A Folk Hero of the Discernment-Free Right Consoles Grieving Parents

Joe the Plumber to Grieving UCSB Parents of Slain Kids: “Your Dead Kids Don’t Trump” My Guns

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  • Dave G.

    That’s true of course. As has been said over and over again the last decade, 3000 dead on 9/11 don’t trump our liberties and freedoms. I notice such things always seem harsher when spoken by people on the opposite side of an argument. Personally, I wish we’d stop rushing to make political hay out of these things before the bodies have been buried. I know that one of the fathers made the news because he immediately made it a gun control issue. But even CNN – no enemy of the gun control movement – is beginning to look more toward mental health and how we are handling this in our society. As a fellow said after Sandy Hook – and not a shooting has happened since that I haven’t thought about this – our approach to mental illness underwent a complete overhaul from the 50s through the 70s. And in the 1980s,, the mass shootings began. Sure, examining gun rights is prudent. But let’s look at all the factors, not just find solutions that only apply to everyone else. And remember all the victims, not just the ones whose death help advance an agenda. God grant them peace.

    • chezami

      Amazing.

      • Dave G.

        Yes it is. How an argument used so many times suddenly becomes a problem when used now. That’s post-modernity for you.

        • Adolfo

          Clearly you can see it’s not the argument that’s issue per se, but how it was framed, to whom it was offered, and when it was said. Surely you can see the difference b/w “Your dead kids don’t trump my guns” and something more nuanced and appropriate? Or are you that blinded by ideology?

          • Dave G.

            I remember back following the Oklahoma bombing. An editorial cartoonist reproduced in pen and ink the famous photo of a firefighter holding a dead baby from the daycare center. The cartoonist put a thought bubble next to the firefighter that read: “Damn Limbaugh!” The actual firefighter went ballistic. How dare anyone think that while standing there, holding a dead baby in his arms, he would be thinking about politics or agendas or partisan debates!!

            And yet, how quickly do we now think of these things, even before the bodies have been carried away. Why the bodies were still in the shopping center parking lot when the media was assuring us that the Tuscon shooter was a right wing radical reacting to orders from Sarah Palin’s website. Gun control was being called for at Sandy Hook before the parents knew the fate of their children or we even knew what had happened. At least the now infamous cartoon from Oklahoma City came days later, maybe a week or more. It was some time after the bombing. Most of the focus was on finding the culprits. Now? The same day, and everyone is immediately rushing in and laying stakes on this or that ideal or solution or agenda – on all sides. I’ve often wondered what that firefighter would say today. I often wonder what it means about our society today, and how much of this might be behind some of the very tragedies we’re trying to prevent.

            • Dan C

              It is all a waste of time anyway. Gun advocates are not going to give any ground.

              Quite frankly, the hate-based argument is that I and folks like me (liberals) are going to force the country into some hateful tyranny like…Australia or the UK or something.

              The guns are kept so that the owners can keep their sights on those folks who are going to be their enemies.

              And then…they start the “pre-emptive war” fantasies.

              These guns are an occasion of sin.

              • Dave G.

                Dan, it’s because there are liberals who want just that. The growing acceptance on the part of those on the left that some rights (speech or religious) do not trump absolute rights (reproductive health, sexual orientation, gender equality),is a major problem to be sure. Not being liberal, I’m pretty concerned about that notion. And regarding the sin of gun,, it’s that puritanical approach to the issue that makes it tough for those in the middle to try and get either side to listen. As long as gun control advocates keep speaking like a fundamentalist tent revival preacher when it comes to guns, and expect very few gun owners, and even non-gun owners, to feel at ease.

                • Dan C

                  The more I hear about pre-emptive war against me, the more I will call out for disarming these folks. This is where the right for self-defense and community safety butts into the fantasy world of gun advocates, who claim the same.

                  I wear the gun grabber moniker as a moral point of pride after nearly 30 years of watching the NRA walk into promoting hate against me and my family. I have evolved to this point. Now, the only response to the NRA and its acolytes is a repeal of the Second Amendment.

                  • kenofken

                    The problem is that both extremes of the debate are basically working in a sick sort of symbiosis which ensures that nothing meaningful or effective will ever get done on the issue. I don’t blame you for getting fed up with the contemporary gun rights movement. It has become dominated by some of its most extreme elements, including more than a few who advocate or threaten domestic terrorism or civil war if they don’t get their way. Some of this nation’s most prolific collectors of guns shouldn’t be trusted with shoelaces, let alone firearms.

                    At the same time, talk of repealing the Second Amendment energizes and legitimizes the message of these loons in many circles. You might as well be advocating a ban on the display of the American Flag or mandating conversion to Islam. Statistically, you’d have a much better chance with either of these as amendments. In the meantime, it’s a fair bet that some NRA member or organizer is going to quote your idea in some panic fundraising piece that will generate thousands of dollars for their cause.

                    What if, instead of demanding fealty to their bats*** crazy position or a total ban on guns, we started over with nothing more than a blank piece of paper and the consensus that there is no perfect solution to gun violence but that the current situation is unacceptable?

                  • Joey A.

                    The fact is, people like you are the ones advocating violence against those who have done you no harm. You want guns banned and confiscated? Are you going to volunteer to join one the goon squads that goes around doing that, hmm?

                    • Dan C

                      And you made my point.

                    • Dan C

                      Your paranoia is the trouble. I will knowingly live losing this battle while folks will die. This will happen again and again before this year is out. You, however, hear threats of removing some guns somewhere, reducing you to the equivalent tyranny of dictatorships like Australia and begin to consider violence.

                    • Joey A.

                      My paranoia? I’m not the one with the extremist position, that would be you – the “proud gun grabber.” You are the one advocating violence, not me. The instructions for repealing the 2nd Amendment are right there, so good luck with that. And yes, by the way, even though I have cops in my family and have great respect for any cop who does his job well, there are unfortunately goons out there as well. Such as the ones who beat Kelly Thomas to death in Orange County for example. Or those who would carry out an illegal order such as mass confiscation of firearms.

                    • Dan C

                      The goon squads would be….what you call your police? Just getting the language. Because the hippies once termed the police “pigs.” Do you do this now?

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Seems to me that gun-ownership advocates are also speaking like fundamentalist tent revival preachers….

              • petey

                “These guns are an occasion of sin.”

                yes they are.
                so why then do self-identifying catholics want this occasion of sin to proliferate? i thought one job of the church was to facilitate holiness by removing or at least warning us away from such, and for confessors of catholicism to think with the church. this is described in the post below as ‘puritanical’, which is exactly backwards; the protestantism comes in leaving up to individual conscience the choice to kill and having free access to the means of doing it. no handguns, no handgun killings: simple as. the derogation of the dignity, security and even lives of the rest of us in order to preserve masturbatory ideas of what “my liberties” are is appalling. this is part of what leo was getting at in testem benevolentiae.

                • Joey A.

                  So a clerk at a gas station in a dicey area having to work the graveyard shift shouldn’t be allowed a gun to protect himself? He’s just indulging in a masturbation fantasy by keeping a gun under the counter, right? Responsible gun owners make use of their guns all the time to prevent crimes, usually with no one being hurt or killed. The more you take that away the more you embolden the criminals. You’re the one devaluing human life and dignity.

                  • petey

                    i worked the graveyard in a turkey hill once, on the border of the ward in lancaster, and had no handgun. here i am writing about it. if a guy with a gun came in i would have given him whatever he wanted. he then would have left. how often do criminals get away with robbery for having the gun, when the attendant doesn’t, and shoot only when the attendant tries to pull a gun? do you have an equally certain assertion about that?

                    btw, what’s on your mind with the “masturbation fantasy”? do you know the meaning of the word “masturbatory”?

            • Dan C

              These guns are an occasion of sin.

    • Daniel Schwindt

      “That’s true of course.” — No, it isn’t. Dead children do trump gun rights. Human life trumps all rights, for the same reason that the universal destination of goods trumps the right to private property.

      • Dave G.

        You mean human life trumps rights except for those killed on 9/11, since we were repeatedly told for over ten years that their deaths, while tragic, were not reasons to challenge out our liberties and freedoms (or, dare I say, rights).

        • Willard

          According to the Popes, rights come from God and not the 18th century US constitution.

          • Dave G.

            Then all those people who pointed out how our rights and freedoms should not be compromised even in the wake of something like 9/11 were wrong. Fair enough.

            • Willard

              If they were complaining about US constitution provided “rights” that conflict with the state’s responsibility for protecting the common good, they were indeed wrong. Funny though…in the wake of 9-11 we got the Patriot Act and the NSA/Homeland Security. In the wake of these gun massacres, we’ve got bupkis.

              • Dave G.

                Oh, we got the Patriot Act, and it was in the wake of that we heard the principle: no tragedy is worth losing our freedoms and liberties (and that includes others losing theirs, even if it doesn’t impact me). I was wooed over and came to the conclusion that this is true. When something tragic happens, no matter how horrible, you don’t just go radical and you sure don’t compromise liberties, crush rights, or challenge freedoms (plentiful quotes from Ben Franklin accompanied these arguments). Now, all of a sudden, it all seems so different.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  Could it be that this sacro-sanct “right to guns” is not really seen as an unalienable right in most other parts of the world, while the right to personal freedoms and liberties, and privacy, might be seen as universal rights (while the personal freedom to own tools that are specifically made to wound or kill may not be necessarily included in those universal rights as seen in other cultures) ?

                  • Dave G.

                    Marthe, that’s because, at least as of now, many in the US still see most parts of the world as places that can, at a moment’s notice, suggest that its’ time to round up the gypsies or ban this or that religious practice…just because. So far, in the US, that can’t happen. And there are some – a diminishing number to be sure – that still like to keep it that way. Personally I’m willing to talk, but the radicals and exploiters on both sides of the debate make it all but impossible.

              • Joey A.

                First of all, the framers of the Constitution acknowledged that those rights are natural rights and thus come from God. The document simply enumerates our rights in an attempt to safeguard them.
                Second, “bupkis?” Give me a break! I guess you haven’t been paying attention to the activities of the politicians and the reams of gun restricting measures nationwide they have been pushing as of late whenever a shooting happens. Connecticut just made felons out of a few hundred thousand people, suppose you’d call that progress in the fight against those eevvill guns..

          • George Lower

            According to the Declaration of Independence our rights come from the Creator…which is the deist’s way of saying the same thing as the Popes. Our 18th century forebears would have some harsh words for those who think rights are conferred by the Constitution.

        • chezami

          Every time some maniac kills a bunch of innocents, the gun nuts show up to shout that it’s “too soon to politicize this tragedy”. But when a jackass gun nut tells grieving parent “your dead kids don’t trump my gun right” insane gun culture sees nothing utterly graceless and classless about this. Insane.

          • Mark S. (not for Shea)

            Yup. Even if Joe were right (and he isn’t), this complete lack of compassion or just basic politeness is unbelievable.

            • Dave G.

