Today in gun porn: The NRA wants you dead

According to the NRA, you are the most dangerous threat to the American way of life. In a video produced earlier this year and released on YouTube in June, NRA spokesmoron Dana Loesch explains that the time is coming when gun owners will have to put you in your place.

Having finally shaken loose from the shackles of political correctness, the NRA in this ad demonizes teachers, journalists, “movie stars,” and of course, your “ex-president” in a desperate pitch to sell guns to cowering racists. According to Loesch’s speech, the only way to stop these enemies of freedom is with “the clenched fist of truth,” which I assume is a niche brand of shotgun ammo.

You can watch the video here, if you feel like you need to. The gist of the ad is that the NRA wants you dead.

An ad like this seems odd and inflammatory unless you understand the NRA’s reason for existence. Like the “Egg Advisory Board” or “American Sugar Alliance,” the NRA is an industry lobby. They don’t give a damn about rights or duties or the American way of life. They don’t care who they kill or who they empower. Their job is to sell guns. That job is a lot harder than it sounds.

There is no reason for anyone to buy one additional gun. America has more guns than people, and at current rates of gun violence that ratio is moving further out of balance. You don’t use up a gun the way you use up a box of Kleenex or a can of CheezWhiz. My grandfather’s guns are still my favorites. They still work fine.

Unless you’re a hunter, a gun is a worse-than-useless product. Guns do not make you safer. If your gun is ever fired at a person, that person will almost certainly either be you or a member of your family. Persuading gun-saturated Americans to fork over hundreds of dollars for another steel phallus takes imagination.

An old NRA formula has been the key to sustaining gun sales for generations. The NRA understands that gun violence feeds gun demand. They’ve spent billions of dollars to block police groups from passing sensible gun restrictions. When Adam Lanza used his creepy gun collection to murder a bunch of first graders, gun sales grew. Incidents and behavior you’d expect might curb gun ownership or make people rethink their creepy fetish, actually feed the bottom line of gun makers.

This formula grown less effective in recent years. The problem: Not enough Americans are committing crimes.

Crime rates in the US are in long-term, steep decline. Thanks to gun saturation, our rates of gun death keep rising, however ordinary street crime has practically disappeared outside a few troubled enclaves. Television images of street crime were a crucial demand-generation tool for gun makers for decades. In the absence of that driver, gun makers need another force to stimulate demand for a pointless product.

A black president provided some brief relief for the industry. However, now that they have installed a white nationalist in the White House gun makers are feeling the pinch from declining sales. If street crime no longer matters and gun-loving racists run the government, how do you continue to scare rural white people out of their hard-earned cash? There is only one answer.

What sells more guns than crime? War.

These are people who will kill first graders to sell a few more guns. Do not imagine that some tinge of conscience will restrain them from destroying the republic. This NRA ad promises to make America great again by the only means available – getting rid of people like you. You have protested our legitimate president. You have smeared his good name with “fake news” about his criminal connections to Russian money laundering. You’ve had the temerity to “endorse the resistance.” You have marched and protested and “terrorized the law-abiding.”

You are a problem. Gun makers sell the solution.

You’ve been warned. Give these people no quarter. Give them no space. They will resort to violence in time. Make sure that when they do they will have lost access to any levers of legitimate authority. Deny them any form of legitimacy or acceptance in any aspect of public life. Challenge these people and their opinions in every channel.

This isn’t cute anymore. This isn’t politics as usual. We are beyond the “exchange of ideas.” People who think that ads like this are OK should feel uncomfortable expressing their opinions in any public form. Disorganized violence of the kind they are promoting is far less powerful than you might think. Take away every other form of power they might leverage. Use your strength to isolate these forces while you still can.

As a post script, comedy may save us all.

 

103 Comments

  1. Off topic again but oh so funny and terrifying at the same time. A series of tweets from NPR condensing the Declaration of Independence caused a lot of Trumptards and Deplorables to react with outrage and screams of leftist propaganda. Proof they are uneducated and have no clue of our history.

    America…Idiocracy has arrived and they are the Deplorables.

  2. This is OFF-TOPIC, but a little advance warning for you political buffs. One of the next high profile political contests between the R’s and the D’s will be the state senatorial contest in the Washington 45th Legislative District in the suburbs of Seattle. The incumbent Senator, who was Republican, died late last year and the person who was appointed as the replacement is a former Republican Senator who is not running for the seat. So a new senator will be selected in the November general election. The Democrats are backing an excellent progressive candidate, Manka Dhingra. If the Democrats win the Washington State Senate will shift from Republican to Democratic control. Washington will join the list of states with the governorship and both houses of the legislature exclusively controlled by Democrats. If that happens, the last chink in the left coast blue wall will be eliminated. This district includes some though not all of the technology hub on the east side of Lake Washington. The combination of the political implications of losing a seat that represents a significant technology hub and losing that last weak spot on the west coast will attract big money from the Republicans. Of course, the race is attracting major attention from the Democrats.

    I’m making this post because the outcome of the race could well have major national political implications. Daily Kos has profiled the race at least twice and I’ve mentioned it previously. If the Democrats win, the door to some significant progressive reforms in Washington state will be opened at least a little. The Republican control of the state senate has been blocking progressive movement since 2013.

      1. It will be the general election, November 7, 2017. Washington conducts a general election each year. BTW, Manka is a woman as is the major Republican candidate. The Republican candidate is a former staffer for Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers of Washington’s 5th Congressional District. Also both representatives are Democrats and the District went for HIllary.

  3. Separation of church and state. Pretty well established law, right? Not any more. In May, potus signed an executive order to discourage the IRS from enforcing the Johnson Amendment which prohibits pastors from endorsing political candidates. In this day and age, when executive orders and regulations are overturned with little fanfare, this newest action by Congress on this issue is a real “in your face” step. This past week, the House Appropriations Committee quietly removed funding to the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment – reasoning it is easier to with hold enforcement funding than to repeal it. There is literally nothing sacred anymore. The House will discuss this action after the fourth….which means, what? This same Appropriations Committee removed all funding for the National Elections Commission. It appears this will be the default tactic.

