of everyone in range strikes me as having a higher chance of being the person likely to be the bully between them.

MOBBING AND THE VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE

From information that has so far come to light, Cho appears to have been the target of an uncommon but distinct and devastating social process called workplace mobbing. It is the impassioned ganging up of managers and/or peers against a targeted worker, the object being the target’s absolute humiliation and elimination from respectable company.

...

Nor do all workers who go postal have a history of being mobbed at work. Charles Whitman gunned down 45 people at the University of Texas on August 1, 1966, before police shot and killed him. Kimveer Gill killed or injured 20 people at Dawson College in Montreal on September 13, 2006, before taking his own life. Neither Whitman nor Gill had been mobbed on the campuses they shot up. Their crimes have other origins.

Most of the people who go postal, however, in academic as in other workplaces, have been mobbed there in preceding months or years. Two famous Canadian examples are Pierre Lebrun, who shot five co-workers and himself at OC Transpo in Ottawa on September 6, 1999, and Valery Fabrikant, an engineering professor at Concordia University in Montreal, who murdered four colleagues there on August 24, 1992, before being captured by police. Recent examples from American academe include Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot themselves and 37 others at Columbine High School near Denver on April 20, 1999, and Biswanath Halder at Cleveland’s Case Western University, who shot four people there on May 9, 2003, before being shot by police. What these and most other rampaging workplace shooters have in common is prior experience of extreme humiliation by co-workers and/or managers.

posted by kisch mokusch at 2:38 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


A disagreement about religion in the workplace, even a heated one, is not "bullying". And it's something to take to HR - ask your adversary to cool off, stay away and/or only talk about work matters, etc.

I assume we can all agree that this victim blaming of Farouk's alleged debating opponent is wrong.
posted by theorique at 3:06 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've said before that my despair is that in all the "radicalized muslim" hyperbole, the issue of a seriously broken person suffering a hostile workplace going crazy and murdering people is lost and the resources to keep another one from happening won't be there.

I agree that we should have great focus on that issue in general but what the investigators are finding in this case is that the cause was that he and his partner were radicalized long ago. Before they even met each other. The social solutions to extremist religious and politically motivated attacks are different from the social solutions to attacks motivated by a hostile workplace. They are different problems. He appears to be a different sort of broken. This thread encompasses approaches to stopping these massacres in general (and many potential solutions, like gun control, are effective regardless of motivation) so I totally welcome the conversation about workplace violence, but fitting it on to Farook and his wife feels like a square peg in a round hole to me.

When President Obama is talking about this as ISIS inspired terrorism without mincing words I think you can be pretty clear the evidence they have for that is solid and not wishy washy hyperbole. He has shown a willingness to avoid using that sort of language recklessly.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:16 AM on December 9, 2015


A disagreement about religion in the workplace, even a heated one, is not "bullying"

Not saying it is, but it absolutely could be, depending on the words said and the people present. If it took place in front of his co-workers, he used derogatory terms and elicited jeers from his peers, that would definitely qualify as modding. Even if you accept that 'radicalization' was a driving factor (whatever that means), he nevertheless chose to shoot people he knew. It is inconceivable that there weren't interpersonal issues at play here.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:23 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even if you accept that 'radicalization' was a driving factor (whatever that means)

It means that they pledged allegiance to a group that believes in mass murdering, beheading, and sexually enslaving people for having the wrong religious beliefs.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:26 AM on December 9, 2015


See, that just makes me more confused. I thought it was broader than that.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:30 AM on December 9, 2015


Yeah, I would say if it was one-on-one, and both parties were willing participants in the debate, you can't call it bullying. I still think it's inadvisable in the workplace, but people have political and social views and it's hard to completely tone down that aspect of yourself just because you're "at work".

On the other hand, one-on-one bullying can occur: if A wishes to withdraw or no longer discuss politics, and B keeps advancing, going to A's office, with B insisting on talking or changing the subject to the subjects that A wants to avoid.

And of course, if there is a pile-on or one party feels completely isolated and alone in his views, that could also be interpreted as bullying.

I agree that Farouk's interpersonal beefs at work most likely had some bearing in his choice of targets for his terrorist shooting. (Also, from a tactical point of view, it would make more sense for a mostly-untrained shooter to go to a place that he knew well rather than a "random" location, although apparently he scouted out schools and playgrounds also.)
posted by theorique at 3:33 AM on December 9, 2015




Detroit Free Press: Trump’s goal is political, and craven — near-universal outcry from across the political spectrum reinforces his identity as an outsider, and every criticism proves to supporters that Trump is a man who'll say what others fear to speak.

And so we were reluctant to lend this institution's voice to a denunciation that might further Trump's cause.

But some slurs are so heinous that they must be answered. And some lies are so vile that they become dangerous if not met with truth, and strength.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:06 AM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


mikelieman, I honestly don't get what you are trying to preserve here. It seems pretty clear based on the evidence that these shootings were not incidentally related to the perpetrators religion. Setting aside a conspiracy theory that says that that evidence is being manufactured for nefarious purposes, which I assume we can both do, the evidence seems pretty clear. Even if there were workplace harassment that determined the choice of target, that doesn't obviate the religious component.

Anti-muslim rhetoric is a real thing, and it's a huge problem. We all know that. But it's bad not because there are not bad Muslims, just like there are bad any other X, it's bad because it's bigotry that uses cherry-picked examples to fuel hatred. I've always been of the opinion that the antidote to that kind of bigotry is to address its logic and its consequences. Pretending as if there are not people who kill in the name of Islam, or any other religion, just ends up miring the discussion in a specific act and how to parse the antecedents to it. I think it actually contributes to the possibility for bigotry because it stifles broad conversation by focusing on the particular. It's almost like a tacit admission that bigotry might be ok, but we all have to be sure that this act (whichever act) supports it. I think it's counter-productive, as counter-productive as ascribing something to religious or political motives that does not deserve to be.
posted by OmieWise at 6:31 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am right there with mikelieman. When a white culturally Christian man shoots up a church or a school or a health care clinic or their workplace, the media will spend days dissecting the person's past to understand how a "good boy" or a "gentle loner" could do such a thing or to talk about their alleged mental illness. Nobody ever seems to blame the KKK or the Army of God or Gamergate or 4chan for "radicalizing" them. Indeed, the media will never use the words "terrorism" or "radicalized" to describe these acts, let alone "self-radicalized". When a person who happens to be Muslim is involved in a very similar attack, those words are the only ones that are used. These people had nothing to do with ISIS. "self-radicalization" is a bullshit term. This looks like all the other workplace shootings.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:02 AM on December 9, 2015 [8 favorites]


These people had nothing to do with ISIS. "self-radicalization" is a bullshit term. This looks like all the other workplace shootings.

This is a textbook case of reason vs. excuse. Islam/ISIS/radicalization was the latter, but people are eager to lap it up.
posted by Etrigan at 7:05 AM on December 9, 2015


This looks like all the other workplace shootings.

Yeah, I disagree, but here we are arguing about it. Which is my point.
posted by OmieWise at 7:08 AM on December 9, 2015




I am right there with mikelieman. When a white culturally Christian man shoots up a church or a school or a health care clinic or their workplace, the media will spend days dissecting the person's past to understand how a "good boy" or a "gentle loner" could do such a thing or to talk about their alleged mental illness. Nobody ever seems to blame the KKK or the Army of God or Gamergate or 4chan for "radicalizing" them.

Do you blame those groups? Or do you believe those mass murderers who have claimed GamerGate as a motivation to be gentle bullied mentally ill loners free of outside cultural influence we might want to address?
posted by Drinky Die at 8:13 AM on December 9, 2015


Pretending as if there are not people who kill in the name of Islam, or any other religion, just ends up miring the discussion in a specific act and how to parse the antecedents to it.

