Everybody is Talking about the Grisly Video Exposing our Culture of Death

Everybody is Talking about the Grisly Video Exposing our Culture of Death August 26, 2015

So many people have seen it and said, “Maybe *now* people will stop responding to the horror that is happening all over America countless times every day.  Maybe now they will stop saying ‘Oh well, there’s nothing you can do.  And besides it’s my *right*!’  Maybe now they will finally stop making excuses for doing nothing and join with the many others who say that human life is precious and we need to find ways to preserve it, not make excuses for killing it.  Maybe now, they will see the humanity of the victims and not let their fears about an imaginary dystopian future blind them to the very real deaths they are laboring to excuse and facilitate right now.”

But most likely they will, just like the people defending Planned Parenthood, go on defending the Gun Cult’s constant apologias for maintaining the status quo and laboring only to line the pockets of gun manufacturers.

Prolife people meet the challenge of abortion by saying that they will never ever give up the struggle to oppose it no matter how much the culture and the law are presently against them.  They are heroic in virtue and let nothing daunt to their will to fight for human life.  I say that we need to have exactly the same attitude to our annual harvest of 32,000 corpses slaughtered by the gun.  Instead of working as hard as possible to figure out reasons why nothing should so much as be attempted, why not approach this with “What can we do? After all, the gun slaughter has been stanched in other countries. What can we attempt?” Would you approach the our abortion rate with, “Oh well, whaddayagonnadoo? No point in even trying.”  But the Gun Cult does that literally every day, since there is, literally every day, a fresh mass shooting which is greeted every day with “It’s too soon!  Don’t politicize this tragedy by trying to stop the next one!” and “What this proves is that we need MOAR  GUNS!”

This, by the way, is what I mean by the Gun Cult.  It is not “Anybody who owns a gun or enjoys shooting or thinks he needs to protect himself.”  Rather, the Gun Cult is that sector of the Culture of Death which greets every fresh slaughter of our annual 32,000 pile of corpses not with, “Dear God, what steps can we take to reduce this horror show?” but with “Screw you! Don’t take my guns!” or “Do nothing. Attempt nothing. All action is futile” or with a host of braindead fallacies (Hey!  He just would have used a rock to kill all those children if he hadn’t had a gun!) all calculated to make sure that the only actual concrete step taken after each slaughter is to make sure the gun manufacturing industry’s profits go up. That is the Gun Cult in a nutshell. Not all gun enthusiasts are members of the Cult. But if you behave in any of the ways above, you are. Human life is less important to you than your idol, the Gun and you counsel passivity in the face of evil just as surely as the PP rep who says, “Abortion is legal and inevitable. If you try to stop it people will just find some other way to get it done.”  When your first, last, and only response to Sandy Hook is to counsel doing nothing and, as the NRA did, to encourage people to believe that the parents of the slaughtered children at Sandy Hook were part of a conspiracy to make the Gun Cult look bad, you are part of the problem.



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  • falstaff77

    Suicide statistics are to be reduced by banning guns? Along with tall structures, pills, and razor blades? S. Korea has a ban on civilian gun ownership yet manages a sad second highest suicide rate in the world. The guns or rock equivalence falls apart in mass shootings, not suicide.

    • Andre B

      The guns or rock equivalence falls apart in mass shootings, not suicide.

      I think it’s a probably overly simplistic to compare the suicide rates of Country X w/ guns to Country Y w/o guns. It might be much better to look at individual countries that had significant changes in access to guns and compare their rates w/ and w/o guns. For example, Switzerland and Israel – two countries that allowed soldiers to take their weapons home while on leave / part of the reserves – saw marked decreases in suicides (and apparently not just firearm suicides, but suicides overall) when changes were made to prevent soldiers from taking their weapons home. Similarly, Australia has seen a marked reduction in overall suicides, not just firearm, since implementing its buy-back program.

      Edit a word for clarity

      • Re Ja

        Lack of a gun won’t stop a person determined to commit sucide. What it does stop is the despondent drunk, in crisis, who reaches for the gun in the drawer. He/she gets a chance to sleep it off and tomorrow is another day and possibly a chance to get help. Fewer guns means fewer hands reaching into drawers…

        • Stu

          There is always a necktie, razor, CO poisoning, gas stove, pills, etc.

          • Andre B

            Sample size (and lazy citing!) alert: https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/1HnOcxsyNHNmPVon9ywIBIB7c0I=/800×0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3985702/fatal%20suicide%20attempts.jpg

            it seems like we’d have far less suicides if people had only the things you mentioned to attempt to kill themselves with.

            • Stu

              Or people would simply resort to those other methods.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              You do understand why that doesn’t actually demonstrate what you claim, right? Please tell me you’re just employing rhetoric! No one is this vapid, are they?

              • Andre B

                Stu suggests that the method of suicide doesn’t matter – that in the absence of firearms, people will use whatever is available. The data I linked, that shows percentage of successful suicides by method, would seem to indicate that it does matter what you try to kill yourself with.

          • Re Ja

            No where near as handy. And guns are perceived as quick and painless. It takes a lot more planning, guts and determination to strangle yourself, dangling at the end of a necktie or cutting yourself and watching yourself bleed. Ever wondered what it would take to kill yourself on your knees strangling from a doorknob or clothes rod when all you had to do to stop was standup? That’s some will to die. Not the despondent drunk I was talking about.

            • Stu

              Really? You have gun closer to you than a neck tie or medicine cabinet? Despondent drunks are, well, despondent. That removes much of the rationalization you provide.

              • Re Ja

                Are you being intentionally obtuse to what I just wrote, just to have a come back?

                • Stu

                  Are you?

              • Andre B

                I mean, no…

                Firearms afford an efficiency that things like cutting, pills, and CO poisoning just do not. Far too much lag between initiating process and death. There’s usually no second guessing to be done once you pull a trigger. If you start a car, pop pills, or even (depending on how you) cut yourself – there’s time to change your mind and call for help.

                • Marthe Lépine

                  I agree. There is also time for someone to realize something is wrong and intervene, while a gunshot wound is quick and final. Do we know how many people may have been saved from drowning, poisoning with pills or other drugs, serious self-inflicted cuts or any other way a desperate person will try to kill himself or herself? As far as we know, there could be millions of untold such stories, and if most of these people had access to a gun, the statistics could be way higher..

                • Stu

                  From what I have been taught on suicide, people pick a means that will achieve their end goal. If they are hell bent on suicide, you see firearms or jumping in front of a train or hanging. If the aim is to get help, they go for lesser means such as slitting wrists or taking pillls. Regardless, if your goal is to reduce suicide then the response would seem to be better mental health care.

                  • Andre B

                    Hi Stu,

                    I don’t have anything resembling formal education on the topic of suicide, so what you say — that people seek methods who’s lethality corresponds to their desire to die vs to get help — might well hold, I’m in no position to say.

                    Regardless, if your goal is to reduce suicide then the response would seem to be better mental health care.

                    This should, of course, be part of any effort to address suicide.

                    • Hezekiah Garrett

                      Then you should get some. I deal with the suicidal weekly, very nearly daily. Men (and its almost always men who wish to die) will use the most efficient means at there disposal. Women (though not quite as solidly as the previous claim) who are crying desperately for help choose the least lethal means available for a reason. The lady who tried to overdose on beneadryl will never consider a gun, the man who blew out the back of his skull would just resort to salycilic acid overdosing in conjunction with a straight razor to the wrists if no gun were available.

                      This country needs to fix its mental health mess. And now.

                      Regardless of how best to address gun crime, banning guns to save the suicidal is just a gutless and uncaring act, because it solves nothing, but allows preening on the part of the well.

                    • Pete the Greek

                      “The lady who tried to overdose on beneadryl will never consider a gun, the man who blew out the back of his skull would just resort to salycilic acid overdosing in conjunction with a straight razor to the wrists if no gun were available.”

                      I have suspected it was a dynamic something like this. Don’t have much knowledge in the area of suicide. What little exposure I’ve had was a guy who ran in front of our bus on the highway on purpose and the occasional jumper on the bridge near the main casino. When you see the flashing lights on HWY8 at night, you can be pretty sure that’s what’s going on. Rare, but sad.

                    • Andre B

                      Then you should get some.


                      Regardless of how best to address gun crime, banning guns to save the suicidal is just a gutless and uncaring act, because it solves nothing, but allows preening on the part of the well.

                      To the best of my knowledge, you’ve done nothing to show that increases in gun control would have no effect on suicide.

                      But, yeah…let’s keep the rhetoric train going.

        • Pete the Greek

          Then the best thing to do would be to profile such people and determine what things to look for. If you’ve attempted suicide before, then that can set a flag in the background check system.

          We do such things now when it comes to flags for insanity, previous acts of violence, restraining orders (I think attempted suicide is on there already).

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Why on earth would you think a civilian populace would be reasonably compared to a military one? You might have gotten a pass on the Swiss, but Isreal?

        I bet you just like the comparison because it supports your already formed opinion. But that’s based solely on watching you ‘argue’ in previous discussions.

        • Andre B

          Why on earth would you think a civilian populace would be reasonably compared to a military one? You might have gotten a pass on the Swiss, but Isreal?

          First, let’s remember that I listed 3 countries that saw drops in gun suicides + overall suicides after making changes to their gun laws (Switzerland, Israel, and Australia). Did you not notice that Australia was part of the discussion? If you have other countries that you think we should consider looking at, or other reasons you think that suicide might have fallen in this countries, I’m all ears.

          Second, what distinction between “civilian” and “military” populaces do you feel needs to be considered when trying to evaluate whether or not restricting access to firearms reduces suicide? (And why do I get a “pass” on the Swiss but not the Israelis?)

          I bet you just like the comparison because it supports your already formed opinion. But that’s based solely on watching you ‘argue’ in previous discussions.

          Are we already – one exchange in – ironically dismissing the other’s point of view as merely conforming to preconceived notions? As flattering as it is for you to have either a) remembered some previous interactions or b) looked through my public profile…well this is awkward, but I don’t remember you from anywhere. Do feel free to make some substantive points though! Ta.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Why do you think the comparison to South Korea is invalid? I think that’s a better question.

            But you get a pass on Switzerland and not Israel because Switzerland is a neutral country gaurded by a militia, whereas Isreal exists in a state of constant war executed by a broad based conscript army.