              I don’t care for how he did it. But I don’t care for the fact that we’ve lost our mourning gene and replaced it with advocacy genes. Remember, every time that poor father appears and says congress could have prevented this with stricter gun laws, he’s leaving out three grieving families whose loved ones died by stabbing. And I’ll bet anything they feel that sting when everyone focuses on those who died by guns. My problem is I’m consistent. I think there is a right and wrong way to say things, even if things are true. I think we should wait until a period has passed before we start sharpening our advocacy blades. I always have. I think if we say something like ‘loss of life doesn’t trump rights’ is always true, not just selectively. I don’t gerrymander standards and principles. Consider my comment: we’ve been told how irrelevant the 9/11 victims were when it came to our rights being threatened, for a decade. I don’t think we should rush to the pit of debate when these things happen, I think we should consider many different factors and issues that could be behind the problem. And you’d think I posted a comment praising slavery. For my money, that’s part of the problem right there.

              • chezami

                That heartless grieving father. Not like the sensitive and compassionate Joe the Plumber. So good to see you have mourning and not advocacy genes swinging into action. When mourning parents demand action in the wake of the slaughter of their children they are just politicized heartless monsters. When some gun nut says “Your dead kids don’t trump my gun rights” he’s a hero and those who defend his graceless brutality are only faulted by their brilliant consistency.

                Unbelievable.

              • Marthe Lépine

                Maybe “our rights being threatened” is too broad. As I see it, from a country that does not claim that owning guns is a right, there is a substantial difference between the rights to privacy and so-called gun rights. However, maybe my opinion is biased, or being influenced, by the fact that a lot more countries recognize a right to privacy, than there are countries claiming rights to guns…

          • Dave G.

            The letter was a reaction to the already days old statements. If you are going to make comparisons, for goodness sake make them accurate.

          • Joey A.

            I don’t like the Joe the Plumber statement. But it was the dead kids father that was at a press conference screaming about the NRA just hours after the murders. And the policians and others in the polical arena are all too eager to immediately begin using this father and this incident for their own ends, why are you not angry with them as well?

            • chezami

              That vile father! Speaking out about giving maniacs easy access to the technology of mass slaughter just because his child was butchered! Clearly he is the *real* villain here. Why do these awful parents have to politicize everything by crying out in anguish at our insane gun culture, thereby forcing heroes like Joe the Plumber to tell them to shut up about their stupid dead kids?

              You guys should quit while you’re behind

    • Dan C

      I do not think you want to say, “Your dead kids do not trump my rights.”

      • Dave G.

        Is it true? Do dead children trump my rights? Do the dead on 9/11 trump my rights? I’ve been told – why, on this very blog – that those killed on 9/11 (more are killed in a month in traffic accidents by the way, another point often made) were not cause for us to overturn our rights and liberties. So which is it? Does life always trump rights? Does it never? Or does it depend (and God help us for what that could suggest)?

        • Dan C

          Yes. They do.

          • Dave G.

            If all those people were wrong about our rights and our reactions to 9/11, then fair enough.

            • Dan C

              Privacy rights aren’t my fight. Take it up with Rand Paul.

              • Dave G.

                I don’t recall it being Rand Paul alone making the argument.

              • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                You just blinked, Dan C. Dave G got the better of this exchange. – Jon W

                • Dan C

                  If winning word arguments is the meaning of this, enjoy.

                  • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                    Should I take your comment to mean that I shouldn’t note when you win an argument? 😉 C’mon. I was just pointing out that your case isn’t yet as compelling as his.

        • Dan C

          Why not say the affirmative: dead children do not trump my right to own a gun? Why not just say it.

          • Dave G.

            I thought he did.

  • Dan C
    • Marthe Lépine

      I agree. From my observation post up North, the Onion does get it!

  • Tom Locker

    Our mental health care system is a large part of the problem and bears much blame for these incidents.
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/05/27/our-mental-health-care-system-is-joke-even-mass-murderer-elliot-rodger-slipped/?intcmp=latestnews

    • Dave G.

      Since Sandy Hook, a growing number of observers are pointing this out. Even today, CNN was interviewing a mental health expert and focusing on that part of the problem. Heck, CNN even pointed out several times that not all of the victims were killed by guns at all. And I want to remember them, too. If we’re serious about solving the problem, we’ll get serious about solving the problem. I think looking at a wide variety of issues is the best thing to do.

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        IMHO, mental illness is the heart of this issue. Other matters (guns, broken homes, violent video games, etc.), while they do contribute to the problem, are peripheral. If we could deal with mental illness more efficiently it would go much further toward preventing these killings than merely banning guns. Yet few want to discuss that; I’m glad to hear that CNN did take it on.

        As we’ve seen with this and past mass murders, guns may be accompanied by knives, homemade explosives and now even mowing people down with cars. If we were to ban all guns then these mentally ill young men would just fall back on other means of killing people. That’s because mental illness is the root cause of these mass murders. Hit the tree at the root, don’t just cut off one bough.

        • Dave G.

          I think that is at the heart of it. And not even that. It’s as if, decades ago, we became so concerned with the rights of criminal and victim of mental illness, that we said we would put their well being ahead of all other considerations. And this is what we got. With two opposing extremes making finding a solution so, so difficult.

    • Willard

      EVERY other industrialized nation must have really good mental health systems then.

      • Tom Locker

        I think that many other countries do have greater flexibility in dealing with the mentally ill than the US. But other countries do still have mass killings and the per capita difference between these much less populous countries and the US is not as great as you might suppose.

        • kenofken

          Plenty of other countries have had mass shootings. We’ve had 70 since 1982.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Or,just maybe, a more affordable mental health system?

        • anna lisa

          While you are right about accessibility to mental health care, he had oodles of doctors, and I would presume medication. He said something very telling in his autobiography: while his parents’ divorce shattered his world, his father was able to quickly find another beautiful girlfriend. He looked down upon his mother for languishing without someone worthy.
          His mother was reduced to a kind of miserable, second rate left-over and his father moved on skillfully to another attractive commodity. What mental health professional can undo the kind of brainwashing that a kid has been literally immersed in for his *entire* life?*
          How many of these shooters are affluent kids from dysfunctional families? When parents treat their spouses (children) like they can be thrown away, why are we so surprised when their children mimic this behavior?

  • jroberts548

    He’s right. If something’s a right, someone else’s abuse of it doesn’t trump that right. Free speech trumps nazis in Skokie, freedom of religion trumps concerns about peyote or chicken sacrifice, the right to be free from unreasonable searches trumps (or ought to) concerns about drugs or terrorism.

    • freddy

      Actually, no. I have the right to own property, but if I use my property for, say, a meth lab, I’m surely gonna lose that right. Freedom of speech doesn’t cover making threats against another, and freedom of religion isn’t going to help you if your religion preaches salvation through theft. Rights are, in fact, “trumped” by all sorts of circumstances and situations. Humanity lies in treating each individually and avoiding getting locked into a legalistic “one size fits all” mentality.

      • jroberts548

        Yes. Your right to your property doesn’t include the right to a meth lab. The analogy there is that my right to a gun doesn’t include the right to shoot someone without justification or excuse. But the fact that some people build meth labs in their houses, and that those meth labs kill some people, doesn’t trump your right to your property.

        And the only way to run a government is to look at things legalistically. There a few things worse in this world than a government not bound by law.

    • Willard

      Ok but where does the Catholic Church teach that gun ownership is a “right”?

      • jroberts548

        I’ll grant, at least arguendo, that the right to keep arms isn’t a universal human right or a natural law right. So? Even if it’s just a right under US positive law (i.e., the constitution and most state constitutions) it’s still a right – some dead college students similarly wouldn’t trump the right to a trial by jury or to vote. If you want to amend the constitution, you can argue in favor of doing that. Until then, however, joe the plumber, as painful as it is to say so, is right.*

        * with the caveat that I don’t know if he said more.

        • IRVCath

          But there are still restrictions on voting (for example, felons in many states can’t vote) and on jury trials (typically lawyers are IRC barred from juries by regulation). That’s why we have codes of criminal procedure and election codes. A lot of rights are restricted if it is necessary, on balance, to keep public order. Restriction of even our natural rights is part of the price you and I pay for living in a civilized society.

          • jroberts548

            Felons lose the right to vote by being felons. It’s part of the punishment for their crime. It has nothing to do with the public order.

            In what jurisdiction are lawyers not allowed on juries? I think you’d be insane not to strike a lawyer from your jury, regardless of which side you’re on, but I don’t know of any place where they’re banned.

            More to the point, there’s a big difference between restricting rights (e.g., you can vote on this day, your jury can have only 12 people and they have to be impartial) and doing away with them. I support many restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms – background checks, waiting periods, not allowing carrying in certain areas, etc. But you still have a right to keep and bear arms.

            • IRVCath

              Oh, I support the right to carry and bear arms. I just don’t support an absence of restriction. Mr. Michael-Martinez, however much I sympathize, on the other hand, misses the fact that a lot of the gun control measures often called for are already law in California. And yet That Man launched his killing spree. On yet another, deformed, hand, this Joe person lacks tact. It’s one thing to make a case for a libertarian reading of the Second Amendment. It’s quite another to act as if you care not a whit for the fact that you are addressing greiving parents. Logos without considering pathos is a good way to lose the message.

  • Amy

    Here’s the thing. If you do think that atrocities like this should not determine gun laws, fine. If you think the right to bear arms is so vital that protecting it is worth the risk, OK. But you DO NOT write a letter to parents days after their children have been brutally murdered to tell them that their dead kids don’t matter because you want your assault rifle. You just don’t. It’s crass. It’s unfeeling. And it’s why people discount gun proponents as heartless, self-involved nutters.

    • jroberts548

      I wish we’d had similar crass champions of the 4th and 5th amendments when the PATRIOT act was being discussed. Rights are crass and unfeeling.

      • Dan C

        There were. They were just “untouchable” at the time. Also know as “liberal.”

        • jroberts548

          The patriot act passed the senate with 98 votes in 2001. It was reauthorized in 2006 with 89 votes. There was apparently no meaningful, widespread liberal opposition.

          • Dan C

            The Nation did.
            The Catholic Worker.
            Pax Christi.
            NCReporter

            • jroberts548

              And it would have been nice if they had been joined by meaningful, widespread opposition.

              • petey

                did you oppose it? how did you express this?
                “Better to light one candle than curse the darkness.”

                • jroberts548

                  Not at the time, because I was 16 and, like all 16 year olds, a moron.

                  But I have voted against those fascists at every chance, even when it meant throwing my vote away on a 3d party.

  • kenofken

    My hat is off to Joe for finally calling our national consensus on firearm deaths for what it really is – an ethic of acceptable human sacrifice. I’ve been calling it that for years and finally a pro-gunner had the stones (or unsophistication) to own it. We have come to a consensus in this country around guns which would not be swayed by a Sandy Hook every year, or every week or every day.