I'm certain that I never suggested there weren't people who won't kill in the name of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

This *specific act* involves a cell of only two people. The FBI said that there wasn't communication with a larger group. Without a message like , "Death to the infidels", I'll continue to apply Occam's Razor and -- given what I know about "Messianic Jews", it's no big surprise if it went down the way I think.
posted by mikelieman at 8:14 AM on December 9, 2015


Do you blame those groups? Or do you believe those mass murderers who have claimed GamerGate as a motivation to be gentle bullied mentally ill loners free of outside cultural influence we might want to address?

I don't blame all of Christianity for the Army of God or the KKK. I don't blame the entire internet or all computer users for Gamergate or 4chan. Hell, I don't even blame all of Reddit or all of 4chan or all asshole men on the internet who have dismissed my concerns about those groups. And yet all of Islam, including my Muslim students trying to take their exams this week, are being blamed for the actions of two people.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:22 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


From the link roomthreeseventeen posted above:

We were convinced that the United States, while embarrassingly capable of electing a W., was yet impervious to outright Nazism, Stalinism, and all the trappings of a good old-fashioned Rape of Nanking and Cold War puppet dictatorship.

Who was convinced of that? No one I ever knew of or spoke to after 9/11. Quite the opposite.
posted by holborne at 8:23 AM on December 9, 2015


>. And yet all of Islam, including my Muslim students trying to take their exams this week, are being blamed for the actions of two people.

Yes, and that is big time wrong.

But mikelieman's argument is that the primary, or at least a very important and overlooked cause of this attack, was workplace harassment. Others are arguing the inspiration from ISIS is the more central cause. Nobody here is blaming Islam. It's the difference between blaming Gamers and blaming GamerGate.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:25 AM on December 9, 2015


But mikelieman's argument is that the primary, or at least a very important and overlooked cause of this attack, was workplace harassment. Others are arguing the inspiration from ISIS is the more central cause.

I know what a hostile workplace is like. I know what it's like when someone at work is constantly harassing you over your sex, religion, whatever. I can understand someone who is already over the edge -- snapping under those conditions...

Can you help me understand what "inspiration from ISIS" is like? Is it like sitting at home re-reading "The Turner Diaries" until you buy a rifle? Then what's the actual motivation to get up off your ass and do anything?

In Colorado, it was "no more baby parts"

What is it in California?

"That asshole at work..."
posted by mikelieman at 8:30 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]




Nobody ever seems to blame the KKK or the Army of God or Gamergate or 4chan for "radicalizing" them.

On the contrary, when such things happen, many voices in Slate, Salon, SPLC (and other media sources not beginning with "S") specifically blame right-wing organizations and groups for this.
posted by theorique at 8:34 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


No-one is immune to "stochastic terrorism", I guess.
posted by mikelieman at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rolling Stone: It's Too Late to Turn Off Trump: The time to start worrying about the consequences of our editorial decisions was before we raised a generation of people who get all of their information from television, and who believe that the solution to every problem is simple enough that you can find it before the 21 minutes of the sitcom are over.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:48 AM on December 9, 2015


In most spree shootings that could be blamed on Christianity or Gamergate or 4chan or just assholes on the internet, the shooters do not know their victims. When someone kills people they know, we usually look for the cause in their relationships with those people before we look externally.

Also, again, in those other cases, we don't use the fucking bullshit word "radicalized".
posted by hydropsyche at 8:48 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]




Also, again, in those other cases, we don't use the fucking bullshit word "radicalized".

I'm really not sure what your objection is to that word. Can you explain it more? It's a known process that occurs in all kinds of ways. The word is used in other shootings that appear to have an ideological inspiration: Dylan Roof Radicalized. Is it the fact that it refers to "radical Islam" that you object to? If so, I still am not sure I understand it.

Look, I assume we are all coming from the same place in re condemning anti-Muslim words and actions, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and the like. I also understand that something like the workplace can be a trigger that leads someone who clearly had some plans to do something like this to do it. So I'm not sure we are that far apart.
posted by OmieWise at 9:15 AM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Messianic Jews" are Christians....I obviously take issue with their cultural appropriation of my Jewish heritage.

They are Jewish by birth and convert to Christianity, not the other way round.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:32 AM on December 9, 2015


They are Jewish by birth and convert to Christianity, not the other way round.

Yes, but they still call themselves Jews, and that's a real problem, when faith-based anti-Semitism has long argued that Jews are apostates who should simply see the errors of their ways. It is an appropriation with some pretty heavy baggage.
posted by OmieWise at 9:37 AM on December 9, 2015


My problem with the word is that it is generally only used to refer to Muslims and that its meaning is really vague. I honestly don't know what the meaning of the word is or how we decide when someone has "radicalized".

If you actually look at the articles in your Google search, you'll see that Google's fuzzy search engine doesn't really support you. A very few stories used that word to refer to Dylan Roof, mostly a week or so after the shooting. Some of those were from questionable sources (e.g., Ny Daily News, a tabloid; Breitbart, a right-wing site who might have an ulterior motive in using it to distance themselves from Roof; Raw Story, an ostensibly left-wing site; or Alternet, another ostensibly left-wing site who will let anyone write anything for them). The vast majority did not use that word to refer to Roof, or just used the word "radical" not "radicalization". The three CNN articles on the front page of the search for me don't use the word radical at all.

That leaves two articles that actually compared Root to Muslim extremists and used the "radicalized" language in that comparison. That comparison seems to have come from Attorney General Lynch in USA Today and the Anti-Defamation League in NY Times. I am glad that they made that comparison, but neither one of them is really part of mainstream America these days. No one on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. (where most Americans seem to get their news) apparently did.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:39 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


They are Jewish by birth and convert to Christianity, not the other way round.
I think that used to be true for the most part, but it isn't anymore. I'm seeing more and more "Messianic Jews" who didn't previously identify as Jewish. The guy who died in San Bernardino was, according to news reports, raised Catholic and eventually became an evangelical Protestant. He decided he was Jewish in 2013. I don't think he had any previous connection to Judaism or Jewishness. It's just straight-up appropriation.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:42 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


But mikelieman's argument is that the primary, or at least a very important and overlooked cause of this attack, was workplace harassment. Others are arguing the inspiration from ISIS is the more central cause.

Why can't it be both, and possibly other things? My own speculation is Farook was also inspired by other mass shootings in the US, because the gear and methods used is so reminiscent of other attacks. He is an American and grew up here after all. Along with the 9/11, Al Qaeda, and ISIS filling up his news feed, there would also would be news of events like Columbine, which happened when Farook was about 12 years old. Above someone posted an article where authorities say the attack was being planned since at least two years before, yet the LA Times points to earliest record of his buying a weapon was in 2007, which means he's either the world's most slow moving terrorist or he was just interested in guns. Enrique Marquez, his childhood friend, probably sold, lent, or even gave the two assault weapons to Farook because they were both were gun enthusiasts.
posted by FJT at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


hydropsyche, it seems like you want to have it both ways. I just looked at articles from that search that refer specifically to a radicalized Roof, and they are from: NY Times, The Guardian, PBS, Slate, The Daily Beast, ABC, Huffington, The Atlantic, AP via MSN, The Christian Science Monitor. These were not just Lynch or ADL quotes.

So either it's in use or it isn't, and it seems pretty clear that it is in wide use.

As to what it means. I assume you already understand what a radical is, someone who feels like something must be changed "at the root." In common parlance, a radical who has used violence is someone who believe that violent acts are a) acceptable, and b) likely the only, ways to bring about that change. To be radicalized, which is not a neologism at all (ngram), is to come to believe that his kind of "at the root" change is necessary. To be self-radicalized is to come to that belief without significant intercession by people who are already radicals.

