Earnest Wonkette Think Piece Here

A casual hobby.We’re going to talk about it.

We’re going to talk about it because our thoughts and prayers are not enough. They were not enough after Columbine (15 dead), or the Amish schoolhouse (6 dead), or Virginia Tech (33 dead), or Tucson (6 dead), or Aurora (12 dead), or the Wisconsin Sikh temple (6 dead), and they are not enough now that another 28 once living, breathing people have been added to the tally. To offer only thoughts and prayers is to say “Well, that’s a damn shame. Sure hope it doesn’t happen again.” We have done this every time. And every time, it’s happened again. So we’re going to talk about it.

We’re going to talk about guns.

There shouldn’t be a requirement to wait a certain amount of time before we can talk about guns. The time to talk about food safety is after an e. coli outbreak; the time to talk about preparedness and global warming is after a hurricane socks New York, which is usually not socked by such things. Those are appropriate problems to talk about because they are problems right freaking then, and if the time to talk about guns isn’t after some guy uses one to kill 20 little kids, when is the time?

It isn’t disrespectful to try to learn from the deaths of those 27 innocent people, or from the 28th guilty one, who is only one of thousands of people who used a gun to kill himself this year. It would be far more insulting to look at their deaths and shrug, and hope maybe people get less unbalanced.

If Adam Lanza’s mom hadn’t owned those guns legally, Lanza would not have been able to take them into that school and massacre those children — after he killed her. The same goes for so many crimes of passion that could have been avoided if an angry person hadn’t had easy access to a killing machine. Maybe they’d find a gun anyway. But so far, they haven’t had to.

Anyway, we’ve been saying this stuff for a long time, so let’s try to figure out how anyone could possibly justify America’s gun problem. Let’s just go through one by one, starting with what’s probably the most common justification:

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Sure, and Apache helicopters don’t kill people, but we cannot have those either.

It’s a true thing, sure, that “people kill people.” It is not a coincidence, however, that when people kill people, they kill them with guns. Guns are so, so good at killing people. Pretty much the only thing they’re good at, really, other than being mafia paperweights. People are always going to kill people, sure. But the system we have now is set up to let them, in the name of Freedom. We can seriously justify what happened in Newtown by saying it just comes with the territory of having a well-regulated militia?

Defenders use this line to explain that America does not have a gun problem, it has a murder problem, and they quickly break out the old canard about how guns kill people like spoons make people fat. Many of the people who say this are not, as they say, “murderers,” but just regular folks who own guns and do not use them to kill kindergartners. But these people are wrong.

Spoons are not the only way people get fat. In fact, some of the best ways to get fat (cheeseburgers and never standing up) have nothing to do with spoons.

Guns, however, are startlingly unlike spoons. Guns are not just one of many tools in a killers arsenal. Guns are more than just coincidentally AROUND when buildings full of people are killed — they are the single most determining factor in how efficiently they are killed. How many people were merely wounded in Newtown yesterday?

If you want to kill people really quickly, and with the least amount of effort, you buy a gun. Yes, you could buy a knife, or a heavy rock, but the most effective method of mass murder is available in many places from the same stores where you go for soccer balls and sweatsocks.

If someone goes on some kind of spree with a knife, like they keep doing in China, that is still bad. But when a Chinese guy uses a knife on 22 people, they all live.

Mass-shootings happen because it is easy for mentally unstable people to get guns. Shouldn’t we at least pretend to stop them? The biggest move in federal gun legislation since Columbine was that we let an assault weapons ban expire. Though Obama promised better gun laws, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says he’s been worse than Bush. Sure, they’ve got an agenda, but the point remains: We need gun control. Lots of it. It stinks that the crazies have ruined guns for the rest of us, but they definitely have.

Yes, making it harder for the crazy folk will also make it harder for the sane folk to kill them, but that argument is wearing very, very thin, since the sane folk are not really doing a very good job at protecting people. That argument also leads nicely into the next defense of guns:

If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

“What will we DO?” say the gun-folk. “Good people with guns defend society from bad people with guns!”

It sounds like a great argument, until you realize that the good people with guns are awful at defending society from bad people with guns. Mother Jones put together a big, terrible list of all the mass-murders of the last 30 years, and not a single one ends with, “And then a person with a concealed weapon killed the shooter before the shooter could inflict any more damage.” None. Zero. One “witness” in Miami killed a shooter back in 1982, but only as the shooter was running away.

This, of course, is not viewed by gun enthusiasts as an argument for gun control, but against it. Like this statement from Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America:

Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.

The best way to prevent gun violence in Newtown would have been to give teachers guns. This is not a fringe idea — the GOA boasts 300,000 members. And it might not necessarily be an incorrect idea, either: It isn’t hard to imagine a teacher stepping into the hallway during the massacre and planting a bullet between Lanza’s eyes. It feels good and just to think about. We’re conditioned to feel good thinking about it — it’s how all the good action movies end.

So yeah, maybe gun control stopped teachers from shooting Lanza. But is that really the system we want to have? An arms race with criminals and the insane on one side, and the innocent on the other? Those with a vision of guns in schools have a vision of America as a never-ending Mexican standoff. It’s a barbaric proposal unmatched anywhere else in the civilized world.

Plus, again, if guns are supposed to be protecting people, they’re doing a lousy job. Not doing any job, really. It might feel good to have a Glock on your hip and imagine all the wham-bang good stuff you could do, being a hero and whatnot if a lunatic shows up on the bus or in the deli, but the reality is that you would be the first person to do that since they replaced hitching posts with parking lots. It just doesn’t happen. The good guns aren’t doing us any good.

This, though, refers mostly to mass shootings, where the perpetrator in the vast majority of cases obtained the weapon(s) used legally, likely at least partially due to mass-shootings being a person’s first and last crime.

What about people who have guns to protect their homes, or to defend themselves from other kinds of crime? This leads us to yet another defense:

Guns prevent crime.

Maybe it’s not fair to say guns are bad because they don’t prevent all mass shootings. Maybe they’re bad at that, but really good at preventing other crimes, like robbery. If this is the case, that means more guns would mean more safety, no? The United States has 310 million guns. How many more guns do we need before all the robberies stop?

Handgun production has more than doubled since 2005 and there have been 16 mass shootings this year. This is the cost of gun freedom. How many mall shootings, and hospital shootings, and school shootings, are there going to have to be, before we decide that maybe we aren’t safer with more guns?

Speaking of crime, research from Harvard suggests the “good guys” are sometimes guilty of it too:

Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective…

We found that firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.

“Socially undesirable,” in case it wasn’t clear, means a gun use that isn’t defending yourself from a criminal. And the rest of the words there mean people who actually use guns, by and large, use them to act like dangerous, militant bullies.

It’s a good thing that many gun owners don’t have to use their guns. But if the ones that do are using them to menace neighbors and settle disputes (lookin’ at you, Jovan Belcher, you dead bastard), who is that helping?

The Belcher case, in which the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker escalated routine American domestic abuse into routine American gun violence and killed his girlfriend with his pile of guns, is another example of the dangerous situation we’ve put society in: Maybe something terrible happened to Belcher’s brain. Maybe all the football damaged the part of his head that told him not to kill people. Maybe it wasn’t all his fault. But it doesn’t matter, because he had a bunch of guns anyway. The guy could have bought any gun he wanted, and when he got mad, he used one. Just like anybody else with a few hundred bucks could.

But no matter how many horrifying scenes we’re forced to confront, and no matter how many parents are splashed on front pages crying in parking lots for their dead children, there will be another defense that absolves gun-rights advocates of guilt:

It’s my constitutional right.

“There’s nothing we can do! It’s in the Constitution.” It’s a shrewd move, because it places blame for the American gun problem on the founders, instead of on the people furthering the problem now. But that’s a broken argument too.

That something is (possibly) enshrined in the Constitution does not mean it is invincible to change. Let’s not forget that abortion is a constitutionally protected right, eh? We’re still allowed to argue about that.

The Constitution is good at stuff like this. We’ve amended the thing 27 times, to fix the issues our founding fathers, in all their 18th-century wisdom, fucked up beyond comprehension. Women couldn’t vote, black people were 3/5ths of a person (and couldn’t vote), presidents could be reelected in perpetuity. Hell, the path of presidential succession wasn’t codified until 1965, after we needed it a bunch of times. (Mostly after angry people killed our presidents… with guns.)

And when an amendment like the 18th comes along and takes away our beer, we have the power to bring along an amendment like the 21st, which gives it back. Because one thing the Constitution does get right is the opening line: “We, the People.” Like Charles Pierce wrote Friday, our commitment to each other is the driving force behind our self-government, and when self-government stands by and watches Americans shoot each other in the face, we have failed each other.

So no, the constitutional argument against gun control is not good enough. We have a commitment to society that is above blind faith in 220-year-old dogma. We took away slavery. We can regulate guns. Providing for the common defense doesn’t only apply to drone-striking terrorists, and if we can repeal the 18th Amendment, we, the people, can certainly temper the bloody effects of the Second.

Some people will die, if their guns are taken away and they can’t defend themselves. But how many people would be saved? If taking away guns from the public makes gun deaths go down overall — and it would — how would someone argue against it? That it violates an American ideal, a notion that people should have that line of personal defense? It’s not good enough, if people are dying, senselessly, every day, to preserve that right. If “making sure less people die” is not preserving the general welfare, that section of the Preamble means nothing.

We have been trying it this way — the gun way — for a long, long time. We have armed everyone equally, in the hopes that the good deeds will outweigh the evil. On days when everyone with guns behaves themselves relatively well — and there are a woefully small number of them — it’s a position that can slide. But on days when New York City has to send a portable morgue to an elementary school, why, why, why can’t we try it the other way?

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399 comments

  1. petforest

    Most excellent "rant" and an explanation of why it won't be easy. But, everything worth doing, is HARD.

    1. JohnnyQuick

      Someone over at the excellent Balloon Juice suggested that we basically need an anti-gun organization (a new or existing one) to be as heavily funded as the NRA.

      I might say that's not quite necessary, we just need one funded massively more than now. Think of Obama's campaign, rolling in dough from folks like you and me, but not massively corporate-funded. But they were just more popular than Sheldon Adelson's boy.

      If we could somehow get geeks from Obama's campaign working on this, I'm pretty sure that the small amount of actual popular support (300,000 nuts at the Gun Nut Owners Ass?) for gun nuttery could be overwhelmed. Of course, the good guys need to be funded at this level for longer than a single campaign season.

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Being an oldz and not proficient in the foreign language that is written in, I would appreciate a translation.

  2. finallyhappy

    Sense and logic work for Wonkette readers but too many politicians including liberals are not interested in really making things better- they want to keep their offices and do nothing but raise more money for their next election. Many gun owners are assholes- not to say that non-gun owners aren't assholes too- and need to justify why owning an assault rifle is necessary. When they say stupid things like teachers or counselors should be armed or someone with a concealed weapon could have prevented the Colorado massacre- we know they are stupid morons- so why don't more people see that? America is full of stupid vicious people- other places have stupid vicious people too but they can't easily get guns to carry out their murders or suicides. so really I have no answer except to be sad and angry myself- and not own a gun.

    1. miss_grundy

      Because the American people have been dumbing themselves down for the past forty years. Which is why Gen-Xers and Millenials don't understand why unions are still necessary. In this country it is very easy to purchase a gun, illegally and you may have to go through a little bit of paperwork, but you can purchase one easily very legally. And if you go to a gun show and purchase one privately, the chances of not having to fill out any paperwork are probably 40%.

      But Americans and their romance of the Wild Wild West and the gunfighter are also to blame. Because all these gun owners think it's cool and macho to own a gun. Even though the chances are they may wind up using the weapon in a domestic dispute or a dispute with a neighbor.

      Until America breaks up its romance with guns, we are going to see more people die. And it just makes me so angry I want to punch something.