    Elections have consequences.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-gop-bill-would-let-churches-endorse-politicians/2017/06/30/9a63d750-5dbb-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html?

  4. So, at what point, given the NRA video and the weekend of puppet tyrant tweets, can intelligent people say, “OK, I need a gun, or several, and I had better be ready to start shooting, soon.”

    And please don’t say, “Never. People of conscience don’t do that”.

    The tyrant and his followers seem emboldened, because they recognize the republican party, the group that holds the reins of power, plan on doing nothing to control the insanity. The crazies are getting worse, not calming down. And the tyrant himself has a long history of attacking a weakened opponent, not backing off, when he has won.

    1. Profile photo of EJ EJ

      I understand your point and sympathise with it. However, remember that if you start shooting, the people you shoot will not be Trump and his cronies. They won’t even be his brainwashed hordes of deplorables. The people you shoot will be police. If you succeed in shooting the police, it’ll be the national guard and then the army. Along the way, your bullets will also find their way into a whole lot of civilians, because that’s what happens when you start shooting in a populated region.

      You may believe (as I do) that the police are in need of reform. However, this reform is unlikely to be accomplished by means of shooting them. People tend not to listen to the suggestions of those who shoot at them.

      No matter how many police you shoot, you will not topple the President. You’ll just create a lot of widows and orphans until eventually someone shoots you. That’s how violence works.

      So what does work? Mass civil disobedience works. Look at Turkey last year, or Ukraine in 2014, or Egypt in 2011. If millions of people are able to turn to Trump and say “you are no longer the President, we shall not obey, your orders will go unheeded” then he is no longer the President.

      1. You are correct in regards to the use of resistance and nonviolence.

        However, police reform is a difficult process. Seattle entered into a Consent Agreement with the Justice Department over four years ago to correct excessive violence. With the current mayor and the hiring of an excellent police chief (Mayor Murray and Chief O’Toole), good progress has been made, despite resistance from the Police Guild and other forces. However, that has recently been upended, due to two incidents that have made the national news.

        First, Mayor Murray, who is gay and was largely responsible for getting legislation through state legalizing gay marriage, was sued for sexual abuse in the 1980s. Murray subsequently withdrew his bid for re-election. Then the suit was dropped. With the way the litigation was handled there is widespread suspicion that the motive for the suit was to force him out of the race and that the attorney’s fees were paid by right wing groups. Just a suspicion, but make of it what one will. The leading candidate for the new mayor is a gay woman who was the former US Attorney for Western Washington until Sept 2014. She is heavily disliked by the right-wing establishment due to her heavy involvement in the police reform effort, support for tough sentencing against criminals who use guns and also winning the recount lawsuit against the Republican Party’s attempt to overthrow the election of former Governor Gregoire’s election in 2014. Since the Republican Party has long memories there will probably be big outside money against her election.

        Secondly, recently two Seattle Police officers shot a pregnant mother in front of her children under suspicious circumstances. Both officers had received de-escalation training. One officer had however made a personal decision to not carry the Taser that had been issued to him, because he said that the battery had died. He did not bother getting the battery replaced. The officers also did not have body cameras, because the Police Guild considers the use of body cameras as a change in working conditions, requiring a labor contract adjustment and they want more money. Incidentally, the Guild negotiator is a former Guild President and has a record of opposition to police reform.

        Again one can make of these circumstances what one will, but I personally suspect connivance even possibly including the mayoral scandal. I am sure that the shooting is directly related to the resistance of the police guild and individual officers to police reform.

        The moral of the story is that despite appearances accomplishing police reform is a long difficult process and will take many years and perhaps a generation. When we have a POTUS and Attorney General such as the present occupants, who are openly opposed to police reform and accountability the process becomes considerably more difficult. The individual officers are aware of this and adjust their actions accordingly.

        Note that the people of Seattle are strong supporters of the liberal agenda including LGBTQ rights and acceptance and police reform, but there is still the strong resistance by the right wing even in one of the most liberal cities in the US.

      2. Also it’s worth reminding all that US AG Jeff Sessions is not a fan of programs that attempt to change policing. He has ordered a review of all cities in which this process is underway. Guess the police lobby is working the system – which is sad because community policing when done properly is very effective. We all wish there were no police violence but it exisits and it needs to be rooted out.

      3. “[I]t’s worth reminding all that US AG Jeff Sessions is not a fan of programs that attempt to change policing. ”

        Sadly, there are many people in this country who believe, and will tell you to your face, that the police should shoot more people. Albuquerque DA Kari Brandenburg elected to prosecute two police officers who were videotaped shooting a homeless man. She was quoted in a New Yorker article as saying that people came up to her all the time in the supermarket and told her just that.

    1. So many examples of this. Justice Scalia’s famous “originalism” popping up when it suited him and being nowhere when it didn’t. Legislatures passing laws to prevent cities and towns from prohibiting fracking, or passing anti-discrimination laws, or passing minimum wage laws. And of course the original; the southern states seceding because of states rights on slavery, and then adopting a constitution that prohibited any state from abolishing slavery…

      1. TX, a state that loves to tout its “individualism”, is selective about personal rights. Governor Greg Abbott has on his twenty “must-do” list for the TX Special Session (estimated to cost TX taxpayers $48K/day – for however long it takes to pass bills that didn’t make it the first go round) this critical piece of legislation – revoke local authority to regulate tree removal, trimming, replacement. Huh?

        “The tree ordinance item is just one of several special session items that take direct aim at local government functions. Abbott has also asked lawmakers to consider how cities collect property taxes, set budgets and oversee construction projects. The governor’s list — and local officials’ backlash against it — highlights a national division between statehouses and city officials over which level of government should have control over local matters.”