    There is no conceivable number of dead at which it would become permissible to challenge the status of guns in our culture, or even to have a conversation about guns which is not pre-conditioned on absolute acceptance of the status quo or the position of the NRA and gun manufacturer’s lobby. Any idea that deviates one letter from their position statement is the wrong answer and cannot work. We know in advance it cannot work because it’s the wrong answer.

    Our nation and society does not hold human life as a primary or even significant factor in any aspect of our political, cultural or economic system. Unless and until we’re prepared to change that, we should give the sacrificed and their families the decency of blunt honesty.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    “But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

    .
    How is that any different than what the pro-choice crowd proclaims?

  • Willard

    People need to learn what “rights” are. Hint…they come from God and not the US constitution.

    • jroberts548

      Would you be okay if we stopped letting murderers have a jury trial? Or put the burden of proof on criminals? Positive law is still law; those rights are still rights.

      • Willard

        Why? Because the US Supreme Court said so? The US Supreme Court thinks we also have rights to pornography, contraception and abortion. Why should I care?

        • jroberts548

          Because the only thing standing between you and the naked exercise of the state’s coercive power are your civil liberties – I.e., the rights you have under positive law.

          And the federal government derives all of its power from the constitution, under which the supreme judicial power is held by the US Supreme Court. A federal government that doesn’t recognize those rights as adjudicated by the court denies its own right to exist. If the question is what should the government do, it must first of all obey its own law, the law by which it exists.

          ETA: See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9rjGTOA2NA

          • Willard

            The problem I have with this is that it doesn’t take in to account God’s laws. Pope Leo XIII taught that you only have a true “right” to do what is objectively good. You may have the civil liberty to do what is bad but that doesn’t make it a “right”. Watching pornography or owing a gun is not a right according to the Catholic Church.

            • jroberts548

              Just because the Church doesn’t identify something as a natural law right doesn’t mean it can’t be a positive law right. You’re making a weird form of the “whatever is not commanded is forbidden” argument. Are you also opposed to the government letting people vote or have jury trials?

              • Willard

                I wouldn’t be opposed but I don’t believe they are rights as understood by Pope Leo XIII. I don’t believe the Church has ever declared that an accused person has a right to a jury trial. In fact, as far as I know, trial by jury wasn’t used in many Catholic countries. Would you say they were being denied their rights?

                • jroberts548

                  In America, they would be being denied their rights. In civil law countries, they would not be. Positive law is a thing that exists.

  • Dave G.

    I see threads and posts like this, and I think to myself nope, there won’t be any solutions anytime soon. A shame. I think it would be good to come together and solve the problems. But this is the post-modern era. Alas.

    • Dan C

      January 2013, there were discussions of pre-emptive war by gun advocates. Its not these discussants that are the problem.

      • Dave G.

        Dan, the problem is the culture we’ve created, yes we. As long as we can only look at what they are doing, and refuse to see how we have contributed, the problems will likely get worse, not better. I don’t care for what “Joe” said. Nor do I care about the fact that three victims who died by stabbing have been all but ignored by many advocates of gun control in the wake of this (again and again, kudos to CNN for mention it to the gun control activists appearing on these segments). Yes,a grieving father gets slack. But consider each time he is interviewed, and says that congress doing something would have stopped this. No, it wouldn’t have saved three of the victims, and I’m sure their families are keenly aware of that. I’m convinced that our problems are not right or left, red or blue, gun nut or despot wannabe, it’s us. When we fess up to that, we might have a chance. Until then, sad to say, we’ll see more of this and much more.

        • Dan C

          You agree with what Joe said.

          • Dave G.

            If the substance of those who said 3000 dead on 9/11 doesn’t trump our rights, then yeah. Or if I invoke post-modernism (true today, gone later today), I could always ditch it under ‘that doesn’t help me win an argument on the internet’.

        • Dan C

          Despot wannabe? Hahahaha!

          Yes, I advocate for the tyranny of New Zealand.

        • Dan C

          Sometimes people are wrong. One side of an argument is wrong. The “no restriction to my gun rights” position is in error without qualification.

          This is not a Kumbaya moment were we hug and try to be better in our relationship. Because tomorrow, the “no restriction to my gun rights” folks will be advocating error again.

          They are wrong.

          If you want to also advocate for more resources for a mental health system that is a tad less embarassing globally, go ahead. But the gun situation is also a religious embarrassment also.

          I will always approve advocating for more mental health.

          That, however, is not the problem with the “no restrictions to my gun rights position.” As long as the Second Amendment has been understood as the safeguard for this extremist view, it may have to go.

          • Dave G.

            Some people would rather make sure their side won than anything else. Probably also a major reason the problems continue.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Very disappointing, Doc.

            Reread “What is Wrong with the World?”

  • anna lisa

    My son saw his manifesto on facebook before the massacre happened. He didn’t think he would actually do it, because spoiled, bragging,little entitled jerks are a dime a dozen in Isla Vista.
    This tragedy is not so much about guns. It’s about bad fathers.

    • Andy

      It is not about bad fathers or mothers either – it is about a society that devalues humans in general. It is about a society that labels an obviously disturbed person as “spoiled, bragging, little entitled jerks(s): instead of acknowledging that our society throws people away. It is our society that allows for violence to be pursued in a grand fashion because we lionize i the perpetrator – it is out fault. That is the tragedy – we created a society that values not the individual, but what the individual has, what the individual does and what the individual elects to do in the public sphere.

      • Dave G.

        It sounds like he was undergoing therapy by individuals who most likely didn’t consider him a spoiled, bragging little entitled jerk.’

        • Andy

          I agree about the therapy – i was reacting to the comments that were expressed and those I heard or read on the media – when will I learn not to read the news or listen – I think that we have so devalued people that for some these kinds of acts – acts of despair are all they have left to prove they are alive – I think back to Sniper by Harry Chapin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWKpblxejWE&index=14&list=AL94UKMTqg-9CTO7V3l-yD6vlBP287UTQA and worry and pray

        • Dan C

          He wrote a 1400000 word rambling treatise. That may be a sign of something more than a behavior problem.

          Try schizophrenia, since mental health advocacy is now popular.

        • anna lisa

          Well, just to clarify–I said that *IV* is filled with guys like that, but Andy needed to lecture me.

          • Andy

            anna lisa – I didn’t lecture you I responded – I responded to what I read as mean-spirited and dismissive.

            • anna lisa

              misogyny is mean-spirited and dismissive.

              • Andy

                you are right – but so is calling anyone a name dismissive – misogyny hatred of women, was only part of his issues – he hated African-Americans, at least according to his manifesto, he killed 4 men and two women – he was full or hatred and anger – no doubt he hated himself. blaming his father for his behaviors misses the point – we marginalize people who are not like us, we dismiss them and say they are not fit for our company.

                • anna lisa

                  Andy. Aside from the fact that I was calling certain behaviors in groups narcissistic and jerk-like, I’m now wondering something else–How do you get through life without calling mean jerks, mean jerks? Are you serious? Do you bless the guy on the freeway who cuts you off too? Come on. Even our Lord and savior had a few choice words to say about some human behavior.
                  The difference is whether or not we actually hate that person who just_______ (you fill in the blank).
                  Anyhow, I’ll put some different context to the conversation: I was once confessing having called a security guard at a shopping mall a “jerk” in front of my kids. I think I also told him that ex-lax would help his problem. My kids cheered when I did that. I laughed and then later hung my head in shame. When I got to confession I confessed my sin. My spiritual director asked me why I had done it, and I explained to him that I had pulled to the front curb of The Big Kahuna Grill, and sent a kid in to run and get the fifteen year old because the infant and toddler were sleeping, and the other ones were bouncing off the car walls, I told the security guard that we’d be there for just a few minutes…baby sleeping etc. etc etc, but he was intractable and said he was calling for a tow truck. I gave him a big smile, told him it would never get there in time and etc. etc. why are you being such a jerk… some ex-lax might help etc. etc. My spiritual director responded by shrugging and said, “well he *was* a big jerk”, and told me not to be scrupulous.
                  Perhaps I have been corrupted by a servant of God.

                  • Andy

                    I work at not calling people names, I really do – on the freeway I squeeze the steering wheel till my fingers are white – I don’t consider it being scrupulous – I try to think about how I would want to be treated – my job also has a major influence – I work with folks with severe and multiple disabilities and I hear what they are called and the other part of my job is working with preserve teachers who want to work with the same population and I hear what my colleagues call these young people – I still screw up monumentally but I really try to not label people.

                    • anna lisa

                      Then Andy, just judging by the freeway litmus test, you’re a few rungs up the God ladder above me. I have six opinionated sons, and two very, very spunky daughters. My husband is from a very warm blooded area of the world. We all love each other dearly, but we all let each other know when they are jerks, and apologize when we’ve been one. But it’s kind of like saying the F-word, it loses all of the salutary effect if you abuse the privilege.
                      I wonder how you would describe those guys in IV when they are acting like BABOONS–Oh dear. There I go again.

                    • Andy

                      I am not up God’s ladder beyond anyone – I am opinionated and irascible as hell – my wife can tell you that – she has stuck with me for enough years to give her a path to heaven for her patience – it is because of her patience I started to change – I have seen the behavior and I call out the behavior, use not the people or at least I try.

                    • anna lisa

                      Andy, I think it is a worthy and lofty goal to stay as poised as possible. I will be working on that until the day I die, I’m afraid. Now I think I will try to google “saints that called names” to see if I can find something. But I’ll have to wait on that because other duties call…

                    • anna lisa
      • anna lisa

        Andy, the family IS the microcosm of society. Elliot’s father threw his mother away. He put his mentally disturbed son at arms length in a college community where he wasn’t even taking classes. He gave him the trappings of success and his son knew it was a sham because he’d even dropped out of SBCC. If I told you that IV is filled with entitled, spoiled jerks it’s because my kids come home every third weekend to tell me how over the top it gets–the girls mind, but they’d rather have the attention, so they compete with each other for it. A couple of weeks ago I was going to the Sunday evening mass there, and hundreds of kids were walking home from an event at the stadium. Nine tenths of the girls were in bathing suit tops (and versions of them with booty shorts. It’s not okay that they are objectified, but walking down city streets like that and going to parties like that with lots of alcohol is throwing gasoline on a fire. My seventeen year old son was lividly angry over how the guys were treating the girls at the huge street party they had in IV last month. Two women were brutally gang raped weeks before that. A mob mentality takes over there.

        • Andy

          The family represents the society – our society is a throw away society – it takes both men and women to create this society. It is a societal issue – we look to blame individuals so we can duck our own responsibility – it is easy to say that the father gave him trap pins of success – not so easy to answer why. The why is the problem.

