Family Feud: Right-Wing Demagogue edition

You know how to play — 100 cretinous right-wing demagogues were surveyed and their top answers are on the board.

Our question: Who or what is to blame for the mass-murder last week in a Colorado theater?

Flip Benham, Operation Save America: “The ideology of the Democratic Party.”

Margie Phelps: “Direct result of filthy fag pride parade in Colo.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas: “Ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”

Former state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Ariz.: The unarmed, “unprepared” victims.

Greg Stier, Dare 2 Share: “Satan.”

Fox News host Mike Huckabee: “Sin.” (Other people’s sin.)

Jerry Newcombe, Truth in Action Ministries: “Civil libertarians” and Rob Bell.

Matt Barber, Liberty Counsel: “Planned Parenthood.”

Fred Jackson, American Family Association: “I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets [sic], whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together — and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God — all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.”

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  • Müntzer

    Well, as long as its not a gun control issue…

  • PJ Evans

    Everything and everyone except themselves and their straitjacketed, bigoted minds.

  • nirrti

    Has America collectively lost its ever-loving mind?  This is as good a case as any to involuntarily commit an entire country for psychiatric treatment.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRDTPMBW7IBKWIU3763AI6FYOM Steve

    What an amazing coincidence that this terrible tragedy was caused by the exact same things they’ve been harping on all this time!  And could be prevented by exactly the measures they’ve been demanding all this time.
    Ironic, eh?

  • PurpleAardvaark

    And the winner in the “Blame the Victim” category is…. RUSSELL PEARCE !  Come on down Russell and see what you’ve won.  12 coffins, 58 bloody shirts, and a customized douchebag to wear on your head!  Let’s have a big hand for Russell.  Everyone give it up for our winner.

  • GDwarf

    Why is it that so many of these far-right reactionaries are unaware that “Internet” is a proper noun and cannot be pluralized? It’s the name of a specific network. You can no more have “some Internets” than you can have “Some Canadas”.

    I’d say it was because they’re so conservative that they refuse to use or learn about new technology…Save that they’re making news posts on the Internet, so they obviously use it, which implies that they should know it’s name and what it is.

  • Formerconservative

    Those damn kids with their Batmans and their internets and their Sony walkman cassette players and their Menudos!   Get off my lawn!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s OK to say that it’s guns though, right?

    Or is the only acceptable non-extremist position “it’s so terrible that there’s no way to prevent tragedies like this happening in America all the damn time; how I wish there were but there’s just nothing to be done” – ?

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

     Or is the only acceptable non-extremist position “it’s so terrible that there’s no way to prevent tragedies like this happening in America all the damn time; how I wish there were but there’s just nothing to be done” – ?
    Exactly. As someone somewhere said, gun violence in the US is now treated, rhetorically, in the same way that natural disasters are. ie: People should learn not to live on flood plains, and people should learn not to live in gun zones. (not an actual quotation)

  • Hth

    Nine different ways of saying “Sin (other people’s),” then.  I guess Huckabee wins the prize for putting his cards directly on the table.

  • Tricksterson

    I suppose it would be out of the question to put the  blame on a lone murderous lunatic?

  • JustoneK

    Why do you hate America?

  • Tricksterson

    I don’t hate America, I hate everyone.

  • Lizzy L

     That would be too simple, too obvious, too, too much like truth. Can’t do that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I suppose it would be out of the question to put the  blame on a lone murderous lunatic?

    One, please to not be conflating ‘mentally ill’ and ‘violent’. Two, I don’t know anything about what gave this guy the impression that shooting up a theater was a good idea, but saying “he did it off his own bat for no particular reason or no reason traceable to outside himself” is not the right answer, at least not before people have done some investigating. The people who bomb abortion clinics are invariably dismissed as ‘lone murderous lunatics’, even when investigation proves otherwise.