        Big Brother is getting meddlesome in Little Brother’s business.

  5. Off topic but it reminded me of the rise in white supremacy since Orange Turd was installed in the WH.

    http://jacksontelegraph.com/2017/06/30/mass-grave-of-dozens-of-tortured-black-men-found-in-deceased-kkk-leaders-estate/

    I truly don’t understand the level of hate and cruelty these types display. It’s alien to me and these people have truly rotten souls. The funny thing is many of them claim to be “god fearin’ folk”. I could never be this cruel to another human or animal.

  6. Legit gun owners need to make a choice: split from gun dealers (politically) and allow regulations of dealers and mfgers, or stand with them and lose their guns as well.

    Legit gun owners are being used as a public shield by gun dealers and mfgers and their industry lobby the NRA to allow them to continue to sell massive amounts of guns. They don’t care whether those guns go to legit owners or criminals as long as the profits keep coming.

    Serious gun control advocates understand the real problem is gun dealers and makers, not the 90% legit owners out there. But every attempt to regulate them fails due to the NRA.

    So gun owners have a choice: stop allying themselves with the NRA and allow measures to pass that would focus on dealers and mfgers, or risk more drastic measures that would ensnare them as well.

    I know lots of gun owners, and I’ve gone to the shooting range myself. They are all normal people, keep their guns responsibly, and are more likely to joke about black helicopters than actually believe all that paranoid nonsense. Hearing these guys talk about their new gun is more akin (disturbingly 🙂 ) to hearing a little girl talk about her new barbie, than anything about shooting people or overthrowing the govt.

    The NRA does them no favors by running ads portraying gun owners as all crazy patriot groups. If they keep letting them do that, they shouldn’t be surprised when people believe the NRA and then say we need to ban all guns because every gun owner is crazy.

    So to all my gun owning friends, I say: your best chance to keep your guns long term is to stop supporting the NRA. Let us impose real regulations on dealers and mfgers and the pressure to ban all guns or register individual gun ownership, etc will dissipate. You do yourself no favors by allying yourself against law enforcement agencies and with sand hook truthers and their ilk.

    (PS. Call me a crazy optimist, but they’re even a potential liberal – gun owner alliance: the environment. Hunters were the first environmentalists, and were instrumental in establishing the first public parks,and laws about public easements on private lands.)

  7. Seriously off topic (except Frum does mention bullets), is this outstanding piece by David Frum, editor of The Atlantic. He offers a different “take” on health care reform that Republicans could pursue – “if” they were smart. I highly recommend it. It offers the kind of introspection, common sense and intelligence that this critially important issue demands….but fails to get. I have long since stopped caring about who gets credit for fixing America’s health care system as long as the changes benefit the vast majority of Americans without sacrificing quality or pricing people out of the market.

    The latest tweet from Potus advocates repeal of the ACA with replacement “tbd” at a later time. The CBO weighed in on this idea with this announcement: 32 Million Americans will lose health coverage if the ACA is repealed. As usual, this president throws something out there with little thought about consequences. This is maddening.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/how-republicans-can-fix-american-health-care/532251/?utm_source=nl-atlantic-weekly-063017

  8. Happened to catch Rachel Maddow tonight and the show was impressive. Among things I learned are these: The request for voter information from all states is just “part” of the big plan. Today, the House Appropriations Committee ZEROED out the entire budget for the National Voter Election Commission. Gone – puff! Then we learn that the DHS will decline to investigate whether states’ voting machines have been compromised by Russia’s efforts to penetrate them. (in addition to their other activity). Combine that with the Kobach letter to all states demanding a level of information that is unprecedented and then advising that anything the Commisssion on Election Integrity collects will be made public!!!

    All ye of small government – listen up!

    1. I don’t watch much cable news but from what I’ve heard Maddow is doing a good job and her ratings are rising. Hopefully, she can beat the real “fake news” channel aka Fox in ratings soon. I’m being forced to listen to Fox this am and I’m disgusted with the juvenile antics and sniggering of the anchors towards “liberals” and CNN. They sound like the HS mean girls. The uber patriotism, bordering on the Nuremberg rally, and sucking of Trump’s ass and screeching “Obama” like some kind of brainwashing technique is making me very cranky. Actually, Fox does employ brainwashing techniques.

  9. Delicious irony: KS Secretary of State and Vice-Chair of the President’s Commission on Election Integrity, Kris Kobach, is not on board with the whole “give me all your voter data demand” he and his commission are seeking.

    “Ironically, Kobach announced Friday afternoon that Kansas is one of the states that won’t comply with the commission’s request. [Kansas City Star / Bryan Lowry]”

    My, my. Things do get interesting in politics these days.

  10. Voter registration
    This seems to be a big problem in the USA – with politicians (mostly GOP) raiding the registration in order to de-register as double booked people with identical names
    BUT you guys already have a unique identification number – your Social Security Number

    Why don’t you use that in registering?

    This would also have the very useful effect of stopping the idiots who think that the SSN is some type of secret squirrel password – it is NOT and cannot BE

    If you used SSN it would be a trivial exercise to eliminate double booking and the dead vote and also a simple table would keep a track of people (like me) who have an SSN but are not entitled to vote

      1. Here, here, mime! There is a 15 pound smoked prime rib in our sous vide bath for tomorrow’s supper with all oue Canadian friends. And then fireworks from Costco! Our fire chief friend fron across the lake bought them. It all promises to be a grand time.

        You enjoy your holiday too, my dear old pal!