      1. PubOption

        Unfortunately, there seems to be a train of thought that guns are the answer. Too many illegals crossing the border? Set up an armed militia to patrol the border area. Too many mass shootings? Make sure all the good guys have guns.

      2. Jukesgrrl

        Romance of the wild west gunfighter is indeed a key issue. I can see that vividly having been raised in Western Pennsylvania (land o' the deer hunter) and now living in Arizona. Many people who live in the Southwest (including the non-natives) have fantasies about themselves that defy logic. Some who live back East have fantasies about themselves as gang-bangers and Ninja warriors, clearly, but their numbers are far fewer than those who imagine that their townhouse in Mesa qualifies them as John Wayne, Jr., just because it's in Mesa.

    2. actor212

      I dunno. I sense a turning point here. It's important to the nation that we run with this and put in place effective gun control legislation. I suspect the conservative wing of this nation is in its death throes, if you take into account the ease of Obama's re-election, the passage of ACA, the "fiscal cliff" compromises, and the legalization of both gay marriage and marijuana.

      This is just another losing issue for them. I suspect they'll cave and quickly in the face of all those dead children.

      1. sudsmckenzie

        no jay cutler jokes, *twitch*, No Jay Cutler Jokes, *Twitch*, NO JAY CUTLER JOKES, … *pouts on the sidelines*.

          1. sudsmckenzie

            Needs to spend more time in the IL countryside to experience broad sides of barns.

            On the couch, we call it "Cutler Time", and it is funny, if not predictable. Then it is time to watch his "Pouting".

    1. Baconzgood

      Iknow. Wonkette writes an editoral not peppered with swears and snark? We all agree to this and now we have to act. I know at least 100 people (the people that comment on this site) that agree with this. I own 2 pistols (they were given to me by a police man cousin) that I keep in a gun safe. I removed the firing pins when I got home on Friday.

  3. skmind

    There is no way to get the 300 million guns out of circulation in a democracy, without a serious violation of rights. The problem is that we are in 2012, not 1791, and it is impractical to think that not only will we get rid of, or abolish the 2nd Amendment, but that we will severely cripple the 4th as well.

    So any attempt to fix gun-related deaths is incomplete without addressing these in-circulation guns.

    Gun control. Even if we finally accumulate some political will, it will only restrict future ownership. No, that does not mean we should not have it, just that it is not going to make much of a difference.

    As horrific as these tragedies are, they are, callously put, very rare. So we may reduce the odds from 5 to 3 every two years.

    Yes, I suspect that it is still worth doing it. Sam Wang (the precursor to the rock star Nate Silver) has analyzed, statistically just the effect of the assault weapons ban.

    Likewise there can be tighter controls over the loopholes (or even the so-called loopholes). I am not sure much more can be done on that front, but I think we can do all that.

    Then we get back to the 300 million. I see no way to address this but to allow those who wish to defend themselves carry them. Openly or concealed.

    But I propose that we start by petitioning that this gun-carrying liberalization start at the Capitol. That is, if legislators truly believe in the Second Amendment, then let's have anyone wanting to bear arms do so. They should be allowed in courthouses where gun-control is struck down, and right to bear arms affirmed.

    I suspect that while I cannot think of getting rid of the 300 million, the newly liberated Capitol folks will find a way

    1. woolmyn

      You say: "Gun control. Even if we finally accumulate some political will, it will only restrict future ownership. No, that does not mean we should not have it, just that it is not going to make much of a difference.

      As horrific as these tragedies are, they are, callously put, very rare. So we may reduce the odds from 5 to 3 every two years."

      This implies, to me, that the only issue the number of people who die in these tragedies. Even though I don't know any of the people affected in this latest shooting, directly or indirectly, my soul died a little when I heard about it. I can't imagine how families and friends directly affected are ever going to get over it. They've died a death in a different way. Nobody will come up with a "body count" on those folks.
      So, even if the odds are reduced from 5 to 3 every two years (and I queestion those numbers) not only the dead and physically injured, but the emotionally devasted would be protected as well. I think that's worth the effort.

      1. skmind

        So, even if the odds are reduced from 5 to 3 every two years (and I queestion those numbers) not only the dead and physically injured, but the emotionally devasted would be protected as well. I think that's worth the effort.

        Perhaps that is why I followed up my statement with Yes, I suspect that it is still worth doing it. before proceeding to cite a stat backing it.

        1. woolmyn

          sjnubdm I did see that you said that and appreciate your posting your opinion. It's just that I feel stronger about that issue. I more than suspect it is worth doing.

    2. miss_grundy

      I don't want people openly carrying. I can imagine the gun fights at the supermarket if you hit someone's shopping cart. They may pull out their gun and start shooting. Or shooting someone on Black Friday because s/he didn't move through the doors fast enough at some big box store. No! No open carrying, which is garbage that the fracking gun nuts want here in Michigan. If I see anyone coming into my Episcopalian church or the library openly carrying, I'm calling the police. And I'll let the police kick those people out. If they put up a fight, I'll be happy to let the cops shoot that person.

      People in this country have enough anger management issues. To let assholes openly carry is to allow misfortune to happen.

    3. Baconzgood

      "…WELL REGULATED MILITA"

      How come "well regulated Milita" are always forgotten? I own 2 guns, I've taken gun safty, oil them, target shoot, clean them, have them in gun safes. Not because it makes common sense. Its not regulated in PA that I did that but I did.

      EX mrs Baconz has 5 guns, and in the 10 years we were married and the 3 we've been divorced she was against even being required about having a gun lock on her gun. I've seen her shoot her gun once in all the time I knew her and said "get rid of that gun. The way you handle it will only have a thief take it off you and kill you. If you feel you need 'home protection' buy a shot gub"

      1. Baconzgood

        Con't

        "Hell you don't even have to buy the shells. Some one does what you fear. Wakes you up when I'm on a trip while your naked in the middle of the night with out 2 babies….just pick that thing up and rack it while saying 'why don't yoyu go out the way you came sir' 'cause NOTHING IN THE WORLD MAKES THE SOUND THAT A COCKED SHOTGUN MAKES. They'll hear it and get out quickly"
        Now who do you think is better equiped to own more guns? FYI. I took the firing pins out of my guns on Friday after work.

        1. glasspusher

          You have a good point, baconz. How many guns or gun owners would there be out there if they had to meet the "well regimented/have a clue" criterion? 5% of what we have? Seems Friday's shooter's mom liked going to target practice, too bad she didn't use the gun safe.

        2. valgal2342

          Off topic – Sorry-
          Just had to mention that I actually tasted Bacon Flavored Bourbon this weekend. Bulleit Bourbon infused with bacon grease and left to sit for 4 days. Then put in freezer for 2 hours and skim off fat and strain bourbon into bottle. It goes down tasting like bourbon but the after taste had a smokey bacon flavor. Amazingly, it wasn't horrible. It was interesting. For some reason when I tasted it the fist thing that came to mind was "Baconzgood".
          Carry on…

    4. comrad_darkness

      Paying people to turn in their soon to be illegal guns and clips works well in other places. Hell it works well in the inner city where you'd supposedly expect people would never give up their guns.

    5. Negropolis

      I know you say that you believe it is still worth doing, but then don't make an argument in defense of discouraging that. There are plenty of things we haven't had the guts to do – or it is politically impossible to do – retroactively; it needs to be reiterated that that doesn't make it a bad idea, and that should be the focus, not how little of an immediate effect this may have.

      You let the people on the other side make those arguments; we don't have to do that for them. Thanks.

      1. skmind

        " but then don't make an argument in defense of discouraging that."

        I did not. I cited stats that show that renewing the assault weapons ban could actually help.

        What I am saying is that efforts on gun-control alone are rather pointless, because it does not address existing guns.

        How, in a democracy, are you going to disarm 300 million guns?

        You let the people on the other side make those arguments; we don't have to do that for them. Thanks.

        Are we going to talk about guns, or are we going to simply talk about "gun-control is good?"

        A responsible discussion requires both, don't you think?

        This is not Utopia where we can simply ban guns and all is hunky dory. This is 2012 USA where we have an obscene number of guns, and gun-control that does not address that at all is quite pointless.

    6. fuflans

      I suspect that while I cannot think of getting rid of the 300 million, the newly liberated capitol folks will find a way

      i'm willing to give them a try.

    7. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Without ammunition, a gun is no more useful as a weapon than any other chunk of metal. And ammo has a limited lifetime. It would take decades, but we could, eventually, render most of those 300 million guns useless, if we restricted ammunition purchases (and taxed the bejeezus out of it.)

      1. skmind

        What are you going to do about the ammo that is already out there, and the ability of people to manufacture their own?

        We are having a hard time raising tax rates from 35 to 39.6. That should be a no-brainer. Who do you think will propose taxing a bullet so much that we make them near-extinct?

        1. Negropolis

          Again, good questions, but you don't have to have all questions answered in ordeer to start the process. You are being discouraging, whether it is deliberate or not. Look at how you've responded to everyone that has replied to you thus far. This is concern trolling.

          1. skmind

            I disagree. Asking what one thinks of about obvious impediments is not discouraging them, it is encouraging one to think harder.

            Your larger point about my responding to every post (or three) is well taken though.

    8. jakegittes

      It's not so much that some form of sensible gun regulation will in actuality serve to reduce the deaths. But, it might, it just might amount to a symbolic gesture which begins to alter the course of the increasingly, militaristic, authoritarian, might makes right, macho mentality of the nation.

  4. Gorillionaire

    I practically have all of this memorized, I have argued all of this stuff so many times. And I grew up around guns – my dad taught me how to shoot and be safe and respectful of guns when I was a pretty young kid. His family hunted and had guns and we went skeet shooting and the whole bit. Nobody in those days tho had a semi or a Glock or anything like that – Dad told me flat out that guns like that were "just for arseholes that want to try to be badasses". The idea of owning a gun for "self defense" was absurd. A 16 gauge shotgun will do just fine for chasing someone off of your property. Trust me.

    1. comrad_darkness

      I have seen it done. Fire one burst of buckshot into the air and everyone you don't want on your lawn gets the heck off your lawn.

    2. Terry

      I had almost this same conversation with my Dad this morning, with him imaging what kind of world "these arseholes" think we live in where they're going to whip out "the goddamn Russian machine gun" to fend off intruders. Dad's estimation is that they'd shoot a family member who got up to take a pee.

      He also pointed out that he doesn't need to have a shoot out with burglars because anything they might steal will be covered by insurance.

  5. el_donaldo

    To which you should also add the health issue. Carrying a gun means that you're 4.5 times more likely than someone not carrying a gun to get shot by one. Viewed statistically, it's a factor that increases your likelihood of an early death, like smoking or having a disposition to a certain kind of cancer. Gun ownership isn't protecting you: it's exposing you to harm.

    1. starfanglednut

      Exactly! The fuckin things create an aura of violence around the individual who carries one. They are designed to inflict injury and death. Unless they are being used to hunt for food they have no place in a civilized or enlightened society. The modern assault weapons are inherently evil. You can tell just by looking at them. I may be hopelessly naive, but I think every last one of them should be melted down and made into something useful. Fuck the second amendment. It's outdated and stupid.

  6. snowpointsecret

    Everyone in America needs to read this. Seriously, this is the most sense I've seen on this issue in forever.

    Should I just quote things from this article from every NRA member I know ever? It kills every point they ever use just so perfectly.

    1. skmind

      It makes a great case for gun control. Smashes every cheap talking point. But that is just a small part of the equation. The larger issue is the 300 million guns that are already in circulation. How do you regulate/control them down to an "acceptable level" in a democracy?

      Regardless of how much one wants to live in a gun-free society, the reality of existing firearms in such astronomical numbers is the problem that one needs to solve.

      The NRA has won big time on this. The game is so badly rigged that this incident will spur more gun sales.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        Chris Rock had the best answer to gun control — don't do anything about the guns themselves; just make every bullet cost $10,000.

        1. noodlesalad

          Best idea ever.

          Why do I feel like if we had Chris Rock, John Stewart and Stephen Colbert running the country we'd be in a lot better shape?