  • Wednesday

    I’m an atheist, and I know every denomination is different, but I really don’t understand why it’s a bad thing for Christian churches to not fear their god. Aren’t Christians supposed to love and trust their God? A pretty common condolence offered by US Christians when a loved one dies is “It’s all part of God’s plan,” with the goodness and trustworthyness for God’s plan left unspoken because it’s taken as an axiom. I understand that it’s possible to love someone you fear, because many
    victims of abuse still love their abusers (even without Stockholm
    syndrome).   But I don’t see any way to reconcile “trust God” and “fear God”.

    Unless “fear God”!Christianity is a bit like a speculative fiction story where God is a member of the rebel alliance because they are a convenient means to an end, and God is a powerful ninja-wizard  that could kill them all (so they know to fear him) but would make a really powerful ally. Here the leader (call her Kirche) trusts God to do his missions only because Kirche is careful to give God missions that are in line with his goals and she can trust him to be sufficiently dedicated to his own goals. But that sort of trust is really about relying on someone to be consistently selfish (or bloodthirsty, or vengence-driven).

    @ PurpleArdvaark — I’m so used to “douchebag” being synonymous with “MRA troll” that I’m imagining Mr. Pearce walking around with a raging misogynist sitting on his head.

  • christopher_young

    But I don’t see any way to reconcile “trust God” and “fear God”

    When I was growing up Anglican 50 years ago, the Sunday School teacher addressed this by explaining that the expression “God fearing” referred to an archaic sense of “fear” which basically meant “regard with awe and respect”, and “God fearing” was a sort of linguistic fossil that was still used because it was so common.

    I have no idea whether that’s right, but it sounds vaguely plausible.

  • AnonymousSam

    “Fear God” comes from the acknowledgement that all evil in the world happens at God’s cause and behest, and all he has to do is turn his attention a fraction of an infinity to the left for the most horrible atrocities to happen to you. Anyone who forgets that, they’re saying, deserves to have it happen.

  • Turcano

    I’m so used to “douchebag” being synonymous with “MRA troll” that I’m imagining Mr. Pearce walking around with a raging misogynist sitting on his head.

    That’s only true on Thursday nights.

  • Jenny Islander

    @Wednesday: The explanation I got at Christian summer camp–from a Baptist yet, they’re not all nasty-minded Pharisees!–was that fear is the natural human response to knowing that somebody who can comprehend the entire universe simultaneously, and furthermore made that universe, is passionately interested in you and your life.  Of course, choosing to get to know God means learning to return God’s love, but as long as we are mortal there will be an element of fear.  Taking God for granted, no longer fearing God, is a sign that one is going off the path.

  • TheDarkArtist

    Why Nothing Will Improve in the USA, Ever ( A Play in One Act)

    Liberal: “Maybe we should try some gun control? I mean, a regular person doesn’t need an AR15 assault rifle or smoke grenades.”
    Conservative: “Your just another example of the fagocrat libtard ideology,,,,,,,,,, if we didn’t have GUNS then OBLAMEO and his homo UN POLICE could just come in and take all of our freedoms,,,,,,,,,,,, you libtards are living in your ivory towers,,,,,,,, get a grip on reality”

    [and, scene]

  • Pat B

    “I mean, a regular person doesn’t need an AR15 assault rifle or smoke grenades.”

    At the same time, the only reason the founding fathers would have made the Second Amendment in the first place is specifically to allow armed rebellion. The idea is that if enough people are armed and feel their liberties are being infringed, they can rise up much more easily since they already have military weaponry. Hence, an implicit check on government power.

    I don’t agree with that reasoning, nor the reasoning behind the idea that guns are needed for self-defense against criminals, but true gun control is completely incompatible with the Second Amendment. And changing any part of the Bill of Rights is an unbelievably difficult chore, especially when a lot of Americans agree with the founders’ reasoning.

    So, it’s not just a problem with modern American political discourse, but an obnoxious artifact of post-revolutionary paranoia at the dawn of our national history. Not that that’s any better, but it’s much more complicated than just “those damn republicans!”