  11. These articles were posted in replies to comments below but need to be higher:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/29/trumps-voter-fraud-commission-wants-to-know-the-voting-history-party-id-and-address-of-every-voter-in-america

    “Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/340289-19-states-refusing-to-provide-voter-data-to-trump-panel

    “24 states refusing to provide voter data to Trump election panel”

    Happy 4th of July weekend everybody. The President has actively begun attacking your right to vote and the NRA has actively announced their intent to shoot you if you protest it.

    1. Talk about Democracy being between a rock and a hard place, Aaron! Yet, good people continue to strive to enlighten, lift up, and do the hard, daily work that is necessary to change things – from gun violence to individual rights. One of the stars in this group is Bryan Stevenson, who launched the Equal Justice Intitiative in Montgomery, AL, not an easy place for a Black man even if he is a Havard Law school graduate. His work and his writing continue to inform and inspire – yet, as he recounts in this personal story – life can be tenuous for those who share a dark skin – regardless of their personal attainment. If you have not read his book: “Just Mercy”, I highly recommend it. Stevenson truly is one of the few in America today who are a “Profile in Courage”. Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson America’s Mandela. He has made his life’s work exposing and rooting out racial bias in America’s penal system. You can hear his TED talks on this subject via youtube.

      http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/07/13/presumption-of-guilt/?

  12. Want to know how to convert the typical NRA supporter into an ardent gun control activist? Have BLM start helping African Americans and other minorities (including Muslims) exercise their 2nd amendment rights. When you start seeing black people or brown people run around in the woods carrying assault rifles and taking shooting lessons, you’ll see gun restrictions passed so fast even Charleton Heston’s cold dead hands would be pried open.

    The right to be armed is only supposed to apply to white “patriots”. Otherwise you’re a potential terrorist or dangerous black man who needs to be jailed, renditioned, or shot.

    1. Funny you mention this. Some family members went to the shooting range and said there were a lot of black people and other ethnic folks such as Indians practicing. This should be setting off alarm bells for those white “patriots”. 😛

      I actually think they are traitors as opposed to patriots because everything they believe is contrary to the ideals of this nation and its founding fathers.

    2. Boy, is that true! I remember when the BLM marches were held in Dallas and one Black man was seen “carrying”…he had a legal permit, but he was Black. He got so many warnings from other Black people to put away his legal firearm lest he be shot or provoke a shooting, that he complied. He knew his carrying would have consequences and said frankly that he was testing the system. The “system” worked as expected and he had to put away his legal firearm. Think about how many demonstrations we see in which White men and women are openly carrying their firearms and police may be present but are not approaching these people. It is, as they say, a double standard.

      So, I think WX may be on to something.

  13. Not that I needed anymore confirmation, but IMO the NRA had pretty much blown its last good chance to show that it had rejected racism when it wasn’t strongly speaking up for Mr Phillando Castile’s right to lawfully carry. This video technically didn’t cross the line (openly saying “shoot liberals, minorities, gays, etc.), but it’s tiptoeing rapidly down it, frantically windmilling its arms to keep its precarious balance.

    There is no civil discussion to be had with people like this. Chris is right- shun them, call them out, marginalize them.

    1. And I should say that I recognize how problematic this is. Who is a Nazi? Whose speech is illegitimate?

      This may deserve another post, but here’s the summary. “Ordinary” responsible people have been largely silent, and I would say submissive, as a very nasty fringe has taken over public discourse on our behalf. People who have considered politics to be an impolite subject matter have ceded too much cultural ground to assholes. As a consequence, a large portion of the public space can only be retaken by the logical center through relatively aggressive tactics.

      Those tactics are impolite. But frankly, thanks to these assholes like the dicks who produced that NRA ad, impoliteness may be the last guardrail short of violence. Shunning these idiots may end up saving a lot of lives.

      Basically, our public discourse may be just a bit too polite for our own good. I’ll trade cruder discourse for preservation of the republic.

      1. That is exactly why at age 73 I held up my protest signs in front of Kevin Brady’s office and then crashed a Brady GOP event under most unwelcoming circumstances. It matters to me. Deeply. Enough that I am getting way out of my comfort zone (which is pretty broad as I am “that” kind of person), and standing up and speaking out in ways I never would have imagined. As have many here. And as we must continue to do.

        What is happening is not right. It cannot be allowed to continue and I will fight it in every way I can. This is wrong. Deadly wrong, and there is no calvary on the top of the hill coming to save us.

      2. Profile photo of EJ EJ

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking you. I’m an advocate of the use of no-platforming, and am pleasantly surprised that you’d come around on it.

        Similarly, I understood that you disliked it when people described the modern far-Right as Nazis, and yet here’s you doing it. Again, pleasantly surprised.

        Shall we get you calling people out and policing language soon?

  14. Dana Loesch went on Tucker Carlson’s show and defended this. Has to be seen to be believed.

    Loesch: “No, there’s no racial component in this…The reaction to this is insane…I’m talking over video clips that show actual leftist violence…”

    Carlson (laughing): “The tape is like a bunch of rich white kids setting fire to stuff…”

    Loesch: “It’s the goofiest thing ever…”

    So in summary, this spot is a call for civil discussion, a call for peace. Who knew?

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/5488269057001/?#sp=show-clips

    1. Btw, I just want to add that as a HS math teacher, I have banned all political discussion from my classroom…I tell the kids to save it for their American History class.

      Because honestly, they would rather fight with each other over who’s right or wrong or flat-out racist then do algebra problems. Sad, but true. 😭

      1. Good for you MassDem! I have to disagree with Chris, I’d far rather do algebra problems than listen to FAUX News, even with the volume turned DOWN. It keeps my blood pressure down. But then I am an engineer, though I’d have difficulty with a differential equation now almost 40 years after I passed my PE! But I am a weird one and have been most of my life.

      2. My students aren’t really invested in their opinions on current events/the administration that much–they mostly repeat what they hear at home.

        What sane person would “teach children that their President is another Hitler” and expect to keep their job? Can you imagine the blowback on that from angry parents? Who believes this crap? That’s what I find disheartening–that there are people out there who will buy this.

