UCC Shooting Is The 142nd School Shooting In Three Years
October 1, 2015 7:50 PM   Subscribe

President Obama says mass murder has become routine, and prayers just aren't enough. Since the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States, including today's murder of 10 students. In total, there have been been nearly 1,000 mass shootings in less than three years, "with shooters killing at least 1,234 people and wounding 3,565 more."
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet (720 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think that presser is the angriest that I've ever seen Obama.
posted by indubitable at 7:55 PM on October 1, 2015 [35 favorites]


Yeah, it was awesome.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Obama looked like he wanted to say things much, much more pointed than he did.
posted by Windigo at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


What I find sad is that today's tragedy was pretty terrible. Had it happened 20 years ago, the nation would be in shock. But we're now over shock. It didn't lead the evening news on the radio - it was a short report. My Facebook feed did not fill up. This is becoming a non-event. We are ...totally accepting it.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on October 1, 2015 [137 favorites]


I would like to thank the president for helping our country through these difficult and scary times. I'm also heartened to see this discussion take place, after all, today's trajedy without context is just another trajedy post.
.
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


1,234 people who simply went to school, or who worked in a school.

And twenty of them were babies.

We're never going to do anything about it here. It's an absolute disaster.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:00 PM on October 1, 2015 [27 favorites]


We are ...totally accepting it.

After Sandy Hook, when still nothing happened, we kinda lost hope, I think.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:01 PM on October 1, 2015 [88 favorites]


oh hey that's the first mass shooting this month
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:35 PM on October 1, 2015 [47 favorites]


The anger and frustration in the news conference statement is palpable. and man, I can not for the life of me understand a country that puts up with a congress that won't even BEGIN to try to fix this. it is beyond horrific and I don't even know how to feel anymore when one of these things happen.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:35 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I could feel Obama shaking while he was at the dais. That's how angry he seemed.

I'm just so sad and hollowed out by all these events. Congress can barely keep the lights on.

This seems to be a test for our democracy. What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:37 PM on October 1, 2015 [13 favorites]




I agree with Miko. It isn't being ignored, but it is a news item just like a terrible storm or a bus crash, noteworthy things but not surprising or particularly devastating.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:42 PM on October 1, 2015


I had a feeling there had been another one of these as soon as I started seeing that Onion article making the rounds on Facebook. Again.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:42 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


This seems to be a test for our democracy. What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?

I wish that I could answer this without cynicism.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:43 PM on October 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


I live abroad and whenever this happens people here ask me to explain it to them, and I never can. It's crazy and I don't have any answers.
posted by supercrayon at 8:43 PM on October 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


"After Sandy Hook, when still nothing happened, we kinda lost hope, I think."

I keep seeing this said in a lot of places but it's not accurate. There were a tons of legal changes after Sandy Hook:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control_after_the_Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting

posted by I-baLL at 8:44 PM on October 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


Also, I would have expected that mass shootings map to directly match population density, but at least to the limited way I can see it on this tiny screen, it is showing a somewhat different pattern.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:45 PM on October 1, 2015


There were a ton of legal changes after Sandy Hook, but none of them that even vaguely met the (pretty reasonable, in my opinion) pretty high standards of "how should a society react to a classroom of children being shot to death in a school"
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:46 PM on October 1, 2015 [103 favorites]


It's not even in the 10 "top trends" on Facebook anymore. I guess the upside of numb acceptance is that nobody is ever going to remember the name or face of this week's mass murderer.
posted by theodolite at 8:46 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?

Depending on the circumstances, mass shooting #N+1, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at a minimum.
posted by Rangi at 8:47 PM on October 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


.

I'm not a big Salon fan, but I'm so deeply disappointed by the stuff I'm seeing on Twitter by crazy right winger gun nuts that I think this is a fair article.
posted by discopolo at 8:47 PM on October 1, 2015


I'm all out of sad, compassionate things to say about shootings.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:48 PM on October 1, 2015




Now is not the time to politicize guns! ("In a way that fails to adequately glorify them," they always refuse to continue out loud.)
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:49 PM on October 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is becoming a non-event. We are ...totally accepting it.

Yep. Remember how much of a thing Columbine was? How completely and totally disturbed and outraged everyone was? That was 13 dead.

This? 10 dead and 7 injured. And nobody reacts.
posted by rifflesby at 8:50 PM on October 1, 2015 [28 favorites]


Using the definition many people operate under — shootings at a public place in which the shooter murdered four or more people, excluding domestic, gang, and drug violence

Why exclude those shootings? Are the victims not equally dead?

University criminologist James Alan Fox, for example, defines mass shootings as any shooting in which at least four people were murdered. Under those terms, mass shootings don’t appear to be increasing.

OIC. So if you exclude mass shootings that don't count, because it helps make the case that they are increasing, when they really aren't, then it appears that mass shootings are increasing.

And as the article notes, mass shootings are very rare regardless of what definition you use. They aren't a relevant basis for thinking about guns or violence or gun control - their supposed prevalence is just an impression created by media coverage. Oh well on with the same ol debate I guess.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 8:52 PM on October 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


nobody is ever going to remember the name or face of this week's mass murderer

This might be a good thing, though, no? Remember the tragedy, of course, but deny whatever notoriety the perpetrator might have desired?
posted by Chitownfats at 8:52 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]




I am hoping Sheriff Hanlin will take the time to really think about his statement on Sandy Hook/Newtown:

Two years ago, though, Hanlin was among a group of Oregon sheriffs decrying efforts made by the Obama administration after the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

In a letter penned to Vice President Joe Biden on Jan. 15, 2013, Hanlin issued a “formal request that you NOT tamper with or attempt to amend the 2nd Amendment.”

“Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings,” Hanlin wrote.

“Any actions against, or in disregard for our U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights by the current administration would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people.”
Praising federal law enforcement Thursday for the help his office received, Hanlin two years ago pledged to refuse to enforce any federal gun laws he believed ran counter to the Second Amendment.

“Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the Constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Douglas County Oregon,” continued Hanlin, writing one month after a gunman killed 20 children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


I hope he doesn't double down out of pride.
posted by discopolo at 8:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [37 favorites]


Chitownfats, that'd be fine if there were any reason to believe anyone would remember this particular tragedy until Halloween, or even the following weekend.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:54 PM on October 1, 2015


The Onion: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

They updated this, right? Because I don't think it used to say Oregon.
posted by weston at 8:55 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


We're approaching 10,000 dead by gun in America this year . We're just going to let this happen forever. There's too much money to be made selling guns. Apparently We mustn't let human lives get in the way of profits.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


> There were a tons of legal changes after Sandy Hook:

Three states and and some White House-directed changes including "Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations" and issuing reports and letters. Nothing out of Congress. Is that tons? I guess somewhere that is tons.
posted by rtha at 8:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [31 favorites]


And as the article notes, mass shootings are very rare regardless of what definition you use.

As a non-American looking in from the outside, gun violence is a cancer in American life, whether its maniacs or drugs or whatever. You have nearly as many gun deaths as Mexico, for god's sake. The refusal to acknowledge this reality is an appalling example of market triumphing over public good.
posted by smoke at 8:58 PM on October 1, 2015 [100 favorites]


...................................x?=status quo.

.
posted by futz at 8:58 PM on October 1, 2015


It's crazy and I don't have any answers.

I fucking do. I've said it on here before and I'll say it again now. Nothing gets down about this because the people doing it are from the same radical right culture as the people who are preventing us from doing anything. Mass shootings are the terrorism of the American radical right. There doesn't need to be an American equivalent to Al Quida, because its so much easier and harder to trace for disaffected young white men to whip each other into a froth on Storm Front and 4chan and reddit, until one of them goes out to shoot some liberals, or, you know, whoever comes across

This guy was yelling at people about what their religion was. I bet he didn't start firing when someone said they were Protestant.

deny whatever notoriety the perpetrator might have desired?

No. Fuck that. Dig into his goddamn life. Find out what radio stations he listens to. Bet its Limbaugh. Find out what TV he watches. Bet its Hannity. Find out where he spent his time on the Internet and what he talked about there. Bet it wasn't about the benefits of feminism and how much he supported Black Lives Matter.

We do the opposite of giving these guys notoriety. We never see anything about what they believe. If we did, we'd have to face that the radical fringe of the political part that currently controls both houses of congress is waging a disorganized but very real campaign of terrorism against their own country.

I'm so fucking sick of this shit.
posted by Caduceus at 8:59 PM on October 1, 2015 [186 favorites]


"We're approaching 10,000 dead by gun in America this year "

That number also includes suicide.

According to the CDC, in 2013, 21,175 people killed themselves using a firearm, 20,000 killed themselves using other methods.

In the same year, 11,208 people were killed by other people with firearms, and almost 5,000 people were killed without.
posted by I-baLL at 9:04 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Caduceus: Actually, the victims that responded "Christian" got shot in the head, those that responded otherwise, or refused to play the game got shot in the legs.
posted by Chitownfats at 9:04 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Link please.
posted by Caduceus at 9:04 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


They updated this, right? Because I don't think it used to say Oregon.

On a desktop, I'm seeing the same article (with different details) for this shooting, the California shooting, and the Charleston church shooting one after another.
posted by daninnj at 9:07 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Although we don't yet know the specifics, there is a good chance this was preventable.

My thoughts to the families.

.
posted by samthemander at 9:08 PM on October 1, 2015


The thing, Caduceus, is that if we did that, we'd have to admit that the problem isn't mental illness; the problem isn't guns. The problem is a toxic miasma of racism and misogyny and classism and xenophobia and entitlement, and the fact that we as a society can't or won't talk about these things--and especially won't do so without demonising "the other side", no matter what side you're on.

We'd have to admit that we're all part of the problem, and that we have built an unbelievably violent, unequal society. We'd have to admit that we don't want to talk about any of this, and that the spittle-flecked fury is coming from both sides, each desperate to blame the other and neither willing to back down.
posted by MeghanC at 9:08 PM on October 1, 2015 [50 favorites]


[Comments removed. I-baLL, that line of inquiry is not going to go anywhere. Please drop it. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:11 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tom Tomorrow's clever update of his gun control strip.
posted by dr_dank at 9:11 PM on October 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


the problem isn't guns

For a problem that "isn't guns", guns sure seem to be a part of every fucking slaughter, though.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [106 favorites]


Caduceus: I must admit that in my somewhat disheartened state, I'm posting "news" from a New York Post article. I'll be quiet until something more reputable reports something. Apologies.
posted by Chitownfats at 9:13 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing, Caduceus, is that if we did that, we'd have to admit that the problem isn't mental illness; the problem isn't guns. The problem is a toxic miasma of racism and misogyny and classism and xenophobia and entitlement, and the fact that we as a society can't or won't talk about these things--and especially won't do so without demonising "the other side", no matter what side you're on.

We'd have to admit that we're all part of the problem, and that we have built an unbelievably violent, unequal society. We'd have to admit that we don't want to talk about any of this, and that the spittle-flecked fury is coming from both sides, each desperate to blame the other and neither willing to back down.


You are exactly right. The whole system is the problem. The cowardice of the left, their inability to call the right out on their hatred and love of violence, the left's own acceptance of a culture that glorifies violence in its entertainment, is just as culpable in this as anyone. These mass shootings are one and the same as police shootings of minorities, part of everything else going on with our unequal, awful society.

I'm sorry. I don't think this is a derail, but I also didn't want to start a fight. This is just so awful and its in my own state.
posted by Caduceus at 9:16 PM on October 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


I mean, it's tough to have a gun-based massacre without guns, is what I'm saying. It's tough to have one without the other, right.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:16 PM on October 1, 2015 [9 favorites]




People who do this kind of thing are nuts. Just nuts - deeply disturbed who should be receiving intensive mental health care. Why they decide to slaughter a group of people is almost irrelevant to me and I always say to myself when I hear the inevitable "authorities are working to find out the motives of the shooter" WHO CARES? It's irrelevant and a distraction. Obama said as much. What's relevant is to make this stop happening. It's a collective insanity in the US to believe that the constitution wants people to be able to own military grade automatic weapons. That's insane. The best part of the press conference was the call for data - how many slaughtered by terrorists and how many by guns?
posted by bluesky43 at 9:19 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


This seems to be a test for our democracy. What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?

It helps to have a specific, achievable plan. Otherwise it unites a paranoid opposition and confuses the politicians. Given the US constitutional protection on guns, liability insurance remains a privatized option if politicians want to avoid looking like they oppose the second amendment. This lets insurance companies determine who is mentally ill from their own records, and do their own background checks, with discounts for safe storage and training. The problem is that they don't want this role because they will be paying out for willful acts, not just theft and accidents. The obvious benefit is that it will limit the amount of guns someone actually wants to own (and lets private companies secretly keep track of guns like they do cancer and chemicals).
posted by Brian B. at 9:22 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


This seems to be a test for our democracy. What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?

There's a non-zero chance at least some of the rallies would get shot up by the gun nuts.
posted by Rumple at 9:25 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


how many slaughtered by terrorists and how many by guns good ol' American boys?

The story about targeting Christians is going to totally poison the well this time, because the Radical Christianists can now declare that the 'War Against Christians' has become a shooting war, and they'll be marching into every gun store in the country singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers".
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:29 PM on October 1, 2015 [26 favorites]


We don't know a whole lot about the shooter yet, and I'm not sure that I even want to know more about him (or give him the media attention that every one of these cockroaches ends up getting), but early reports are that he was tied to 4chan. With that in mind, I can't help but think of two articles: the recent write-up of neoreactionaries and Dan Auerbach's essay on Anonymity as Culture.

Anonymity as Culture (a-culture) is what typifies interactions on 4chan and other message boards. It prioritizes offense as a cultural value, and substitutes traditional cultural markings with symbolic capital relating to knowledge of niche interests (e.g. anime, games, guns, sports, the board itself) and "humor", with humor usually relating to the ability to manipulate signifiers and irony in a way that conforms to wider a-culture standards. I think that a-culture spaces are where we've seen the rise of the neo-reactionary (NRx) movements, which are the far right racist, sexist, and culturally conservative youth subgroups that have popped up like mushrooms after a storm on reddit, 4chan, etc.

So many of these disaffected young, white, losers seem to come from an intersection of a-culture and NRx. In many cases they appear to be somewhat comfortable (as in middle class), but ultimately shifted out of the mainstream due to mental and social problems. I feel that many of them make up for a lack in real cultural significance by going into a-culture spaces, where they can sort of spin their own cultural capital out of nothing but time, effort and wit. There they probably encounter NRx stuff jokingly, and then are slowly radicalized. At the moment NRx groups don't have a whole lot of real political power (not beyond what traditional reactionaries have in the American political system - certainly not distinct political parties, and not without having to mesh with the religious reactionary right), but occasionally NRx sentiment is expressed in these terroristic mass shootings, which are enabled by America's sick gun culture.
posted by codacorolla at 9:29 PM on October 1, 2015 [75 favorites]


Perfect. Doesn't mean he wasn't Christian. And even if he wasn't, doesn't mean he liked feminists or minorities. There are radical atheists who are just as big of assholes as radical Christians. Same dish, different container.

People who do this kind of thing are nuts. Just nuts

No, they fucking aren't just nuts. They are certainly nuts, but its a nuts informed by their environment. The people they associate with, their economic and social circumstances, their beliefs about what their own future and the future of those they care about or those they hate holds. "Just nuts" people don't have the wherewithal to get it together enough to go shoot a bunch of people. They don't have the drive to do so.

Mass shooters have drive. There is a reason. It may be a deeply sick, twisted reason, but there's a reason for each and every one of them. Its too big and awful and act to go through without really wanting to.

We don't have a fucking chance of doing anything about this by attacking the root of the problem (AKA all the goddamn guns). The paranoid fringe and the gun industry are never going to let us. That leaves the only possibility of doing something about this in figuring out why people keep wanting to do this, and fixing the circumstances--the economic conditions, the culture and the social milieu, the access to mental health care and, probably, all health care--that make people (people who are undoubtedly mental ill, don't get me wrong) want, so deeply and terribly, to kill people so much that they actually go through with it.

And I think my "threatened white privilege" theory has pretty strong legs to start with.
posted by Caduceus at 9:32 PM on October 1, 2015 [19 favorites]


Why exclude those shootings? Are the victims not equally dead?

The victims are overwhelmingly likely to be nonwhite or poor or immigrants or otherwise untermenschen who don't matter to American society. The people pulling together the numbers are "helpfully" separating the mass murders that don't matter from those that include middle-class white people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 PM on October 1, 2015 [20 favorites]


Look, I'm just saying, but maybe we could try not demonizing mentally ill people in this thread?

I understand why it's really tempting to say that anyone who does this is mentally ill, is sick and should be locked away--but saying that pretty much ensures that we're not even having a discussion about changing things. Instead, we're having a discussion that victimizes a group of people who are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. We're also having a discussion that means that we get to say 'oh, he was sick in his head' and not ask why he was so full of hate, and what we as a society are doing that allows this sort of hate to fester, and what we as a society could do to stop it before it gets this far.

Alternatively, if you really want to believe that all shooters are mentally ill, know that every time this thread happens, and every time you say 'well, he was sick!' there's a mentally ill person reading. And what that person takes away isn't a message that people want them to find help, that they deserve understanding and compassion. What they take away is that they cannot trust people to help them instead of punish them, and that their only chance at a normal life is to keep their illness secret, to manage it themselves.

Violence of any sort doesn't happen in a vacuum.
posted by MeghanC at 9:36 PM on October 1, 2015 [84 favorites]


Here is a lot more on the suspected 4chan connection. (The original thread in which the comments were made has been deleted by the chan)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:37 PM on October 1, 2015 [11 favorites]




The Carthaginians had the practice of Moloch, the Romans had their gladiatorial matches, the Aztecs had the Flower Wars, and Americans have the school shooting of the week.

Stop thinking of these atrocities of being a prohibited thing. They are an aspect of a culture. If it weren't for the myth of the mass shooter, how would we justify our SWAT teams? Our Zero Tolerance policies? Our gun sales?
The recurrence of mass shootings justifies the Security State. They serve the agenda of the Deep State.
I'm not trying to advocate a conspiracy, or that this wasn't a real event with real victims.

But as a wiser man said, "show me your budget and I will tell you what you really believe in.". We don't spend on mental health treatment, or useful pre-emptive injunctive gun confiscation, or any other policy that would reduce this phenomenon.

School shootings are the American way, just like mass sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli was the Aztec way. They are a ritual tolerated to justify other aspects of our status quo.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 9:46 PM on October 1, 2015 [141 favorites]


Who cares? I care, because it's really fucking easy to talk about guns that are déclassé in big cities and don't affect most people, and really fucking hard to talk about toxic masculinity and white male helplessness and people literally running amok as they come to terms with a world that is no longer existing to do their bidding.
posted by corb at 9:47 PM on October 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


the best way for an American to avoid the risk of being involved in a mass shooting is evidently to move to a first-world nation
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:48 PM on October 1, 2015 [29 favorites]


I have been very close to a couple people diagnosed as "mentally ill", and my own diagnosis of severe depression (now mostly under control, thanks Big Pharma) probably puts me in that category too, and I can't get too upset over people calling him "mentally ill". It's a cop-out for just not understanding the irrational motivations and actions, what they THINK is a Politically Correct way of saying "batshit crazy" without realizing how many others of us fall under that category. Although the religious angle on this is likely to bring up more descriptions of the shooter as "Evil", "Demonically Possessed" or "Satanic" (with apologies to the Church of Satan). But then, for many, "Muslim" will be enough, whether there is any substantiation or not.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


guns that are déclassé in big cities

Gross.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:53 PM on October 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


oneswellfoop, one day the media will jump straight to describing mass shooters as being "of the Other" and we will all be more honest for it
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


A lot of these killers seem perfectly capable of leading superficially normal lives up to the point where they commit these murders. I'm not sure why we'd assume that more mental health resources would intercept them.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:56 PM on October 1, 2015 [31 favorites]


Toxic masculinity, indeed.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:57 PM on October 1, 2015 [32 favorites]


You guys are right. Not mentally ill. Mentally poisoned. I apologize.
posted by Caduceus at 10:00 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


prize bull, we won't know the answer to that if we don't try. Make a very real commitment to at least try.
posted by futz at 10:00 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are suicide clusters and the media refuses to address their own complicity in this.
posted by wuwei at 10:01 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure why we'd assume that more mental health resources would intercept them.

Well, the good news is that more mental health resources is a good idea anyway. If it happens to help avoid one or many murders, that's great, too.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:02 PM on October 1, 2015 [19 favorites]


holy hell, tonycpsu.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:04 PM on October 1, 2015




For example, the Colorado movie theater murderer was practically radiating signs of instability if what I have read is true. Would more mental health care have helped him? Don't know. But it might have saved others.
posted by futz at 10:07 PM on October 1, 2015


Chances are, when we get more information about the shooter, he'll fit the profile if an injustice collector.

But regardless of his prior mental condition, his ability to hurt and kill would have been lessened if this country were not in the grip of the gun power and its agenda of stoking fantasies of violence so as to have a ready market for its product. Ecrasez l'infâme.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:17 PM on October 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm 100% in favor of spending more public funds on mental health care, I just don't think all or most of these guys would flag as "crazy" in an actionable way before they go and murder people, and I agree that reflexively tagging these murderers as de facto mentally ill isn't helpful unless you're, like, their ex-psychiatrist. Sane people kill. All the fucking time.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:17 PM on October 1, 2015 [16 favorites]


Why Are So Many Mass Shootings Committed by Young White Men?
A 2013 study at the University of Washington looked at the disproportionately high numbers of mass killings—defined as having at least three or more victims during a single episode—committed by young white men in America, and found a correlation between feelings of entitlement among white males and homicidal revenge against a specific demographic.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:17 PM on October 1, 2015 [52 favorites]


Clearly better access to mental health care, including reducing the stigma of it would help, but I simply can't fathom why America is refusing to look at why these incidents are so common in their country, and so rare elsewhere.
posted by peppermind at 10:18 PM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


"A lot of these killers seem perfectly capable of leading superficially normal lives up to the point where they commit these murders. I'm not sure why we'd assume that more mental health resources would intercept them."

I'm not sure that they do lead superficially normal lives. However I also wonder how many of them are psychotic breaks caused by anti-depressants possibly alongside an underlying condition. The tower shooter sought mental help before his shooting but nothing came out of it (if I remember correctly, the doctor couldn't do anything for him.) An autopsy later discovered a brain tumor that may have affected his actions.

The Isla Vista shooter was actually getting mental health treatment. The previous Isla Vista killer ended up getting mental treatment....after the fact.

So, in my opinion, better mental health resources will help but it's obviously not going to stop all of these events.

Also, in regards to guns, harder access to guns may lower the amount of victims or it might not. The Aurora shooter wired his apartment up with bombs. And one of the worst school massacres in US history happened in 1927 and also made use of bombs.

I'm not saying that school shootings and mass shootings won't drop. I'm saying that non-spur-of-the-moment pre-planned attacks will still happen.
posted by I-baLL at 10:20 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Because this is a country were many firmly believe there isn't a single problem we can't shoot our way out of.
posted by peeedro at 10:21 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


This seems to be a test for our democracy. What would happen if enough people took to the streets and demanded action of their elected officials?

We tried that with Iraq. 10 million people worldwide across all 7 continents (there was even a small protest at McMurdo Base), perhaps the largest gathering of people in human history. They just pretended it didn't happen & made it disappear into the Memory Hole.
posted by scalefree at 10:29 PM on October 1, 2015 [33 favorites]


Here's how the shooter described himself in a dating profile.
posted by Brian B. at 10:30 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


mental health care

Let's not call it "mental health care" here. "Better mental healthcare" in a discussion of mass shootings is usually a euphemism for relaxed commitment laws, decreased patient privacy protections, and the ability to involuntarily drug members of the public with only a fig leaf of legal protections. You can feel good about yourself by calling it "treatment," but in practice it'd be stop-and-frisk for the mind. It'd be fear-based policy, and we all know how well that's worked with international terrorism...

And "mental illness" is a ridiculously overbroad categorization when we're talking about spree killers anyway. It's like every time someone get's mauled by a lion there are calls to have a discussion about "cats". Fluffy the housecat isn't the problem — neither are the vast majority of people with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and yes, even schizophrenia. These are angry, disaffected young men with access to weapons, and a fear-driven call to regulate people who aren't "normal" under a pretense of help is liable to throw large numbers of nonviolent people suffering psychological distress under the bus.
posted by Wemmick at 10:36 PM on October 1, 2015 [54 favorites]


So, Chris Harper Mercer expressed admiration for Vester Flanagan who expressed a sympathy for Adam Lanza. What is wrong with this picture ?

In common, they are loner men with guns who killed people in order to become immortal in the sense of never being forgotten. Which was what they were until they picked up the gun and stopped being either anonymous or unknown.

I have no easy answer at hand.
posted by y2karl at 10:44 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


As an occasionally mentality ill person, I'm sorry, I have to call bullshit on this. (Obviously I do not speak for all mentally ill folks, that's a huge umbrella.) Mental illness is not the problem. Ridiculously easy access to guns probably is. At any time during my lowest points I could lay hands on at least a pistol, probably a military grade rifle. I wouldn't have hurt anyone but myself, but that's beside the point. The point is that guns are stupid easy to get ahold of in this country. This is less than ideal, to say the least.

I don't know what the solution is. My dad, who is probably the model of a Responsible Gun Owner, left guns where I could get at them when I was at least quasi-suicidal. That I didn't hurt myself probably speaks more to my support system than anything else.

My point being, I suppose: screening for mental illness maybe isn't helpful, because there are an awful lot of people that fall under that term. Maybe there should just be less guns around. Or maybe even the model of a Responsible Gun Owner in this country, y'know. Isn't.
posted by dogheart at 10:46 PM on October 1, 2015 [49 favorites]


Brian B.: Great effing Christ, this fellow is all over the map!
posted by Chitownfats at 10:48 PM on October 1, 2015


Except, in answer to myself above, to say that it would have been much harder to achieve such notoriety with a knife.
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Via an Australian friend: President Obama was wrong: Australia is not like the U. S. (I have zero firsthand knowledge of Australia and cannot vouch for the veracity of this argument.)
posted by wintersweet at 10:50 PM on October 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


Guns, mental health, and right-wing radicalization are all important issues. But ultimately it seems like society is leaving these "disaffected young, white, losers" behind. Atomization and alienation.

If this shooter was a Chechen Muslim immigrant, would he be any more understandable? Or maybe he is just as understandable.

It's becoming our society's equivalent to running amok. Yes, we need gun control and actual mental health care in this country. But we also need to understand the root cause for why young men find themselves so powerless that this is their only exit, their outlet from society.

We need to drain the swamp of school shooting.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:53 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I found the shooter's blog. I'm posting it here because I keep seeing bits and pieces of it in news articles but bits and pieces don't always paint the context.
posted by I-baLL at 10:53 PM on October 1, 2015


I was just thinking last night, before I would out about this tragedy, that in the thread about dangerous fauna in Australia there were people saying they could never go to Australia, too many dangerous animals (and hey, I have heard that a lot IRL). The number of people harmed let alone killed in Australia by these animals is staggering small. Staggeringly. Yet no-one is saying they have to stop living in the US where the chances of being killed by gun violence, in relation to much of the world, is staggering large.
It seems there is a fear of exotic scary things that have little chance of harming you yet getting shot at school, or work, or wherever, in the US has become mundane. And that is the really scary thing.
posted by Megami at 10:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am an extremely pro gun control person, but many of the numbers above are based on a very flexible definition of "mass shooting" and "school shooting". Everytown.org has gotten criticism from FactCheck for their numbers before--for example, their calculations of school shootings include anything from accidental discharges to crimes committed within a wide vicinity of a school that didn't actually involve any students. Which is not to say those things are not tragedies and a product of poor gun regulation, but when people think "mass shooting" or "school shooting" they think of a lone gunman opening fire on the unsuspecting public or people in a school. Not two kids playing with a gun in the woods behind their gym and accidentally shooting themselves. Fudging numbers like that just makes gun control advocates a target for NRA shitheads who already like to pretend we are overstating the problem.

If you look at rate of mass shootings though it looks like they are increasing--and this study looks at lone-gunman-type mass shootings and nothing else.
posted by schroedinger at 10:57 PM on October 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


and prayers just aren't enough.

That's some bigstyle insight right there. You can see how he got the top job.
posted by pompomtom at 10:58 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, bringing up Australia is a good point since it's a physically large country just like the U.S. however the US (and a lot of people I talked to don't realize this) is the third largest country in the world by population so when looking at homicide rates you can get a more accurate picture if you look at homicide rates by state as opposed to the country as a whole.
posted by I-baLL at 11:00 PM on October 1, 2015


I read them and speculate like everybody else but part of me wishes we wouldn't publish these motherfuckers' full names and broadcast their photos and scrutinize their blogs and think think think about their tortured Angry Young Man psyches. Deny them the infamy that is their one reward for doing these heinous things. Just put their wasted lives in the fucking memory hole. But there's no realistic way to make that happen, I know. It just pisses me off when these details ooze out. It's what they were counting on.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:01 PM on October 1, 2015 [11 favorites]


The mass shootings make the big news. Everyday, the double murder, suicide, child killing; every day; that stuff stays down on the news list, but it happens.

Mandatory licensing classes would help; I mean, there are some folk that are just plain nuts; and given the chance to talk in a group/classroom setting; they will all but ideate what they would like to do to groups of X type of religion, or Y type of race/ethnic origin. Mando classes would be a start to at least ?report? crazed words to authorities for ?tracking? purposes.

Classes won't do much in Chicago or other gun violence cities; because they are supposed to be gun free to begin with. That just don't seem to work too well as every weekend shows.

In the Midwest; in the 70's and 80's; a lot of people had guns for hunting; and WTF; actual concerns about Russians. Checkered stocks, engraved metal, inlayed gold and silver; pieces of craftsmanship, pride in ownership. A gun show used to have dozens of tables of such; today maybe a table or two of classic weapons. The rest is of the semi-auto multi-round variety. And those people are not interested in being regulated, and as per the 2nd; they can't be.

"Blacklist" tonight had a head shot from a handgun; complete with red mist. Media glamorizes, and stigmatizes the gun. Tail end of the show before had guns all over the place too.

No solutions, but some sort of a required class for the privilege of ownership would be a start.
posted by buzzman at 11:02 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was looking at some stats and it seems Australians have a high risk of death when going overseas. This article breaks it down. I'm not sure how Australia has anything to do with this other the two wanker politicans and the media that conveys.
posted by clavdivs at 11:05 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I still think 'just plain nuts' isn't a good indicator of anything. 'Just plain nuts' covers an awful lot of ground. So does 'Chicago.'
posted by dogheart at 11:10 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


more gun vs. terrorist deaths via@ramez
1/The vast majority of gun homicides in the US are single shootings, with hand guns.

2/Guns have killed more Americans in the last 9 months than terrorists have in the last 44 years.
   Obama wanted news organizations to put gun deaths and terror deaths side-by-side. We did.

3/“We know that states with the most guns laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths”-@POTUS
   True: The States With The Most Gun Laws See The Fewest Gun-Related Deaths

4/Number of Americans killed by guns annually: 30K+
   Number killed by terrorism since 2001: <100
posted by kliuless at 11:11 PM on October 1, 2015 [28 favorites]


the left's own acceptance of a culture that glorifies violence in its entertainment
We export that entertainment overseas to countries without lots of guns, and it doesn't cause mass murder over there.

I think our culture's tolerance for contempt toward black people, gays, women, and so on is the issue. Well, that and the guns.

Ars Technica: Study: Racially charged hate crimes go up as broadband expands, Trend is higher in regions with more segregation, racism; "lone wolf" factor explored.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [19 favorites]


prize bull octorok: I read them and speculate like everybody else but part of me wishes we wouldn't publish these motherfuckers' full names and broadcast their photos and scrutinize their blogs and think think think about their tortured Angry Young Man psyches. Deny them the infamy that is their one reward for doing these heinous things.

You're completely right. Here's Chris Harper on Vester Flanagan:
On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more your're in the limelight.
And then a month later, he went out and shot some people himself, to be "in the limelight."
posted by Rangi at 11:12 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Megami Yet no-one is saying they have to stop living in the US where the chances of being killed by gun violence, in relation to much of the world, is staggering large

FWIW I have turned down opportunities to work in the US, in part because it freaks me out that guns are everywhere.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:18 PM on October 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


Rangi: I think the paragraphs preceding that part are just as important:
"While reading about the event, I read some excerpts of his manifesto the media was releasing. And I have to say, anyone who knew him could have seen this coming. People like him have nothing left to live for, and the only thing left to do is lash out at a society that has abandoned them.

His family described him as alone, no partner/lover. A victim not only of his own perception but also of our social media soaked enviroment. He posted the footage on facebook and twitter as well tweeting while he was running from the cops because he wanted the world to see his actions, much like many others post menial and trivial details of their life online and expect us to see it. Only his was at least a bit more interesting.

On an interesting note, I have noticed that so many people like him are all alone and unknown, yet when they spill a little blood, the whole world knows who they are. A man who was known by no one, is now known by everyone. His face splashed across every screen, his name across the lips of every person on the planet, all in the course of one day. Seems the more people you kill, the more your're in the limelight."
posted by I-baLL at 11:18 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


And yet his first blog post, posted only this July, throws more wrenches into the works.
"The material world is a lie. For so long we have been taught that what's important in life is to buy this and have that. To always have the latest fashion, biggest tv, fanciest car, nicest house, and blah,blah, blah. Well, the truth is we've become so attached to these things, our spiritual development has been halted. Just like they say in fight club "We become owned by the things we own". Most people will spend hours standing in front of stores just to buy a new iphone. Those same people will complain about how they don't have enough money but will always have money to spend on apple products. This attachment produces so much of the stress and worrying in the world today. I used to be like that, always concerned about what clothes I had, rather than whether or not I was happy. But not anymore. Since then I have learned the truth that such attachments are falsehoods and will only bring misery.This is my first blog post, there will be more to come."
posted by I-baLL at 11:22 PM on October 1, 2015


Which makes me ask the question of: Why? Why bring misery and pain to others?
posted by I-baLL at 11:23 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


But ultimately it seems like society is leaving these "disaffected young, white, losers" behind.

Yeah as formerly disaffected young white loser, fuck that. I mean, I hope others also get their lives together and end up happier and healthier like me and mine. But there are plenty of young men out there of all races who are in equally shitty (or MUCH MUCH WORSE) positions than this that are NOT FUCKING MURDERING PEOPLE.

The problem is access to guns. That is the issue that society can control. Any other causes for the shootings can and should be dealt with as well. But we can do that after people keep getting massacred on the reg.

To make this a story about disaffected white men getting left behind is to give these murderers the same privilege they had when they were alive. The reason young white men are disproportionally mass murdering people with guns is because white people can get away with this shit with guns. That's all.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:28 PM on October 1, 2015 [56 favorites]


I'm already starting to feel like "it's about mental health care" is already the new "all lives matter."
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:30 PM on October 1, 2015 [44 favorites]


Well, for either Harper or Flanagan, 'threatened white privilege' is not the first phrase that comes to mind to explain their behavior.

Although I am sure that Red State, Breitbart and Daily Caller will go to town with their own wrong end of the telescope view of events, blaming everything on their version of what is wrong with this country.

For every complex problem, there are many simple wrong answers.
posted by y2karl at 11:38 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not against gun control here. I just think there's a general malaise in the culture that caused this. In countries where guns are restricted, spree killers also manifest, using other weapons. Sure, restrict guns- it's been long overdue. And maybe knives should follow. But we also need to look at the root causes of this.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:40 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]




the root causes of this.

I honestly don't know that the root cause is, but I have to wonder if it doesn't have something (at least tangentially) to do with the several million innocent bodies we've piled up overseas since the fall of the Soviet Union.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think so since violent crimes, including gun homicides, are at historic lows.
posted by I-baLL at 11:57 PM on October 1, 2015


I discovered Patrick Blanchefield and his very thorough post via Twitter today. I find it very hard to argue with his premises and therefore am thoroughly depressed.
posted by Gotanda at 11:58 PM on October 1, 2015 [20 favorites]


I found it interesting that in Obama's speech, he kept stressing that, "the majority of gun owners are responsible and safe," or something along those lines. Though I'm definitely not against restricting access to guns for everyone - 2nd Amendment be damned - I have to agree that gun owners aren't necessarily the problem. The outliers who shoot up schools and movie theaters are something outside of just being gun owners. They seem to be a volatile mix of people with various mental illnesses who also happen to have access to guns. Gun owners are fine (I say this more as a person who believes in the Constitution than a person who wants people to have guns) and people with mental health issues are totally acceptable as well. The two just don't mix well. I don't know what the solution is, or how we can fairly decide who gets a gun and who doesn't.

I believe that the answers lies in better recognition of people who have mental illnesses, who may not even recognize it themselves. If teachers or parents or people in general not only stigmatized mental illness less, but learned to recognize it more clearly there'd be a chance this wouldn't happen as frequently. We need to stop pushing depressives and psychotics and "losers" and people who "don't fit in" under the rug and start paying attention. We're all on this earth together and we all bring something. It's gotta be up to us to see who might bring something harmful and ask the hard questions.
posted by bendy at 12:23 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


America is a Violent Country: Assault Death Rates 1960-2013 - "Another week, another mass shooting in the United States"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:29 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The outliers who shoot up schools and movie theaters are something outside of just being gun owners.

This seems to be the no true scotsman fallacy.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


How? Saying that a Scottish blacksmith is more than just a Scotsman but also a blacksmith isn't saying that they're not a true Scotsman.
posted by I-baLL at 12:34 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think so since violent crimes, including gun homicides, are at historic lows.

You don't say:

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008

But for some reason these "stand alone complex" shootings seem to be on the rise.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:41 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




No. Fuck that. Dig into his goddamn life. Find out what radio stations he listens to. Bet its Limbaugh. Find out what TV he watches. Bet its Hannity. Find out where he spent his time on the Internet and what he talked about there. Bet it wasn't about the benefits of feminism and how much he supported Black Lives Matter.
Alternative culture, internet culture, goth, punk, electronica. Horror movies. Ran with the theatre crowd, evidently. Pagan/Wiccan. And biracial. Perhaps not quite so safely "other" to this particular community as many here expected.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [40 favorites]


> Here is a lot more on the suspected 4chan connection. (The original thread in which the comments were made has been deleted by the chan)

That is seriously fucked up.
posted by homunculus at 1:02 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


You don't say:

That's what the numbers say. From the Homicide Trends link:

"The number of homicides reached an all-time high of 24,703 homicides in 1991 then fell rapidly to 15,522 homicides by 1999.
 