            My point, which I see was far too subtle even while resembling apile of bricks, was that you give no reason whatsoever for dismissing the earlier comparison, nor providing your own, other than one supports your thesis and the other doesn’t.

            Your rhetoric would be more effective if you give plausibly objective reasons for the substitution. You won’t sway any minds the way you present your case, mostly because a collection of prejudices isn’t a case.

            • Andre B

              Why do you think the comparison to South Korea is invalid? I think that’s a better question.

              First, I didn’t say “invalid”. I said that it would probably be overly simplistic to simply take the suicide rates in countries with guns and compare them to countries without guns. I feel like doing such a comparison opens you up to far too many variables (wealth, religion, government, strife, etc). I suggested looking at countries that underwent some sort of change in the gun-laws as a way of narrowing down such variables.

              But you get a pass on Switzerland and not Israel because Switzerland is a neutral country gaurded by a militia, whereas Isreal exists in a state of constant war executed by a broad based conscript army.

              You still fail to explain why this matters when evaluating whether or not restricting access to firearms reduces suicide.

              My point, which I see was far too subtle even while resembling apile of bricks, was that you give no reason whatsoever for dismissing the earlier comparison, nor providing your own, other than one supports your thesis and the other doesn’t.

              Let’s be clear about my initial remarks to falstaff. There are two “theses”: 1) That guns vs. no-guns seems too simplistic a measure when trying to compare national suicide rates; 2) That CHE, ISR, and AUT seem to be examples of countries where noticeable changes (drops) in suicide rates occurred after enacting of laws to limit access to firearms.

              To the charge that I gave no reason for originally dismissing the KOR comparison, again, that’s nonsense. I gave a reason to question it: that mere comparisons of countries with guns to those without seemed overly simplistic.

              To the charge that I gave no reason for my own comparison, I could certainly have been more explicit, I’ll grant you that much. However, having just stated that I felt like comparing countries to each other was overly simplistic for the topic, and having suggested that we instead look at before/after data from specific individual countries, I had assumed people would infer that I was trying to reduce the number of variables.

              In any case, thank you for the chance to explain my thinking.

              • falstaff77

                First, thanks for the other country cases.
                “1) That guns vs. no-guns seems too simplistic a measure when trying to compare national suicide rates;”

                Yes, though the guns-suicide connection is the idea presented by the “78 guns suicide” graphic.

                ” 2) That CHE, ISR, and AUT seem to be examples of countries where noticeable changes (drops) in suicide rates occurred after enacting of laws to limit access to firearms.”

                I looked a the Swiss and Israeli examples and didn’t find them useful. Ideally what we want is a guns / much fewer guns later case with some statistically large samples and where other simultaneous changes to the population are controlled. In the Swiss example the size of the military was cut in half, that is, all those who lost their weapons also experience a big change in lifestyle. The Israeli example was based on a change of seven suicides, 14 to 7, out of the entire military, and they also changed several other factors simultaneously; if I had to guess the simultaneous increased investigation into troubled soldiers would have the biggest impact.

                • Andre B

                  Yes, though the guns-suicide connection is the idea presented by the “78 guns suicide” graphic.

                  Fair point!

                  I looked a the Swiss and Israeli examples and didn’t find them useful.

                  Also fair, but we still have the Australian example.

                  Ideally what we want is a guns / much fewer guns later case with some statistically large samples and where other simultaneous changes to the population are controlled.


                  FWIW, when you initially mentioned KOR, my first thought was to also think of Japan (racist!) – another country with high suicide low guns – and their elevated suicide rate (though KOR seems to be age-related vs. employment related with JPN). I didn’t think these would be good examples to compare the US to due to the seemingly high base cultural acceptance of suicide in these countries.

    • kenofken

      Should we just unlock all of the security doors to the rooftops of skyscrapers and remove all of the barriers and security on bridges like the Golden Gate? I mean, they’re just going to find another way anyway, so no sense in taking any measures.

      • falstaff77

        Is standing on the precipice of the Golden Gate also critical to the like of self-defense, free speech, religious freedom, or trial by jury? If it were then yes a trade off would have to be accommodated between free access and bridge security. A modest first step: get HIPAA out of the way of mental health background checks without a riot by the ACLU and claims that such will bring back the age of Nurse Ratched

  • Steve

    We have a new exchange student living with us from Europe, and we briefly touched on a conversation about gun violence the other day. He made a reference to a particular mass shooting incident that he must have heard about, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out which one he was talking about.

    It was a sad moment for me to come up with any kind of an apologia for this aspect of our American culture.

    (and re: suicide – yes, the sheer availability of guns and the finality of the survivability of a self-inflicted gunshot wound have ENORMOUS bearing on the suicide rate.)

  • AquinasMan

    Ultimately, even if we enact more safeguards — and I agree that there is work to be done here — we’re merely building a Potemkin Village concealing (not addressing) the underlying problem, which is the growing phenomenon of men and women disengaging from the Natural Law. I’ve fired weapons, I have loved ones who are responsibly in possession of firearms, and there’s nothing evil “per se” about owning one for a limited, defensive intent. Personally, not my cup of tea, but I might think differently if my family were under threat.

    But I agree with Mark that there is an element that has over-corrected on the steering wheel, and — much like pro-aborts defend abortion regardless of the graphic evidence in front of their eyes — refuse to even countenance the thought of figuring out a better way for a person to exercise their right to own a ballistic weapon without putting it in the hands of whack job racists, the mentally ill, and various and sundry degenerates. There has to be a way. We put a man on the moon. We build computer chips on a grain of sand. It’s not an either/or situation, which both poles of the issue would like you to believe.

  • vox borealis

    Gun violence in the U.S. Down dramatically over the last 20+ years:


    So whatever is being done..or not done…keep it up.

  • MarylandBill

    Mark, I strongly sympathize with the position you are presenting and I agree we need to look at ways to reduce gun violence in this country. That being said, simply throwing out the statistics you end the article with does little to bolster your argument. First of all, unlike its murder rate, America’s suicide rate is not out of line with the rest of the first world. I think it is quite legitimate to argue that removing access to firearms will have little direct impact on the suicide rate. In addition, I suspect most gun advocates would argue that guns are used to protect people far more often than the statistic regarding justifiable homicides would suggest; it really would be impossible to know and frankly is kind of irrelevant to the problem anyway.

    The real question, and the one that needs to be focused on, is how to reduce the use of handguns for the deliberate killing of other humans… this would be true even if they were used for self defense far more often than to murder people and it would be true even if the vast majority of deaths were accidents (like is the case for Automobiles).

    Much stronger background checks can help, but of course many NRA supporters are worried about the government getting information about who owns guns (and given the way our government is going I am not sure they are wrong to be worried about it). I think we also need to stop focusing on the high profile killings; when we do the result is that laws crafted in response to those events tend to 1. target weapons that actually kill very few people in this country (i.e., the “assault weapon” bans), 2. convince gun owners that government wants to eliminate a wide range of weapons and 3. mostly ignores the handguns that kill the vast majority of people in this country.

    • Stu

      Yes, the fixation on the high profile killings is a distraction. Tragic indeed, they typically involve crazy people who by definition don’t follow the rule or convention in any manner. Trying to outwit them will only drive us crazy.

      As to the larger issue, instead of focusing on just firearms it seems to me that this issue is perhaps part of the larger question of how society should conduct law enforcement? It’s the underlying issues that need addressed, not the tools of the trade. We just aren’t reaching an entire segment of society and I’m not sure having our police officers in armor driving around in cruisers helps with this or many other things we see.

  • Ted Colt

    Murderers accomplished the Rwandan genocide with machetes.
    Guns are not the problem.

    • MarylandBill

      I think it is a little disingenuous to compare a genocide with the murders that happen every day in this country. Sure if 10 people attack with machetes, they are going to be able to kill an individual who is unarmed. But machetes are fairly hard to conceal, and you have to get right up to your target before you can use it; close enough that the target has a chance to fight back or run away.

      I think ultimately it is living in willful ignorance to claim that the murder rate would not drop if all guns are eliminated. The problem is figuring out how to solve the problems without necessarily eliminating all the guns.

      • Stu

        Seems like we haven’t been able to define what “solving the problem” is. Zero deaths from firearms? Nobody thinks outlawing abortion would result in zero abortions.

        Now I realize you probably agree with my point but I don’t think we every do define “success” in this challenge.

        • kenofken

          I would propose a 50% reduction in gun homicides and suicides accomplished over 20 years as a benchmark for reasonable progress in solving the problem. Why half? It’s a reasonable midpoint between the nihilistic indifference we have now and the hard realities of evil and tragedy in the world. I believe it’s doable, and without any radical abridgment of the basic rights and customs of private firearm ownership in this country.

          This isn’t a hideously complex problem like interstellar travel. It’s a public health problem. We’ve done this before. We can look in any of a dozen directions historically – industrial safety, sanitation etc., but let’s pick a recent one within easy living memory of most of us – drunk driving deaths and injuries.

          We pretty well cut those in half within a generation. We didn’t confiscate everybody’s cars or come up with the ultimate final perfect solution to the problem which had to be mathematically proven to 9 decimal places before we’d even propose any action.

          The big key to solving the problem was acknowledging that it was a problem, and that fixing it was more important than the agendas of the special interests which were invested in maintaining the status quo. Half of the answer of end half of the slaughter was truly nothing more or less than changing our mindset.

          Once you do that, the rest falls into place. You get data. You design solutions. You refine and reinforce the ones that work. You discard the ones that suck. You go home and grab 40 winks and restart the cycle. Wax on, wax off. After a lot of fits and starts and setbacks, you watch the trend lines go steadily down till they level off at stubborn sticking points. The work is politically thorny and not sexy and not easy, but it’s not the sort of thing we need Stephen Hawking to torment himself for a decade just to tease out a rough body of theory before we can even approach the problem.

          Once the trend lines level off, you get into the tougher nuanced parts of the problem which don’t readily yield to the usual legal and cultural fixes, but the first 50% reduction in deaths is, in pretty quick hindsight, fairly easy. It’s really just a matter of identifying and reducing the really obviously stupid, self-defeating sh*t which drives most of the deaths and crashes.