          • anna lisa

            Individuals and individual choices, collectively make up societies. I’m not going to give fathers (mothers) that abandon their families a free pass by letting them hide behind an infected society.– Individuals need to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

  • Andy

    Just curious – people talk about the
    constitution or more exactly the amendments to the constitution as they are the
    most important parts of the constitution – however the preamble says –“We the
    People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
    establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,
    promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves
    and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
    States of America.” Where do guns as we now worship them fit into any of that?
    Pretty tough to see where our gun worship does much for a common union. Hard to see where the right to own guns establishes justice or domestic tranquility. Seems as if common defence would mean that gun ownership is restricted to only protecting all of the country in an organized fashion, and not just me and my little piece of ground or allowing me to act out my anger. Gun worship does little secure the blessings of liberty. I often right that America worships mammon now, and I believe that but one of the sub-deities is guns and the false sense of security they bring.

    Because of our worship of mammon we now see violence and the use of guns and other weapons as the desired means to protect what is ours. Gun control laws won’t work in America because we don’t want to recognize that in our greed we have moved so far from the Prince of Peace that we can no longer claim to be a Christian nation. Our love and aeration of gun rights is just one more sign of the throw away culture that devalues people and that the current pope and his immediate predecessors have decried.

    • jroberts548

      The preamble has no legal force. Can you imagine anything worse than that – a government empowered to do anything to “promote the general welfare”?

      There’s lots of things the government is powerless to do that the people in government might think would promote the general welfare. This includes regulating speech, and religion and doing away with the protections we give criminals. Letting scientologists spread their cult doesn’t promote the general welfare. Letting criminals off the hook because of an illegal search, coerced confession, or because a jury said so doesn’t promote the general welfare. The preamble is at best a moral exhortation; the government’s power is defined by the articles and amendments.

      • Andy

        I know that the preamble has not “force of law”, but if it is a moral exhortation we are not listening then. We are deliberately ignoring what it seems that “sainted” founding fathers wanted us to think about. By the way I think that you focus on the general welfare ignores the other parts of the preamble – and actually I can thin of worse events then the government empowered to promote the general welfare. I would also remind all of us that what we consider the most important are the amendments and not the original articles, an interesting concept I think.

        • jroberts548

          A government promoting the general welfare can only promote what it thinks the general welfare is. To take an extreme example, Bismarck thought the Kulturkampf promoted the general welfare of the Germans. Other German heads of state also thought they were promoting the general welfare. A government empowered to do what it thinks is in the general welfare is a tyrannical government. We have limits on the government precisely because “general welfare” is a completely useless standard.

          We care more about the amendments because those contain individual rights. The structural limits on the government are harder for individuals to care about.

          • Andy

            Your focus on the general welfare ignores the other components of the preamble – domestic tranquility, common defense, and the like. Why –

            • jroberts548

              Because they’re meaningless phrases in a meaningless part of the constitution. I similarly would not trust a government empowered to secure domestic tranquility. Bismarck likewise thought the Kulturkampf promoted domestic tranquility.

              You can just hand a politician an army an a police force and say “alright, go promote the general
              Welfare and secure domestic tranquility.” That’s a recipe for tyranny.

              If you think congress has the power to do something, that power is found in Article I, as restricted by the amendments, and not in the preamble.

    • Joey A.

      Um, I know a lot of gun owners but I don’t know anybody who “worships” guns. Interesting idea though. Envisioning the badass gun altar I could set up in my basement.. Also, you do know that you are many times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to get caught up in one of these “mass shooting” events, right?

      • Andy

        A bit of hyperbole to make a point – we worship things other than God – however, when someone can say the deaths of innocents do not trump my rights to guns I think worship fits the bill.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    If nothing changes, then nothing changes.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Nothing will change. That’s my surmise at least (and my fear). We’re now undergoing the standard spasm of horror that occurs in the wake of these atrocities, accompanied by the talking heads on 24-hour news channels offering pat solutions and people on both extremes of the gun control issue digging in their heels. Soon this story will fade from the headlines and we’ll forget all about the problem until the next mass murder. Then it will be lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        Yep. Couldn’t agree more.

      • Andy

        I agree until we are willing to give up our throw away culture and value all lives. As long as there is an unwillingness to see that all sides may be coming from a place of good faith we will simply continue to devalue, feel some remorse and then move on – lather, rinse and repeat.

    • jroberts548

      Nothing will change because the only gun crime the press and politicians care about is mass murder of white people. The result is that gun control advocates only ever propose measures that are likely unconstitutional and certain to be both ineffective and politically unviable. Pro guns rights advocates in response get the impression that gun control advocates just want to confiscate or ban guns.

      The overwhelms majority of gun deaths are suicides. The overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed by people using handguns, and they only fire a few shots. Many are using illegally purchased guns. Instead of gun control laws aimed at tightening the secondary market or a more robust background check system, what are proposed instead? Assault weapons bans and magazine size limits. It’s hard to believe the gun control advocates are arguing in good faith.

      • Mark S. (not for Shea)

        The press didn’t care about Trayvon Martin?
        .
        I just don’t know what will take. A maniac walked into an elementary school and murdered innocent children. And what did we do to prevent that from happening again? Nothing. Not a thing.
        .
        If horror like that doesn’t prompt action, I don’t know what will.
        .
        Some days, I’m very nervous about which barbarians will take the place of our Empire. Other days, I say, “Bring it on. It’s not like they could do a worse job than we’re doing now.” There comes a time when the Goths may be better guardians of sanity and justice than Caesar.

        • jroberts548

          If we’re not going to do anything about the ten thousand people who die, why would we do something about sandy hook?

          After sandy hook we heard things like “let’s ban ar-15s.” Virtually no gun crime is committed with rifles. If you’re actually concerned about gun deaths, you’re not concerned about the ar-15, or it’s near the bottom of your list.

          As for trayvon Martin, despite being the rare African American victim the press cares about, was immediately made into a story that it wasn’t really about. All “stand your ground” means is that you don’t have a duty to retreat before using force in self-defense. So what did we hear advocates in response? Getting rid of stand your ground and makin it easier for prosecutors to prove murder charges. A cynic might think that few gun control advocates care about reducing gun crime, but only care about expanding government power.

          • Mark S. (not for Shea)

            “All “stand your ground” means is that you don’t have a duty to retreat before using force in self-defense.”
            .
            In theory? Maybe. In practice it seems to mean, “If a black kids makes me nervous, it’s okay for me to shoot him.”

            • jroberts548

              So a good faith argument would be about the racism involved in the execise of law enforcement and prosecutorial discretion. This would also include looking at, e.g., police violence against African-Americans, or how white people use drugs at a marginally higher rate than African-Americans but go to jail for it at a vastly lower rate.

              Instead, we heard calls to give prosecutors more power. Against whom would they use that power?

              If we cared about violence against African-Americans, we’d end the war on drugs and start really punishing police for shooting African-Americans.

              • Pete the Greek

                “or how white people use drugs at a marginally higher rate than African-Americans but go to jail for it at a vastly lower rate.”
                – this is a little easier to understand.

                Usually, (I stress USUALLY) the shiny white people in the suburbs are fairly discreet about their drug use. If the boomers in their suburb house smoke some weed and spend the evening laughing at commercials on TV, you can make arguments about how they are not helping society by that but they aren’t causing trouble. College kids who slip speed to focus or drop X at a party can OD and die (it will be listed as a horrible tragedy), but they aren’t causing a bunch of public, social trouble. (no, I’m not saying that automatically means it’s ok or a good thing)

                Usually, (I stress USUALLY) drugs in the heavily black inner cities results in lots of violence and dead bodies. That’s very public. Also, drug markets in these areas tend to be rather obvious, leading to easier arrests.

                I would also point out that the government KNOWs that shiny suburbanites use drugs and that white college, high school and even grade schoolers (don’t try to kid yourself) use lots of drugs. But go after them and you are also attacking your tax base. The government is many things, but it isn’t THAT stupid. Arresting little Johnny in the Freshman dorm at Cal Tech and giving him a drug rap sheet isn’t going to win the favor of the middle class voter. Add to this that, overwhelmingly, African Americans always vote Democrat anyway, no matter who does what to them, and aren’t the primary tax base.

                Not saying that’s just. Just saying that usually is the way it is.

                • jroberts548

                  But the arrests are easier because of racist, pro-cop policies like stop and frisk. The stops are made in the first place because of the racist decision to focus enforcement efforts in some neighborhoods rather than others. The neighborhoods are race-divided because of decades of explicitly racist housing laws (like redlining) followed by decades of implicitly racist housing laws. Once arrested, the prosecutions are easier because of racist, pro-prosecutor laws imposing high mandatory sentences to pressure defendants into pleading guilty, regardless of actual guilt, and the racist decision not to adequately fund public defenders.

                  Both White and Black purchasers of drugs on the black market feed into the violence associated with drugs on the black market. Don’t give me this bullshit about drug use by African-Americans being associated with violent crime. The importers and distributors of drugs are almost all connected to organized crime; that’s where the violence comes in at. If incarceration of drug users was about curbing drug associated violence, the feds would be going after the biggest market for drug dealers – suburban whites. They’re not.

                  So we can either accept the fact that much of what our government does is racist, and is the biggest cause of gun crime in general and of gun violence against African-Americans, and try to remedy that. Or, in the name of racial justice, we can pass laws making it easier for prosecutors to put people in jail and try to ban guns. Only one of those arguments can be made in good faith.

                  ETA: At any rate, we’ve gotten off topic. The main point is that if we cared about gun violence, which we don’t, we’d be talking about things like ending the war on drugs, or about tightening the secondary market in a way that makes illegal purchases of guns less likely without being too onerous towards legal purchases. Those proposals would likely reduce violent crime overall, and gun crime in particular. Instead, we get profoundly stupid proposals aimed at stopping nothing at all, like magazine size restrictions and AR-15 bans.

                  • Pete the Greek

                    “pro-cop policies like stop and frisk.”
                    – I think you and I have had this exchange before. I am very much against the very idea of ‘stop and frisk’.

                    Not everything in housing is racist. Calm down. I moved to the suburbs, even though I work a lot in the very bad sections of town because *drumroll please* down town is where people get shot, not in the suburbs. ‘Race’ has nothing to do with it.

                    “Don’t give me this bullshit about drug use by African-Americans being associated with violent crime.”
                    – Language, please. I didn’t say drug USE by African-Americans, I said the markets themselves. Open air markets for crack usually don’t operate in the shiny white suburbs, but rather the inner cities. Quite often, the customers are blue-collar and even white-collar whites, yes. But it’s gangs fighting over drug turf and supply that fuel a lot of inner city violence. Latin Kings and the Crips usually don’t have their rolling gun battles in the suburbs.

                    “pass laws making it easier for prosecutors to put people in jail”
                    – No, that’s stupid.

                    “and try to ban guns.”
                    – Has not and will not solve the real problem.

                    • jroberts548

                      Why do you think downtown is the way it is? It’s not chance, and it’s not the free market. It’s a decades-long policy of federal mortgage subsidies not going to neighborhoods with African-Americans in them. Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic had a very thorough walk-through of the history of housing discrimination here: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

                    • Pete the Greek

                      I think it rather has more to do with the fact that in those areas you have the highest concentration of people who are functionally illiterate, have no way to really advance in a very tech-centric society, have catastrophically high rates of illegitimacy and are locked into a system of social dependency that seems custom made to keep them there.