        Not to mention conflating antifa protests with the Women’s March, the Climate March, and the March for Science. What garbage.

  15. Every day, we see American society devolve a little more. Most certainly, there will be mass civil violence. It is inevitable.

    But my question is, will it be different, more widespread, than the civil violence that has been ongoing in American history? I am no historian, so pulled up a poor man’s history, an article from wikipedia, which gives an incomplete list of violent events.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_civil_unrest_in_the_United_States

    So my question: Is this moment in history much different than the early 60’s? Can anyone enlighten me if other moments in american history have had similar conditions?

      1. “Some” of us live in Eden. Too many are still struggling to get out of the 60s – both those who are still striving to attain basic human and American rights and those who have decided they prefer to live in a society in which class divides us. As a country we do not appear to have learned many lessons about respect, tolerance, equality. We see the consequences in high school math classes, on our streets, in our communities, and not least of all, our families.

        There was a time when I hoped that the situation would change as those who are bigoted (if not outright racist) simply “died off”, leaving the next generation more willing to live in greater harmony and treating one another with greater respect. Yet, as MassDem points out, discord surrounding broadly disparate values has been inculcated in our offspring and temperance lost. We are told that Millennials are more inclusive, which is hopeful, yet, how to explain the generation below them? Those teens who are rapidly approaching adulthood? Indeed, how many of us can enjoy a holiday with our extended families without testy exchanges or careful parsing in our conversation about what we are doing in our lives?

        I don’t consider this point in history as Eden. Rather, I see America at a devastating low point in history, where we have attained so much wealth and shared it so poorly. Where we have enjoyed educational opportunity and learned so little of life’s most fundamental truths.

        As we age, our circle of friends and family grow smaller through death, relocation, and economics. Are we left with a better, more nurturing, loving circle or do we find ourselves retreating into our gated communities and socially and culturally nests? I do not personally see our nation becoming a better place to live by any measure I hold dear. It is disheartening and concerning.

      2. Mime – I don’t disagree with most of what you said. My comment to Dinsdale was specifically in response to his request for an example of when *civil violence* was worse than it is today. I said that *by comparison*, (and by inference to violence as a measure), we are living in an Eden.

        You aren’t old enough to remember the 1930’s. If you think that anything, anything, be it racism, violence, wealth distribution, or pick your social poison, was better then than today, well, you need to read about the topic more. Things really sucked, “by comparison”.

      3. There’s a critical misunderstanding among people when it comes to the idea of respect.

        Let’s say you were going to a concert full of people. Among the tens of thousands present there, if they were all people you didn’t know, would there be a single soul among them that you could honestly say you respected? Of course not, it’s ludicrous to even assert otherwise. You can’t respect someone you’ve never even met, you can only tolerate them.

        This is the simple, but crucial misunderstanding too many make when they talk about respect. As simple individuals struggling through our lives, the number of people you can honestly say you respect is likely only to be in single digits.

        If one argues otherwise, somehow inferring that they respect a great many people, another misunderstanding is likely taking place, and it can be understood with a simple question.

        Do you respect Abraham Lincoln? When asked that question, the overwhelming majority of Americans would answer yes.

        That answer is complete and utter bullshit.

        No one can respect the man known as Abraham Lincoln because, obviously, no one can know the man himself anymore. When we say we respect Lincoln, what we really mean is that we respect the idea of the man that we envision in our minds, and that idea differs from person to person.

        The same applies when one talks about respecting someone they’ve never even met or know very little about. What they really mean is that they respect an idea in their mind, and not the actual person himself/herself.

        Save yourself a lot of trouble and forget this romantic notion of people respecting each other. Forge yourself around a common respect of ideas and ideals and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.

      1. I think my question was misinterpreted. I fully recognize that civil violence, aka riots and people getting attacked en masse, is right now, a fraction of what it was many times in history.

        What I am asking is what were the conditions like prior to the violence. Are the conditions today ripe for people getting attacked at protests, or the protests getting extremely violent?

        Are conditions today different that in the early 60’s or the 30’s, or in the early days on the unionist movement? Can a historian answer if the same conditions exist today?

  16. Un. Bucking. Felievable.

    In days gone by, it seemed to me that the NRA had to turn the rhetoric up to 11 in order to make up for the fact that the US (and most other places) was steadily becoming more safe & law-abiding. Yet this is turning the shullbit meter up to 11,000.

    I definitely agree with you, Chris, that the NRA is an industry lobby for firearms manufacturers. Since I heard that assertion, I’ve seen it fits every action they take. I don’t have a link, but I also heard the reason is that the $ they receive from gun makers far exceeds that from members. As always, follow the money.

  17. Can anyone help me out with a citation verifying that “our rates of gun deaths keep rising”? I can find one – even including suicides, which really don’t apply to this discussion…

    Thanks in advance.

    And yes, the video was pretty OTT.

    1. Gun related deaths bottomed out in the late nineties and have been rising ever since, mostly powered by a rising rate of suicides. That rate has been steep enough to offset a flat rate of homicides, and has been documented in the recent study about white mortality rates. Auto and gun-related deaths have converged in recent years. The numbers aren’t entirely clear, but gun deaths probably overtook auto accidents by 2015.

      Overall gun death rates over time: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/chart-of-the-day-u-s-gun-and-traffic-deaths-over-time/

      A really good raw data set of gun death info: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/gun-deaths/

      1. OK. We can agree that we have a suicide problem. It’s as high as France. More than 2/3s of gun deaths in the US are from suicide. Most suicides in the US are by firearms – just over half. In France, it’s about 1 in 10. So is the suggestion here that our suicide rate would be reduced to levels well below not just France, but the rest of the western world, if we’d simply get rid of guns?

