Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lawyers, Guns and Money



I'm reminded of the Warren Zevon song, as no doubt the NRA is arming itself for another battle royale in the wake of the Aurora Colorado shooting.  Calls for gun control have once again been issued, but Obama and Democratic governors don't seem too anxious to press the case, especially after the Supreme Court voted down municipal gun laws in the District of Columbia.  Gun posts have appeared all over my facebook page the past few days, citing the second amendment.  A popular one is "we don't need gun control, we need idiot control."  Yet each year nearly 10,000 firearm related homicides take place in the United States, ranking fourth in the world behind such violent countries as South Africa, Columbia and Thailand.

58 comments:

  1. And that's the way the NRA likes it.

    The democrats are scared to death of the millions the NRA puts into campaigns against anyone who votes for anything even slightly geared towards gun control. Even our most liberal Congressman a few years back, Pat Williams, was anti-gun control. He was terrified of the money that would come into the state against him if he voted for even the most benign legislation.

    I think we need a humorous campaign that targets hunters, showing how ridiculous it is that they think they need a semi-automatic rifle to kill a deer.

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  2. "The harm we’ve done by messing with law-abiding Americans’ guns is significant. In 2010, I drove 11,000 miles around the United States talking to gun guys (for a book, to be published in the spring, that grew out of an article I wrote for this magazine), and I met many working guys, including plumbers, parks workers, nurses—natural Democrats in any other age—who wouldn’t listen to anything the Democratic party has to say because of its institutional hostility to guns. I’d argue that we’ve sacrificed generations of progress on health care, women’s and workers’ rights, and climate change by reflexively returning, at times like these, to an ill-informed call to ban firearms, and we haven’t gotten anything tangible in return. Aside from what it does to the progressive agenda, needlessly vilifying guns—and by extension, their owners—adds to the rancor that has us so politically frozen and culturally inflamed."
    http://harpers.org/archive/2012/07/hbc-90008724

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  3. Sorry, Nebris, but that guy is nuts. He makes some good points about our culture generally, but not about making some guns illegal.

    I live in the heart of gun country -- anyone who needs an AK 47 with 100 rounds to kill an elk or deer would be humiliated by his peers, jailed immediately, and have his so-called "hunting" privileges revoked for life. The only thing those kinds of guns are good for is mass murder and the NRA knows it. They sell fear, not any form of good sense or good citizenry.

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  4. 'That guy is nuts' is not an argument.

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  5. No, the argument is that "the only thing those kinds of guns are good for is mass murder and the NRA knows it. They sell fear, not any form of good sense or good citizenry."

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  6. Actually those types of guns are also very good at making governments think four and five times about declaring martial law. But you probably don't care about that.

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  7. I've always thought the best argument against these kinds of weapons was the absurdity of using them against wildlife, which is always the argument used with hunters to motivate them to vote against any gun control.

    If the real motivation is to give a handful of isolated gun enthusiasts the weapons of mass murder that they need to mow down "our troops" that might be a much more effective argument. We do love our military in this country.

    If Republicans thought that even remotely possible, they all would be outlawed, NRA or no NRA. But I think they realize that the so-called Patriots of Montana and Northern Idaho (or anywhere else in the country for that matter) would not stand a chance against the military that brings down entire countries -- sometimes on nothing more than a whim or personal grudge.

    Sadly, these kinds of guns are only used on college students and young people going to the movies.

    But I'm sure all their gun and survival gear purchases are good boosts to their local economies. And they do vote religiously for Republicans as that article notes.

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  8. ...which thereby confirms what the article says. =)

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  9. Sad to think that people vote Republican to keep assault weapons in the hands of mass murderers and those who want to take on the U.S. military and the local police, but in that case -- yes -- that's what the article does indeed suggest. I must have missed the rest of his argument.

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  10. You have to be drinking a lot of Koolaid to imagine that the availability of AK 47's protects us from the government declaring martial law. That is pure NRA bunkum. It's also paranoia, which is what the NRA is all about. Who is this Nebris dude anyway?