                      People who move away, can. Where did you buy/rent your house?

                      Nobody should get a mortgage subsidy.

                    • jroberts548

                      I agree that nobody should get a mortgage subsidy. The federal government does not. Today, it subsidizes mortgages in two main ways: the mortgage interest deduction for individual federal income tax, and the federal government guarantees mortgage backed securities.

                      Until 1968, the FHA insured mortgages issued in White neighborhoods, and would not insure mortgages issues in Black neighborhoods. The economic affects of this should be apparent: a booming, mortgage-fueled housing market for white people, and a stagnant market for African-Americans. The people who could move away were the white people.

                      ETA: The effects of this are ubiquitous. Why are people in these neighborhoods functionally illiterate? Housing discrimination + funding school districts from local property tax -> underfunded school districts -> bad schools. Why do they have high rates of illegitimacy? Housing discrimination -> bad schools -> bad economic prospects + the marriage penalty for low income earners -> high rates of illegitimacy. Etc.

                    • Pete the Greek

                      In general, you are correct. I would note a couple of other points too:

                      I deal a bit in hard money lending for real estate market, basically for rehabbers who fix and flip or fix and refi to hold.

                      The company I do this for does NOT do it in the warzones. This has nothing to do with racism. It has nothing to do with subsidies (being a private firm, they get none). It has nothing to do with FHA regulations (our loans are NOT covered under the FHA.) It’s because of the ENORMOUS risk involved coupled with low house values (responding to crime and demand).
                      Here’s the thing: get the crime under control, get good schools and you will get people moving back there. THAT’S happening in some areas of our city. But if you don’t address those two problems FIRST, you aren’t going to fix the rotting down town.

                    • jroberts548

                      Even though you and your company aren’t doing that based on your or your company’s racism, it’s racism that created those warzones. I would argue that the government’s failure to fix the effects of FHA redlining, coupled with policies aimed at preserving those effects (e.g., zoning laws aimed at protecting the character of the neighborhoods whose character was created by FHA redlining) is motivated in part by implicit racism, or, at best, an uncritical sort of race-blindness.

                      And to bring this back on topic: It’s all the subtly, implicitly racist (and also classist) policies that create the environment for the bulk of gun violence. If gun control advocates cared about gun violence, they’d be proposing that we fix the effects of racist housing laws and of racist drug laws. The federal government created these inner city warzones. It, and local governments, preserve them. The measures proposed by gun control advocates seem calculated to do nothing to either affect the fundamental conditions, or even to affect the presence of guns in these warzones.

                    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                      This is a fascinating discussion, jroberts548 and Pete the Greek. Thank you.

            • Pete the Greek

              I promised myself I would stay out of this discussion, as it never does any good, but your comment, while well meaning, needs to be corrected.

              “‘All stand your ground’ means is that you don’t have a duty to retreat before using force in self-defense.’ In theory? Maybe. In practice it seems to mean, ‘If a black kids makes me nervous, it’s okay for me to shoot him.'”
              – No, that’s not correct. ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws take the cake, I believe, for being the most misunderstood law of recent memory. This is exacerbated by the media and the fact that people usually don’t read the content of the law (I’m betting you haven’t read your local statue).

              No. You have the entirely wrong idea of what these laws cover. ‘Making me nervous’ doesn’t count. It has been tried, actually, and the juries saw right through it. It actually had nothing to do with the Martin/Zimmerman case either, and was not used by either the prosecution or the defense.

              According to LAW, if you are in public, and have to ability to leave an area safely without escalating conflict, YOU STILL HAVE THAT OBLIGATION. Also, to initiate lethal force, you must have a CLEAR, ARTICULATE REASON to initiate. ‘He looked at me weird and made me nervous’ doesn’t qualify. ‘He drew a blade and advanced quickly at me as I was trying to get into my car’ would qualify.

              If you would HONESTLY like to understand the law better, as we all should, I urge you to watch the video that I will post next.

              • Mark S. (not for Shea)

                Again, __IN THEORY__ they may all be true.

                __IN REALITY__ people are being killed. Good intentions aside, it’s the practical results that matter in the end.

                • Pete the Greek

                  Example? In short, where is ‘stand your ground’ being used where it is rather obvious that it was a cover for murdering a black person? Since you are absolutely CONVINCED this is the case, you must have SOME examples, right?

                  Otherwise, your assertion would be kind of irrational.

                  I would also urge you to ACTUALLY WATCH the video I linked.

                  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

                    Trayvon Martin was the most publicized.

                    Maarkus Kaarma in Montana shot a 17 year old exchange student. He is accused of setting a trap in his garage, then gunning the kid down. He cited the stand your ground law.

                    Byron Smith in Minnesota shot two teenagers. He is accused of luring them into his basement to murder them. He cited the stand your ground law.

                    Michael Dunn murdered a black kid in Florida at a convenience store because the kids had loud music and he felt threatened. I guess he had to stand his ground too by firing into the kids’ vehicle. He did feel threatened after all.

                    Something is seriously deranged in our culture. I think we’re seeing the end result of the “every man for himself” attitude reaching its logical conclusion.

                    • Pete the Greek

                      Trayvon Martin – No. ‘Stand your ground’ never applied to the case.

                      Maarkus Kaarma – Considering that he is being charged with murder? He is also citing castle doctrine, not stand your ground. It looks to me as though the court probably isn’t buying that either. As the video I referenced said (did you watch it yet?): the bad guys ALWAYS claim self defense.

                      Byron Smith – Convicted on all counts. He didn’t get away with anything. As the video said, the court saw right through it.

                      Michael Dunn – He’s going to prison for the rest of his life for that crime. I don’t see how ‘stand your ground’ helped him. Looks like falsely claiming ‘stand your ground’ didn’t help him either.

                      Your references don’t counter anything I’ve said. I should have been more specific, though. I meant, where is it being used where it helps someone ‘get away with it’? As the video you didn’t watch says: the bad guys ALWAYS claim self defense.

            • Pete the Greek
  • Pete the Greek

    How the hell did this killing spree get to have anything to do with guns, pro or con???

    • Benjamin2.0

      You can cut the stupid here with a jack-hammer. I’m staying out, for my part. I just don’t have time today.

    • chezami

      You need to ask Joe the Plumber that. He clearly and instantly intuited that murdering people with guns had something to do with giving maniacs easy access to the technology of mass slaughter and helpfully jumped into the national conversation to kick some grieving families in the groin by making sure that their “dead kids” didn’t make him look like more of an asshole than he made himself look like. Now others have joined in his cause by making excuses for his graceless brutality.

      • Pete the Greek

        I would then have to ask one of the victim’s father too. The very day of the murders, he came out blaming politicians ‘in the pay of the NRA’ for his son’s death. Which…. WTH, why?

        There is a LOT of emotionalism on both sides and precious little common sense. Kind of like in this comment section that I’ve seen so far.

        I don’t know who ‘Joe the plumber’ is, or how knowledge of Pex and PVC qualify him to discuss firearm law.

        It is very sad that the bodies of the slain can’t even cool before people start kicking them around like soccer balls trying to score points on each other. Hell, not even the NCR is doing that right now.

        • chezami

          That heartless bastard. Questioning our insane gun culture simply because his child was slaughtered! Clearly he’s the real villain here.

          • Pete the Greek

            O_o

            Oooookkkaaaayyy…. Having recognized the presence of unreason, I think I will step away before this degenerates further into the fever swamp.

          • Dave G.

            And the 3 dead from knife attack? Anyone? Anyone at all? I’ll bet their loved ones are grieving too. Fwiw.

            • Pete the Greek

              Let it go, man. Let it go.

              • Dave G.

                I know. I keep wishing that as Catholics we could rise above the din and competing interests.

                • Dan C

                  Such as? Put a gun control option on the table that is enforceable.

                  Pretending to “want to discuss the problem” is not putting out solutions.

                  To say, “no one wants to REALLY have a discussion” and then say no enforceable, actionable gun control options are on the table, is not actually being willing to negotiate. It’s just pretending to take “higher ground” and then saying, “let’s talk.”

                  Plenty of talk is done. We get the positions. What gun control option is available? Any?

                  • Pete the Greek

                    Perhaps more procedural than an actual new law.

                    We know the following: He posted his ‘manifesto’. Cops get called because it is seen as an actual threat. Cops show up and talk to him. Then they leave.

                    He recounts in his writing how he was terror struck when the cops showed up. He even writes that if they were to search his apartment, they would quickly not only find his firearms and knives, but also the rather detailed plans, maps and flowcharts (he actually made flowcharts) he had drawn up to better plan his murder spree. He also recounts that he dreaded them questioning him too long as he knew that if they did, he wouldn’t be able to hide is intention. His own words.

                    What if… getting the call on a credible threat, having docs of it, they had also done a quick check to see if he had attempted to purchase weapons? Maybe they didn’t hassle him too much because his father was famous and influential, I don’t know. Would it have been enough to bring him down to the station for a proper questioning, which, according to the murderer himself, would probably have resulted in him spilling the beans?

            • petey

              oh i get it. let’s ban knives too! *wink*

        • Dan C

          There have been some priests using this as fodder for attacking the “therapeutic culture” while other conservatives are distracting with attempts to discuss mental health concerns and improvements in such matters.

    • IRVCath

      Because That Man used firearms to kill two of his victims. Admittedly, I do have a bit of a dog in this fight, but I would like to point out that the Second Amendment exists for the perpetuation of a well-regulated militia. Generally regulation means laws and control. The Second Amendment, like most legal rights, is not absolute.

      At the same time, I have to day that California’s firearms laws are incredibly strict, so I’m not sure that more gun control would have stopped this, even though such measures are probably constitutional.

      • Joey A.

        And I would like to point out your misunderstanding – the phrase “well regulated” in the 2nd Amendment means “in good working order.” The way language is used changes over time.

        • IRVCath

          Good working order also means ensuring militiamen aren’t criminally insane, or carrying arms out of good order, no? To me the Second Amendment hardly means the blank check the NRA seems to have it mean, even as it obviously should not stop guns being categorically banned.

  • The Deuce

    So, Joe The Plumber actually said “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

    TPM then conflates “my Constitutional rights” with “my guns.”

    First thought: That’s rather overt question-begging on TPM’s part, in merely taking it for granted that the right to bear arms *isn’t* a Constitutional (or natural) right, that Joe has no principled argument based on rights, and that it all boils down to Joe The Plumber’s desire to keep “his guns.”

    Second thought: It’s a rather revealing giveaway about what TPM is really after. We constantly hear the refrain from liberals that “You’re paranoid and nobody is trying to take your guns.” But every time they get a tragedy to exploit, we see them trying to denigrate or explain away the right to bear arms, and whine about how people’s desire to keep “their guns” is getting in the way of the “reform” they want to pass. I mean, I’m assuming that Joe The Plumber isn’t just being attacked for supposed opposition to the development of “smart guns.”