The number of homicides increased steadily from the early 1950s until the mid-1970s (figure 2). Between 1999 and 2008, the number of homicides remained relatively constant, ranging from a low of 15,552 homicides in 1999 to a high of 17,030 homicides in 2006. These homicide numbers were still below those reported in the 1970s, when the number of reported homicides first rose above 20,000 (reaching 20,710 in 1974)."

So maybe not at historic lows, but certainly below historic highs. Of course these figures seem shockingly high - until compared to traffic fatalities. In 2013, 32,719 people died in traffic crashes, but oddly there seems to be little outrage over this, traffic fatalities are so common they are hardly news at all. Highway fatalities are obviously one of the acceptable costs society pays for the convenience of driving cars, gun homicides are the acceptable cost to the majority of Americans of preserving a Constitutional right.
posted by three blind mice at 1:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


A derail but interesting case point for study, how many of these killers have had thier picture, or even scale back the chronology, an image taken with a weapon. In this case a gun, it appears the killer had picture of himself, with a gun.
posted by clavdivs at 1:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Already on to the next one. Inglis, Florida.
# 295 for the year.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Every time something like this happens, all the beanplaters come out and opine, and it makes me tired. Yes, we could try to fix all the problems of mental health and social isolation and racism and reactionary movements and 4chan and American culture by tomorrow, like that's worked so far, or we could do the actionable thing and get rid of the fucking guns. Whatever the root causes are, only one of these plans is immediately practical. If we're all analyzing the killer's blog and speculating wildly about mental illness, go congratulate the NRA on their success at shifting the conversation yet again. I'm too angry to write anything else.
posted by thetortoise at 1:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [54 favorites]


The outliers who shoot up schools and movie theaters are something outside of just being gun owners.

We can't even acknowledge that gun owners had guns — that these gun owners had to have guns in order to kill innocent people with guns. We have to qualify this shit like that means something. Jesus.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:27 AM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


"or we could do the actionable thing and get rid of the fucking guns."

How? Banning guns outright will work just about as well as banning drugs outright and, with the end of the drug war looming, the drug cartels need a new source of money.
posted by I-baLL at 1:31 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


How? Banning guns outright will work just about as well as banning drugs outright and, with the end of the drug war looming, the drug cartels need a new source of money.

I don't know, maybe we could give it a try for a few years, and if it's a big failure we can put it in the history books like Prohibition, chuckling to our grandkids, "Who'da thunk calling an immediate halt to the sale of mass killing machines would have resulted in unprecedented violence and a thriving industry for the drug cartels? But sometimes you just don't know the answer and you have to try something." I prefer that hypothetical future to the one where we continue to sit on our hands and count the shootings.
posted by thetortoise at 1:41 AM on October 2, 2015 [30 favorites]


The reference to Australia is to former conservative Prime Minster John Howard's response to the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, perpetrated by Martin Bryant, who most Australian's of my generation will recognize both his image and his name. He did not kill himself and remains alive in a Tasmanian prison near Hobart, despite some inept suicide attempts a few years back.

There has been no mass shooting in Australia since (Bikie gang battles with firearms: yes; multiple murders with firearms: yes; not this type of thing we see in the US every few weeks). Gun laws in Australia have always been a bit more stringent than in the US in the modern era. And they vary state-to-state too, but only in the letter of the law. Not the spirit.

I'm totally fine with farmers having guns to protect their livestock, recreational shooters having guns to shoot targets or feral game after they pass tests and background checks and pay through the nose for the privilege which is regularly reviewed, and police having guns they are trained well to NOT use unless absolutely necessary to protect their own or other's lives from certain death or serious injury from other armed and dangerous individuals who have made their to intent kill/maim explicit. And the only people who should have military-style weapons are the military, who only use them on active duty in combat or training for combat. That's it.
posted by esto-again at 1:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


Can't have gun massacres without guns.
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:49 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Australia's a bad example overall, in my opinion. The homicide rate varies wildly from state to state and from year to year:

http://www.aic.gov.au/statistics/homicide.html
posted by I-baLL at 1:55 AM on October 2, 2015


How? Banning guns outright will work just about as well as banning drugs outright

Its a fair point, the UK bans most guns and deaths from firearms are only 97.5% less than the US, gun homicides 98.5% less than the US.
posted by biffa at 1:56 AM on October 2, 2015 [43 favorites]


Can't have gun massacres without guns.
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:49 AM on October 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


But it's the people that do the killing!

Ugh. For the love of god, at least legislate them like cars - need insurance, a license, etc. I am a little surprised nothing happened after the Sandy Hook massacre - and by nothing I mean, meaningful change in the culture/ economy of guns.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't know, maybe we could give it a try for a few years

We can't actually ban guns outright without a Constitutional amendment which has a 0.00% of happening. So arguing for that is wasted breath. Plenty can be done in the absence of such a ban, though. I have no idea how to make that happen. If it didn't happen after Sandy Hook I don't see how it ever does. (For values of "ever" meaning "before all the current gun nut crazies die of old age").
posted by Justinian at 3:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Obama is right about pro-control advocates needing to become single-issue voters for there even to be a chance of this happening. Because the pro-gun people are absolutely single-issue. They will not vote for a strong gun control advocate. But lots of people who would describe themselves as strongly pro-gun-control will vote for candidates who are not in accord with those views.

Consider: How many of you reading this are big on Bernie Sanders? Can you reconcile your belief that we must do everything we can to end things like what happened today with that position?

If so, you see why gun control doesn't happen.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Perhaps not quite so safely "other" to this particular community as many here expected.

There do seem to be multiple different strains within the modern radical right-wing in the USA that are not all mutually coherent, and conflating Hannity with /pol/ (if indeed that was closer to his ideology) does seem to me like it could easily confuse more than illuminate. However, the current evidence does suggest he identified strongly as right-wing despite being anti-Christian, and I think it's also totally fair to say that, based on the few scraps we know, his political beliefs (rather than his other interests or activities) would have been pretty out of step here, since they apparently included enough respect for misogynist terrorist Elliot Rodger to publicly celebrate the anniversary of his killing spree. (Also, the link I-baLL posted is already inaccessible for whatever reason, but it's on archive.org; if that's him, it does seem that he posted negatively about #BLM, though in a guarded and dog-whistley [and of course, completely hypocritical] way.)
posted by en forme de poire at 3:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


What should you and I do together to respond to this?

Should we write letters to politicians?
Should we find and participate in a local protest?
Should we give money to a specific lobbying group?
Should we refuse to support certain candidates?
Should we run for local office?
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:49 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


(The original thread in which the comments were made has been deleted by the chan)

Not deleted, just archived.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 4:04 AM on October 2, 2015


These days the unthinkable seems to happen all the time. I don't know if it's acceptance so much as numbness.
posted by jonmc at 4:15 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


And as the article notes, mass shootings are very rare regardless of what definition you use. They aren't a relevant basis for thinking about guns or violence or gun control - their supposed prevalence is just an impression created by media coverage. Oh well on with the same ol debate I guess.

Elsewhere in the article, they do point to access to guns being an issue (more on that below).

Also, in regards to guns, harder access to guns may lower the amount of victims or it might not

From the Vox article in the FPP:
The correlation this chart demonstrates — more guns means more deaths — has been backed by a lot of research. Whether at the state or country level, reviews of the studies by the Harvard School of Public Health's Injury Control Center have consistently found that places with more guns have more deaths after controlling for variables like socioeconomic factors and other crime. "Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide," David Hemenway, the Injury Control Research Center's director, wrote in Private Guns, Public Health.

This is widely believed by experts to be the consequence of America's relaxed policy approach to and culture of guns: Making more guns more accessible means more guns, and more guns means more deaths. Researchers have found this not just with general homicides, but also with suicides, domestic violence , and even violence against police.

Maybe some Americans can look at these statistics and studies and still decide that the right to bear arms should be protected and gun control is a bad policy. But given the research, America's policies and attitudes toward guns have clear, deadly costs.
So, yes, empirical evidence shows that limiting access to guns would most certainly lower the amount of victims.

I'm not saying that school shootings and mass shootings won't drop. I'm saying that non-spur-of-the-moment pre-planned attacks will still happen.

So why not see if they will? You don't have to ban guns, or even types of guns. Besides, the AWB was first weakened by the gun lobby, and then through state legislatures they rendered large parts of gun control unenforceable. So whenever I see the NRA mock something like "scary guns," I remember that it isn't by accident. They designed it that way, they limited everything surrounding it, and then suppressed all but the most minimal amount of federal research into gun violence so they could send out well-paid hacks like John Lott could flood libraries and airwaves with statistics that were more agreeable to their desired outcomes.

Classes won't do much in Chicago or other gun violence cities; because they are supposed to be gun free to begin with. That just don't seem to work too well as every weekend shows.

The reason they don't work so well is that the guns come from other parts of Illinois or from other states with lax gun control regulations. Every time someone points to Chicago or NYC or DC or wherever as an example of how gun regulations don't work, what they're actually pointing to is a number of other counties or states that are proving how loosening gun regulation doesn't work. When you can go to Missouri or Michigan, or drive less than an hour from the White House into literal NRA territory, or pop up to Vermont, all of whom have extremely loose gun laws, then the strictness of gun laws when you return is rendered useless.

I don't think so since violent crimes, including gun homicides, are at historic lows.

A large part of the problem is that they're still at historic highs compared to other countries. And saying "oh, they're at an all-time low" when they're could be largely preventable seems pretty gross.

Highway fatalities are obviously one of the acceptable costs society pays for the convenience of driving cars, gun homicides are the acceptable cost to the majority of Americans of preserving a Constitutional right.

Okay, this is just sanctimonious nonsense. Time after time, polling of American people points to a desire for increased gun control. Support for increased background checks is nearly-universal, even among conservatives. For example, as of this week, in North Carolina, which is considered one of the least restrictive states in terms of gun control, polling showed "89% of voters behind [background checks on all gun purchases] to only 7% who are opposed. 91% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, and 87% of independents are in favor of them." Saying that Americans find it acceptable isn't just wrong, it's insulting.

Also, just saying "Because the Constitution says so" is one of the shittiest justifications I keep on seeing in these conversations. The right to bear arms is pretty far from a universal civil right, and is most certainly not a human right. We are not inherently born with a gun in our hands, it is not something guaranteed to us by any global social contract or what defines us human, or a democracy, or anything remotely similar. Guns and their use are not something that appeared in any of the philosophies that inspired and provided framework for the Constitution or any similar documents in other countries. Additionally, time and time again, even conservative members of our government have stated that the 2nd Amendment is neither a universal right nor an unlimited one.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [38 favorites]


I don't think we need to be "Oh, for the plight of the disaffected young white male!" to recognize we have a problem when entitlement and social failure mix. When society as a whole has told young (generally white) men that they are entitled to a wife, a house in the suburbs, a car, 2.5 kids, and a jolly middle class income for life, the rage they seem to feel when they don't have it is intense. We call these guys "loners" but it's not really fair - most of them don't want to be alone and are trying to lash out at a society they feel failed them. And we don't have to think they're precious snowflakes in order to think we should fix this goddamn problem before it slowly poisons us all. Surplus young men the world over have historically been a problem.

(The answer btw is not 'women should just love them more' in case anyone feels like going down that route)
posted by corb at 5:01 AM on October 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


Constitutional convention at my house.... can someone bring Cheetoes?

Seriously, this country's democracy is a joke. Stalin would be laughing his ass off.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:04 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't read all of the comments, but I jumped in here to say I just emailed my Senator and Representative. I urge you to do the same. Took me 5 minutes.

House
Senate
posted by jilloftrades at 5:18 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd like to congratulate the National Rifle Association for another successful mass shooting. No other organization has done more to protect the right of all Americans to be gunned down in a hail of bullets.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:18 AM on October 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


I don't know what the complex causes of school shootings are, and what motivates people who do these things, but it seems crazy to me to say that the response must be to try and solve all those intertwined and complicated factors before taking the relatively clear and concrete step of increasing gun control. The U.K. has a ton of social and political problems, and increasingly starved mental healthcare provision, but we also have an effective ban on private ownership of handguns and, therefore, we have fewer such incidents. Legislative will can do much more about "who has guns?" than it can about "who wants to kill lots of people?"
posted by Aravis76 at 5:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


BTW, to see how horrible things are for students, check out the #LockdownNation popularized by David Waldman, or just do a search for "lockdown" in Google News for the past 24 hours. This is how it started:
Parents: ask your children whether their schools have lockdown drills. Ask them what they do. When they tell you, you will die inside. My youngest described lockdown procedures for when they're in the music room: stack up all the instruments & crouch down behind them. Your children are probably being taught to stand silently on top of toilets in bathroom stalls, so that killers won't see their feet.
At several points, he's been averaging almost one lockdown story every hour. Let that sink in. Every hour in this country, people (mostly children), are required to act like they're unarmed potential targets in a combat zone. I don't see how anyone could read something like that and think that we have a unique problem with guns in this country, let alone that the solution is arming people inside the school (and how could that go wrong? ). Especially since what current research we have has proven repeatedly that being armed does nothing to decrease the crime rate, and for many people, it can actually increase the chances of accidents or being harmed by your own weapon. This is the status quo that too many people in power want to maintain for no very good reason at all.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [48 favorites]




I don't know what the complex causes of school shootings are, and what motivates people who do these things, but it seems crazy to me to say that the response must be to try and solve all those intertwined and complicated factors before taking the relatively clear and concrete step of increasing gun control.

This. It completely baffles me. I honestly can't believe the same arguments are still being made.
"It's about mental illness". Really? Who even believes this? Why won't you make the slightest concession to the idea, that, maybe, you should regulate your gun market?

I've asked this question elsewhere: I am not american, but I know you people had a big protest culture. What happenned to it? This is a huge, huge deal, and you see virtually no one on the streets. Thousands of people are literally dying, and all I see is heated up forum posts.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 5:41 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Expanding on the man of twists and turns' link, it's always interesting to note, here and elsewhere, that most everyone talking about mass shooters as a group consistently refers to them simply as people, like they're just a random assortment of humans of various races, genders, and socioeconomic classes. But they aren't. Mass shooters have a gender and a race: male and white. Clearly, leaders in the white male community need to step up and take a stand against the violence wrought by their demographic.

Now back to our regularly scheduled "this man person was CRAZY and should have been LOCKED UP, but don't worry, we can just pass more laws to ensure guns stay out of the hands of The Mentally Ill [scary jazz hands]" programming.
posted by divined by radio at 5:50 AM on October 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


Megami Yet no-one is saying they have to stop living in the US where the chances of being killed by gun violence, in relation to much of the world, is staggering large

FWIW I have turned down opportunities to work in the US, in part because it freaks me out that guns are everywhere.


Gun violence in the US may be large relative to most of the rest of the world, but the vast majority of American gun violence is concentrated in specific areas (dangerous urban neighborhoods, gang territory, etc). This type of violence tends to stay localized.

The reason why these school shootings capture so much publicity is because they happen in areas that people consider "safe" - and wish were safe. It's less about the raw numbers of deaths (though they obviously matter a lot to the families of the victims) and more about the perception and feeling of safety.

You can avoid areas and neighborhoods that are widely known to be dangerous. You can't avoid something that by its very nature is "random", and takes place in areas that are normally safe.
posted by theorique at 5:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


this from thetortoise (in italics below) above thread. If I could I would like that comment 100x. this so much this. The why of what this person did and who this person is is a distraction. I think anyone who does this is nuts (this is NOT to indict all of those with mental health issues) as I wrote above. Whatever the context is, whatever the sociology of the US is that makes this a thing here is for me irrelevant. The problem is guns. The reason this happens in the US is because of the easy availability of guns that can kill lots of people in a short amount of time. Until that is solved - and it's solvable- everything else is a distraction.

....... we could try to fix all the problems of mental health and social isolation and racism and reactionary movements and 4chan and American culture by tomorrow, like that's worked so far, or we could do the actionable thing and get rid of the fucking guns. Whatever the root causes are, only one of these plans is immediately practical. If we're all analyzing the killer's blog and speculating wildly about mental illness, go congratulate the NRA on their success at shifting the conversation yet again. I'm too angry to write anything else.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Gun owners are fine...

As the years pass and the death toll rises, my willingness to accept that statement as having some validity steadily evaporates. A lot of gun owners are not fine. I now put every member of the NRA in the non-fine column.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


You know it's not like fixing hate and racism and misogyny is some pie in the sky shit that we just have to accept forever. There are immediate, practical steps that could be taken to confront the problem of the entitlement issues of white men in America. The problem is not "oh if only someone could come up with a policy suggestion to fix this toxic underbelly, but we can't, so let's not even think about it."
posted by corb at 6:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


My favorite part of Obama's response was the long beat after imagining the pending press releases arguing for more guns and fewer gun safety laws as the logical response to this shooting:

"Does anybody really believe that?"

How he manages not to append "bullshit" to the end of that rhetorical had to be an exercise of extraordinary willpower.
posted by echocollate at 6:20 AM on October 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


It really shows you how entrenched US gun culture is when the common assessment of mass shootings is they are happen when people with a potentially homicidal mental illness get access to firearms, and huge swaths of the citizenry decide that it is easier to assess and cure everyone in America with that level of mental illness than to pass a nationwide strict background check law. I suppose they also think that the mandatory mental health screens and mandatory counseling and/or medication that would be required to really make an impact are somehow a lesser infringement on freedom than background checks before you get a gun.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:20 AM on October 2, 2015 [33 favorites]


The problem is guns.

You will get no argument from me on that.
posted by y2karl at 6:21 AM on October 2, 2015


You know it's not like fixing hate and racism and misogyny is some pie in the sky shit that we just have to accept forever. There are immediate, practical steps that could be taken to confront the problem of the entitlement issues of white men in America. The problem is not "oh if only someone could come up with a policy suggestion to fix this toxic underbelly, but we can't, so let's not even think about it."

Changing gun laws, however, should be unthinkable.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've spoken to a lot of police who are pro gun control, and are so because, for them, the carnage that the press and public dismiss as "gang violence" instead looks like children with easy access to guns committing little versions of these massacres, and suicidal men killing their entire families in what we call "murder suicides, instead of recognizing that it's just a smaller, more intimate version of these school shootings, and because of literally hundreds of similar cases in which somebody died at the hands of somebody with a gun, and it barely gets attention because it's just everyday gun violence, and never mind that there would be a lot less of it if we could only make it a little less easy for everybody with a momentary violent impulse to get their hands on a gun.
posted by maxsparber at 6:29 AM on October 2, 2015 [35 favorites]


Deaths from gun violence vs. deaths from terrorism

As a nation, we collectively lost our shit for more than a decade as a result of 9/11. We enacted a thousand new laws -- most of them useless gestures at best -- and spent trillions of dollars killing hundreds of thousands more people and setting up conditions for ISIS to appear and wreak more terror, in the name of preventing its like from happening again and/or avenging the deaths and/or proving we are crazier than any terrorists.

On vacation last week, we visited the Tennessee Aquarium. There was a group of elementary school kids all wearing t-shirts with an American flag and "WE WILL NOT FORGET" on the front. None of the kids were old enough to have been alive on 9/11.

But we average 5-6 times as many deaths from gun homicides every year, and we have cities where the chance of being killed with a gun is higher than the chance of dying in a war zone... and what happens? People foam at the mouth about the Second Amendment and buy more fucking guns, and other people wring their hands and say we can't do anything. Facebook friends repost "don't like guns? don't buy one!" memes or talk about how safe they feel with a .45 in their purse, while others repost the relevant Onion article and statistics about how much less galactically stupid the rest of the world is about guns.
posted by Foosnark at 6:31 AM on October 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


Honestly, I'm amazed Jules Pfeiffer's "Little Murders" hasn't enjoyed a revival, as it is set in an America where gun violence is so common that people barely even notice it. It was sort of shrugged off as an example of sick comedy when it was released, but now seems nauseatingly prescient.
posted by maxsparber at 6:33 AM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've asked this question elsewhere: I am not american, but I know you people had a big protest culture. What happenned to it? This is a huge, huge deal, and you see virtually no one on the streets. Thousands of people are literally dying, and all I see is heated up forum posts.

I dunno, there's something about a crazed gunman spraying a crowd with bullets that disincentivizes people to gather in crowds to protest crazed gunmen.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:36 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know it's not like fixing hate and racism and misogyny is some pie in the sky shit that we just have to accept forever. There are immediate, practical steps that could be taken to confront the problem of the entitlement issues of white men in America.

The factors most tied to racism and misogyny and other forms of bigotry in this country stem from the exact things that white men are increasingly angry about being entitled to. For example, studies of urban gun violence found that the most likely factors to increase it were poverty, inequality, lack of immigration (the immigrant population in the US is less violent than the population at large), and de facto segregation. Violence against women is tied to the lack of health and safety services available.

So enhanced public safety nets, economic policies aimed at improving outcomes for the bottom end of the population, looser immigration laws, cheaper private and widely-available public healthcare, increased funding for women's health specifically, more focus on LEO resources for abuse survivors, and tighter controls (yes, this includes removing access to their guns) around violent abusers are all excellent solutions to the problem. But as this country's history has pointed out over and over again, fixing the problems of entitled white men are, at least politically, completely orthogonal to fixing the problems of everyone else. Just look at the GOP primary if you don't believe me. Half of the country, give or take a couple percent, seems unwilling to implement even one if not any of those things that are essentially guaranteed to start fixing large-scale issues.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:38 AM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've resigned myself to the fact that America isn't going do any gun control until massively more people (probably children) are killed in a single instance. Since the 20 killed in Newcastle wasn't enough, I'm guessing it's going to have hit triple digits in a single instance before there's enough political will to do anything substantial.

How the people preventing gun control sleep at night is beyond me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on October 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Re: Lockdown Nation; I live in a relatively small town, with walking distance to most of the schools. There's not a lot of crime here, but there are a lot guns. Three kids have been murdered in this little town, all by other kids who had access to their parent's guns. Every school day, if I hear sirens during the day, and it sounds like more than Officer Bob pulling over an idiot going too fast on dead mans curve, my heart stops, and I try to triangulate where they're going, and if it's towards the schools. Every time I hear sirens, I worry that something has happened at the schools. Because I feel like it's just become a thing we have to consider.

This unthinkable thing, this travesty of logic, the knowledge that school are acceptable losses in the NRAs quest for gun manufacturer profits, is insane.

The kids in our local schools do lockdown drills starting in kindergarten. 4 and 5 year old kids are being taught that they aren't safe at school, all so the NRA can wave they automatic penis replacements around the room like bullies.

I hate what we've become; in thrall to corporate interests and in fear of our fellow man. This is no way to run a society.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:46 AM on October 2, 2015 [25 favorites]


1. The gun lobby now spends 6 times as much for lobby fees than the anti gun lobby.
2. A majority of Americans claim to want some type of national gun regulations but the NRA opposes this.
3. To argue that the cause is mental illness rather than guns ignores the fact that many nations world-wide have mental illness but do not have mass school killings.
4. Two nations with a long history of guns and violence: the U.S. and South Africa.Guns were used by the early settlers against indians; against the British; is the huge westward movement, with vigilantes and lawlessness; in maintaining slavery; in land grabbing from Mexico and then expansion into the Pacific islands.
posted by Postroad at 6:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


My son is 4 years old. If he misbehaves, picks up an object and starts hitting somebody with it, I take the object away from him. That's the first thing I do. Then, I try to identify what frustrations brought on the outburst, and address them if possible. Then, I talk to him about why it's a bad thing to do. Maybe then he gets punished with a time out.

If I take the object away his ability to hurt or cause damage is greatly reduced. If I address the frustrations, it's going to stop the current outburst. And if I explain why it's bad behaviour, it's going to prevent it happening again in the future.

Ultimately, all these things need to be addressed, but the first, AND EASIEST thing I do is TAKE THE WEAPON AWAY FROM HIM.


My disaffected white youth is a lot less dangerous when I keep him away from the kitchen knives. That gives me time to work on his narcissistic personality disorder...
posted by trif at 6:53 AM on October 2, 2015 [32 favorites]


Clearly, leaders in the white male community need to step up and take a stand against the violence wrought by their demographic.

Instead we get stuff like this:
Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women
NRA Supporters Launch Vicious, Misogynistic Twitter Attack On Gun Reform Leader
NRA Toes the Line on Domestic Violence
NRA Attacks 'Stay-At-Home Mom' Gun Activist For Working

And as I've mentioned several times before, there's also an NRA "enemies list" containing most of the major women's, PoC, anti-domestic violence, and pacifist religious advocacy groups. But, y'know, "respect the culture."
posted by zombieflanders at 6:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


Every time something like this happens, all the beanplaters come out and opine, and it makes me tired

You make a good point here. We bemoan an abstract nation's passivity, but it's not clear how many of us are doing anything. In fact, if everyone who has ever made a comment here deploring a gun violence incident also took some of the points and thoughtful rhetoric and put it in an e-mail to their senator or other representatives, we would already have made a greater collective dent. It's all of our continuing choice not to bother with that stuff that enables the situation to continue.
posted by Miko at 6:57 AM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


like drugs, if somebody wants a gun they can get a gun regardless of the laws...
posted by judson at 6:58 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




Melt the guns and never more to fire them
posted by tehjoel at 7:04 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


[Couple comments removed, please remember to refresh first and reply to eyepopping thing second, in case it's already been deleted.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:08 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Melt the guns and never more to fire them

This is in my head too - purely by weird bitter coincidence this came up on my iPod on my way to work this morning!
posted by aught at 7:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


like drugs, if somebody wants a gun they can get a gun regardless of the laws...

That's true of almost everything. If I wanted an illegal rhino horn, I could get one. But I don't think guns are like liquor or drugs, where there is an overwhelming number of people who will try to get them even if they are made difficult to get. I think they are more like rhino horns, in that quite a few people will decide why bother if they can't just get it at a Walmart or from the back of a truck.

Why do I think this? Because in countries where alcohol and drugs are illegal, there are still plenty of people making and consuming intoxicating substances. But in countries where guns are illegal, the number of people who own guns is quite small.
posted by maxsparber at 7:10 AM on October 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


It's amazing the way some people won't live in reality. Law abiding citizens are not going to be deprived of their firearms. The net result of Sandy Hook was a substantial REDUCTION in firearm regulations. Firearms rights advocates are making progress in the courts -- DC and Illinois being great examples -- to force the reduction of regulations that state and local governments won't reduce on their own. When Congress "does something" it is much more likely to be nationwide Second Amendment vindication by way of Commerce Clause litigation ("any firearm bought in interstate commerce by a law-abiding citizen may be freely kept and borne, the laws of the state or locality notwithstanding.")

Actual solutions are going to lie elsewhere, or nowhere at all.
posted by MattD at 7:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Then they're going to lie nowhere.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:21 AM on October 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Megami: FWIW I have turned down opportunities to work in the US, in part because it freaks me out that guns are everywhere.

theorique: The reason why these school shootings capture so much publicity is because they happen in areas that people consider "safe" - and wish were safe. It's less about the raw numbers of deaths (though they obviously matter a lot to the families of the victims) and more about the perception and feeling of safety.

I'm a Franco-American who hails from the state of Oregon. Seventeen years ago, my French teacher's son – who I knew from chatting with him during the private tutoring his mother gave me in their beautiful A-frame home – killed her husband, a well-loved public school Spanish teacher, with a shot to the back of his head. He waited until she got home, shot her, fucked it up, apologized, she talked to him while bleeding out, and he shot her a few more times, until she finally died.

A few hours later, he drove to our high school for zero period. Lots of kids, not many teachers yet, but our music professor was there, as always. A gay man who'd taught in that conservative town for years, he made it a point to get there early, because he knew it was the outcasts and loners who majoritarily took zero period classes.

Kip, my French teacher's son, walked into the cafeteria and opened fire. Our kindhearted music teacher heard the shots and ran there. By then Kip had been tackled, but there was still carnage.

And now, yesterday evening (there's a 9-hour difference with the US West Coast), I saw a little town and a granola community college I know well, get shot up. Friends who grew up to be police officers, nurses, doctors, have been responding to it.

Don't fucking tell me that US gun violence doesn't touch everyone. It does. It's touched me directly, twice, even as I live in France. Seventeen years ago, the day my French teacher was slaughtered, it was a week before I finished my French degree. One I never would have qualified for without her generosity (my parents were famously anti-me-their-daughter doing anything but marriage and babies with my life).

It has touched their friends, families, their colleagues, all the emergency responders...

Just fuck the goddamn guns already. Emotional? Yeah, it's part of being human. When kids are being killed and we're finding ways to minimize it rather than burn the fucking guns, seriously, what the fuck.

Constitution my ass, we've amended it for slavery, women's voting rights... we can amend it so people stop being massacred.
posted by fraula at 7:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [102 favorites]


You make a good point here. We bemoan an abstract nation's passivity, but it's not clear how many of us are doing anything. In fact, if everyone who has ever made a comment here deploring a gun violence incident also took some of the points and thoughtful rhetoric and put it in an e-mail to their senator or other representatives, we would already have made a greater collective dent. It's all of our continuing choice not to bother with that stuff that enables the situation to continue.

Trying to put pressure on elected representatives obviously does more than posting on MetaFilter, but your last sentence goes further to suggest that petitions and letter-writing could make a difference, and sadly, I just don't think that's the case at this point. Citizen pressure on senators and representatives was unprecedented in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, but even with that, we couldn't even get the tiniest dent in gun laws. All I got back from my attempts were form letters from supporters saying "yes, we're trying" and from opponents talking about "lawful gun owners" and "Constitutionally-protected rights."

The gun lobby is powerful enough that the only thing that has maybe a prayer of changing things would be throwing them out of office, but Senate malapportionment means that we would need anti-gun Senators in some states where guns are popular. I mean, Joe Manchin in West Virginia co-sponsored the last amendment that failed -- how much better are we going to do next time?
posted by tonycpsu at 7:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


The one thing there has never been a shortage of in this world is the homicidal, psychopathic loon. And they seemingly come in all flavors. It would be nice if we could make it a bit harder for them to act out their malevolent fantasies upon the innocent, at least within the borders of our own country...
posted by jim in austin at 7:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


And they seemingly come in all flavors.

No they don't, mass shooters are almost overwhelmingly young white men.
posted by desjardins at 7:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [27 favorites]




fraula: Don't fucking tell me that US gun violence doesn't touch everyone. It does.

A friend of mine refused to go to the US for a sabbatical, because when she was in an University in Texas, she saw warning signs on how to respond if there was a sniper around. And she lives in Mexico! I also feel worried about my upcoming lab visit to Massachussets, I'm already mentally rehearsing what I would do if there was a shooter loose. There needs to be a travel warning, at this rate.
posted by dhruva at 8:04 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


No they don't, mass shooters are almost overwhelmingly young white men.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, being non-white, old, and not a gun owner, or even someone terribly concerned with gun rights to begin with, but this isn't really right. The perpetrators of mass shootings come from all over the age/race/sex spectrum. Virginia Tech, both Ft. Hood shootings, the DC Snipers, the kid in California last year, the Washington Navy Yrad shooting, the shooting in Binghamton, and the shooting in Hartford were all people of color. Even women get into it too, like the woman who shot up the University in Alabama. And these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I'm not sure about the age spectrum, but one of the Ft. Good shooters was in his 40s, so was one of the DC snipers, and the woman in Alabama was middle aged also IIRC. I'm sure if someone looks into the data seriously there is more to it than just being "overwhelmingly young white men". That's lazy thinking and doesn't go with the evidence.
posted by holybagel at 8:15 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


No they don't, mass shooters are almost overwhelmingly young white men.
This guy seems to have identified as biracial, for what it's worth.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:17 AM on October 2, 2015


i don't see what the big yank is about the 2nd amendment. let 'em have their damn flintlocks and muskets if they want.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:21 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm sure if someone looks into the data seriously there is more to it than just being "overwhelmingly young white men".

Ahem:
More than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.) The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. (See Jonesboro, Ark., in 1998.)
That's lazy thinking and doesn't go with the evidence.

And cherry-picking eight examples from the last ten years isn't?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Well, 44/71 is 62%, and whites are about 78% of the population, so... I'd say this is definitely a male thing, but not necessarily a white male thing.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Saying that we can't do anything about gun deaths until we address cultural issues or mental illness is like saying we can't do anything about deaths from drunk drivers until we fix the root causes of alcoholism.

And when people talk about mass shootings being SO RARE, like - hey, only x people died in mass shootings last year which is only [very small %] of the population! I die a little bit inside. Because I remember when this country lost its collective shit because a woman who had been in an Ebola zone (but wasn't infected) broke her quarantine to go pick up a pizza or go for a bike ride or whatever. What the fuck is wrong with us.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:25 AM on October 2, 2015 [34 favorites]


According to the Mother Jones dataset, mass shooters are virtually all male, but the white ones are roughly in proportion to the U.S. male population. Asian shooters are significantly overrepresented and Latino shooters are underrepresented. Their collection methods are criticized by some criminologists, so take that for what it's worth.
posted by thetortoise at 8:25 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


HEY GUYS, so in the last thread about a mass shooting (fuck...)
I posted this comment,

where I pledged to start donating money every single time I have to read about "oh hey, another mass shooting".

And then, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't do it. Not yet.

But today I will. Because a few weeks after I posted that comment, I thought "shit, I didn't donate that money... but I bet I'll get the "opportunity" to start again pretty soon".

Fuck.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:26 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Guardian's review of his social media accounts is interesting (SonnyJim posted it above) for so many reasons, in part because (as of now) it completely fails to address the fact his username (for several years) was Ironcross45.

I do nazi anything sinister about that.

I read through that article, and I ticked off all the things that I am sure will get the blame: the religion question, his music taste, even his choice of play, but I doubt the fact he had easy access to guns will really get a decent mention.

But then we had a shooting in Australia today.
Two people died.
Outside a police station
posted by Mezentian at 8:27 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would just like to echo the comments from a couple posters here a little more forcefully: there will never be any meaningful gun control passed in Congress as long as the federal government continues to be broken. We just narrowly avoided another government shutdown over a relatively small amount of money earmarked for a non-profit that primarily offers health and contraception services to poor and minority women, and the Speaker of the House resigned under pressure from the radical right-wing of his party in order to avoid the shutdown.

As long as Congress remains a) captured by powerful corporate special interests (which Citizens United is making exponentially worse) and b) gerrymandered all to hell in order to make as many seats in the House as uncompetitive as possible, nothing is going to get better.
posted by Automocar at 8:30 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Well, 44/71 is 62%, and whites are about 78% of the population, so... I'd say this is definitely a male thing, but not necessarily a white male thing.

Isn't it 61? That puts it a lot closer.

According to the Mother Jones dataset, mass shooters are virtually all male, but the white ones are roughly in proportion to the U.S. male population. Asian shooters are significantly overrepresented and Latino shooters are underrepresented.

I don't necessarily think that being in proportion to their representation and considering outnumbering the rest of the population by 3:1 as "overwhelming" are mutually exclusive, though.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2015


This guy seems to have identified as biracial, for what it's worth.

Not worth much since both his mom and dad are white. His father is Ian Mercer, a restaurant manager in California . his mother is Laurel Harper, a certified nurse practitioner.

Here is more about him.
posted by discopolo at 8:34 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


More than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.) The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. (See Jonesboro, Ark., in 1998.)
That's lazy thinking and doesn't go with the evidence.



That supports exactly what I'm saying. It's not just "overwhelmingly young white males", an average age of 35 and fewer whites than would be expected given demographics. Far from being "overwhelmingly young white males".
posted by holybagel at 8:34 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


fraula: Constitution my ass, we've amended it for slavery, women's voting rights... we can amend it so people stop being massacred.

There's a non-zero chance that a complete about-face on gun laws in the US will be the spark that ignites the powder keg of gun strokers who will come out guns blazing to defend their second amendment from such "tyranny". Suddenly, every doomsday prediction of roundups, disarmament, and other such paranoid fantasies that have been floated for decades will shift from conspiracy theory to "fact" overnight.

It won't be pretty.
posted by dr_dank at 8:42 AM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I tend to read "almost overwhelmingly..." in reference to a subset of a population as an argument that that subset is over-represented. It doesn't really make sense to make that argument otherwise. There are more whites, so all other things being equal, we'd expect more whites to be mass shooters.

Anyway, I think there's enough to chew on with the "male" part of things, enough weirdness around how racial demographics are counted, and questions about what exactly constitutes a mass shooting in the first place that it's probably best to focus on the male aspect of this problem and argue about race on issues there's a clearer racial component, like the fact that gun death victims skew heavily African-American.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'll tell you how I've worked on gun control. I turned in my handguns to be destroyed by the Seattle Police, and decommissioned my (very beautiful to look at) antique hunting rifle and shotgun.

And I used to carry a concealed handgun 24/7, trained with it weekly, and horrifically shot my gay-bashing attackers on the street. I had a loaded shotgun under my bed and shot a home-invasion burglar. Who turned out to be a 12 y/o kid breaking my kitchen windows to grab what he thought was liquor, but was only italian flavored syrup. Fortunately all I did to him was get some rock salt into his tuches, but if he had been any closer to me when I fired, it could have been so much worse.

Since I got rid of my guns, I've been encouraging others to do the same. It's a start, but only a solution when most people are doing the same. It's like ending homophobia - you engage with people you all ready know, until most people know and like someone queer. The more people who don't have guns, don't permit guns in their homes, and discourage the other people in their lives from having guns or at least uncontrolled guns, the fewer gun users and guns there will be.

I don't believe individual solutions can correct societal problems unless almost everyone, including the majority of decision makers, are part of the solution. But at least there are about a dozen fewer guns in my social circle.