      2. snowpointsecret

        Regardless of how much one wants to live in a gun-free society, the reality of existing firearms in such astronomical numbers is the problem that one needs to solve.

        We can't go there without slowing down how quickly gun ownership numbers are going up first, and with how badly the NRA has screwed things over we have to work through this before heading that far into it if it has any chance of succeeding.

        Really, the national attitude is what needs to change before we can even get close to where you're talking about. Eventually, yes, but that first step is extremely important because if we don't take that then we just have more and more people with the ability to take a life far too easily.

      3. gullywompr

        What do we do about existing firearms? Confiscate them. All of them, Katie.

        You wanna keep one because it was dear departed daddy's? OK, then you have to render it permanently inoperable at your own expense.

        You wanna keep one because it's an antiquity? Maybe, let's have a look at it, and we'll see.

      4. glasspusher

        Australia had a buy back program that worked well- tough shit, ratchet up the requirements for gun ownership/background check/need to be legit. If you own a non-hunting gun, you have to serve in the National Guard or law enforcement.

  7. rocktonsam

    In how many of these cases has anyone with conceal carry had gun to stop this crap from happening? Apparently never.

    Also. ..

    "I have to wait 5 days to buy a gun?5DAYS, I'M MAD NOW!"
    -H. Simpson

  8. ProgressiveInga

    Snark Off

    It has taken us a long time to get this f*cked up about firearms. It will take a long time to make it better. Let's start with solutions:
    1) Whenever a member of Congress is on TV or radio, put a "Sponsored By" tag below their name with the amount of money they receive from special interests. Let's see who is funding the cowards who will not stand up to the NRA.
    2) Increase funding for community mental health services – large % of funding cuts the past 10 years. Oh, and by the way, an essential benefit under Obamacare is behavioral health services, both MH and substance abuse services.
    3) All of us make a pact to turn off coverage or not click on any link that mentions Mike Huckabee, Bill Bennett, Louie Gohmert or any of the other 'arm our teachers' brigade. They are assholes and should not have a platform to spew their ignorance any longer….
    4) ➮➮➮➮ …. ∞ (infinity…)

    I'm sad….

    1. noodlesalad

      Someone once suggested that congressmen should be like NASCAR cars, required to wear sponsor logos at all times, with the logos appropriately sized based on contributions. Love this idea.

    2. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      Cook County (IL) Board President Toni Preckwinkle pushed through a tax on bullets, to help fund the county health care system. Go Toni.

  9. One_Man_Band

    I've always been puzzled by the dichotomy of the gun owner – they view themselves as tough badasses BECAUSE they have guns, as opposed to the liberal pussies who don't.

    Aren't you a bigger pussy if you are so scared of what MIGHT happen that you want to carry a gun with you everywhere you go? I leave the house unarmed all the time, because I'm not scared of my own fucking shadow.

    1. Jennyjen798

      This! I had to write down my feelings on guns the other day in my blog. I've had a ton of bad things happen to me that many would justify getting a gun for but nope Still don't own a gun.

      1. Jukesgrrl

        Correct. I've been the victim of a home invasion and I still don't own a gun. That asshole had a knife from my own kitchen at my throat before I even knew he was in the house. If I had had 100 guns in my house, even if they weren't properly secured as common sense demands, I wouldn't have been able to get my hands on one.

        The only possible thing that could have helped me would have been a pistol strapped to my ankle. It was broad daylight. I was cleaning the house. Do you WEAR a firearm for that?

        If I had $1 from every person who lectured me to get a gun AFTER that happened, I could buy several good ones. I have not. I still believe the only person likely to be killed by a gun in my house is me.

        I still live alone. I go out at night. I carry a purse. I'm a grrl but I'm not a pussy.

        1. glasspusher

          Word, grrl. I've been robbed at gunpoint due to letting a friend of mine talk me into walking around the city late night in a bad spot, but this did not spur me to buy a gun. I ended up $37 lighter, and they ended up catching the assholes. Ha ha ha. Hope that felony was worth $37. Sad.

          1. glasspusher

            Turns out for the two guys who robbed me and my friend, they were doing it all night, until they got caught. I even got my wallet back! Sorry to hear about your tale, but the best thing is you're safe and sound now. Things that money can't buy.

        2. viennawoods13

          My husband won't let me put up a knife rack in the kitchen so that they are not immediately accessible in just such an eventuality.

          1. Jukesgrrl

            I have to admit I now get a chill every time I see knives openly displayed, especially when they're hanging on a wall. I cook and still have some very good ones, but they are in a proper knife holder in a drawer. Even if one doesn't fear burglars, there's always the chance a child will be in your home.

        3. NellCote71

          Ha! I am such a klutz that wearing a gun on an ankle strap would only ensure that I literally would shoot myself in the foot.

    2. Redgyal

      Don't remember where but I have heard that the colonization of the Americas was successful mainly due to the use of guns as a weapon. This would make me think that there is an underlying reason why Americans feel the need for guns. Maybe they see something that makes them think they still need to colonize stuff?

      1. Negropolis

        Something else almost entirely skipped over is the fear from slave revolts after what happened in Haiti, and the general fear of the government by the Scots-Irish in the Appalachias. It's no wonder gun control is especially viewed warily in these parts of the country.

        1. Redgyal

          Yes, that too. But more the fear of the other, I think. My point being that without arms the expansion of the original colonies would not have happened. Thus the weapon being a bit of an equalizer so to speak.

      2. Jukesgrrl

        Now that I've lived in Arizona, I can see why the settlers would have been well-armed. It can be genuinely scary to live in a remote place where even if you could get the sheriff (my county sheriff's office was formed in 1865 and Arizona wasn't a state until 1912) it could be ages before they arrived. I live in a subdivision with houses cheek to jowl and a block wall around the property and still I've had wild animals in my yard. But seriously, that does NOT excuse the type and amount of weaponry that is considered desirable by so many in this state today. I mean, seriously, why does a resident in even the remotest part of Arizona need more firepower than Davy Crockett had?

  10. Meathamper

    One of the biggest issues with gun control is still the weird idea that there is still a sizeable amount of people in the country who think that socialists will take over the government and send everyone to collective farms and become atheists. Have you ever read any of those survivalist novels (Left Behind, Patriots, etc.)? THAT is exactly why we will never get anywhere with gun control.

    1. miss_grundy

      Those people need to be locked up in asylums so they can get psychiatric help. That's why all the old white people bought guns after the President was elected because he was going to take their guns away. I wish he had and I wish he would ship every gun nut to Antarctica.

    2. Gorillionaire

      When this "point" comes up with gun fetishists I usually ask them why the Branch Davidians are all dead.

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        Well that's because the Branch Davidians were a weird cult full of weirdos who didn't love Jesus and who drove God away, which meant, since they drove God away, that the FBI could kill them all. Don't believe me? Go ask Bryan Fischer at the American Family Association, he'll explain it all.

        1. tessiee

          "Well that's because the Branch Davidians were a weird cult full of weirdos"

          They were actually a subset of Seventh Day Adventists…
          Oh.

      1. LionHeartSoyDog

        Exactly.
        I don't think it's a gun control issue at all, but a problem with the mental health treatment in this country.
        Disturbed young people go to prison, which is a whole other level of hell.

  11. Mumbletypeg

    Tonight, dear parents, as you cuddle your sleeping children, and stave off fears that tomorrow something terrible could take them away forever, consider the freedoms we Americans enjoy and the choices we make, collectively steering to progress from good things toward better things.
    Even as dear gun owners, when they cradle their sleeping firearms tonight, and stave off fears that tomorrow something terrible could take them away forever, should consider the freedoms Americans enjoy and the challenges we face, individually steering from a "good" choice toward a better one.

  12. CrunchyKnee

    We in the US spend more on boner pills than metal health services. Factor that in with the millions of guns floating around our country it is a wonder this shit doesn't happen more often. The NRA can go fuck themselves and ram all their metal bullet shooting penis extenders up their collective asses. It is time for a national dialog on this issue. Fuck you if you say otherwise.

    Good read, Rich Abdill.

  13. rocktonsam

    And a tough guy gun owner said cars kill more people than guns do.

    Most of the movies coming out this Christmas are shoot em up.
    So we love guns more than Santa.

    Ho Ho Ho

    1. Jennyjen798

      Yeah fuck those guys. We need some serious regulation. Frequent mental exams and taxed out the ass. Sure you can own that gun. You're just going to pay a shit ton to do it.

      1. NellCote71

        Disagree. Look at the shootings in the last two years. Upper-middle class white guys from educated families. High taxes would not prevent these a$$holes or their parents from buying assault rifles and handguns.

    2. feminazipenishrinker

      Cars have a useful purpose other than killing. Guns are explicitly designed to kill things. Lots of things. Very quickly.

      1. SnarkOff

        We should start calling guns "killing machines." As in, I have three killing machines in my basement, a killing machine under my pillow and a killing machine in my lingerie drawer. Say it like it is, guntards.

    3. tessiee

      "And a tough guy gun owner said cars kill more people than guns do."

      The difference is that cars, when used for their intended purpose, are transportation, not weapons. Oh yeah, and also, that we regulate who can own a car and how they can use them:
      http://imgur.com/r/POLITIC/RqY7Q

  14. johnnymeatworth

    From the mouth of birthday boy Bill Hicks:

    "What's it going to do to the arms industry when we realize we're all one?"

  15. gullywompr

    If we fail again to enact meaningful gun control, then we mathematically define the lives of 20 very young children as acceptable collateral damage.

    Do not fail.

    1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      This, times a million. This is what I've been telling my co-writers at the sustainability blog I write (lotta hunters). I've been making them tell me that their right to unlimited firearms is worth the life of a single child.

      1. NellCote71

        Yes, my particular family member has yet to explain why he needs not one, but two, assault rifles, other than it's his "right."

        1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

          All the usual canards– guns don't kill people, people kill people. Schools should be armed camps. Statistically it's rare (tell that to the parents 100% of whose children are dead). or silence. In other words, there is no answer.—

  16. Veritas78

    I find this post virtually impossible to fap to.

    That said, I think we have to start treating gun owners like cigarette smokers: self-destructive, shameful, creepy, and sick. Cigarettes are still legal, but there are huge swathes of society in which it is totally unacceptable.

    Being a pariah isn't fun, and I say this as an ex-smoker.

  17. Pragmatist2

    No snark. No spin. there are 2 choices. The GOP says – we should all lock ourselves in behind magnetometers and security guards OR should carry a gun (which we presumably train on monthly at a cost of $100 or so counting ammo and range time). They want us to surrender to fear. The Democrats say, barely, let's reduce the slaughter in mass slaughter by making you shoot slower. That's not a great choice but it is a step. The GOP fails to note that in actual confrontations the well-trained and well-equipped NYPD hit its target with only one of 7 bullets.
    Put in terms of 2 choices to deal with this horror, this is clear. They will try to confuse things but it still comes down to these 2 choices.

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      The number that they used to quote when I was in the Army was 100,000 rounds of small arms ammunition per casualty. Oh, and having guns and being armed and trained didn't prevent four Lakewood police officers from being gunned down by Maurice Clemmons, who was granted clemency by Mike, "Laws won't do anything" Huckabee when he was misgoverning Alabama.

    2. ManchuCandidate

      Yup. US Navy SEAL Team Six and Delta Force guys spend 1000s of hours shooting in close quarter combat (the most difficult shooting.) Way more than any regular cops or even city SWAT teams. They're wonderfully trained to put rounds on target. Even then, they miss.

      Only a complete fucking idiot would think that ordinary civilians could shoot like that.

    3. NellCote71

      I think if you are going to walk into a classroom of small children and start shooting, you should at least have to stop every few minutes to reload.

  18. SnarkOff

    A quick way to cut down on gun ownership: make every gun owner serve in an actual state militia. You own a gun? You are required to head to the state militia training base one weekend a month and do drills. Isn't that why the Second Amendment exists?