Now, if you are arguing that the US, a well known conservative racist country run by racists for racists with a racist media, misapplies this phrase or applies it disproportionately to people of color (and sometimes to progressive Whites), then I completely agree with you. When they talked about Jeremiah Wright this way, it was infuriating. But that doesn't mean that it isn't accurate in some instances, and this sure looks like one of those instances, at least to me.
posted by OmieWise at 10:04 AM on December 9, 2015


My own speculation is Farook was also inspired by other mass shootings in the US, because the gear and methods used is so reminiscent of other attacks.

The methods are reminiscent of a lot of mass shootings done for all manner of motives all over the world. That's the thing about these semi-auto and automatic weapons. They are really, really great tools for their job which is killing a lot of people. There isn't much reason to change up the playbook because it's stupidly simple to kill a lot of people when you can get your hands on one of these guns. All you need to do is find the soft target and strike.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:16 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


There isn't much reason to change up the playbook because it's stupidly simple to kill a lot of people when you can get your hands on one of these guns.

The playbook has changed though. Before 2008, terrorist attacks were usually some sort of bomb put in a public area or mass transit. With the success of Mumbai in 2008, the tactics have gradually shifted to have attacks done primarily using semi-automatic and automatic weapons in public areas against soft targets.

In America, mass shootings have always occurred the way they do because of the ease of acquiring weapons.
posted by FJT at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, I meant the mass shooting playbook there. It's a lot more complicated when you look at the terrorism playbook in general.

The Mumbai and Breivik attacks struck me as a change in the way these things go down. Instead of hitting one target they hit and move and create chaos and distractions for as long as they can stay ahead of the authorities. We saw it in the Paris attacks and it looks to me like what the San Bernardino attackers were trying.

My point was, if you just want to shoot a bunch of people, you don't need a grand plan. It looks the same everywhere. Find a crowd, have a gun, pull the trigger.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:30 AM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Why I Caved on Guns When I Ran for Governor of Texas,” Wendy Davis, Politico, 08 December 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, if you want to see for yourself how a mass shooting operates, just head on down to the University of Texas at Austin this weekend because a pro-gun group has scheduled a fake mass shooting.

Anyone who wants to throw balloons filled with maple syrup their way and yell THESE ARE FAKE GRENADES... well, you didn't get the idea from me.
posted by delfin at 11:50 AM on December 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hey, like one shooting per generation is stopped or impeded by a bystander with a gun, they need to stay in practice.
posted by rhizome at 12:02 PM on December 9, 2015


FiveThirtyEight: Americans are Worried About Terrorism, And That Could Help the GOP
posted by FJT at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2015


delfin: “Well, if you want to see for yourself how a mass shooting operates, just head on down to the University of Texas at Austin this weekend because a pro-gun group has scheduled a fake mass shooting.”
I was just coming to post this after I read about it on Jim Wright's Facebook. He responded in part by quoting his essay, “Bang Bang Crazy, Part 5,” from January, 2013.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2015




FiveThirtyEight: Americans are Worried About Terrorism, And That Could Help the GOP

Uhh... except for this tiny detail: Hillary Clinton is the most trusted 2016 candidate on terrorism (WaPo)
posted by Asparagus at 1:25 PM on December 9, 2015


OmieWise: We clearly have different browser histories causing us to have very different search results for your query link. Oh well
posted by hydropsyche at 2:40 PM on December 9, 2015


Charlie Gaare: When did it become a teacher’s job to stop a bullet for your child?
Here’s the thing. Across America thousands upon thousands of teachers will go to school, and they will be the kind of people who on a bad day will throw themselves in front of our children to protect them. Never in all of the school shootings have we heard about a teacher who ran or fled from a shooter in order to protect themselves.

Every time incidents of school-related violence occur, my colleagues and I think of the numerous ways we might one day have to use our bodies as barricades to protect the students whom we love dearly from potential other students whom we also love so dearly.

Our world has gorged itself on violence, and we are sitting back and watching it get sick with it. Our culture is so hell-bent on being worried about a man having the right to an item intended to kill than they are about actually upholding the protection they claim guns give them. And every single one of your children’s teachers shows up every day and is ready to try and prevent, even just a little bit, the decay that continues to eat away at us, to take a bullet from the monster we have made.

This may all come across as self-righteous and indignant, but I would like to know how many other people go to work and have to think about the moment that they are going to have to lay their body down in front of other people’s children to make sure they are safe? How many other people have to think about escape routes and safety spots and whether a school desk would protect them from a bullet?
posted by zombieflanders at 3:35 PM on December 9, 2015 [9 favorites]


Well, of _course_ a teacher should never have to take a bullet to protect a student. They should have a loaded .38 on them at all times and draw every time the door opens, so if a crazed killer enters the room the teacher has the drop on him and can blow his head cleeeeeeeeeean off.

Then they shift to the alternate lesson plan for the day, anatomy.
posted by delfin at 4:12 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


“Active shooter seminar in Marietta attracts 800+,” Donna Lowry, WXIA-TV 11 Atlanta, 09 December 2015
Not only is interest in seminars like this on the rise, but demand for protect[ive] gear has soared.

Bullet Blocker, a company based in Massachusetts, said sales are up 70% since the Paris attacks.

That includes items for kids, such as bullet-proof backpacks.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:14 PM on December 9, 2015




“We’re working very hard to understand exactly their association and the source of their inspiration,” he said. “We’re also working very hard to understand whether there was anybody else involved with assisting them, with supporting them, with equipping them.”

We get it. NOW you're working very hard.

But please don't spend too much money on overtime just covering your asses, guys. If you're not seeing connections, maybe it's because there aren't any, rather than them being double-super-secret-encrypted on the 9th level of the virtual-darknet...

FWIW, I don't blame the Intel world for missing this one because it really isn't the threat they're trying to counter in the first place.
posted by mikelieman at 5:55 PM on December 9, 2015


How AK-47s turn up in Paris is a worrying and urgent question. In America, not so much.
posted by Artw at 5:57 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]




Well, if you want to see for yourself how a mass shooting operates, just head on down to the University of Texas at Austin this weekend because a pro-gun group has scheduled a fake mass shooting.

I'm calling on cosplayers to disrupt.
posted by homunculus at 6:16 PM on December 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really don't trust the pro-fun folk not to be armed.
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on December 9, 2015


Pro-gun, that is.
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on December 9, 2015


Texas gun nuts activists plan to stage fake mass shooting at the University of Texas. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by carmicha at 7:09 PM on December 9, 2015


I really don't trust the pro-fun folk not to be armed.

Pro-fun people are very rarely armed.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:39 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unless...
posted by Artw at 7:48 PM on December 9, 2015


How AK-47s turn up in Paris is a worrying and urgent question. In America, not so much.

A fully automatic AK goes for around 500 euros. You can probably pick them up for less than that depending on your contacts. Smuggling a firearm across EU borders is a piece of piss. About 3 years ago I did a lot of research into this and the number of available weapons is huge, stolen from firearm decommissioning sites across the Balkan states, not even including tons upon tons of weapons smuggled from Transnistria, via Romania and then through to the Eurozone. Getting hold of explosives is slightly more difficult but downloading military training manuals for IED manufacturing is as easy as going onto TPB and typing in "US Military Field Manual". Essentially, you can always make your own.

You could, I would suggest for around £10,000 or so, quite easily arrange the import of several firearms and several thousand rounds. Getting them into the UK is somewhat harder since any person who is darker of skin is going to be immediately "suspicious" but if you've a radicalised member of the Caucasus or the EU I don't imagine they'd find it too hard. I'd be willing to guess that there are probably a number of known drug smugglers who have the nod and the wink from Customs and our intelligence agencies that they can continue their activities relatively unimpeded so long as they report back anything more suspicious (and if this is not the case then they're missing a very obvious trick. Having a tame smuggler on your payroll is always exceptionally useful).