Unfortunately, both my ex-FIL, and roommate's BF and father, are NRA gun hoarders. But I'll keep trying. Maybe I can talk them into just keeping the hunting and target pieces. At least we have rational conversations about gun control, that's an opening.
posted by Dreidl at 8:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [50 favorites]


There's a non-zero chance that a complete about-face on gun laws in the US will be the spark that ignites the powder keg of gun strokers who will come out guns blazing to defend their second amendment from such "tyranny".

good. makes them easier to locate and administer the lobotobots.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Not worth much since both his mom and dad are white. "

Wait, where in the article does it say that?
posted by I-baLL at 8:58 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Go look up their names and see their photos, I-ball. The articles carrying the pictures are from LA Times/KTLA.
posted by discopolo at 8:59 AM on October 2, 2015


Every time this happens I watch this. One of the key points being that politicians lost their positions for supporting gun control because the end result was what was needed. Unfortunately, I don't believe this will happen in the States where politicians, particularly on the right have proudly embraced the hatred, bigotry, and ignorance of their more extreme supporters and work to increase it all the more. They are unsuited to manage a Cinnabon much less the country. I fear, like others, that something major (which is of course absurd, they've all been major) in the extreme, has to happen, repeatedly, like 4 figures or high 3 figure death rates. But the atmosphere in the States is so toxic I doubt that would even make a difference. I'm pretty much convinced that the right wants a society where they can live in walled neighbourhoods and justify their use of guns because all those terrible poor people who are lazy criminals are dangerous. They redistrict to take votes away from people who may vote against them. They attempt to change voting laws so that less people can vote. They wave the constitution around like they wave the Bible around, cherry picking what they want from both and ignoring the rest, just like they do for everyday life and governing. They live in a constant bubble of fear and war of their own making and evidence that shows ways to reduce it is rejected.

More than that, they've made ignorance and bigotry a proud part of the "culture" of many people. So we get things like this for example and the recent outrage at denouncing the confederate flag for what it is.
posted by juiceCake at 9:00 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Go look up their names and see their photos, I-ball."

Uhm, you made a statement and I can't find any photos of his mom. All I'm seeing are his dad and his step-sister so I was wondering where you got the info from because I haven't seen much about his parents in his news and your link was the first time I saw his dad and step-sister so it would be helpful if you'd provide a link or something as opposed to saying "just google it" since google isn't helping.
posted by I-baLL at 9:03 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jim Jefferies on gun control.
posted by Evilspork at 9:03 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, pulling the one woman shooter to be like "I'm pretty sure it's all folks of all flavors" is some bullshit. There's not some hidden gender parity of mass shooters that are just going unreported. It's men. It has always been men, and largely white men. One cherry picked outlier does not a trend make.
posted by corb at 9:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


The more of this that happens, the more I think John Brunner must have been a time traveler. Between the Muckers in Stand on Zanzibar and the blase attitude of most of the world towards rampant, visible change in climate in The Sheep Look Up, it's downright terrifying.

Every time I get ready to visit the states to see family, I get nervous. It's refreshing living in a country where I don't fear for my safety on a daily basis. I wish everyone back home could experience feeling safe as a default experience.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wait, they have the picture of his father up but the picture of the woman is gone.

I can't seem to link anything anymore. I can't paste what I've copied on my iPhone anymore now. O
posted by discopolo at 9:09 AM on October 2, 2015


Is there a death-of-a-thousand-cuts solution to the interpration of the second amendment that some people interpret as allowing widespread gun use? I'm thinking, rather than banning or regulating the banning or owning of guns, ban the manufacture of guns in the US and then restrict the hell out of import. Regulate the manufacutre and sale of ammunition.

Because the reason guns are different from drugs and booze is that guns typically require a factory to make. If the factories are forced to close, or forced to stop manufacturing certain kinds of guns, or limited in the number they are allowed to manufacture, then people aren't just going to start cooking guns in the basement. Mostly. Obviously the problem here is 3-D printed guns. I guess gangs and the mob could turn into 3-D printing operations, but I"m guessing those 3-D printed guns aren't the super-highest quality and probably aren't well-suited for kill-a-crapload-of-people really fast, and even if they are, limiting the sale of amunition to licensed gun owners would make those 3-D printed guns much less dangerous.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:13 AM on October 2, 2015


I had a loaded shotgun under my bed and shot a home-invasion burglar. Who turned out to be a 12 y/o kid breaking my kitchen windows to grab what he thought was liquor, but was only italian flavored syrup.

I don't want to single you out, but this blows my fucking mind. Did you see this person before you fired?

I've had my house broken into, while I was still in it. I will never own a gun. I would barricade myself and my family and call the cops. I have very young children, and I know that any gun in my home would be a far greater threat to them than the potential of a home invasion.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Because the reason guns are different from drugs and booze is that guns typically require a factory to make.

3D printing has (or will) solve that problem.
posted by Mezentian at 9:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's time to start asking sane but patriotic Americans who generally support gun rights but are grappling with NRA FUD whether they're ready to update our laws around weapon procurement to be aligned with what these nuts imagine was the intent of the second amendment. Ask them if they're comfortable letting these people have access to tanks and bombs and planes and all the latest cutting-edge military hardware that would allow them to go toe-to-toe with the US military if push came to shove in defense against "tyranny."

Because if people aren't OK with that, then it's time to call out the second amendment nonesense for what it is and consider some basic gun control measures to deal with these disturbed people and/or narcissists mass murdering on a weekly basis.

And I say this as a responsible gun owner.
posted by echocollate at 9:26 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Because the reason guns are different from drugs and booze is that guns typically require a factory to make.

Actually, an improvised firearm isn't all that hard to make.
posted by maxsparber at 9:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seeing a news report that suggests the Army veteran, Chris Mintz, who stood up to the gunman, may have been a teacher who blocked the door to successfully keep all his students safe.
posted by corb at 9:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


No they don't, mass shooters are almost overwhelmingly young white men.

By all flavors I was thinking more in terms of religious, political, cultural, racial, sexist or just plain vanilla delusional...
posted by jim in austin at 9:33 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of Obama's response was the long beat after imagining the pending press releases arguing for more guns and fewer gun safety laws as the logical response to this shooting:

"Does anybody really believe that?"

How he manages not to append "bullshit" to the end of that rhetorical had to be an exercise of extraordinary willpower.


Damnit, Joe. That was your cue.
posted by schmod at 9:34 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


OBAMA: Does anybody really believe that?

[Biden grabs podium]

BIDEN: LIQUID SWORDS
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:38 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Ted nugent had posted some list of shooters going back to 1800s showing they were all Democrats and not members of the nra. So therefore we should not Let liberals have guns.

I wasn't thinking clearly enough at the time to point out that based on his logic, we shouldn't let *men * have guns.

Every single shooter on the list was a man.
posted by sio42 at 9:39 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


My impression of the American gun control issue as a Canadian who hasn't put much thought or research into it is that in a lot of ways it has been used to reassure scared white people and give them some feeling of control over the people they fear. So my solution would be to show them that the same laws that let them have guns can also put guns in the hands of the people they fear.

Have mosques organize trips to gun shows so that their congregants can check out all the great guns and buy some themselves, ideally wearing some kind of middle-eastern appearing clothing. Perhaps they could add gun clubs and ranges to their mosques as well. Could you imagine how a target shooting competition for muslim kids would go down? A community 3d printer to fab their own gun parts would be nice to have as well. Organize groups of non-muslim black people to do the same.

Have these people open carry their guns (where legal) and walk through nicer neighbourhoods (and bring lots of witnesses with cameras and guns just in case).

The muslims could march around the perimeter of suburban baptist churches and the like holding signs saying "America is a secular country" or "respect the constitution" while carrying their guns.

There would definitely be pushback, especially from the police, but my impression is that the gun nuts and police are for the most part cowardly and will only act belligerently when they outnumber their unarmed victims. They always imagine themselves fending off an armed horde to save themselves/civilization but usually end up shooting unarmed black people because they "looked threatening". In a situation like this they would use words instead of violence because there actually may be repercussions for them if they don't.

I can believe that there are lots of muslim and black people who already have guns, but I don't think they display them to the same degree. If their ownership became more visible then I'm sure there would be more will for gun control.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:41 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


I just noticed that none of my university's flags are at half-mast. These school shootings really are routine.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:42 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Have mosques organize trips to gun shows so that their congregants can check out all the great guns and buy some themselves, ideally wearing some kind of middle-eastern appearing clothing.

What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Mezentian at 9:45 AM on October 2, 2015


If only he was armed....
Perhaps with an uzi.


Apparently the campus allows concealed carry, and there were students (and perhaps teachers) who were armed. And yet somehow the shooter was killed by his own bullet.

Of course, the whole event took ten minutes, and in that time he managed to shoot 17 people. I guess the whole "good guy with a gun" thing only works if the good guy has time to get to the shooter before the shooter manages to unload two clips.

And this shooter was slow. Sandy Hook only took five minutes.
posted by maxsparber at 9:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


If you think about it, we've had multiple assassinations and assassination attempts on presidents of this country, including Reagan himself, and all of those were with guns. And people still think the second amendment is the highest law of the land.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:49 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The question that needs to be posed to every anti-gun-control politician is "Would you feel safer if every person in this room had a gun? If not, why not?"

Let them try to squirm their way out of that one.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your rational response to my sarcasm makes me even sadder, maxsparber.
posted by Mezentian at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


My impression of the American gun control issue as a Canadian who hasn't put much thought or research into it is that we should put some people of color among the heavily armed white racist paranoids and see what happens
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:50 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


And, just like that, an army vet who was carrying on campus explains why he didn't use it on the shooter:

“Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” he explained. “We were quite a distance away from the building where this was happening. And we could have opened ourselves up to be potential targets ourselves, and not knowing where SWAT was, their response time, they wouldn’t know who we were. And if we had our guns ready to shoot, they could think that we were bad guys.”
posted by maxsparber at 9:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [23 favorites]




Give it another week; Caitlyn Jenner will be back on page one. Not funny. Not snarky. Unfortunately realist.
posted by buzzman at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem is that only part of the second amendment is emphasized. If we would just consider the phrase "well regulated" as important as the "bear arms" part, we might be able to get somewhere. Say, with similar requirements for training, licensing, and insurance as for a driver's license, perhaps.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


So my solution would be to show them that the same laws that let them have guns can also put guns in the hands of the people they fear.

Sadly, this would blow back dramatically and only further inflame violence and hatred.
posted by Miko at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The question that needs to be posed to every anti-gun-control politician is

Dunno, for me its more, "What's the number? How many people have to die before you start giving a shit?"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Half-staff. (Sorry, pet peeve.)

Flying a flag at half staff is decided on the state and federal executive levels. Oregon is flying the flags at half staff but the Federal government is not, and you don't appear to be in Oregon if your profile is up to date.

This follows the pattern of a federal order if a tragedy affects military or federal employees, and tragedy affecting citizens means an order from that state.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Caitlyn Jenner will be back on page one.

Gosh, I hope so. I have a feeling that in another week there will be another mass shooting on the front page.
posted by maxsparber at 9:53 AM on October 2, 2015


Actually, an improvised firearm isn't all that hard to make.

The blogger Clarkhat on Twitter described a possible failure scenario of an attempt by the government to remove all guns from circulation. It was pretty unpleasant. It's a bit three-percenter, but there you go.
posted by theorique at 9:53 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I know people can make their own guns with a 3D printer, I believe I mentioned that in my comment. But A) Are those guns as fast/effective? I assume an automatic weapon or semi-automatic weapon would be harder, which would at least slow a shooter down. And B) Don't they still require commercially manufactured amunition? WOuld a plastic bullet really work? that second question, I'm really not sure about. I assume a bullet would be harder to 3D print than a gun, just because of the gun powder requirement.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:54 AM on October 2, 2015


I am actually right now weeping for the families of these poor kids who were just trying to take classes in peace. It's so hard to send your kid off to school. I can't say I can't imagine what their grief is like, because I end up imagining it every few weeks when another school shooting happens.

We just sent the kiddo off to college a few weeks ago, to a very progressive (at Orientation they started with a quick Pronouns discussion!) college out of our city but not too far for a drive on Parent's Weekend. One of the many things I worry about with her (is she making friends? Is she going to class and learning and stuff?) is her safety, because she has grown up in America's violence culture, and is at risk of being shot wherever she goes.

A person shot several people in the library late last year at the State school in our city, In this incident, no one was killed, thank God, and the police were on the scene within three minutes and killed the shooter. This incident was spun by certain politicians as being evidence that allowing more armed students was a good idea because they would have stopped the shooter sooner. Sooner than the three minutes that the police took.

Some people seem to have this, I don't know? Action-movie mentality? Where if there are a lot of guns around, firing a lot, it will be safer. Like, the A-Team or something? And these people have the political clout to pass laws allowing concealed carry on campus where I live.

Would my kiddo be safer armed? Would she be a responsible gun owner? Christ no, she can barely do dishes or operate the goddamn thermostat properly. What the fuck would she do with a gun? Whose idea is this, that college kids should be more armed? Have they met college kids? She needs to be studying fucking Calculus and Latin, not out on the firing range training for the next in an endless series of Campus Violence Eruptions.

Just fucking fuck it.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:54 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I have a two year old, and I'm overwhelmed every time this happens with fear and anger. I teach at a university, and I feel special fear every time there is an active shooter reported. (There were two on my old campus in a single semester a few years back.) Guns make me scared, I don't want to be anywhere near them. I even think it's creepy that police officers carry them.

And yet, I'm never very happy with the way these discussions go. For one thing, everyone who talks about gun control of any sort has to recognize that most there are almost as many guns as people in the US. The horse has left the barn, Pandora has opened the pithos, the djinn has escaped the lamp, etc. Plus it's impossible to amend the 2nd Amendment under anything approximately current partisan politics. So our response has to be geared towards that. It's got to involve action and organization and policy savvy.

The NRA's power is not primarily money: it's a large, active, and single-issue-voting membership list. The money is comparatively small and irrelevant: all you can do with money is buy ads to effect votes. The NRA already *has* votes, and gun control advocates don't. Most liberals would be happy to have Sanders as President, for instance, despite his stance on guns. So when the President says we should become single issue voters, he's saying we should choose guns over finance sector regulation, campaign finance consistency, real attention to inequality, pro-choice judges, funding for Planned Parenthood, climate change, and many other things that matter.

That's what a single-issue voter is: would you vote for a Republican if she had a stronger pro-gun-control record than a Democrat? Because NRA members will, even if they mostly don't have to: they will primary out a viable candidate and accept a loss, which comes to the same thing.

Despite the fact that gun control proponents are in the majority, we just don't want it enough. We have a minor desire to see fewer mass shootings; gun owners have a strong desire to support untrammeled access to guns. Forget what people say: look at what they do. And we just don't do much about guns.

And even if we did: there'd still be a gun for every man, woman, and child in the US for decades. So we'll continue to be a country where assholes with guns kill our children and neighbors. And Black men will continue to die at twice the rate as whites, but their deaths won't count as mass shootings.

I feel like despair and impotent anger is the appropriate response. At least no one has articulated a better one so far.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:54 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'll talk to a second amendment absolutist only after they've been to the quarterly muster of the well- regulated militia they belong to.
posted by marxchivist at 9:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The blogger Clarkhat on Twitter described a possible failure scenario of an attempt by the government to remove all guns from circulation. It was pretty unpleasant.

They seem well adjusted.
posted by Mezentian at 9:56 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


The question that needs to be posed to every anti-gun-control politician is "Would you feel safer if every person in this room had a gun? If not, why not?"

MAD was our Cold War strategy for decades
posted by Apocryphon at 9:57 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't figure out what anything in that twitter log means.

And of course the idea wouldn't be to remove all guns from circulation. Law enforcement would still have guns, some security workers would still have guns, and guns designed for hunting would still be available to people who want to hunt. But these guns that are meant for killing people? Why do they even need to be manufactured and sold to the public?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:57 AM on October 2, 2015




Flying a flag at half staff is decided on the state and federal executive levels. Oregon is flying the flags at half staff but the Federal government is not, and you don't appear to be in Oregon if your profile is up to date.

Fair enough. One of the flags did just lower to half-staff, however. You would think that at a university in an adjacent state you'd see a local decision to recognize this event, particularly since we should be at a heightened level of wariness for copycats.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2015


Existential Dread, I too like the interpretation of "regulated" as requiring training of some sorts for ownership. As it is now; a firearm can legally be purchased by anyone literate enough to read and check boxes, and have a clean background.
posted by buzzman at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twenty-five years ago I was an undergrad at the University of Texas. I think that for me and for others who attended UT then, the Whitman shooting thirty years prior wasn't experienced as a tragedy, really, or even a shared experience. It was lore. It was people saying "Oh, you go to that school where that guy shot a bunch of people from the tower" and responding "Yeah, I walk by that tower every day!" It was just this random, one-off historical event that made the place interesting and made the tower notable. Campus tours pointed out bullet holes in the campus union. I mean, sure, it was a bad thing that happened, but that was a long time ago and it was just some crazy guy who flipped.

Columbine happened while I went to school there, and there was so much collective shock in reaction. But we aren't shocked anymore. I guess we're numb to it? We expect it? Mass shootings dismay us, but they don't surprise us anymore.

Twenty-five years ago I'd blithely point out the UT tower to visiting relatives as a grim-but-fascinating point of interest. Today I work on the campus of a large university, and every time this happens -- so, a number of times this year alone -- I mentally map out the exit route I'll take if someone walks into the building and starts shooting. When I walk across campus to get lunch, I note the solid physical objects that would be safe to hide behind and the ones that would be unsafe because they're too exposed. I know which rooms in my office building lock and which ones don't. There are windows on the second floor that would be better to jump out of than others. I've thought that through.

Mass shootings, for me personally anyway, went from historical footnotes to events so regular -- and so frequently occurring in environments like where I spend the majority of my day -- that the possibility is something I prepare for when I go into work in the morning.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2015 [20 favorites]


I am a former gun owner, and agree that most gun owners are fairly responsible -- although many are not as responsible as they should be. I think that we can push for increased regulations -- after all, "well-regulated" is in the constitution. I think we can make it a scosh harder to get any guns, a lot harder to get certain kinds of guns (and there is precedent for this -- try to buy a machine gun or a rocket launcher). We can tax a lot of this so the cost starts becoming prohibitive, and we can regulate the businesses that sell them so that guns are not as widely available. We can insist that guns be locked and locked away when not in use, which is what responsible gun owners do. I know there are some who have some fantasy about having the gun on hand in case of break in, but that's the least likely scenario. Far more likely is that someone will break in and steal the guns when they are away, and those guns will end up used by criminals. Far more likely is that they shoot a harmless stranger, or a child, or themselves. So lock them away when not in use, and make it a crime not to.

None of this would make it impossible for Americans to own guns. But it would make guns a little less easy to get, and a little easier to get in trouble for, and we've seen how much just having a $5 fee and some moderation can affect MetaFilter.
posted by maxsparber at 10:01 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


3D guns are pretty meh for defense-- they just don't last. For assassination or attack though, they're probably just right. Someone with a gym-bag full of expendable weapons is as dangerous as someone with a lot of reloads.

Cheap home CNC, though, can manufacture an AR-15 lower receiver in about 6 hours; which would be effective. And untraceable and unregistered (legally). From there, the gun can be assembled from parts in less than an hour. The lowers are not legally transferrable, though.

Take a look at Japan in WWII; after their factories were bombed to snot, they built distributed factories in residences; it's not hard, it's cheap to do, and easy to hide from surveillance.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:01 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




I don't want to single you out, but this blows my fucking mind. Did you see this person before you fired?

Semi-sorry to answer this question when it wasn't me being asked, but:

The purpose of a gun is to hurt or kill quickly and relatively easily and at a distance, before they shoot first or get to you or your stuff or whatever... not to take the time to think about the kid you're about to completely overreact to.
posted by Foosnark at 10:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I almost blew up my relationship with my gun owner boyfriend over this this morning. The fact of his ownership made me almost physically ill. It's not a new issue; he knows my views. And although anything I could say today would be full of rage and bile, I'm going to stop avoiding the topic and say keep your guns, cancel your nra membership. Because regardless of their gun safety whatever, at some point you're either participating in evil or you're not

I teach community college and grew up 30 mins from Roseburg
posted by angrycat at 10:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


My impression of the American gun control issue as a Canadian who hasn't put much thought or research into it is that we should put some people of color among the heavily armed white racist paranoids and see what happens

This has happened in the past. The Black Panthers used open-carry laws as a way to protest police violence in black communities in the 60's..

Their intent was not to bring about gun reform. Their intent was actually to say that if open carry was legal, then they would open carry for self defense. But, ironically enough, CA passed a law banning open carry of loaded weapons, with a quickness, once they saw a bunch of armed black men.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:07 AM on October 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


Er, that should be 3D printed guns. All the best and worst guns are 3-dimensional, so it's a broad category.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beaten to the punch by zyxwvut!!
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep it is about fear for sure.

Already I'm seeing the posts about "a shooter is asking if someone is Christian before killing them and the answer is take away our protection?!".

I feel like there are so many alternate realities happening in America right now that we give The Doctor a run for his money.
posted by sio42 at 10:16 AM on October 2, 2015


Hey, I just noticed that the The Week article that Wintersweet posted is written by Tim Kreider, the artist behind the comic The Pain, which has been popular on here before.
posted by Sleeper at 10:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I guess the question that's left is, why, in countries where guns are less easy to get legally, are 3D printed guns and home-milled guns not common while drugs are still a problem everywhere they are are banned and everywhere they are not?

Maybe the answer isn't the homemade-thing, maybe it's the addictive thing?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:16 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't we need to start somewhere like here: Franco Berardi's Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide?
posted by PHINC at 10:21 AM on October 2, 2015


This morning after hearing about the shooting, watching the president's address, and reading the news, the first thing I did was to go online to see about the legality of owning and wearing a bulletproof vest. My thinking was, "Well, when it rains I don't want to be without an umbrella. So if a shooting occurs, I don't want to be without a vest."

I think the fact that I've even started integrating the risk of a mass shooting into my daily life shows how far things have changed.
posted by FJT at 10:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


nakedmolerats and zyxwvut the Black Panthers are a great example. If this sort of thing happened now wouldn't there be a similar response from legislators? If the goal is to get saner gun laws into place why not try methods that worked in the past?

And those panther patrols are great. Let the police know that if they overstep their authority there will be consequences. You could probably do much of it with drones today too, someone notices an arrest is being made and a swarm of camera and gun drones flies to the scene.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:23 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Twenty-five years ago I was an undergrad at the University of Texas. I think that for me and for others who attended UT then, the Whitman shooting thirty years prior wasn't experienced as a tragedy, really, or even a shared experience. It was lore. It was people saying "Oh, you go to that school where that guy shot a bunch of people from the tower" and responding "Yeah, I walk by that tower every day!" It was just this random, one-off historical event that made the place interesting and made the tower notable. Campus tours pointed out bullet holes in the campus union. I mean, sure, it was a bad thing that happened, but that was a long time ago and it was just some crazy guy who flipped.


This happened the summer before my senior year in high school. I stood in front of my summer job downtown and watched the puffs of pulverized limestone that made the holes in The Tower. Among those he killed was the girl that was to be my senior president, a teacher at my school (his wife) and a lady we knew (his mother). A friend, a year ahead of me, was shot working at his desk for the then-forming The Rag. Fortunately he survived. I can't believe this sort of horseshit is still happening almost half a century later. But then it is humans we're talking about...
posted by jim in austin at 10:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


This has happened in the past. The Black Panthers used open-carry laws as a way to protest police violence in black communities in the 60's..

I'm aware of the example of the Black Panthers and admire their commitment to self-defense. If a similar Marxist party appeared today, I'd probably support it. I just think busing Muslims in al-Qaeda drag to gun shows is a dumb idea.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:26 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


These days, more provocative than the Black Panthers would be a group of Muslims who wish to openly carry firearms.
posted by Sleeper at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a non-zero chance that a complete about-face on gun laws in the US will be the spark that ignites the powder keg of gun strokers who will come out guns blazing to defend their second amendment from such "tyranny". Suddenly, every doomsday prediction of roundups, disarmament, and other such paranoid fantasies that have been floated for decades will shift from conspiracy theory to "fact" overnight.

It won't be pretty.


You know what? I don't care. We've been appeasing a large number of individual citizens of the US in their paranoid fantasies that they are arming themselves with weapons of war against the time that the government tries to take over and act like a fucking government, and appeasement against this kind of lunacy only puts off till tomorrow what we should have taken care of yesterday. You're right. You're undoubtedly right, that any real move to curtail the rights of individual citizens to keep and bear weapons of war will lead to the defenders of those rights using those weapons. But we didn't solve this problem in the past and it won't magically go away and it's getting worse and worse as time goes on - the paper cut got infected and now we have sepsis, and the fact that treating this problem now will be painful, much more painful than if we'd taken care of it in the past, is no reason to keep putting it off. It will not get better on its own, it has not gotten better on its own, and appeasement just leads to more paranoia and entitlement. We've fucked up. We need to draw the line and take a deep breath and do whatever it takes now and throw all our energy into it even knowing that the cost will be huge.

I still feel helpless and stupid about it, but I guess I will donate to the Brady Campaign or similar and start emailing or calling reps every day?
posted by you must supply a verb at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


training, licensing, and insurance

every time someone was shot, those premiums would skyrocket. yes, this is an excellent proposal.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:30 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]




I feel like my standards are so in the toilet at this point that all I want, the very absolute smallest thing I want, is for pro-gun advocates to just straight up admit that "Yeah, we guess a few hundred innocent people just have to die every year so we can keep our guns. Yes, even when it's dozens of elementary school children being slaughtered in cold blood. That's the price, and we're willing to pay it." Just fucking say it, because that's the disgusting subtext of all of it.
posted by yasaman at 10:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [37 favorites]


The Obama speech reminded me of how my wife and I talk to our 3 year old when she isn't listening. "Didn't we tell you not to write on the walls? And what did you do 20 minutes later?" only instead of something childishly endearing/frustrating it was about a speech on gun control and a mass shooting that happened later that same day.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:32 AM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


maxsparber: I think that we can push for increased regulations -- after all, "well-regulated" is in the constitution. I think we can make it a scosh harder to get any guns, a lot harder to get certain kinds of guns (and there is precedent for this -- try to buy a machine gun or a rocket launcher). [etc.]

This. Just yesterday marked the liability switchover that's supposed to introduce chip-and-signature credit card transactions to the US. Why not chip-and-pin like the rest of the world has used for years now? Because merchants are terrified that adding a few seconds of inconvenience will be enough friction to discourage purchases. Making purchases inconvenient works.
posted by indubitable at 10:33 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


every time someone was shot, those premiums would skyrocket. yes, this is an excellent proposal.

Furthermore, you are liable for any shooting, injury, or death caused by your firearm. Whether you were responsible for the shooting or not. I'm not sure about stolen firearms; if you reported the gun stolen, then perhaps the liability would be reduced (but not eliminated). The liability insurance premiums would go a long way towards enforcing safe gun ownership, and reducing gun ownership.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


If gun nuts threaten us with violence whenever any sensible policies are proposed, like liability insurance, then maybe we need to explore other solutions. By obstructing any discussion of how to fix this, lawful gun owners are direct participants in the horrible carnage their fellow lawful gun owners wreak. Don't outlaw guns. We just need do whatever we can to make lawful gun owners into the lawful social pariahs they lawfully deserve to be, for lawfully participating in a lawful gun culture that clearly and lawfully celebrates lawful, Constitutionally-mandated slaughter above any and all other unlawful concerns.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


> every time someone was shot, those premiums would skyrocket.

Backdoor gun bans like this have been tried before, and they get shot to pieces in the courts. You take away a civil right enshrined in the constitution by regulating it until it's cost-prohibitive for regular people who can otherwise afford market-value guns and ammo.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


nakedmolerats and zyxwvut the Black Panthers are a great example. If this sort of thing happened now wouldn't there be a similar response from legislators? If the goal is to get saner gun laws into place why not try methods that worked in the past?

The Black Panthers' goal was Marxist revolution in the long term and self-defense from racist police in the short term. Better gun-control laws were an unintended consequence of their campaign. The party dissolved itself in 1982 after a long struggle against a government which suppressed it however it could. I doubt its founders would take kindly to the idea that black people should be used by gun-control advocates to scare white gun nuts into accepting gun control.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


nakedmolerats and zyxwvut the Black Panthers are a great example. If this sort of thing happened now wouldn't there be a similar response from legislators? If the goal is to get saner gun laws into place why not try methods that worked in the past?

I support minority carry and open carry, but am actually really offended by the idea that it would be a reasonable thing to do to try to create for nefarious purposes so you can gin up racism in order to get the laws you want passed passed. That's some monstrous shit. We are not at a fucking lack of racism that we need to import more.
posted by corb at 10:37 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I support minority carry and open carry

Is it an option to support "carry" and not support "minority carry"?
posted by Rumple at 10:46 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


What if progressives created their own equivalent to the NRA? If the right-wing love the second amendment so much, see how they like it if there's a well-regulated militia of open carrying leftists protecting Planned Parenthood or BLM demonstrations. Maybe the way to beat them is to join them.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, because selling out on their core principles and trying to be Republican Lite has worked out so well for the Democratic party.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


But you know, a calm breath later, and I think it's a real shame that these kinds of discussions tend to get dominated by the hottest heads and most extreme views and just get everyone angry and talking past each other. There are a lot of good people who have really valid ideas that just aren't being heard.

I may lose my NRA card for saying this, but as a gun owner, I don't oppose licensing for the right to own guns, similar to a drivers' license - if my concerns were heard and alleviated. And you know I know it's me saying it, but I really think that these are reasonable concerns if licensing is simply a call for responsible gun ownership, rather than a back door ban attempt to ban guns.

I recently had to take a hunter education course in order to get a hunting permit to go hunt deer, and I was really struck by how comprehensive and in depth it was - and it included a practical field exam for instructors to watch you in action and make sure you were safe and responsible. I was also struck by how very, very different it was than how gun licensing is handled in many jurisdictions.

For my hunter education course, the pricing was reasonable - I want to say maybe 30 dollars? And every resident of age could take the majority of the course online, and then set aside a four hour block for testing. And that's very similar to how driver's licenses are handled - you can read the drivers booklets online, then take a written test and then take a practical exam. They don't get to pick and choose who is deserving of a license, other than basic competence.

But sometimes these kind of simple, practical matters get over-ridden by people trying to back-door-ban, and then it becomes a political mess. This can really visibly be seen - and it's what many gun owners are thinking of - when you look at the difference between 'shall issue' and 'may issue' concealed carry permits.

'Shall issue' means that if you jump through the reasonable hops the state puts up (usually a background check, fingerprinting, etc), you will be granted a permit at the end of it, assuming you pass'

'May issue' means that it depends on the issuing official's - usually a police officer's - feels. And this is where it gets hugely problematic, because in most 'may issue' jurisdictions, they don't have to give a reason for turning you down. It could be 'you're black and black people scare me.' It could be 'you attended a protest once, and I'm afraid you're a Dangerous Leftist.' It could be, 'You belong to Cop Block.' They don't have to explain, and it's basically free rein for their prejudices to come out under the guise of 'officer instinct' or what have you. When I was in New York City, you had to give 'reason you want a gun', and surprise surprise, 'I want to bodyguard a celebrity' got a lot further than 'My ex husband has made death threats against me and my children.'

Any time you have fuzzy grey gates rather than clear cut lines, you open the door for prejudice to come in.

Nobody, not even gun owners, likes irresponsible gun owners. People just worry about opening the door to things that could be easily abused - and currently, often are.
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


I WANT TO MAKE IT SUPER HELLA CLEAR THAT THE BLACK PANTHERS WERE NOT PROTESTING IN ORDER TO GET SAFER GUN LAWS, IT WAS JUST A SUPER SHITTY AND RACIST SIDE EFFECT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS SUDDENLY LIKE "OMG BLACK PEOPLE CARRYING GUNS"
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2015 [24 favorites]


But sometimes these kind of simple, practical matters get over-ridden by people trying to back-door-ban, and then it becomes a political mess.

You say that this is common, but your description of a common instance of it (using "feels" to prevent someone from having a gun) sounds nothing like an attempted ban. At all.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:01 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


You take away a civil right enshrined in the constitution by regulating it until it's cost-prohibitive for regular people who can otherwise afford market-value guns and ammo.

No, it would be forcing people to pay the market price for guns and ammo. The cost of guns and ammo is now artificially low because the costs are externalized to victims, law enforcement, et. al.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


it's a real shame that these kinds of discussions tend to get dominated by the hottest heads and most extreme views

...

I may lose my NRA card for saying this

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by tonycpsu at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station:
Bang Bang Sanity, Friday, June 26, 2015
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence, April 3, 2014, June 19, 2015, July 24, 2015, Thursday, October 1, 2015
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]



I feel like my standards are so in the toilet at this point that all I want, the very absolute smallest thing I want, is for pro-gun advocates to just straight up admit that "Yeah, we guess a few hundred innocent people just have to die every year so we can keep our guns. Yes, even when it's dozens of elementary school children being slaughtered in cold blood. That's the price, and we're willing to pay it." Just fucking say it, because that's the disgusting subtext of all of it.


I also want them to admit that if their fantasy of more guns = more protection came true, and everybody started carrying to "protect" each other from the Real Threat, that the innocent people killed in cross fire or confusion about who the Bad Guy was is also worth it.

You know, those "woops, wrong guy" mistakes while you're living out your hero fantasy. I want them to admit they don't mind adding to the death count if someone gets to catch a bad guy.
posted by nakedmolerats at 11:09 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's time to reframe the NRA as a pro domestic terrorism organization.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2015 [28 favorites]


> 'Shall issue' means that if you jump through the reasonable hops the state puts up (usually a background check, fingerprinting, etc), you will be granted a permit at the end of it, assuming you pass'

Well, it also means the County Sheriff alone gets to decide what constitutes "Reasonable." That's why it's virtually impossible to get a concealed carry permit in Los Angeles or San Francisco, in a state where it's already illegal to carry open, so no concealed carry == no legal carry.

A lone government official gets to decide whether you exercise a civil right or not.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I may lose my NRA card for saying this, but as a gun owner, I don't oppose licensing for the right to own guns, similar to a drivers' license - if my concerns were heard and alleviated.

Rather than joking about "losing" your NRA card, why not USE your NRA membership to influence the organization to amend its own policy to bring it more in line with your and others' opinions?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:10 AM on October 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


A lone government official gets to decide whether you exercise a civil right or not.

I presume that the government official is here being backed by the will of the populace, who in large part prefer not having murder weapons floating around in the hands of individuals.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:15 AM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


What if I have a right to murder weapons and just promise real hard that I won't murder
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on October 2, 2015 [22 favorites]


> I presume that the government official is here being backed by the will of the populace, who in large part prefer not having murder weapons floating around in the hands of individuals.

Do you so presume with all elected officials, or just the ones who support policies you agree with? Did you give Bush and Cheney so much credit, or did you consider the possibility that they, like other popular pols, were funded by the wealthy and powerful, and so it is their backing, no the will of the populace, that they represent?
posted by Sunburnt at 11:19 AM on October 2, 2015


The last time we had this discussion about what universal background check legislation would be okay, the fact that the ACLU signed off on Manchin-Toomey wasn't good enough to alleviate concerns about hypothetical misuse by government agencies to build a registry that would be used to confiscate all the guns. The goal posts seem to be somewhere around "if Eugene Volokh and the editorial staff of the National Review are okay with it, I'll think about it", which pretty much means there's no support for effective background checks, because without collecting information that could theoretically be used as part of a database, we can't effectively check someone's background.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Do you so presume with all elected officials, or just the ones who support policies you agree with? Did you give Bush and Cheney so much credit?

Let me answer that question with a question: what if Bush had a gun and was about to shoot our families, but the only thing that could stop him from shooting us was a big sign that said "The NRA is bad"

Would you hit him in the head with the sign
posted by Greg Nog at 11:22 AM on October 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


It was just about a year after Sandy Hook that Illinois became the last state in the country to allow concealed carry. Now you walk around Chicago and all the buildings have these no gun stickers on the doors. Does anyplace else do that? I still can't get over how dystopian it is. I like to imagine a bunch of scared jerks from the suburbs being inconvenienced when they bring their guns downtown with them, and find there are almost no buildings that allow guns. (Not that I think a sticker would stop them, but still.) I also chuckled at the very prominent placement of the no gun sticker on the door of the Ventra office, back when Ventra was new and everybody hated it. But mostly the stickers are just a depressing reminder that this country is fucking insane.
posted by gueneverey at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


A lone government official gets to decide whether you exercise a civil right or not.

the problem is the whole "civil right" horseshit. i say you only have a civil right to keep and bear a fucking muzzle-loader. and then only if you can show you are an active member of a well-regulated militia, "well-regulated" and "militia" to be defined by the courts. a few models of rifles and shotguns on the market, designed for hunting and hobbyist use, and with sales stringently regulated should be IT, period. Nothing automatic or concealable to be sold, manufactured or imported for the general public, with serious mandatory prison time for possession, manufacture or import. fuck that civil right bullshit. kill it with fire.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


A lone government official gets to decide whether you exercise a civil right or not.

Let's be clear: the Second Amendment in no way covers carry law. Neither open nor concealed carry are civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Even Scalia opposed saying that:
Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.
So let's not get ahead of ourselves by making the LA County sheriff some sort of tyrant or Kim Davis analog.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Yes, because selling out on their core principles and trying to be Republican Lite has worked out so well for the Democratic party.

Militarizing leftists isn't selling out core principles. It's more akin to adopting the tactics of the right by doing something totally unexpected. Create a liberal equivalent to the NRA, show them what proper and responsible gun ownership should entail, confuse the hell out of them. Plus, by having their holy weaponry be tainted with association to progressives, it might cause them to think twice about how cool guns are. I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


The LA County Sheriff is voted into office. He may not be representing everybody's viewpoint, but he is there by will of the people, and can be removed by the will of the people. I mean, that's the basic idea behind democracy, as I recall.

So it's not just one dude making a decision. It's one dude, backed by a majority of voters.