  • EllieMurasaki

    I thought the Second Amendment was there to make sure everyone was armed so that there would be people to respond to an invasion without need for a standing army. Says it right there in the first line: a well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state. Militia. MILITIA. We have a standing army, therefore we have no need for civilians to have guns.

    My feeling on the matter is, if you want guns, have guns, but (unless your gun collection consists of a hunting rifle and a purse-sized handgun, no more and nothing else) you had damn well better belong to the National Guard. That way your gun can be used in service of the country and also the country can keep tabs on you, ‘keeping tabs’ to include regular checks to make sure you’re not planning mass murder.

  • friendly reader

     Actually, no, from an argument I had with a friend who I otherwise consider pretty reasonable on Facebook, that’s not what it goes like at all:

    Me: We need to get these kinds of guns off the street.

    Him: I’m sorry, it may sound callous to say, but no amount of tragedy can justify taking rights away from law-abiding citizens. (actual quote)

    Me: We need to look back and re-evaluate why we were given that right in the first place, and whether technological and social changes mean that it no longer matters.

    Him: Yes, gun ownership IS a
    right, not a privilege. Yes, rights DO come with responsibilities.
    But even when those responsibilities get tossed out the window and one
    madman threatens to ruin everything for everyone, getting rid of rights
    is not the answer. *Never* the answer. Because once you’ve gotten rid
    of one right, because it’s dangerous – what next? Should we get rid of
    the internet, because it gives people too much dangerous information?
    Video games or television, books or certain kinds of music, because they
    give people bad thoughts and bad ideas? And who decides what needs to
    be banned? Whose values system would govern that decision? The First
    Amendment is already in jeopardy in this country; I don’t think
    jeopardizing the Second will help matters. I’ve always been sort of
    fascinated with the order of the Bill of Rights: notice which the
    Framers thoughts was most important: free speech and free press, the
    right to gather and protest, the right to worship (or not) as you
    choose. And then they added the Second Amendment as the right designed
    to help protect what they felt was most important. So, banning firearms
    is not the answer, nor even the question. The real question is: How
    could this tragedy have been prevented? Did the shooter have some
    mental health problem that went undiagnosed or untreated? Should
    security at public facilities be upgraded? (actual quote)

    And that’s why they “win”: they immediately frame it in terms of inalienable rights, a slippery slope, and an enshrined visions of the Framer’s beautiful intent that somehow the order of the amendments determines their importance.

    We need to go after this at their position rather than pragmatically. Because, pragmatically, they have their heads up their asses.

    Which I mean as no insult to my friend; it’s the only way I think of why he could put these two sentences together:
    “So, banning firearms
    is not the answer, nor even the question. The real question is: How
    could this tragedy have been prevented?”Oh, I dunno, by banning firearms?!?!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Have you considered the possibility that “The completely unrestricted ability to own any bullet-flinging device without licensing or restriction” isn’t actually a right but something loosely based on a right which the gun industry has managed to bribe our legislators into *treating* as a right?

    That, say, maybe if there were exactly one kind of run available for purchase, say, a sub-sonic breech-loading single-shot hunting rifle, subject ot heavy regulation and registration and licensing and regualr checksups to make sure you weren’t getting ready to go on a rampage with it, that would actually satisfy the inalienable human right spelled out by the second amendment.

    And everything past that is just to line the pockets of the gunmakers.

  • Leum

    Yes, let’s not assume he was mentally ill and let’s also not assume that, if he is, that this means the incident was unpreventable. Mental illness is treatable and if we as a society bothered to help people recover we could significantly reduce its incidence.

  • Jessica_R

    I think it’s the combination of no social safety net for the mentally ill and no reasonable gun control coming to meet again and again in increasingly lethal ways. And yeah I am going to “politicize” it. Because the party that fights tooth and nail against universal healthcare also fights tooth and nail for the ability to a person to order 600 pounds of ammo without anybody being allowed to raise even an eyebrow at that. 