The UK is a special snowflake in that we have the benefit of sea all around us as an additional line of defence. Regardless, the chance of lone wolves in the UK having the financial resources, intelligence and ability to source and practice with military grade firearms is pretty low, which is why we get shoddily converted firearms, knives and home-made bombs instead of Mumbai-style gun attacks.
posted by longbaugh at 4:22 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sort of on-topic - When I was about 10 (don't ask) I looked up how much it would cost to get a genuine M-60 machinegun. They were advertised in the back of a magazine for "Soldiers of Fortune" (not *the* SOF magazine) for around £650 (that's in 1986 £GBP). Dodgy End User Certificates were rife back then and, to be fair, relatively recently there was a British firearms dealer who had lock up garages stacked with AKs who was busted for running guns to African states. In the UK, we as a nation keep a relatively close eye on these arms dealers, both to ensure that they're not running gats to "undesirables" but also to covertly and deniably arrange weapons to be delivered to those who are publicly "undesirable" but privately are very much of use to our foreign policy (hence my assumption re - smugglers).
posted by longbaugh at 4:44 AM on December 10, 2015


I feel bad for this guy. It must be tough to live with, I'm glad he is getting treatment to help. Both the betrayal and the lives lost have to be a heavy burden.

The ties between San Bernardino mass shooter Syed Rizwan Farook and his shy, younger neighbor ran deep long before last week's massacre at the Inland Regional Center.

Enrique Marquez spent countless hours next door tinkering on old cars in the driveway of Farook's Riverside home. Marquez converted to Islam, Farook's religion, and made trips to pray in a local mosque. He married a member of Farook's extended family, a Russian emigre.

And ultimately, federal authorities say, Marquez bought the two assault-style rifles Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, used in the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

posted by Drinky Die at 5:11 AM on December 10, 2015






Kinda disappointing that it wasn't just "Gooo fuck yourself."
posted by Etrigan at 6:57 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Perhaps the people who don't like the planned "fake mass shooting" should respond in the style of this and bring other things to the event.
posted by Death and Gravity at 8:02 AM on December 10, 2015






A fully automatic AK goes for around 500 euros. You can probably pick them up for less than that depending on your contacts. Smuggling a firearm across EU borders is a piece of piss.

You do not, however, just buy it from a store.
posted by Artw at 8:13 AM on December 10, 2015


Connecticut to Ban Gun Sales to Those on Federal Terrorism Lists

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut announced on Thursday that he would sign an executive order that would ban people on federal terrorism watch lists from buying firearms in the state.

Mr. Malloy said Connecticut would become the first state in the nation to have such a measure.

“Like all Americans, I have been horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris,” Mr. Malloy said. “This should be a wake-up call to all of us. This is a moment to seize in America — and today I’m here to say that we in Connecticut are seizing it.”

posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:12 AM on December 10, 2015


It's a good start. I am liking the idea more and more that, if "responsible gun owners" actively work against the rest of the country and prevent reasonable measures to stave off gun slaughter, those measures will be implemented anyway. Enough dead people. Enough is enough.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:16 AM on December 10, 2015


Fact check: Ted Kennedy and the no-fly list myth

Several Republican presidential candidates cite Ted Kennedy as a reason why they oppose President Obama’s proposal to block the sale of guns to known or suspected terrorists on the no-fly list. Kennedy, after all, was mistakenly placed on the government’s no-fly list, they say. But the Transportation Security Administration calls that a “myth.”

It has been reported manytimes that Kennedy had trouble boarding planes several times in 2004 allegedly because he was on a no-fly list. But the TSA in 2008 said the former Democratic senator from Massachusetts was “NOT on the no-fly or selectee lists.” Kennedy was “misidentified” as someone on the “selectee list.” Those on the selectee list “must undergo additional security screening before being permitted to board.” Kennedy ultimately boarded his flights and didn’t miss any flights...

Obama’s proposal would allow the government the ability to prevent those on the no-fly list from legally purchasing weapons. His proposal is more narrow than a Senate Democratic proposal offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would extend that government right to everyone on the so-called consolidated terrorist watch list, which includes more than 1.1 million people as of December 2013, as we recently wrote. Feinstein’s office notes that simply being on the list wouldn’t automatically prohibit the sale of a gun. Feinstein’s bill stated that the attorney general also must have a “reasonable belief” that the weapon would be used in connection with terrorism in order to deny the sale or transfer.

There were about 6,400 U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents on the no-fly list as of last year, Terrorist Screening Center Director Christopher M. Piehota told a House committee at a Sept. 18, 2014, hearing.

We take no position on either proposal, but the fact is that Feinstein’s proposal would have covered journalist Stephen Hayes and musician Yusuf Islam, while Obama’s proposal would have only pertained to Islam. And neither of the proposals would have applied to Ted Kennedy.

posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:28 AM on December 10, 2015


Perhaps the people who don't like the planned "fake mass shooting" should respond in the style of this and bring other things to the event.

For example?
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:41 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


A fully automatic AK goes for around 500 euros. You can probably pick them up for less than that depending on your contacts. Smuggling a firearm across EU borders is a piece of piss.

You do not, however, just buy it from a store online.
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:42 AM on December 10, 2015


But the TSA in 2008 said the former Democratic senator from Massachusetts was “NOT on the no-fly or selectee lists.” Kennedy was “misidentified” as someone on the “selectee list.”

Yeah, totally different. Why do people keep bringing it up.

There were about 6,400 U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents on the no-fly list as of last year

Citizens, or names?
posted by rhizome at 12:15 PM on December 10, 2015


Yeah, totally different.

As far as the actual law at hand is concerned, it is different. So a good question to ask is why people keep bringing up Kennedy and the no-fly list, when he wasn't on the list.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:21 PM on December 10, 2015


The no-fly list is a kind of a mess, and the excuse that is typically given is that flying is a privilege, not a right, so it's ok that there's no due process. I wish that the Supreme Court hadn't ruled that owning a gun was a right, but they did. And since they did, I don't think I can support using the no-fly list to limit who can buy a gun. It's basically giving that messy, no-due-process-having thing a whole new level of force and legitimacy, and that's a terrible precedent. I'm generally for increased gun control, but I don't think I'm for that gun control measure.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:31 PM on December 10, 2015


I think the ACLU is right about it. It's okay, you just have to fix the due process issues with the list first if you want to do it.
-
Lawmakers introduce bicameral ISIS war authorization. As requested in the Presidential address.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:53 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's leave aside the continual mention of Kennedy by opponents of this policy, then. No one wants to admit that using him as an excuse to sell guns to terrorists is nonsense. Fine.

If due process was a legitimate concern, we would see Republican legislators up in arms about launching drone strikes against American citizens, for instance, and that doesn't happen. So introducing due process is a red herring.

It's funny, like when Trump brings up FDR as a reason to detain and prevent entry by Muslims, and watching the right-wing fall over themselves to parrot this as an excuse, when they aren't otherwise busy with trying to privatize Social Security and dismantle the rest of FDR's New Deal. Everyone knows it's all BS.

What's also funny is that the objection to Obama was so vehement, when his actual proposal was much narrower in scope than that put forward by Senator Weinstein. So it isn't really about due process, so much as making sure constituents know you're against everything Obama says or does, whatever it happens to be.

Gun makers and owners want to operate without restrictions. The objections put forth so far are just a wallpaper of BS over the real motivation: Keep selling and owning guns, at all costs.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:33 PM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't think that due process is the reason that Republican lawmakers oppose it, but there are plenty of people raising concerns who are not Republican lawmakers. I don't feel the need to support things just because terrible people oppose them. I'm able to make up my own mind, independent of what Republican lawmakers are saying.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gun makers and owners want to operate without restrictions.

I was told in a discussion about the licence, registration, and insurance idea that registration was a non-starter because it's just a prelude to confiscation.