I mean, the system may not work perfectly, but any complaints about this position are, more broadly, complaints about democracy, and a little outside the scope of this specific discussion about guns.
posted by maxsparber at 11:35 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


> the problem is the whole "civil right" horseshit. i say you only have a civil right to keep and bear a fucking muzzle-loader. and then only if you can show you are an active member of a well-regulated militia, "well-regulated" and "militia" to be defined by the courts.

As long as the courts are your authority, I suggest you catch up on your SCOTUS reading. DC vs Heller:
(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:39 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


It was just about a year after Sandy Hook that Illinois became the last state in the country to allow concealed carry. Now you walk around Chicago and all the buildings have these no gun stickers on the doors. Does anyplace else do that? I still can't get over how dystopian it is.

Spike Lee is filming his latest movie in Chicago right now - it's set in Chicago and is taking on the issue of murder and gang violence, and how the news media has an imbalance of focus when it comes to shooting deaths (white victims get way more media attention than black ones, and black shooters get treated differently than white ones as well).

And he's apparently facing a lot of criticism for the name of the film itself, which is "Chiraq" - people are offended at the implication that there's a violence problem in Chicago. Rather than being offended that, y'know, there is a problem with violence in Chicago, just like there is in New York and Los Angeles and Detroit and Houston and Seattle and, well, everywhere.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:43 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


On the question of how little press this seems to get relative to past mass shootings and this getting routine, etc.... I wonder if this will be what finally stops the mass shootings. If mass shootings stop being national news, if they're 30 seconds on the news like every other murder, would the people seeking notoriety this way or trying to make some sort of fucked up statement finally stop? That wouldn't appreciably reduce the level of gun violence, so it's not a solution to that problem, but our ennui with mass shootings might eventually be what ends at least that one form of gun violence.

I remember in the time (a couple of years) after sept. 11, it seemed like the mass shootings had stopped for some time and I remember speculating with a friend that maybe a mass shooting just wasn't going to seem shocking after sept. 11, and so nobody was trying to shock people that way.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:45 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Could it be argued that the original intent of the Founding Fathers was that a self-regulated militia and the right to bear arms was useful only to fight off the British?

Because the right can crow about the right to armed insurrection all they want, that didn't keep Washington and co. from crushing Shays' Rebellion or the Whiskey Rebellion. The second amendment didn't protect the Confederate States from getting put down.

Since presently the redcoat threat is null and void, the second amendment is thus unnecessary, much like the section on letters of marque.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:46 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


As long as the courts are your authority, I suggest you catch up on your SCOTUS reading.

Did you read (2) in your link? It's the part relevant to your original assertion regarding civil rights.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:47 AM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


When protecting the 2nd Amendment becomes priority over people's lives, I think it might be time for some serious soul-searching.
posted by Kitteh at 11:49 AM on October 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


I suggest you catch up on your SCOTUS reading. DC vs Heller:

...which overturned a tremendous amount of precedent and many would argue was wrongly decided. But sometimes precedent deserves to be overturned, and plenty of people would argue a lot of cases, so I realize that's unpersuasive as an argument.

But, if you want to go by Heller, one of the court's findings was that self-defense in the home was one of the vitally important parts of the rights granted by the 2nd Amendment. It has nothing to do with concealed carry, and, in fact, specifically notes that 2nd Amendment rights are not unlimited and do not preclude the passage or enforcement of concealed carry laws.

To quote Wikipedia's summary (since you already have partially),
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.
It might be more fair to entirely ban concealed carry, and it would probably be better governance, but concealed carry itself is not civil right and being deprived of it isn't a civil rights issue, even if the process by which concealed carry licenses are given is flawed.
posted by cjelli at 11:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's too bad about how the U.S. Constitution was given to Moses on the mountain and now must remain as it is forevermore and can never ever be changed.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


Every time this happens, I seem to recall reading that weapon sales skyrocket for a while....

Meantime, I'm waiting to hear:

--One article said the shooter had taken "disability classes." What disability? Medications?

--Where did he access the weapons (he had 3 pistols and a long rifle)? Purchased legally or ?

Sad.
posted by CrowGoat at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2015


What if illegal immigrants were accorded gun rights under the second amendment? Would that change the right's view on gun regulation, or immigration?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2015


i really would like to know why people like their guns so much

I want Bernie Sanders to answer that question w/o a 'well around these here parts people like their hunting'
posted by angrycat at 11:56 AM on October 2, 2015


Now you walk around Chicago and all the buildings have these no gun stickers on the doors. Does anyplace else do that?

Everywhere in Milwaukee is like that.
posted by desjardins at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2015


What if illegal immigrants were accorded gun rights under the second amendment? Would that change the right's view on gun regulation, or immigration?

Do illegal immigrants not have the right? It looks to me like the constitution references "people" which I would think includes immigrants, documented, or not. Unless a right is explicitly written as granted to "citizens" or "residents" I would assume the right is given to everyone.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:00 PM on October 2, 2015


When protecting the 2nd Amendment becomes priority over people's lives, I think it might be time for some serious soul-searching.

I think there's a difference between arguing that the Constitution should be amended to weaken (or repeal, for some people) the 2nd Amendment and arguing that it should be ignored. For better or for worse the Constitution is the ultimate arbiter of what is and what is not permissible for the government to do in the United States.
posted by Justinian at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


the original intent of the constitution was only meant to apply to white men, come on.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Though, again, there are plenty of things that can be done to strengthen gun regulations without running afoul of even quite broad interpretations of the 2nd Amendment.
posted by Justinian at 12:05 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


poffin boffin: Yes, and when we decided that was wrong we amended the Constitution.
posted by Justinian at 12:06 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


(see, for example, the 14th Amendment.)
posted by Justinian at 12:06 PM on October 2, 2015


I recently had to take a hunter education course [...] and I was really struck by how comprehensive and in depth...

I took one a couple-three years back, and it was wall-to-wall gear-fetishism and Obama snark, with occasional token nods to keeping your muzzle pointed down-range.
posted by Rat Spatula at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


i really would like to know why people like their guns so much

A few subjective responses:
  • Practicing marksmanship is fun.
  • Taking responsibility for your personal defense and the defense of your family feels empowering.
  • The discipline and ritual of gun safety, trigger discipline, Second Amendment law is interesting and enjoyable for some people.
  • Modern guns are marvelous feats of mechanical engineering and thus can be lots of fun for tinkerers and gear heads (witness the whole AR-15 builder/tinkerer culture that has arisen in the past few years).
posted by theorique at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


And he's apparently facing a lot of criticism for the name of the film itself, which is "Chiraq" - people are offended at the implication that there's a violence problem in Chicago. Rather than being offended that, y'know, there is a problem with violence in Chicago, just like there is in New York and Los Angeles and Detroit and Houston and Seattle and, well, everywhere.

(Sorry, this is a bit of a derail, but...) That's not what people are offended about. Who doesn't already know there's a violence problem in Chicago? People are concerned that the violence is the only thing in these communities that gets any attention. Englewood isn't a neighborhood where families live and kids go to school, and people are trying to improve the community. No, it's just a one-dimensional warzone, Chiraq.
posted by gueneverey at 12:09 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, and when we decided that was wrong we amended the Constitution

what when did this happen, does this mean i am allowed to vote
posted by poffin boffin at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is my absurdist take on this.

As much as women are historically given to be the ones to emotionally lash out, it seems that women are better able to handle the responsibility of a deadly weapon. There are far fewer women who commit violent acts. There has been only 1 female mass shooter that I can find record of. Seems pretty easy to me. Can't trust men to do laundry or handle their weapons. Ban man hands on guns!
posted by sio42 at 12:14 PM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


I would enjoy it if the media, which loves to paint men as somehow being constitutionally incapable of operating a washing machine or mop, would likewise treat them as inherently bumbling with guns.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2015 [17 favorites]


"We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


And he's apparently facing a lot of criticism for the name of the film itself, which is "Chiraq" - people are offended at the implication that there's a violence problem in Chicago.

Nope. People are not offended by the portmanteau "Chiraq" because they are offended at the implication that there is violence. I mean, WTF. We live here, we see the reports on the local news every day.

There are various sides to the argument about the word, which I'll admit I find distasteful.

Pro:
- It may accurately (?) describe some neighborhoods as experiencing levels of violence that reach that of places enduring actual war.
- Living in these areas can amount to something close to PTSD for residents.
- The number of gun deaths in Chicago from 2003-2011 closely mirrors the number of US deaths in Iraq over that time.
- It's catchy, I guess?

Con:
- Many people living in the neighborhoods feels it writes them off entirely as being beyond hope, as opposed to places where people are just trying to live their lives, and where many are working hard within their community to improve things.
- It implies this is a turmoil with an end point, with two sides of which one will come out "winning", instead of it being the result of systemic racism and segregation of services and opportunities that will take the city and nation as a whole to solve.
- Shitty white dudes wearing "Chiraq" t-shirts thinking it makes them tough because they live in Chicago, despite not living anywhere near where the majority of violence is happening.

On preview, jinx, gueneverey.
posted by misskaz at 12:18 PM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh hey, gueneverey: I work with Asiaha Butler quoted in that article you linked. She is a powerhouse!
posted by misskaz at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2015


To paraphrase the Clinton election campaign "It's the guns, stupid". Everything EVERYTHING else is a distraction.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


A thought that just won't leave my head:

Planned Parenthood would never have to worry about their funding again if they could just find some way to use handguns in abortion.

This asshole has taken up way too much mental real estate today.
posted by Hactar at 12:22 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I attend classes at Seattle Central College, a local community college, off and on.

On the prevalent safety signs on campus, they replaced "what to do in case of bomb threat" with "What to do in case of an active shooter".

While I'm grateful that they have a safety mechanism in place, I'm appalled and seriously pissed off that this is a phenomenon that's now seen as so probable that it needs a safety mechanism devised to handle it.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:24 PM on October 2, 2015


Taking responsibility for your personal defense and the defense of your family feels empowering.

I do this by NOT having a gun.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:25 PM on October 2, 2015 [28 favorites]


what when did this happen, does this mean i am allowed to vote

I think there is some confusion here. Women's suffrage didn't require a Constitutional amendment because it was a statutory bar to women voting, not a Constitutional one. Amendments like the 14th Amendment were passed because slavery was enshrined in the Constitution. There's a big difference between something which is enshrined by statute and something which is enshrined in the Constitution, and unfortunately the 2nd Amendment is in the Bill of Rights.

But that doesn't mean that plenty of regulation can't pass muster. There are all sorts of regulations on speech and that's the most fundamental right we possess. We just have to be careful in crafting the legislation!
posted by Justinian at 12:28 PM on October 2, 2015


Since I got rid of my guns, I've been encouraging others to do the same. It's a start, but only a solution when most people are doing the same. It's like ending homophobia

Or like vaccination. It would help if we could stigmatize gun ownership the way we have smoking or bigotry. Of course, that would pretty much eliminate most TV dramas.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:28 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Obama is going to speak on this topic again (one assumes) any minute now. I hope he channels Luther.
posted by Justinian at 12:29 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yep maxparber exactly.

If we believe the media I'm surprised are able to feed themselves much less operate deadly weapons with a modicum of responsibility.
posted by sio42 at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2015


Justinian I do too

I thought he was gonna go off during the earlier press conference.

The country needs to hear it.
posted by sio42 at 12:33 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


(FWIW, the White House site has the text of yesterday's statement. Worth the read.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:39 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]



A few subjective responses:
Practicing marksmanship is fun.
Taking responsibility for your personal defense and the defense of your family feels empowering.
The discipline and ritual of gun safety, trigger discipline, Second Amendment law is interesting and enjoyable for some people.
Modern guns are marvelous feats of mechanical engineering and thus can be lots of fun for tinkerers and gear heads (witness the whole AR-15 builder/tinkerer culture that has arisen in the past few years).


Sincerely, thank you, that is good information to have. I knew one, knew and sort of feel weird about two, had no idea about three and four.

Also, in the latest from "Will This Relationship Survive American Gun Laws" the boyfriend announced that he had been thinking about giving up his NRA membership for a while. Man, I was like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction for a while there during the argument that preceded that announcement.
posted by angrycat at 12:40 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


the boyfriend announced that he had been thinking about giving up his NRA membership for a while.

Make sure he does it before his next renewal -- they don't give any of your dues money back if you cancel in the middle of a registration.
posted by Etrigan at 12:44 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Dollop summarized it like this:

The Dollop supports the 2nd Amendment, which was written in the year 1789. The Dollop also supports:
You shitting in a chamberpot
Owning other humans
Traveling by covered wagon
More than half of your children dying
Making your own clothes
Having your relatives burn your heart after death
Raising your own food
...

(It goes on with other examples from US history. Anybody arguing the Constitution is immutable and sacrosanct is ignorant of the document itself and history as a whole.)

Personally, I wonder what novel use of the word "safe" applies to the US in that we have an incredibly armed populace, yet children die in their schools, are shot while sleeping in their beds because some asshole is cleaning a loaded gun, people are murdered by their spouses or loved ones, and we have more mass shootings than there are days in the year. This is not safety, this is insanity.

If you're on Twitter, you need to follow David Waldman. He documents #gunFAILs all the time. Was a toddler killed this weekend by a gun that "just went off?" Almost certainly. We're also in #LockdownNation. Remember when the worst drill you could have in school was a tornado drill?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:47 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


The whole "mental health" thing is an NRA red herring (from this past August):
Right now, current law prohibits a person who’s involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital from buying or possessing guns. That prohibition remains in effect, until that person petitions for the restoration of his or her gun rights, and a court or administrative body restores them. This way, someone recovering from a mental health crisis can regain his or her gun rights – and guns – at the appropriate time.

That time isn’t right away. Involuntary commitments are typically brief – often a week or less – and mental health experts know that suicide attempts and other violent acts after hospitalization are most likely to occur shortly after release.

The NRA bill, though, equates release with health and stability. Forget the doctors, the courts, and the wishes of family members – the NRA bill restores gun rights, and returns a person’s guns, immediately and automatically. That’s regardless of a person’s mental health condition, and regardless of the risks or likelihood of relapse.
The title of that NRA endorsed bill? The Mental Health and Safe Communities Act.

The NRA isn't about stopping shootings. The NRA is about selling guns, period. The second amendment, freedom, protecting the home, etc are all marketing lines the NRA uses in an attempt to sell you guns. Mass slaughter is a way to sell guns ("because now listen to all the left wing loons talk about gun control! Better buy more before they decide to outlaw them!"). Mass shootings are good for the gun business. Gun sales increase after mass shootings.

The NRA is against anything that might somehow impact their ability to sell guns. I believe that (however much they might say they regret it) that they are actually in favor and support of mass shootings. The politicians who support their policies are, thus tacitly in favor of mass shootings.

I don't believe that NRA members are in support of mass shootings anymore than I think people who wear sneakers are in support of the sweat shops where many sneakers are made. The NRA itself, though, is a lobbying and marketing arm of the gun industry and they are primarily concerned with money and not with human life.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:00 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


it would be really cool if, during my lifetime, a Supreme Court revisits that last bullshit with the Second Amendment and is like, well that's some bullshit, sorry about that

contact with friendly aliens is another thing i hope happens during my lifetime, so i may be a little out of touch with reality or something
posted by angrycat at 1:01 PM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Given the regularity/inevitability of this, does anyone know of a good site/organization that aggregates them as they happen? I'd love to have something with an API so I can set up a social-media Geiger counter for it. Keep it from being so easily ignored/forgotten.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:08 PM on October 2, 2015


mmkay...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


nakedmolerats and zyxwvut the Black Panthers are a great example. If this sort of thing happened now wouldn't there be a similar response from legislators? If the goal is to get saner gun laws into place why not try methods that worked in the past?


Last year a man was executed by police for picking up a pellet gun in a store, and walking with it towards the checkout. Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, jerks can get tooled up like they're in fucking Mosul and walk into a Sonic for lunch without anyone saying boo. Examining the differences between those two scenarios may give you a hint as to why minorities exercising open carry might not produce the legislative response you expect.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:37 PM on October 2, 2015 [19 favorites]




contact with friendly aliens is another thing i hope happens during my lifetime, so i may be a little out of touch with reality or something


Why the hell would friendly aliens come here? They're liable to get their asses shot.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:40 PM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


I haven't noticed this yet in the thread - apologies if it's already in there:

TPM: Sheriff In Charge Of Oregon Massacre Probe Posted Sandy Hook Truther Video

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin posted a link to a YouTube video called "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed," which summarized conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting and quickly racked up millions of views, about a month after the massacre took place. The post was deleted or made private sometime after 2:30 p.m. Friday. [...]
The video opens with text that reads: "In this video I will prove to you there has been a lot of deception surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting. This is a simple, logical video. No aliens, holigrams (sic), rituals or anything like that, just facts." It then intersperses news clips from the time with text raising questions about the "official story" presented in the media, including whether there was more than one shooter and whether grieving parents were actually so-called "crisis actors."


Crisis actors! I just ...
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:46 PM on October 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


including whether there was more than one shooter and whether grieving parents were actually so-called "crisis actors."

Basically, fuck that sheriff.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:47 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


How does this pass for sane?
posted by sio42 at 1:52 PM on October 2, 2015


rtha: > There were a tons of legal changes after Sandy Hook:

Three states and and some White House-directed changes including "Providing law enforcement authorities, first responders and school officials with proper training for armed attacks situations" and issuing reports and letters. Nothing out of Congress. Is that tons? I guess somewhere that is tons.


You're forgetting the "Just Say 'No' to Mass Gun Murder" buttons and t-shirts.

And the Moms Against Mass Gun Murder t-shirts and bumper stickers.

It's like you're intentionally ignoring all the US does to prevent gun violence. Hippy.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Because if people aren't OK with that, then it's time to call out the second amendment nonesense for what it is and consider some basic gun control measures to deal with these disturbed people and/or narcissists mass murdering on a weekly basis.
Here's the thing though: the Second Amendment isn't really vague on whether private gun ownership is a right. It is. That's not up for debate. Right now, in the US, it is considered a right.

With that out of the way, a more productive thing -- rather than trying to pretend that it's not a right or that people who admit that the Constitution says what it does are somehow bad or misguided -- is to figure out whether it should be a protected right in the first place.

(Preface: I, like almost all other comment authors in this thread, am woefully underqualified to consider the implications of Constitutional Amendments as they pertain to an entire nation's legal system...)

Personally, I think it's time to repeal the Second Amendment, and for the reasons touched on by some of the other posters. The intent of the Amendment was to provide the citizens with the means to mount an effective armed resistance against a corrupted, tyrannical government. But private firearm ownership isn't gonna do that anymore. So then you have to ask: should we allow ownership of other, higher power weapons, as that's the only way I can think of to restore that capability to the people? I don't think that most folks here would consider private tank ownership or private missile ownership to be reasonable.

So if the intent behind the Amendment can no longer be satisfied, what is the benefit of keeping it, aside from tradition?

And if you are in favor of keeping laws on the books solely because "it's how the country was founded", I'd love to know what fraction of a person you think a black man should count as.
posted by -1 at 2:04 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Here's how the shooter described himself in a dating profile.

Wow. Conservative + left-hand path seems like it's pretty much lawful evil.
posted by weston at 2:18 PM on October 2, 2015




Basically, fuck that sheriff.

I thought that letter he sent in the wake of Sandy Hook suggested he did not have the requisite empathy necessary to being in a leadership role in law enforcement. but posting such a crazy video, being a conspiracy theorist---

He's unfit to be a sheriff. He should not be in charge of anything or anybody because there's a screw loose. A huge screw.

Was it here that someone posted about conspiracy theorists and what motivated them?
posted by discopolo at 2:33 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would wish someone would ask him if the people we're seeing on TV are "crisis actors" except that would be horribly terrible to the victims of this tragedy. So I'll just wish the Sheriff gets what he deserves in life.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know, this song comes out of a different historical moment, but is sure starting to feel relevant now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:41 PM on October 2, 2015


If this is a crazy right-wing Sandy Hook truther, then I guarantee you that he sees this is as different. See, Sandy Hook was someone killing random innocents, and "people kill random innocents" isn't really the right wing party line. This is "Christians persecuted and killed for their faith" with actually fits that world view pretty well, so there's no reason to think this one is fake.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:43 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is "Christians persecuted and killed for their faith" with actually fits that world view pretty well, so there's no reason to think this one is fake.

Or we could go "Counter-Truther", by saying THIS ONE IS a fake and the Sheriff is part of the conspiracy. Just sayin'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would wish someone would ask him if the people we're seeing on TV were "crisis actors" except that would be horribly terrible to the victims of this tragedy. So I'll just wish the Sheriff gets what he deserves in life.

I think it would be difficult for any of us to do that because it's hard to believe this can't have rocked his world view. And it's just so hard to believe someone can actually believe Sandy Hook wasn't real. He could say it to my face and I simply couldn't believe that in his heart of hearts, he really truly believes that.

Does he do it to make his life seem more exciting? Does he do it as a defense mechanism because otherwise he must get overwhelmed by having to cope with the grief and sadness? Is it a way to feel smarter and above all of us?
posted by discopolo at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2015


This is "Christians persecuted for their faith

Loads of people are clinging to this idea, you're right. I've yet to see anyone mention that this was ripped out of the Columbine killers playbook. They did the same thing that day in Columbine.
posted by discopolo at 2:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if, in the Sheriff's World View, this happened in his jurisdiction to target him specifically for his open pro-gun support. I hope to be dissuaded from that, but nothing coming from him seems to contradict that, and I'd be unsurprised if something batshit insane doesn't spill from one of his press encounters before this is over.

They did the same thing that day in Columbine.
That just reinforces the case that the War on Christians has been going on for a long time.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:02 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


This discussion has passed, but I found this article on the ineffectiveness of mental health screening useful:
The risk factors that are linked to these events — basically, being an angry young man — are so widespread in the population, he explained, and so weakly predictive of an individual actually committing a mass shooting as to be practically useless. "The answer is yes, at least of the most highly publicized, most fear-inducing cases of stranger shootings, by and large they are angry young men," said Appelbaum. "But that doesn’t get you very far, because there are a lot of angry young men who are angry for all kinds of reasons, and unless one wants to lock them all up or put them all under 24-hour surveillance, it’s really impossible to build on a description that general to come up with effective preventative approaches."
I think we all kind of get that "better mental health" is not a good answer to gun massacres, but this really hits on why. You can't (and SHOULDN'T!) institutionalize all the people who would fit this profile. That puts the onus back on meaningful regulation, though, which also looks impossible. So Appelbaum says: “If you tell me that there’s nothing we can do about guns, I’d say then we’re done. We’ve conceded that we are willing to tolerate periodic slaughters of the innocent. There’s nothing more to say.’"
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:05 PM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Obama's reaction to Jeb!'s "Stuff happens,":

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one… The American people should hear that.”
posted by Existential Dread at 3:13 PM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've yet to see anyone mention that this was ripped out of the Columbine killers playbook. They did the same thing that day in Columbine.

If I'm correct in understanding what you're referring to, it's not that simple.
posted by Mapes at 3:16 PM on October 2, 2015


Obama's reaction to Jeb!'s "Stuff happens,":

Sigh, the Bush family. I'm not surprised. After all, Barbara Bush, of course, was the one who famously said that Hurricane Katrina made evacuees better off.

Actually, I am surprised. I don't think that kind of thing (saying "Stuff happens" will ever not surprise me. But he refused to even walk it back and he must live in his own little world. I wish he'd stay there. These Republican candidates are beyond just gross now.)
posted by discopolo at 3:21 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Loads of people are clinging to this idea, you're right. I've yet to see anyone mention that this was ripped out of the Columbine killers playbook. They did the same thing that day in Columbine.

That's a popular myth but isn't true. It was a case of mistaken identity by a student who couldn't actually see what was happening. The girl who was asked if she believed in god was not shot by Harris and Klebold, and the girl about whom this story was spread was not asked any questions.
posted by Justinian at 3:29 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, Mapes already posted a link about that.

Anyway if anyone doesn't read his link it says what I said above except with the names and so on.
posted by Justinian at 3:30 PM on October 2, 2015


Doesn't matter if it was actually true if the current shooter thought it was true and thus used it. As you say, it's a popular myth.
posted by desjardins at 3:36 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Here's the thing though: the Second Amendment isn't really vague on whether private gun ownership is a right. It is. That's not up for debate. Right now, in the US, it is considered a right.

Thanks to a concerted three decade campaign that was fought just as much politically as legally. Prior to that, there was a century of jurisprudence that said that it enshrined a collective right.

You don't get to ignore inconvenient history.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:40 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


"don't want to single you out, but this blows my fucking mind. Did you see this person before you fired?"

I lived in a small house where I saw/heard the window shatter and a clothed arm grab and knock over bottles visible from the alley in that window. I jumped, grabbed the shotgun (really small house; bed about 10' from reading chair, door 15' from bed) and ran out the door and down the alley. The fired at the running figure with bottles in hand. I was more than 50' away and only hoped to hit with some of scatter. Which I did.

They fell down and I approached them with other barrel aimed at them. That's when I realized my victim was a tweener kid. It made me sick to realize what I might have done to a young person. This was before cell phones, but the neighbors must have called the police. I was known to them because of a violent stalker the department helped me with.

Nonetheless, I was an adult who had shot a child within city limits. Later, my neighbors confirmed my story and I wasn't charged. I went to remediation talks with the kid and his family, but they were understandably unwilling to negotiate much. I was a white dyke who shot a black kid.

I moved out of that house after two more break-ins by my stalker, and the ex-BF of a friend of mine.
posted by Dreidl at 4:08 PM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


You don't get to ignore inconvenient history.
You don't get elected to anything without ignoring inconvenient history.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:39 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dreidl, why did you shoot him? I don't mean why did you shoot a kid, I mean why would you shoot him even if he was an adult?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:00 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


She didn't know it was a kid.
posted by sio42 at 5:05 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I got that. But my question is, even if it had been an adult, why would you shoot? I don't get the reasoning process that leads to shooting this person, even if one believes this person to be an adult.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:07 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


And not to speak for someone else but I'm guessing that the history of violent stalker may have something to do with it.
posted by sio42 at 5:07 PM on October 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think it may have had to do with this:
I was known to them because of a violent stalker the department helped me with.
If someone broke into my house and I had been working with the police to deal with a violent stalker, I would not necessarily immediately think "probably harmless kid" rather than "person who intends to do me serious harm."
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:08 PM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Arguing by analogy is often a bad idea in a charged thread, just go ahead and say what you mean. And please, I understand Dreidl has told the story, but let's not get off into debating over whether those actions were understandable in the moment or whatnot; pressing for more history on the stalker etc isn't great and isn't what the thread is about.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:08 PM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


An Al Jazeera America reporter is saying that according to voter rolls the shooter was a member of a political party called the "Independent Party", presumably the Independent Party of Oregon, which the reporter described as "socialist".
posted by XMLicious at 5:37 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


So the self-described conservative belonged to a socialist party? I'm getting the impression he wasn't firing on all cylinders. But I guess we knew that already.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now I'm thinking you were mocking the reporter? Because they aren't socialist?
posted by Justinian at 5:54 PM on October 2, 2015


A comment at the Jeb Bush story Atom Eyes posted a ways above:

Why can’t we open-carry in the visitor’s gallery of the Congress? If these Congressmen and Senators REALLY supported the 2nd Amendment, they’d allow responsible gun-owners to demonstrate our GUN SAFETY and PRIDE while listening to our Representatives debate.

#EndTheBan #GunsInCongressNow #whatchascaredoflibtards

-- burner2020

posted by bryon at 5:56 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


They seem to be basically centrist, good government, suspicious-of-establishment-institutions-but-not-particularly-radical types. They definitely don't appear to be socialist from my reading of their website. They say that 64% of members support cutting government spending. I don't think you can read very much at all into the factoid of his party registration.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:57 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now I'm thinking you were mocking the reporter? Because they aren't socialist?

No, simply because the reporter literally used the word "socialist" and said "you can look at their web site". It seemed it would be notable whether it was true or false, since I haven't noticed this sort of bias on Al Jazeera America before.

Perhaps it's telling that I wasn't able to find the same clip I just saw on cable on america.aljazeera.com. (Or there could just be a delay, of course.)

I could be wrong about whether "Independent Party" referred to the Independent Party of Oregon, I suppose.
posted by XMLicious at 6:04 PM on October 2, 2015


The reporter was some guy they had on-site in Oregon, by the way, not the anchor.
posted by XMLicious at 6:05 PM on October 2, 2015


I have a sort of sidebar question that I wonder about whenever these discussions come up. In the Canadian military we have quite a few restriction surrounding weapons on bases. It is a somewhat fluid thing but for the most part you can't just walk around freely with a loaded weapon without a purpose. And even taking a stroll with an unloaded one is very circumstance dependent. There are guns all over the place (and when you are in the field you can carry whatever you own) but ammunition for them was tightly controlled.

So my recurring ponderance ... is open carry (walking around with a loaded personal weapon aside from MP's and guard duty stuff) a thing on US military bases, or are there similar restrictions, lots of guns, tight hold on ammo and no unwarranted wandering with unloaded weapons?
posted by phoque at 6:07 PM on October 2, 2015


Honestly, I feel that this is the sort of social problem that Silicon Valley, in its infinite bubble, might as well take a crack at. Why not improve taser technology so that it's cheaper and safer? If a lot of gun owners want to use the self-defense card, why not create a better self-defense weapon? (Not that mace and pepper spray aren't a thing, but whatever.) Imagine Tesla rolling out a line of nonlethal lightning guns. Tasers are already a problematic thing that's out there- why not push them as a less-lethal alternative to firearms?

Or hell, tranquilizer pistols for the average non-animal control consumer.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:24 PM on October 2, 2015


But we do we do with all the guns out there already?

Seriously.

My mom is not about to trade her. 44, 9mm, or shotgun for a taser when she's expecting an armed assault on her rural home.
So how do we get from " I need a gun to be safe" to aa " taser is cool too" when there are millions of guns?
posted by sio42 at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


How do we address the fear?
posted by sio42 at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Little Dawn at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2015


is open carry (walking around with a loaded personal weapon aside from MP's and guard duty stuff) a thing on US military bases,

No, it is not.

or are there similar restrictions, lots of guns, tight hold on ammo and no unwarranted wandering with unloaded weapons?

There are similar restrictions.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:46 PM on October 2, 2015


I'm no expert, but my understanding is that arming police with tasers has not reduced the number of shootings. Instead of tasering people they might otherwise have shot, police are tasering people they would not otherwise have assaulted. I could see the same thing happening with civilians' supposed self-defence.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:48 PM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


But we do we do with all the guns out there already?

This is always my question and no one has had a good answer. I don't think Australia is a fair comparison. There are already voluntary buybacks. Obviously there are a lot of people who wouldn't sell at any price. Those are likely also the most dangerous people to confiscate from.
posted by desjardins at 7:12 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


That strikes me as a "deal with one problem at a time" kind of situation.
posted by Justinian at 7:26 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think buybacks that are sufficiently high-priced (I don't know how much a gun costs, but if they cost $50 and you give out $1000, say, just to go nuts), then it would get a huge proportion of the people keeping a gun in the closet or nightstand, probably lots of guns belonging to petty criminals. The thing is, those nightstand guns are the ones that end up stolen and in the hands of criminals. Getting the guns out of the nightstands can shut down the pipeline.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The nightstand gun pipeline, I never thought of that.
posted by clavdivs at 7:49 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


"No, no- not international socialism...uh, I think it's the...other kind, I guess."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


How do we address the fear?

I understand that it's the core problem in American society. But then, so is American dependence on cars vs. mass transit. A better, cheaper, more mainstream taser would be a band-aid at best. But if it can convert gun owners who are into it for the armed defense rationale (as opposed for the sport, or the ideology), then at least it'll put a dent into the overall demand for guns.

Consider what Tesla did for electric vehicles. Show that your cleaner, electric gizmo is a viable alternative to the dangerous, environmentally-damaging incumbent. Do it with style and good branding so people would it the new cool. The government could do its part by levying taxes on guns/ammo while not doing so to less-lethal defense methods- creating incentives for people to switch to this new system. Cash for cannons.

If government action alone is not politically viable, then market alternatives need to be established, to work in conjunction with the government. Sorry if this is Silicon Valley techno-utopian capitalism at its most raw, but it's true; this is how social change works in America now.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:04 PM on October 2, 2015


But if you're planning a mass murder, you're not going to buy a taser, so I'm not sure how having that as a market alternative makes a difference? I mean, the goal is to get guns away from bad people, right? Not someone's aunt who lives on a farm or whatever.
posted by desjardins at 8:25 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


How much rare earth material is needed for a taser?
posted by clavdivs at 8:31 PM on October 2, 2015


So I was re-listening to the Emmylou Harris catalog the other day, and came across her rendering of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty". One line caught my ear:

"Wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to feel"

Such a perfect distillation of 'Murcan open-carry gun culture. Open carry is just a license to micro assault every person you walk past. It's a threat.

A propos nothing, just came to mind.
posted by notsnot at 8:41 PM on October 2, 2015 [11 favorites]


... the 2nd Amendment, which was written in the year 1789.

Note that 1789 was the year of the French revolution, not the American.

The 2nd amendment was meant to guarantee that men of property could form private armies to defend that property, and their lives, against the people who didn't have property, even if the government couldn't or wouldn't -- which is exactly what happened in France, and which completely terrified the American elite.

And that's exactly why, in my opinion, these mass murders make right wing gun owners grip their guns all the more tightly, and go out and buy so much ammunition that it causes shortages.

Those guns aren't for hunting, or preventing rapes or muggings or robberies, or recreation, or any of the other bullshit propaganda -- they are held against the day when all the delusive right wing paranoia comes true, and the rest of the population finally wrests control of the government from them and starts to come after their stuff.
posted by jamjam at 8:43 PM on October 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


My stock club briefly owned shares in Sturm Ruger, which I argued against vehemently. It's a shit stock, dependent solely on massacres to briefly prop up demand for guns. This is not a rational business model.

The percentage of people who own guns go down every year, but their arsenals grow ever larger. At what point do you tap out that market? Hence the stoking of fear and the mantra that more guns are the solution. Doesn't matter what the problem is. More guns are the solution.

We eventually sold the stock, but not before losing a bunch of money on it. If only we'd held out for the next mass murder. Or the next. Or the next.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:07 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think the idea that the second amendment was intended as a means for the haves to oppress the have-nots holds the least amount of water. The Founders had many faults but that wasn't one of them. Apart from little details like the whole slavery business.

But the whole history of the second amendment from its origins in English common law belies the idea that it was meant as a tool of oppression.
posted by Justinian at 9:24 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Little details like slavery?
posted by futz at 9:36 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


@cooperhawke: "For the gun control questionnaire the primary question should be 'Are you an insecure white male?'"
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:09 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think we all kind of get that "better mental health" is not a good answer to gun massacres, but this really hits on why. You can't (and SHOULDN'T!) institutionalize all the people who would fit this profile. That puts the onus back on meaningful regulation, though, which also looks impossible.

There seems to be some misconceptions about mental health screenings for gun sales. It's not to prevent just massacres, but all gun violence, notably suicide. It targets delusional violence by checking the buyer's mental history for red flags. This background check alone is enough to enrage gun enthusiasts across America, but it is rational when compared to institutionalizing someone in order to prevent them from buying a gun, in order to prevent a massacre. Also, arguments that claim that anything which prevents violence is somehow justified also miss the point, because banning most aggressive thoughts and images also prevents some violence, in theory, so there is a trade-off somewhere. But if we're talking about banning most guns, then we've already assumed their ban for everyone, so the mental health candidates have lost them in both arguments. Only a fairness of rights issue would work in their defense, and nobody is seriously making it except the gun lobby.
posted by Brian B. at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


This has happened in the past. The Black Panthers used open-carry laws as a way to protest police violence in black communities in the 60's..

Their intent was not to bring about gun reform. Their intent was actually to say that if open carry was legal, then they would open carry for self defense. But, ironically enough, CA passed a law banning open carry of loaded weapons, with a quickness, once they saw a bunch of armed black men.


Previously.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 PM on October 2, 2015


Here's an idea - so with all the drug legalization/liberalization, all those private jail owners gotta be taking it on the chin, right? If not now, then in the near future as new 'clients' fail to come in. So, pass some mandatory sentencing laws for illegal gun owners (previous felony conviction/ history of violence, failure to provide a valid lisence and registration... Actually the mental health question could be a problem but this is a figment about the mechanisms of structural social change anyway) and then get the private jailers to see what a boon this could be and let them apply the money and pressure on politicians to git er done and within five years, 'presto!' Prob solved!
Because common sense is off the table. Clearly. Tragically.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:11 PM on October 2, 2015


Earlier I was going to suggest that you give the ATF the vast sweeping powers of the DEA, and have them prosecute a War on Illegal Guns similar to the War on Drugs. I mean, without any dalliances south of the border, of course.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:33 PM on October 2, 2015


The French Revolution featured the whiff of grapeshot... the glaring thing that these mass shootings demonstrate about the supposed 2nd amendment justification for owning modern firearms is that many 21st-century hand-held weapons would appear much more like an 18th-century artillery piece to a Founding Father.
posted by XMLicious at 11:53 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake.

Oh, dear. That's less than a mile from my house. Welp.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:36 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


994 mass shootings in 1,004 days. A sick society in denial.
posted by adamvasco at 6:42 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, pass some mandatory sentencing laws for illegal gun owners (previous felony conviction/ history of violence, failure to provide a valid lisence and registration...

Except that legally owned guns are just as deadly as illegally owned guns. The guns for all the shootings Obama has spoken after were acquired legally.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:58 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jeb Bush on the Oregon shootings: "Stuff happens."