        There’s a massive fallacy in this apparent assumption, and it’s based on the notion that the rate of suicide is somehow related to gun availability. To put it another way, we have a suicide problem that’s more than twice as large as our gun problem. That’s what we should be talking about.

      2. Read back through the piece. Highlight the part where I said we need to get rid of guns.

        Even in the most level-headed conversations about some of these tough subjects, we bring a lot of freight with us. That’s what makes these things difficult.

        I like guns. I miss having them around. If we move back to Texas we’ll have them again. I think it makes sense to let responsible gun owners own guns. Also, the NRA loves mayhem and would be happy to see us all killing each other in the streets. Both things can be true at the same time.

      3. Chris – Don’t get me wrong here. I know your position on guns. We both know how the NRA can be completely hysterical. (Not in a funny way.) I was pointing out an error in the data analysis that virtually everyone with, shall we say, less moderate views makes intentionally when vilifying firearms and firearm ownership. Including suicides with homicide and accidental deaths by firearms is a statistical slight of hand that needed a bullet long ago. It overstates the magnitude of the problem by more than a factor of 3X.
        As I’ve shown, suicide is a serious issue, but it’s not related to gun availability in any discernable way, if we look at similar countries. It is therefore a separate issue that should not be either included with, or conflated with, the gun problem in the US.

      4. I’m not sure it’s an error. Whether it’s a data distortion or not depends on what position you take.

        My position in this instance, which I feel is solid, is that there is little if any practical value in gun ownership. And in fact (and it is a statistical fact) when guns are used against a human being, that human being is in a significant majority of cases, either the owner, or a member of the owner’s family. In other words, mass, largely unregulated gun ownership is probably a stupid, harmful phenomenon.

        I think the data, including suicides, supports that concept.

      5. Profile photo of EJ EJ

        Suicide is an interesting problem. Fifty’s position – that people who kill themselves with guns would kill themselves another way if they didn’t have guns – is a very common one. It’s also not true and has been extensively debunked.

        Here’s a fairly chatty blog post:
        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/struck-living/201012/can-obstacle-prevent-suicide?amp

        Here’s an extensive scholarly bibliography on the topic:
        http://lib.education.vnu.edu.vn/bitstream/DHGD/1661/1/ClinicalPsychology10626.pdf&hl=en&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm0lNll5V3qOvtQwtX0T1V1i8dgj-w&nossl=1&oi=scholarr&ved=0ahUKEwi31OL24uXUAhXKJ5oKHZWjCXsQgAMIGygAMAA

        Here’s probably the best paper I could find on the topic:
        https://www.u25-bern.ch/images/pdf/su.pdf&hl=en&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm1ibCHAgm_V_WFvYNbK2Y7aXF01GA&nossl=1&oi=scholarr&ved=0ahUKEwi31OL24uXUAhXKJ5oKHZWjCXsQgAMIHCgBMAA

        Disclaimer: Psychology is not my branch of academia; however due to a long period of mental illness in my youth, this is a particular topic which I’ve had an interest in.

      6. EJ – The two links in which I was most interested yield the deadly 404 error, so I’ll speak to the Psychology Today piece.

        Suicides in Britain have indeed dropped about 30% after Plath’s death in 1963, and much of the drop could be a result of the elimination of coal gas. This much is true. The rate of suicide in the US has remained more or less constant over that interval, though guns are substantially more numerous. This is true as well. But:

        Australia’s firearms restrictions in 1996 had little if any lasting effect on the suicide rate. The US suicide rate is slightly below the OECD average, but gun ownership is far, far higher. The rates of suicide in the rest of the English speaking world, (New Zealand, the US, Canada, and Australia), are substantially higher than the UK, but the use of coal gas in these countries was never wide-spread. It’s an interesting question why Britain’s suicide rate is so low. (In fact, even *before* coal gas was phased out, it was well below the OECD average.) It’s seems that, for whatever reason, the UK is an outlier. It seems to be a cultural problem as regional differences, age distributions, economics, and racial differences, even within borders, are significant. The issue is complex. To even suggest otherwise is simply poor data analysis.

        Far from being “extensively debunked”, as you say, the idea is very valid and at hand.

        Earlier in the discussion, Chris posted a link to a FiveThirtyEight data set that closed with the following words: “The common element in all these deaths is a gun. But the causes are very different, and that means the solutions must be, too.”

      7. Fifty – I see your point. However, I think you are assuming an intent to mislead when I say 30 thousand gun deaths a year. But I’m not trying to deceive. I gladly point out the suicides and accidental deaths that are in the total when in conversation.

        EJ’s comment points out why we should not ignore gun suicides. I assume you know the finality and certitude of suicide by gun. And the convenience if you have one in the house.

        For me, suicides and accidental shootings are major reasons you should not have a gun in your house. There are other reasons but these two, they are the point.

        Since the government does not want us to know the extent of gun violence and some law enforcement agencies do not keep good records –

        This is a place to go to get statistics. http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

      8. Hi, unarmed – Firstly, accidental deaths should rightly be included in the gun death statistic. (I lumped them with homicide.) Obviously, if you accidentally shoot yourself, you wouldn’t have sought some other means to accidentally kill yourself had you not had a gun.

        Next, big numbers make a rhetorical point better than numbers a third the size. Think about it. Are suicides by hanging considered violent crime? Are they even included in violent death statistics? Why not? Why is suicide included in the gun violence archive, then? Just because it makes such a mess? Look, I don’t mean to be flippant or insensitive here, but this is a question of statistics. There has to be cold, hard logic behind the interpretation of statistical data, or the exercise is completely useless at best, or misleading at worst.

        I don’t reckon that you intend to deceive. Nor do I expect our host is, either. But if you believe that *no one* is on this issue, they have been successful.

        As for data sources, my go-to source is the FBI.