So, yeah. There are gun owners that will argue against a Well Regulated Militia.
posted by mikelieman at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The biggest issue with using the no-fly list is that it is a non-solution -- The scope of it is laughably small, the list is largely ineffective it its own job, and it would have prevented precisely zero of our past shootings. It's something that can be put in place that invokes fear of terrorism to make a meaningless political gesture and score points, without having to actually make any significant change in how things are done.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


What if the no-fly list didn't prevent you from getting a gun, it just selected you for "extra screening" before your purchase was approved? Should be easy to drum up backers for a plan that involves hiring a crap ton more FTE for "gun purchase extra screening investigators" by Homeland Security. Plus those screeners would need supervisors, background checks, equipment, facilities, and all that other giant overhead pyramid.

As a taxpayer, I hate that this is true, but bringing the internal empire builders onboard with the plan is always a move that takes a lot of effort to counter.

Step 2: defund the screeners. Big wasteful government, etc.
posted by ctmf at 5:48 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was told in a discussion about the licence, registration, and insurance idea that registration was a non-starter because it's just a prelude to confiscation.

The insurance thing seems weird to me. It keeps getting mentioned here but I have total confidence that the money grubbing people at my insurance company would happily charge me more if they seriously thought that my owning guns raised their liabilities. If there is really a risk, then companies can charge for it, but creating ad hoc fees to make gun ownership more expensive as a backdoor way to limit ownership is kind of seedy.

Regarding licensing and registration, I recognize that millions of people are concerned about it, but gun ownership is so widespread (and public support for legal gun ownership even more widespread) that confiscation just isn't a risk. I've gone though the licensing process for concealed carry permits, and it not only isn't a big deal but it didn't leave me with any fear that the government is going to show up and confiscate my guns. That's crazy talk.

But at the same time, I'm curious (for real, not making a rhetorical point) if that kind of very basic licensing process would have any impact on the majority of gun killings. It certainly wouldn't have with the recent mass killings, but those are a tiny fraction of the total gun deaths and are not representative at all.

I really like the idea of connecting gun registrations to databases of things like domestic violence warrants on an ongoing basis, rather than just at the point of purchase, and I'm fine with having that kind of oversight on me as part of being a normal member of society.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone proposing realistically implementable gun control measures believes that they'll have any kind of immediate effect on gun killings/crime. I think the hope is that by putting some barriers up now, it will affect the number of guns in circulation five or ten years from now. I mean, most barriers to purchasing guns that are in place now are basically a joke, so more people can buy more guns and there are then more opportunies for guns to fall into the wrong hands. If we put some restrictions on them, fewer would be sold and over time, the number of guns in circulation would naturally go down.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:37 PM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


my owning guns raised their liabilities

It's not about slamming all guns. There is a material difference between an 1892 lever rifle and an AR-15, the primary one being sustained rate of fire, so that's a big factor in calculating premium.

Insurance and Registration work hand in hand to make sure the only properly licensed people own guns.

You take a written, practical, and eye exam to prove you have the knowledge, skills, and health to safely use them.

You register them so...

You can insure them, and the carriers have an infrastructure for ensuring that the people insuring them are properly licensed.

AND since there's a greater risk of a semi-automatic weapon -- in volume of fire among others -- it should carry a higher annual premium.

The police get the infrastructure to weed out the bad apples by simply saying , "let me see your license, registration, and insurance proof..." And they impound the gun and write you a ticket if any of those aren't proper.

Then there's the question of "Why should anyone but the owner be financially liable for losses due from accidental death, bodily injury, and property damage"?
posted by mikelieman at 12:53 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The insurance thing seems weird to me. It keeps getting mentioned here but I have total confidence that the money grubbing people at my insurance company would happily charge me more if they seriously thought that my owning guns raised their liabilities.

Unless they also happened to think that doing so would instantly get them a bunch of harassment and expensive lawsuits to deal with, which I imagine would start about 30 seconds before they ever committed to a policy to charge you more for owning guns. Even if the lawsuits were all found to be frivolous, it would cost them money to deal with, and they'd probably lose a significant number of customers unless all insurance companies in the country introduced it simultaneously - which would probably be illegal collusion or something.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:00 AM on December 11, 2015


Here is why your homeowners/renters insurance doesn't care if you own a gun:
Insurance companies are opposing the legislation for a basic reason: right now, the vast amount of gun carnage does not result in any industry liability. Homeowner policies only cover accidental shootings, something that does not describe the vast majority of the more than 30,000 deaths, and 55,000 injuries caused by guns annually.

Instead, it might describe about 600 gun-related deaths each year. "Add this up and guns are not a large risk to insurers for homeowner's insurance," says Tom Harvey, who writes the Gun Insurance Blog.
(Source: Guardian)
It's an interesting idea but there are more than a few barriers to making it work. I'm all for internalizing externalities, but I don't think that this quite gets there.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:27 AM on December 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Would insurance companiesI wonder, would insurance companies support or oppose a policy of mandatory gun insurance similar to what we have now for auto insurance? Partisan feelings about gun rights aside - would they support it on a business level?

On the one hand, it would create a nice cash-cow business for them, but I don't know if it would be particularly profitable. As usual, the lawyers and politicians would probably be the greatest beneficiaries.
posted by theorique at 5:16 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


As usual, the lawyers and politicians would probably be the greatest beneficiaries.

With that in mind, I'm sorta amazed that hasn't been implemented already...
posted by mikelieman at 5:25 AM on December 11, 2015




Wow, with an attitude like that, I'm glad she doesn't want to "help" anymore, given her personal definition of "help."
posted by rtha at 6:37 AM on December 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wonder, would insurance companies support or oppose a policy of mandatory gun insurance similar to what we have now for auto insurance? Partisan feelings about gun rights aside - would they support it on a business level?

Does car insurance pay out a driver who intentionally hits another driver? My understanding was no. I don't think "homicide insurance" gets us anywhere particularly productive.
posted by jaguar at 7:14 AM on December 11, 2015


Does she have any clue that she could easily have murdered someone? And would have to live with that and would be in jail for a long time and not just get probation?
posted by octothorpe at 7:14 AM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Oh, wait, I see, the insurance would pay out the victim/victim's family; I had it flipped in my head and it was not making any sense. Sorry, it's early here. I suspect there would still be issues with insuring intentional vs. accidental shootings, though.)
posted by jaguar at 7:17 AM on December 11, 2015


Speaking as someone who is often within the maximum effective range of her helping, I'd like to thank her for stopping.
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on December 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


> She didn’t want to hurt anybody.

Then she shouldn't have pulled the fucking trigger - or even unholstered / wielded the gun. Period.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:40 AM on December 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I suspect the insurance is largely intended for accidents and/or legal liability.

If the owner shoots at home invaders for purposes of defense, and the criminals sue the person protecting his family/property, that would be an example of insurance operating to cover the consequences of "intentional use".

Likewise, if a careless owner or family member is shot through accident or negligence, that would be a case where the insurance would cover "accidental discharge".
posted by theorique at 7:45 AM on December 11, 2015


In re the woman who shot at the shoplifters:

See, what is depressing to me is the moral reasoning that is so common in this country: "Someone did something Against Certain Widely Known Laws, so society is entitled to do violence against them and possibly kill them out of hand, because someone getting away with Breaking The Law is the worst thing ever". I mean, people really, viscerally think it's okay to kill someone over shoplifting, or breaking a window, or breaking into a car or whatever because it's Against The Law. Most of the laws under consideration are property laws, but I think that this type of moral reasoning is only partially about a preference for property over life; it is substantially about taking pleasure in feeling like you can legitimately hurt people. It's about the desire simultaneously to hurt someone as much as you want and not to feel bad about it.
posted by Frowner at 7:56 AM on December 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Does she have any clue that she could easily have murdered someone?