    • The Deuce

      Also, IIRC, the idea that dead people and hurt feelings don’t automatically trump other people’s rights was a lot more popular around here after 9/11, during the debate over waterboarding, during the police-state lockdown of Boston after the marathon bombings, when it came to false accusations against priests and restrictions of religious freedom, etc.

      • Dan C

        The debate over water boarding is about not exactly about “rights.” It’s about duty to captives. It’s a matter of abuse and maltreatment that poorly translates into “rights-based” talk but easily translates into Christian, Gospel-based ethics.

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      Joe is wrong. The lives of children do trump our rights. See Genesis 4. You are your brother’s keeper.

  • Rhoda Zwick

    All just a distraction. Move along people…. http://tinyurl.com/marcshayw-shootgun

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      I’ve seen these stats before. The conclusion I just drew for the first time last time this topic came up is that the United States of America has a serious problem that we *coughwhitecough* citizens would like to blame on other people and not bother trying to do anything about, even though these people are our brothers and fellow citizens.

      • Dave G.

        I often wonder if it’s because people are scared to mention it. I mean, to be honest, if you bring this up the odds of the charge of racism following fast are pretty good. There is a tendency in our culture to demand one thin line of acceptable speech regarding a singular solution that allows only one assumption. Deviate even for a second, and any one of a dozen accusations will fly. I often wonder if that isn’t one of many reasons behind the violence and the senseless slaughter in our nation today. .

  • Pete the Greek

    I think, going forward, the best tool we will have to understand how this all came to happen will be this guy’s own writings and video.

    I really hate saying that, as I don’t want to give him publicity, but…

    I found and read some of his ‘manifesto’. I’m not expert, but even I, after discounting continuous references to how awesome he is and how godlike blah blah, could see a major thread running through, unintentionally on his part, I believe.

    Once all this has calmed down, hope experts really pour over that stuff. I think if we really want to understand and hopefully prevent things like this in the future, there might be some keys in there.

    As far as guns go, is there anything legislative we could possibly do? I think so, actually. *SHOCKING* I know.

    Here’s the thing: Every single law that gun banners have been frantically pushing on a national scale, already exists in California: ‘assault weapon’ bans, magazine capacity limits, background checks, registration, limits on numbers of weapons purchased, waiting periods, etc.

    The murderer complied with all of those regs. Think about that for a moment. Not a single one of those regs prevented him or even slowed him down. This is not surprising considering that he planned this for almost a year and a half.

    What could help? A better way to mesh mental illness treatment with background checks, at least in theory.

    When it came to the Connecticut killer, and few people actually know this, he actually tried to buy his own guns. However, the background check came back as a denial due to his recorded mental problems.

    The California shooter passed a background check… THREE TIMES. How? I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t officially listed as mentally disturbed. Remember, the same issue happened with the naval yard shooter: he was straight up bonkers too, but it wasn’t officially recorded as so. A background check can’t turn up what hasn’t been recorded on a person’s background.

    This guy didn’t just ‘snap’. Almost a year before, he tried to straight-up murder two girls, in the middle of a house party, by pushing them off a balcony. He failed. People knew exactly what he tried to do as the guys there then jumped him, beat him within an inch of his life and threw him into the street where he crawled back home. Why wasn’t that reported? Had it been so, perhaps this whole business could have been avoided.

    His videos and his writings weren’t that recent. He had a fairly long history of these. After viewing some of them, if you ever do, try to tell me that you could tell me ‘seems like a nice boy. no problems there’. What if much more drastic actions had taken place then?

    I don’t know, really. I think this will have to be investigated and researched a LOT if we are to come up with a plan.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      I’ve been thinking along much the same lines. I don’t know how background checks work, and maybe each state does it differently. But it seems to me they absolutely should look at mental health, particularly when it’s a young man that age since most of these mass murderers fit that profile.

      Also, do these background checks even look into online activity? This guy was posting crazy stuff for a while, how did they miss that? Employers look up potential employees online, why can’t gun retailers?

      • Pete the Greek

        “But it seems to me they absolutely should look at mental health”
        – They do, actually. But like I said, they can only see what is officially recorded.

        “Employers look up potential employees online, why can’t gun retailers?”
        – I am friends with a couple. While officially they must only obey what the written law is, they have BOTH told me that they have found ways to deny sales to people they ‘got a bad vibe from’. To problem is, while in their experience they have learned to trust their gut instinct, you can’t really answer a legal discrimination case, which would be technically possible, by just saying ‘I got a bad vibe.’

        But then, maybe this killer was slick enough to not give off a bad vibe… heck, even Jeffery Dahlmer fooled the cops the first time he spoke to them as being a ‘nice guy’, if I remember correctly.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          I’m not just talking about getting “bad vibes” from a customer. I’m talking about checking online for Youtube videos, Facebook posts, etc, that reveal what kind of person is asking for a firearm and, maybe, what he intends to do with it.

          • Pete the Greek

            A lot of that can be simply made private. I understand what you mean, but I think that may go a little too far.

          • kenofken

            What you’re talking about is the concept of a real background check, which is sorely lacking. Under our system, especially where mental health is concerned, we look at one or two data points in spotty databases. If a person wasn’t locked up in mostly non-existent mental hospitals, or if they weren’t formally ruled insane by the courts, we assume everything must be A-OK and we’re not allowed to look any further into the matter until it’s too late.

            Real background checks use lots of data points to paint a picture of the person and answer the question “Who is this guy”? “What’s their deal”? It’s the system used by government security clearances, the hiring process for police agencies, screening for airline security in Israel etc. To a greater or lesser degrees, you take in all of the available records, and you interview the person (and perhaps references), and you look at what the data adds up to. Are they who they say they are, and are they “ok” (for whatever clearance)? Are they responsible and consistent and mentally together? Perhaps the most stringent system is that used for commercial airline pilots. They have to clear a full medical exams, and any whiff of mental health issues requires a full-blown very detailed psych evaluation. Gun ownership would be a virtual non-issue if owners had to pass that filter.

            Norway apparently invests a fair degree of discretion in the local police commissioner. When you apply to get an owners/buyers permit for guns in that country, you take your app to the local police official who has a say in deciding whether you’re a “sober and reliable” person and whether there are any reasons to deem you unfit (like mental illness). You also have to demonstrate a reason for wanting a gun, either hunting or collecting or target shooting. You have to jump some hoops, but it’s not really that onerous, and it’s not aimed at ending gun ownership.

            Here in Illinois, our new concealed carry law allows (sometimes mandates) state or local police to object to carry permits. Not only for convicted felons but for people who have a history of multiple arrests, DUIs etc. It takes the level of scrutiny from “is this person a convict” to “is this person a responsible citizen or a thug and reckless idiot”? It’s important to note that all of the processes I mentioned have appeals and checks and balances. If we were even half serious about safety, our background checks would look a whole lot more like this than what they do now.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              If the background check is really that cursory, then what’s the deal with the “seven day waiting period” some states require?

              They’re not using that time to do a thorough check on the would-be buyer?

              (Forgive me, I’ve never owned a gun so I don’t know all this stuff.)

              • kenofken

                Waiting periods were more conceived as a “cooling off” period. The idea, which has some merit, is that people can’t run out and buy a gun in the heat of whatever domestic argument or fight or suicidal funk they may be having. It may also afford some time to complete background checks, but there is no federal waiting period. As far as the feds are concerned, once you run a NICS, the instant computerized check, you’re good to go or after three days even if the check has not been completed. States go as high as 10 days, especially for handguns. I’ve read that to do a really thorough FBI check, it can take a few weeks and that a few thousand slip through the net each year as a result. I don’t think waiting periods are a bad idea, but to my mind, the main problem is the quality and depth of the checks that occur. First of all, in many states still, you don’t have to do any background check at a gun show or among private sellers. Sort of silly to have an optional life or limb safety system. Second, I think the overall quality of the criminal background checks is not too shabby.

                Our system for dealing with mental illness and guns is essentially all hole and no net. I envision a system which focuses on the person, not banning this or that gun or cosmetic feature. Real background checks would go beyond a one or two checkbox form and would integrate a comprehensive records search with some sort of interview and medical/psych clearance. There also needs to be some mechanism for authorities to intervene and seize guns at least temporarily in cases where credible concerns are raised about the person’s mental health.

    • KM

      Well, here’s a start to understanding this, from 2009:

      “Besides an embittered sense of revenge, the experts said, another common thread in these killings is access to high-powered weapons, which is a particularly American phenomenon.

      “As far as I can tell, the psychological problems of these killers are not unique to the United States, but what is unique is that it’s so easy for people in the U.S. to get access to weapons.”

      “Daniel Nagin, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, agreed. “It’s technologically impossible to kill a lot of people very quickly without access to these assault weapons,” he said.”

      http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2009/04/13/Experts-track-the-patterns-of-mass-murders/stories/200904130098

      http://www.post-gazette.com/images4/20090412mass_murderers_traits.gif

      • Pete the Greek

        He actually didn’t have access to them. This was California. He had three pistols, all three of which were California legal, which means limited capacity, too.

        According to his plans, his pistols weren’t even in the top three of his weapon selections to use on his killing sprees. He had planned to bring them into play once he had wrecked his step-mother’s SUV and the cops showed up.

        “Daniel Nagin” – I will have to disagree with him. The killer would as well, and would have proven him wrong had he not been prevented from accessing the front door of the sorority house.

        “but what is unique is that it’s so easy for people in the U.S. to get access to weapons.”
        – Ah, so it was Norway’s slack gun laws that allowed Brevik’s attack, eh?

        Did you even bother to read my post? I’m guessing not. It shows.

        • KM

          Yeah I read your post. You’re trying to understand the shooter. So I offered some information that describes him and other mass shooters. This shooter hated women, felt entitled to them, and he wanted revenge, He described himself in terms that the PUA (pickup artist) community uses.

          He had “three semi automatic handguns–a Glock 34 and two Sig Sauer P226s– as well as more than 400 rounds of ammo when he died.” If you read the accounts of the shootings, witnesses said that he fired into the deli crowd in rapid bursts. There was no time to react. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/usanow/2014/05/24/shooting-california-santa-barbara/9532405/

          I feel very sad for Mr. Martinez. He lost his only son. I’m not interested in a long-winded debate about this today.

          • Pete the Greek

            No I agree with the basic profile. Where I disagreed was that absent ‘assault weapons’ people can’t kill lots of people.

            The Glock and the Sigs were both California sales, which means that their capacity was, by law, limited to 10 rounds. None were automatic.

            I also would prefer not to get into the nit picking of specific gun regs, but it seems as though everyone is demanding that it be discussed anyway.

            • KM

              They were semi-automatic. Which means they fire pretty quickly even if they were limited to 10 rounds each. Witnesses at the deli said that the gunfire was rapid. Afterward the shooter engaged in two gunfights with police officers before he rammed his car and shot himself.