I'm bracing myself for the moment when a gun-lovin' right winger--perhaps a member of the audience during a Trump rally--turns to the media and adopts the victim blaming argument that, to me, appears to be subtly hidden behind the "Stuff happens" comment: That the innocents in recent mass shootings deserve blame rather than pity, that they ignored or scoffed at their right to arm themselves in public, that they failed in their duty to defend their peers from random violence with a firearm, and that the responsibility for these massacres falls, ultimately, on their shoulders.
posted by Gordion Knott at 7:16 AM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


TPM's josh Marshall: As the massacres continue, an increasing number of people think that we should expunge the names of the offenders both to obliterate their memory and deny them whatever infamy or perverted glory they hoped to gain by their crimes.
...
The naming game is becoming a sign you're not just being passive or indifferent. You’re doing something. Because they want publicity (which is likely part of the motive for many of these men but by no means all of it) and by not naming them you’re denying them publicity. You're doing something. You’re taking a stand. It’s becoming an emblem of your seriousness about the issue. But of course this is all bullshit. The issue is that virtually anyone can buy any or as many guns as they want and we as a society are not willing to do anything about it.
...
It is a grand evasion because we need to make ourselves feel better by finding a way to think we are doing 'something' even though we're unwilling to do anything that actually matters. Except for those immediately affected or those in the tightly defined communities affected we also shouldn't give ourselves the solace of watching teary-eyed memorials or all the rest. Again, as a society we've made our decision. I would go so far as to say that it's good for us to know Mercer's name since we are in fact his accomplices. It's good that we know each other.

We've made our choice. We should feel that, not play games or make excuses or come up with diversions to make ourselves feel better.

posted by T.D. Strange at 7:19 AM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


i really would like to know why people like their guns so much

I want Bernie Sanders to answer that question w/o a 'well around these here parts people like their hunting'


For a lot of people, hunting is part and parcel of that answer, though. They might or might not be active hunters themselves, but they used to hunt and family members hunt. A lot of shooting sports are modeled on hunting and are used for hunting practice, like skeet and trap shooting, for example.

That doesn't mean that hunting has much direct causation to these mass shootings (as far as I know most of the recent perpetrators were not hunters, and they certainly aren't fetishizing or using hunting firearms), but it has huge relevance to why US gun laws are so liberal and why there is such intense push-back from rural areas (including many sheriffs) against gun restrictions supported by urban lawmakers and residents.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:00 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dip flash, that's great and all, but what does hunting have to do with all the fucking handguns?

I'm thinking anyone who tries to hunt with a pistol doesn't know which end of a screwdriver to use.
posted by notsnot at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Between the Muckers in Stand on Zanzibar and the blase attitude of most of the world towards rampant, visible change in climate in The Sheep Look Up, it's downright terrifying.

Thoughts on Muckers [1,2,3]
posted by kliuless at 8:19 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


i really would like to know why people like their guns so much

There's likely a distance from assistance formula, if we're looking at this objectively. The longer it takes the Sheriff to arrive, the more likely it is that you are the deputized. It's the same reason most people don't lock their doors in rural areas, because most of their property is outside anyway. History shows that we will never solve the complex problems that lead people to see guns as a defensive survival tool, such as poverty and crime. So, they like their guns as much as they liked their toy guns when they were children, when the instinct was more primitive and on display.
posted by Brian B. at 8:37 AM on October 3, 2015


Dip flash, that's great and all, but what does hunting have to do with all the fucking handguns?

Nothing in a practical sense, but apparently everything in terms of the legal framework. Speaking just anecdotally here, I generally see pistols being used for plinking and self-protection, along with utilitarian things like killing livestock and putting down injured deer and elk on the side of the road. In rural areas pistols are tools, though of course not indispensable. The troubling thing to me is that people clearly fetishize pistols in a way that they don't with hunting rifles and shotguns, but I don't know how far you could go legally in terms of separately regulating them given the recent supreme court rulings.

There's likely a distance from assistance formula, if we're looking at this objectively. The longer it takes the Sheriff to arrive, the more likely it is that you are the deputized.

There was a good article in the New York Times about this today, Oregon’s Gun Debate Goes Beyond Liberals vs. Conservatives:
In Oregon, the divide between urban places, which are booming, especially the state’s largest city, Portland, and rural ones, which are largely struggling, has often shaped the debate over guns and other social issues. And the clash has intensified as inequality has grown, with cities becoming hubs of technology, as well as population growth, giving them increased clout in the Legislature, while places like Douglas County have been starved for resources and population as old extraction industries like timber have stumbled....

Private gun ownership for protection, and in some cases armed citizen patrols in depressed areas of Oregon where cuts in law enforcement budgets have been particularly severe, have added another wrinkle to the debate.

A few years ago, after burglaries rose about 70 percent as law enforcement budgets were battered in Josephine County, another timber-economy community just south of Roseburg, patrol groups took up where the police had left off. Their guns, the patrollers said, were helping keep the community safe.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:02 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


My introduction to guns when a very drunk uncle took me aside at age 17 and with red eyes and slurred words, informed me that I was a very attractive girl and needed to learn how to protect myself. I remember looking at the loaded pistol in his lap like it was a sleeping snake

So, yeah guns to me are a very creepy uncle and fear of accidental discharge
posted by angrycat at 9:22 AM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


A few years ago, after burglaries rose about 70 percent as law enforcement budgets were battered in Josephine County, another timber-economy community just south of Roseburg, patrol groups took up where the police had left off. Their guns, the patrollers said, were helping keep the community safe.

This doesn't seem unreasonable to me. If local governments in general and police departments in particular are de-funded, it's totally understandable that people would want to want to try to perform the police function themselves. I'd rather have my police at least nominally accountable as a function of the state, but in areas where people feel otherwise, as long as private gun ownership and carry are legal, they should have the right to defend their own homes or even choose some people to do it for them within the parameters of federal law.

Of course this same principle should apply to areas where people would prefer to restrict private gun ownership and carry to those deemed worthy of doing so by their government, but even though the Second Amendment as currently interpreted allows for this (as noted above), the NRA nationalizes the issue by fighting tooth and nail to oppose state and local efforts to restrict guns in ways that people who actually live in these jurisdictions approve of.

I don't think you can have it both ways -- if people in rural areas want to keep guns for hunting, personal protection, etc. as the current Second Amendment interpretation allows, that's fine, but then they and their NRA dollars should mind their own fucking business when people in other areas decide that they'd rather fund their police forces properly and restrict carry in legal ways.

Instead, having decided that a stranglehold on the debate in the U.S. isn't enough, they're taking their fight worldwide, interfering with the debates over gun policy in other countries. Presumably, if any signs of alien life are found on other planets, the NRA will be there to make sure the Second Amendment becomes the law of the Universe, as the U.S. founding fathers surely intended.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:44 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


TPM: Sheriff In Charge Of Oregon Massacre Probe Posted Sandy Hook Truther Video

More TPM: Pro-Gun Oregon Sheriff Tied To Fringey 'Constitutional' Group Before Massacre
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on October 3, 2015




The guy apparently left behind a thumb drive and multi-page note, and it's been reported he:
- was angry at women because he didn't have a girlfriend
- felt the world treated him unfairly
- was a white supremacist

It's that great racist/misogynist/entitlement trifecta again that so many of these shooters appear to possess. Gun control is the first step to stop the bleeding, literally. But we, as a society, need to be open to addressing our problem of angry (mostly white) men who lash out because they don't see the rest of the world waiting on them hand and mouth. The NYT had an article on the profile of shooters, and a couple psych experts basically said there's so many angry young men like Harper-Mercer in this country that we can't deny guns to all of them. Which is pretty terrifying.
posted by schroedinger at 11:43 AM on October 3, 2015 [6 favorites]


John Paul Stevens served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010. This essay is excerpted from his new book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.”

The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:20 PM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


The guy apparently left behind a thumb drive and multi-page note, and it's been reported he:
- was angry at women because he didn't have a girlfriend
- felt the world treated him unfairly
- was a white supremacist

It's that great racist/misogynist/entitlement trifecta again that so many of these shooters appear to possess.


According to The Daily Beast:
The father is Caucasian, Evans said, while Mercer’s mother, Laurel Harper, is black.
It's weird how he can be considered a White Supremacist with a black mother (who raised him - apparently his father is not part of his life). Not saying it's impossible, but a lot of accounts report him as white without actually getting the full story about his mixed-race background. But I suppose his own words must stand as representing his point of view.

In this, this incident seems to be paralleling the Elliott Rodger story, where a mixed-race (White/Asian) killer was also accused of acting out of simple white racism against minorities. The real story is undoubtedly more complex and multi-faceted, as are these men themselves.
posted by theorique at 12:35 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


I pulled that information from here and here (very similar articles) and the USB key with white supremacist rhetoric has been reported in multiple agencies, like here. He talks in his various posts online about his distaste for the BLM movement, but whatever he left behind is apparently more explicit and extensive.

The experiences of mixed-race people in our society are tremendously varied and it's not surprising that outliers like him would result. Irrespective of their parents, how they appear to the outside world will have a drastic effect on the way they're treated by others. Harper-Mercer "reads" as white in photos. He would not have had experienced the same treatment as he would've as a darker-skinned person. One would like to believe that having a Black parent would open him to more diverse viewpoints--but that's also dependent on the views of his mom.
posted by schroedinger at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2015


“He didn’t have a girlfriend, and he was upset about that,” said a senior law enforcement official, From the NYTimes link.

I wish I understood the rise of this sort of murderous toxic masculinity. I mean, it's not really new, I know, in that men have been murdering women for a long time for having the temerity not to date them. But why does it recently seem to be exploding into mass murder?

I know the web can be a great amplifier, and that there has been a rise of an antifeminist movement that has to be understood as a hate group. And maybe I don't need to understand this better. Maybe we just need to understand this as a terrorist organization, and treat it as such.
posted by maxsparber at 12:58 PM on October 3, 2015 [10 favorites]


Makes sense - he is fairly light skinned, so I can see where the news media and/or people on social media would simplify the story down to a sound bite. And if the guy is mentally ill (or even not), it's not hard to imagine that he might be hating on some aspect of his heritage. Especially if he had resentment against his mother (going Freudian here). And the absent (white) father might be some idealized blank slate he's projecting his fantasies on.
posted by theorique at 12:59 PM on October 3, 2015


See also: George Zimmerman's heritage was Hispanic, but for all intents and purposes he lived the life of a White man. And got violent racism and xenophobia along with it.
posted by schroedinger at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2015


Or he does think of himself as Black, and doesn't see what all those other Black men are complaining about because his experience has been so different. Until we read what he wrote we have no idea what's going on except that he apparently had a very ignorant idea of the history of race in the US.
posted by schroedinger at 1:02 PM on October 3, 2015


Harper-Mercer "reads" as white in photos.
I've seen several people say that, and I find it really interesting, because in the picture that's been circulating, he doesn't read as white to me. Weird.

His email address was ironcross45, which seems pretty clearly to be a Nazi reference. It may be really weird for him to embrace white supremacy, but apparently he did. He also seems to have been obsessed with the IRA, despite having been born in Britain, so maybe he identified as white and had weird oedipal hostility towards his parents.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:02 PM on October 3, 2015


Oh for fuck's sake.

Oh, dear. That's less than a mile from my house. Welp.


Mile and a half east of me.

Pimlico. I avoid Pimlico.
posted by sidereal at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


@Faint of Butt - I heard the sirens yesterday, now that I think of it. I wondered why there were so many (one siren is normal, about once a day)
posted by sidereal at 1:29 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment.

Wow, Supreme clickbait. Talk about taking it to the next level.

The words are:
“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.”
posted by sidereal at 2:16 PM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, Stevens didn't write the headline, did he?* The essay explains carefully why he feels those words would address some of the major issues with the current interpretation of the amendment.


*The chapter title in the book is "The Second Amendment (Gun Control)"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:42 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


One would like to believe that having a Black parent would open him to more diverse viewpoints--but that's also dependent on the views of his mom.

The Daily Beast had an article quoting the mother's brother in law. She was raised in an upper middle class family. His other seemed to encourage environmental stewardship, neighbors say she was a nice person, but that her son was clearly emotionally disturbed.

But all these things are really difficult to get much from. We'll never know what mom believed and how much it influenced her son.

I do get this sense from Nancy Lanza that she was kind of afraid of him and on eggshells with Adam Lanza. We don't know if Laurel Harper was the kind of mom who respected his son's privacy because she simply didn't think he was capable of murdering anyone. Neighbors say he was always screaming at her and having temper tantrums. like Nancy Lanza, it seems the mom here was "fiercely protective" of the emotionally disturbed son. I don't know if that was to the extent that Nancy Lanza went, in not taking the advice of doctors and experts and doing things to just make and keep him comfortable.

Though I doubt any single mother with an emotionally disturbed son is given any guidebook on how to handle their kid.

I just saw an article that said the mother also liked guns and talked about guns online.
posted by discopolo at 3:06 PM on October 3, 2015


Johnny Wallflower: I know. WaPo should know better.
posted by sidereal at 3:11 PM on October 3, 2015


Yeah. The Post is a ghost of its former self, and I don't think Bezos will do anything to restore its vitality.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:14 PM on October 3, 2015


Fun fact! Asking NRA members if more guns are needed in developing countries often gets an answer that is both oddly anti-gun and profoundly racist.
posted by duffell at 3:23 PM on October 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


More from the Washington Post.

"The Second Amendment guarantee of the right of the people to keep and bear arms includes the stated purpose of ensuring the necessary precondition for the existence of a well-regulated militia. The right to arms likewise assures the continuing viability of the posse comitatus. In 21st century America, as in England under the Alfred the Great, the individual’s possession of arms is a right and it is also part of civic duty. Unlike in some other nations (including the modern United Kingdom) where “the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms” (Federalist 46), the American system (like its Anglo-Saxon ancestor) is premised on armed law-abiding citizens participating in the preservation of law and order."

"Sheriffs and the posse comitatus"
posted by clavdivs at 3:52 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Damn, clavdivs, good link. That is the crux of the argument to me. The problem is that the majority of the voices heard (i.e. the loudest) tend to be completely against the principal of the foundation. You can have your guns. And when a duly elected official of the government calls upon you, you will serve the role as ad hoc support for the lawful execution of that role. Very interestng to have it laid out as such. None of the gun enthusiasts I am familiar with ever touch on this.

And also sad to see it cogently explained by a CATO jackhole.
posted by daq at 6:16 PM on October 3, 2015


The personal defense issue was addressed in case law in DC vs Heller.

The key finding of the Supreme Court decision was:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Obviously, a constitutional amendment would supersede this, but for now, it reads like a person doesn't have to be part of a militia to own and operate guns.
posted by theorique at 6:23 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's also the fact that the militia is generally understood to be every able-bodied male 18 or over in the country. Though these days one assumes it would be every able-bodied person.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on October 3, 2015


From the article on posse comitatus:
The posse comitatus was supposed to be the people of the county participating in self-government by enforcing their own laws. Now, federal posse comitatus had been perverted into a weapon that transformed free citizens into the minions of distant slave-owners.
How chagrined they must have been, those slave masters who enshrined these powers in US law and doctrine, to find that their efforts had been used as intended.

The posse comitatus and its predecessors like the hue and cry have always been about securing the wealth and safety of the privileged. When Robert Peel introduced a civilian police force it was because the existing system was unsatisfactory and oppressive: victims were expected to apprehend criminals themselves; if they did not or could not the task was left to the notoriously-corrupt thief takers. That's the sort of thing that privatised enforcement leads to; that's why every civilised country has abandoned it; even the ... gentleman ... who wrote this article is ashamed to call for it directly; he merely makes a nod and a wink towards the racists, bullies, and extortionists who benefit from these vestigial laws.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


they are held against the day when all the delusive right wing paranoia comes true, and the rest of the population finally wrests control of the government from them and starts to come after their stuff.

Uh, if you think the paranoid gun owners in fear of dark people are the ones running the country, you should probably reconsider. If there was good money in removing guns from American hands, we'd be Switzerland by now. This is just an incoherent mish mash of progressive phobias.
posted by echocollate at 8:43 PM on October 3, 2015


Switzerland doesn't even need to remove guns from their citizen's hands. They just take the "well-regulated militia" part seriously.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:49 PM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I wish I understood the rise of this sort of murderous toxic masculinity. I mean, it's not really new, I know, in that men have been murdering women for a long time for having the temerity not to date them. But why does it recently seem to be exploding into mass murder?

Why Are So Many Mass Shootings Committed by Young White Men?

Mass Shooters Have A Gender and a Race

It fits the m.o. of the stereotypical young white male. There are few actions more entitled than suicide by mass murder, i.e. "if I'm gonna go, I'm gonna take a bunch of people with me."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:57 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


perhaps the situation in ukraine is too far afield, but just throwing this out as a marker on a present day example of how far 'privatised enforcement' can go (and out of what context a posse comitatus might arise):
the key, as Mr Saakashvili knows from his experience in Georgia, is control over law-enforcement agencies... The population is growing poorer—and more radical. Meanwhile, Ukraine is brimming with weapons and thousands of militiamen, angry with a corrupt and listless government they feel has hijacked the revolution.

In Odessa a pro-Ukrainian volunteer force called “Self-Defence” boasts 300 men (many of them armed) and 400 more in reserve. Vitaly Kozhukar, one of its leaders, says he and his men are disappointed that Mr Saakashvili does not rely on them. “We expected more radical steps from him,” says Mr Kozhukar. “We will give him a couple of months before we start asking questions. And if he tells us that the problem is in Kiev, we will go to Kiev.”

Given the weakness of law enforcement, it might not take much for a militia battalion to move into Kiev and stage a coup. Many of the paramilitary groups are financed by oligarchs. Were they to overthrow the government, the country could collapse into regional factions—a prospect relished by Russia.

To tame the militias, the state must grow strong enough to establish a monopoly on violence. Yet law enforcement agencies are so discredited that reformers have turned to creating parallel structures. New “patrol police” departments have been set up in cities including Kiev and Odessa. Recruits are put through a vigorous selection process to weed out bad apples, trained by police instructors from California, and paid triple the salaries of the old departments to avoid temptation.
posted by kliuless at 11:09 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


His email address was ironcross45, which seems pretty clearly to be a Nazi reference. It may be really weird for him to embrace white supremacy, but apparently he did.

That could just be a gaming handle he had from playing WW2-themed FPS games or something like that. I'm not saying that mixed race White Supremacists don't exist, it's a pretty strange world we live in after all, but extraordinary claims etc.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 11:20 PM on October 3, 2015


That could just be a gaming handle he had from playing WW2-themed FPS games or something like that. I'm not saying that mixed race White Supremacists don't exist, it's a pretty strange world we live in after all, but extraordinary claims etc.

As stated in the articles I linked above, the white supremacy claims aren't from the email handle. They're from a USB key he left behind that was apparently full of racist screeds.
posted by schroedinger at 12:39 AM on October 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


As stated in the articles I linked above, the white supremacy claims aren't from the email handle. They're from a USB key he left behind that was apparently full of racist screeds.

Makes sense. In general, the actual, unaltered words of a criminal (manifesto, suicide note, etc) are more trustworthy than news media's interpretation. While they may be crazy, they typically wrote what they wrote for some reason.
posted by theorique at 5:46 AM on October 4, 2015


So what do we actually do to stop this?

My fb is filled with people posting stats about drugs or hospital infections or drunk drivers kill more people than gun violence.

They think that if we make it harder for people to get guns, drug dealers and murderers will still have no problem getting guns.

I don't know how people can NOT see this as a problem. This meaning mass shooting on a regular basis.
posted by sio42 at 7:41 AM on October 4, 2015


So what do we actually do to stop this?

First, get all the relevant facts so people aren't making stuff up for you to believe in. Then ask yourself if suicide by gun is worth reducing and worth annoying people about (because most people want criminals to kill each other in their dealings, if TV ratings mean anything). Suicide is an important angle because most of these mass shooters have committed suicide in the act and fit a profile that can be flagged, such as medications or treatments that are associated with suicide ideation (especially when going off those medications or treatments). Suicide by gun is also rising, while gun homicide is going down, so we need something new. The problem is that people don't trust their government, but there are private groups that can handle mental health screenings, especially insurance companies. Lastly, avoid the old traps, such as debating the framers' intent of the second amendment outside of a legal discussion. The American founders made no mistakes in legitimizing arms in early America, because at the time there were no concealable bullet hoses capable of massacring entire rooms. The gradual evolution of gun technology have people funneled into thinking that gun laws didn't need to evolve too.
posted by Brian B. at 8:35 AM on October 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


That's all and good and what I've been saying to people. Yet I'm told that not enough people die from guns to matter. And that criminals and suicidal people will find a gun if they want one.

That we don't make it harder for sober people to drive or obtain cars and there are are lot more drunk driving fatalities than gun deaths.

How can so many of us see that there is a problem and that it has to do with guns being easy to get and that they are objects of destruction yet so many others just shrug?
posted by sio42 at 8:54 AM on October 4, 2015


Yet I'm told that not enough people die from guns to matter.

Ask them if they'd say that if it was their parent, child, spouse, or best friend.

That we don't make it harder for sober people to drive or obtain cars and there are are lot more drunk driving fatalities than gun deaths.

Ask them if they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Now replace walking with trying to address drunk driving, and chewing gum with trying to address gun violence.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:02 AM on October 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yet I'm told that not enough people die from guns to matter. And that criminals and suicidal people will find a gun if they want one.

Well, if guns are so easy to find then they can't turn around and complain that you are making it so hard for them to get the guns they want. And 20,000 gun suicides per year doesn't need second guessing.
posted by Brian B. at 9:05 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kristof's column on a public health approach to gun violence crossed my feed today. It's not actually a new idea, but it's one we really haven't implemented yet, and it's just about the only sensible one. I agree we're not going to win this one by confining efforts to the ballot box due to the corruption, relentless gun lobby marketing and general idiocy, and the only hope might be to more aggressively get the AMA, pediatricians, public health associations, nurses' associations, social workers, etc to tackle it as a health and medical issue. If we had a surgeon general and NIH who could take a stronger stance and make it a central issue, that might set legislators back on their heels and make them start to act. If we created a set of professional interventions around screening for gun risks during childhood and adolescents anything like the professional accountability system we have for child abuse, sexual abuse and neglect, we could make a much bigger dent. We can't keep thinking that whether or not people have guns around is their business and their business alone: it's a child health issue, a family health issue, and a community health issue.

My fb is filled with people posting stats about drugs or hospital infections or drunk drivers kill more people than gun violence.

It is bone-wearingly exhausting to engage these people because their arguments are so bad (and built on totally unquestioned assumptions) and their emotions on the issue so entrenched. I know, because I have a few of those in my feed too. It can take months and months to even make a dent in their disordered thinking. I continue to shake my head in wonder that, given the choice of whether to mourn and bemoan gun violence for the tragedy it so clearly is and talk about possible solutions, their choice is to rush to the defense of liberal gun policies, turning away from any and all discussion of consequences and trying to interject red herrings. It's a morally heinous choice, but it's where people go. Anyway, on that note, those positions are easy to break down and debunk, but a person does get tired of leading them through the step-by-step process of doing it, sometimes over years.

One interesting view is that levels of violence would stay stable regardless of the weapons technology. That is not only counterintuitive (most of us, especially in a large group, would far sooner face a knife- or bat-wielding attacker than a gun-wielding one), it doesn't seem to be true. Stronger gun control would reduce impulsive and opportunistic gun purchase and stockpiling. An interesting aside in Kristof's piece:
In Great Britain, people used to kill themselves by putting their heads in the oven and asphyxiating themselves with coal gas. This accounted for almost half of British suicides in the late 1950s, but Britain then began switching from coal gas to natural gas, which is much less lethal. Sticking one’s head in the oven was no longer a reliable way to kill oneself — and there was surprisingly little substitution of other methods. Suicide rates dropped, and they stayed at a lower level.
Finally, I personally don't really care that traffic fatalities or diet-related disease fatalities (or whatever bad thing you want to name) are equally or more common than gun fatalities - something that gun nuts like to use to accuse us of hypocrisy. It's not hypocritical to consider gun violence different. Not all ways of death have the same their influence on culture. The aggression and horror demonstrated in mass shootings and domestic violence shootings and gang violence shootings are cultural negatives and attempted acts of dominance and terrorism that we should do our best to mitigate because they are psychologically pernicious, and intentionally so. They aren't accidents that happen as a side effect of our love of autos or high fructose corn syrup. Gun violence is different, and we need to be able to call that what it is without a lot of handwaving and misdirection.
posted by Miko at 9:06 AM on October 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't know that you're going to be able to argue people out of these positions, to be honest. But the data on suicide is pretty clear. Suicide is often an impulsive act, and if people pause for even five to ten minutes, they often decide not to do it. Having a gun in the house means that the suicidal person doesn't need to pause. They can go get and load their gun right away. That's why having a gun in the house is a major risk factor for suicide. It is, of course, hard to study this, because of the Federal ban on funding gun-related research, but I'm pretty sure there's data out there that supports this.

One thing you could ask them would be whether they think we should treat hospital deaths and drunk driving like we treat gun deaths. Should public health researchers be banned from studying their causes or how to prevent them? Should we treat them as inevitable and not try to reduce the numbers of people who die from those things? I think most people would be pretty horrified at that suggestion, and in fact we have been able to reduce drunk driving deaths and hospital infection rates by using common-sense prevention measures. Why can't we do that for guns?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:08 AM on October 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


From Kristof's piece:

One problem is that the gun lobby has largely blocked research on making guns safer. Between 1973 and 2012, the National Institutes of Health awarded 89 grants for the study of rabies and 212 for cholera — and only three for firearms injuries.

This is often a forgotten aspect of the issue, and one that I suspect will be persuasive to anyone who believes that industry lobbyists shouldn't be blocking scientific inquiry because it hurts their profits. If the brewing industry created a trade group that fought for a provision in US law that banned federal funding for studies that might result in stricter DUI laws, I suspect people would be up in arms.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:29 AM on October 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


The only hope might be to more aggressively get the AMA, pediatricians, public health associations, nurses' associations, social workers, etc to tackle it as a health and medical issue.

Good luck with that. Florida now has a law forbidding doctors from discussing guns with patients. Pediatricians consider discussing gun safety and gun access around children as similar to discussing lead paint and car seats. Yet it is now illegal in Florida and Texas is about to follow suit.

Congress has a law explicitly forbidding the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from spending any money on studies of the causes of gun violence.

So the NRA and other gun nuts are vehemently opposed to even talking about gun violence and have the law to back them up.
posted by JackFlash at 10:07 AM on October 4, 2015


Has anyone tried going at this from a counterterrorism angle?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:25 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yet I'm told that not enough people die from guns to matter.

And, unfortunately for the safety of everyone in your country, that's the most honest answer you're going to get. In the same way that execution supporters handwave away the innocent people who are murdered by the state, or drone strike supporters handwave away the innocent people killed by RC bombing, those deaths are seen as acceptable collateral damage, and there doesn't seem to be any way around it.

Has anyone tried going at this from a counterterrorism angle?


Won't work. 'Everyone' 'knows' that terrorism is only perpetrated by Those People, not nice young white men who had a bad day. (Puke.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:51 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




my school is on alert because the FBI reported a threat on social media of violence at an unspecified Philly college at 2 pm Monday.

Somebody's got a test at that time, is what I'm thinking.
posted by angrycat at 4:35 PM on October 4, 2015


“How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because).

“Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.

It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”

posted by adamvasco at 4:43 PM on October 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


all the Philly colleges are issuing great big warnings, it seems. Which is good, because otherwise I would just, you know, ignore the gun shots and screams.
posted by angrycat at 4:53 PM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gun Laws Should Be Like Abortion Laws

This is exactly why the NRA and gun nuts are so resistant to any sort of regulation -- because they've seen their fellow travelers on the Right using thin wedges and "reasonable restrictions" and end-runs around the letter and spirit of laws and court decisions for the last 40 years to the point that abortion is effectively unavailable for vast swaths of the population.
posted by Etrigan at 4:55 PM on October 4, 2015 [8 favorites]




Etrigan, in the political science literature that's called policy diffusion. I haven't though of it being applied to things like this. Astute point!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:40 PM on October 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is exactly why the NRA and gun nuts are so resistant to any sort of regulation

Yeah, but it is clarifying to see who the Republicans are willing to throw under the bus, given the choice.
posted by Miko at 7:28 PM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


" Now you walk around Chicago and all the buildings have these no gun stickers on the doors. Does anyplace else do that? I still can't get over how dystopian it is. "

Reminds me of when I went to Arizona and was told that if there were "no guns allowed" signs on a business, that business would rapidly go out of business.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:42 PM on October 4, 2015


I really don't want to be around guns as part of everyday life - work, school, recreation. I don't trust the ability of people to manage them without regular and frequent supervised training. I'm resentful that the right to be safe from guns is a right I don't have.
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on October 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


This is exactly why the NRA and gun nuts are so resistant to any sort of regulation

It is incredibly unlikely that NRA members are against regulation because of what has been done to Roe v Wade the last 40-odd years. Most NRA members are hard social conservatives who are against reproductive privacy rights.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:27 AM on October 5, 2015


"It is incredibly unlikely that NRA members are against regulation because of what has been done to Roe v Wade the last 40-odd years. Most NRA members are hard social conservatives who are against reproductive privacy rights."

I think the point being made is that they're afraid that any gun control legislation will lead to a banning of all guns.
posted by I-baLL at 12:48 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah. The problem is that any time you see this death-by-a-thousand cuts stuff go on, it makes it really clear that yes, some of the people seeking to regulate are in fact seeking to eliminate it entirely, and so it makes it hard to support regulation that may be used for that elimination.

A really good example is the additional sentencing for violence against women that harms the fetus. I think even most pro choice women agree that it's really awful if someone commits violence against women that harms a wanted baby - and would maybe be okay with increasing sentencing - EXCEPT that it's pretty clear that that's a tip-of-the-spear/wedge thing that is going to be used against harm to unwanted fetuses. So it's hard to be okay with something that's going to be used against you.

Like for example, I'm okay with licensing under the conditions I outlined above - but not insurance. If I thought licensing was likely to lead to insurance requirements, I'd probably oppose it hard - not because I disagreed, but because I feared the slope.
posted by corb at 4:58 AM on October 5, 2015


I think the point being made is that they're afraid that any gun control legislation will lead to a banning of all guns.

Exactly - it's the slippery slope. Some people advocating for gun regulations would be willing to stop with (e.g.) mental health checks, and a licensing system such as for cars. Others are advocating for regulations like this at first but don't plan to stop until they have banned all privately-owned firearms in the country. And some NRA members would be willing to compromise with the former but not the latter.
posted by theorique at 6:40 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some people advocating for gun regulations would be willing to stop with (e.g.) mental health checks, and a licensing system such as for cars. Others are advocating for regulations like this at first but don't plan to stop until they have banned all privately-owned firearms in the country.

So...nothing should be done? Because if your response to proposed legislation is basically to only agree if absolutely nothing is done to effectively enforce it, then that's what you're saying. By characterizing (completely evidence-free) anyone asking for any effective regulation as a starting point as essentially asking for bans, and further positing that any more regulation than that (no matter how incremental) is proof that full bans are the endgame, are really justifications for not doing it in the first place.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:35 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean, this is essentially the more genteel version of the "Obama wants background checks OMG HE'S COMING TO TAKE OUR GUNS WE MUST ACTUALLY LOOSEN GUN LAWS" craziness.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:37 AM on October 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


What if we ignored mass shootings and just tried to reduce the numerous homicides? What would that look like?

Since most of those guns are illegal, we'd have to target the sources of guns used in crimes. This is largely federally licensed gun dealers who engage in illegal sales or allow straw purchases where legitimate gun buyers funnel weapons to felons or those without a background check.

So why not by just target those activities? Congress banned it. But at least changing that would be easier than amending the Constitution.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:03 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


The problem is that any time you see this death-by-a-thousand cuts stuff go on, it makes it really clear that yes, some of the people seeking to regulate are in fact seeking to eliminate it entirely, and so it makes it hard to support regulation that may be used for that elimination.

Fallacious slippery slope arguments are a dime a dozen on the Internet, but there's something special about an argument that if the NRA gives an inch, then we will slide toward gun-grabbing totalitarianism.

The comparison to fetal homicide laws might hold water if the state of current abortion law were as lopsided in favor of the pro-choice position as the state of gun law is in favor of the NRA position, but as thing are now, it's silly to compare them. Setting aside the fact that even if the fetus has a right to life it has no right to use the body of another human being, it's very clear that the legal right to terminate a pregnancy under Roe and the ability of every American to exercise that right equally is hanging on by a thread, with some states having only one abortion clinic, and some having zero. This means that the pro choice side is already toward the bottom of the slope, and, regardless of how slippery it is or is not, giving ground now leads to people being deprived of their constitutional rights.

There is no such dynamic with respect to gun rights. Are we to expect that the very same constituency that has made the NRA into an unprecedented lobbying juggernaut will suddenly become impotent if we close the private sale loophole or allow open carry to be restricted in more areas?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:55 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


By characterizing (completely evidence-free) anyone asking for any effective regulation as a starting point as essentially asking for bans, and further positing that any more regulation than that (no matter how incremental) is proof that full bans are the endgame, are really justifications for not doing it in the first place.

Not exactly - I'm saying that some people (call them group 1) are calling for regulation because they want some regulation, and nothing more. Others (call them group 2) are calling for regulation as a first step, only because they know they that a full gun ban is a political non-starter, but they want to lock in some initial gains before pushing forward again with more stringent controls.

The position of the NRA seems to oppose almost all gun control legislation, because they worry that everyone who appears to be in group 1 is actually secretly in group 2. And they don't want to give an inch because they think the anti-gun lobby will take a mile. (The same is probably true on the opposite side of the debate.)
posted by theorique at 9:41 AM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


corb: I'm okay with licensing under [some stringent conditions] but not insurance. If I thought licensing was likely to lead to insurance requirements, I'd probably oppose it hard.

Sorry, I'm sure this is well-worn ground, but I don't really get this. I mean, I understand the argument: gun ownership is (for argument's sake) a Constitutional right and being required to carry insurance would amount to a poll tax on liberty. (Please correct this if I'm wrong.)

But surely we can find some middle ground where access to *any and all* types of guns is not protected by the 2nd Amendment? Maybe we could agree that if we require licensing and insurance to own and operate a car (but not a bicycle) because a car is more dangerous, we could require licensing and insurance for assault rifles and handguns (but not muskets or even hunting rifles)?

That's a big compromise from my point of view - I would prefer that my right not to be in danger of getting shot trump other people's right to own guns - but I can see the logic, and I would accept it. Why is the NRA (as a shorthand) opposed to even having this discussion?

Surely the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness could be argued to cover access to cars in American society (how are you going to "pursue" otherwise? he asked swiftly) but we've decided that licensing and insurance requirements are acceptable, even if in many cases that makes car ownership cost-prohibitive.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:55 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


But surely we can find some middle ground where access to *any and all* types of guns is not protected by the 2nd Amendment?

We're already at that middle ground. The Supreme Court -- even the Heller court -- has consistently agreed that there are certain types of firearms that can be regulated even under the Second Amendment. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was never successfully challenged, and Type II/NFA weapons (including fully automatic weapons (a.k.a. "machine guns"), sawed-off shotguns, grenade launcers, etc.) are heavily regulated and controlled.
posted by Etrigan at 10:02 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah. The problem is that any time you see this death-by-a-thousand cuts stuff go on, it makes it really clear that yes, some of the people seeking to regulate are in fact seeking to eliminate it entirely

Yes! Good! Not a single argument for gun ownership outside of hunting (for which you need neither handguns nor fucking AR-15s) or target shooting (for which guns could very easily be controlled and kept locked at clubs, transported with permits and safety/security procedures) holds any water whatsoever. If you own a gun you are more likely to die with a bullet inside you. Not a single mass murder has been prevented with a gun.

Get rid of them and stop having innocent people die.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:09 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not exactly - I'm saying that some people (call them group 1) are calling for regulation because they want some regulation, and nothing more. Others (call them group 2) are calling for regulation as a first step, only because they know they that a full gun ban is a political non-starter, but they want to lock in some initial gains before pushing forward again with more stringent controls.

No, you've just restated your position, once again without anything to back it up: all you have is one group who wants basic, minimally effective regulation; and another that wants nothing but complete gun bans. More money for more research into gun violence? Limiting access domestic abusers' access to guns? A re-investigation into SYG and castle laws that seem to do more harm than good and carry heavy bias in implementation? Increase of funding and interoperability for extremely inadequate background check tools? Well, we can't have any of that, now, can we? Never mind these are all well-supported, common-sense actions that don't violate the current interpretation of the 2A by a reliably conservative Supreme Court, apparently they're all just back doors to fascism.

And they don't want to give an inch because they think the anti-gun lobby will take a mile. (The same is probably true on the opposite side of the debate.)

And yet, only those advocating for gun control have been proven 100% correct in this regard when it comes to guns in the US. We're talking about a situation where the shooting of 26 children and their teachers has led to an overall reduction in gun control in response to proposals that, for the most part, didn't even reach the level of licensing.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


The comparison to fetal homicide laws might hold water if the state of current abortion law were as lopsided in favor of the pro-choice position as the state of gun law is in favor of the NRA position, but as thing are now, it's silly to compare them.

The comparison is that the NRA types (who as you say overlap with anti-abortion types) have seen how incredibly effective the death of a thousand cuts has been on abortion, and therefore view any efforts by the Don't Want More Dead Schoolkids side with extreme suspicion.

Which is fine by me, because I'm absolutely on board with get the hell rid of the guns.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:16 AM on October 5, 2015




NY Times: How They Got Their Guns
Criminal histories and documented mental health problems did not prevent at least eight of the gunmen in 14 recent mass shootings from obtaining their weapons, after federal background checks led to approval of the purchases of the guns used.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




Hillary Clinton Unveils Aggressive Gun Control Plan

I mean, good for Clinton. It's sad though that such a milquetoast plan is being reported as 'aggressive,' which yeah is more on the media than on the candidate.

When oh when will us on the Left really learn the rightwing playbook and ask for the goddamn Moon before negotiating down to something that can actually pass?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"I want Bernie Sanders to answer that question w/o a 'well around these here parts people like their hunting"'

"For a lot of people, hunting is part and parcel of that answer, though."


This whole hunting excuse for resisting gun control is just that, an excuse. According to the Census Bureau, only 6% of Americans ever go hunting. 90% of those are white and 75% of those are male. So you are talking about a very tiny percentage of Americans who are almost exclusively white males. That doesn't explain why there are 300 million guns in the U.S., one for every man, woman and child.

So what if we take away hunters' guns. The same census report shows that most hunters also fish. They can just spend more time fishing and less time gunning.
posted by JackFlash at 10:51 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


"For a lot of people, hunting is part and parcel of that answer, though."