Wow, holy shit. This is exactly the reason why concealed carry is such a terrible idea. Even if every CC person had received maximum training in how to handle a firearm and was at expert level, we still have to deal with their judgement and there are lots of people out there who think that shoplifting deserves the death penalty and/or could argue that a shoplifter was a "threat" and potentially be covered under SYG laws. In this particular case, we can be thankful that the woman was not a good shooter because if she were, she would have killed someone for SHOPLIFTING.

If you're going to carry and gun and have the right to use it, I think you should have to have a significant amount of training not just in how to fire a weapon, but using good judgement as to when and if it should be used. And at the moment, we can't even get this basic kind of training to our actual professionals who do this for a living (police).
posted by triggerfinger at 7:58 AM on December 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


German Lopez: The Daily Show tests if a "good guy with a gun" can stop a mass shooting
On Thursday, The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper put the theory to the test. He trained on the basics of using a firearm and got a concealed carry permit that's valid in 30 states. Then he participated in mass shooting simulations to see how, exactly, he would hold up in such a scenario.

He failed. Miserably. In his final test, which simulated a school shooting, he shot an unarmed civilian, and he was shot multiple times by the active shooters and even law enforcement, who mistook him for the bad guy. He never took down the active shooters.

Klepper isn't the first to show just how badly the majority of people would do in mass shooting situations. Multiple simulations have demonstrated that most people, if placed in an active shooter situation while armed, will not be able to stop a shooter, and may in fact get themselves killed in the process.

As instructors told Klepper, it requires hundreds of hours of training to be able to deal with these types of situations. "There's never enough training," said Coby Briehn, a senior instructor at Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), which trains law enforcement on how to deal with active shooter events. "You can never get enough."
posted by zombieflanders at 8:13 AM on December 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Now now, let's not go bringing any pesky facts into this debate. That's just not fair fightin'!
posted by tocts at 8:22 AM on December 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


When the Ulster County Sheriff suggested residents with concealed carry permits should go armed all the time so they could respond to a attacker, my comment was, "How are they supposed to identify themselves to arriving Ulster County sheriff's units as "NOT THE BAD GUY?""

After mulling this over, I find this is an aspect of armed would-be do-gooders that concerns me almost not at all. If it wasn't for the fact that the cops often ventilate people behind those they're shooting at (see above linked 2012 Empire State Building incident) I might say I almost consider it a feature.
posted by phearlez at 9:42 AM on December 11, 2015


I agree that she was an idiot and no one should ever pull a gun in this situation but

In this particular case, we can be thankful that the woman was not a good shooter because if she were, she would have killed someone for SHOPLIFTING.

She wasn't aiming at the shoplifters, she was aiming at their tires. Which she hit, according to the article I read.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:51 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


And also missed. So not very comforting to the bystanders.
posted by agregoli at 10:54 AM on December 11, 2015


What is your source for your assertion that she missed? The article I read said she hit the tires and gave them a flat. It wasn't enough to stop them from getting away, but it seems that she did indeed hit what she was aiming at.

Basically, she sounds like an idiot who has watched way too many movies and thinks that whole "shoot out the tires!" trope is real. Plus terrible judgment about when it's appropriate to use a gun. But that's not as bad as appointing herself as judge, jury, and summary executioner for a couple of suspected shoplifters as she's been portrayed by some in this thread.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:00 AM on December 11, 2015


Broadly speaking, anyone who sees a situation unfolding that threatens neither their own life nor anyone else's and thinks, "this is a problem I should solve by firing a gun in the direction of people" is, yeah, pretty much about as bad as that. I don't think we need to be grading people who recklessly endanger the lives of others on a curve.
posted by tocts at 11:09 AM on December 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


This really amounts up to arguing whether someone set the fire in the bed or the closet.
posted by phearlez at 11:10 AM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


What is your source for your assertion that she missed?

From peeedro's link:
Duva-Rodriguez didn’t manage to stop the shoplifters when she rattled off several rounds outside an Auburn Hills Home Depot on Oct. 6, although she did flatten one of their tires.
(emphasis added)

She flattened one tire with several shots. Unless she meant to hit one tire several times, she missed at least [several minus one] shots.
posted by Etrigan at 11:15 AM on December 11, 2015


But that's not as bad as appointing herself as judge, jury, and summary executioner for a couple of suspected shoplifters as she's been portrayed by some in this thread.

She missed her intended targets. She's lucky she didn't kill anyone. Why do people want to defend someone so clearly and utterly irresponsible?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:19 AM on December 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


She wasn't aiming at the shoplifters, she was aiming at their tires. Which she hit, according to the article I read.

Anyone who draws their weapon unless their life or another's is in imminent peril should have their license revoked.

Which is what happened here, but it would be nice if that were the baseline.
posted by mikelieman at 12:42 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would argue that someone who draws a gun in an attempt to shoot out the tires is much more irresponsible than someone who draws a gun with the intent to take a life. I'm not saying that it's better to take a life than to shoot out the tires, so don't read it that way -- She shouldn't have drawn her weapon, period. Attempting to do something that only really happens on TV and in movies is incredibly reckless and irresponsible, and shows a lack of respect for what the firearm is capable of.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:44 PM on December 11, 2015


Not to mention that shooting at a fleeing person has been Supreme Court-level uncool for nigh-on thirty years.
posted by rhizome at 12:49 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always thought that you don't point your gun unless you're prepared to shoot and you don't shoot unless you're prepared to kill.
posted by rtha at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Theory is closer to practice in theory than in practice.
posted by rhizome at 1:15 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This woman got 20 years in prison for intentionally not shooting someone (since overturned on a technicality -- she only served 3).
posted by dirigibleman at 4:09 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


This woman got 20 years in prison for intentionally not shooting someone...

Hm, I wonder what the difference between those two women was, that would make one get probation and the other get hard time, and an order of magnitude more. I guess we'll never know...
posted by Etrigan at 5:13 PM on December 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Marissa Alexander case. Notable for the shocking and pretty obvious racism involved (not to mention sexism).
posted by triggerfinger at 10:05 PM on December 11, 2015


Attempting to do something that only really happens on TV and in movies is incredibly reckless and irresponsible, and shows a lack of respect for what the firearm is capable of.

These things do occasionally happen, but they are the kind of thing that are performed by police or SWAT team snipers in high-speed chases approaching populated areas. Even among highly trained practitioners, there have been some well publicized screw-ups.

Not the kind of thing your average hobbyist should be doing.
posted by theorique at 5:54 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Today's editorial in the NY Times echoed this discussion in many ways, specifically the seven specific action items they call for (including limiting magazine capacities, restricting sales, and enabling research).
posted by Dip Flash at 6:05 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's time to ban guns. Yes, all guns.

Ask yourself this: Is the pro-gun side concerned with how it comes across? More to the point: Does the fact that someone opposes gun control demonstrate that they’re culturally sensitive to the concerns of small-town whites, as well as deeply committed to fighting police brutality against blacks nationwide? I’m going to go with no and no on these. (The NRA exists!)

On the pro-gun-control side of things, there’s far too much timidity. What’s needed to stop all gun violence is a vocal ban guns contingent. Getting bogged down in discussions of what’s feasible keeps what needs to happen—no more guns—from entering the realm of possibility. Public opinion needs to shift. The no-guns stance needs to be an identifiable place on the spectrum, embraced unapologetically, if it’s to be reckoned with.

posted by Rumple at 2:20 PM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]




Given that many pro-Second Amendment activists believe that gun control advocates all want to "ban all guns" (even, or perhaps especially, if they don't admit it), there may be some value in having that viewpoint present as an endpoint on the spectrum of views.

I doubt if it will get traction in the USA, but it might allow moderate supporters of gun control to point to the full-ban advocates and say "see, if you don't deal with us, you'll have to deal with them!"
posted by theorique at 7:41 AM on December 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Except they know they won't ever have to deal with them because all the money is on their side. Good cop bad cop doesn't work so well when the bad cop is a six year old with a super soaker.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2015


Given that many pro-Second Amendment activists believe that gun control advocates all want to "ban all guns" (even, or perhaps especially, if they don't admit it), there may be some value in having that viewpoint present as an endpoint on the spectrum of views.