              Lawmakers in California are discussing the creation of a “gun violence restraining order,” using the same process that restraining orders are granted in cases of domestic violence. http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-gun-violence-restraining-order-20140527-story.html

              • Pete the Greek

                From the article:
                “Family members, partners and friends would have the ability to alert law
                enforcement if they believe someone poses a threat to themselves or
                others. Law enforcement officers would then be able to petition a judge
                to grant a restraining order that could prohibit possession or purchase
                of a gun.”
                – Now THAT might actually be a really good idea. I’ll wait to see how that pans out. That may be a good way to start addressing the mental health/access problem.

        • petey

          “Ah, so it was Norway’s slack gun laws that allowed Brevik’s attack, eh?”

          and all the other mass shootings norway suffers from. it’s like that happen every year over there.

          • Pete the Greek

            And you touch on an excellent point, just not the one you think you are.

            In spite of its laws, Brevik got what he needed to commit mass slaughter. Does it happen all the time? No, nor does it happen all the time in the US. Does it not happen because of Norway’s gun laws?

            No.

            There are massive cultural and social differences between the two countries. If you were to magically take every firearm in the United States and dump them on Norway, I very much doubt that Norway would have any real bump in murders, mass or otherwise.

            And that’s the most important. Trying to obsess over a technological quick fix instead of addressing anything of substance is little more than a politically correct distraction.

            • KM

              “Mother Jones” shows this timeline below of 62 mass shootings in the U.S. from 1982 to 2012. That’s about 2 per year, so it does happen here every year. This doesn’t take into account the inner city shootings that happen every day.

              http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map?page=2

              What to do about gun violence is another matter, and even Mr. Martinez (father of victim in UCSB shooting) acknowledged recently that gun violence involves complex issues that will take time and leadership to solve.

            • kenofken

              One of the major cultural differences is that Norway, while it has deep traditions of hunting and the shooting sports, is not obsessed with guns. They are not the core defining totem of national identity or manhood the way they are here. They also acknowledge a balance between individual rights and public safety.

              It is not hard to get a gun in Norway, but nor is it trivially easy. You have to demonstrate real participation in hunting or sport shooting, which means 10-30 hours of coursework and with sport shooting, at least 15 sessions at a gun club over 6 months.

              Then, if you want your own guns, you have to apply for a permit which looks not only at your criminal background, but also your overall character. You’re limited to something like one long gun in each caliber and three or maybe four handguns at any one time. All transactions go through licensed dealers, and you’re required to keep your stuff in a safe at all times, which can be inspected by police with advanced notice. For the most part, you can own and shoot almost anything in Norway that we have here. The Norweigans and the other scandinavian countries and Switzerland get that gun safety isn’t about bans or not. It’s about sensible regulation.

              • Pete the Greek

                I don’t think Switzerland is quite as strict as Norway, at least my research doesn’t show that.

                I would disagree that a gun is seen as a totem of manhood or something. I HAVE met people who do think that, and to be honest, I and what I would classify as the rest of the normal ‘gun community’ generally think them a little weird and don’t deal with them.’ Any physical thing being used as a ‘totem’ for manhood is not stable in my opinion, be it firearm, a car, alcohol, whatever.

                I would also note in passing that a major difference you overlook is that in the United States, firearm ownership is a RIGHT. It is a government tolerated privilege in Norway and most elsewhere. If such restrictions were to have any hope of being pushed here in the States, you would have to remove all such rights from the Constitution FIRST, as it would no longer be a right at all at that point.

                I think the REAL problem is not guns themselves in either case, but rather a gross misunderstanding of what it is to be a man. Our popular culture glorifies violence and power as the marks of what make someone a MAN. THIS is what needs to change. You can see this terrible confusion in pretty much every one of these mass shooters and especially in the youth gang culture: They will kill, because THEN they’ll really respect me! Respect is tied to violence, which is EXACTLY wrong.

                It is this difference, this not seeing committing acts of violence as marking you as a man in popular culture, that is the primary, deciding difference in my eyes between the US and these other countries, be it with guns or not. This is exactly why you could float Norway or Denmark on an ocean of AR-15s and probably strike down almost ALL of their gun restrictions and you still wouldn’t see a real problem. At least in my opinion.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    A nation seriously wanting to reduce wanton death and destruction would start with cars, not guns. But of course, that would inconvenience too many.

    Id say I’ve got to go catch a bus now, but they don’t go anywhere I need to be.

    (full disclosure: deep in my closet lies a single shot .22LR my Father gave me long ago. I should probably oil it again. It has been years. Otherwise, no guns or cars here.)

    • petey

      “A nation seriously wanting to reduce wanton death and destruction would start with cars, not guns.”

      why?

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Because once you remove suicide from both stats, there is and obvious disparity.

        Auto death is dropping due to minor tweaks, similar to our host’s smart gun proposals. Deo Gratias!

        But too many want to take the easy.route and ban this gun, or that tech. As though outlawing SUVs and horns would work.

        Mark may get overwrought, but he is on the side of angels. His commenters, not so much.

        And Dave G probably can’t care less, but I applaud him for calling out hypocrisy.

        There’s more to say, but I need to go backboard another MVC victim. Too many of those, compared to GSWs.

        • petey

          i see. so this is the old “handguns have other uses than killing, just like cars” argument, combined with “let’s talk about the suicide, not the homicide” subclause.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Um, no. It’s more the “Americans love convenience, even with attendant bloodshed, almost as much as they love blaming that other guy over there” argument.

            If you can’t read, or can’t do so without projecting, maybe we should pick another medium of communication more suited to your skill set?

    • kenofken

      We did start with cars, a very long time ago, and we’ve made great progress in reducing deaths and injuries from what is inherently a dangerous activity. The name of the game in sensible regulation is not some utopia where nobody ever gets hurt. It’s about trying to reduce, as much as reasonably possible, the stupid and senseless and preventable tragedies. With automobiles, the whole scheme is rooted in the recognition that the ownership and especially the public use of a potential weapon is a responsibility, not an absolute right bestowed by God upon the individual to exercise however they wish in isolation from all other considerations.

      We have a fairly stringent system of licencing in which the potential “weapon owner” must demonstrate competence of use, the physical and mental faculties to operate the thing, background checks, registration, financial responsibility etc. Unlike with firearms in most states, you can’t evade all the regulations by buying a car from a private owner instead of a dealer. There are very strict consequences for operating a car recklessly or irresponsibly. You can lose your license quite easily for a range of behaviors that are well short of felonies.

      It is infinitely easier to stop mentally unfit car operators before they cause a tragedy than it is to do the same with gun owners. It’s far from a perfect system, but doctors and relatives routinely stop drivers who are “losing it” from continuing. State DMVs will order driving tests and medical evaluations if there’s any serious doubt about the person’s ability to function safely and responsibly behind the wheel. With guns, 99% of the time, the only way to keep or take guns away from a floridly psychotic individual is to wait for them to kill someone (and often themselves) with it.

      For all of its shortcomings, this system works. Between 1920 and 2000, the rate of fatal accidents per vehicle mile decreased by a factor of 17. The fatality rate per license issued has declined significantly even in the last 25 years. Drunk driving deaths are less than half of what they were in the early 1980s. We did all of these things not by banning cars or alcohol, but by taking the problem and loss of life seriously and applying sane adult solutions to them and having the stones to stand up to industry groups and special interest lobbies who didn’t like that. It’s disingenuous to compare guns and cars on the basis that we haven’t gotten serious about automobile deaths. We have, and I think we can all admit that there is no scenario in which the NRA and gun lobby would accept even a hint of this proven regulatory model.

  • Elmwood

    I need to get a permit to build a deck for my house, a license to drive a moped, but not to buy a semi automatic rifle or hand gun. Yep, that makes loads of sense. Tea Party mentality bullshit.

    • Pete the Greek

      Your statement is unhelpful and factually wrong. You should educate yourself.

      “but not to buy a semi automatic rifle or hand gun.”
      – California has a type of permit process. They also have extremely strict firearm laws, including background checks, waiting periods, capacity limits, etc. The works.

      The killer complied with all of them.

      “Tea Party mentality bullshit.”
      – Were you to educate yourself in the facts instead of just projecting political based hatred, you wouldn’t sound quite so dumb.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think you should have to get a permit to build your deck.

      • Elmwood

        Do you need a permit to buy a hand gun in CA?

        • Pete the Greek

          Yes:

          “All firearm sales (except long guns more than 50 years old) must be completed through a dealer. *Handgun purchases require a Handgun Safety Certificate and proof of residency unless the individual purchasing the firearm is active duty military. Military reservists must still acquire a Handgun Safety Certificate and proof of residency to purchase a firearm.” – from Wikipedia

          • Elmwood

            Wow, you can use the internet too! Doesn’t sound like a “permit” to me, or even a license. Maybe you need to edumicate urself.

            • Pete the Greek

              Just admit you have no idea what you’re talking about and save yourself further embarrassment.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0

              • jroberts548

                Obviously, permits and certificates are completely different things. If you need a permit for a deck but a certificate for a gun, it’s because of the tea party.

              • Elmwood

                Please show me a California issued “Permit” or “License” to own a hand gun. They don’t exist, only permits to carry a concealed handgun.

                My state Tea Party friendly state doesn’t require even a gun safety application or a registration of semiautomatic guns.

                • Pete the Greek

                  Passing the safety class is the permit.

                  “My state Tea Partystate doesn’t require even a gun safety application or a registration of semiautomatic guns.”
                  – and yet, for all the terrifying, Mad Max level madness and hellscape that implies… your state has a lower murder rate than California.

                  I’d say your fear is of Chicken Little proportion.

                  • Elmwood

                    Comparing California to Alaska is apples and oranges. There have been plenty of mass shootings here through.

                    • Pete the Greek

                      “apples and oranges.”
                      – Which is very much while I’m against nationwide, one size fits all gun control.

                      And despite the horrible, barbarous, terrifying lack of gun control in your state, the one mass killing you link to is some left wing environmental wacko from 1983? A time, I think ,when Alaska had more gun control then it has now?

                      While one massacre is too many, I hardly think this event puts you in the running of crime numbers for other states.

  • AquinasMan

    Gun crimes are a symptom, not the disease. We are in unprecedented times for a nation that went largely unscathed stateside during the World Wars, didn’t have a despot leader starving millions or sending ethnic groups to the gas chambers or work camps to die. This is a civil war, whether we realize it or not. And the perpetrator is not the gun or the knife or the BMW. It’s the collective deadening of our nation’s soul to that which is virtuous in life — the Beatitudes, the Commandments.