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  11. It doesn't really matter. Obama hasn't said word one about "gun control" in four years, yet gun sales have still gun up, and gun rights activities assail him anyway. They are spreading crap like this over the blogosphere,

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/untreaty.asp

    claiming that the UN Small Arms Trade Treaty would infringe on the second amendment. Totally false, but I suppose it is the only thing they have in an effort to link Obama to gun control.

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  12. The NRA works on the Domino Principle. They believe any legislation will lead to further legislation. Now that they have the Supreme Court in their pocket there isn't much the state and local governments can do to limit high power firearms and ammunition.

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  13. Quoting myself here:

    "The death toll in Aurora is equal to the average weekend death toll in Chicago's gang war, though nobody gives a damn about that because those are nearly all young black males getting shot in the inner city.

    Said gangs are part and parcel of The War on [Some] Drugs, which is of course the result of Prohibition, which has been shown over and over again to not only NOT solve the problem, but make it far worse. And the way gun control has made things worse is by disarming the average citizen.

    Spree killers pick locations where they know their targets will be unarmed and defenseless. They want a shooting gallery, not a firefight. And our strict gun control laws provide vast numbers of what the military calls 'target rich environments'.

    Now the standard response to this is that if several of the location's occupants had guns and started shooting back there would be bullets flying all over the place and that would be worse. That is a partially valid argument, though it assumes that all gun owners would go 'cowboy', which is not valid, especially in this last event where many of the theater goers were active duty military personnel.

    And the argument is besides the point. The point is Deterrence. If a locale is known to allow gun owners to carry, then criminals and most spree killers will avoid said locale. I mean who but an idiot tries to rob a cop bar?

    As for suicidal spree killers, they're looking for a date with the SWAT team and probably don't want to merely get wounded by a citizen with only moderate shooting skills.

    I know this won't change the minds of the anti-gun zealots. For them I have a mathematical conundrum. There are over ninety million gun owners in this country and we collectively posses over a quarter of a billion guns. [yes, that's a 'B'] Even the entire US military cannot disarm us, nor would they try because most of them were raised with guns themselves.

    Now instead of more pointless squawking about More Gun Control, how about making a serious effort about a building a better mental health system so people like Mr. Holmes can find help [or get flagged] before they end up needing to be killed."

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  14. Hey, how about this? Since these mass killers are always men - women poison - why don't we ban males? That would solve the problem. =)

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  15. Nebris, American deaths by gun-related homicides is one of the highest in the world, both in terms of shear numbers (nearly 10,000) and per capita. Anyway, I would like to keep the discussion friendly. No need for diatribes.

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  16. You admonish me, but not the others? Who both happen to agree with you. tsk tsk

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  17. BTW the majority of those gun related deaths are Inner City murders related to the drug trade, which returns us to the issue of Prohibition.

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  18. They were polite in their criticisms, you were not,

    "Now instead of more pointless squawking about More Gun Control, how about making a serious effort about a building a better mental health system so people like Mr. Holmes can find help [or get flagged] before they end up needing to be killed,"

    However, I do agree with you that focusing on gun control is not the most pressing problem, as far as Democrats should be concerned. With another budget crisis looming and an election that is focused firmly on health care they don't need any distractions.

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  19. "You have to be drinking a lot of Koolaid to imagine that the availability of AK 47's protects us from the government declaring martial law. That is pure NRA bunkum. It's also paranoia, which is what the NRA is all about. Who is this Nebris dude anyway?" and "That guy is nuts," was not 'polite' as far as I was concerned. And the above quote was certainly not impolite if one uses the same criteria that passed those two.

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    1. I can't figure out which part of my comment is objectionable. In any event, it takes some pretty thin skin (or maybe an itching finger would be the better metaphor) to find my comment impolite. As for the NRA peddling bunkum and paranoia, that's what it does.

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    2. Within the criteria used to make the cited part of my comment 'impolite', yours qualifies. Me, I just shot back, so to speak. lol

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    3. Were you invited here, or did you just happen to find this blog? Maybe heard it was a hotbed of "anti-gun zealots"?

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    4. I've been following this blog for about a year or so. I'm a historian by inclination.

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  20. I'm just a progressive who is deeply unhappy that most of his fellow progressives are so rabidly anti-gun and most of his fellow gun owners are Right Wing lunatics. *sigh*

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  21. I think av was referring to the article you linked, unless the two of you are one in the same. Anyway, I see your point even though I find America's gun culture hard to swallow.