The pro-gun forces have seen the anti-choice forces run that exact playbook over the last generation. Incremental changes, each one couched in the language of "Well, we aren't against all abortions, just the unreasonable ones. Boy, aren't you glad you're dealing with us instead of those 'not even rape and incest' weirdos?"

That's about 90 percent of the reason that the rank-and-file is against reasonable restrictions on firearm availability -- because they see how well "reasonable restrictions on abortion availability" worked.

(The leadership is straight-up in the pocket of the gun manufacturers, and the reason they're against reasonable restrictions is that their bosses can't sell banned firearms.)
posted by Etrigan at 8:32 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given that many pro-Second Amendment activists believe that gun control advocates all want to "ban all guns" (even, or perhaps especially, if they don't admit it), there may be some value in having that viewpoint present as an endpoint on the spectrum of views.

I doubt if it will get traction in the USA, but it might allow moderate supporters of gun control to point to the full-ban advocates and say "see, if you don't deal with us, you'll have to deal with them!"


This is how the Overton Window shifts.
posted by kafziel at 10:57 AM on December 15, 2015 [3 favorites]




UBC Research on Murder-Suicides.

"Common to most murder-suicides were mental illness and access to guns. Also prevalent were male perpetrators failing to achieve markers of masculine success oftentimes amid experiencing bullying or marginalisation. Within this context the key findings were:

Domestic desperation—where the men felt they were unable to provide economic security for their family and the future was bleak—was the most common, representing 27 cases.

Nine murder-suicides centred on workplace justice. The men had lost or were about to lose their jobs, or felt they were bullied or marginalised at work.

School retaliation was represented in another nine cases. These were men, often young men, who wanted payback on real or imagined bullying and other injustices.

But women experience crises and hardship too. Why is it that most murders and murder-suicides are committed by men?

Our research suggested that masculine identities and how they are informed by society and taken up by some men plays an important part in these violent acts. Men are expected to be competitive and assert power. It’s considered OK for guys to be aggressive, even to lose control or lose their temper—we pay to watch that in sports and in movies. You rarely see that behaviour depicted for women or idealized as feminine.

The other thing is that mental illness plays a part in many of these cases. It is hard to know the actual extent, because in a lot of cases there wasn’t an established pattern of mental illness. And that might be because the men weren’t really seeing a doctor or formally diagnosed and being treated. Women tend to be more connected and oriented to the health care system."
posted by Rumple at 9:20 AM on December 16, 2015


BREAKING: San Bernardino shooters did not post support for jihad on social media: FBI— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) December 16, 2015


Trying to find a link to a more substantial article, but all I can find on Reuters website is the FBI talking about how end-to-end encryption is to blame.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:49 AM on December 16, 2015


Brookings Institute analyst J.M. Berger has a good rundown of issues with the initial reporting about social media.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:52 AM on December 16, 2015 [2 favorites]




Reuters: No evidence California attackers were part of terrorist cell: FBI head

Stochastic Terrorism
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Brookings Institute analyst J.M. Berger has a good rundown of issues with the initial reporting about social media.

I think we are gonna need to wait for a little clarification on the full meaning of that report. There are a lot of questions.

There has been talk recently that public social media support for jihad should have been enough to stop the visa application. For example: U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media

I think it's possible Comey meant to deny those reports of postings prior to her entry to the US, not necessarily walk back the report of a posting the day of the shooting.

The initial reports of a day of the shooting post were sourced to FBI officials and some sort of post was confirmed by Facebook and by David Bowdich, the F.B.I. assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles office . It would be quite surprising if they let those reports go uncorrected for so long if they are false.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:40 AM on December 16, 2015


Is this the end of twitter?
posted by infini at 11:44 AM on December 16, 2015


Vice News: Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman with the FBI's Los Angeles office, told VICE News on Wednesday that she believed Comey's comments about social media referred to "the time period before the shooting, and describing how direct private messages between the subjects would not have been apparent to a wider audience."

"The reported Facebook post on day of shooting remains under investigation," Eimiller said.

posted by Drinky Die at 11:48 AM on December 16, 2015


Islamic State also employs "end-to-end" encryption when communicating with individuals who it believes are willing to carry out killings in its name, Comey said.
Note: No indication Farook and Malik used encryption or are those individuals.

Still going with "Hostile workplace caused crazy guy who owns semi-automatic weapons to snap"
posted by mikelieman at 12:01 PM on December 16, 2015


That's still an unexplicably wishful interpretation.
posted by OmieWise at 12:03 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe it's much, much more important to the FBI to affect the adoption and functionality of encryption than to accurately represent what happened with the San Bernardino shooters. The statement by the FBI tells me that they're trying to adopt the attitude that if they didn't declare jihad, it's probably because they encrypted it, which is very similar to the attitude of bad cops everywhere, that the suspect they killed either had a weapon, or was hiding one.
posted by rhizome at 12:12 PM on December 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's still an unexplicably wishful interpretation.

As far as I've seen, there's more evidence for this being an incident of workplace violence than a terrorist act.

Terrorism is designed to send a political message. The only message I've found here is, "Don't go to the company Christmas party. Compare that to , "No more baby parts".
posted by mikelieman at 12:55 PM on December 16, 2015 [1 favorite]




I'm a little cynical, granted, but I though the point of the whole, "They was turrurists!" was so that people would stop pointing out how fucking crazy and out of hand the whole gun thing had gotten. Because the whole discussion of guns dropped, immediately, when the "T word" came out.

Of course the fact still remains the gun thing in America is wildly out of control.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:17 PM on December 17, 2015 [3 favorites]




Looks like the NYT reporting team that wrote up the original article might have a source or sources that may be politically motivated.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:16 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, they both should have been gone after the previous fuckup. Disgraceful. At this point someone higher up the chain should go too.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:26 PM on December 17, 2015


This "FBI questioned the dude at a 'secret location'" song and dance as it was described on the nightly news is making me see red. I don't care if he was told he was free to leave. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. I'm extremely angry the "good guys" think any of it is good police work.

“San Bernardino shooter's friend Enrique Marquez charged with aiding plot,” Richard A. Serrano and Richard Winton, The Los Angeles Times, 17 December 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 4:33 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


OSBI Identifies Suspect, Victims In I-40 Shooting Spree
According to the OSBI, late Wednesday night, police in western Oklahoma began receiving multiple 911 calls reporting the driver of a vehicle committing acts of road rage. Callers also reported the driver was shooting at cars.

A man driving with his wife along Interstate 40 westbound was hit by that gunfire, according to the OSBI. That occurred at approximately mile marker 93 near Hydro. Jeffrey Kent Powell, 45, of Arapaho, died at the scene.

A short time later, Weatherford police on normal patrol found a vehicle on Airport Road (mile marker 84) just off I-40. Inside the vehicle was woman who had been shot. Billie Jean West, 63, of Lone Wolf, was pronounced dead at a Weatherford hospital, according to the OSBI.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers caught up with the pickup truck described by multiple 911 callers. A short pursuit ensued with the suspect traveling into Washita County and back into Custer County. At mile marker 50, the suspect, later identified as 36-year-old Jeremy Doss Hardy of Pasadena, Texas, pulled to the shoulder and surrendered.
Of course, since it's just another Real American (aka a white dude) exercising his 2nd Amendment rights, it's not even front page news. Oh, and here's the kicker:
Hardy was arrested on a complaint of DUI.
Not for murdering two innocent people, not even for firing his weapon indiscriminately, but for a DUI. Respect the culture!
posted by zombieflanders at 7:25 PM on December 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's just something they can hold him on, the police didn't witness the shootings.
posted by rhizome at 9:00 PM on December 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Holy cow, this timeline blows my mind. I had no idea.
posted by rhizome at 11:01 PM on December 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looks like the NYT reporting team that wrote up the original article might have a source or sources that may be politically motivated.