    1. athenaprime

      Actually, I'd like to see it go one step further. Go do a tour in a war zone. If you think you're going to be a hero, get some real experience with live fire in crisis situations.

  19. memzilla

    Sorry. Tried to talk about it, but This comment has been deleted by the administrator.

    I didn't know the NRA made blogging software.

    1. Rotundo_

      Same here, tried to say there weren't any quick fixes etc. but got admin'ed in the keister.
      Oh well…

  20. second_gen

    Make gun registration as hard as voting and it will solve a lot of problems.

    You can get a new registration every 4 years, with the proper photo ID. And you can stand in line like everyone else, for 7-12 hours to get your registration. One man, one gun. You can get another gun at the next registration, in 4 years.

    1. ProgressiveInga

      How about making gun registration as onerous as terminating a pregnancy?
      48-hour waiting period before you purchase a gun – ✓
      Mandatory counseling about the dangers and options of owning a gun- ✓
      Trans-vaginal or Trans-anal probe to see if you are hiding anything – ✓
      Crossing a picket line of shrieking non-gun owners – ✓

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        Trans-anal probe to see if you are hiding anything

        Most conservatives would probably consider that a benefit and not a burden. Not that there's anything wrong with that..

      2. Wile E. Quixote

        Yes, and if someone working at a gun store says that they don't want to sell guns or ammunition because they're a Christian and object to selling weapons the gun store owner should have to keep them on payroll and find non gun-selling duties for them.

  21. Mojopo

    The answer isn't rocket science. Australia has found a good solution about gun control, one that doesn't ban all guns and is a compromise everyone can live with. They haven't had any mass shootings since the changes went into full effect. Suicide by firearms is down by half there, too.

    There are far more reasonable people than crazy ones. We have to have those uncomfortable discussions and put pressure on our politicians. We have to stop lumping the responsible gun owners in with the criminals and the insane, because some of those gun owners understand that we need to make some changes. We're on the same side. There are more of us than those who are guided by the voices in their heads. It is our responsibility, as the non-crazy people in the room, to keep us safe and fix our broken mental heath care system in this country. Gun control is great, but I think that we need a two-pronged approach – one that reduces violence by making healthier people capable of choosing to do the right thing.

    1. starfanglednut

      I ask this in all sincerity: What is a "responsible gun owner"? Who are they? For what do they use their deadly weapon? I hear about these people all the time, but I don't know what that phrase means. Hunting for food I understand, even respect. I can think of no other worthwhile purpose for a gun, given that actual instances of successful self defense are extraordinarily rare when compared to the number of preventable deaths.

      1. Mojopo

        In all sincerity, I am referring to people I know who actually do hunt for food, live in rural areas and keep their weapons locked away. Or women who work at coffee shops, and have to make the nightly deposits. People who don't own automatic bazookas or play militia on weekends. They get it – they own guns, but they understand a need for balance and change in a different direction. I would never have a gun. I would never have a job that would require me to carry one. And I want to keep those people, decent people with open minds, included in the conversation and on our side. We have a better chance to make meaningful changes.

        1. starfanglednut

          Thanks, mojo. I completely agree. I just think that phrase isthrown around a lot, without a serious discussion of its meaning. I lived in atiny townin Maine for awhile. Peoplethere shot deer, and used them to feed their families for an entire winter. I thoughtnit was muchmorehonorable than buying meat in a supermarket.

      1. Mojopo

        Chet, they banned long, rapid fire arms. They had a buy-back plan. They were much more thorough with registration and licensing. Violent crime involving guns is down 40%, no mass shootings since the agreement went into full effect and it was passed by their conservative prime minister.

  22. memzilla

    Here is what I *really* object to when it comes to firearms: it is the political power of the NRA and its related parasite-fish clones, which plays to the fears of, and takes dues money from, undereducated, underpaid, rural-living white males who have a fetishization problem with their d**ks and their guns and an unrelenting hate and fear of anyone who is *not* white, combines it with millions in secret unreported money from weapons manufacturers and Karl Rove / Dick Armey Super PACS, gives 96% of its political donations to white male Republicans who have a f**k-the-99% mentality, and makes my country and your country Less Safe To Live In, strictly for power and profit and greed.

  23. SayItWithWookies

    Part of the problem is that the NRA argues from the position that the Second Amendment literally starts with an ellipsis, as in "…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged."

    Well it does not begin with an ellipsis, and the elided section, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state," is not just some utterly meaningless bauble that landed at the beginning of that sentence by sheer accident. Was Adam Lanza part of a well-regulated militia? Was Jared Laughner or Dylan Klebold (or his parents) or the Son of Sam part of a well-regulated militia? Then take their fuckin' guns away.

    1. fatbob54

      At the very least, the founders knew that regulation was, and is, important. Let's start regulating the militia.

    2. amyamnesia

      I hope you don't mind if I quote you on the facebooks. You've summed it all up better than I ever could.

      1. SayItWithWookies

        DC v. Heller, the only decision to even address the collective rights question on the pertinence of a milita to gun ownership, was so sweeping and only a 5-4 decision. Like a lot of the Roberts' court's jurisprudence, it will hopefully be thought of as an extreme interpretation.

  24. BlueStateLibel

    Require gun owners to take out insurance for their guns, say $500 per month per gun. Let them pay for the carnage they cause.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      Indeed — this would also compel gun owners to report if their weapons are stolen rather than, say, letting them "get stolen" by their friends with criminal backgrounds or suddenly remembering the gun was stolen after a crime is committed with it.

    2. JustPixelz

      If it's not already the case, gun owners should be responsible for how those guns are used. Just like car owners. If a gun is stolen the owner's liability ends when he or she reports the theft to the police. Outlaw liability coverage for gun-related claims — so owners are personally liable.

      Possessing a gun that isn't your own is a crime. The gun — if not reported stolen — is confiscated. That would close the gun show loophole by forcing both parties to register the sale.

      1. glasspusher

        Man, I like this…wouldn't take anyone's gun away, just make the overhead fit the item. Also, health care premium increase as well or instead? Insurers would have a field day with actuarial tables and this. Don't own the piece if you can't afford it.

  25. noodlesalad

    Yes, well said. Thanks for this post.

    I've been engaging in this debate on facebook and in person with a variety of uninformed relatives who somehow ended up behind me on the evolutionary scale. I've been informed that teachers should be armed (my wife is a teacher, and, surprisingly, she is against this idea, as am I), that schools should be forts (what a pleasant childhood memory, going to Fort Leavenworth for kindergarten) and, my favorite argument, that beer should be outlawed first, because drunk drivers. Seriously.

    Still, I've decided mentally not to back down from any stupid arguments and to carry the discussions out, pointing out the logical inconsistencies and absurdities while continuing to make my case. And I will do that until we have sensible gun legislation. Because I think those of us who believe in sensible gun laws have been too quiet for too long, and I feel like I owe it to those kids to keep speaking until things have changed.

    1. Mojopo

      Me too. I've fielded all make an manner of arguments for guns, and I will continue to remain patient and thoughtful with my answers. I will not call people stupid, even if I believe in my heart that they are, because I want them to hear me and not hate me. This is very difficult, but it would be much worse to bury a child. I can do it, you can too.

      FYI – I hate all guns. But I am willing to see how responsible gun owners have a point. I just want someone, somewhere to know that deep down I'd ban everything, but I realize that will be virtually impossible. Thanks for the venting space.

      1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

        ditto. And this thread is a gold mine of great, well-written counter arguments for all the bullshit.

    2. finallyhappy

      David Boreanaz(from Bones, formerly Angel ) basically wrote that schools should be on forts with armed guards- because we need our guns. I wrote that he is a jerk, who mistakes his actor role for real life. Not that any of these famous people read what I write but he is the second actor this week(on a different topic) to write stupid shit as if the roles they play on TV as law enforcement give them any real knowledge or more than the rest of us. Of course, many more people read what they write but hopefully, not all of the fans of these shows are as dumb as the actors on them

    1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      It always amazes me how easy it seems to be to keep G*d out of places. She apparently just goes away if you don't say prayers. Doesn't seem like a winning strategy for the whole "omniscent" thing.

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        So wait, you're telling me that if I don't want God to see me masturbating that I should stop praying while I do it? Damn! I've been doin it rong.

      2. athenaprime

        I don't know what's more horrific, the idea that the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent god doesn't show without enough glorifyin', or that he *deliberately turned his back* on a roomful of kids because there wasn't enough glorifyin'.

        Christians have the lowest opinion of their God sometimes…

  26. Comrade PhysioProf

    Not only that, but even without repealing the second amendment, there is plenty of room within reasonable interpretations to ban private ownership of certain classes of weapons. Just like the second amendment would surely never be interpreted to mean that private citizens have a right to own M198 155mm howitzers, it could also be interpreted to mean that states or the federal government could forbid private citizens to own classes of particularly lethal firearms.

    1. Negropolis

      Just like the second amendment would surely never be interpreted to mean that private citizens have a right to own M198 155mm howitzer

      You have no idea how uunsure I am of that with this court. It is not hard to imagine the Robert's Court coming up with an argument for such an interpretation.

  27. LloydDrako

    It's Obama's fault. If he hadn't been elected, and then re-elected, law-abiding gun folk wouldn't have had to buy so many guns for fear that he'd try to take them away.

  28. RadioBitchFace

    A Short List of Gun-Ho Responses:
    - This is the equivalent of abortion.
    - There are no gods in our schools.
    - Arm the teachers, just like in israel.
    - Blame mental illness, video games, Hollywood.
    - This was an Obama false flag operation.
    - Don't blame the NRA or gun manufacturers.
    - SSRI's
    - The 2nd Amendment trumps all other rights.
    - Get rid of "Gun Free Zones."
    - BENGHAZI
    - LIBERALISM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE MURDERS!

    This shit is spewed on just one, or any, thread at Breitbart, et.al.

    The NRA is a terrorist organization.

    1. Misty Malarky

      A christian NRA member I happened to go to high school with keeps posting Face Book mega links about how nobody can say a word about the shootings since everybody believes in "Baby Killing" (i.e. abortion) and the shootings only happened because the kiddies cannot pray in school any more (her God is a real dick, it seems).

      Surprise! This person is an elementary school teacher in a public school.

    2. MosesInvests

      About the Israel thing:
      Teachers carry rifles (M1 carbines) on field trips. Those teachers have been trained by the IDF to use firearms. Those carbines are issued by the police, FOR THAT SPECIFIC FIELD TRIP AND THEN TURNED BACK IN. They are not issued to people with mental health issues. Teachers do not keep them in the classroom. And God help you if you are issued a weapon and it is lost or stolen due to your negligence.

      As far as firearm *ownership* is concerned, you are allowed ONE handgun. You are issued a license for that specific handgun, after extensive training and psychological profiling. You are allowed a very limited amount of ammunition. Usually, you're only given a license if you can show a *very* good reason for needing a gun. And again, God help you if that handgun isn't secured.

      Private ownership of military or military-grade munitions is right out.

      Stupid asshole gun nuts.

      1. finallyhappy

        yes, I was reading about that -I think it was an answer to Ezra Klein- there was an interesting point about suicide and guns. That suicide is not (for most people) a constant thought- rather a transitory one- and without a gun, is much more difficult and requires more time and effort- time in which you might decide not to do it- or start and then call for help

    3. gullywompr

      Regarding "Gun Free Zones." – They weren't killed because the teachers did not have guns, they were killed because Adam Lanza had them.

    4. not that Dewey

      RE: Benghazi — the RWNJ talking point there is that four Americans were killed, and that those deaths were entirely preventable, and therefore some action is required. Well, at Sandy Hook, 27 Americans were killed, those deaths were entirely preventable, and some action is required. And these 27 Americans hadn't even signed up for risky diplomatic duty in an unstable nation.

      (Now that I type those words, "unstable nation", I realize that Sandy Hook indeed took place in an unstable nation, and the preceding qualifier becomes even more critical — the kids and school faculty had not "knowingly" taken on that risk.)