      9. Fifty-
        Fine. Let’s be clear about the statistics. Even just looking at gun homicides, our rates are *far* above the rest of the developed world. Take a look at this wikipedia page:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

        The U.S. per capita gun homicide rate (Excluding suicides) is 3.43. The comparable rate for France, Britain, & Australia (to take 3 countries mentioned in the discussion so far) are 0.21, 0.15, and 0.16 respectively. The next highest gun homicide rate among developed countries is Israel, which has basically been fighting a low-intensity war in its country for the past few decades. Even so, its gun homicide rate is only 1.04. Every other developed country is well under 1.

        IOW, even excluding gun suicides, our gun homicide rate is 10-30 *times* as high as most of our peer countries.

        If the goal of your insistence on statistical clarity is to argue that in addition to massive gun violence we *also* have a problem with gun suicides that we need to address, I couldn’t agree with you more. But if your goal was to say that once suicides were taken out, we don’t really have a gun homicide problem, then you are very mistaken.

      10. Fifty-
        (Sorry, forgot to add this to my previous post)
        You state:

        Earlier in the discussion, Chris posted a link to a FiveThirtyEight data set that closed with the following words: “The common element in all these deaths is a gun. But the causes are very different, and that means the solutions must be, too.”

        This is the usual excuse taken by people who want to avoid action on a topic (not just gun violence; it’s commonly used in health care too, that the causes of lack of insurance are so varied, it’s too complex so let’s just not address it).

        No one argues that gun control will eliminate gun violence. But it has been shown definitively to massively reduce gun violence. So why not do it? What is the downside? I’m sure gun violence in Australia also has numerous causes. Yet Australia’s gun violence rate plunged by 72% after implementing gun control. Why can’t we take the 72% decrease with gun control, and then work together on the rest of the solutions needed to address the remaining 28%?

      11. WX – I agree with everything you said. I was arguing for statistical clarity only. You know I never denied we had a gun problem. We do. You could also say our suicide problem is three times worse. The point is that they are different problems.

        BTW, I don’t think FiveThirtyEight, in their closing, intended it to be a call for inaction. They simply stated a fact, as I’ve attempted to do here. Also, here’s a pretty well documented piece on the Australian experience that is objective, seems to me. http://www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp

      12. Creigh – Men seem more successful at all types of killing than women. As to suicides, even here the number bear this out. Men are indeed more likely to use a gun, but they kill themselves in greater numbers without one too.

      13. Fifty-
        I’m glad we agree then that gun violence (both homicides and suicides) are a big problem 🙂 FWIW, I’ve always felt we don’t dedicate enough mental health resources to combating suicide. I remember my old psych professor kept emphasizing that depression had a higher death rate than most cancers, due to the subsequent suicides that depression induces. And yet there’s no “War on Depression” like there is on many cancers.

        WRT gun control, you could call me a rabid gun control advocate (my line of work affords me an intimate knowledge of the destruction a bullet can wreck on a human body. Trust me when I say it’s not like the movies.) And yet, as rabid as I am, I don’t advocate banning all guns, or other strawmen that NRA-types scare their members with. But I do view it as a risk/benefit analysis.

        Car accidents cause a slightly higher number of deaths than guns. So why don’t we ban cars? Because there is a huge utility that cars provide us. So the downside of the massive amount of vehicular trauma must be balanced against the value of the transportation it provides.

        OTOH, IMHO, there is absolutely no benefit to guns aside from recreational activities (marksmanship, hunting, etc.). As Chris points out, guns have been reliably shown to *decrease* the safety of its owners. So the protective / self-defense value is actually negative.

        Cars and guns cause similar number of deaths. But the benefits that cars provide (transportation) are enormous, relative to the benefits that guns provide (recreation for a relatively small number of people). How crazy is it then that we still regulate and restrict car ownership and usage far, far more than we do gun ownership and usage? (And please don’t tell me gun ownership is protected by the constitution while driving is not; none of the proposals made by gun control advocates have been found to be unconstitutional)

      14. Hey WX – I understand your relative harm/benefit argument. But we do live in a society in which we value the choices of the individual. Best I can tell, cigarettes offer no benefits whatsoever, but no civilized country has banned them, regardless of the harm they cause.

        It’s my view than there are things more important than the simple avoidance of harm, and on this point I think we also agree.

      15. Fifty-

        Individual choice only extends until it hurts someone else. That’s why you can’t smoke in public places. And it’s why I have no problem if someone wants to keep 50 guns in his house and take the risk that he literally shoots himself in the foot with them. My problem is when gun shops sell to known criminals or gangs, or the NRA makes it impossible to trace guns and bullets that were used in a crime.

        This is what frustrates me about NRA scare tactics. I don’t want to take guns away from responsible owners. Whose rights or choice am I restricting if I want to limit buyers to 5 guns a month? Is that really a restriction? How about if I want to register gun owners so we can track ownership of a gun that’s used in a crime? Or properly fund the FBI so they can maintain their database? Or require tech that would allow us to track any bullet used in a crime? If you’re a legit owner who makes sure his guns and bullets don’t end up in the black market, how are your liberties being violated? I don’t care if you unload a thousand rounds at a shooting range (or a deer for that matter) but if even one of your bullets ends up in a human (whether you’re the one that put it there or not) your individual choice should no longer matter.

      16. WX – OK. First off, the NRA doesn’t “make it impossible to trace guns and bullets used in a crime”. Physics and economics do. Next, gun shops that sell firearms to known criminals do so illegally. Pass all the laws you want – illegal is still illegal. Next, the funding of the FBI has nothing to do with database maintenance. We do not have national gun registration. Next, there is no magic “tech” that could trace bullets or guns with any reliability used in the commission of a crime. (Let’s not get into a debate on the technology or it’s cost. You can look at it for yourself.)

        You mention national gun registration. Canada just repealed their long gun registry for being a financial disaster, and utterly ineffective. There is no way to track personal transfers of unregistered guns. There are 300,000,000 or so unregistered guns in the US.