That's their M.O., well known since at least Judith Miller.
posted by mikelieman at 12:47 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The 2012 attack planning was probably about being a disgruntled employee.
posted by OmieWise at 6:19 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do we know anything about the alleged 2012 attack plans that wasn't learned from a man who checked himself into a psychiatric facility and who was interrogated for days by the FBI without a lawyer?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:27 AM on December 18, 2015


Apparently they found a spreadsheet Farook made detailing some of the expenses for an attack.

I don't blame the FBI for not complaining if he refused a lawyer. For all they knew this guy could know details about other attacks being planned. They should do everything within the law to get him to tell everything he knows.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2015


I think in 2011/2012 he was playing at Jihad, much in the way radicalized Christian "doomsday preppers" prepare for the coming Apocalypse by stockpiling weapons and ammo.

And like most of them, he didn't have the stomach for it, and put his guns and pipe-bombs away.

Until he had a reason to take them out and bring them to the company Christmas party. Which, if improperly stored since 2011, is the reason they didn't detonate.
posted by mikelieman at 7:58 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well now you just look like you're really and truly determined not to let go of your narrative at any price, let alone the price of reason. It's a pretty fine slice to say he was training to be a terrorist in 2012*, and then when he uses the weapons and methods in 2015 (after, by the way, having somehow convinced his wife to train and get ready for...what exactly?), he's just an office shooter.

*People who plan to make a "suicidal gesture" and end up killing themselves still die by suicide.
posted by OmieWise at 8:22 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'll be willing to put aside the role his workplace played in the incident as soon as we start talking about christian doctor-killers exclusively as radicalized terrorists too. If they get the hint of subtlety I don't see why these two assholes don't as well. As From Brklyn points out, accepting this radical Islam narrative uncritically plays along with the cultural desire not to address the fact that they could stockpile this shit easily.
posted by phearlez at 9:26 AM on December 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'll be willing to put aside the role his workplace played in the incident as soon as we start talking about christian doctor-killers exclusively as radicalized terrorists too.

I prefer to look at each case based on the reported facts of each case, regardless of what other people do.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:34 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


l'll be willing to put aside the role his workplace played in the incident as soon as we start talking about christian doctor-killers exclusively as radicalized terrorists too.

I can respect that, it's a political reason, and therefore isn't about what the evidence says or what makes sense. I am reasonably close to that way of thinking myself. But there is no reason to argue causes if you've already made a political decision.
posted by OmieWise at 5:37 PM on December 18, 2015


Sort of. I think if you want to look at the primary reason someone does something, or at least the primary reason they have picked a target, there's a fairly compelling case that this revolved as much about personal life unhappiness compared to political goals. None of these cases has one single goal and cause. I think sensible people would agree that the majority of folks who get sucked into extreme Islamist causes are doing so because they have, at the minimum, been primed by economic and other social problems.

You look at a more textbook sort of terrorist attack a la Paris or 9/11 or even the failed WTC bomb in the 90s and you see target choices that aren't personal. You look at the Planned Parenthood shooter and you see this person has no personal connection to the site, or even a decent understanding of what that center's primary activities are.

So did this most recent asshole and his wife have some contributing factors and mental rationalizations in play that were related to an extremist Islam? Maybe? Probably? But I think you ignore the intimate association with people and place to the detriment of actual understanding. To the extent that it even matters, which I am not sure it does, given how often these incidents are about assholes+weapon access more than anything else.
posted by phearlez at 8:41 PM on December 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's interesting to think of the line being drawn at "not random enough."
posted by rhizome at 12:43 PM on December 19, 2015


Even supposedly liberal NPR is still today going on about how terrorism is now the primary concern of all Americans "since the terrorist attack in San Bernadino". And I just don't understand why we should be so much more concerned about supposed terrorists than we are about all of our fellow citizens with guns who randomly kill us or why this particular event is somehow more frightening than Colorado Springs, Umpqua, Emmanuel AME, Isla Vista, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech, or Columbine.

It sure has done an excellent job of distracting us from meaningful discussion of gun control. It has also given the bigots in the GOP primary new and ever more hateful things to say against Muslims and people who don't look like them and distracted attention from how their anti-abortion rhetoric drove a man to murder people in Colorado. Which is very convenient for them.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:27 PM on December 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Obama: San Bernardino terror victims' families 'could not have been more inspiring'

Al-Qaeda figure seen as key inspiration for San Bernardino attacker

“The conventional wisdom that the carnage in California was inspired by the Islamic State is wrong,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA terrorism analyst now at the Brookings Institution. The attackers were “not radicalized watching videos or social media in 2015,” Riedel said, but “marinated in extremist ideology and planning for a long period of time before they finally made the decision to act.”
posted by Drinky Die at 3:02 PM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]




California black market surges for ‘ghost guns’

You have got to be kidding me.
posted by rhizome at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The issue of ghost guns is resolved when everyone is required to obtain a license to prove their competence, then register and insure their firearms. Insurance company is going to require a serial number and/or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin on those 80% lower receivers.
posted by mikelieman at 1:04 PM on December 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's like Los Feliz Daycare applied to the Second Amendment.
posted by rhizome at 1:45 PM on December 20, 2015


California black market surges for ‘ghost guns’

I'm always suspicious of these kinds of articles that mostly quote law enforcement people, whether about drugs or guns or terrorism. There is a very specific overheated tone every time, and in the past they've often proven to be inaccurate, but very effective in promoting new enforcement powers. Making a gun for yourself has always been legal here, while selling those guns is already totally illegal (and indeed is what the busts in the article were for), and selling a bunch of illegal guns and silencers out of your tire shop is a great way to go to prison.

Only a particularly lazy criminal would pay extra for a ghost gun, since they could just order the parts themselves for market price, and it is not the receivers that are the expensive part anyway.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:15 PM on December 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is a very specific overheated tone every time, and in the past they've often proven to be inaccurate, but very effective in promoting new enforcement powers.

And it's so easily refuted, or at least pushed-back upon. Look at the first paragraphs of the article itself: guy tries to buy an AK-47 and a Remingon 700, and practically in the next breath the reporter refers to "these homemade guns." Written by a person.
posted by rhizome at 4:39 PM on December 20, 2015


Even supposedly liberal NPR is still today going on about how terrorism is now the primary concern of all Americans "since the terrorist attack in San Bernadino". And I just don't understand why we should be so much more concerned about supposed terrorists than we are about all of our fellow citizens with guns who randomly kill us

I heard that too and thought "Really?" because I don’t see that. I hear it on the media though. Who knows, people are weird and easily frightened.
posted by bongo_x at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2015


In a story with similarities to the radicalization of Malik and Farook, another American woman is alleged to have been radicalized by ISIS to participate in jihad and will stand trial.
-
Enrique Marquez Jr., whose interviews with the FBI following the San Bernardino mass shooting were poured into a 36-page affidavit outlining key details leading to the attack, has signed a court document declaring his right to remain silent.

What he should have done from the start, or at least gotten a damn lawyer involved while he cooperated.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:18 PM on December 26, 2015


re: Keonna Thomas
The 30-year-old mother of two had bought a ticket to leave the country.
I don't know necessarily about the "Material Support" aspects, since they seem overly broad, but that does appear to be an explicit act towards leaving to join as she had previously stated was her intent. I'm not sure it's the FBI and DOJ's most shining moment, but on its face it appears to be better than a lot of their other cases.

Unless we hear that it was an FBI informant telling her to do everything, which we've seen before.
posted by mikelieman at 2:36 PM on December 26, 2015 [1 favorite]




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