          It’s low-hanging fruit. It’s not the social drinker who drifted half of one shot over a legal limit. It’s not the hardcore addict re-offender at this point, it’s the culture of young people getting too bombed to walk racing home every weekend from the back country border bars which cater to them. It’s the popular culture memes and actions of police and judges which treat DUI as a joke or a harmless lark. As the cultural message changes and DUI busts start landing hard fines and jail time, habitual DUI becomes a an expensive and unattractive hobby for the great bulk of recreational drinkers. Lots of people who normally died or killed someone didn’t, and education and law enforcement efforts moved on to the tougher cases. There is nothing about the gun violence problem which makes it fundamentally different or unworkable by this approach.

          • chezami

            No! All attempts at change are utopian and hysterical. You just want to Do Something! What is wrong with you?

            • kenofken

              I should watch my step. They’ll have Trump revoke my citizenship. I was born here, but only third generation!

          • Marthe Lépine

            Congratulations! This is a very good analogy and a good way to look at solving a problem. I hope that a number of people pick it up and try to start the process. Another analogy would the public health problem of smoking – it took a very long time, but we are beginning to see many results. A few generations ago, people who claimed that smoking was dangerous to peoples’ health were considered to simply be crazy, but attitudes did change.

          • ivan_the_mad

            You have an excellent insight here, that solutions need not be perfect from the very first. To insist otherwise is at best naive.

            • Mike Petrik

              No, but we should be reasonably confident that on balance they improve the situation without introducing worse unintended consequences. These are often difficult prudential inquiries, and much of what government has done over the past 60 years was initiated without careful prudence. The atrophy of the family is partially the result of a well-intended welfare strategy for instance. History shows that the Do Something Crowd is almost always more dangerous than their skeptical opponents. But Lord knows they feel wonderful in their self-righteousness. No doubt certain Internet know-it-alls enjoy a great rush in releasing their sneering rants.

              • ivan_the_mad

                Much like you.

          • Pete the Greek

            “I would propose a 50% reduction in gun homicides”
            – Then you should be happy at this point. Since 1993 we have had, according to the FBI, a 49% reduction in gun homicides nationwide. True, there’s still that pesky 1%, but even the margin of error covers that. We’re doing pretty darn good by your standard!

            • kenofken

              If anyone can be remotely happy at this point with where gun violence statistics are in this country, then it’s time for the “Pro-life” movement to close up shop and quit wasting everyone’s time. I’m not living in 1993 anymore, and assuming there aren’t huge gravitational or velocity differences between us, neither are you. The fact that the stats are better is mostly lucky happenstance and the effects of an aging society which tends to lower most types of crime. It isn’t the result of any conscious engagement of the problem because the only thing that has happened in the gun debate since 1993 is a hardened resolve to deny there is any problem.

              • Pete the Greek

                So, just for the record, you are NOT happy about that 49% reduction? You don’t think a HUGE drop in murder, rape, assault, etc is a good thing? You’re the strangest prolifer I’ve ever met.

                I think it’s funny that anti-gun zealots like yourself are never happy about any form of reduction in violence. Seriously, that number could have been 70%, 80%, 90% and it would not have any effect on you. You’d just gripe and whine that it doesn’t matter and it’s not what you wanted.

                Note that there is nothing in what I said that indicates we should STOP and rest on laurels, and not work to reduce violence further, or work toward realistic, good faith compromises regarding firearms. But the fact that people like you honestly couldn’t give a crap less that, yes indeed, MANY less people are being murdered, is very telling. You said a LOT more in your comment than you realize. You simply exposed yourself not as someone who really is concerned about violence, just someone who wants to ban things.

                There are quite a few people on this blog who favor a lot more restrictions on firearms, but are rational enough to debate actual issues with. You’re just another ideologue who isn’t worth the time.

                If a near 50% reduction in the worst forms of violence in this country is worthless in your eyes (pathetic) then perhaps your home ISN’T in the profile cause.

                Marking down your name to remember, because you aren’t worth the time or the effort to respond to in the future.

          • Stu

            Outstanding. Someone with guts willing to put an idea out there for scrutiny by others. I applaud that and would recommend Mark allow you to write any and all of gun posts so as to make them actually constructive.

            I will respond more thoughtfully later.

            • kenofken

              I try to be constructive. If my approach to engaging this problem every really played out though, I believe I would be hated in roughly equal measure by the NRA and the Dianne Feinstein crowd.

          • Joseph

            Good post. One that says *we can do this* without running around with your hair on fire claiming that a total ban must be put in place NOW (which is even more extreme than the European countries oft used as examples for this reactionary nonsense)!!! I can say that I agree with what you’ve said wholeheartedly and I also believe that it’s a matter of education, slowly changing the culture like we did with cigarettes and drunk driving. THAT needs to begin now, and it needs to be done without drawing political battle lines. Extremists on both sides need to be silenced as neither have anything to offer but nonsensical screaming and stamping of feet. Only cool heads can solve this problem.

          • Stu

            Few things.

            Are people really “nihilistic indifferent”?
            I’m but one small data point but I will present myself as an example in some way.

            I grew up in the DC area in Prince George’s County, Maryland. When I was a teenager, DC was the “murder capital of the world” averaging one murder per day. Fueled by drugs, some of this violence found its way in PG county as well. Living in that region for the first 20 years of my life, I can count four “gun related” incidents to speak of. One happened while in elementary school. A girl I knew was at a friend’s house and they were playing with a firearm that was hanging on a wall. It was loaded and she was killed. Stupid accident. Second incident involved a young man that I knew who picked up a semi-automatic handgun to play Russian Roulette with. Of course he lost. He was a nice guy but not very intelligent. The other two incidents involved friends of the family who averted criminal activity by some brigands simply by having a weapon on them and brandishing it. Brigands left and no report filed with anyone.

            And that’s it. Even in a violent area, my exposure to gun VIOLENCE was minimal and I think that is really what we are talking about here, the criminal violence with firearms. 32,000 deaths sounds like a lot but when compared to the US population, it really doesn’t affect many people. And indeed, we should care about accidents and suicides but it is the crimes that should really be the focus of such an effort though admittedly if done properly the benefits would transcend just the violence.

            For most people who actually have experience with firearms, the belief is that most of the low hanging fruit through background checks and such is already been picked. Any further initiatives will have diminishing returns. That’s why I like your thoughts. It’s about changing the acceptance of gun violence.

  • Stu


    If Mark is going to generalize in the manner that he does on anyone that disagrees with him on this issue, then let’s generalize in the other direction as well.

    Since you want to take action, then be specific. Provide concrete actions that you would take that would address the specific actions at hand. But when met with critique on their potential effectiveness, instead of characterizing them as you do above, actually address those critiques. If you have a good idea enough to propose, you should be able to defend it. To date, I haven’t seen you able to do that even remotely. Thus the name calling.

    • Rick Ripper

      yes, what is the specific proposal that would be effective?

    • chezami

      The desperation to maintain the counsels of passiviity that the Gun Culture emits become particularly pronounced in moments of high profile slaughter like today. The straw man you create is silly. What you are actually saying is “Do nothing. Attempt nothing. Change nothing. Ever.”

      • Stu

        How can I be saying that when you haven’t even proposed anything as a solution?

        Come on. You can do it. Propose a measure to address the problem and then actually defend it when pepole have concerns or critiques. Thst’s how we do it here outside of the blogosphere.

        • Mr. E

          He will never. EVER. Do that. (give a concrete proposal) on anything).
          He never has, ever. On any issue where he says “Catholics can’t/must do X because we aren’t repub/demo,” he has no actual thoughts. Just – “no that”
          So his thoughts on politics are almost always irrelevant and actually make things worse.

          • Pete the Greek

            He has actually. He went whole hog on the whole ‘smart gun’ thing. It’s a really big thing for Mark. At least it was last time it came up.

          • chezami

            Liar. I’ve made two rather modest proposals. Regulate guns and their owners at least as much as we regulate cars and drivers and (as with cars and other tech we don’t want people using without our permission) mandate security technology that make guns only usable by the person authorized to use it. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/05/the-single-most-important-fact-about-our-gun-culture.html
            But the main thing I’ve emphasized (which the Gun Cult negatively illustrates in spades) is that we see the victims of gun violence as we see the victims of abortion: as human being with a right to life.

            This is the defining mark of the difference between the Gun Cult and the prolife movement. Prolife people, confronted with threats to human life, ask *first* “What can we do to save human life?” The Gun Cult thinks first of its guns and labors to provide excuses for maintaining the status quo and making sure just as many people die next year as this year rather than attempt any changes whatsoever.

            • Stu

              That challenge though, is that you take any critique of your ideas as folks not wanting to address the problem. Is it possible your ideas might either be completely off base or simply not completely thought out? Can’t reasonable people disagree on the means while agreeing on the ends?
              Doesn’t seem so in your world.

            • Pete the Greek

              “Regulate guns and their owners at least as much as we regulate cars and drivers”

              – UHm, I don’t think you thought that through. Thta would actually be a net decrease in regulation.

              You can buy a car even if you’re a convicted violent felon

              You can buy a car with no background check

              There is no age limit on buying a car

              There is no personal license requirement to own a car

              You don’t need a license to operate a car on private property

              You can buy any car you want, 6 cyl, 8cyl, 10, huge trucks, tiny little ones, doesn’t matter.

              You can build your own car with zero restrictions of any kind, as long as you operate it only on private proerty.

              You can own as many cars as you want

              There’s no waiting period


            • Thank you for the positive policy proposal: smart guns.
              Alright folks, what are the practical pros and cons?

              • Pete the Greek

                I actually wrote an article for a different blog on the subject, and I will try to dig the link up. There’s been a lot written on the subject for about 25 years actually. It was an idea originally pioneered by police departments. The reason is that, at least at that time, (and a lot of the time today still) the primary way police officers get murdered is when a suspect manages to get control of the officer’s weapon.

                At work at the moment, so limited time. I’ll see about posting the link this evening.

              • Pete the Greek

                OK, as mentioned, ‘smart guns’, were looked at for a while by various law enforcement departments years back. The main concern with the police was for perps grabbing their weapons from them during arrest or a scuffle. This was a SERIOUS problem. I don’t know what the numbers are today, but it used to be that the main gun that killed the most police was their won service weapon.

                There were models put out in various forms: some required a radio bracelet to be work by the shooter, some required a ring, some of the latest incarnations read a fingerprint in certain positions. It’s an idea that gets used a lot in fiction, and I think the movie Skyfall is where Mark became enamored with the idea.