    My personal “favorite” in the douchebags sweeps is the tweet I saw from some assclown hoping that the women whose lives were saved by their boyfriends shielding them with their bodies were “worthy of that sacrifice”. Wow, way to help someone who is going to be suffering with an amount of survivor’s guilt I can’t begin to understand, you’re a prince. 

  • Doesn’tWantToSignIn

     I found out I have the disorder I have via… a public psychotic episode involving a weapon.  It wasn’t a gun, mind you (something far more archaic and a decoration, not even meant to be functional) and I didn’t physically hurt anyone – just scared them real bad and wrecked up their property… 

    I suppose it could have been prevented if the psychatric people I was seeing for my “depression” and inability to keep a job actually knew what they were doing and could recognize what I really had sooner, but, in the end, I know I didn’t fit the *legal* definition of “insanity,” because as cracked out as I was at the time, I knew on some level, what I was doing.  I had the presence of mind once started, not to take things further. I realized that by wrecking up *stuff* and scaring the poo out of a bastard, I’d already screwed my life and did something dishonorable.  I put my impliment of destruction back in my car and waited for the cops to come.   I could have run, but knew that would only make things worse. I just waited, as calmly as possible, and contemplated what I’d done.   

    The point is, even with my mind racing miles a minute, I had choices. Even after I had started to do the wrong thing, I decided to do the right thing. 

    I did no time – but got the help I needed.  I did that voluntarily, too as it was not forced on me like you’d think it would have been.  My personal record does have a lifelong blight on it, but people who love me are there to help me out.  It was many years ago and life has moved on.

    This is why when tragedies like this come up, the part of me that wants to blame a big, shadowy group of people turns to “the mental health profession for not doing enough” and to “society in general for stigmitizing the getting of help in the first place.”

    Ultimately, however, I blame the person with enough of a mind to wield a weapon – the person who had a choice.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I tend to not begrudge persons their guns if they are, say, a hobbiest who wants to tool around with a device or maybe collect rare examples, or maybe occasionally hunt.  

    What I do tend to take issue with though is the mythologizing of the gun.  Regarding it as some kind of divine right, or assuming that because it gives a person potential power than it must necessarily be good.  The cries I hear about “if everyone had a gun then there’d be no violent gun crime!” only works if you assume that a potential shooter values their own life enough to respect the threat of other’s force as a deterrence.  

    Inevitably, the worst of the violent gun crimes we see are committed by people who, by their actions, clearly have little regard for what happens after them after the crime has passed.  Punishment only works to deter people who fear the punishment, and if they do not even fear for their life let alone anything less, what possibly punishment would be effective?  

  • Lunch Meat

    Why don’t we just interpret the Second Amendment to say that everyone can have guns, but no one can have ammo? I mean, if the right can say that the First Amendment doesn’t require separation of church and state…

    My husband stated it really nicely this morning: The reason you are not allowed to have concealed guns in a theater is the same reason you are not allowed to shout “fire” in a theater. If we all did rigorous fire drills regularly and before sitting down to a movie, maybe we’d respond better to shouts of “fire” and there wouldn’t be mass panic and people getting trampled. But as it is, we are really stupid, irrational and incompetent in a crisis. In the same way, if we were all trained as a militia and everyone knew how to assess situations calmly, figure out where the threat is coming from, and use guns in a fight, a gun fight in a theater might not end so badly. But as it is, we are stupid and irrational and it would just get more people killed. And the so-called deterrent isn’t, because a person evil enough to shoot up a theater is evil enough to be glad if there are more casualties.

    That’s not even getting into the specifics of this situation, which is that the shooter dressed like other people going to the movie, started shooting during a fight scene and used smoke grenades to maximize confusing, and was wearing body armor. Body armor. No amount of handguns in the audience would have done any good at all.

  • aunursa

    Why don’t we just interpret the Second Amendment to say that everyone can have guns, but no one can have ammo?