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  22. The weird thing is that I'm not anti-gun. I'm not a hunter myself, but I grew up with guns in the house (hunting rifles) and lived off game most of my childhood. I'm anti-weapons of mass destruction.

    And for the record, I was referring to the author of the piece Nebris linked, which I did read and strongly disagree with. I think some people, even otherwise liberal ones, get blindsided by their devotion to their guns, which will never stop the US military no matter how much they might wish it to be so.

    But I agree that the NRA and the Republican Party use that fantasy to get people to vote against their own national and self interests. I also agree that most gun nuts are right wing lunatics, but certainly not all. Rachel Maddow is a big-gun/pro-troops enthusiast, for example.

    I still think the way to outlaw these killing machines is to get word out that they are really wanted to kill "our troops." As weird as that might sound to me and others here, that might be a good campaign.

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    1. The martial law argument cracks me up. I can see it now:

      President: I want to impose martial law.
      Advisor: Are you crazy?
      President: Why do you ask?
      Advisor: Don't you know how many AK 47s there are out there?
      President: Wow! Thanks for reminding me. Our military is no match for that.

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    2. RE: 'The martial law argument'..it ain't just AK's, etc.
      http://youtu.be/4f7wTMnWbqQ

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    3. As if sitting in a field somewhere firing a machine gun amounts to anything. This is laughable, man.

      It reminds me of guys (two to be exact) I've known who had this insane idea that they were pretty tough. So they decided to mouth off at the wrong time, to the wrong individual, and got their heads (at least I think that's what those bruised and bloodied things were) unceremoniously handed to them.

      Someone could make a very funny movie about a group of well armed wingnuts deciding to fight it out with the government. Unfortunately, when this does happen in real life it is never funny.

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    4. Sill being 'impolite' eh?

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    5. Again, this is a recent quote of mine on this subject on another post:

      "I find it interesting that when the Armed Citizen paradigm is raised, so many so-called 'progressives' begin to tout the Invincibility of The US Military and even gloating over how they would butcher gun owners."

      You just did that, ya know. Think about it.

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    6. That should be 'even gloating' without the extra 'and'. Hate when I do that. =P

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    7. You're being disingenuous.

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    8. As for your basic point, the terms 'Ruby Ridge' and 'Waco' get repeated in Govt memos with trepidation. Such events are career enders and Govt types care about their careers more than anything else.

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    9. I said this to our host below:

      "The NRA used to be an okay organization when I first joined forty odd years ago in summer camp. But they have been taken over by Right Wing interests, or at least so their leadership states. Me, I think they've just become another set of whores for The Corporate State.

      I do believe in the concept of The Armed Citizen, not necessarily because all us guns owners could stand up to a full scale assault by the US Military - though I certainly would not write us off - but because the concept of so many Citizens with Guns is a prophylactic to anyone in power thinking about martial law. Even if we were all suppressed, the cost - economic, political, societal - is enough to make even the most power mad maniac choke.

      There have been reasonable reports that The Bush White House would not consider martial law for those very reasons. Therefore it is a form of 'political capital' that The Left should avail itself of. But the American Left has gotten too fat and comfy to think of such things. Maybe our present economic collapse - and have no doubt that such is slowly and steadily underway - will toughen us up again.

      One can hope..."

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  23. Speaking of guns, here's a 2009 EJ Dionne article from the National Review that shows that most NRA members favor realistic gun control. Why they would support an organization that doesn't is beyond me but here's the story:

    http://www.tnr.com/article/metro-policy/vote-first-ask-questions-later

    (Gintaras, you sure know how to shake up a reading group! I'm done with guns!)

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  24. That should be New Republic, not national review.

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  25. I just can't see the NRA being all that concerned about mental health issues. An attempt in 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre, to improve the way mental health and other records are added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was strongly opposed by the NRA.

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  26. Here's a more current follow-up to the 2009 NRA story. Funny, they don't support the Humane Society either:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/105354/do-nra-members-support-more-gun-restrictions-members-congress-do

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    1. Unfortunately, you can't make this stuff up.