Then why not have people who want to buy a gun to hunt with provide a copy of their hunting license as part of their background check? Or make showing the hunting license a sort of "fast-track" background check option?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on October 5, 2015


11-year-old Tennessee boy shoots 8-year-old girl over argument about puppy

Something responsible gun owners something something.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 AM on October 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The comparison to fetal homicide laws might hold water if the state of current abortion law were as lopsided in favor of the pro-choice position as the state of gun law is in favor of the NRA position, but as thing are now, it's silly to compare them.

I think actually weirdly, in many ways, these are opposite sides of the same coin. Both groups have fears, and the fears are honestly not generally, for most people, about the places where they live, but for other people.

So yes - you are 100% right on abortion. Abortion rights (which I happen to also support, btw, we're not monolithic) are under attack in America, most particularly in more conservative, often less urban states. There are states where there are only one or two abortion clinics, and they're really hard to get access to, and laws keep getting created that make it really obvious that for many people, their end goal is banning abortion. Which is, again, shitty.

But there's also other states. I'm completely willing to be proven wrong, but my understanding is that abortions aren't particularly difficult to obtain in, say, NYC, or San Francisco, or Seattle - that in large, generally liberal, urban areas, abortion rights aren't really in much danger, and the only fear that things will come there is from a Supreme Court shakeup.

And it's kind of like that with guns, too. You're right - in some states, there's no background checks for private sales, and you can own a machine gun, or buy a gun over the counter for cash, and you can get a concealed carry permit just by waiting in a line for thirty minutes and getting a background check, and open carry is totally legal, and probably a host of other things that I can't think of, such that if that state were taken on its own, it would be ludicrous to think that anti-gun law would hit there.

But then there's also locales like NYC, where it's nearly impossible to get a legal gun, and they can deny you for arbitrary reasons, and not only can you not get a gun there, even if you have a legal gun permit from the rest of the state, if you drive through NYC and stop at a restaurant, you might be breaking the law. Where if you're flying with legal guns, and then have a long overlay at LaGuardia, you're going to get arrested if they give you your checked baggage back.

And right now, both guns and abortion are really hotly contested issues - regardless of what I or we or you or others think is right or wrong, they are funding magnets for really large, national groups that make their living by promising to either hold the line or tear down the terrible thing. Because of the national nature of such groups, and the fungibility of money, you have people in Skokie funding anti-choice candidates in Philadelphia, and people in Brooklyn shelling out money to fund an anti-gun candidate in Illinois.

So gun law, like abortion law, isn't just on one big slippery slope - it's on a lot of slopes, simultaneously, in a lot of states, and trying to influence the Overton window such that they don't lose on the big national slope. And that's a really hard thing to deal with.
posted by corb at 11:09 AM on October 5, 2015


Both groups have fears, and the fears are honestly not generally, for most people, about the places where they live, but for other people.


Hahahahahaaaa no. Fears about random maniacs with guns--294 mass shootings this year--are absolutely about where you live. They happen all over.

Please just stop with defending gun ownership. It kills 30 000 people a year. 10% of that number died in one attack fourteen years ago and your country had a collective shitfit, the reverberations of which continue today around the world.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:13 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


But then there's also locales like NYC, where it's nearly impossible to get a legal gun, and they can deny you for arbitrary reasons, and not only can you not get a gun there, even if you have a legal gun permit from the rest of the state, if you drive through NYC and stop at a restaurant, you might be breaking the law.

So let's see, we have New York with the most restrictive gun laws, has a gun death rate of 4.2 per 100,000. Then we have Louisiana, with no restrictive gun laws, has a gun death rate of 19.2 per 100,000, more than four times higher than New York.

New York's gun laws are saving more than 3000 lives a year.
posted by JackFlash at 11:29 AM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


11-year-old Tennessee boy shoots 8-year-old girl over argument about puppy

Stuff happens!
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm really not a fan of the whole line of thought here re: "Abortion: Just like guns!" It requires waving away the major differences the legislative and judicial histories and current actions of both gun control and anti-choice activism, as well as positing horrors for gun regulation that completely ignores the legal history other inanimate objects that don't even have constitutional protection to which licensing and insurance did not end in bans. But directly equating of the rights of humans and the autonomy over their own bodies and lives with those of ownership of said inanimate objects designed solely for destroying bodies and lives? Ugh.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:37 AM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


JackFlash: What's DC's gun death rate?
posted by I-baLL at 11:46 AM on October 5, 2015


What's DC's gun death rate?

Oh, please, don't be a dimwit. DC is a city surrounded by Virginia and Maryland. A city which, by the way, had its most restrictive gun laws overturned by deliberate Congressional action.
posted by JackFlash at 11:51 AM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


What's DC's gun death rate?

Before we go down the route you're very obviously attempting to direct us towards, saying that tighter gun regulation in places like DC is supposedly doing nothing to stop gun crime is not the CHECKMATE, GUN-GRABBERS you make it out to be. It requires that you refuse to consider the surrounding city and county jurisdictions and states with far looser gun regulation, which is a justification for strengthening their gun laws, not one for weakening those of DC (or Chicago, or NYC, or wherever).
posted by zombieflanders at 11:54 AM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I guess my point is that a single city can throw off a whole state's numbers. Here's a list of top 30 cities in the US by murders:

http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/top-lists/highest-murder-rate-cities/
posted by I-baLL at 11:57 AM on October 5, 2015


"It requires that you refuse to consider the surrounding city and county jurisdictions and states with far looser gun regulation"

This is actually a point that also applies to countries. I mentioned further up above that drug cartels will move into the weapons making business if gun laws become too restrictive. I mean, that's a theory of mine but we're already seeing submachine guns, that are factory made in an illegal firearms factory, being confiscated by police around the world.
posted by I-baLL at 12:07 PM on October 5, 2015


I guess my point is that a single city can throw off a whole state's numbers.

DC isn't in any state, for one.

For another, yes, a single city can throw off a whole state's numbers of anything, up to and including population.
posted by Etrigan at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mentioned further up above that drug cartels will move into the weapons making business if gun laws become too restrictive.

Yeah that's definitely a problem in Australia.

What's it going to take for you people to understand this very simple thing: more guns = more dead people
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Yeah that's definitely a problem in Australia."

Australia is geographically isolated. The US isn't. A Mexican drug cartel can easily smuggle things over the border. That's what they do. The US is one of the world's largest drug markets. The smuggling routes are already in place.
posted by I-baLL at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2015


"DC isn't in any state, for one."

Yes, that was my point. Statistics for DC are statistics specifically for DC. Louisiana is the 32nd largest state while DC, if it was a state, would be the smallest one. My point is that DC has a high gun crime rate as well even though it has tougher gun laws. A lot of the cities on the top of the murder list have tough gun laws. The point is then made that, yes, guns will come in from outside regions. Yes, that's the case most likely though I'm betting the guns are illegally acquired. That still doesn't matter. The question for me is why do some cities have such a high murder rate while other cities don't? And if guns are smuggled in from outside sources then if you have a blanket gun control law then will guns be smuggled in from outside of the country?
posted by I-baLL at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2015


A Mexican drug cartel can easily smuggle things over the border. That's what they do. The US is one of the world's largest drug markets. The smuggling routes are already in place.

Actually, the smuggling goes in reverse. The U.S. is the largest supplier of smuggled guns to the Mexican cartels.

The U.S. is the most dangerous source of gun disease in the world.
posted by JackFlash at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's definitely not a problem in Canada, either.

Maybe you could stop with the FUD and pay attention to facts:

30 000 people dead per year because of guns.
294 mass shootings this year alone.
10.94 deaths per 100K per year in the USA, compared to 2.22 in Canada, the closest nation mentally and geographically. (1.45 New Zealand, 0.86 Australia, 0.26 UK).

So if we took the entire English-speaking world, our collective death rate per 100K residents would still be half of yours.

I'll leave it up to you to figure out what legal frameworks we have in place that you don't. For bonus points, why don't you also go look up the rates of gun ownership per capita. If you're honest, something very clear will leap out at you, and that is:

fewer guns = fewer people dead by guns. And don't, oh god just don't, pull out the 'some other weapons' canard because it doesn't hold water--it's not like knife murders have gone up while guns have gone down.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


". The U.S. is the largest supplier of smuggled guns to the Mexican cartels."

Yes, at the moment. Which brings me to my next question (and I'm trying to find the answer as we speak so if I'll find it I'll post it on here): Where do the guns smuggled to outside of the US come from? Are there licensed dealers who sell guns to cartels en masse?
posted by I-baLL at 12:28 PM on October 5, 2015


Who cares? Why don't you address the actual problem as it is right now? Namely: see numbers in my previous comment.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:31 PM on October 5, 2015


DC, if it was a state, would be the smallest one.

Third-smallest as of current estimates, second-smallest at the last Census, third-smallest at the Census before that. You're going to need to bone up on actual verifiable facts before analyzing the future.
posted by Etrigan at 12:31 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Where do the guns smuggled to outside of the US come from?

Gun shops and the internet.
posted by maxsparber at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The most frustrating part of the whole 'discussion' is that America is the only country to do it this way.

Personally, I have been on the street when people were shooting (maybe twice) and though they weren't shooting at me it is a fucking nightmare.

As Miko said upstream, I want to live somewhere that I have the right _not_ to worry about getting shot. And, well, now I do.

You might not realize it, but you don't have to live in fear. You might think, 'Guns will never go away.' But I used to think 'Mike and Toby will never be able to get married.'

Until a group decides to out-spend the NRA, nothing will change. Sadly. Secretly, I hope I'm wrong.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The point is then made that, yes, guns will come in from outside regions. Yes, that's the case most likely though I'm betting the guns are illegally acquired.

How much are you willing to bet?

That still doesn't matter. The question for me is why do some cities have such a high murder rate while other cities don't?

Easy accessibility to guns for starters. But also massive economic and social inequality, low immigration rates (both international and interstate), structural racism...the list goes on, but "gun control" isn't on it.

And if guns are smuggled in from outside sources then if you have a blanket gun control law then will guns be smuggled in from outside of the country?

From where? Most nearby countries (including our biggest neighbors) have much tighter gun laws as well as export regulations. As JackFlash points out, we're the monster when it comes to exporting gun violence.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




One factor that is not always considered is that there is a disparate impact in gun deaths for blacks versus whites. The black gun homicide rate is approximately ten times that for whites, while whites die by their own hand with guns just over two-and-a-half times as often as blacks.

I don't know how this could best be translated into practical action. Perhaps something like "if you're black, try to avoid associating with people who own guns; if you're white, and think you might be at risk of serious clinical depression, give your guns to a trusted friend or family member until you get better".
posted by theorique at 12:47 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


You say that as though the NRA, which is basically Casper, doesn't like it that way.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2015


we're the monster when it comes to exporting gun violence.

And on that topic, the announcement today of an agreement on the TPP. I'm guessing lots of language restricting illegal DVDs and cheap pharmaceuticals, but nary a word about U.S. exports of guns, legal and illegal, to other countries.
posted by JackFlash at 12:51 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Maybe you could stop with the FUD and pay attention to facts"

I'm not arguing with you at all. I'm talking about future effects of whatever happens legally speaking. You're reading things into my comments that aren't there.

The questions that I'm asking are actual questions. i'm not making a point one way or another. I'm trying to figure stuff out.

For example:

https://top5ofanything.com/list/34e8f588/U.S.-States-that-Exported-the-Most-Guns-used-to-Commit-a-Crime-in-Another-State

I don't know how valid of a source this is so i'll need to double check the data but:
"In 2009, just ten states supplied nearly half - 49% - of the guns that crossed state lines before being recovered in crimes."

That's interesting. However the source they use is "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" which i'm iffy about since I'd rather see sources from law enforcement but it's a stepping stone.

Then there's Wikipedia's article on gun smuggling into Mexico:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smuggling_of_firearms_into_Mexico

70% of guns smuggled into Mexico comes from the US as per that article (haven't had time to check the sources yet) and what's interesting is that:
In other cases the guns are obtained through Guatemalan borders[5] or stolen from the police or military.[6] Consequently, black market firearms are widely available. Many firearms are acquired in the U.S. by women with no criminal history, who transfer their purchases to smugglers through relatives, boyfriends and acquaintances and then smuggled to Mexico a few at a time.[7] The most common smuggled firearms include AR-15 and AK-47 type rifles, and FN 5.7 caliber semi-automatic pistols. Many firearms are purchased in the United States in a semi-automatic configuration before being converted to fire as select fire machine guns.[8] Mexico seized in 2009 a combined total of more than 4,400 firearms of the AK-47 and AR-15 type, and 30% of AK-47 type rifles seized have been modified to select fire weapons, effectively creating assault rifles.[9]

There are multiple reports of grenade launchers being used against security forces,[10] and at least twelve M4 Carbines with M203 grenade launchers have been confiscated.[11] It was believed that some of these high powered weapons and related accessories may have been stolen from U.S. military bases.[12][13] However, most U.S. military grade weapons such as grenades and light anti-tank rockets are acquired by the cartels through the huge supply of arms left over from the wars in Central America and Asia. It has been reported that there have been 150,000 desertions from the Mexican army during 2003 to 2009. Stated another way, about one-eighth of the Mexican army deserts annually.[14] Many of these deserters take their government-issued automatic rifles with them while leaving. Some of those weapons originate from the USA.[15] It has been determined that at least some of the M203 grenade launchers and M16A2 assault rifles cited above are of counterfeit origin manufactured for the cartels, possibly to resemble the weapons carried by the Mexican Special Forces.[16]
Also, the whole regional crime thing is also a point I'm looking into because I stumbled upon an article awhile back about how Australia's Northern Territory has a murder rate of 17 per 100,000 people which is quite high especially when compared to the murder rates of individual US states. Why is that? Especially when the other Australian states have really low murder rates? Haven't had much time to look into that as well.

So I'm not really arguing for one point or another. I'm just seeing a lot of weirdness that I didn't know or notice before.
posted by I-baLL at 12:53 PM on October 5, 2015


(I fixed my screwed up blockquote tag. Should be more readable now. Sorry about that.)
posted by I-baLL at 12:56 PM on October 5, 2015


The questions that I'm asking are actual questions. i'm not making a point one way or another. I'm trying to figure stuff out.

The funny thing about the questions you're asking is that they have let's say a very high correlation with "and that's why we can't get rid of any guns anywhere ever." See also: JAQing off, sealioning.

30 000 people dead per year. Stop with the FUD about maybe cartels will suddenly start flooding the USA with guns (why would they when they are importers of guns to their own countries?) and focus on the actual numbers of actual people dying every actual day because of your insane and barbaric policies around devices that are designed solely for killing other humans.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:59 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know how this could best be translated into practical action. Perhaps something like "if you're black, try to avoid associating with people who own guns; if you're white, and think you might be at risk of serious clinical depression, give your guns to a trusted friend or family member until you get better".

Or maybe, I dunno, "We shouldn't make guns so easy to acquire for violent criminals or the suicidal or anyone else that lives where violence, whether directed inwards or outwards, is stoked by external factors." Just, y'know, actual practical action from the community at large.

However the source they use is "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" which i'm iffy about since I'd rather see sources from law enforcement but it's a stepping stone.

The original report from 2010 is here (PDF), with copious citations form both government and academic works.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:07 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


"The funny thing about the questions you're asking is that they have let's say a very high correlation with "and that's why we can't get rid of any guns anywhere ever." See also: JAQing off, sealioning."

What correlation? Where did I make a pro or against comment on gun control laws?

And why the personal attacks?

"d focus on the actual numbers of actual people dying every actual day because of your insane and barbaric policies around devices that are designed solely for killing other humans." (emphasis mine)

I'm glad that you seem to think that I have the power to put various policies in place but I'm just some guy on the intertubes.
posted by I-baLL at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


zombieflanders: Thanks for the pdf link!
posted by I-baLL at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2015


[Comment removed, cool it with the person-to-person grilling thing.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:13 PM on October 5, 2015


"The funny thing about the questions you're asking is that they have let's say a very high correlation with "and that's why we can't get rid of any guns anywhere ever." See also: JAQing off, sealioning."

What correlation? Where did I make a pro or against comment on gun control laws?


"Just asking questions" has a high correlation on the Internet, not necessarily within your comments.
posted by Etrigan at 1:15 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


the 'your' you emphasized there was really, really obviously the collective 'your.'

Those of us who have been around these discussions before recognize it all for exactly what it is. I'd be happy to be proven wrong; I never have. Every. single. time. people start wittering on about "oh what if cartels suddenly start importing illegal guns en masse" and "we have to be super careful about cherrypicking statistics my way" and all that it is nothing more than cover for "and that is why we can't do anything about guns."

It's tiresome in the extreme. Please, if you are going to engage in good faith, engage with the actual facts about how many people are killed every year by guns, engage with the actual fact that no other country in the English-speaking world has the same problem, and engage with the actual fact that a significant part of the reason we don't is that we restrict access to guns.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:18 PM on October 5, 2015


One factor that is not always considered is that there is a disparate impact in gun deaths for blacks versus whites...I don't know how this could best be translated into practical action. Perhaps something like "if you're black, try to avoid associating with people who own guns; if you're white, and think you might be at risk of serious clinical depression, give your guns to a trusted friend or family member until you get better".

'Try to avoid associating with people who own guns' is about the least practical approach to prevent gun violence imaginable, and is, frankly, hard to read as anything but victim-blaming.

The commonality there -- and the division, as the article notes, maps almost as strongly onto rurual/urban lines as it does racial ones -- is gun ownership. As the articles notes,
States with the most guns per capita, such as Montana and Wyoming, have the highest suicide rates; states with low gun ownership rates, such as Massachusetts and New York, have far fewer suicides per capita.
Surely the most practical action would be one that reduces per-capita gun ownership? Limiting access to guns would help reduce both numbers.
posted by cjelli at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Australia's Northern Territory has a murder rate of 17 per 100,000 people.

I call bullshit. Now you are just pulling stuff out of your ... hat. The Northern Territory in 2014 had a murder rate of 5.5, which is a total of 12 murders for the entire territory. It's also worth noting that two-thirds of those murders were domestic violence. The murder rate in the rest of Australia is about 1.0 per 100,000. For comparison, it is about 4.5 for the U.S.
posted by JackFlash at 1:20 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if we're going to talk about murder rates, we really need confidence intervals as well as the point estimates. It's the whole "small populations are more likely to be outliers in either direction" thing all over again.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:30 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I call bullshit."

That's what I get for not re-googling and pulling up the actual article.

Yeah, you're right. I completely misremembered. It's not 17. It's 7.7. Or it was at the time of this article's writing.

Thanks for calling me out on that.
posted by I-baLL at 1:31 PM on October 5, 2015


And right now, both guns and abortion are really hotly contested issues - regardless of what I or we or you or others think is right or wrong, they are funding magnets for really large, national groups that make their living by promising to either hold the line or tear down the terrible thing. Because of the national nature of such groups, and the fungibility of money, you have people in Skokie funding anti-choice candidates in Philadelphia, and people in Brooklyn shelling out money to fund an anti-gun candidate in Illinois.

The comparison is specious. Post-Heller/McDonald Second Amendment law allows for jurisdictions to restrict the time, place, and manner in which people can exercise their 2A rights, while post-Roe abortion law does not allow for the kind of state and local restrictions that pro-lifers have been using to restrict abortion. However, because our legal system takes a long time to resolve these discrepancies between the Federal judiciary and state and local statutes, the pro-lifers are perfectly content to gum up the works with laws that can't pass Constitutional muster.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


is that how people against gun control legislation are singing themselves to sleep these days, comparing it to motherfucking abortion rights?

Shame.
posted by angrycat at 1:38 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Understanding the Country's Choice on Guns
But the basic point is clear. The politics of guns has transformed dramatically because starting at the time Barack Obama was elected President, Republicans became dramatically more committed to the right to own guns.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:40 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


No, really not... as was said upthread, originally by someone else and then again by me, it's about the tactics that have been used to make abortion access difficult. They're the death of a thousand cuts, and NRA-types aren't about to let that strategy work on them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2015


My point is that it matters if the tactics that people are using are constitutional. With Roe, we've had 40-some years to figure out where the limits are on the right to terminate a pregnancy, and though subsequent cases have changed exactly what circumstances allow the State to intervene, none of them have allowed interference with the central holding of Roe, that there is an individual right to terminate a pre-viable fetus.

Conversely, with Heller and friends, we've had less than a decade to sort out where the boundaries are, but because the opinions themselves explicitly acknowledge the Constitutionality jurisdictions implementing time/place/manner restrictions, we do know that what gun control advocates are asking for now is constitutional. Fallacious slippery slope reasoning can connect those efforts to hypothetical future efforts to restrict the individual right to bear arms in unconstitutional ways, but we don't need to use slippery slopes at all to recognize that pro-life attacks on abortion already interfere with abortions in unconstitutional ways.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2015


Yeah, it might be an interesting analogy if it were based on things like fact and also not comparing essential health care to the right to do whatever the fuck with a murder device.
posted by angrycat at 1:57 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Angrycat, you are making me swoon.
posted by agregoli at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2015


Aaaaugh. It's not comparing essential healthcare to murder objects!

How has the right made essential healthcare so hard to access? By nibbling away at the edges and moving the Overton window. They are actively slippery-sloping access to abortion into oblivion.

They then turn around and paint even the tiniest and most reasonable of gun-control propositions as the beginning of a slippery slope, and rile up the base. The only way the subject was initially raised in this thread was as a comparison of tactics, and how the very tactics that the right uses get squashed when used against them.

Nobody is comparing the 'right' to own a gun with the absolute right of a woman to control her own body.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


'Try to avoid associating with people who own guns' is about the least practical approach to prevent gun violence imaginable, and is, frankly, hard to read as anything but victim-blaming.

I'm definitely not blaming the victim. Criminals are absolutely responsible for their own actions. The numbers in that WaPo article were striking though. And obtaining practical, actionable information from broad statistics is obviously fraught with difficulty so you should read my speculations as such rather than a broad policy recommendation.

What would be my recommendation for policy? Generally speaking, to safeguard his own hide (and that of his family), any gun owner ought to be OCD about safety, storage, and good handling practice. Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible idiots out there who ruin it for the rest of us.
posted by theorique at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2015


Well that's exactly it, theorique. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you can advocate for responsible gun ownership, or you can advocate for the use of guns as self-defence--particularly in the home.

A properly stored and locked gun, one that is safe, is not a gun that is available for self-defence. (Not that they're useful for self-defence, anyway. And not that they're useful for stopping mass murders, which is the usual argument trotted out in favour of walking around armed like you're in fucking Mad Max or something. Number of mass murders this year: 294. Number stopped by civilians carrying guns: 0.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:05 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible idiots out there who ruin it for the rest of us.

Dunning-Kruger meets Smith and Wesson.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Theorique, please don't use "OCD" as a shorthand for "careful."
posted by agregoli at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, Parents of Aurora victim Jessica Ghawi: We Lost Our Daughter to a Mass Shooter and Now Owe $203,000 to His Ammo Dealer
[W]e thought it was important to take a stand, to fight to prevent other families from suffering as we have. We did not seek any money in our case. We just wanted injunctive relief -- to have these companies act reasonably when they sold dangerous materiel, like 100-round ammunition magazines, ammunition, body armor, and tear gas.

The judge dismissed our case because, he said, these online sellers had special immunity from the general duty to use reasonable care under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and a Colorado immunity law. If you couple the PLCAA law with Colorado's law HB 000-208, (which says in essence: If you bring a civil case against a gun or ammunition seller and the case is dismissed then the plaintiff must pay all the defendant's costs), you have an impenetrable barrier to using the judicial system to effect change in gun legislation in Colorado.

Everyone else in society has a duty to use reasonable care to not injure others -- except gun and ammunition sellers.

To make matters worse, the judge ordered that we pay $203,000. This is an outrageous amount, especially given that this case was decided after one single motion! Lucky Gunner has said that it is going to donate all these fees to "gun rights" groups. The thought is disgusting to us that Lucky Gunner does not even plan to use this money to pay for their attorney's fees.

Lucky Gunner wants to use blood money to fund the NRA and like-minded groups.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:52 PM on October 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


And that's not even the first time something like this has happened:
The case that best illustrates how difficult it is for victims’ families to get justice against negligent gun dealers under PLCAA is Delana v. Odessa Gun & Pawn, McLively said. Last year, Janet Delana of Missouri filed a lawsuit, backed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, against a gun shop that had sold guns to her paranoid schizophrenic daughter in 2012.

Delana’s daughter, Colby Sue Weathers, purchased a handgun from Odessa Gun & Pawn in May 2012. Her family took this gun from her “fearing she was at risk of committing suicide,” per the Brady Center. Knowing that Weathers would go back and attempt to purchase another gun once she got a check, Delana called Odessa Gun & Pawn and begged the shop not to sell to her. “Please, please, please, I’m begging you, the mother, don’t sell her a gun again,” she said.

Two days later, Weathers bought a .45 caliber Hi-Point semiautomatic pistol from Odessa Gun & Pawn and used it to shoot and kill her father, Tex C. Delana, within the hour.

Under PLCAA, a trial court dismissed Delana’s negligence claim earlier this year.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


zf, holy shit to both stories but especially the second one.

wtf america
posted by futz at 3:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


wtf america

That's what the end of an actual slippery slope looks like.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:34 PM on October 5, 2015 [3 favorites]




There's a court case going on right now that was brought by Milwaukee police officers against a local gun store. The store allegedly allowed straw purchases and one of their guns shot an officer as he was being arrested.
posted by desjardins at 4:06 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well that's exactly it, theorique. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you can advocate for responsible gun ownership, or you can advocate for the use of guns as self-defence--particularly in the home.

A properly stored and locked gun, one that is safe, is not a gun that is available for self-defence.


I'm not talking about keeping a Saturday night special in your nightstand drawer.

There are many ways to reduce the risk to extremely low levels - for example, one lockbox with fingerprint scanner for the pistol, one lockbox with a mechanical lock for magazines. You can exit your bedroom hot in 30 seconds from a standing start should that be necessary.

People who are irresponsible about gun ownership are too lazy or too stupid to do it right. We have a plethora of great and easy-to-use technologies to secure our firearms, and we should certainly use them, in combination, for safety.
posted by theorique at 4:44 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


for example, one lockbox with fingerprint scanner for the pistol, one lockbox with a mechanical lock for magazines

Two questions:

1. Are you a gun owner?
2. You know the second question.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:51 PM on October 5, 2015


I shall plead the Second, er, Fifth on that one. :)

Lockbox example

I have no idea what the second question is.
posted by theorique at 5:26 PM on October 5, 2015


Alternatively, buy guns that utilize smart technology, like smartwatches or fingerprinting.

Well, if you can find any, because gun rights advocates hate having safe guns for Reasons.
posted by schroedinger at 5:26 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what the second question is.

Well, you said that people who are irresponsible about gun ownership are too lazy or stupid to get it right, so it seemed logical to wonder how you secure your own guns, if any. Totally fine if you don't feel like talking about your own situation, though.

Well, if you can find any, because gun rights advocates hate having safe guns for Reasons.

Previously on MetaFilter.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:41 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]




There are many ways to reduce the risk to extremely low levels - for example, one lockbox with fingerprint scanner for the pistol, one lockbox with a mechanical lock for magazines.

And that helps you when you're panicking because Someone has entered your house how, precisely? The only gun that is useful for self-defence is one that is ready right now. Again, you can advocate for responsible gun ownership or you can advocate for self-defence. They are mutually exclusive.

You can exit your bedroom hot in 30 seconds from a standing start should that be necessary.

And that's the problem, in the tiniest of nutshells. Americans thinking they can be Rambo as long as they have the weaponry, and "exit [their] bedroom hot." That is the language of special forces, not the language of a civilian defending their home.

Plus, the only weapon useful for defending your home is a shotgun, and you know this.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:42 PM on October 5, 2015


Plus, the only weapon useful for defending your home is a shotgun, and you know this.

This is contested topic, despite Biden's opinion. (It's not actually a question I have worried about much, but it is fascinating how strong people's opinions are despite their almost universal lack of personal experience.)
posted by Dip Flash at 9:11 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Three hundred million or so firearms are a lot of votes towards gun ownership. Because a lot of people believe a 52% win in the last presidential election wasn't a fair election. Until the rules change; not much is going to change. Votes are votes, and a vocal opposition to an election won't change the election.

And many will speak about gun control; and then go into a voting booth; and they will then think about their own gun; and nope. Not my gun. Not sure about all those other people; but ima here with my vote and my rights, and Nope.

Add in the ever flying banner of stuff like Chicago; with two weekends in a row of 50+ shootings, and nearly 400 shootings for the month of September 2015; and Chicago being a gun free zone... that is another huge (although not related to 99% of the country, and gun owners) nope to gun control/registration/taxing. The stats that show the Chicago violence is mostly restricted to specific areas don't seem to do mush about the whole "But look at Chicago" mantra.

I would not be surprised to see NRA membership jump in a manner similar to the most recent jump in gun sales.

Fwiw; to simulate a shotgun in a home; try running around with a broomstick. In the dark.
posted by buzzman at 9:43 PM on October 5, 2015


I just wrote a great big comment about What To Do, but I'm not going to post it until I've gone through a twenty-four hour cooling off period.
posted by RakDaddy at 9:45 PM on October 5, 2015


My comments have to be registered as deadly weapons in 53 states.
posted by XMLicious at 10:10 PM on October 5, 2015




Vox had an interesting set of data points, pointing out that it's not just homicides that are a problem with guns, it's the massive numbers of suicides that happen with them.

What they don't mention is that gun ownership is declining, and the remaining households with guns have an ever-increasing number of them. That's what addiction looks like. (Seriously, who the fuck needs 10+ guns in the house?)

The NRA is an industry lobby that has warped our culture in pursuit of profit, and drummed up fear as a sales tactic—we pay the price every single day. Gun violence cost you $700 last year, the shattered lives are evidently included at no extra charge.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:11 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Sorry, but we're getting pretty far afield of the post topic with long paragraphs of one's personal ideas about how to best secure / access a firearm in the home... this doesn't really have to do with the school murders. If folks could try to avoid extending this derail that would be appreciated. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:54 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sam Stein: The Congressman Who Restricted Gun Violence Research Has Regrets
[I]n the spring of 1996, the National Rifle Association and its allies set their sights on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding increasingly assertive studies on firearms ownership and the effects on public health. The gun rights advocates claimed the research veered toward advocacy and covered such logical ground as to be effectively useless.

At first, the House tried to close down the CDC's entire, $46 million National Center for Injury Prevention. When that failed, Dickey stepped in with an alternative: strip $2.6 million that the agency had spent on gun studies that year. The money would eventually be re-appropriated for studies unrelated to guns. But the far more damaging inclusion was language that stated, “None of the 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.”

Dickey proclaimed victory -- an end, he said at the time, to the CDC's attempts "to raise emotional sympathy" around gun violence. But the agency spent the subsequent years petrified of doing any research on gun violence, making the costs of the amendment clear even to Dickey himself.

He said the law was over-interpreted. Now, he looks at simple advances in highway safety -- safety barriers, for example -- and wonders what could have been done for guns.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:35 AM on October 6, 2015




After the Dickey amendment passed in '96, the Knight Ridder media chain did an analysis of the vote. It discovered that three-quarters of those who backed the measure had received a collective $1.6 million from the NRA that calendar year. Only six of the 158 members who opposed the measure had received support from the gun lobby.

Dickey was the NRA's so-called point man on the Hill during his service from 1993 to 2000.


Happy to take their money!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:00 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]






New related thread: The Columbine effect
posted by homunculus at 12:50 PM on October 6, 2015


The Myth of the Good Guy With the Gun, Matt Valenine, Politico
John Parker Jr., an Umpqua student and Air Force veteran, told multiple media outlets that he was armed and on campus at the time of the attack last week. Parker and other student veterans (perhaps also armed) thought about intervening. “Luckily we made the choice not to get involved,” Parker told MSNBC. “We were quite a distance away from the actual building where it was happening, which could have opened us up to being potential targets ourselves.”

Parker’s story changed when he spoke to Fox News' Sean Hannity. Instead of saying he “made the choice” not to get involved, Parker said school staff prevented him from helping. Breitbart and other right-wing outlets are making the case that, if only there had been more armed students on campus, one of them might have been able to make a difference. Ideally, there would be so many guns on campus (one in every classroom? one for every student?) that gunmen wouldn’t even attempt a school shooting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:19 PM on October 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I really wish these articles wouldn't start with the assumption that all it takes to be a "good guy with a gun" is to be a person not actively a criminal, who also happens to have a gun. The essential part of that phrase is the "good guy" part - someone willing to stand up and risk their own lives in order to protect innocents. If you're not ready to do so, you have no business laying claim to the title.

I don't blame anyone for not going after the shooter, armed or not. I'm not going to lay blame based on where people's necessary line for heroism lies, or their personal risk tolerance. But being good takes more than just the absence of evil. It's a commitment to serve. (Thus also why you don't become a good guy just by putting on a uniform)
posted by corb at 2:04 PM on October 6, 2015


You can risk your life without having a gun at all. A far greater problem than armed people with insufficient bravado, IMO, is people who dream of a righteous shootout with the bad guys and for whom taking out bystanders or bombing a hospital or deaths resulting from a surfeit of firearms sloshing around society is simply "collateral damage". What's missing from that Politico Magazine piece as I see it is emphasizing that an armed person choosing to not start shooting is quite possibly the heroic or good guy thing to do, regardless of the particular facts in the Oregon case or the others they're mentioning.

I'm always amazed to meet people who talk about how private ownership of firearms is necessary because of some glorious fever-dream about a successful uprising against the government, but who can't be arsed even to vote, much less more fully participate in democracy. They're all gung-ho about shooting someone for the sake of their imagined version of freedom but the hard work and compromise and safeguarding of civil rights that's necessary for maintaining a free society is too much to ask.
posted by XMLicious at 3:07 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


And as mentioned above it's getting ready to shoot someone that Christians who are really "serious about their faith" should do, not, like, any of the stuff that Jesus actually talked about.
posted by XMLicious at 3:17 PM on October 6, 2015


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."

A culture of violence, previously.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:55 PM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


They're all gung-ho about shooting someone for the sake of their imagined version of freedom but the hard work and compromise and safeguarding of civil rights that's necessary for maintaining a free society is too much to ask.

Something something myth of redemptive violence.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:01 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




Interesting title for an article that summarizes itself with this statement:

Now of course this doesn’t prove that gun laws have no effect on total homicide rates.
posted by maxsparber at 5:20 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


The mayor and sheriff don't want Obama to come and visit.

Is that all that was learned?
posted by clavdivs at 5:25 PM on October 6, 2015


Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws

It seems like what you really want to ask, though, is something more like whether or not gun crime went down in states that introduced significant gun control measures, as compared to those same states before gun control measures went into place (using non-gun-control states as controls). A single-point-in-time correlation across all states means you will confound the rate of gun crime with, for example, the overall crime rate, the level of poverty and income inequality, the proportion of population in urban vs. rural centers, etc., etc., etc. Anyway, there are plenty of people who do this kind of statistical modeling of social phenomena professionally; I'd be a lot more interested in what they have to say about gun control's effectiveness.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Zero correlation between state homicide rate and state gun laws
Beyond that, if you really want to commit suicide (and there’s good reason to think that people who use a gun to try to commit suicide — as opposed to, say, pills — really do want to commit suicide) but can’t get a gun, it’s not hard to find alternate reliable means of killing yourself.
And yet, people often don't find those alternate means.
Anderson cites two different cases where the suicide rate dramatically dropped because suicide became harder to accomplish. In London, when sticking one's head in an oven in a coal gas oven was the preferred method of suicide, almost 2,500 people annually took this route. Poetry lovers know that Sylvia Plath chose this end, carefully placing a towel under the door to protect her children asleep in the next room. The oven-suicide method accounted for half the suicides in the UK. When the British government phased out coal gas for less lethal natural gas ovens, the suicide rate dropped by a third.

Just luck? I don't think so. Anderson notes another example of in Northwest Washington State between the Ellington and Taft bridges. Ellington, known as the "suicide bridge" attracted more jumpers. After three people jumped to their deaths in a 10-day period, a suicide barrier was erected. People expected the jumpers to migrate to the Taft bridge to leap, but they didn't. A study conducted five years later that the suicide rate dropped by 50% - the amount that typically jumped from the Ellington Bridge. Why didn't they just jump from the Taft? We don't know precisely, but the Taft bridge has a concrete railing that is chest-high on an average man. For someone at my height (5'1") I'd need a trampoline to jump from that bridge. The decrease seems to occur because of a simple change in environment. Jumping from either bridge became more difficult, so fewer people jumped.
posted by Etrigan at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2015 [6 favorites]




> 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."

Fascinating piece. Thanks, man of twists and turns.
posted by homunculus at 9:46 PM on October 6, 2015


More tragic news in the responsible gun owner department:

11-year-old Ohio boy fatally shoots his 12-year-old brother

Williams says the men had three loaded weapons on a picnic table Friday afternoon and were discussing one of them when the younger boy picked up one of the guns and it fired. The older boy was struck in the head and died at the scene.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:01 PM on October 6, 2015


Roseburg is a pretty conservative place. I'm not surprised that there are some crazy people in leadership positions there.

My attitude about guns, aside from the totally creepy uncle thing, was in part formed by the fact that I grew up in Ashland, about 45 mins south of Roseburg. Ashland is an old hippie/college/theater town surrounded by a much more conservative Southern Oregon.

So I was one of those kids who grew up wearing all black and swooning over the theater and occasionally getting hassled by folks from Medford/Talent/Phoenix/Roseburg who were riding in their beat-up pickups with their guns on the back, missing teeth, baseball caps.

So gun owners were, in a typical Ashland person's mind, lower-income whites who didn't pick up a book and yelled stupid shit out of their beat-up pickup window.

I guess if I were a supporter of the NRA I would tell gun owners to get his or her act together and show a little bit of style and grace.

And also maybe stop being so freaking stupid. The attitude of people who rush to get guns because Obama is in office is so stupid that forget about their right to own guns, I worry about their ability to raise children, drive cars, do anything that takes two brain cells firing.