    Whereas other nations and kingdoms had their ethnic cleansings and revolution and mass starvation, we’re being assaulted by mindless violence, mass killing, and torture in video games and “entertainment”; we’re stained with the filth of pornography in almost every medium — including the “Family Hour” on ABC; we vote for willingly and are represented by unrepentant liars and thieves and enemies of Christ in our local, state, and national government; we fancy ourselves entitled to be American Idols and YouTube sensations and Twitter mavens and Facebook celebrities just because it’s our right to be adored and regaled by everyone no matter how we act, how we think, how we relate to others; we sexualize children in the classroom and in the fitting room and in the board room; we throw parades for abominations, we fill up our DVRs with insane housewives and polygamists and narcissists, and turn our living rooms into sewers of depravity at a click of the remote; we take jobs away from faithful Christians and call it “progress”; we glorify the MTV lifestyle and call it the new “American Dream”; we sacrifice legion unborn on a public altar of diabolical madness and call it “privacy”; we treat our children like pets, and our pets like children; we laugh at the Cross and weep for the Dow Jones.

    And the problem is guns? I’m not a gun owner, and I realize the Constitution is utterly irrelevant at this point in our history, but it’s not a piece of steel that needs an exorcism, it’s our national soul. Until and unless that happens, take every gun off the street, and we’ll resort to hands and fists and feet and rocks and fire.

    That said, I also disagree with the attempt to glorify the 2nd Amendment over the lives of children. However, the problem is not the 2nd Amendment in the first place, and only results in drawing attention away from the rotten underbelly that continues to fester in this country. If we truly love our children, we will work to fix the laundry list of maladies above, that have made the taking of human life as easy as going out for a drive, and as frequent as the minutes that pass through the day…

    • Dave G.

      And the winner is!

    • petey

      and in the meantime remove the occasions of sin. like the handguns.

      • AquinasMan

        And knives. And hands. And bad thoughts.

        • petey

          yes i might have expected that.

    • jroberts548

      Did we have a more deadened collective soul 40 years ago when the murder rate was twice what it is now?

      I’d expect more precision from aquinas man.

      • kenofken

        40 years ago we still had the capacity for horror and outrage at the problem. Now we accept it as the “new normal” and a cause of death which is utterly normal and unpredictable and irreducibly complex.

        • Dave G.

          Today outrage is usually reserved for holding the wrong ideals, or saying the wrong things. This saddens us, but you’re right, something happened since the McDonald’s shooting of 84, that saw police posted at restaurants and a national debate that lasted a whole year.

        • jroberts548

          You’re saying the loss of horror and outrage correlates with cutting our murder rate in half?

          • kenofken

            It correlates with our chances of making any continued progress. “We” as a society did not cut our murder rate in half. The largest factor in that was simply the aging of the giant demographic bulge that produced those high crime rates in the 70s and early 80s.

            • jroberts548

              So when young boomers murder people, it’s because they’re young. When a millennial murders someone, it’s because of the unprecedented deadness of our collective soul and our diminished capacity for horror and outrage?

              I like it. If you based your argument on something like facts, you wouldn’t get to whine about kids these days. But this works.

            • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

              Is that really true? Surely someone skilled in statistics should be able to fact check this claim. Where’s Jem when we need her?

      • AquinasMan

        Actually, the murder rate is enormously higher, in consideration of 50 million Americans slaughtered in abortion mills. Do they count?

        But see, there’s yet another kind of murder rate that is also arguably on the rise, and it pertains to Matthew 10:28. Once society’s collective soul gets a good beat-down, the next logical step is to manifest this sickness in increasingly diabolical ways. Maybe it’s the wholesale perversion of our common language through the manipulation of what words mean. Maybe it’s rank hatred towards the economically unproductive (the elderly, the unborn, the sickly). Maybe it’s institutional banishment of the pathways to sanctifying grace. Whatever it is, the deadening of our national soul safely predicts the increasing frequency of catastrophic, psychotic breaks in individuals who pre-meditatively hunger and thirst for carnage as a twisted, anti-christian act of personal justice. What’s more, because our collective senses have become more and more calloused to the consequences of sin, we look upon these acts as “tragic” as long as the news cycle permits. Then we sit back and calmly calculate the Lottery-like odds of such-and-such tragedy happening to our own families, find that they’re comparatively small, and move on with life until the next bloody interruption.

        • jroberts548

          What’s the collective sense? Is it part of the common sense? The agent intellect? Does the collective soul have nutritive, animal, and rational faculties?

          • AquinasMan

            So you agree that the murder rate is exceptionally higher in consideration of 50 million abortions?

            • jroberts548

              Compared to 1970? Yes. Compared to 1975 or 1976? No. In fact, the abortion rate has been declining since around 1980. If we include abortion and murder, the improvement from the 70s to today is even more drastic.

              • AquinasMan

                I don’t even know how to respond to this. You do realize that we’re talking about a reduction in rate that still amounts to MILLIONS of human beings being pre-meditatively murdered every year, and you’re crowing that the sun was finally coming out in 1975? Really??

                • jroberts548

                  No, I’m saying that your talk about our unprecedented deadened collective soul doesn’t track to reality. Compared to 40 or even 20 years ago, we apparently have a much less deadened “collective soul.”

                  Maybe you could be a little bit more
                  precise. If you’re blaming these mass killings on our collectively deadened soul, are you saying that we had a deader soul 20 or 40 years ago?

          • AquinasMan

            The arts and advertising are very good barometers of our collective sensibility. Have you looked at the cable listings lately? Been to a movie? Checked out the video game section? Surfed the web? Checked out your local school district curriculum? Watched C-Span? The marketplace provides what people want, not what they need, because we can monetize inordinate desire to the tune of fabulous profits.

            Furthermore, you erroneously assume I’m arguing from a Thomistic point-of-view because of my handle, and putting up straw men instead of responding to the assertions.

            • jroberts548

              I’m mocking you for your lack of precision. If you like aquinas, you should try reading him.

              What you’re saying is such imprecise babbling that there are no assertions to reject. How am I going to argue against the claim that our “collective souls” are deadened relative to some mythical golden age?

              • AquinasMan

                So you’re out of ideas. Got it.

                • jroberts548

                  My point is that you’ve made no assertions. The closest thing I can find to an assertion is that we live in unprecedented times, which might be true, but only trivially, and you seem to think we have an unprecedently high murder rate, which is in no conceivable way true.

                  The murder rate has been declining consistently over the last twenty years. It’s about half of what it was 40 years ago. This is also true of the abortion rate. Yet you’re telling me that it’s higher, due to our deadened “collective soul,” as evidenced by movies and tv commercials. You’re gonna have to be more precise.

                  What, precisely, is unprecedented about the time we live in now, and how has it resulted in more murders relative to what other time?

                  Here are the stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#Crime_over_time
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_statistics_in_the_United_States

  • Pete the Greek

    For those interested, this video had some good insight. It is long, and since he does read from the killer’s writings, be advised, there is some language too.

    The man is not a Christian, so in my opinion he does miss a few important moral truths as well. But, all in all, some good food for thought:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oybAUKZhaMA

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Thank you, that was very interesting.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Chris Rock may be on to something. Let everyone have as many guns as they want, but pass enough taxation that bullets cost $900 each.

  • Dave G.

    I’m sure the comments are dwindling, but here’s my three cents. First, solutions.

    Gun control. Exactly what would such measures accomplish? I”m OK with looking at ideas, but they should actually work. Would various ideas proposed really stop, or at least limit, these things? Remember, like plane crashes, the number of mass shootings for a nation our size with our population is actually rather small. And most, despite recent news stories and the last few years, were accomplished with normal guns/handguns. Most of which were legally purchased. And it appears that many, when the dust settles, wouldn’t have been stopped by the proposals that come out in their wake. How exactly would such proposals stop these particular tragedies is a question worth answering before plowing forward.

    Smart guns? Sure. Why not. Inventions. Just don’t let the government mandate them, certainly until we’re sure they won’t hurt lawful gun owners or innocent people. I think that’s a fair and sensible demand. And if deep down someone doesn’t really care because deep down they have a problem with guns and those who own them, then there you go.

    Mental health? Yeah, let’s look there as well. From the 50s on, we’ve put a premium on protecting mental health illness from abusive treatment. The payback has been there is little to do when someone has mental health issues and doesn’t want to be treated beyond how they want to be treated. How many of the recent mass killings have been by people actively seeking therapy? What’s that even mean? What’s it say? What exactly can we do that might reduce these things without stampeding those suffering from mental illness? That’s certainly worth looking at.

    It’s not all about mass killings. Gun violence is bolstered by stats including suicides (that most gun law proposals would not touch), and of course drug and gang and crime on crime stats. We won’t even get into the disproportionate level of gun violence within minority communities, primarily within the inner cities. The crimes of passion or some guy getting pissed and killing someone over a potato chip make up a small portion of such crimes in proportion to our population. If we want to get serious about it, we’ll get serious about it. Or not.

    We’re not New Zealand, or England, or China, or any other beautiful country that exceeds the perfection of the New Jerusalem. For better or worse, we are a major super sized nation, with a very large, and very diverse population in the cross-hairs of international mega events, with a premium on freedom. Freedom, by the way, that we were authoritatively told for ten f**king years should never be compromised, even in response to a tragic event like 9/11. We can change that of course. But if 9/11 wasn’t enough to warrant change in our principles regarding freedom, liberty and rights, then why now? Maybe it’s me, but shifts like that always always get my attention.

    Admit there are extremes and ulterior motives on both sides (if not all sides) of the debate. That’s obvious and common sense. I doubt any side is cleansed from all potential for sin. Admitting that helps put at ease those who want to solve the problem, but get the funny feeling not everyone is in it for the right reasons. And, of course, it’s always true when dealing with anything.

    It’s the society stupid. Yes, I’m afraid that if we get real brave and grow a couple, we’ll admit that a large part of the problem is the society we’ve built. As fun as it is to insist the problems are always “Their” fault, if we really want to solve the problems we’d step back and admit there are parts of our culture today that we indulge in that are likely as much to blame as any part of the culture “they” indulge in. Are we brave enough (and dare I say, humble enough) to admit that? Or worse, actually do something about that? Remains to be seen.

    Those are a few thoughts. We won’t get into Joe the plumber, or the media rallying around a grieving father to the exclusion of those whose grief doesn’t fit the agenda. Again, this is if we want to try to solve the problems, If we just want to advance agendas, score points, win one for the team, then I doubt we’ll do much but accomplish nothing, which seems the one accomplishment our modern generation of adults is particularly adept at.

  • KM

    “Nationally, guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease and 15 times more than infection, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/11/guns-child-deaths-more-than-cancer/2073259/

    As Mr. Martinez (father of victim in UCSB shooting) said in a follow-up interview, gun violence is a complicated issue that requires real leadership to solve. On average America experiences two mass shootings per year (since 1982), and that doesn’t even count the daily shootings that occur which end in death or injury.

    It goes without saying that being shot to death is a very violent and unnatural way to die. From a medical viewpoint, it’s also costly. Physical and psychological injury from gunshot wounds is costly to victims and society. As a society, we should find this — and all forms of violence — unacceptable. As Christians, we should demand better.


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