                First, there’s a need to clear up what the actual PURPOSE of a smart gun is. The common phrase is that it prevents anyone except for its owner from using it. This isn’t exactly accurate. The real job of a ‘smart’ gun is what the police originally wanted them for: it prevents a gun from being seized from its owner and then put into use against him. This may sound the same, but it is in fact a DRASTICALLY more limited philosophy of use.

                In this use it finds it’s benefit. Unless there is something malfunctioning in the mechanism, the more modern version can do this fairly well.

                Example: Let’s say we are at your home and on the table before us is your shiny (or rather, boring, ugly and very plastic looking, because God forbid people make anything beautiful anymore) new smart gun, loaded and chambered. You take it out of your holster and show it to me. That’s pretty cool, I say. Then I snatch it out of your hand, point it at you and demand your valuables. If the firearm is working properly, you will know it won’t function for me, leaving you free to take up a cudgel and propose some vigorous counter proposals, Andrew Jackson style.

                This is its one benefit, and it can do it.

                First, there is nothing wrong with a company designing such a firearm, or a conversion kit, and selling it. If it finds a market, great! Good luck to them.

                The issue is, there is no market for them, because even the police don’t want them anymore. In fact, any time it’s proposed as a law, the police instantly demand to be given an exemption. Why?

                You have to understand that a firearm, by this I mean a standard, single person device, not a GE minigun or something similar, is a brutally simple device. You may think a firearm is complicated, but just field strip one down and you will be blown away by how few parts there really are. Most modern children’s toys are far more complicated. It’s simple and direct because the device takes an ENORMOUS amount of punishment and shock from, well, explosions. Adding electronics that have to use tiny amounts of magnetism or more little pieces around aren’t really a great idea for this. It’s basically tying a smartphone to a gun. Drop a modern gun today and you might scuff the finish a little. Drop your iphone and you’re gonna buy new one. They aren’t meant to deal with explosive force (this is one reason why the latest incarnation of the smart gun, from Germany, is not offered in anything larger than a .22 last I saw.)

                Can electronics be built strong, yes, but you still have sensitive components being relied on when what you had before was a purely mechanical devise practically impervious to failure (we are assuming good care being taken, no deliberate misuse, etc.) This lack of life saving reliability is one of the reasons that the cops don’t want it.

                There is also an extreme level of finickiness that shows the models are not designed by anyone who shoots seriously or has trained to actually fight and be able to effectively defend himself with a firearm. This is the BIG reason why police rejected the idea.

                You’re a cop that is trying to arrest a suspect who then pulls a knife and attacks, slashing open your your hand. You backpedal and pull your firearm *CLICK* nothing. Your bloody, cut hand can’t give the reader a clear reading. (like when your hands are sweaty at the gym and the treadmill can’t read your pulse). You then die.

                Funny point: On the marketing video for the latest ‘drop in conversion’ that uses a fingerprint reader, the guy giving the demonstration actually has the mechanism fail on him briefly, as, he describes, he didn’t have his finger fully covering and pressing on the pad.

                You are introducing a needless level of failure to a rock solid system. I don’t have to worry about my sidearm not functioning because a battery terminal got corroded somehow.

                I carry a compact revolver every day concealed. It has NO mechanical safety of any kind, only a stiff trigger pull. I have trained extensively in its use. I can fire it right handed, left handed, loose grip, strong grip, bad grip, pull the trigger with my third finger instead of my index, barehanded, dirty hands, bloody hands, steady hands, shaking with adrenaline dump, wearing gloves. My wife can use it if necessary in all those ways.

                Add a ‘smart’ feature, and ALL of that goes away.

                Think of it like this: You have the most amazing, modern set of brakes installed on your car. BUT – you have to be holding the steering wheel at EXACTLY the 10/2 position, with all four fingers wrapped securely around the wheel, with thumbs wrapped over the fingers with thumbs not touching the wheel and you must be applying only firm, even pressure on the brake pedal. Not do any of those steps perfectly, and the manufacturer directly tells you that your brakes simply won’t respond at all. Now, that shouldn’t concern anyone, right? I mean we all went though driver’s ed and know that the described position is exactly what we should be in at all times when driving. So it’s a great idea! Except, in the real world, we all know it doesn’t work like that.

                The only firearms you could put it on where you don’t have to worry about that would be standard hunting firearms, but then again, no one is really worried about those, are they?

                It also doesn’t prevent theft and misuse. Let’s return to the previous example at your house. Now, instead of attacking, I just say ‘Wow! That’s pretty cool!’. I then wait a few days until you’re gone, break in and steal it. Now, even assuming that you didn’t leave the fire control device WITH the firearm (which , let’s face it, pretty much everyone would) I would still take the firearm. Then, in the comfort of my own home, or in a specialty chop shop meant for guns like this (which, if they became common, would also spring into being “American Can Do Spirit!”) and disable/reset/remove the mechanism. Now it’s mine.

                What about crime in general? Well, it will do nothing to prevent suicide, as the implication is that the owner is using it himself. In fact it will not prevent ANY form of crime committed by anyone owns it, or taken the basic step of disabling the device. So I honestly don’t see any real effect on any crime.

                The only, ONLY crime it can really prevent is the one reason the police looked into it: someone grabs your weapons and then turns it directly against you. So why didn’t the police get them? Well, for all the reasons mentioned until now, and they did cost benefit analysis. Instead, they simply got different holsters (that’s why the ones cops carry look weird) and practice weapon retention drills. Cheaper and more effective.

                It’s literally ONLY effective in that situation. That’s why they had to ham fist that particular scene into the Bond move, just to give him an excuse to use his gadget.

                There is another point worth addressing, that of eventually EVERY GUN will be a smart gun. That assumes people even buy them, and it also assumes that the government will find some way to round up the hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of millions of firearms already in the US as well as prevent the billions that slosh around the world from ever getting here. It’s not like guns are pairs of underwear and wear out. Properly cared for, a firearm will last indefinitely. Even with older, less metallurgically sound versions made hundreds of years ago, properly cared for, are still functioning today.

                It is also obscenely easy to manufacture firearms from scratch, even from scrap metal. I’m not talking about zip guns either. Fully functioning, detachable magazine fed automatic weapons. Easy as cake. Don’t believe me? Do a youtube search for the terms “home made luty submachine gun”. There a tons of variants of these people make. Australian police are starting to encounter them a lot now too during drug raids.

                You can also rebuild weapons that were effectually and deliberately ruined with cutting torches. There is an interesting documentary on youtube where an American reporter did a story on the huge weapon factories in Honduras where they bring in lots of these destroyed guns and, setting up a machine shop, welding stations, etc. just ‘rebuild them’.

                In the end, if someone wants to build one, go for it. But it won’t address any real problem or fix anything. It would be better to focus efforts on other ways to combat violence.

            • Mr. E

              “Liar.” Excellent argument.
              1. I was not aware of your smart gun tech. advocacy. You’re right, that is (almost) a concrete proposal. My bad (almost).
              2. Regulate as much as cars. Not a concrete proposal, just an idea – shorthand for “make it harder to get guns.”
              3. HEre’s the “almost” In both cases, you leave out much detail. You want to “mandate” smart guns to “the person” authorized. How about if I have a gun that I want anyone in the house to be able to use. As Pete adequately described it, your second proposal is not concrete.
              4. Do you think we should scrap the Heller/McDonald framework for how the 2d amendment applies? That is a major issue – “results oriented” solutions usually run afoul of an individual right to own gun(s) for self defense. I know you aren’t a lawyer, but it’s a real issue… do you care about it?

              • chezami

                Actually, “liar” is a good argument. You spoke as though you have a comprehensive knowledge of what I have said when you obviously did not, because you wanted to dismiss me.

                1. You almost apologize for your lie. Therefore I almost continue the conversation. But then decide, “Why bother talking to a malicious liar?”

                • Pete the Greek

                  Since I have not called you a malicious liar, I actually have a question about your position. 🙂

                  Why smart guns as a platform?

                  Now, I actually don’t care if a company designs, builds and tries to sell them. If they can find a market, good luck! So I’ve got nothing against them or the concept.

                  I’m mainly wondering what exact situations (being specific here) you think they will actually prevent. And no, I’m not trying to bait you or anything. I’ve read a lot about them, and the development history of various attempts, so I’m just curious as to why they are such an ENORMOUS deal to you.

            • Neihan

              Guns (and gun ownership) are already far more regulated than cars and car ownership/operation. So mission accomplished.

              How do smart guns limit the number of suicides by gun? How do smart guns limit the deaths which occur by people using their own weapons in the process of committing a crime? Unless smart guns can be programmed to disengage in the case of suicide or felony-in-progress they would have exactly zero positive impact.

              So proposal the first is already done, and proposal the second (Technology™!) doesn’t actually seem to address the problems.

              This is the defining mark of the difference between pro-lifers and anti-gun cultists: pro-lifers say “How can I limit deaths?” and anti-gun cultists say “How can I limit guns?”

  • SteveP

    You’ve read my soul Mark. I’ve eschewed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for those who died today in favor of saying: “Oh, dear, oh dear, what flag ought we ban this time?”

  • Re Ja

    My partial first-steps solution to this undoable problem
    Put everyone who murders another with a gun to death
    Every gun sold or traded after a certain date must go through a licensed dealer and be registered to a licensed and insured gun owner (just like a car). Guns currently owned must be brought to a special site to be inspected and registered.

    That registration follows the owner until it is sold and re-registered to another licensed and insured gun owner or

    until it is reported stolen to the police who come out to the house to investigate and file a report. No gun safe? A big fine and confiscation of all other registered guns. Unreported missing gun(s) or unregistered guns on the property? You go to straight to jail.
    Any punishment for a crime committed with a registered gun that has not been reported stolen and with an appropriate investigation goes to the owner as well as the perp.
    Every police authorized search comes with an automatic right to search for guns and check registration and safe storage. Violations of gun laws are in addition to any other criminal charges.

    That won’t get every gun but it will be a damn good start to instilling some accountability and reducing the number of guns individuals want to be responsible for and pay to register. Attrition will dwindle down the rest. Those 5 handguns you’ve collected are likely to become 1. Giving crazy cousin Joe access to your guns, no way in hell.

    You can keep your right to own a gun but you will be forced to be accountable or pay dearly with your money and jail time.

    • Stu

      Do you think this would address gun violence or would it just be another hurdle for the law abiding crowd? How would it have stopped today’s incident?