    I don’t think any court would interpret the Second Amendment that way.  It would make the Amendment essentially meaningless.  It would be similar to a license that allows a person to own a car, but everyone is prohibited from obtaining gasoline.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon
    Why don’t we just interpret the Second Amendment to say that everyone can have guns, but no one can have ammo?

    I don’t think any court would interpret the Second Amendment that way.  It would make the Amendment essentially meaningless.  It would be similar to a license that allows a person to drive a car, but fuel is prohibited.

    I think that a case could be made that any purchase of a weapon license would require a registration with the National Guard or a military reserve branch.  The exact wording of the second amendment was, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  

    The keywords there being “well regulated militia”.  Heck, “regulation” is right there in the original text!  

  • aunursa

    The issue is whether the “militia” clause limits the right to bear arms, or whether the clause merely announces a purpose for that right.

  • Dan Audy

    This.

    The thing that drives me the most nuts about the response to the tragedy is all the MANLY MEN saying that ‘if I had been there and had my gun this wouldn’t have happened’.  The truth is that if a whole bunch of people had been armed in that theater it is possible that the attacker might not have killed as many people but there definitely would have been ‘friendly fire’ hits and possibly escalation as multiple armed people mistook each other for accomplices (because if one person makes a mistake and fires at an unknowing ally they are going to shoot back and escalate).  I don’t think they understand how to emotionally cope with the tragedy and awfulness involved without putting on a Kabuki show of how darn tough and smart and powerful they are and how everything would have been different if ‘they’ had been there.  It disturbs me so much because that sort of ‘gotta prove that I’m tough and not scared’ by horror response is what got the US into Iraq and is going to keep plowing America into the ground if people don’t learn better ways of coping with fear of things happening that they have no ability to control.

  • Kiba

    all the MANLY MEN saying that ‘if I had been there and had my gun this wouldn’t have happened’. 

    That’s one guaranteed way to get on my nerves. Back in college I ended up watching Saving Private Ryan with my brother and four of his friends and through most of the movie that was the kind of shit they kept saying. “If I had been there I would have….” To hear them talk they would have won the war single-handedly. Finally I got sick of their posturing and said, “So, if you are such patriotic he-men why don’t you go down and enlist? I’ll even drive you there.” Oddly enough the didn’t respond or take me up on my offer. 

     
         

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That’s one guaranteed way to get on my nerves. Back in college I ended up watching Saving Private Ryan with my brother and four of his friends and through most of the movie that was the kind of shit they kept saying. “If I had been there I would have….” To hear them talk they would have won the war single-handedly. Finally I got sick of their posturing and said, “So, if you are such patriotic he-men why don’t you go down and enlist? I’ll even drive you there.” Oddly enough the didn’t respond or take me up on my offer.

    I saw that film when I was a teenager.  I loved the D-day landing.  Mostly because I saw that as an awesome way to die, charging the enemy’s guns with the knowledge that I would probably not live to reach them, but the absolute belief that dying charging them was the right thing to do.    

    My father was disappointed in what I took from the film.  

    If I were in that Aurora theater and I was able to pick out the shooter, I would have charged him in an attempt to get him to discharge his weapon at me.  If I was really lucky, I might get my hands on him before he felled me, letting my body absorb as much of his ammunition as possible so that he would have fewer rounds left to put into other people.  Each bullet of his I take is one more innocent person’s death I have potentially averted.  

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    For the love of God can you please keep the details of your blood lust to yourself. Or maybe stick a trigger warning* on those posts where you detail the various glorious violences you desire for yourself, cos it makes me nauseous.

    *No, I’m not taking the piss

  • Dan Audy

    For the love of God can you please keep the details of your blood lust to yourself. Or maybe stick a trigger warning* on those posts where you detail the various glorious violences you desire for yourself, cos it makes me nauseous.
    *No, I’m not taking the piss

    Particularly because you’ve been told in the past that people find these sort of violent fantasies disturbing.  The level of inappropriate, disproportionality is deeply disturbing even though we tend to agree that those people are awfully bad and deserve to be denounced.  Those sorts of rants are no better than when bigots start vocally fantasizing about what they’d like done to homosexuals and I frankly worry that the progressives are going to be forced to disavow your comments and point out that they don’t represent our views after we read about you doing something violent and atrocious in the news.