    5. tessiee

      I do agree that the mental health issue should be addressed.
      There was an interesting post on facebook a few days ago from a veteran who is skilled at handling guns, but admits that he has too many "issues" to be safely entrusted with guns. He said that when he starts feeling out of control, he can talk to someone at the VA, but there's no such resource for most people.
      That having been said, however, I do think that although it's much too difficult for most people to get mental health care, it's *also* much too *easy* for most people to get firearms.

  29. SayItWithWookies

    Oh, and if treating the Second Amendment like it's the actual law of the land is for some reason too fuckin' complicated, here's a free-market solution: every gun has to have a $1 million liability policy on it — no exceptions. Anyone killed with a gun by someone other than himself entitles his survivors to that policy. Let the fuckin' NRA and the fuckin' insurance companies fight it out — the motherfuckers deserve each other.

    1. RadioBitchFace

      Our pitiable health care system is totally gummed up by liability and tort. And healthcare is not a "right." Yet somehow, these gun manufacturers and sellers are exempt from liability.

  30. spareme

    Great article. Somehow, I don't think this issue is going to go away this time. Our babies were killed, its gone too far. Haven't talked with one single person who isn't upset and aghast. Lets have some meeting of the minds on the state of mental health care as well, as this cannot be ignored any longer either.

  31. Guppy

    Put the same kinds of restrictions on gun advertising as we have on tobacco advertising.

    Hollywood has finally gotten the message on smoking (it's generally treated as a character flaw nowadays rather than making characters mature and cosmopolitan), but they're more than willing to take product placement dollars to make sure that everyone knows that such-and-such gun will make you "more of a man."

    1. HelmutNewton

      That's actually a great point, and one I hadn't considered. Right now, the gun culture has hundreds of books, magazines, movies, tv shows, websites, conventions, etc. which glorify guns as fetish objects and gun violence as "sometimes necessary".

      Unless we are able to change the gun culture in this country (and make gun owners feel like smokers do today), these mass shootings will continue.

  32. cousinitt

    Getting gun owners to kick the habit may be more difficult than taking away a hoarder's rotting tins of cat food. Americans have faced and dealt with other addictions and won. If our leaders can articulate the arguments here and in Charlie Pierce's thought piece at a level Americans can understand, progress is possible.

    Feinstein has started the effort and limiting ammunition production and sales can be a next step in a long process that will take years and we will be a better people for it.

    1. FrankFuror

      Ummm, what addictions have we won against? Not Drugs, not alcohol. Not sugar. We have finally, finally, started making a dent in tobacco, but if you think it's gone away then you haven't been counting the number of people you see each day with tiny bulges in their lips and an empty soda can at their desk.
      I guess we won against slavery, is that an addiction? Unless you count undocumented migrant workers working under the table for below minimum wage.

      1. cousinitt

        Not as an entire society, no we haven't won. But social change happens as individuals and communities make different decisions over time. There are fewer smokers now than twenty years ago and other addictions have decreased while others, like gun fetishism, have increased. That's just my take.

  33. cybermoe

    I regularly click on my Wonkette bookmark (I know it sounds dirty) to make my day and today, this thread was just the one I needed to 'make my day'. Peace.

  34. Mojopo

    As an aside, the same people who bitched about the embassy murders in Benghazi (why don't we noe moar?), are the same ones bitching about the media getting details about the shootings in CT wrong.

    Either you want people to wait to speak until they have accurate details, or STFU.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      media getting details about the shootings in CT wrong

      I went and read up on the Amish school massacre Rich mentions above — had forgotten about the confusion that engulfed emerging details of the shooter's motives based on his letters and conflicting accounts among his family.
      Piecing it all together while sideswiped by conflicting details is a complicated endeavor. Alarmists who'd rather reach simplistic conclusions favoring their self-preservation idiocy should leave more complicated matters like figuring right from wrong to the experts.

    2. johnnyzhivago

      Or consider this – they moaned about 4 adult male professional diplomats and para militaries being killed in the most dangerous city on earth – but where the FUCK are they about 20 children and 6 defenseless teachers being slaughtered in a rural town.

      They are fuckwads these people who bow to the NRA.

    3. finallyhappy

      My husband, a former reporter when reporting actually meant being a journalist, said your 1st commandment was "check it out". No more- it is the same with every news story small or large- just get out whatever you hear from whatever "source" and correct later.

  35. HouseOfTheBlueLights

    Not to pull out a snarky meme, except that it's completely apropos. We need to stop killing with guns and start killing with votes. People need to stop sitting out primaries and off year elections as though they don't count. If people voted in off year elections and primaries we wouldn't have a tea party. We wouldn't have congressional sinecures. We wouldn't have politicians ignoring us because they can.

  36. johnnyzhivago

    The biggest joke of all are the people who say the constitution wanted a "militia" ready to stand up against the government (when Obama orders the FEMA death trains to carry patriots to their doom)…

    First of all, a band of "patriots" with semiautomatic weapons could not face the US military for 10 seconds without being annihilated. The military has moved well beyond shooting people with guns – they have things like attack helicopters and drones and missiles, etc…

    Second – I have friends in other countries who are part of their reserve (like Finland where everyone goes into the military). They are actually TRAINED on assault weapons and they tell me they would not want one anywhere near their home or family because they know what they do.

    Enough of this crap – let the gun nuts move to Montana. Or better let them move to some crappy place – Montana is nice.

      1. Jennyjen798

        Some place like Texas. :-( Although plenty of gun nuts in Mt too. Lived there and in some parts a good rifle is needed (bears, wolves, deer, coyotes, etc).

        My former MIL lives in MT. Gun nut, fox news whore. She left one of her revolvers under her pillow while we were visiting. She told me to go put my kids down for a nap on her bed. I walked out of the room, came back and my three year old daughter had the revolver in her hand. Her twin brother was reaching for it. I nearly had a heart/panic attack.

        I was trying not to scare the babies and cause an accident but at the same time get to the bed fast enough before one happened. The most terrifying 8 seconds I've had arounf a gun and trust there have been some terrifying moments.

      2. Jennyjen798

        And in an even more ironic twist of fate, former mil's live in boyfriend was shot point blank in the face this year, by one of her other "friends." He of course is pleading not guilty, standing his ground in self defense. Dont'cha know.

        1. Lot_49

          Your story is incredible.

          So many bad things would never have happened if the guns weren't there. Once you start looking at events this way, the path towards a solution becomes obvious: fewer guns = less bad stuff happening. The fact that there are 300,000,000 guns in the US doesn't mean we have to add more.

  37. Terry

    Excellent essay.

    I need to get one little thing off my chest:
    "If Adam Lanza’s mom hadn’t owned those guns legally, Lanza would not have been able to take them into that school and massacre those children — after he killed her. "

    It's been reported that Adam Lanza's brother said his has a "personality" disorder and that he had to be homeschooled because of behavior and/or learning problems. Why the fuck was his mother collecting guns? Her sister said she needed weapons because she was a woman on her own. Of course, the real danger for her was inside the house, not from a stranger. Why, if you know your son has issues would you keep weapons where he can get them? Why? I'm not saying that the mother caused this. It was her son that did this. But why keep all those guns where he could get them?

    1. johnnyzhivago

      I wondered the same thing… She didn't sound like a stupid person, so you have to figure there was some trigger that made him snap.

      I know one thing, and that is that trying to solve emotional or mental issues of your self or kids on your own, without help is really a bad idea, no different than acting as your own doctor or lawyer.

      I also wonder why the father was not more involved…

      As a parent I know it is difficult for TWO people to raise kids. As a kid – my father passed away when I was 4 and my mother never remarried and although I was the most perfect child in history I cannot imagine what a burden that was on her…

      1. gullywompr

        "trying to solve emotional or mental issues of your self or kids on your own, without help is really a bad idea"

        Yes, yes it is. Unfortunately the health insurance industry has traditionally not been very cooperative in providing coverage for metal illness. Not sure if I've heard correctly, but it may be that Lanza's mother was underemployed, and not able to secure adequate care.

        I bet she had the guns locked up, but you know how kids figure things out… How many of us knew how to get into the liquor cabinet when we were young?

        I'm not making excuses for her – I don't think she should have had guns at all. That was the one controllable factor in this whole thing.

      2. Jennyjen798

        I would have hoped a teacher would have known better.

        My son has "mental disturbances." One of the first things his school administrators, therapists and psychiatrist asked for was a check list of all possible dangers in our house for him, myself, and the general public.

        Guns, knives, ropes, matches, lighter, bats, etc. They wanted to know everything. Not only that they wanted to know what WE (me) were going to do to keep these things out of his hands.

        They point blank asked if we were gun owners were we willing to get rid of them. We aren't so it wasn't a concern, but were advised it would be best to not have them.

        The only real danger we have is a lighter and kitchen knives, they're locked up in a strong box. Yes it sucks to cook sometime. Now that my boy is older,on meds that help, and has a slew of behavioral training in and outside of school it's becoming less of a concern. He's learning to cope with life and consequences, thankfully.

        1. Chet Kincaid_

          She wasn't a regular teacher at that school — this whole "she's a teacher" business started with hearsay that she might have been a sub at some point at the school. It is not clear whether she worked at any job, since the family was wealthy and she was comfortable in divorce.

    2. cheetojeebus

      She also said she felt that she needed to prepare for the coming collapse of the economy and the chaos that would follow?!

    3. Mumbletypeg

      get at them

      My thoughts went along these lines:

      If you are a responsible gun owner squaring off with me on this issue, I have no problem with you.
      Wait — you are a multiple-gun owner? Unless you have a separate working appendage with trigger fingers for every gun you see the purpose of owning to defend yourself against an attacker — I might have a problem with you!
      Oh so you're a gun "collector"… and they're stored unloaded, but you'd like to show them off? In a *locked* cabinet or case — with glass panels to show them off to guests? I might have a problem with how you define "secured" from theft; glass breaks, locks can be picked (say, by above average intelligent but disturbed "kids" even younger than 20).
      And so on. When I read of a spike in gun sales following controversy, I picture the same paranoid repeat customers doubling down as the purchasers, as if quantity alone insures a two-armed dolt against the even deadlier resource of 1.] surprise (one's ability to foresee an intrusion is about as futile as one's reaction-time upon perceiving an intrusion) and 2.] opportunity, which works potentially as well for an intruder to avail him/herself of all one's nicely displayed "collection" as it does for the collector's "opportunity" to stockpile them under the false delusion it makes one safer from harm.

    4. Guppy

      "Legal" in the sense that "Do what thou wilt" are the whole of our gun laws, thanks to NRA lobbying.

      I'm not saying that the mother caused this.

      I will. If her son had stolen practically anything but a gun (say, her car) and used it to kill people, she could have been held liable for her negligence.

        1. Chet Kincaid_

          I'm sorry, Terry, the mother bears a large part of the responsibilty for this. It is a terrible thing that she was murdered, but she enabled the deaths of 26 other people by giving her disturbed son access to the murder weapons. It doesn't make any sense to say guns are responsible and the owner of the guns is not.

          1. Terry

            You're right. I'm just reluctant to say it yet. Her son is responsible, and she gave him to deadly tools to do it.

    5. Negropolis

      Because it wasn't just about protection with her. This is the insidious part of the gun culture, that even the folks that come at owning a gun for self protection as the last result end up treating it like Gollum treated the ring. It's so socially accptable that you have clusbs and magazines and meet-and-greets and…they can turn halfway regular people into nuts, to be honest. I think that's even apparent, here, at times.

      You know, my grandmother moved up from the Lone Star State as an adult and brought some of her early ways with her. As a single mother of multiple girls, she owned a gun when she came up to Michigan for protections. One night as a teen, my mother had stayed out late, came in the house, and stirred my grandmother from her sleepy. Totally not fully awake, but awake enough to believe a stranger to be in her house, she pulled out the gun in the dark and stood at her doorway upstairs waiting for the "criminal" to come into view. Out of sheer luck she didn't shoot. My grandmother hasn't had a gun sense, and my mother has never had one because they know how much risk is involved, especially when you still have children in the house.