      • Re Ja

        I don’t know, how hard would you try to be responsible for keeping your gun out of the hands of a criminal or a neighbor kid if you knew you could go to jail for a very long time? Where do you thing most of the guns come from that end up in the hands of criminals? They come from people who legitimately buy them with the intention of re-selling on the black market. They come from careless private sales and swaps. They come from thefts. You figure it out if the burden on the law abiders would be worth it. For that matter, why would any law abider consider this too burdensome?

        • Stu

          When have we decided to put the burden on law abiding citizens to stop criminals from doing criminal things? Sure, one can be criminally negligent but keeping something in one’s home where it is already a crime for another enter without permission is sufficient.

        • Pete the Greek

          “I don’t know, how hard would you try to be responsible for keeping your
          gun out of the hands of a criminal or a neighbor kid if you knew you
          could go to jail for a very long time?”
          – While not necessarily prison time, a lot of times, you can, and frequently ARE held civilly responsible if it is shown that through negligence you helped bring about serious injury in another in this case.

          “For that matter, why would any law abider consider this too burdensome?”
          – It’s not careful storage or safety that actually bother us. ( I have mine in a safe, except for the weapon I carry every day ) It’s what they try to tack on to it, usually some form of ‘law enforcement shall have right to access your property at any time they wish without warrant.’ With how law enforcement acts these days, you’ll pardon me if I excuse myself from that.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Have you ever heard about that Canadian disaster of trying to implement a gun registry? It has been quite the political football up here…

    • Pete the Greek

      “Every gun sold or traded after a certain date must go through a licensed
      dealer and be registered to a licensed and insured gun owner (just like
      a car). Guns currently owned must be brought to a special site to be
      inspected and registered.”
      – No, that’s a dumb idea. You will have zero or near zero compliance. And the police, like in New York right now, will do NOTHING.
      Better idea: Open the instant background check to EVERYONE. Right now it is limited to FFL, but there’s really not a good reason to limit it. You can have an automated service and pay for it with either a credit card or paypal verification via phone. No need to disclose background, just a yes or no for purchase. In this situation, you would have almost 100% compliance, as everyone would like to use it. Not having something like that is one reason why I never sell a firearm to anyone who isn’t a family member or a very close friend.

      “Attrition will dwindle down the rest. Those 5 handguns you’ve collected are likely to become 1.”
      – LOL! You really don’t know anything about gun owners do you? It shows. No, it will just go underground. Just like New York is now.”

      ” Giving crazy cousin Joe access to your guns, no way in hell.”
      – We don’t allow unsafe people to get access to our stuff.

      “You can keep your right to own a gun but you will be forced to be accountable or pay dearly with your money and jail time.”
      – You know NOTHING of the current legal system then if you think gun owners are not held accountable. It’s one of the few politically correct crimes that DAs will truly crucify you for.

      Also, and here we come back to the point, EXACTLY how would and of this have prevented the killer today, as that topic is what brought this up?

      • An open-access, instant “Yes or No” gun-buying background check is a great idea. I agree that the law-abiding public would want to make sure that the person they intended to sell or lend their gun to was legally allowed to possess one. If introduced, you could instill this common-sense habit as part of hunter safety classes (i.e., “Never lend or sell your gun to someone without verifying their carry-status.”) Perhaps it could be made a crime to fail to check, yet even merely voluntary observance would do some good.

        • Marthe Lépine

          Not a bad idea. In the same way as it is an offense, in my country, to give a cigarette to a teen.

  • Eric

    I just don’t see how you can write a piece basically ignoring Colbert’s dissent then write this piece comparing the gun cult reasoning to that of PP. Colbert literally advocates and lauds PP. The very organization you use to shame the gun cult. Yet he gets high praise from you in spite of his apparent acceptance of the PP “logic”. Do you not see how confusing this is?

    • Hezekiah Garrett


      • Eric

        Why am I not surprised?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          I don’t have insight into that one any more than why you are confused.

          Sorry I couldn’t be more help?

          • Eric

            Agreed. No need to be sorry. I’m comfortable with the fact you don’t have any insight.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Do you though? What do you think is at root in your confusion and lack of surprise?

              You’ve fascinated me now.

              • Eric

                Do I what? You said you lacked any insight into my confusion. I agreed. I’ve seen enough commentary from you to not be surprised that you’d not understand my confusion. An opinion justified by your admitted lack of insight on the matter.

                I’m not fascinating,just easily confused.

    • freddy

      Well, sir, I think the main difference is that Mr. Colbert is a real person with a real soul who has done and said some decent things and so is worth reaching out to.
      While the “Gun Cult” is a mysterious, amorphous group of internet imps, lesser-demons-of-Facebook, and media sound-bite devils that must be resisted with wrathful rhetoric and clever venom.
      If an actual person gets caught being confused about what precisely is the “Gun Cult,” that person is probably a member and must be made aware that he is probably the reason for the continuation of gun violence.

      • Eric

        Yes, he’s a real person who supports pro-abortion zealots who expertly chop babies to pieces and sell their body parts and organs to the highest bidder.

        Let’s not pretend that Mark doesn’t specifically call out Catholics by name and criticize their views and how they ignore Church teaching. As he should. For some reason though, Colbert gets a pass. Yeah, he notes how Colbert is wrong here and there briefly, then on to the praise. Then, any commenter that broaches Colbert’s dissent is immediately labeled a Pharisee looking to excommunicate the man.

        If any man is confused about what the “abortion cult” is, he is probably a member and must be made aware that he is probably the reason for aborted babies.

        • Marthe Lépine

          You are correct to point out that Mark often calls out Catholics by name and criticizes their views… When such views are obviously wrong and they should know better. But you don’t seem to see the difference. When someone claims to be a faithful Catholic and comes out strongly against specific Catholic teaching, and tries to rationalize such thinking with often twisted arguments, it is a clear problem because Catholics are supposed to be… Catholic, e.g. docile to the Magisterium. But a far as I know (since I don’t watch any tV), Mr. Colbert comes across as an ordinary person who happens to have a Catholic background but does not seem to make any claim to have superior knowledge, and just expresses erroneous, maybe even ignorant, but common, opinions, he seems to be worth reaching out.

        • chezami

          No. Colbert does not get a pass. I have specifically said he is wrong about abortion. But that’s not good enough. I don’t call for kicking him out of the Church, so that mean I secretly approve of abortion.

  • Cypressclimber

    As someone else mentioned below, gun violence is down dramatically in the past 20 years. That’s good. Sure, let’s reduce it more.

    The alleged shooter appears to have been paying close attention to previous high-profile shootings. This might demonstrate something I’ve suspected: that all the wall-to-wall coverage of these shootings is helping to spur them on.

    Should a remedy that impinges on the First Amendment be considered, Mark? What do you think? (You are willing to consider a remedy that impinges on the Second, after all.)

    • Re Ja

      I think media coverage is the single largest driver of mass shootings. The media souless feel no guilt for their part and merely await the ‘fruit’ of yet another shooting, another riot they can cover, and the cycle repeats, over and over.

      I’m against messing with the 1st amendment since it will be almost immediately abused to silence anyone who dissents against any power. It’s up to individuals to refuse to consume the coverage.

    • chezami

      And yet we still have a staggeringly high gun violence rate. But the Gun Cult doesn’t care.

      • Cypressclimber

        OK, but you didn’t answer my question. Would you consider a remedy that infringes on the First Amendment? Or how about a measure that violates the 4th or 5th Amendments, for that matter?

        After all, even if you repealed the Second Amendment — no, I’m not saying you advocate that, but just supposing — even if you went that far, it may still remain the case that that isn’t the best way to get at this problem. If not one more gun were sold after today, there would still be a whole lot of guns. Even a mass effort to collect them would most likely leave a lot of guns readily available.

        So — if you want to stop folks like this shooter, I’m thinking reconsideration of other provisions of the Constitution would be more likely to bear fruit.

        For example: if it were A LOT EASIER to restrict the movements of potentially “crazy” people.

      • Joseph

        Well, the only thing the Anti-Gun Cult cares about is a complete ban, which is more extreme than the European countries they tend to cite on a constant basis. I live in Ireland (not Dublin), and I can tell you that most farmers own guns. In Dublin, the only gun owners are the criminals, however. Anyway, I wager that gun crime is so low in Ireland, not because of gun laws, but because the vast majority of Garda DO NOT CARRY GUNS. That does a few things: It forces the Gardai to properly engage with the public as servants of helpers of the public instead of PO-LESE like in the US; it’s rare that a criminal will pull a gun on the Garda or even carry a gun when he knows that the Garda won’t be packing either… so no escalation of the issue and… bam… yet another death by cop with an itchy trigger finger who looks at civilians as his lesser and a threat; Irish cops don’t end up killing several people a day because they’re es-scared of the boogeyman like in the US because they don’t have the weapon that delivers death almost instantly.
        My theory is, you want gun crime to fall even more, take the guns off the cops. Cops with guns says *wild west* and tells the average citizen that the cops don’t trust the public and are willing to shoot them dead. How do you think the public is going to respond to that, especially those who feel oppressed by those cops? Do you think that the guy who just blew away the reporter and the cameraman was a man who respected the police and didn’t feel oppressed about something? His history says otherwise. What did he do? He did what an unstable cop does when a he feels disrespected… he shot dead those who he felt disrespected him.
        The government wants to take the lead on this? Let them lead by example.

  • Scott Bute

    Obama has been the single greatest salesman in history for the expansion of firearms. Just what common sense law are we talking about that we don’t already have on the books that will then make our society “safe” ? Our government loves to pass laws that they will not enforce. Just look at the whole immigration debacle.

    • Cypressclimber

      Silly; it doesn’t actually have to work! It’s just important to “do something.”

      • chezami

        On the contrary, the whole point is to find something that works. But the Gun Cult’s response is “Don’t try” and, when something is tried, to sigh “It doesn’t have a 100% success rate. Give up!”

        • Cypressclimber

          the whole point is to find something that works.

          I believe you sincerely have that aim. But it’s pretty clear to me that many do not. I have seen case after case of regular folks complaining that XYZ bill wasn’t passed; and when it’s pointed out, but XYZ bill wouldn’t have had any impact on the shooting you are complaining about, the response is: “but we have to do something.”

          And in the case of politicians and lobbying organizations, yes they really are that cynical.

          At any rate, if you want something that works, do you have anything in mind? Because most ideas that get bandied about either won’t work, or else work too well — i.e., major infringements on the Bill of Rights.