  • Donalbain

     Yes, we know.. every time anything related comes up, you announce how much of a true hero you would be. We get it. You are the bravest man ever. Well done. Have a cookie.

  • PJ Evans

     A hundred-round magazine wouldn’t leave enough of you to charge.

  • friendly reader

    Also, this shit:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18980974
    Americans are so damn stupid some times.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    FearlessSon has it on the spot about mythologizing guns. There’s just something really strange about ascribing almost elemental, fundamental properties to guns as though by the act of picking one up it becomes a transcendental experience the likes of which you suddenly become Teflon-like invulnerable to any accusations of being insufficiently patriotic.

  • Erl

    One fun game to play with all this [note: bitterly sarcastic] is to point out that, in fact, we restrict ownership of all sorts of weapons. RPGs, for example. Now, if you’re serious about the Second Amendment as used to overthrow tyrants, RPGs are exactly the sort of weapons the rebels will need to shoot down loyalist helicopters and blow up loyalist tanks. 

    But for some, mysterious reason, we don’t allow private citizens to possess them! 

    And you can be sure that if we did, if you could get an RPG over the internet, the death toll in this attack would have been an order of magnitude higher. So we already restrict the right for private citizens to keep and bear arms in order to protect public safety. In fact, our laws on this matter probably DID reduce the harm this attack caused; the counterfactual simply isn’t immediately visible.So the absolutist argument doesn’t apply to our society whatsoever.I’m always a little frightened when I make this argument that someone will begin to call for the legalization of RPGs, though, so I tend not to too often. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    FS: I think you would be better off remembering an aphorism commonly attributed to General Patton:

    “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

  • Jenny Islander

    The anecdote that is often cited to prove the assertion that an armed society is a polite society is the surprisingly low incidence  of gun violence in the heavily armed Wild West.  Citers generally fail to note the correspondingly high incidence of prior Civil War service among people who went West to make a new start.  IOW, the people with the guns already knew what guns could and could not do. 

    Personally I wouldn’t mind if owning a firearm came with a corresponding requirement to go to a government firing range and practice with the thing a certain number of hours per month under the eyes of experienced instructors.  On alternate days the public firing range would be converted to a classroom where civilian gun owners would get to analyze shoot/don’t-shoot situations, observe bullet wounds, talk to people who had been involved in armed altercations, etc.  I think this would reduce the number of people who think that a gun is a Magic Wand of I Win +1.

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    I often think the same thing. To draw an analogy, there is a great deal of risk involved in maneuvering a half-ton of metal moving at 50 mph, with consequences potentially just as fatal if one makes a mistake. I’ve never quite felt so much like I’m taking my life in my hands as
    when going through Atlanta on 75/85 with six lanes near full and
    everyone doing 60. And needing to move three lanes to the left to avoid
    getting forced onto the wrong road.

    Because of that danger, we require that anyone who drives pass an exam demonstrating knowledge of the rules of the road and the ability to follow those rules. Similarly, there should be a training requirement attached to firearms licenses, especially for anyone who wants to carry them in public. Rights come with responsibilities and the need to acknowledge the rights of others.

    Speaking for myself, I know I’d almost certainly be a lousy shot in a life-or-death situation. The blowhards always seem to ignore what might happen when they miss. The possibility of getting innocent blood on my hands trying to play the hero is too heavy for me.

  • Jenny Islander

     “The blowhards always seem to ignore what might happen when they miss.”

    QFT.

    This is often an example of ignorance at play, IMO. It reminds me of the young teenage boy who “borrowed” the key to the gun locker and “borrowed” his dad’s new high-powered rifle (bought for hunting at a distance in rugged country IIRC).  He went up on the mountain that overlooks our town and started plinking cans with the thing.  He had no idea that he had come within six inches of killing somebody more than a mile away and inside a building–until the cops showed up, having followed the path of the bullet.