      Do people not realize how even under the best of circumstances that guns are often used by accident, for suicides, or when domestic situations get out of hand? It's not the crooks you have to be worried about when you have a gun; it's often your own family or even yourself.

  38. ahnc

    The NRA cares more about the right to shoot a gun than about the right not to be shot by a gun. The NRA is the problem.

    In 1968 mail order guns were banned because any yahoo with no ID could buy a gun and ammo. The NRA opposed it.

    Imagine if that law hadn't been passed what America would be like today, if we hadn't already killed one another.

    Shudder.

    Gun laws work. Period.

    Great commentary, Wonkette.

    PS. The highest gun death rate is in states with weak gun laws and high gun ownership. Just saying. http://www.vpc.org/press/1110gundeath.htm

    Sorry for the rant but I was born a stone's throw from Newtown, CT.

  39. Native_of_SL_UT

    "The Greeks and Romans had no standing armies, yet they defended themselves…Their system was to make every man a soldier and oblige him to repair to the standard of his country whenever that was reared. This made them invincible; and the same remedy will make us so."
    Thomas Jefferson (hat tip to Rachel Maddow in Drift)

    I'm with the founders on this. Do away with the standing army or do way with the second amendment. The second amendment has been made obsolete by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
    Want to own guns, join the National Guard.

  40. smokefilledroommate

    I have a weird stance on this issue.. Growing up, my father was an avid sportsman. He had the "Guns Don't Kill People.." NRA sign in his workshop in the basement. He'd go deer hunting and bring back venison. He'd go trout fishing and bring back fresh trout. The few times I went target shooting with him as a kid, he put the absolute 'fear of guns' in me– there was a grave seriousness about it all, as there should have been. (I don't own a gun and never have to this day, because I am not a hunter and also they scare the living shit out of me–honestly, thanks dad!) Also, he owned no assault rifles because what kind of sick fuck would go hunting with that? He was a strange cross between a redneck and an intellectual, but his intellect always seemed to preside, at least with firearms anyway.

    1. ahnc

      I don't think your stance is weird. Your Dad was a hunter for food and I bet if you asked him, guns scare him too, I'm guessing that's why he taught you the "fear of guns"

      Just my humble opinion.

    2. gullywompr

      I have a close life-long friend that I love very much that has about 150 guns – riffles, shotguns, and handguns. Some of them are pretty cool, including the silver-plated .38 they gave his now-deceased father when he retired after 20 years as county sheriff, and an 1850's Colt Navy revolver. He's a good hunter – I love to eat his venison, it's good.

      He grew up around guns, know how to use them, and has never had a shooting accident with them. I consider him to be a gun expert. He's got two massive gun safes to store them in. But all 150 wouldn't fit in those two safes, so he temporarily kept about 40 in a locked cabinet that wasn't a gun safe, and all 40 of them were stolen.

      The theft was reported to the police, but now they are out there in the hands of who knows who. What does a person do with a stolen gun? Hunt with it? Use it for protection? Lord, I hope so, but I am dreading the day when one of them is used in a violent crime, and they trace it back to him. I'm sure he does too.

        1. gullywompr

          He only needs one – the rifle he always uses for hunting, among the other 14 hunting rifles he has, but never uses. He would also say he needs one more – the revolver he just got his concealed permit for (this is VA), but I don't think that one is really needed.

          1. gullywompr

            No evasion here. He's a collector. He doesn't need any of them, except his hunting rifle. The rest he considers to be investments (as in the case of the antiques), heirlooms (his father's guns), or just interesting in terms of a collectible.

            Like you say, some people collect guitars. I have 8 guitars, but I can only play one of them at a time. I don't fap to the guitars, and I don't think he faps to the guns either.

            Do I think he should be able to have the guns? Fuck no. I think we should take away every last one, except maybe the hunting rifle, I rather doubt that he agrees with me, but I don't think he'd hate me for thinking so, just as I don't hate him for being a collector.

            He's not a sick dude, really, he's not.. But he can't be trusted with them. Fuck, he already lost 40 of them, and he's about as responsible a gun owner as you can get, which is to say not responsible enough, even so.

            I hope this answers your question?
            Hope this is what you were askiing.

        2. Negropolis

          That was the part I couldn't get beyond, myself, but it just seemed to be dropped in so nonchalantly. I was had until I read that part.

    3. TavariousChinaSmith

      What's really sad is that the NRA has convinced good responsible long gun owners like your dad to support their agenda of arming Americans with handguns and assault weapons rather than supporting more sensible legislation.

    4. Mojopo

      My late Pop had much in common with your father. Born a redneck in the backwoods of a southern state, who lived to hunt and fish. He chose his own gravestone, which is terrible and awful at the same time, because it's a scene of a sportsman on a mountain – so tacky, and so perfectly his.

      He also made me terrified of guns and bows. Although he owned many shotguns, he preferred to hunt old style with a bow and arrow and he was really, really good at it. I get that there are people who can respect their weapons and not be dicks about it. Those people have little in common with the redneck militias and Bushmaster fans. Someone like our fathers will not do evil things. But we've all taken a backseat to the whims of the nutbags.

  41. Monsieur_Grumpe

    I'm really sick of the 2nd amendment original intent freaks. Let's get real original intent. Guns, when the constitution was written, fired one shot. Let's go back to that. One shot guns. That's it. One shot and then the people that are left alive beat the shit out of you or shoot you with their one shot.

    1. Native_of_SL_UT

      The original intent of the 2nd amendment seems to have had more to do with having a standing army than owning guns.

    1. NellCote71

      Amen. Last one standing of "first world" countries. First in violence. First–and only–with the death penalty.

  42. Baconzgood

    That is a well thought editioral that uses reasoned arguments to make a valid point of view be known. I'm even more impressed that there were no butt secks jokes.

    Its not a peice i'd expect on wonkette. But when you have a thought provoking piece on a blog dedicated to commenters who quote Spinal Tap and amd make fun of trans vaginal probing…..you know this is a major issue facing america.

    SNARK LIBEL!

      1. Baconzgood

        Ken did makes us sad in a thought provoking way with that AZ rally. But he had the Wonk Bott under his watch. And don't we all miss Wonk Bott? Don't you?….don't you….

        1. Mumbletypeg

          Don't we all miss Wonk Bott? Don't you..?

          The hell I don't! ((hugs))
          I remember a whole lot more than I'd like to admit, for my memory stores massive amounts involuntarily, waiting for me to get around to arranging its furniture and weeding out the excess.
          I'm glad to know others around here haven't forgotten Wonkbot either.

        2. Negropolis

          I know some people didn't like her, but the Wonkbot had me cracking up more than humans. It's hilarious to hear a bot read slurs and curses.

    1. Native_of_SL_UT

      I love the Wonkette because I realize the people are actually the brightest amongst us. If we ran Congress, CSPAN would rival Comedy Central for viewers and many of this country's problems would be solved.

        1. Native_of_SL_UT

          If we were in charge, we sure as shit could. We could say anything we wanted. That is a perk of being in charge.

  43. johnnyzhivago

    I honestly cannot comprehend the fact that there is not a march of parents on Washington at this moment…. Although we're in NJ we're in a very similar community/exurb, same size school, same security precaution (buzz door after 9:30), same lockdown drills – it is sickeningly eerie how familiar this all is… Maybe I am freaked out because it looks like a mirror image of my community, but really and truly do people not believe it could happen to them?

  44. An_Outhouse

    CRICKETS: The sound "reasonable gun owners" make right after a gun related massacre occurs and right before they write a check to the NRA.

  45. Chet Kincaid_

    All well and good, but I am mad as hell at the mother, who thought it was a good idea to treat her disturbed son to firing range therapy. What a stupid, stupid woman.

  46. Lazy Media

    Show me a model, federal gun-control bill that would actually lead to lower firearms homicide rates, and I'll back it. The Clinton-era assault weapons ban wasn't it (it banned importation of certain semi-autos, and banned certain cosmetic features, but led mainly to the growth of U.S. manufacturers building 'post-ban" receivers. And high-cap magazines were still available for sale at the end of the ban, because existing ones were grandfathered).

    Any gun control law that bans certain types of firearms, that could pass the House, would be a toothless sop. It would irritate certain gun owners, and have zero effect on homicide rates or the instance of mass shootings.

    What we CAN do is increase spending on mental health care, ensure that more agencies feed information to the background-check database, and explore the idea of delineating between "civilian" arms (fixed, low-capacity magazines, e.g. hunting rifles, shotguns and revolvers) and "military/police" weapons (semi-autos with detachable mags). Maybe, if you could really gather the political will, in 10-20 years you could create a ban on private ownership of the military/police weapons, but I think the odds are very, very low. The idea of confiscating 100 million guns seems impracticable in the extreme.

    1. Native_of_SL_UT

      I think a simple solution to your military/police ownership would be to make it mandatory to serve in the National Guard or to register for a Military draft and become part of our well regulated militia.

    1. Monsieur_Grumpe

      As wrong this may sound in so many ways, that fact that you can't get your rocks off on the topic of murdered children may be an indication of a somewhat balanced mind.

  47. Lucidamente1

    Worth a read:
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/12/15/true-stor

    Money quote:

    When we were in Camp Doha in Kuwait, we would have rotations. Alpha troop (my unit), would go run border missions in Iraq while Bravo troop would do maintenance on their vehicles (the sand just killed tanks and wore down our equipment), while Charlie troop be in what we called Z-phase, which was running the security for our base. We had towers and gates and 12 foot walls, and armed troopers at every gate with mirrors to look underneath cars and plenty of folks to investigate people coming in as civilians to run base operations (cook, give haircuts, etc.).

    So why am I telling you this? Because in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions in the world, even with clear Rules of Engagement, every time I went on gate duty, there was a piece of tape over my ammo clip on my M-16 and M1911 .45. Why? Because the most heavily armed military in the world did not want accidental shootings. If a situation arose, I would have to eject my ammo clip, remove the tape, and reinsert and work the action before I could fire.

    This was in a combat zone. Yet I have spent the last two fucking days dealing with armchair commandos telling me they need unlimited firepower to be safe in… Connecticut.

    If there are bigger pussies in the world than gun nuts, I don’t know who the fuck they are.

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Thank you for posting that. I will send it to my friends who believe that US schools should now be made "carry" areas.

  48. Lot_49

    It would be a good thing if these gun-crazed, testosterone-poisoned young men had easy access to affordable mental health care the same way they have easy access to affordable guns and ammo. Not sure why most health insurance plans put mental health out in the same nice-to-have-but-dispensable category as dental and chiropractic care, but it sure seems likely that the boy who did these shootings might not have if he could've talked to somebody.

  49. Chet Kincaid_

    I say again, "Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2" and all of its ilk are going to have to answer for their affect on lonely young white guys who happen to show up in military gear for some odd reason, shooting at everything that moves. I saw about 20 TV spots for that game on ESPN the morning before the shooting. I have not seen one since. Guilty much?

  50. Wile E. Quixote

    One thing that the government could do, and it would be perfectly constitutional, would be to impose a $1000 tax on semi-automatic weapons and a $1.00 a round tax on ammunition designed for semi-automatic weapons. Want to buy a Glock? Well the price just went up to $1,500. Want to buy a Bushmaster? The price just went up to $2,000. Want to buy a box of ammo? $75.00 please. This makes it a lot harder and a lot more expensive for people to buy guns. Now, if you need a gun for for home defense you can buy a revolver or if you need a rifle for hunting you can buy a bolt, lever or pump action. Want to go on a massacre? Well it's going to be much more expensive so you're not going to have as many guns or as much ammunition.
    I realize that this sounds incredibly cynical but I put it forward because it has a chance of passing because it would split out the people who own guns for hunting from the frothing nutjobs at the NRA who think that you ought to be able to own everything up to and including nuclear weapons. It would also stand constitutional muster (unless of course Scalia pulled something out of his ass) under Heller and as the Roberts court established in NFIB versus Sibelius the government does have the power to tax things.