        • Pete the Greek

          But if you want to be honest, ‘Do nothing’ is not what gun owners are saying.

          People like me simply point out, again and again, that violent crime, murder, etc. is on the decline and we are at a low point for ALL of it, in spite of firearm laws liberalizing in general. You simply equate rejection of whatever particular fixation you have at the moment, even if coupled with ideas for alternatives, as a call for inactivity. It’s the same stunt you pulled with the “solar freakin’ roadways” post.

          “It doesn’t have a 100% success rate. Give up!”
          Here’s a thought: since the advent of Concealed Carry (now over the entire nation), we are STILL seeing drops in violent crime. No, not 100% drop, but it’s still a drop. I think we should keep that up, what about you?

    • Andy

      How has Obama been the biggest salesman for the expansion of firearms/ Please/.

      • Scott Bute

        By his constant attack on the Second Amendment, he has caused a fear of people losing their rights to own firearms, thus causing skyrocketing sales and profits for the firearms industry.

        • Andy

          Please sow me where he has attacked the 2nd Amendment – saying we need to do something about gun violence – we do; saying we need to control the proliferation of guns we do. The NRA et al. say that there are constant attacks and that the government is coming to take away guns. Show me where that was threatened.

        • kenofken

          No, that was just fools parting themselves from their money. Obama has never done anything that would lead a rational person to believe gun prohibition was imminent. This fear was created and amplified by the foil-hatters of the gun movement and encouraged by profiteers. People who bid .223 ammo up to $1 a round richly deserve what they get. It’s an interesting paradox that I was never seriously impeded in the shooting sports by any “gun control” law.

          The knuckleheads purporting to safeguard my Second Amendment freedoms, on the other hand, have effectively made my Ruger .22 essentially inoperable and obsolete. The ammo is almost impossible to find because these loons clear the shelves the second it arrives in the stores. When it is around, the prices are absurd. What do these guys think they’re going to with pallets full of .22 LR? Fight off the Marines when Obama “comes for their guns”?

          Obama never had to fight for real gun control. He said “boo” to the paranoids and they they did the job for him.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Something just occurred to me… Of course, I am from a different country and a totally different culture (e.g. French-Canadian). But: It seems to me that one significant first step could be… for every Catholic to personally give up, maybe for a start, since I would not want to be seen as imposing my own beliefs to other people, just one (simply as a symbolic gesture) of their beloved guns, and make sure that gun does get fully destroyed, with a pledge to never purchase another one… As a private citizen, I find it extremely troubling that firearms are considered as ordinary consumer goods in your country. Maybe also, some kind of 12-step program such as AA for those who seem addicted to the sense of “strength” they get from owning and carrying guns?

    • Pete the Greek

      ” for every Catholic to personally give up, maybe for a start, since I
      would not want to be seen as imposing my own beliefs to other people,
      just one (simply as a symbolic gesture) of their beloved guns, and make
      sure that gun does get fully destroyed, with a pledge to never purchase
      another one.”
      – How about one better: In order to make a first step against heroin, crack and meth addiction, I think every Catholics should give up at least ONE bottle of Advil or Tylenol, make sure the bottle is destroyed and vow never to buy another. It’s similar logic.

      Your proposal might have merit, IF, it was from Catholics, somehow, that gang bangers, murderers and the like were getting their firearms. Statistically speaking, at least according to the FBI, legal sales as a source for criminals getting firearms is extremely low.

      “Maybe also, some kind of 12-step program such as AA for those who seem
      addicted to the sense of “strength” they get from owning and carrying
      – And your ignorance of the topic is spectacularly confirmed. Bonus points for the very polite, yet insulting inference, though. Very Canadian.

      The idea of gun owners being a bunch of insecure redneck men (which seems to be fueling your suggestion) bears no credibility. The biggest and fastest growing group right now are… women.

      ON EDIT: Yes, the second to last sentence was a bit snarky. My apologies. I will leave it there so my apology makes sense.

      • Thumbs up for the medicine analogy, FBI gun-buying statistic, and recognition of increasing female gun purchasers. However, let’s debate without ever personally insulting one another.

        • Pete the Greek

          True. I have become very sick of people, especially foreigners with no knowledge of the topic, providing sanctimonious advice. And yes, Americans do it too, and it’s just as bad when we do it.

          • Joseph

            Tell me about it. Living in Ireland, just about every European I know has a straight from the trough media-fed understanding of what’s going on in America with zero understanding of the culture, the constitutional issues, the history, etc. Worse yet, their own countries don’t have total bans on firearms yet, in their media-cleansed minds, they all seem to think the solution is a total ban in the US. Duh. Sometimes the media can work magic on logic.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Your reply reads as if you just reacted to trigger words without taking even a few seconds to actually think about what I was actually saying. I was trying to introduce some kind of a spiritual approach to the problem, more fully described, but still only tentative, in my further comment an hour later than this one and that you should also have read, since your reply came several hour later. A spiritual approach that would include making a symbolic gesture as a first step, as well as prayer and “fasting”. A symbolic gesture that would of course not be a way to solve the problem, but to demonstrate that Catholics are serious about this particular life issue. And maybe a foreigner – without the same tribal allegiances – can actually see such a situation a little more clearly, and therefore agree with Mark that it is a scandal for the rest of the world. In fact, it is difficult to avoid the impression that the US are simply gun-crazy. I have been, and still am, shocked and scandalized by the immediate and energetic negative responses in this blog every time Mark tries to raise the matter.

        • Pete the Greek

          No, I understand what you’re saying.

          I just think that your symbolic gesture is kinda silly in this case. It promotes a false idea of what the problem(s) actually are. It would be like saying, as a first step in a spiritual approach to fight police brutality, we as Catholics should have a ‘hug a black guy day’. Your intention is good, but misdirected.

          “And maybe a foreigner – without the same tribal allegiances – can actually see such a situation a little more clearly”

          Maybe. But then since you and others have demonstrated a complete lack of basic knowledge on the topic (not being insulting here, just based off of your previous posts on the topic) you tend to quickly alienate those who DO know something about the topic.

          ” it is difficult to avoid the impression that the US are simply gun-crazy.”
          – Much like how I see EVERYONE in Canada just absolutely loves Brian Adams, your view is pretty much entirely media generated. In truth, most of us are just sick of being used as a scapegoat for problems that are too politically uncomfortable to really address.

          “shocked and scandalized by the immediate and energetic negative responses in this blog every time Mark tries to raise the matter.”

          – I don’t see why. Yes there are cranks that show up, and you’ll usually see normal gun people jump on them too for being stupid (or at least I do). But Mark doesn’t really talk about this topic rationally. His astonishment and anger seem to come when people simply question if another ban or superficial restriction will actually, you know, DO anything (especially since we have about 50 years worth of data now on what kind of restrictions actually DO help and which don’t) and that maybe, just maybe, another type of approach might be a better way to prevent incidents and make society safer.

          Judging by his posts, it seems to me that his astonishment seems more a reaction to the idea that someone besides him may have the better idea of what could be done.

  • Dave G.

    My son had some insight into this, but I didn’t like hearing it.

  • Marthe Lépine

    “Do something, anything!” “Find something that works!”
    Jesus said, somewhere, that some matters cannot be resolved in any other way than by prayer and fasting. Maybe the time has come to try that? How many Catholics will still argue that “It won’t work, just give up?”
    So, here’s my little suggestion: Prayer – maybe some kind of prayer campaign, or a vigil for all those 32,000 victims, or a novena to, for example, Fr. Romero (or another saint and martyr who was killed with a gun), or maybe as part of the next 40 Days for Life. Fasting, for those who can, during such a campaign or novena… Or some people sacrificing their owning of guns…
    Praying for a change of hearts and minds, and then trust that God will respond..,
    Any other ideas?

    • Stu

      No one has argued “just give up.” It’s like Bigfoot. People talk about it but no one has really seen it.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Is that the only point you retain from my suggestion? I would advise some remedial reading session…

        • Stu

          If your premise is flawed, well then…

          You know, I was previously stationed with a good bunch of Canadian military officers and my Sgt Major was also Canadien. Great bunch they were. You confirm one of the things they shared with me about Canada.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            Gentlemen do not intimate a lady’s flaws. If such flaws deserve public airing, they are forthright in it.

            Beneath you, shipmate.

            • Stu

              Fortunately, I was talking about her premise and not her. But apparemly she can provide you some remedial reading there, sailor.

              As you were.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                ‘You confirm one of the things they shared with me about Canada.’

                If you say so. I devoutly hope you’re not a ringknocker, that’s one prejudice that needs no reinforcement.

                • Stu

                  I’m sure you have plenty of prejudices to bring to bear. Probably starting with anyone wearing two chevrons or more.

                  • Hezekiah Garrett

                    When called out for ungentlemanly conduct, lie, then deflect.

                    Yep, I smell Sodom-on-Severn.

                    • Stu

                      Check your shorts. And try not to step in it as you backtrack.

  • Pete the Greek

    “What can we do? After all, the gun slaughter has been stanched in other countries. What can we attempt?”
    – But that’s not what you’re advocating in any way. In fact, any solutions or issues that don’t directly promote your two pet causes, direct bans and ‘smart’ guns, you simply disregard and accuse people who talk about them of wanting to do nothing. This isn’t my first time commenting on this issue on your blog.

    There’s also this little fact you carefully avoid every time this subject comes up, and that’s that we’re at a near 50 year low in terms of violent crime, including such horrendous things as rape, murder and assault. Crime is down, IN SPITE OF SILLY ANTI-GUN LAWS VANISHING and things like CCW (which anti gunners like you, Mark, screamed was going to turn every city in America into a river of blood).

    Even school shooting and violence are down, with a 25 year drop in rates that is continuing. Statistically, it’s safer in American schools now than when most of you were children.

    Those of us who have read and studied a lot on this issue (and I think it is rather clear you haven’t), is that there’s very little any new gun laws can REALLY do. Aside from make you feel better about yourself, of course.

    Think about it. EXACTLY what kind of gun law would have prevented this from happening? Magazine limits? From what I read in the reports, he fired less than 10 rounds, so, no. More background checks? He didn’t have a criminal history and passed the background check to purchase the firearm, it seems, so what would MORE background checks have accomplished? Ban against carrying his pistol? Well, he WAS on the way to commit murder, so I don’t think that really would have dissuaded him. Smart Gun? He owned the firearm he was using, so how would that have done anything anyway? How about waiting periods? We don’t know when he purchased this pistol, but he had been planning this for some time, I doubt a couple of weeks would have put him off his game. This seems to be more tied to hatred and insanity than anything else. There are people who know a LOT more about that subject than I.