    Benign or heroic intent does not cancel out damnfool idiotic behavior.

  • AnonymousSam

    Heck, just the bang would be too much for me. I’d be more dangerous with a plastic butter-knife. ._.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also, people associate the Wild West with guns when a great deal of gun violence is also known to take place in the South, which has been linked with the presence of an ‘honor culture’.

  • Jenny Islander

    That would be the “honor” culture that legislators and social movers and shakers  went to great pains to stamp out in the broader social arena because it gives bullies and brawlers disproportionate power and gives rise to feuds that gnaw at the foundations of a civil society.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Considering how successful the KKK and the Southern Democrats were at refighting the civil war and winning in the political arena, do you REALLY want to make the case that such stamping-out was really all that successful? (-_-)

  • PJ Evans

    the surprisingly low incidence  of gun violence in the heavily armed Wild West

    I seem to recall hearing that many towns in the West banned handguns, too.

  • Dan Audy

    I seem to recall hearing that many towns in the West banned handguns, too.

    That is an absolutely correct recollection.  Most towns had gun control laws that forbade possession of firearms within their bounds.  Huffington Post had an article last year by a law professor who has written a book on the history of gun control and gun rights on it.

  • Jenny Islander

    And also: The latest issue of Alaska includes an article about the right firearm to use in an encounter with a bear.  The article used analysis of recorded human/bear encounters to extract some useful data about the initial topic.  For example, if the bear is extremely close, anything that packs a wallop will work about 3/4 of the time.  However, the major conclusion of the study is that if you have to use a gun to stop a bear, the situation is almost always your fault in the first place.  The first and best protection from bears is to avoid surprising, annoying, or luring bears.  I expect next month’s letter column to have a lot of angry screeds about librul socialist treehuggers who want to rip our guns from our cold dead hands.  It’s just more satisfying to skip over the rules about camp hygiene, being careful on wilderness trails, etc., and fantasize instead about goin’ out there with a gun and gittin’r’done.

    It would be nice to be proven wrong, though.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    My feeling on the matter is, if you want guns, have guns, but (unless your gun collection consists of a hunting rifle and a purse-sized handgun, no more and nothing else) you had damn well better belong to the National Guard. That way your gun can be used in service of the country and also the country can keep tabs on you, ‘keeping tabs’ to include regular checks to make sure you’re not planning mass murder.

    What about hunting shotguns?  Also, more than one rifle, because you want different ones for different game (shoot an elk with a .22 and you’ll annoy it.  Shoot varmints with a .308, and there won’t be more than shreds left).

    Body armor. No amount of handguns in the audience would have done any good at all.

    He was wearing a full, sealed suit that was somehow capable of diffusing kinetic force so that getting shot doesn’t still has a damn good chance of knocking you over?

    “The issue is whether the “militia” clause limits the right to bear arms, or whether the clause merely announces a purpose for that right.”

    It does establish that the militia can be regulated, though.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind if owning a firearm came with a corresponding requirement to go to a government firing range and practice with the thing a certain number of hours per month under the eyes of experienced instructors.  On alternate days the public firing range would be converted to a classroom where civilian gun owners would get to analyze shoot/don’t-shoot situations, observe bullet wounds, talk to people who had been involved in armed altercations, etc.  I think this would reduce the number of people who think that a gun is a Magic Wand of I Win +1.

    That’s a really good idea, generally.  ‘Well Regulated Militia’ and all.  As for the happy fun stuff like assault rifles and RPGs, well… my first impulse would be to give special liscences to trusted ranges to possess such weapons, so they could ‘rent’ them to the firepower fanboys, but they couldn’t leave the range.  Possibly put a tracker of some kind in them too.