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  27. Sir, I would say that at least Rick D has drifted over the Trolling line, which is fine be me as I'm an Old Skool Troll and will Troll it out along this line all summer. lol

    However, you have drawn a line and I'm acknowledging that it's being crossed. You can either let us continue, stop it all together, or punish me because the others agree with you.

    Which course you take determines your true moral compass.

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    1. We don't agree, Nebris. Get over it.

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    2. Trolling trolling trolling, keep them *expletive* trolling...'to the Rawhide theme'.

      I was 'over it' before I got here. I just like the sound of my own voice. I'm sure you can relate, Ricky. =)

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    3. PS Your response is clearly indicative that you have run out of reasonable responses and have fallen back upon snark. But as I said to our host, I'm an Old Skool Troll and usually finish off you amateurs within a day or so. *grin*

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  28. I don't plan on punishing anyone. Actually, it's kind of fun, as we usually don't get into such arguments.

    I really don't get these Survivalist and Militia movements. I suppose they are branches of Dominionism, certainly the case with the Koresh clan. They hide out in remote parts of the country, refusing to pay taxes and terrorizing local communities. Hardly poster children for the NRA, but it seems the NRA embraces them.

    I don't see how this fits in with your progressive views, nebris.

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    1. On a note relating to societal collapse, it seems that one of the survivors is not only suing everyone in sight - not a surprise - but has actually hired a publicist to issue press releases.

      http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/wake-tragedies-lawyers-step-colorado-shooting-survivor-plans-172430871.html

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  29. The NRA used to be an okay organization when I first joined forty odd years ago in summer camp. But they have been taken over by Right Wing interests, or at least so their leadership states. Me, I think they've just become another set of whores for The Corporate State.

    I do believe in the concept of The Armed Citizen, not necessarily because all us guns owners could stand up to a full scale assault by the US Military - though I certainly would not write us off - but because the concept of so many Citizens with Guns is a prophylactic to anyone in power thinking about martial law. Even if we were all suppressed, the cost - economic, political, societal - is enough to make even the most power mad maniac choke.

    There have been reasonable reports that The Bush White House would not consider martial law for those very reasons. Therefore it is a form of 'political capital' that The Left should avail itself of. But the American Left has gotten too fat and comfy to think of such things. Maybe our present economic collapse - and have no doubt that such is slowly and steadily underway - will toughen us up again.

    One can hope...

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  30. In America's colonial militias, able-bodied men required to serve were expected to provide their own firearms. Military defense of the 13 colonies was literally dependent on an armed populace. That was the historical roots of the right to bear arms.

    It was still the tradition when Washington as President wtih tensions with England on the rise signed an act requiring men to own firearms and specified quantities of powder and ball. Today, of course, national defense is entrusted to the U.S. armed forces. I've never heard the NRA explain how 300 million guns in the hands of people whose use of those guns is determined by little more than their own personal judgment constitutes a well-regulated militia.

    But don't present that conundrum to good old Bobby Lee and Billy Ray sitting on the front porch oiling their trusty shooting irons. They might be drinking whiskey.

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  31. Very true, the second amendment was specifically tailored to the rights of states to form militias given the disbanding of the Continental Army. But, over the years it has come to be viewed as an individual right.

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  32. I'm reconciled to the reality that that's how it is and will be for the foreseeable future. I just wish the right wing understood our history half as well as they like to think they do since they love to pontificate about the original intent of the founders.

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  33. History is not the right wing's strong suit. The irony of it is that given all the high charged rhetoric these days about state rights, they would have been much more comfortable with the original Articles of Confederation.

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  34. Yes, they love original intent, when women and blacks were property and men were men with guns.

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  35. Some paramilitary right wing groups incorporate the term militia into their nomenclature plucking a term from the 2nd Amendment to give them a ring of Constitutional legitimacy. But these are private groups with no accountability to state, local, or Federal government. This is a scary subculture and the NRA does nothing to discourage it even when it’s a group with an extreme anti-government ideology.

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  36. The Paramilitary movement gave us Nichols and McVeigh. From what I've read, these private militias have grown in number over the last four years. Obama has chosen to steer clear, hoping not to evoke another Ruby Ridge or Waco.

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