Seriously, where is the voice of responsible gun owners who are outraged at people like this Roseburg sheriff and the newspaper editor? Because after a while I just have nothing to say but for this: You are so fucking stupid. Do you know how motherfucking stupid you sound. You sound like somebody who has never picked up a book or had a single thought.

I mean, wonder why the left is so angry at this issue, aside from dead children? It is the astounding stupidity.
posted by angrycat at 5:59 AM on October 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actual headline (from lungful of dragon above):
11-year-old Ohio boy fatally shoots his 12-year-old brother


Fark version of this headline, which sounds like it was plagiarized from one of my FB friend's actual thoughts:
11-year-old boy shoots 8-year-old neighbor to death after argument about puppies. But if he didn't have the gun he just would have used something else to kill her anyway

posted by IAmBroom at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2015


More gun news:
Armed citizen tries to stop carjacking, shoots victim instead

GGWAG in action.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:05 AM on October 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


IAmBroom, that Fark headline refers to a different story about an 11-year-old shooting someone.
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2015


Sorry, I was wrong about which part you were wrong about. In any case, we have two "11 year old shoots somebody" stories:

- Neighbor girl with the puppies
- Brother (12), shot accidentally during target practice

In conclusion, this all blows in a profound way.
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:21 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Responsible gun owner" opens fire at Home Depot despite not being threatened

According to The Detroit News, the 47-year-old woman was watching from the store’s parking lot on Tuesday as a loss prevention officer appeared to be trying to stop a shoplifter. When the suspects tried to flee in a dark SUV, the woman pulled out her concealed 9mm handgun and began shooting.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:08 PM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


after a while I just have nothing to say but for this: You are so fucking stupid. Do you know how motherfucking stupid you sound. You sound like somebody who has never picked up a book or had a single thought.

I mean, wonder why the left is so angry at this issue, aside from dead children? It is the astounding stupidity.


That's where the left is right now. It's scary!
posted by flabdablet at 3:59 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


FOX News airheads are just as bad as gun owners. Maybe worse, because they are somehow even less accountable for their actions.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:19 PM on October 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Police in Auburn Hills, Michigan are investigating whether or not to charge a conceal carry permit holder who opened fire at alleged shoplifters at a Home Depot store.

Yeah, it'll take a regular Columbo to piece together this statutory conundrum!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:03 AM on October 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


“More Bang Bang Crazy - Big Damned Heroes,” Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station, 08 October 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 4:58 PM on October 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Breaking: 1 dead, 3 wounded at Northern Arizona University
posted by rifflesby at 4:08 AM on October 9, 2015


Maybe we can just get a pinned post for Metafilter titled "shooting" that will always be at the top since there will always be new material for us.
posted by phearlez at 7:03 AM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]




Crane says he doesn't like to call these counter-strategies "fighting back," but school security consultant Ken Trump says that it is most definitely just that — and it’s a bad idea.

"To think that schools are going to teach kids close-combat tactics in one 45-minute session is a high-liability proposition," he says.

posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:17 AM on October 9, 2015


In January, a middle school in Valley, Alabama, sent a letter home with each student requesting canned goods for defense against unwelcome intruders, as part of their ALICE training. “The canned food item could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive,” the letter read. “The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves and will make them feel secure in case an intruder enters the classroom.”

Especially if they've seen Crocodile Dundee.

The Daily Show did a great bit the other night on Ben Carson's "I wouldn't just stand there and let them shoot me!" comment.
posted by XMLicious at 9:40 AM on October 9, 2015


Ben Carson claims Jewish people might have stopped Holocaust if they had guns

Lede buried:

His comments risk further fuelling the outrage that greeted recent remarks on the killing of nine people last week at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

Asked how he would have responded, following reports that Christopher Harper-Mercer had asked victims whether they were Christian before killing them, Carson told Fox News: “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me.

“I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”

However, Carson’s gung-ho attitude was undermined by a story he shared with SiriusXM radio on Thursday, in which he recalled being threatened with a gun in a Popeyes chicken restaurant in Baltimore on an unspecified date.

“The guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs,” Carson said. “And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter’ … I redirected him.”

posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:00 AM on October 9, 2015


The Rifle On The Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights - there's a lot of academic-left stuff there, too, but most of it is pretty accessible:
In the current gun rights debate, one does not have to think too hard to catch the tiny little fact that anti-gun-rights liberals, besides not really being pacifists, are not really proposing to eliminate guns at all. Is there one liberal gun-control proposal being put forward that makes the teensiest move toward diminishing the use of guns, including military-style assault weapons, by the police? Is there one that addresses, in the weensiest way, the continuing, massive militarization of the police that has been taking place in this country?

No. What all liberal gun-control proposals seek to do, and all they seek to do, is to reduce and eventually eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to possess firearms. These proposals treat the armed power of the state with, at best, benign indifference. They ignore, or dismiss as of no importance, the way these policies will further weaken the power of the citizen relative to the state. There is a definite ideology underlying all this: That the state -- the American capitalist state we live in -- should have a monopoly of armed force; that this state is a benign, neutral arbiter which will use its armed force in support of and not against its citizens, to mediate conflicts fairly and promote just outcomes in ways that the citizens themselves cannot be trusted to do...

This ideology is most likely to exude from those whose lived experience is that the armed power of the state does overwhelmingly act on their behalf, that the police are their friends -- people who are secure in their implicit understanding that they have nothing to fear, personally or politically, from the armed agents of the state, and that when they call those agents to help them, they will come and help them, and not beat them down or shoot them on sight, "by accident."
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on October 9, 2015


What all liberal gun-control proposals seek to do, and all they seek to do

and now I'm done with this and imagining Fred Gwynne in judge's robes saying "assumes facts not in evidence, overruled."
posted by phearlez at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wow, that article was wrong from the first sentence and kept on getting more and more horrible as it went on. It's like the author went through the checklist of 2A mythology and flat-out lies and hit almost every one of them. Conflating the modern gun control movement with racists from the 60s and 70s? Check. False claims about gun-control advocates never looking for solutions that require less firearms among LEO? Check. Bringing up the moronic and historically inaccurate* argument about Hitler and gun control? Check. Blaming mental illness and pharmaceuticals for mass shootings? Check. Claiming prevalence of guns always results in less crime, while cities like Chicago are hotbeds of crime because of more regulations? Check and check.


* As I noted in another thread, Carson is now accusing the ADL of all groups of "total foolishness" when it comes to the subject of Hitler, Jews, and guns. This, from a guy who rolled over on some poor schmuck working the register at a Popeye's as soon as the gun was on him. One can imagine what he would have done to Anne Frank.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:08 PM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Most gun owners are cowards when it comes to shooting massacres. When Congresswoman Giffords was nearly murdered by a gun owner, another gun owner nearby did nothing to stop that massacre. I don't see what Carson gets out of admitting he's a coward, as well. Who would really want a gun owner-coward as the Commander-in-Chief? If Putin points nukes at the US, which Popeye's cashier does President Carson direct Putin to for negotiations?
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:28 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there one that addresses, in the weensiest way, the continuing, massive militarization of the police that has been taking place in this country?

"Hey! You're not arguing about what I want to argue about!"
"Actually, we are. Right over there."
"But you're not doing it here!"
"No, but it's just over--"
"Not even a little!"
"Yes, it's happening in--"
"Total failure to address this other thing!"
"No, you see, we're talking--"
"TYRANNY!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake..."
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Most gun owners are cowards when it comes to shooting massacres.

I reject the "coward" framing. My recollection from interviews with that guy was that he felt he couldn't safely fire on the shooter without endangering bystanders, which suggests prudence rather than cowardice. This is where a lot of the GGWAG mythology unravels -- more guns equals more chances of the damage being multiplied instead of limited -- so I am uncomfortable with talking about this in any way that pushes gun-carriers' sliders more toward the "be a hero" setting.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:35 PM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


My point was more that gun owners have a mistaken impression that they are heroes, when empirically they are nearly all, to the last person, cowards when faced with massacres caused by other gun owners. We have one massacre after another and virtually no private gun owner brings those massacres to a stop. The idea, one put forward by cowards like Ben Carson and the NRA, is that arming more people will cause fewer massacres, but that is clearly a myth. I just wish we had a media and a public brave enough to confront these cowards on their lies.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:42 PM on October 9, 2015


Yeah, I just don't agree that calling them cowards is helpful, and don't think phrasing it that way is necessary or helpful to the cause of pointing out the many ways that Ben Carson and other pro-gun politicians are full of shit.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:45 PM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Like, it sort of rhetorically puts into play the notion that sufficient bravery can solve a problem that has nothing to do with what bystanders are doing in the midst of an active shooting situation.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:49 PM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Volokh Conspiracy over at the Washington Post actually did put together a list of private gun owners stopping mass shootings. It happens, it's not a lie. It's not super common, because honestly, concealed carry isn't that common even among gun owners, and if you add to that, "People who are qualified to operate a handgun at a decent distance with bystanders", the number drops radically. Most people who carry concealed carry for situations in which there is no other defense they can have than a gun - so, very close range.

I'm a pretty good shot, but if I was carrying concealed and someone opened up from another building, I would have to get within I'd say about twenty feet to be sure of shooting a moving, shooting target with a handgun, and within about ten feet to be sure of my backstop, which in a situation like that is still really crucial. I'm spitballing here - I obviously haven't checked these numbers - but I know that close range is really the only security, and it takes precious seconds to get there, not to mention making yourself a huge target for those seconds. And you can't exactly lay down suppressive fire in a civilian environment.

That said, there's a huge difference between simply not firing or not tackling somebody, and actually recommending another fucking victim.
posted by corb at 12:59 PM on October 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not super common, because honestly, concealed carry isn't that common even among gun owners

Despite it being legal in every state, and despite 75 percent of the U.S. population living in shall-issue states, including the states of Connecticut (Sandy Hook), Oregon (Roseburg), and South Carolina (Charleston). So the theory that good guys with guns could stop bad guys with guns, if only they were allowed to, doesn't seem to hold much water.
posted by Etrigan at 1:14 PM on October 9, 2015 [6 favorites]


I grew up in Roseburg--I want to say, "I learned to swim at UCC", but it's not true; I learned to swim at the YMCA. We did have mandatory elementary school swim classes at the UCC pool, though; I remember a "get thrown in the deep end fully clothed and prove you can take off shoes and jeans while treading water and then swim back to the edge" test at the end. My family went to plays and concerts at Jacoby Auditorium a few times a year, and I was there for a few events over the years, but then I moved away for college and haven't been back much.

It was weird on the first day to see national news reports talking about Roseburg--lots of "it's a very small, very rural town, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else." My first reaction was to scoff at that--Roseburg's not that small! It's the county seat! Twenty-two thousand people! We even have two whole movie theaters and a Costco!--but then it turned out that even I, who moved away 12 years ago and haven't been home to visit in years, still knew people who were on campus that day (everyone's fine). Thursday was a rough day; it's still hard to talk to my parents and hear my mom sound so wounded and bewildered about this happening in their home.

Anyway, I missed this thread when it was posted last week, but I wanted to say something.

More relevant to the topic at hand: there's this interview with a guy who was on campus with a gun at the time of the shooting (UCC is not actually a gun-free zone), talking about why he did not attempt to be heroic.

I made the mistake of looking at the fb page for the people protesting the president's visit today, and I am furious and disappointed in them.
posted by Vibrissa at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


Eh, Etrigan, I started typing out this huge thing, but the thing is - really, if people don't feel comfortable carrying, I don't want them carrying. It's a huge responsibility and requires a lot of training and situational awareness to do so responsibly and without footprinting, and if people decide that they're not personally up for that, I'm not going to be angry at them, I consider that a wise decision.
posted by corb at 1:26 PM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


You can add me to tonycpsu's voice in saying that I think coward is a stupid and harmful word here. It is not cowardice to choose not to do something reckless and stupid. That dweeb who opened fire on a shoplifter wasn't being brave.
posted by phearlez at 2:25 PM on October 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Rifle On The Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights

Riiiight. It's "liberals" who "essentially absolve [the police] of responsibility" for using armed force appropriately.

This is a pure distillation of the bullshit I was talking about above, rose-colored daydreaming about an uprising against the government. When the U.S. military has fucking nuclear weapons and chemical and biological weapons and every armament on down from there in abundance civilians possessing hand-held firearms does no more to "deny the state the monopoly of armed force" or "distribute the power of armed force among the citizenry as a whole" than civilians having pointy sticks does. It's not going to "recalibrate the correlation of forces".

For those who didn't make it that far his salient historical proof of the efficacy and necessity of private gun ownership is how the Jim Crow laws were "successfully resisted, with non-violent and not non-violent tactics." Thanks to guns, under a domestically-tyrannical U.S. government we might get treated as well as black people in Mississippi in 1904. (←graphic description you probably don't want to read of a man who defended his family with a gun and was then lynched along with his wife) But hey, at least we can be consoled that maybe half a century on we'll barely begin to make progress and then maybe eventually be treated as well as blacks in the Civil Rights Era were. As long as there's some social upheaval like a Great Depression and couple of World Wars to push things in the right direction on a similar timetable. But it's private ownership of firearms the whole way along that's going to be really really essential, he assures us.

The author also tries to preemptively dismiss people who would point out that under an originalist interpretation the Second Amendment should apply to firearms with capabilities more like those the Founding Fathers would actually have been familiar with, rather than ones that would allow a single civilian to take out a number of people equivalent to a significant chunk of a Continental Army company or half the crew of a Continental Navy frigate in a matter of minutes, by claiming that to make such points is to "p*ssy-foot around".

But he never explains why his principles of advocating keeping armed force like that of the state in the hands of civilians appears to suddenly stop when you get past hand-held firearms. If he really held all of the principles he claims to he would be ready and willing to write the exact same stuff while replacing "gun" and "firearm" with "improvised explosive device". I'd be interested to hear whether his sneering about "The Prohibition Impulse" would remain quite as generalizable when it comes to a nail bomb, despite the fact that it's the sort of weapon much more prominently mentioned as being of use in resisting the U.S. government's application of force overseas.

He even goes through an entire long-winded bit lecturing about the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons and a mass murder that was carried out with dynamite and how it's merely a "state of mind" that causes mass shootings, without explaining why he is not also advocating for unrestricted private ownership of fully-automatic weapons and dynamite on the bases he presents in the rest of his article.
posted by XMLicious at 2:29 PM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know what they say -- if dynamite is outlawed, then only outlaws will h-- OH SHIT, FIRE IN THE HOLE!
posted by tonycpsu at 2:33 PM on October 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile in Texas and Arizona
posted by adamvasco at 3:19 PM on October 9, 2015


The Volokh Conspiracy over at the Washington Post actually did put together a list of private gun owners stopping mass shootings.

Not only can the items on that list be counted on one's hands, those few times when a responsible gun owner happens to stop another responsible gun owner from killing non-gun-owners occur over the span of decades. So Volohk's list doesn't really identify much of a trend and is more something to proves empirically that putting even more guns into the hands of nearly-entirely cowardly gun owners is a totally stupid idea.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:51 PM on October 9, 2015 [1 favorite]




When I was 12 my grandfather gave me an old single shot 16 gauge shotgun. I was happy and took it to show one of my neighbours. He was a year younger than me, so was more one of my sister's friends than mine, but we played together often and he liked guns. I told him we would go shooting and test it once I got some shells for it. The next day about an hour after we got home from school, an ambulance arrived at his house. My parents went over to see what was happening, while my sisters and I watched from upstairs, taking turns with the binoculars. They returned with some grim news. Marc had taken his fathers 9mm and accidentally shot himself. It was bad, the bullet had gone through his neck, up into his head and ripped out most of the front of his brain. He was on life support and they weren't sure if he was going to survive. I felt really bad and prayed that he would live. And he did, but when I finally got to see him, he was already gone and then I wished I hadn't prayed. The family disappeared after that, they still lived there but nobody was ever outside even though there were 3 other kids in the family. There weren't visits anymore or BBQ's. They totally shut down. A couple years later they got divorced, sold the place and moved away.
posted by phoque at 5:09 PM on October 9, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's not super common, because honestly, concealed carry isn't that common even among gun owners

The NY Times just had an interesting side-by-side comparison of the process of buying a gun and getting a concealed carry permit in New York City and in Roseburg. Most of it is straightforward and unsurprising (hint: buying a gun is a lot easier in Oregon), but I was surprised by their statistic that "There are 12,419 active concealed handgun license holders among a population of about 107,000 in Douglas County, Ore, where Roseburg is located."

That is a lot higher than I would have guessed, or that would seem typical for a rural Oregon county in my experience. There was a point when Portland residents were using counties elsewhere to get carry permits, and I wonder if that could be pushing up the numbers?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:42 PM on October 9, 2015


In the current gun rights debate, one does not have to think too hard to catch the tiny little fact that anti-gun-rights liberals, besides not really being pacifists

Oh this argument can just fuck the fuck off. I want people to not get shot. Period.

, if people don't feel comfortable carrying, I don't want them carrying

I just don't want them carrying because for fuck's sake. Simply owning a gun makes you statistically more likely to die with a bullet in you. Just.. just get over it. Your murder weapons--and make no mistake, the 'carry' thing is only about holding weapons that are designed to kill humans--do nothing but make the world more dangerous. Engage in your stupid and childish Wild West fantasies as much as you want, as long as you're not carrying something designed solely to put holes in other people. Just. Fucking. Stop.

Your--and this is the general your--so-called right to carry arms comes at the cost of thirty thousand deaths by gun every year. Until every single murder weapon advocate is honest enough to say "yep, my right to have a murder weapon comes at your cost" I have zero fucking interest in listening to anything you have to say.

What amazes me most about the murder advocates is that you all like to trumpet RULE OF LAW THE LAW MATTERSSSSS while you're simultaneously saying well nope, you don't have to obey other laws and they all suck. Enough. Your advocacy results in dead children. Be honest about that.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:57 PM on October 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


I honestly think it's a little cute that somebody with a concealed carry thinks that their little gun and whatever marksmanship skills stands between them and the Tyranny of the Government.

Except for all the dead children thing. It's not cute when that little fantasy has a link to more dead kids.
posted by angrycat at 5:15 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your...--so-called right to carry arms

You can like it or not like it, but as currently defined by the Supreme Court a very broad reading of the second amendment is a real right, not a so-called one. If you want to change the way guns are treated in the US the fact that owning guns is very much a constitutional right needs to be a starting point, not something that is wished away.

Until every single murder weapon advocate is honest enough to say "yep, my right to have a murder weapon comes at your cost" I have zero fucking interest in listening to anything you have to say.

It doesn't come at your cost, you live in Canada and I don't see why an internal political debate in another country is making you so angry. There's an odd but very real contradiction in American politics currently, where there is broad popular support for some (largely insignificant but symbolically important) tightening of gun laws, but the exact opposite at the state and national legislative and judicial levels.

One might suspect that there might be more effective methods of resolving that contradiction than calling gun owners "murder weapon advocates."
posted by Dip Flash at 6:24 AM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't see why an internal political debate in another country is making you so angry

Dead children.

One might suspect that there might be more effective methods of resolving that contradiction than calling gun owners "murder weapon advocates."

Call them exactly what they are. The cost of your childish little right to carry murder weapons is 30 000 dead people per year. 143--unless there's been another one in the past day or so--school shootings in three years.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:30 AM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Our campus faculty senate passed a resolution against open or concealed carry on campus--a topic the legislature will take up again this year as they do most years (currently, concealed-carry permit holders must keep guns locked in the trunk of a car when on campus). The senate received push back from a faculty member who was outraged that they would pass that rather than getting a vote of the full faculty (thus showing a lack of understanding of representative democracy) and who repeatedly used the term "coward" to refer to the veteran at UCC who chose not to engage with the shooter. So I'm guessing that word in that context is a well established right wing talking point now?
posted by hydropsyche at 7:39 AM on October 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think some people, including me, are just very angry about the level of dysfunction in this country. I think that all the presidential candidates except maybe Bernie are going about America is number one. So I get why an foreigner would be pissed. The current application of the second amendment, part of our beloved Bill of Rights, is not a pretty thing. It's an anachronistic value that is applied as law. It defies common sense. Every time I hear an argument from an otherwise smart person's mouth that defends second amendment rights, it's like hearing a junkie defend their use. And I know my junkies.
posted by angrycat at 7:56 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been talking with some social scientists about how to think about gun suicides, whether they're preventable in the same ways as gun homicides are, and here's a short article arguing that basically we shouldn't think of gun suicides as preventable with gun control: Are gun suicides gun deaths?
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:59 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Call them exactly what they are. The cost of your childish little right to carry murder weapons is 30 000 dead people per year. 143--unless there's been another one in the past day or so--school shootings in three years.

As a society we seem to be ok with the 30k or so deaths related to firearms (though less comfortable with the much smaller number associated with school shootings, interestingly), along with the 40k or so deaths from road accidents, the 60k deaths related to nitrogen oxide pollution, and so on. Any of those could be reduced to close to zero, but we aren't interested in accepting the trade offs that doing so would require.

These are societal decisions (or failures, if you will) rather than individual, and while I fully understand the frustration of being on the losing side of a debate, the childish insults (especially when directed at people here) really aren't very awesome.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:59 AM on October 10, 2015


Yes, they are. If I'd had a gun in my possession at more or less any point in my adult life I would not be typing this right now. Guess what... hard to get a gun here. Australia banned a bunch of guns, and suicide rates went down--gun suicides were largely not replaced by other forms of suicide.

So, yes, they are preventable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


The cost of your childish little right to carry murder weapons is 30 000 dead people per year.

And the cost of my "childish little right" to a speedy, public, and impartial trial is in theory a massive overload of our justice system (and in practice a trend of unjust plea bargains to avoid such an overload). And how high is the cost of all the bigoted, hateful things that people nevertheless have a right to say? Should I give up my constitutional rights? No, the system should adapt to avoid or deal with the consequences.

James Madison argued in favor of a federal-level army by reassuring people that a militia of "citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties" could successfully oppose such an army if it became tyrannical—as they had just done against the British. I'll admit that this would be harder today, with AR-15s against tanks and bombs and drones, but that's not a reason to disarm the citizens entirely.
posted by Rangi at 8:02 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think the resistance-against-tyranny argument for gun rights is expired today anyway, because fighting the US Army+Navy+Air Force is a theoretical extreme. More often, people have to deal with traffic police, riot control officers, local-level forces. They could be successfully fought against with personal weaponry—which is why a lot of gun control laws came about when the Black Panthers exercised their right to open-carry.
In February of 1967, Oakland police officers stopped a car carrying Newton, Seale, and several other Panthers with rifles and handguns. When one officer asked to see one of the guns, Newton refused. “I don’t have to give you anything but my identification, name, and address,” he insisted. This, too, he had learned in law school.

“Who in the hell do you think you are?” an officer responded.

“Who in the hell do you think you are?,” Newton replied indignantly. He told the officer that he and his friends had a legal right to have their firearms.

Newton got out of the car, still holding his rifle.

“What are you going to do with that gun?” asked one of the stunned policemen.

“What are you going to do with your gun?,” Newton replied.

By this time, the scene had drawn a crowd of onlookers. An officer told the bystanders to move on, but Newton shouted at them to stay. California law, he yelled, gave civilians a right to observe a police officer making an arrest, so long as they didn’t interfere. Newton played it up for the crowd. In a loud voice, he told the police officers, “If you try to shoot at me or if you try to take this gun, I’m going to shoot back at you, swine.” Although normally a black man with Newton’s attitude would quickly find himself handcuffed in the back of a police car, enough people had gathered on the street to discourage the officers from doing anything rash. Because they hadn’t committed any crime, the Panthers were allowed to go on their way.
Some number of gun injuries and deaths each year is a fair price to pay for people like Newton being able to carry firearms. I expect we can do something to lower that number—educate people, change the culture, get them to behave more responsibly—without taking away their guns.

I understand your desire to see the general public without guns, fffm, but I do hope you include police in "the general public." Otherwise you'd be setting up two classes, the government forces with guns and the people without, and I expect the overall costs of that would be even worse than what we have now.
posted by Rangi at 8:15 AM on October 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Several comments deleted. fffm, drop it. You do this in every gun thread and it needs to stop.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:19 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Australia banned guns, and gun suicides went way down, and yet: "When the firearm suicide rate for Australian males declined the hanging rate increased simultaneously, with no statistical difference in the rate of change of the two methods." That is, gun suicides went way down but hanging suicides went way up at about the same rate. Worse, "The declining rate of firearm suicide in the 15- to 24-year-old subgroup coincided with an increase in the overall suicide rate." (That's from 2005, but the trend still stood in 2010.)

The National Academies of Science agreed: “Some gun control policies may reduce the number of gun suicides, but they have not yet been shown to reduce the overall risk of suicide in any population.”

It looks like overall trends in suicide are mostly determined by a) access to nonviolent means of suicide (pesticides and drug poisoning can be reduced with proper controls, and potentialy suicides by poisoning don't substitute alternate methods at a high rate), b) age demographics (which can't be controlled, but do lead to significant variance over time as people age out of and into more suicidal age ranges) and c) social facts about masculinity and the acceptability of suicide (which can and should be targeted to reduce suicide rates). The substitution among violent suicide methods appears to be pretty high, though.

This is an area that needs further research, of course, and one colleague cheekily suggested that we ban guns in the US to help resolve the question. Seems like a good idea to me....
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:14 AM on October 10, 2015


What do you make of this 2014 meta-analysis from Annals of Internal Medicine that looks at all the available studies and concludes that "Access to firearms is associated with risk for completed suicide and being the victim of homicide," anotherpanacea?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:49 AM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm okay with people shifting to another method of suicide -- it's a lot harder to throw nine people off a bridge before you jump yourself.
posted by Etrigan at 10:10 AM on October 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think, first, that US gun access clearly makes assaults more deadly, and so of course it causes our higher homicide rate. But I guess I say “The US firearm suicide rates were 5.8 times higher than in the other countries, though overall suicide rates were 30% lower.“ and the evidence from international comparisons is that gun control doesn't reduce the suicide rate. I'm happy to ban guns on the basis of homicides alone, though, especially when you notice the racial and gender composition of those homicide victims.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:45 PM on October 10, 2015


I don't think the resistance-against-tyranny argument for gun rights is expired today anyway, because fighting the US Army+Navy+Air Force is a theoretical extreme. More often, people have to deal with traffic police, riot control officers, local-level forces.

Also, many of the people who might be be the "opponents" in a hypothetical revolution are the people who might join it themselves - e.g. Three Percenters who would hold fast to their oath to defend the Constitution, and would refuse to take arms against their fellow citizens.
posted by theorique at 3:10 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not an argument in favor of private ownership of firearms, though, it's actually one of the points against private ownership of firearms being pivotal in an uprising against the government: even in the case of uprisings against governments with considerably more meager military capabilities than the U.S. government has, it's been essential for a large portion of the military and police forces to side with the rebels or to lead a coup themselves, and they possess their hand-held firearms as well as heavier munitions due to their membership in those forces. And in many cases (Vietnamese anticolonial forces fighting against the South Vietnamese government and French and American forces in Vietnam, for example) considerable aid from foreign governments is necessary in addition to that.

The author of the supposedly-leftist essay in favor of gun rights linked to above at least realizes that he is forced to acknowledge all of this to not be completely absurd:
I'm pretty sure, too, that if, after the development of an overwhelming mass movement, there is some kind crucial insurrectionary moment, it will be settled not by the power of personal civilian weapons, but by the power of the armed forces that the besieged state has built up for itself. The key moment is not the defeat, but the defection, of the armed forces of the state.
But he still tries to hand-wave away as a "straw man" any argument that uses this fact that, in his own words, any plausible regime of gun rights will leave the state with a supremacy of armed force, to point out that private ownership of firearms would have no bearing on the success or failure of an uprising against the U.S. government.
posted by XMLicious at 6:10 PM on October 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


> 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."

Guns, Slavery, and America’s Permanent White Wingnuttery
posted by homunculus at 6:20 PM on October 10, 2015


I guess I feel the same way about the right to resist tyranny with personal arms the same way that I feel about the right of people to assemble and petition for redress of grievances. Like, maybe small arms won't make that much of a difference. It did some heavy damage in Iraq and Afghanistan, but maybe. But then again, peacefully petitioning for redress of grievances hasn't done much either, but I still think it'd be monstrous to take away.

If you don't like the second amendment, that's a legitimate point of view, and it's okay to say so. But I find this whole "well that right would be ineffective" line of thinking a little weird, because then the solution is not to tear the right down, but to build it up. I also agree that in case of tyranny, the police would be and have been the first harbingers of that (see: Ferguson) and so you don't need to be armed enough to give the military pause, you just have to be armed enough to give the police pause, which the Black Panthers were able to do pretty handily for a while.
posted by corb at 7:01 PM on October 10, 2015


I guess I feel the same way about the right to resist tyranny with personal arms the same way that I feel about the right of people to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

Why is that, given that the former one is not actually in the Constitution?
posted by Etrigan at 7:15 PM on October 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Like, maybe small arms won't make that much of a difference. It did some heavy damage in Iraq and Afghanistan, but maybe.

Corb, those places had repressive governments before the US invasions, and the fact that many people had "small arms" didn't make them free.

They had civil militias after the US invasions, and those militias have done a lot of damage to the US - but they still haven't driven the invaders out of their country. The most effective weapons weren't guns, of course: they were precisely the weapons that US citizens are not allowed to have.

The people most harmed by weapons are the ones who need protection. In lawless places, people with guns lose them to people who are more brutal than they are. You don't have grannies defending themselves with shotguns; you have thugs who shoot the grannies, and take that shotgun.

I don't think Americans are capable of understanding this, but from the perspective of people in Australia and most other Western counties the USA is like something out of a Shirley Jackson story: you are losing the population of a medium-sized town to guns every year, and you're telling yourself this myth about it being for "protection" against the government. Let me be clear about this: no reasonable quantity of weapons could protect you from the US government or even a militarised police force; conversely, the US government is the expression of your country's desire not to be like Iraq or Afghanistan. If there is ever a revolution in the USA - and I devoutly hope there isn't - your country would be just as badly off as those are.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:48 PM on October 10, 2015 [13 favorites]


Let me be clear about this: no reasonable quantity of weapons could protect you from the US government or even a militarised police force

"You do know the government has drones, right? You get that? You're bringing guns to a drone fight."

The Jim Jefferies link I posted above seems to have died. Here's a pair that might last a little longer:

Part 1
Part 2

He's rude, but he's right.
posted by flabdablet at 7:50 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, you and I aren't going to agree on the purpose of the 2nd amendment, I think, and I'm not going to ask you to. I could paste in "this guy from the Yale law review thinks this" and you could probably paste in "this other smart guy thinks this", and I just don't think either of us is really going to convince the other, and we'd just be rehashing the same shit forever.

All I ask is that you and others understand that I sincerely believe that is the purpose of the 2nd amendment, that plenty of smart people believe from evidence that this is so, and it's a reasonable position to hold, even if you disagree. That I and others believe there is an important right at stake, and are defending this on morally principled grounds, even if you disagree with or outright hate the principle involved.
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


All I ask is that you and others understand that I sincerely believe that is the purpose of the 2nd amendment, that plenty of smart people believe from evidence that this is so, and it's a reasonable position to hold, even if you disagree.

I understand those things. But the courts have consistently found that the Second Amendment is not unlimited -- as I noted earlier in this thread, large-scale weapons are not free to possess, which means that your right to resist against tyranny with personal arms has effectively never been found to be a Constitutional right.

So, no, I don't understand that it's a reasonable position to hold that this unenumerated right, which is explicitly not supported by any actual legal interpretation, is in the same category as enumerated rights.
posted by Etrigan at 9:53 AM on October 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess what I would say to that is that from my experience, the courts are not the impartial arbiter of justice that we would like them to be - that the courts, like many other systems, are subject to prejudices and biases of the era. They have ruled many things over the years on this and other matters - should we look at their rulings closer to the time of the amendment's writing as more accurate, or closer to our time? So many times the rulings seem based less on interpretation and more on what the judges feel is reasonable for our times. (See: how the courts supported segregation until we as a society realized it was wrong, and then they opposed it).

I think that the courts often balance a strict interpretation of what the "founders' intent" was or would be, with what they feel are necessary rules for today's society. So for example, even if we discovered documents tomorrow that showed that every single Founder intended the 2nd amendment to apply to equivalent military technology, I can't imagine a single judge supporting that interpretation being applied to current law, because they would feel it would be disruptive and harmful to society.

But that doesn't mean the amendment wasn't intended originally that way - it just means that collectively as a society many of us have changed our views about what is an acceptable way to live. Does that make more sense?
posted by corb at 10:01 AM on October 11, 2015


When Washington came into Western Pennsylvania after the Whiskey Rebellion, he did so with state militiamen who were not only allowed to, but required, via the Militia Acts, to obtain a musket for service to the state militia. He did this against people who were also armed, but not acting legally within their Second Amendment rights, because they were acting against the "security of the Free state." It's simply illogical and ahistorical to believe that the aristocratic founders intended for the Second Amendment to let anyone choose their own definition of tyranny and then take up arms against the government, so whether your heart is in the right place is less important to me than whether the argument you're making has any merit to it.

It's not enough for defenses to come from morally principled grounds -- those defenses also have to be supported by an accurate understanding of history. Cherry-picked quotes from a small number of founders who may have thought that way do not change the historical record of the Amendment, as ratified by the majority of founders, being established a means of creating a national defense force without establishing a standing army, not anything to do with resisting domestic tyranny.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


corb, forget what judges would think, do you think that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to apply to whatever equivalent military technology would be necessary to resist tyranny, or do you think that they had some kind of concept of "personal arms" and once it gets to the point where personal arms are insufficient for resisting tyranny tough luck guys, you're just screwed?

Even beyond the lack of evidence that private ownership of firearms has had any essential role in successfully resisting tyranny any time recently, we're already entering the era where you don't even get to stick your gun in the tyrannical cop's face, all you get to do is wave your gun at the tyrannical cop's drone's camera before it tasers you.

The problem I have with the "gun rights are for resisting tyranny" stuff is that even if it's based on heartfelt beliefs about the significance of the 2nd Amendment, it just seems completely incoherent. Either true believers realize that degree of lethality needs to be taken into account to actually have a functioning society and that unlimited private ownership of land mines, airburst artillery, etc. would be a bad idea, but for some reason are ignoring that aspect of it when it comes to the kind of weapons that are used in mass shootings, or they are fighting tooth and nail and volunteering others for all of the consequent deaths and disruptions that weigh most heavily upon the most disadvantaged communities in exchange for a completely nerfed version of a privately-held ability to resist tyranny by force of arms.
posted by XMLicious at 11:09 AM on October 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


So, no, I don't understand that it's a reasonable position to hold that this unenumerated right, which is explicitly not supported by any actual legal interpretation, is in the same category as enumerated rights.

You could say the same of abortion rights, you know. Plus if you focus just on enumerated rights, the internet is not protected by the first amendment (being neither speech nor the product of a printing press.)

I'm much happier with the following explanation: some parts of the constitution are stupid (this is a document designed in several major parts to preserve slavery), the framers don't deserve massive deference when they've been eclipsed by events and new knowledge, so original meaning doesn't matter as much as people pretend.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:57 PM on October 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, no, I don't understand that it's a reasonable position to hold that this unenumerated right, which is explicitly not supported by any actual legal interpretation, is in the same category as enumerated rights.

You could say the same of abortion rights, you know. Plus if you focus just on enumerated rights, the internet is not protected by the first amendment (being neither speech nor the product of a printing press.)


I do, in fact, think of them as being in different categories, because they are -- the categories of "explicitly enumerated Constitutional rights" and "things I think are important and should be the law." But I don't go around saying "I guess I feel the same way about the right of a woman to be secure in her own body the same way that I feel about the right of people to assemble and petition for redress of grievances" as a rhetorical bait and switch that makes it look like the former is actually in the Constitution.
posted by Etrigan at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Police in Auburn Hills, Michigan are investigating whether or not to charge a conceal carry permit holder who opened fire at alleged shoplifters at a Home Depot store.

The Home Depot shooter must be jailed: The NRA encourages a culture of irresponsible gun ownership. Gun culture's created a special kind of dangerous nut -- righteous, dumb and armed. They must pay for breaking laws
posted by homunculus at 8:43 PM on October 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


My understanding of "the right to bear arms" is that it doesn't actually mean "the right to own a pistol". It's actually much more complicated.

Once Upon A Time, i.e., after the Norman conquest of England, the King was theoretically the owner of the entire country. He (we won't talk about Matilda) bestowed bits of it to some people, mostly the nobility, in exchange for their commitment to supply armed troops in time of war. These people - who came to be called barons - had the right to bear arms; they had the right to raise a private army. This was very important because (apart from the King's own guards) England had no standing army or police force: barons needed to protect their land and the people upon it.

So in feudal England (which survived a very long time, and really persists today) you had two classes of people:
1) those who were of the baronage, later called the nobility: they held land from the Crown or from people who held land from the Crown and they were responsible for both their land and for a specified contribution to national defense as needed; and
2) everyone else, who might rent land, lease land, or even have hereditary rights to use and occupy land, but who didn't hold land the way a baron would. People of this class had an inherent right of self-defense of their land and property, but they didn't have an inherent right to have weapons, even for self-defense: the right could be taken away from them - and sometimes was.

So when the Second Amendment talks about "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" it means that there is no baronage in the USA: the right to own weapons and join a local militia is a general one, possessed by everyone, and not restricted to a particular class of people. I think the consequences of this are dreadful, particularly since McDonald v Chicago makes the restriction binding on State governments too, but it is what it is.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:26 PM on October 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


My understanding of "the right to bear arms" is that it doesn't actually mean "the right to own a pistol". It's actually much more complicated.