    As for the ‘defense against tyranny’ argument… you probably don’t want to go toe-to-toe with an national army in the first place, even if you *do* have assault rifles and RPGs.  Yes, you can legally own a tank, but it’s still not a good idea.  An armed populace – and more importantly, a populace familiar with weaponry – can work as a deterrent against oppression, as the government knows that even if it can crush any opposition on the field, they’ll be facing an armed insurgency… which is a lot harder to crush.  Plus, in the much more likely case of a civil war which splits the government and military, having a lot of civilians on your side who are already familiar with guns – and therefore can be trained into soldiers relatively quickly – can be a major benefit.

  • Dan Audy

    I’ve never understood the challenge American’s face differentiating between the validity of different types of weapons.  I own a handful of rifles and shotguns that serve well for hunting but I don’t own (nor would I if it were legal) any handguns, automatic weaponry, missiles, or explosives (excepting brief possession of stumping powder between store and usage) because the only use for those is killing people or causing massive structural damage.  Handguns, submachineguns, and assault rifles are amazingly fun toys when I’ve gotten a chance to use them but the idea of having people allowed to take them out of those closely controlled areas manned by professionals fills me with absolute dread.

    Afghanistan and Iraq both had extremely high rates of gun ownership but that didn’t stop their governments from being extremely oppressive nor did it prevent foreign invaders from rolling in over them like nothing.  Explosives and mortars are what has been useful for them fighting foreigners, carrying assault rifles just gets them killed from miles away by bomb, missile, or gunship without any chance to fight back.  Conversely the low gun ownership rates in Spain, Australia, or England has not caused them to descend into oppressive regimes.  As best we can tell there is absolutely no correlation between civilian gun ownership and the likelyhood of a country being oppressive.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Conversely the low gun ownership rates in Spain, Australia, or England has not caused them to descend into oppressive regimes. 

    The biggest category of guns owned by Australians are rifles–a little over half of all firearms, I think. I grew up in the country where farmers have a legitimate need for rifles to control feral animals and put down livestock.

    You can’t buy a firearm in Australia because you just want one; you have to explain why you need one. “Self-defense” is not an acceptable reason for civilians. If you want to buy a firearm for the first time, you wait 28 days. If you want to buy a handgun for target shooting, you have to show that you’re a participating member of a target shooting club, and the type of handgun you can buy is restricted. You cannot buy a semiautomatic weapon under any circumstances because that’s an unbelievably appalling idea.

    All of this and yeah, we’re still doing fine on the freedom front.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    But surely, *surely* criminals will just lie on the form! 

    I mean,we KNOW FOR ABSOLUTE FACT that gun laws ONLY keep honest lawful citizens from getting guns; they would stop NO criminals from getting them, and even if they did, the criminals would just use homemade explosives instead.

    I mean, we know this for a FACT; it’s simple logic, and if you can’t use pure logic to disprove it, then we must accept it as true and ignore the fact that every other country in  the world has not just lower gun violence, but *several orders of magnitute lower per capita gun violence*.

    Right? 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m feeling pretty slapped around by mortality at the moment so I’m afraid I’m not in the mood to engage in sarcastic banter about a fucked up mentality that makes parents bury their kids.

    Maybe another time?

  • EllieMurasaki

    What about hunting shotguns?  Also, more than one rifle, because you
    want different ones for different game (shoot an elk with a .22 and
    you’ll annoy it.  Shoot varmints with a .308, and there won’t be more
    than shreds left).

    So I don’t know jack about guns. Sue me. I’ll amend my previous statement to say anyone whose gun collection includes anything that isn’t a handgun or specifically designed for hunting, and/or more than one handgun, needs to not be a civilian. And I’d be happier if there were a limit on the number of hunting guns one could own (what a reasonable limit would be, I leave to experts, though I note that five seems high).

    Guns that I am absolutely confident are not designed for hunting: anything rapid-fire, anything where the ammo is designed to maximize instead of minimize damage to the target, anything meant to go through anything sturdier than meat and bone.


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