        Frankly, you’re talking about a bunch of stuff that simply won’t work. Many of these have been tried in places whose citizens are a hell of a lot more trusting of their governments than ours are. Good luck with that cultural change.

        Finally, did you effectively say that you were OK with someone with a legally owned firearm using it to kill himself? Suicide was the central point of the discussion, remember…

        Yes, there’s a problem. Trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle won’t help. “And that’s about it”, as Bubba said to Forrest Gump.

    2. Fifty-
      This article was written 15 years ago:
      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2002/10/07/us/law-bars-a-national-system-for-tracing-bullets-and-shells.html?referer=https://www.google.com/

      In short, it is possible to create a national ballistics registry so that any bullet recovered can be linked to the specific gun that fired it. If we had an ownership registry, we could then trace the ownership to who had the gun last.

      The ballistics registry could be setup with zero inconvenience to owners. It’s a regulation on mfg’ers who would have to submit ballistics data on each gun they make.

      Re: the ownership registry. It’s hard to track private sales now because there are no consequences if u don’t. OTOH, if you know that if you don’t register the sale and the new owner shoots someone with it you will be hauled into a police station to explain how your gun ended up involved in a crime, you will make damn sure to register any sale, or promptly file a police report if your gun gets stolen.

      But regardless, I’m willing to compromise on registering private sales because the vast majority of illegal guns come from bad dealers selling hundreds of guns to people they know are criminals or will be selling them to criminals. Gangbangers don’t buy their guns from some guy in the suburbs off Craigslist 🙂

      If we combined a ballistics registry with a record of the initial sale (I’d love to track subsequent sales too, but for now, Lets start with just that and see how effective it is. If it turns out to halt 90% of illegal gun sales, then no need to track private sales), we can figure out who are the shady dealers who are supplying most illegal guns.

      Thirdly, we do have a database of initial sales: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-tracing-center

      But NRA lobbying has prohibited them from computerization and also keeps them starved of funds to do their job. Then the NRA has the gall to say “see we have a registry and it’s ineffective so let’s just get rid of it” sort of like your argument. Here is an awesome article that describes how hobbled the ATF is right now, and what type of heroic lengths the workers have to go to to trace a gun:

      http://www.gq.com/story/inside-federal-bureau-of-way-too-many-guns/

      Finally, of course I want to prevent suicides. I’m talking about accidental gun injuries. I’d love to also require people to keep their guns safe in lock boxes, etc. Especially every time I hear about another kid that accidentally shoots himself with his parent’s gun. But this is way down my list of priorities due to, as you say, individual choice concerns.

  18. “You condescending liberal coastal elitists never listen to what I have to say!”

    “Okay, what do you have to say?”

    “As soon as I get my hands on enough arsenal, I’ll execute you in the street.”

    “Charming.”

    ———————————————————————–

    Alternative comment:

    “We have to defend the 2nd Amendment so that law-abiding citizens can defend themselves from an overreaching statist police state!”

    “What’s your thoughts on Philandro Castile?”

    “…. Violent snowflakes threaten our way of life! This is why we must buy moar guns!”

      1. Interesting article. Governor Rauner vetoed bi-partisan legislation because it didn’t go “far enough”? I confess I am not familiar with the details of the brokered budget compromise but isn’t this how you build consensus and forge future stronger efforts? What am I missing here?

  19. Oh, and thanks Chris. This hasn’t gotten enough exposure, and this plus the new demand for voter data is ominous. Now that they’re going to get all of our personal info from the vote suppression task force, including political affiliation and address, should be a simple matter to bag a librul.

    Of course, like all chickenshit terrorists, these guys prefer unarmed opponents. Not all of us are.

    1. Given that we know that voter fraud is a bogus issue, even a cursory look at this demand for voter information reeks of something far more sinister.

      And, this is the party that “hates big government”? Wow.

      Here’s hoping this will be kicked upstairs to SCOTUS but what assurance do we have anymore of that body being principled enough to stand outside partisan politics? The circle is fast closing in on every backstop to power that our Constitution instituted. Good job, Republicans. You finally are getting the America you always wanted.

    2. “plus the new demand for voter data is ominous.”

      Whoa, what fuckery is this? This is the first I’ve heard of it. Granted, I’ve been avoiding news lately and been partying in NOLA. This is not America anymore. A coup has taken place right under our noses and the fascists installed in power. All the more reason to hasten the plans to relocate to a friendlier locale.

      Who is demanding voter data and what is their reasoning? I don’t belong to a party but this is very disturbing to people who might be registered as a democrat. No doubt that Trump has emboldened the white supremacists and neo-nazi thugs. How many incidences have we had recently with people screaming at “others” to go home and “Trump is president now and you aren’t wanted here” even though the “other” was born here. People removed from planes and stores for outbursts like this is becoming more and more common.

      I hate to admit but now if I hear someone voted Trump, even if they are a friend or relative, I lose respect for them especially as this is going on and they still have their heads buried and defend him with weak “give him a chance” garbage or “show respect for his office” while they gave none to the previous occupant and we all know why, deep down. What’s worse is the admiration some show for his misogynistic attacks on women. His die hard followers are hideously ugly souls.

      Sorry for the ramble. Going for a dip in the pool.

      1. ” The President’s commission on election integrity sent letters to all 50 states asking for voter names, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, and their voting records from 2006 until today. But, state officials from red and blue states alike are fighting back…. Former KS SOS Khris Kobach is heading the Commission on Election Integrity. THAT Kobach…..(who) has not disclosed how he plans on using the voter data, should he get it.” Of course not.

        The Hill reports that: 23 states are refusing to release this information – some at all, some in part, including: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world-0/us-politics/trump-voter-fraud-information-states-refuse-data-commission-a7817756.html

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