  51. mosjef

    It is duly noted that the person who made those weapons available, who trained Lanza repeatedly on their use, who did not secure the weapons even though his mental illness was palpable, was, as they say, a gun "enthusiast". What exactly is there to be enthusiastic about in guns designed only to kill other human beings? If someone expresses enthusiasm for a Glock or a Bushmaster, what are they saying about themselves? That the thought of wasting a whole bunch of people would be cool with them. That's what the real enthusiasm is for. All the target practice Lanza had was prelude to the day he could turn his vicarious thrills to all-too-real blood lust. And his faciltator, his supplier, his trainer, the person who most easily could have seen this coming and prevented the atrocity, was the gun "enthusiast", his Mom, and first person to die, shot 11 times in the head, according to the NYDN. Before 26 other people, including 20 kindergarten children, were murdered. That is the legacy of the gun "enthusiast". Newtown. Same old story.

    1. Chet Kincaid_

      I know people who own and love lots of guitars. Or lots of African drums. Or kitchen utensils. Or craft tools. I am going out on a limb and saying they are mentally healthier than people who like to stroke and shoot guns.

  52. GeneralLerong

    a) Tax the NRA for restitution of public safety, just like cigs.

    All those dues-paying contributors and industry promoters should have the fun of seeing their money go to causes they hate – you know, education, safety, mental health, gun control…I"m sure worthy enterprises can be lined up around the block.

    b) Tax gun owners with license fees that make assembling your own personal arsenal economically stupid.

    I'm talking about suckers for ads like this one

  53. TavariousChinaSmith

    Couple of thoughts:
    Maybe we should reframe the argument to realize that people who commit mass murder are terrorists. Now who doesn't agree with not letting terrorists have guns?

    Another thought: To placate the cold, dead hands crowd, we could legalize marijuana at the same time we take away the guns, and do a straight swap. It might go some way to ease their pain.

    Last thought: In the 90s I worked in a restaurant with a nice young man who'd been in some trouble, had gone to Juvie and was living in a halfway house while he washed dishes with us. Nice guy; he was upset when Kurt Cobain died. Anyway, this was in Toronto. He went to LA to visit his girlfriend who was living there. While he was there he met up with his old, bad friends and broke into a house. There he was shot and killed by the homeowner. His innocence doesn't compare with those 6-year-olds, but like them, he didn't deserve to die. Guns for self-defense at home are a poison.

    1. TavariousChinaSmith

      Also this: a guy I went to elementary school with in Wisconsin, a friend at the time, had as an adult a gun at home for self-defence. I don't know how often he had to defend himself or his family. But one day in February this year he pulled his two children out of school, and shot and killed them, his wife, and himself. Yay, 2nd amendment!

      Of course after the fact when anyone suggested not selling guns to people as a response in the comments page of the newspaper article in the Green Bay Press Gazette, people went apeshit with rage that anyone would dare utter such a thought.

      1. shelwood46

        I grew up in Green Bay. When I was in 8th grade, 1978, one week of our Health class was Hunter Safety. On the final day of the unit, the teacher took us all out to the parking lot, put two gallon jugs of water in front of the school wall (with classrooms on the other side of that wall), stepped back, then shot one jug with a rifle and the other with a shotgun to show us the difference in damage to the jugs. Every fall, there was one day a year when all day long, two gunshots would ring out at school every 45 minutes.

        And we thought that was normal.

        1. Negropolis

          That's awfully extreme. I know that in certain districts here in Michigan, schools take a day off at the start of dear hunting season, and even in the school I went to, while they didn't close it down it was the day the teachers assigned no serious homework or tests. Hunter safety is an entire other step beyond. lol Hell, the craziest thing we did in health class was practicing CPR on adult and baby dummies.

          1. shelwood46

            Oh, we also got off for the opening of deer season. It coincided with the weekend before Thanksgiving weekend, so they just gave us the other three days off. Absenteeism was around 50% for those three days (plus all the teachers taking off, too), so it was just easier. Also, the running joke was that the Packers should change their team color to blaze orange.

            But, truly, the gunfire was tied on the weirdness scale with being taught sex ed by offseason Packer players, who would come in as sub to get their teaching credentials, usually in phys ed/health. Yes, I learned the female anatomy from a 6'7" defensive end in very tiny shorts.

          2. Negropolis

            We live in an interesting part of the country, don't we? lol

            There is a picture somewhere on Flickr of a deer tied to the top of a four-door domestic on a busy Detroit freeway. I wish I could find it.

  54. HelmutNewton

    I do wonder (along with skmind) about the difficulty of trying to lower the 300 million guns that are already in circulation.

    Voluntary buy-back programs seem to work well on a small-scale basis, but who has the money to buy back 100 million (or 200 or 300 million) guns?

    And any other non-voluntary program to try and remove guns from circulation plays right into the hands of the gun-nuts ("See! I toldja that Socialist Obummer was gonna take away our guns!!").

    The only solution seems to be to try and change the gun culture. Make guns as unpopular as cigarettes, and make gun owners feel like smokers outside of an office building on a freezing/sweltering day.

    1. TavariousChinaSmith

      Don't worry about it too much. We live in a disposable culture. This is why gun sales keep going up. But ammunition is the other half of the puzzle.

    2. Dashboard Buddha

      The good news is that if the articles I've seen are right, and gun ownership has been going down over the last 50 years, we might be on the right path.

    3. TheGyrus

      You could raise money for an effective buyback program by adding additional fees onto the mandatory liability insurance that all gun owners should be forced to buy.

    4. Wile E. Quixote

      300 million guns x $1,000 per gun = $300,000,000,000. About half of the defense budget for a year.

      1. not that Dewey

        Damn, Grrl. I deleted that comment yesterday (I reflected on it after posting and found it to be in poor taste) — how in the hell did you reply to it? Do you have superpowers? A time machine? Admin privileges?

  55. WIDTAP

    We've got three problem leading to incidents like this. In no particular order: guns, mental health management and social isolation.

    I won't repeat your arguments for control of guns. I agree they are a significant part of the problem. Weapons, like all tools, are a force multiplier. If your intent is to kill small children, you are likely to kill a lot of them with a gun.

    We also need to concurrently address the other two issues. The safety net to provide treatment for violent and dangerously mentally unstable individuals is solely supported by the prison system. You literately have to kill the kids first before public programs will step in with intensive treatment. We need to open up the discussion again about when individuals can be committed against their will. Weapon or no weapon, we need to treat both they symptom and the disease.

    Finally, some evidence is emerging that the gunman and his mother were increasingly socially isolated, starting with her divorce, her decision to home school her son, and even rumors coming our that she was an end-times prepper (thus the guns in her home). It's kind of hard to see problems coming, if we all let each other become isolated. It is harder than ever in our very moble society to establish active social neighborhoods, to know our neighbors and to become aware of growing issues. We are going to have to figure out how to engage those that live next door to us, when many of us use Wonkette and other online outlets as social media.

    Gun control, better public programs for treatment and control of violent and dangerous forms of mental illness, and a new social commitment to engaging the socially isolated. We need all three to avoid the next school massacre.

  56. smitallica

    I managed to finally see "Lincoln" last night. That's a movie about a President and Congress amending the Constitution against strongly entrenched opposition and outdated ideas because it was the right thing to do. Yes, it's science fiction.

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      You know, if Lincoln had been armed at Ford's Theatre he could have defended himself against John Wilkes Booth, but he wasn't, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that it was the failed policies of the Lincoln Administration such as the Emancipation Proclamation and preserving the Union that caused John Wilkes Booth to be in Ford's Theatre that evening.

      1. Negropolis

        Yep, the back of his head should have had a gun so it could have seen it coming. The back of Lincoln's head is at fault, here.

  57. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Hopey is on the TeeVee speaking at a tribute. I am glad he's our president at this time. Can't imagine Romney delivering this speech.

    1. tessiee

      Thank God for that. That preening fuck would have turned this tragedy into an opportunity to ass-lick the NRA — or, even worse, made one of his patented tone-deaf remarks about how gun violence is the fault of single mothers.

    2. Negropolis

      I can see it, now…

      "47% of your here are negligent for not having a gun to protect yourself with. You weren't responsible for your lives and those of your children, and you expect government (police) to protect you."

    3. Jukesgrrl

      My mother commented about all the photos of him embracing the victims and especially the little children in attendance. I agreed with her that he looked like he genuinely WAS comforting them. And kids, they just go to him so naturally. Even Rmoney's own grandson moved right in for a head-pat. I think kids move the opposite direction from the Mittster.

  58. Wile E. Quixote

    If banning guns is pointless because criminals will just find other ways to get their hands on guns then it must also be pointless to ban child pornography, because people who want child pornography will just find other ways to get it. Oh, and it must also be completely pointless to try and prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons because they'll just figure out a way around sanctions and get them eventually.

      1. gullywompr

        It's a cool analogy, but when a gun owner hears himself being compared to a child pornographer, he might not be too receptive to the logic.

  59. Negropolis

    Just saw the president's speech. I only have a few questions for the unwavering advocates of "gun rights":

    Do you value our children more than you value your guns? How many dead Americans are worth the price of you not only being able to have guns, but to carry them everywhere? How many more souls are you willing to pay to purchase an annual subscription for this antiquated Constitution amendment?

    The president echoed what I've been yelling about for years on this issue and many others, and that is that you shouldn't do nothing simply because you can't do everything. We're talking actual life and death, here.

    1. cousinitt

      Sounds like the President won't wait for Congress. If he goes over their heads, it won't be much of a reach anyway. Moving speech he made, one of the best when it had to be.

  60. christianmuslin

    The ball is in the court of Congress and the Administration. Both should agree to engage jointly with the NRA to seek agreement on how best to secure these 300 million weapons to begin to protect the young and the innocent, while also protecting the emotionally challenged from being able to carry out these acts of mass murder. Put a short (3 month) deadline on achieving a workable agreement. When the deadline passes with no meaningful agreement, the President, along with the rest of us who see this as important as other high priorities demand that lawmakers enact strict taxation of $1,000 on the purchase of any weapon sale, whether through a gun show, Kmart, internet, weapons retailer, garage sale, etc. Proof of payment would be reqired prior to issuing a gun permit to own. Renting of guns would be forbidden if it is not currently-the NRA will try to circumvent the law for once a year hunters. Something effective needs to be in place by the time students return to school in the fall of 2013. Separate action must be devised to address the current 300 million, like a heavy personal property tax levied annually. (Nice revenue source awaits state legislators).

    Property insurance companies (state regulated) should be urged by homeowners that actuaries need to have separate insurance rates for gun owners with respect to increased risk of property damage as the result of owning and potentially inflicting real property damage as a result of using a weapon.

    In essence, shit all over gun owners from all directions-divide and conquer.

    Treat it like heavy drugs. If a crime is commited using a gun in a home, public owned property or business, the fine levied against the gun owner is seriously prohibitive-we place law enforcement officers at very serious risk when they have to react to a crime invoving guns. A major portion of the revenue should go to a fund for families of fallen officers.

    We could flood the Congress with peaceful demonstratons and organized mail campaigns demanding serious meaningful action to reduce these one man killing banquets.

    Maybe you exempt the first gun owned but crank it up against multiple weapons.

    1. Negropolis

      They can offer a symbolic reaching out to the NRA, but I doubt they'll get any genuine response. Given this, I think they should just railroad them. The NRA is too far gone for logic. Wayne LaPierre – or whatever the fuck his name – is is not a serious person or honest broker. He's a highly-payed clown.