    When it comes down to violent crime in general? Yeah, there’s a LOT we can do. No one wants to do it, though. The reasons are legion: would offend voting blocks, would require lots of effort and money, addressing social pathology (including that promoted by our government as a way of cementing loyalty of voting blocks), it isn’t sexy and doesn’t give instant emotional satisfaction to that ‘itch’ to have ‘done something’, I could go on and on.

    But no, I’ll just be accused of wanting to do nothing. It reminds me of a brief exchange I had with someone online about illegal immigration (I think he was a Michael Savage devotee). It went something like this:

    them: We need to build that border fence NOW.
    Me: Why? The fed already admit they have hundreds of tunnels dug under what little fence we have RIGHT NOW. Blowing money on a fence is dumb and won’t accomplish anything.
    them: so you don’t have any problem with illegal immigration?

    Oh course, that’s NOT what I said but because I didn’t give a full-throated endorsement to what he wanted, it meant I had to be in the TOTALLY opposite camp.

    To be honest, I don’t know why I bother posting here. This will not make a bit of difference.

    • Gunnar Thalweg

      Thanks, Pete the Greek, for saying this

  • Andy

    The issue is not guns per se, although I think there may be reasonable ways to control access, the problem is with how little we in America have come to value life. We do to see that God gave each of dignity, that God is the author of life and of death. We have reduced people to commodities, and once a commodity it become replaceable. We have reduced the ability that we have to talk with each other because of how we able each other. We ascribe evil to other people when we are called to look with charity on people.
    Removing guns will I would guess cut down on the mass killings. tough for one person to kill 12 with a knife i would think, but it will not cut down on the culture of violence and the culture of destroy others not like us, we have embraced. It is the culture that permits these senseless acts.
    I read, and I am still searching for where, that each act of violence committed is a cry for recognition on the part of the person committing it. We have so devalued people that the single scream now is replaced with a scream.

    • Dave G.

      I’ll take it one step further. From my sons’ discussion, it’s not that we Americans don’t value life. It’s that we Americans don’t value anything anymore. And we share in that lack of value when it suits us.

      • Andy

        I think what we value is a golden calf, beyond that I agree wholeheartedly and it more than saddens me.

      • Joseph


  • Joseph

    I’m cool with stricter gun control laws as long as the police are totally disarmed first. Until then, there can only be compromises… many of which *can* help reduce gun crime without totally stripping the citizens’ right to own a gun. Even Irish people can own guns. The call for a total ban is a bit ludicrous.

    • Pete the Greek

      “many of which *can* help reduce gun crime without totally stripping the citizens’ right to own a gun.”
      – I would tend to agree. Gun people (aside from the obvious anarchist / InfoWars crowd) don’t have problems with things like background checks, certain heavy weapons either not available or only available with special licensing, etc. We have most of that already.

      But it’s the truly petty, vindictive crap that keeps getting promoted as some kind of magic bullet that will make us all safe: How does limiting magazine size from ten to seven rounds have any effect if, statistically, murders involving guns are over in less than three? Does making it a crime in in the city of Seattle to allow your brother to simply pick up an empty firearm in your own home to admire it for a moment REALLY make people safer? According to Mark Shea, yes.

      • Joseph

        Right, it didn’t take more than 7 bullets for the disgruntled employee with obvious mental issues to dispatch his co-workers. A lesson can be learned with that one. He should not have been able to purchase a gun legally. It may be a good idea to include workplace behaviours in mandatory background checks when determining how sound of mind people are, though I doubt the *only* place he had issues was in the workplace. At least we can start there.
        I’d say that you should have a mandatory *shooter’s ed* course (much like a driver’s ed) over the course of several weeks where the user has to pass both written and practical shooting and gun care exams after a full-blown background check is completed. Every citizen who wants to own a gun has to earn a certificate. This would also give the instructor the ability to monitor the mental stability of the student during training to help determine whether or not he/she should own a weapon. Before a gun purchase can be made, the potential owner has to provide proof that they have completed the background check, have completed *shooter’s ed*, have purchased a state certified gun cabinet with combination lock (that the owner states he/she is the only one who knows the combo… if he/she tells anyone else the combo and one of their guns is used to commit a crime, they are charged for the crime as well to a lesser degree), and have purchased a separate ammunition safe/container. Ammunition and guns should be stored separately at all times and under lock and key.
        Then pass laws like they have in Texas where if you commit a crime while in possession of a firearm, whether you use it or not, you can end up spending life in prison (a very good negative deterrent).

        • Joseph

          Also, that disgruntled employee had the will to kill his co-workers. He could have procured the hand gun illegally to do so if there were an all-out ban and probably would have anyway. I still think that cops should be disarmed, or at the very least only a small percentage of cops should be armed. That’s one of the biggest differences between Ireland/UK and the US. Want lower gun crime, disarm the cops. They’ll be more respected by the public and won’t rule by fear. Watch the public transform.

          • Pete the Greek

            “I still think that cops should be disarmed”
            – There’s pros and cons. Years back, your average patrol officer had his sidearm. Often in his trunk he had a rifle and body armor. The reason for this was that there was no such thing as a SWAT team.

            Limiting there military angle that police are adopting is a good thing in my mind, I agree with you. Part of the issue is the Drug War.

            But even then, it is very rare for a police officer to draw his weapon in the line of duty, and ever MUCH more rare for him to actually shoot. It’s just with a much larger population and heightened media attention practically every single time it happens it become national news.

            To demonstrate: years back they still issued revolvers with unjacketed lead rounds to police (some small areas still do). A running joke was that when someone like a detective turned in him service revolver at the end of his career, it frequently had to be sent to the armorer for repair or to be junked, as the lead had sealed itself in the chamber and had to be beaten/scoured out.

            The whole militarization of police is a big problem, i will certainly agree. In fact, the officers that I’m friends with think it’s stupid, as it starts to alienate them from the very people they try to establish relationships with.

            The federal government is pushing hard for it. Were I a conspiracy believing guy, I might be tempted to think that our government expects mass civil unrest at some point soon.

            • Joseph

              It does make a difference. In Ireland, I don’t fear the cops. In the US, I do, even if I am not doing anything wrong. Cops should be disarmed period. They are the biggest part of the problem.

              • Pete the Greek

                If you are Irish, living in Ireland, then I might point out that your opinion of police might be more formed by popular media than by reality. Were I to believe media, then all Irish are hopeless drunkards who beat their wives and 47 children and every single Muslim in America is waiting in the bushes to cut my head off with a machete.

                In some areas of the country, I would say you’re more on the mark. Dixon, Illinois, for example, WORST POLICE I HAVE EVER MET. You also have to remember that the US often has more diversity of culture (including police culture) within one state than in the entire nation of Ireland.

                • Joseph

                  I was raised in the US. My uncle was a *good* cop. I lived all over the US. I’m a dual citizen. I don’t need to rely on the media. Policing has changed drastically and for the worse in the US over the last 40 years (except in places like LA where the police has always been corrupt). I can tell you the differences between both countries first hand through experience.
                  You’re slightly exaggerating your stereotype of the Irish, by the way, and it’s not very helpful to your argument.

                  • Pete the Greek

                    “ou’re slightly exaggerating your stereotype of the Irish”
                    – WHAAAA???? no! I was TOTALLY being serious! 😛

                    Next you’ll try to tell me that you all don’t spend at least two hours of every day fantasizing about killing all the English! You conform to your stereotype right this instant, young man!

                • Joseph

                  I’m not your enemy here. I believe that the all-out ban that the Anti-Gun Cult nutters are calling for is totally unrealistic and is actually *more* extreme that the countries they constantly cite to bolster their argument. Because of that complete contradiction, it really makes them look silly. However, if they insist and want their way, then I’m simply saying, *authorities first*. Make the first move. They want to totally trust the state and hold them up as the *great protectors*, then they should be perfectly happy demanding that the state make the first move. Total disarmament, starting with the cops (who inflate the amount of gun deaths every year).

                  • Pete the Greek

                    Hey now, are you trying to pick a fight with me, Irish?? LOL! Dude, I don’t consider you an ‘enemy’. I may have been born in Dixie, but I’m not going to challenge you to pistols at dawn. 🙂

                    “However, if they insist and want their way, then I’m simply saying, *authorities first*.”
                    – See, you totally misunderstand me. I AGREE with you here.

        • Pete the Greek

          As to the first part…. that rests ENTIRELY on people reporting it. Unless you’re advocating federal and state agencies monitor your workplace all the time, how do they know about incidents? Answer: they have to be reported. If they get reported and they are of a violent, threatening kind, those usually will make it onto the background check anyway.

          Remember that murderous rich kid in California? By his own admission, and the reports later from those involved, he basically committed attempted murder several weeks prior to his act. He tried to literally throw a woman off the upper balcony during a party. When she screamed for help, a bunch of the men there grabbed him, beat the ever living crap out of him and threw him in the street. And yet, this was not reported to the police. Had it been, I think there would have been a good chance his murderous rampage would have been halted before it even began.

          Having the government have the power to deny you a certificate, purely at their whim, that prevents you from legally being able to exercise something that is a constitutional right, I am totally against, doesn’t matter if it’s the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, whatever. With the right government in there, it would become like Iowa was with Concealed Carry: the state could deny you a license if they had any real reason at all. This meant that the government, which unlike the people was entirely hostile to firearm rights, denied it to pretty much every one who applied, simply out of hand. You may have a trust in a benevolent government, but frankly after that, spying with no warrants, etc, I don’t.

          “and have purchased a separate ammunition safe/container. Ammunition and guns should be stored separately at all times and under lock and key.”
          – That’s dumb. If they are secured it doesn’t matter if they are separate or together. You don’t you own any, do you?

          • Joseph

            I used to… and I used to store my ammo separately from my guns. Mainly because my Uncle, who was a cop, recommended that. His logic was (paraphrased), “If you leave them together and someone enters your home, you’re more likely to go for the gun. If you pull the loaded gun on the intruder, you’re committing to using it, because either he’s going to think your bluffing, or he’s going to act out when he feels threatened by it. So, if you’re not comfortable with the idea of shooting someone and potentially killing them accidentally, you should follow my advice.”. I chose to follow his advice.