Your version may be where it comes from historically, but as interpreted by the current crop of Supreme Court judges, the second amendment very much does mean the personal right to own a pistol or rifle (with exceptions for many kinds of restrictions, of course) for pretty much any use you want, including hunting, self protection, or full-on crazy prepping and militia-ing. That may change in the future with different court appointments, but it looks pretty solid for the moment.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:49 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


XMLicious, Honestly, if I was trying to sincerely parse what the Founders would have meant, not what the courts say, I think they would have supported city-run militias, with every free man (so in our time, non felon citizen) able to have the latest in military rifles, if they could afford them (so M4s, I suppose) with artillery pieces and drones and bombs and the like held in a city- run armory, where the city elders (so city council I suppose) could order them out in accordance with th will of the people. Their concept of resistance to tyranny, I think, was very much local resistance - that the people who lived together would be able to decide what was tyranny. I don't think they would have conceived of individuals owning tanks and such, but not just because it was advanced technology- but because it's essentially a crew served weapon and thus really needs a broader militia to be used.

I think if every city in America had the ability to do this after a vote, a lot of the intent of the second Amendment would be preserved, and honestly without that much disruption. It takes a lot for most people to be willing to go to war to fix a problem.
posted by corb at 8:25 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Their concept of resistance to tyranny, I think, was very much local resistance - that the people who lived together would be able to decide what was tyranny.

This makes sense - the USA of the late 1700s was much more decentralized, and the Founding Fathers were very suspicious of concentrations of power (e.g. in the person of a king or an emperor). This is also the origin of such concepts as "states' rights" - for a long time, it was a guiding principle that the nation was a voluntary union of relatively independent states, rather than a uniform nation ruled by a strong federal government.
posted by theorique at 9:44 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well corb, that conceptual framework does at least seem more consistent with the pre-2008 Supreme Court commentary and rulings that talked about "common defense", if I've got a correct understanding of the SCOTUS history.

With the trend of the militarization of the police it looks like one version of a city armory is becoming widespread.
posted by XMLicious at 9:49 AM on October 12, 2015


Mother Jones: Inside the race to stop the next mass shooter, Mark Follman
When the next shooting happens at a school, an office building, or a movie theater, the question will again be asked: "What made him snap?" But mass murder is not an impulsive crime. Virtually every one of these attacks, forensic investigations show, is a predatory crime, methodically planned and executed. Therein lies the promise of threat assessment: The weeks, months, or even years when a would-be killer is escalating toward violence are a window of opportunity in which he can be detected and thwarted.

A growing body of research has shed light on this "pathway to violence." It often begins with an unshakable sense of grievance, which stirs thoughts about harming people and leads to the planning and preparation for an attack. Elliot Rodger, convinced that women were unfairly denying him sex, seethed for months and fantasized about a "day of retribution" before he bought firearms, scouted sorority houses, and went on to kill 6 people and injure 14 others near Santa Barbara, California, in May 2014.
The New Yorker, Threshholds of Violence, Malcolm Gladwell
The second problem was more complicated. The prosecution saw someone who wanted to be Eric Harris and plainly assumed that meant he must be like Eric Harris, that there must be a dark heart below LaDue’s benign exterior. But the lesson of the Granovetterian progression, of course, is that this isn’t necessarily true: the longer a riot goes on, the less the people who join it resemble the people who started it. As Granovetter writes, it is a mistake to assume “that if most members of a group make the same behavior decision—to join a riot, for example—we can infer from this that most ended up sharing the same norm or belief about the situation, whether or not they did at the beginning.” And this June, at a hearing where the results of LaDue’s psychiatric evaluation were presented, it became clear just how heterogeneous the riot had become.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:14 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This has been litigated pretty clearly. I hate guns, but I think the NRA has a point; there's an individual right to firearm ownership spelled out in the second amendment--which we ought to amend or ignore.

Look at the 4th Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated...."

That's an individual right.

Now the 1st: "Congress shall make no law respecting... the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

That's an individual right, too.

Now look at the 2nd: "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." If you think the first two are individual rights, there's nothing to keep this one from counting as individual right, too.

The claim that the introductory passage about well-regulated milita is a conditional statement and not a justification requires quite a lot of textual nonsense. (It's a "Whereas..." clause, specifically adopting the rhetoric of anti-Federalists.) If anything, the conditional works the other way: since you can't have a militia without an individual right to own guns, and we supposedly need a militia, we need an individual right to own guns, too.

The problem here is that if we fight the battle on original meaning jurisprudence, we'll lose. So we've got to fight the other way: screw the Constitution, it's just words written on paper and it's deeply broken in lots of ways. We need a new one, anyway, so we might as well build a much better document that doesn't have an individual right to own guns in it. Because guns are bad, mmkay?

Barring a constitutional convention, though, the best things we can do to regulate guns in the current SCOTUS environment is to target the sources of crime guns: straw purchasers, corrupt federally-licensed dealers, and gun shows. That won't prevent any mass murderers, but it will significantly reduce the number of guns that get used to kill.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:16 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Honestly, a lot of that stuff would be easier to close with exceptions, but I'm not sure how to write them to keep decent intent in and bad intent out, especially when it's so polarized. Like, for example, I agree strongly that you shouldn't purchase guns for people just so you can skirt their inability to purchase them. But I really want to be able to buy, say, a nice hunting rifle as a birthday or Christmas present for someone in my family or a close friend. And I think the former should absolutely be a criminal offense, but not the latter. And so I tend to vote against stronger punishment for straw purchasers, not because I don't think it's legitimately a problem, but because I worry I or someone I love will be caught up and punished for good intent. If you had a way to separate that, I'd support it.
posted by corb at 11:06 AM on October 12, 2015


This makes sense - the USA of the late 1700s was much more decentralized, and the Founding Fathers were very suspicious of concentrations of power (e.g. in the person of a king or an emperor).

This is incorrect, insofar as it relates to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some founders famously felt this way, but when it came time to decide on whether the state militias were to be independent or under the control of the federal government, the latter won out in the form of Article I Section 8.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 AM on October 12, 2015


And so I tend to vote against stronger punishment for straw purchasers, not because I don't think it's legitimately a problem, but because I worry I or someone I love will be caught up and punished for good intent. If you had a way to separate that, I'd support it.

That's the key issue for me for a lot of these "apparently reasonable" restrictions. Do I think that certain restrictions on guns might be useful at preventing guns getting into criminals' hands, without being onerous to lawful owners. Sure, some of them.

Do I trust explicitly anti-gun politicians and activists to pass laws and stop at "reasonable"? Not at all. This creates a challenge to compromise - and both sides end up dug-in and unwilling to budge.
posted by theorique at 11:41 AM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


anotherpanacea - In any case I agree with you about the current SCOTUS environment, but I'm not so sure about needing a constitutional convention to make a material difference legally, even if what you say there about the "militia" clause is true.

"Arms" in the Second Amendment already is getting interpolated to "hand-held firearms" or a similarly scoped category somewhere in our legal machinery; if it can be shown that the framers of the Constitution didn't intend for the Second Amendment to enforce unlimited private ownership of things like artillery and torpedoes/naval mines, it seems straightforward to me that the sorts of weapons used in mass shootings that allow a single individual to kill dozens of people in a matter of minutes are more similar to the latter rather than Revolutionary-era hand-held firearms they'd have actually thought they were guaranteeing ownership of. (In fact I'd kind of expect that you could show that by some metric many modern hand-held firearms are actually more lethal than an 18th-century artillery piece loaded with anti-personnel "grapeshot" and fired into a crowd.)

I don't think we need to concede by any means that the specific interpretations of 21st-century gun rights advocates are inextirpably embedded in the Constitution, nor even that they have much to do with the Constitution at all.
posted by XMLicious at 11:45 AM on October 12, 2015


But I really want to be able to buy, say, a nice hunting rifle as a birthday or Christmas present for someone in my family or a close friend. And I think the former should absolutely be a criminal offense, but not the latter.

I just don't see how you - you specifically or you in a more general sense - reconcile this with thusly opposing straw purchasing requirements. People manage to buy motorcycles and automobiles for other people all the time. You buy it under your own name and you do the paperwork to transfer ownership after you present the gift.

Is it more trouble than when you buy them a McDonald's gift card and just hand it to them? Yep, sure enough. Is the fact that straw buyers indisputably help to put guns into the hands of people who are legally prohibited from having them enough reason to support some additional paperwork in your life? For me, yes, I'll add a DMV visit or two to my life to prevent needless death.
posted by phearlez at 1:28 PM on October 12, 2015


The problem there, phearlez, is there's no law against purchasing an automobile for someone else, so there's a system in place for it. But because people don't really want you purchasing a firearm for someone else, there's no system for it.

I would love it if I could walk into a gun store and say, 'Hey, I'm planning to buy a gun for Joe Smith, His information is blah blah blah, can you run a background check to see if it's okay?" Or if I could enter Joe Smith's info onto a website and get an email within three days saying "Yep, Joe Smith is fine!" And then print it off and take it into a gun shop and say "Yep, buying one for Joe again!"

But when you add the fact that there's not much interest in making it convenient for you to legally give guns to other people, to the fact that there's some people who really don't want you being able to run background checks on your friends and family, and this is a nonstarter for most folks I talk to.
posted by corb at 1:42 PM on October 12, 2015




Do I trust explicitly anti-gun politicians and activists to pass laws and stop at "reasonable"? Not at all.

This is perhaps the canonical form of a fallacious slippery slope argument. Anti-gun politicians and activists have no influence whatsoever over gun policy right now -- all the power rests among politicians and activists who, at the very least, believe in the individual right to bear arms. In order to show that you have something to risk by compromising, you have to articulate exactly how that dynamic would change were there to be any compromise on measures that enjoy wide support, e.g. stricter background checks and closing of private sale loopholes. Otherwise, the slippery slope argument is nothing more than an all-purpose excuse to do nothing and blame the other side, who actually has no power whatsoever over the process right now.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:14 PM on October 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


But when you add the fact that there's not much interest in making it convenient for you to legally give guns to other people, to the fact that there's some people who really don't want you being able to run background checks on your friends and family, and this is a nonstarter for most folks I talk to.

That's an interesting exploit—find out if an acquaintance is {a felon/mentally ill/otherwise disqualified from owning a gun} by trying to buy them a weapon. To avoid it, the system you suggest where you buy a gun in your name and then transfer ownership would work well enough.

Another possible exploit: try to buy them, say, a dozen guns in a week, requiring a dozen different background checks. If I recall correctly, there's some negative consequence that gets triggered when you frequently receive background checks—or am I confusing this with credit checks?
posted by Rangi at 3:09 PM on October 12, 2015


Cocks not Glocks: University of Texas Students Prepare New Fight Against Guns—With Dildos

Why not both? (kind of NSFW)
posted by Rangi at 3:13 PM on October 12, 2015


"Arms" in the Second Amendment already is getting interpolated to "hand-held firearms" or a similarly scoped category somewhere in our legal machinery;

Yes, clearly. But once there's an individual right to some weapons, the question isn't about machine guns (which kill few people and are regulatable anyway) but handguns. Most people die from handguns, and they seem like exactly the sort of thing protected by reasonable interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. Which is why we should just ignore it, like we do lots of much better bits of the Constitution like the 6th Amendment or large parts of Article 1.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:28 PM on October 12, 2015


s there's no law against purchasing an automobile for someone else, so there's a system in place for it.

Come on. This is fraidey-pants bunk. There's no system in place to gift an auto to someone. There is simply a system to transfer ownership of a registered object. People buy themselves a vehicle and then do the transfer paperwork when they gift it to someone. If we closed the person to person purchase loophole there would have to be this sort of system in place anyway. The only difference would be that you wouldn't collect payment for it. The how is an implementation triviality. We have systems in place where we have registered recipients for when we purchase firearms across state lines; you buy it from someone on gunbroker and they ship it to whatever local gun store will accept it and you give them $20.

The plain and simple fact isn't that the people you talk to won't refuse this system because they are terrified they can't buy Jimmy that rimfire 22 for his birthday. They won't accept it because they simply don't want to. A sizable number are also soaking in the paranoid fantasies that have made it financially painful for me to go target shooting because they're hoarding ammo to fight off Jade Helm, but the rest just plain won't accept an inconvenience for the sake of reducing illegally held weapons.

And you know what? Put it all aside. Pretend every bit of this will never be set up for gifting as inviolate truth. You're saying that stopping the straw buys that would keep illegal guns out of the hands of folks legally barred from having a weapon isn't a good enough reason for you to have to give someone a gift card.
posted by phearlez at 7:56 PM on October 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


You're saying that stopping the straw buys that would keep illegal guns out of the hands of folks legally barred from having a weapon isn't a good enough reason for you to have to give someone a gift card.

Or go to an FFL to do a face-to-face like sellers on ArmsList do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:19 PM on October 12, 2015


> Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, Parents of Aurora victim Jessica Ghawi: We Lost Our Daughter to a Mass Shooter and Now Owe $203,000 to His Ammo Dealer

A new PLCAA case: Milwaukee Cops Sue Gun Dealer Over Negligent Sale Of Weapon That Nearly Killed Them
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on October 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Leave Your Gun Out, Go to Jail
Last week, in what’s actually become a pretty standard week in America, two young children shot two other children dead with unsecured guns. [...]
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:39 PM on October 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


But once there's an individual right to some weapons, the question isn't about machine guns (which kill few people and are regulatable anyway) but handguns. Most people die from handguns, and they seem like exactly the sort of thing protected by reasonable interpretations of the 2nd Amendment.

Maybe this is something generally protected in 21st-century interpretations of the 2nd Amendment but I deny that's the set of all reasonable interpretations. What we have now are distortions of distortions of distortions of any original meaning.

I think we need to push back on the idea that these interpretations are just obviously what the framers of the Constitution would have intended in the in the context of 21st-century weapons and circumstances, whether or not taking a particular path is the optimum strategic way to respond to the domestic deaths and injuries and the tyranny that has developed south of the border and elsewhere as a consequence of the proliferation of firearms in the U.S.

Remember, revolvers didn't exist in the 18th century and I'm not clear whether in the Colonies there were even pistols that used the extremely primitive cartridge ammunition available at the time. As tonycpsu pointed out above it was bayoneted muskets and rifles that the 1792 Militia Acts mandated private purchase of; evidently pistols were inappropriate. In the discussions I've had with gun rights proponents and other material I've read I haven't seen evidence that "arms" as mentioned in the Second Amendment is a necessary requirement that easily-concealable 21st-century weapons vaguely resembling the form factor of the (muzzle-loading in many cases) pistols of the late 1800s must be available in unlimited quantities, or available at all, in all possible reasonable interpretations.
posted by XMLicious at 4:55 AM on October 13, 2015


If even one person legally entitled to a gun vote may be denied that gun vote, then we must tirelessly oppose the laws that could deny it to them I am okay with that.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:48 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Michael Barajas: Texas Southern University Has Seen Four Shootings in Six Weeks
Rather than a headline-grabbing mass shooting, TSU has instead seen brief flashes on gun violence since late August on or near campus, some of which appear to stem from arguments or altercations that turned deadly because of guns. In just the past six weeks, there have at least four shootings on or near the TSU campus, killing two people and wounding at least four others.

Late Friday morning TSU administrators put the school on lockdown and canceled classes after two students were shot near the Tierwester Oaks and University Courtyard apartments. One student was killed and another wounded. The incident followed a Thursday night shooting in the parking lot of that same on-campus apartment complex, though police haven’t yet said if the shootings were connected.

Last Tuesday, officials said one man was shot on Tiger Walk, a major TSU campus thoroughfare, during an argument. In Late August, another argument turned deadly when, according to police, 20-year-old Darrius T. Nichols began firing a gun into a crowd near where Friday’s shooting took place, striking two victims. Nichols was charged with murder after one of the victims, LaKeytrick Quinn, 24, died.

Private schools are currently evaluating if and how they’ll implement the state’s new campus carry law, which allows concealed handgun license holders to pack heat on campuses. While the law gives private colleges and universities the ability to opt out, as a public university TSU doesn't have that option. Here's what TSU President John Rudley told KHOU after Friday’s shooting:
“Too many guns are accessible to students and to people in general in our community. I mean, we have guns everywhere. I was interviewing students, they told me a gun only costs 100 to 300 dollars and everybody can get one. So we’re dealing with it here. I don’t want to be the in the position that we have to explain why our students are dying. … So the law says we’ve got one year, until next fall, to come up with a solution, to establish safety zones. I think we should establish the entire university as a safety zone.”
University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven is also among those who have pushed hard against the law, telling CNN this week, “I’ve spent my whole life around guns. I grew up in Texas hunting. I spent 37 years in the military. I like guns, but I just don’t think having them on campus is the right place.” One UT professor has already said he’ll quit once guns are allowed on campus.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:20 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


This crossed my Facebook feed this morning: Harvard University Study Reveals Astonishing Link Between Firearms, Crime and Gun Control. It refers to a study from 2007.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:48 AM on October 13, 2015


Easily taken down, particularly by another Harvardite.
posted by Etrigan at 7:52 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe this is something generally protected in 21st-century interpretations of the 2nd Amendment but I deny that's the set of all reasonable interpretations. What we have now are distortions of distortions of distortions of any original meaning.

I just don't think original meaning arguments are winning ones, here. This was litigated in DC v Heller and we lost. The very best case is that there's a little squidge of ambiguity that would have, once, been enough to prevent the majority victory in DC v Heller. But that moment is gone, and frankly the majority have the historical record on their side, citing obscure legal commentaries (if you're a historian or a person who works with texts, the debate between Stevens and Scalia on the unpublished notes of lectures by George Tucker is awesome geekery... but Scalia wins), parallel constructions in state constitutions, and private correspondence of the framers to prove that most people thought that the right to bear arms for the combined purpose of "defense of themselves and the State." This is the phrasing that seven of the nine initial states adopted, making it clear that most people saw these purposes as linked. Once you accept that the purpose was defense of self and community, it's just unambiguous that handguns are easier to use for self-defense than rifles, for much the same reason that they're also more likely to lead to homicides, too.

Of course, my real problem with original meaning arguments is that they assume the framers were godlike or genius-like in their pronouncements. They certainly weren't. We should have a lot less respect for them, a lot less of a tendency to call them Founding Fathers with capital letters. They were men, and venal ones. Most of them had slaves. They wanted to keep their guns at least in part so they could keep their slaves. So fuck them, and fuck their original meanings. When we help people draft their own constitution--like in Iraq or East Timor--we always make sure they don't repeat the model in the US Constitution, because it's dumb and usually leads to massive constitutional crises in short order. Most of US politics is basically an elaborate work-around for that; a patch on a patch on a patch of broken code.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:54 AM on October 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Etrigan.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:18 AM on October 13, 2015




I didn't emphasize enough that I'm not talking about strategy—I'm not talking about practical next steps for dealing with any problems. I agree with you that there's no genuine reason to care about original meanings and I agree that arguments concerning original meanings aren't going to be of any practical use in dealing with problems stemming from the proliferation of firearms.

There also isn't any practical way to end our government's practice of assassinating American citizens with drones or stop it from pursuing ubiquitous surveillance, things which for some reason don't seem anywhere near as significant to the avowed enemies of tyranny or most other people for that matter, but that's not enough reason to throw up our hands and say "We have always been at war with Eastasia" and accede to a retconning of history where it wouldn't have bothered anyone in the past either.
posted by XMLicious at 2:11 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


There’s a Way to Stop Mass Shootings, and You Won’t Like It.

If loneliness was the sole motivator of mass shooters, then why are mass shooters predominantly young, heterosexual-identifying, cis men? Do women and trans and queer and older people not get lonely enough?

Many mass shooters are people in pain, yeah, but "they needed hugs" is not addressing the whole of their motivations and what's shaping their decision to pick up a gun and shoot people.
posted by schroedinger at 3:20 PM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, musing about practical approaches, I wonder if the situation that's now been created is that the most effective way to deal with gun violence left to us once keeping the weapons themselves out of public places is off the table is going to be something like the "Identity Dominance System" I linked to above: track every person who might have a gun all the time while they're in public and then start to extrapolate patterns in the data and find ones that precede shootings, hence furnishing further intel for the "Predictive Policing" stuff we were reading about earlier in the year.

I'm a bit surprised that the requirements mentioned for the next-generation military IDS system don't involve some feature for detecting weapons, perhaps at the same time they're measuring gait. But maybe they wouldn't have given the reporter details like that.

If that's the future it seems like gun rights advocates may have avoided a gun registry all these years only to end up with something far worse. But bah, it probably all would have happened the same way no matter what anyone did.
posted by XMLicious at 3:39 PM on October 13, 2015


I don't think it's loneliness alone, schroedinger. I think it's the particular blend of loneliness mixed with toxic entitlement that says you should never have to be lonely - that your God given guarantee is that you will have everything, as you are told you always have been entitled to.

People on the margins on society have never felt guaranteed to anything, so they don't lash out like that.
posted by corb at 4:36 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


What makes you think it is retconning? Have you looked at the textual arguments? They're pretty persuasive, if disappointingly so.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:58 PM on October 13, 2015


Here's are two pretty good posts: [1] [2] from a previous thread that addresses this alienation, though in terms of become right-wing political radicalization.

[from 1] And if you are a disaffected young man, who is visibly fighting for you, you know? You see active conversations about LGTBQ rights and movement in that direction. The establishment right is fighting for culture war Jesus freaks and rich guys. So you're wooed in by the edgy, racist humor, but then you simmer in a soup of not-all-that-ironic racism and it seeps in and soon you're a total nonironic at all racist.

[from 2] This definitely happens. I have even read some comments in the past where people have consciously acknowledged having gone down this path. The gist of the argument seems to emerge from a sense of futility: "because I am a white person / man, they are going to call me racist / sexist, regardless of whether I make an effort to be non-racist or anti-racist."

Honestly, it's not all that hard to puzzle out. If you look at parts of the Islamic world, you can likewise ask, "Those societies are already dominated by Muslim patriarchs, why do young men feel a need to radicalize and become jihadists?" But even if you belong to the dominant class, you can still be losing out. You can be part of the majority and still feel alienated. In fact, the alienation probably feels worse (or at least just as bad) when the message is that you're supposed to feel privileged.

And then what happens? Because the ruling majority tends not to offer the same support systems to the "loser" members of that majority as part of the Darwinian nature of it all, and because the more egalitarian-minded groups fighting for minority empowerment potentially scorn them for being born into the majority, they have no recourse. So they start forming their own subcultures and para-societies. And rituals.

I think it's kinda telling that all of these recent high-profile shooters were all obsessively motivated by fringe thought on the internet.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:06 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's loneliness alone, schroedinger. I think it's the particular blend of loneliness mixed with toxic entitlement that says you should never have to be lonely - that your God given guarantee is that you will have everything, as you are told you always have been entitled to.

That was my point--shooters seem to generally come from privileged demographics. Addressing mass shootings outside of gun control and concrete practices means addressing toxic entitlement.
posted by schroedinger at 5:31 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to point out that some people are talking about school shootings specifically and others are talking about mass shootings in general and it seems like that's not being noticed. Like some people are obviously talking about school shootings specigically but are calling them mass shootings (which they technically are but they're a subset of them) while others are talking about mass shootings in general. I figured I'd point this out as otherwise it might lead to some confusion.
posted by I-baLL at 9:39 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]




What makes you think it is retconning? Have you looked at the textual arguments? They're pretty persuasive, if disappointingly so.

For one reason, because I don't think that a textual analysis carried out for the expedience of letting 21st-century judges adjudicate a legalistically rarefied matter within centuries and centuries of accreted law both before and after the writing of the Constitution is necessarily going to have anything to do with telling us what these 18th-century forebears would actually think about 21st-century weapons and circumstances.

Indeed, taking a legal opinion rendered for the purpose of fulfilling the tasks that members of the Supreme Court are compelled and obligated to carry out, and holding it as an actual insight into how the minds of the framers of the Constitution would perceive the present day, seems like exactly the sort of mythologizing you're arguing is bullshit. It's "assum[ing] the framers were godlike or genius-like in their pronouncements."

If you really do think it would be enlightening despite what I've said above I can take a look, although I think I might simply end up repeating similar arguments to what the dissenters and other legal commenters made, which cursory reading seems to indicate a handful of my points above may already have been echoing.
posted by XMLicious at 11:19 PM on October 13, 2015


(Also it's perhaps clarifying to mention that I wasn't saying the members of the Supreme Court themselves are necessarily endeavoring to retcon history. I'm saying that I think those portraying the 21st-century status quo of owning and trafficking in modern firearms and the consequent violence as something everyone at the founding of the country would have considered hunky-dory and functioning as intended and as acceptable costs of freedom, is part and parcel with things like Michele Bachmann claiming that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery. And that's why we should push back on it.)
posted by XMLicious at 11:46 PM on October 13, 2015


an actual insight into how the minds of the framers of the Constitution would perceive the present day

OF COURSE they'd be outraged by contemporary society! We have a massive standing army, lots of national debt, and Senators are elected by popular ballot! The president is Black! Women and African-Americans can vote! Gays and lesbians can marry! There are lots of scary guns! There's a big electronic printing press in the sky that people use to argue about politics and look at porn!

But even originalists like Scalia don't want to know what they intended; they want to know what the text they wrote means. What Madison intended is only an imperfect guide to what the text he wrote meant; for that, we have to look at all the other people who ratified the thing, at the way they talked and used words and so understood the document they were ratifying. There's less flexibility there, less trying to get into the mind of Great Men (tm) and more trying to figure out what words mean in particular configurations at a particular time.

Originalists say: ignore original intentions and pay attention to original meanings. I say: ignore original meanings and focus on building a good society. But nobody cares what it would be like if we could play Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure with the dudes who wrote the Federalist Papers, because it's not relevant.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:52 AM on October 14, 2015


I think many people do care very much what the Founding Fathers would think and indeed imagine them smiling down from heaven and anointing the worthy and giving their blessing when the Tree of Liberty needs to be watered with blood or something like that. It's perfectly all right if you don't care and say fuck 'em all, I just think it's important for building the good society you're talking about to not completely cede this ground in the forum of public debate to the people who would deify them. We're kind of stuck with Greco-Roman temples to the ancestors all over the place unless you want to completely burn the whole thing down (which I wouldn't be entirely opposed to, but does not look likely to happen.)
posted by XMLicious at 8:29 AM on October 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ed Kilgore: Why Talk of “Tyranny” Is Dangerous
[W]hen a guy like Cruz starts tossing around words like “tyrant” and “jackboot” and “destroy the country” and “strip your and my individual liberties,” isn’t it possible, perhaps even likely, that at least a few of his supporters might think he’s signaling that the time is near to get out the shooting irons and start executing the Tyrant’s agents? I really think Cruz, Carson and Huckabee need to be asked very specifically on the campaign trail and in debates exactly which circumstances would justify the armed insurrection they defend, and make it clear that Obamacare or a potential repeal of the gunshow loophole or an executive action on immigration don’t qualify.

This isn’t, by the way, just about incitement to violence. All this talk about liberal “tyranny” also illustrates the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of “constitutional conservatism.” Most liberals, even if they really, really hate conservatives, would concede that everybody has the right to contend for their point of view in the arena of elective politics. The central conceit of constitutional conservatism is to deny the equivalence of policy preferences, and to assert that favored conservative policies are permanently enshrined by the Founders—who in turn were inspired by divine and natural law—immune from popular majorities, no matter how large. It helps to understand that when someone like Ted Cruz talks about “liberties,” he’s not just talking about freedom of expression or even of religion, but the right to use your private property however you damn well please free from taxation or regulation or unions.

If you feel your own POV is the only legitimate set of ideas consistent with the Constitution or even the structure of the universe and the Will of God, then you are not going to be interested in compromise or limits on your exercise of power or civility towards the opposition, are you? I’m afraid that is more responsible for what Tom Mann calls “our current distemper” than is usually recognized.
More from Kilgore on the dangerous mix of 2A absoluteism and violent rhetoric from "constitutional conservatives" here and here.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:10 PM on October 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


This guy is a jackass. If he thinks that conservatives are the only True Believers, he is either disingenuous, or not looking too hard. Everyone has beliefs that they would hold to regardless of what the "majority" say. To pretend that liberals would be a-ok with policies as long as they were imposed by the majority is to ignore the entire history of liberalism.
posted by corb at 1:32 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Speaking of separating the sheep from the goats, earlier today I watched the rather entertaining BBC Hardtalk interview with (former Congressman, now banking executive) Eric Cantor, in which he declared that Tea Partiers are not conservatives at all but instead are merely radical populists. You may recall that the Tea Party played a role in him losing his Republican primary and consequently his Congressional seat.

He then went on to say something about them in fact being radical revolutionaries, and how that wasn't what the Republican Party stood for, the Republican Party stood for the kinds of things the Founding Fathers stood for, apparently implying that the Founding Fathers weren't revolutionaries... I wanted to check the exact wording but for some reason the BBC site just became unreachable. Maybe it's the ghosts of the Founding Fathers.
posted by XMLicious at 1:53 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fortunately, he didn't say anything of the sort. Perhaps it would be best if you didn't accuse him of being disingenuous while clearly not reading the links and/or taking words out of context.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:56 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]




To pretend that liberals would be a-ok with policies as long as they were imposed by the majority is to ignore the entire history of liberalism.

You're making a false equivalence between random liberal protesters holding signs at rallies with GOP elected officials and Presidential candidates. At the very height of liberal anger over Bush's war in Iraq, I honestly can't remember a single elected Democrat calling bush a "tyrant" or using apocalyptic, emotionally-charged words and phrases as the Tea Partiers regularly do.

You're more than welcome to cite some examples of this to refresh my memory, but my hunch is you'd struggle to pull up anyone notable at the national level, while I could rattle off a dozen cites off the top of my head and perhaps hundreds with a quick web search.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:36 PM on October 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


And, not for nothing, but the fact that these rhetorical bomb-throwers win their elections and get taken seriously in the GOP primary race speaks to the asymmetric polarization of the respective parties' constituencies. Alan Grayson is the only name I can think of who has even close to the nasty rhetorical edge that the Cruzes and Trumps and Palins and Perrys have, and he got bounced after one term. He came back, because he's immensely wealthy and can self-finance his campaign, but the point remains that Democrats are expected to act, speak, and behave like adults, while the GOP side rewards its politicians for their fire and brimstone attacks.

But Cindy Sheehan said some nasty things about George W. Bush, so BothSidesDoIt, amirite?

Bet you hadn't thought about that name in the last decade or so!
posted by tonycpsu at 3:00 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm actually not trying to insult liberals here, or talking about people using nasty rhetoric. I'm arguing that no matter who you are, you probably hold some important beliefs that you want supported regardless of how the majority at the time believes. For example - I believe both you and I supported gay marriage long before the zeitgeist moved towards embracing it, when it was still a minority position. Does that mean we should have given up? No. I don't think it's a bad thing to want what you think is right regardless of what the majority believes. Whatever Cindy Sheehan's rhetoric, the majority supporting the Iraq War wouldn't make it right.
posted by corb at 3:14 PM on October 15, 2015


That's a fine argument to make, but has nothing to do with what the guy you called a "jackass" actually said. In bringing up the anti-democratic (small-D) nature of so-called constitutional conservatism, he's not saying that it's never okay to use tools other than the popular vote to settle matters, he's saying that it's never okay to use the threat of violence, in text or in subtext, to settle matters. Liberals do protest, they do get arrested, they do hold signs with nasty things written on them, but generally aren't stockpiling guns for a revolution because the tax rate on top earners might go up by 3.6%.

Burn straw men all you like, but you're not fooling anyone.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm actually not trying to insult liberals here, or talking about people using nasty rhetoric. I'm arguing that no matter who you are, you probably hold some important beliefs that you want supported regardless of how the majority at the time believes.

Then you're arguing something different than what the quote you were responding to was arguing. Look back at this:
All this talk about liberal “tyranny” also illustrates the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of “constitutional conservatism.” Most liberals, even if they really, really hate conservatives, would concede that everybody has the right to contend for their point of view in the arena of elective politics.
The point being that arguing for a minority position is possible while simultaneously acknowledging that those in the majority are not wrong for arguing their own opinion. That opinion might be wrong, but objecting to their opinion is separable from the process of argumentation and advocacy.
posted by cjelli at 3:37 PM on October 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is a little bit of difference between a public figure on the left declaring that same-sex marriage is on the right side of history versus, for example, Chuck Norris foretelling a thousand years of darkness because Obama was reelected.

I'd actually agree a bit with corb's point of view because I think there are even circumstances for which some people on the left would advocate violent resistance against tyranny. I don't think there's any strong consensus that Palestinians must not engage in any armed opposition to the state of Israel, is there? Presumably if similar circumstances arose domestically the knives would readily come out.

But as everyone is saying, Kilgore wasn't denying that. He's saying that these particular Republican figures are prone to frequently using hyperbole to declare that every deviation from their agenda is the end of freedom and that the anti-Founders have arisen to blot out the sun, implying that really all the conditions sufficient for initiating the armed politipocalypse are in place and we'll play along a bit further with this invalidated democratic process but really we'd be fully justified to start killing people until we get our way. And they'll do that for like everything.

If you poke around the web you can find purer, local-politics versions of this stuff which the national-level figures are alluding to. I came across a video of what was billed as a workshop on fighting local tax hikes in Tennessee—a video which unfortunately seems to be unavailable now that blip.tv is gone—that started off with a slide show of graphic photos from massacres and genocides (the inevitable results of higher taxes, you see) and halfway through was still a discussion of how only 15% of Americans really, truly believe in freedom, and thank God we haven't had to do anything violent about that, not that anyone is suggesting it certainly...

Pretty chilling stuff, when it's over things like not wanting to fund the construction of a new school or something like that, regardless of the actual merits for or against building the school. It's not a bad idea to say that people should ask closer questions and pin down exactly what they're saying when politicians and candidates allude to this sort of thing.
posted by XMLicious at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Safe Spaces: Guns in Neoliberal America
I’m not taking any policy advocacy stance here, but I do think we need to be honest that, beyond the slogans, we’re dealing with institutions, practices, and attitudes that are durable and interrelated with each other. Moreover, since this America, these factors are embedded within a deep matrix of white supremacy, gendered violence, and other forms of oppression as well. Forget the epiphenomenal dog-and-pony show of the primaries: whatever future “gun control” (or “gun safety”) we may eventually wind up getting will necessarily emerge from that backdrop, and be constrained by its horizon of possibilities. We need to confront that possibility rather than just bemoan how “other countries don’t have this problem.” That’s true – they don’t, and they never did. But we do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 PM on October 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


That article is really interesting - much more than I'd have thought from the pull quote. It's not same-old, same-old at all.
posted by corb at 9:27 PM on October 17, 2015


Interesting quote from Safe Spaces: Guns in Neoliberal America article above:
Thinking and writing about guns for a decade now, it seems to me that most folks don’t care about the flow of lead and blood in spaces they don’t live in or care to think about on the regular. Straw-purchased guns drop bodies in Chicago and Baltimore and most people don’t care. But suddenly guns and bodies appear in places they do care about, or that they could see being inhabited by people they know or who look like them — now, that’s a five-alarm fire. Untraceable guns killing socially marginalized people in the streets? That’s where they’re supposed to be, the implicit logic goes, killing whom they should. But legally bought guns killing people in spaces that disrupt the precious flow of human capital? A national crisis.
I'm reminded of the Joker's insight in The Dark Knight.
You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan".
Generally, for most people, a problem becomes a serious problem when it encroaches on their territory, their community, their family. Otherwise, it happens to "other people", outgroup people, and isn't any of their business.
posted by theorique at 7:49 AM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


What Became of the Boy Who Shot His Sister Dead - "Sean Smith was looking for the Nintendo games his mother had hidden when he found a .38 revolver in his father’s underwear drawer."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:08 PM on October 21, 2015 [3 favorites]




Surely...
posted by tonycpsu at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2015


Haha no.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:11 PM on October 22, 2015


From the article:

A small school district in Garden Valley, Idaho, decided to arm school employees last summer. The district did not have the money to hire a resource officer, and the police response time to the rural school was 30 to 45 minutes, KBOI News reported.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:41 PM on October 22, 2015


They've got Kevin!
posted by flabdablet at 8:26 PM on October 23, 2015


Catherine Thompson: GOP Candidates Stoke Fears That Obama And Clinton Are Comin' For Your Guns
The conservative echo chamber ran with Trump's warning about Obama and continued to hammer Clinton. Breitbart accused CNN of "lying" for saying that Obama has not announced plans to sign an executive order to take away or restrict access to guns. John Lott, the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, wrote at The Daily Caller that Clinton was "wrong" about Australia's buyback program, which he argued actually made that country less safe.

The gun confiscation hysteria officially hit fever swamp levels Thursday with a post that appeared on Intellihub, one of the conspiracy theory websites that fueled the summer's unfounded "Jade Helm 15" paranoia. The post referenced an appeals court ruling that upheld gun control laws banning possession of semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines last week. Those laws were enacted in New York and Connecticut after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Heather "digby" Parton: The non-partisan, upstanding NRA
I'm glad that these totalitarians are finally showing their true colors to their fellow Americans, as it will assure a crushing defeat of their anti-American ideals at the ballot box. Perhaps then sane Democrats like Jim Webb can pick up the remains of the Democrat Party and either return it to something President Kennedy would have respected, or start something new.

Of course, we've got to get the elections, and these radicals are pushing hard for action, now, and they're proving with every passing day that reason and constitutionality are the least of their concerns.

We do not want a civil war against the radical left wing of the Democrat Party, but let it be made abundantly clear that if they start one, they will be utterly destroyed by armed free citizens, as the Founders intended.
This is fantasy about killing Democrats. Explicitly. By a bunch of paranoid freaks who are armed to the teeth.

Using President Kennedy to sell this fantasy, a man who was shot in the head, was a particularly clever touch, I thought.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:39 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


2014: Teenage Boy May Have Shot Up His School Because His Girlfriend Broke Up With Him - "Forty percent of mass shootings start with the gunman targeting his wife, girlfriend, or ex. And access to firearms makes it seven times more likely that a domestic abuser will kill his partner."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


Would-be gun violence researchers face many challenges in career path
Gun interests, wary of any possible limits on weaponry, have successfully lobbied for limitations on government research and funding, and private sources have not filled the breach. So funding for basic gun violence research and data collection remains minuscule — the annual sum total for all gun violence research projects appears to be well under $5 million. A grant for a single study in areas such as autism, cancer or HIV can be more than twice that much.
posted by homunculus at 9:01 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]




Who’s the alpha male now, bitches? - "Andrew O’Hagan on the manifestos killers leave behind"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 PM on October 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


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