  61. pdiddycornchips

    I'm a grown fucking man and I spent the weekend explaining to my 14 year old daughter why I had tears in my eyes. This shit is not normal. We are a society with a cancer that hasn't been addressed. The gun argument is just a part of it. We're mentally ill. Until we face that fact head on, we ain't changing shit. Yes, there should be reasonable restrictions on guns. Not just ownership but how guns are marketed and sold, Every time something like this happens, gun sales go up. They would never put it quite this way but these mass killings are good for the gun industry's bottom line. Maybe, if the industry didn't ,make millions of dollars off the deaths of innocents, they would invest a little bit of cash in technologies that might help prevent this shit. We can deliver lethal firepower to people thousands of miles away from a cubicle in the Nevada desert. Why? Because we spent billions of dollars inventing and testing this shit. How about we put a few bucks into non lethal weapons that can be deployed at schools and malls and churches that could prevent other wackos? Accepting these events as if they're as normal as a tornado or a hurricane says a lot of about us. This shit can and does happen in other countries but it happens here all the fucking time. it;s not normal. Let's at least admit that much.

    1. RadioBitchFace

      We are slaves to the terrorism of guns. As Rich implied, the greatest thing about the Constitution is not it's original details, but the fact that is mutable. You are so right in observing that 2nd Amendment has become an outdated cancer. The munitions manufacturers are the slavemaster, tyrants here. The NRA is a front group that has abused our system in their corrupt propaganda campaign. Let's just hope we can undo this scourge, this peculiar obsession, without another civil war.

  62. decentcitizen

    I grew up in a gun culture. My dad was quite honestly never more than two steps away from a loaded handgun, and if I had made the choices he made, I would probably have seen the wisdom in that. But seriously, why do gun nuts always think the answer to gun violence is more guns?

  63. Dudleydidwrong

    Obama's speech was powerful: comforting, firm, inspiring, and promising that he would do his best to make sure this doesn't happen again. If someone has to be the comforter-in-chief at times like this, I'm glad it is Hopey.

    1. tessiee

      Hey, good point.
      Just think of how much employment statistics could improve if everybody brought a gun to work. No more layoffs!

  64. gullywompr

    Well what do you know – All the gun nuts on the internet tonight are suddenly in favor of expanded mental health coverage! Won't they be surprised to find unanimous support among Democrats to tacking it onto Obamacare?

  65. Dashboard Buddha

    "An armed society is a polite society"

    I wonder about this. If I were unarmed and walked up to an armed dude and told him him mother was a syphilitic cunt we can all agree that that's not very polite. Would he be justified in shooting me?

  66. HobbesEvilTwin

    I haz a serious fucking sad. Great rant, though, and I shall borrow heavily from it (with attribution, obvs).

  67. Negropolis

    This righteous rant needs to be flown around the internet and then flown around, again, for good measure.

  68. smokefilledroommate

    It's a shame we can't focus on the psychology of those who feel disempowered, if only as an afterthought. Also, it's a shame that gun = power in this fucking culture.
    (That's really contrived, but I don't feel like delving into socioeconomics, colonialism, rampant capitalism, racism, bullying, wealth, ignorance, etc.) Not that I could.

  69. tessiee

    "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."

    Except that "outlaws" aren't the ones committing mass murder. Adam Lanza had no prior criminal record. James Holmes (the movie theater shooter) had no prior criminal record. Jared Loughner had no prior criminal record.

    "Outlaws" — drug dealers etc. — are in business to make money. The last thing they'd want would be to kill a bunch of people (including potential customers?) AND attract a lot of unwanted attention from the cops.

  70. tessiee

    "So yeah, maybe gun control stopped teachers from shooting Lanza."

    OK, sure, let's play that scenario out.
    Gunman: RAAAAAH!!
    Teacher: Could you wait just a moment, please?
    Gunman: Okey dokey.
    Gunman waits patiently while teacher 1) unlocks cabinet where gun and ammunition are kept, 2) loads gun, 3) calmly, without any distress, shaking, distraction from kids running, crying, and screaming, etc. takes perfect aim at the part(s) of the gunman not protected by body armor, and 4) kills gunman as he stands perfectly still and makes no attempt to duck, resist, run away, or shoot anybody.

    Sounds completely plausible. I'm sure it would happen just that way.

    1. proudgrampa

      Well said, tess. I do not see teachers (and most other civilized people) being quite prepared enough for "self-defense." And the rules that would be necessary for keeping guns in an elementary school just wouldn't be practical.

  71. KevoTron

    Well said. I would only like to add "fart noises" and "dick joke" to make this more palatable for the average American.

  72. ttommyunger

    Just about every job I've had since l959 has required me to be armed. I'm armed every day in retirement, as I tap this out in my own home I have a small pistol resting inconspicuously in my pants pocket. Unless I die in bed or in the shower, I'll die with a gun in my pocket or in my hand. I own several long guns, revolvers and pistols and keep a lot of ammunition on hand. I don't particularly like guns but feel I have a responsibility for myself, my family and neighbors. My wife tells me she has been told by one neighbor that she feels safer knowing she lives with me next door. I was surprised to hear that. I would prefer no one have guns, but that is not the world I live in. I've had to use my gun and so far I have never missed a target. I haven't killed everyone I've tried to kill and haven't tried to kill every one I should have tried to kill. I just don't know a way out of our problem with guns. I frankly don't fear gun legislation, I plan to be armed regardless of the law, other than that, I'm fairly law-abiding. For the vast majority of you that don't carry, I can only say I lack your courage, faith or trust in God, Karma, Fate or fill in the blank.

    1. proudgrampa

      tommy, I appreciate your point of view. In some respects, I think it's more courageous to be willing to carry than not.

  73. Caradeloca

    When I was a foot soldier in the ground game, I saw something interesting. Granted I was mostly talking to dems, in Reading PA and most of them were either black, brown, poor, old or some combination thereof, but they vote (or wanted to) and they are concerned about the health of their communities and understood what their self-interest is and there were enough of them to elect the President despite all the money Rove and Company were throwing around. The Democratic party needs to lead on this and so does the President. If the majority of people aren't there, they won't get there if the Press Secretary says stupid shit like now is not the time. If not now, when?

      1. imissopus

        The Jay Carney anger has been driving me nuts. The massacre had just happened a couple of hours prior so no way he had accurate info on anything about it. Plus if there is one thing we've learned about the president, he's not going to have an emotional, knee-jerk, fly-off-the-handle reaction. He's going to get all the information first. Everyone who is mad at Jay Carney needs to take a deep breath.

  74. Negropolis

    Can you guys imagine how much wealthier we'd be both socially and financially if we didn't buy into and then subsidize the social costs of our gun culture? We got rid of one peculiar instutition, and we can get rid of another, and boy if the gun culture ain't peculiar in the this 21st century.

    As staunchly as I appear against the gun, I'd be willing to make some compromises in the short-term. I could live with a "well regulated militia." I could live with firarms being allowed for hunting. I could even begrudingly live with a licensed gun in someone's house for "protection." But, all of this open and concealed carry, and "must" perment vs. "shall" permit, and trying to do away with registries, and bringing them into stadiums and schools and daycares and churches and wherever else? Not just no, but HELL NO. This issue's playing field has removed so far to the right it's not even funny.

    There is no sane talk left with the NRA. None.

    1. cousinitt

      Had the Topeka killer not had a gun, he would have employed a poison blow-gun dart. Or a ninja star. Or a phaser. Therefore and so on, etc, QED, restricting gun ownership will never work. 'Cause ninjas.

      Man in SoCal would also too have obviously shot a wad of gum up into the air which, upon it's fall could have stuck to the parking lot, or god forbid, a miniature poodle.

      Waiter, can I have a side of freedom fries and some shit sauce?

  75. cousinitt

    TPM and Josh offer another item to consider: "In Search of the Guns & Freedom Unicorn" http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/12/in_… "This is a disturbing article. You have to read it to get the full feel. But the gist is that over recent years the town of Newtown, CT. tried to place some limits on the rise of what might be called extreme gun-owning and shooting in the community. It wasn’t a fight between gun-owners and non-gun-owners but traditional gun owner and hunters versus people shooting close to other people’s homes, shooting at unlicensed firing ranges, firing military style weapons, even firing into explosives." Josh links to a what is indeed a disturbing investigatory report.

    I live in such an area in Colorado. Some of us have been calling on the Forest Service to limit semi-automatic fire at least, near our homes. The Neanderthals seem to think they can fire anything anywhere on gubmint land and they are nearly correct. To begin to make a dent in the gun fetishist's world we, the sane, need to limit their access to ammunition and places they can get their gun boner on. Going after guns, per se, is nice but there are other, more creative avenues open to us.

  76. proudgrampa

    Rich, thanks for your thoughtful essay. I intend to forward a link for this to my friends and family.

    Peace.

  77. dopper0189

    We need to deregulate plutonium! "A-bombs don't kill people, people kill people."

    Much like with guns plutonium has other uses that don't involve killing folks (you can make a nuclear power plant for example).

    FREE PLUTONIUM FROM GOVERNMENT TYRANNY

  78. Jukesgrrl

    I've posted several times here and I have yet to thank the author of this fine piece of writing. I appreciate you, Rich, and like proudgrampa I will be passing this on (attributed, of course). Best wishes.

  79. Disassembly

    I feel like reading that again but don't want to encourage your heartfelt bullshit. Then again, too late.

  80. carlgt1

    Maybe in a way to get some intelligent gun control as well as insurance for kids – we need to setup a huge lobbying group bigger than the NRA that exists for the health, welfare, and safety of American kids?

  81. Biel_ze_Bubba

    This pretty much says it all.

    For every criminal stopped by a civilian's bullet, how many dozens of family and friends have been killed by these weapons of "protection"? Thousands die every year, jsut so the gun nuts can nurse their Rambo fantasies. It's insanity on a national scale.

  82. Misty Malarky

    Out of a feeling of duty I watched a few minutes of Fox and Friends to see how they were dealing with this tragedy. Here is what I learned (seriously):

    1. It's the ACLU's fault because they are just interested in suing to help keep sickos like this out of all the widely available mental health facilities.

    2. The mother was single and so what other choice did she have but to bond with her emotionally disturbed son over weekly trips to the gun range? With everyone out to destroy traditional families this is what we can expect.

    3. What about Benghazi? Anybody remember that, ha ha snort ha?

    Oh, and does Steve Doocy realize his son is very, very gay?
    Not witty and cute gay, but scary dismembered male prostitutes in his trunk gay?

  83. DahBoner

    Dictatorships like China PROHIBIT GUNS so mentally ill people there can't buy Glocks and assault rifles and have to use knifes, which are less efficient mass murder weapons, so they think THEY'RE BETTER THAN US…

    //boo hoo hoo False American Pride

  84. wolvenwood13

    Question: where are the teachers supposed to keep their guns where they will be safe from kids but easily grabbed to shoot a crazy person? And kids being kids, I imagine it wouldn't take much time for a kid to find the hiding place and shoot someone, either accidentally or on purpose. Kind of like arming kids with guns, huh?

  85. RalphCrown

    Here's an idea. If I sell you alcohol and you go kill someone while driving drunk, I'm partially liable for your crime.

    Suppose we do the same thing for guns. If I sell you a gun and you go shoot people with it, I'm partially liable. I'm going to get a lot more careful about who I sell guns to.

  86. Bartleby64

    Let us just get one gun law passed so we can show that the NRA is not all powerful. Then we can proceed, law by law, until some sort of sanity comes to this asylum of gun nuts.

  87. Fun w/ Cthulhu

    There also seems to be a strong belief that guns are needed to defend citizens from their own government.

  88. Kgprophet

    If guns kill people then…
    "Pencils cause misspelling" But a pencil in school is not going to murder 20 children in cold blood.
    "A spoon makes you fat" But a spoon in your house is not likely to end up killing a relative or make it easier to commit suicide.
    "A car makes you drive drunk" But you need to pass tests and buy insurance and you aren't allowed to drive a car if you are not mentally fit (or have too many DUIs). Right now terrorists can buy an assault rifle without a background check at any "gun show".

    People don't prevent new gun laws, talking points do.

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