            • Pete the Greek

              That seems a bit dated and strange.

              I actually fully support people who, giving the matter grave consideration, as all should, decide that they couldn’t bring themselves to shoot someone, even in the most dire instance of self defense. I totally understand that. But if that’s your position, then just leave your weapon locked up, even with the ammo. You’re not going to get to it in time anyway, unless you have one of those fast opening, fingerprint/finger combo safes meant for self defense weapons storage. And why would you have that if you aren’t planning on using it?

              • Joseph

                Target shooting with guns that I always wanted to shoot with, not for shooting people. My friends and I used to head out to the desert, drink a few beers, set up some targets on the hills (so there was always a backdrop/bullet catch), then have sharpshooting competitions. In transit, bullets were in the glove compartment, guns were in the trunk (or back of the truck).

              • Joseph

                It’s not dated and strange to not want to make a gun the first resort of self-defense. Back in the day when cops had more restraint, they didn’t pull guns on 12-year olds or use tasers on 92-year old women who run stoplights or drunk women who can’t even stand up straight. If that’s outdated, then the modern day attitude seems to be the problem. It’s like taking a girl out and going for the home run on the first date before trying to traverse all of the bases first. Too hasty and will, more often than not, end up in disaster. Sounds like *instant gratification* to want to metaphorically sleep with your loaded pistol under your pillow.

                • Pete the Greek

                  I think you may have combined two different posts in your response.

                  My point in the post you responded to was that, if you have no intention to defend yourself, then it doesn’t matter if your weapon and ammo are locked up together or even if you lock every single round of ammo up individually: you’re not going to use it anyway.

                  As for police actions, you and I are probably in agreement in general. I would simply caution against lumping them all in together with the cases we have. You’ll find police in various cities don’t behave like that at all areas. The reason it is important to distinguish is that by then comparing them you can find who is doing what wrong and what police cultural/training works and should be implemented elsewhere.

  • Cypressclimber

    Since Mr. Shea has said he wants to focus on what would “work” — and not have people throw up roadblocks in a knee-jerk way — then let’s consider two rather different questions in that spirit:

    > There seems to have been a dramatic drop in gun-related violence in the last 20 years in the U.S. Maybe not enough of a drop, but still–a BIG drop. Something is “working,” wouldn’t you say? How about we figure out what that is, and get more of it? (Warning: it might be incarceration; or, here’s a shocking thought: it might be concealed-carry!)

    > It seems even more anti-gun folks would agree that the problem isn’t the gun itself, but the wrong people getting them. And let’s point out the glaringly obvious fact that if you charted the instances of gun-related violence on a map, you will find them clustered, dramatically, in certain states and certain sections; especially in urban areas. Why is this? Lots of reasons can be guessed at; and I suspect some serious social scientist could actually give us the answer.

    But let’s just put it this way: some people are able to handle guns; others can’t.

    So here’s a remedy: let’s just recognize that many people in our country are simply incapable of handling the the level of freedom which our Constitution envisions. Why should freedom be curtailed for everyone, when it’s not everyone who can’t handle freedom?

    Maybe it’s time for a kind of semi-secession. Some parts of the country get the full bill of rights; others don’t.

    Shocking? So what? This is all about “what would work, after all.

    A curtailment of several of the Bill of Rights would work; almost certainly better than almost any gun-regulation measure that is before Congress.

    So if what you want is something that will “work,” why is this not up for consideration?

    • Joseph

      Texas has a law on the books that is an extremely excellent deterrent. In Texas, if you commit a crime while in the possession of a firearm, whether you use it or not, you could actually face life in prison.

    • chezami

      You do realize, don’t you, that you have carefully constructed an argument in as inflammatory a way as possible in order to, yet again, elicit the response “Do nothing! Attempt nothing! Maintain the status quo. 32K death each year is acceptable losses.” You get that, right?

      • Stu

        What’s your proposal?

      • Hezekiah Garrett


        If you think that was as inflammatory as that argument could possibly be made, you need to get out more…

      • Cypressclimber

        No, I don’t agree. I agree I’m being provocative, but with a purpose.

        My purpose is to try to work through what a meaningful solution actually looks like.

        Look, if you care to go first on that, feel free. But this is my attempt to do it.

        *If* what you want is to get at the problem, and do something effective, then doesn’t it stand to reason that diagnosis is the essential thing?

        It seems to me there are three avenues:

        1) It’s the guns. Dramatically reduce their number.
        2) It’s the way guns work. Make them “smart” so they can only be fired by authorized users.
        3) It’s the people who get guns. Do more to keep the wrong people from getting them.

        OK, let’s explore each of these, shall we?

        1. It’s the guns

        Who has a reasonable, workable proposal for dramatically reducing that number? How will this proposal be squared with the Bill of Rights? What will it cost? Who will carry it out?

        And, importantly, how do you verify that guns have, actually, been rounded up?

        In my own judgment, that proposal is simply a non-starter. It’s highly dubious from a constitutional point of view, and extremely impractical. So if you do this, you need to get around the current jurisprudence on the 2nd Amendment, not to mention some questions about “search and seizure.”

        2. We need smarter guns

        Mr. Shea has a few times mentioned the intriguing idea that guns could be designed to be “smarter”–i.e., they can only be fired by the proper owner. Let’s assume the tech exists to do this; let’s assume we can get the votes to enact a law requiring this tech on all guns going forward. Let’s assume all Mark’s readers rally to this cause, and the law passes.

        Great! We did something!

        How will this affect the estimated 300 million guns currently in circulation? Of course, it won’t, without a gun-roundup. (Back to question 1.)

        Yes, new tech would save *some* lives. Is it crass to ask that to be quantified? Because we’re talking about a pretty major effort to pass a law. If we have to mobilize lots of political pressure, would it not be preferable to mobilize that pressure for something that does more?

        Which takes us back to the question I asked elsewhere: what if concealed carry, or longer prison sentences, are saving more lives? Or, maybe it takes to option 3:

        3. The wrong people are getting guns.

        This is something that both pro-gun and many anti-gun people tend to agree on. Which may explain why this is where there actually has been progress in changing gun laws in recent years: we enacted background checks — to screen out, we hope, “the wrong people.”

        So, if there’s more to be done, what, precisely, more can we do?

        Well, we need to put more people on the lists that are consulted in background checks. We need somehow to get at the problem of people who lack criminal records, and who have never been adjudicated sufficiently mentally unfit for gun ownership. HOW DO WE DO THAT?

        Well, we have to start putting more people on the list. How?

        Maybe we could have a 1(800) number. Anyone you think is crazy, call the number. Maybe we could offer some incentive?

        Ah, but there will be all kinds of legal complications. Which arise from the Constitution. Hence my question about the Bill of Rights.

        To put it very simply — once again — it may well be that we can more easily get at this problem by compromising on Amendments 1, 4, 5, or 14, than by compromising on Amendment 2.

        If we’re going to compromise ONE of the Bill of Rights, why be squeamish about this one, but not that one? I ask you: why?

        • freddy

          Thought provoking. Thank you.

      • Cypressclimber

        I might add, Mr. Shea, that complaining about commenters being overly provocative is a bit rich, coming from you.

  • P Johnston

    This sure generated lots of comments… !

    This YouTube video added what I thought was a fresh perspective to the discussion about gun control: How it facilitates the impulsive suicidal decisions. Their point: most people can be talked down from a desire to kill themselves… but only if they haven’t “succeeded” in doing it.

    The video is posted at https://youtu.be/lgD9AlxZxNE

    • Pete the Greek

      I think it’s great that someone is breaking out the numbers. Suicide rate is a VERY real problem in the US. The highest growth of rates has been by hanging in the US, with the largest group who use firearms to end their own lives being women and older men.

      The question then becomes, how do we address suicide in this way, while not totally destroying the rights of others? That’s an excellent question and I would love to see some good debate on it.

      I would think, though, that even at best, that’s a temporary solution, nothing more. South Korea has the highest suicide rate out of every developed nation on the planet, and they have the strictest gun control. So, in addition to what could be done in the short term, the long term problems need to be addressed at once too.

  • Pete the Greek

    Oh, I would like to point out one thing:

    Yes, there was the live video of the double murders. To those of you who actually clicked on it, and watched it? Congrats, you’re part of what’s wrong with this country. To any of you I know on facebook: if you SHARED it? I’m unfriending you right now.

    • Joseph

      A friend of mine on FB shared the video, and it automatically plays as you’re scrolling down. The first few seconds shows the guy holding up his gun (presumably to practice his aim before the shooting begins about 5 seconds later). At first I thought it was some sick joke. I didn’t think it was the *real* video and I was about to get a little pissed off. I was shocked when the dude actually started firing… then disappointed that I felt kind of suckered into watching it. Terrible. Yeah, I’d say that if I watched it *knowing* what I was going to witness, I’d definitely be part of the problem. I’m not happy with myself for giving the shooter what he wanted.
      I won’t unfriend the guy, however. I think it’s tacky to unfriend people who sometimes post offensive things. He’s a friend from high school.

      • Pete the Greek

        Yeah, I saw the first couple of seconds of it as he’s coming up the stars, as I was looking for an actual report on the event. Soon as I realized what it was (but unlike you, I had already heard that the ACTUAL shooting video was being circulated) I shut it off. I know how you feel. Just seeing that much made me feel greasy.

        “I think it’s tacky to unfriend people who sometimes post offensive things.”
        – I would agree with that. If I unfriended everyone who posted something offensive, eventually no one would have friends.

        BUT. My point is NOT that it is ‘offensive’.

        Here I honestly am not trying to sound like an A-hole, but in my mind there is something broken and sick in the mind of someone who would share a video of people being murdered on camera.

        Think of it this way: a man sees a link to a video of someone using a pistol to just kill someone’s two pet dogs. That person, excluding accidental viewing, rickrolling, etc here, had to look at that and say “Yeah, I WANT to see that.” That person then watches it and says “Yeah, I now want OTHER people to watch this too!” I think it’s the same type of mentality who sees links to videos like “Car rolls, crushes woman” and also clicks and watches stuff like that.

        No, there is something broken about people like that. Just my opinion, and you know your friend better than I do.

  • Cypressclimber

    In the spirit of “doing something” — and I think this would work, and it wouldn’t impinge on the 1st Amendment — I hereby endorse the Some A*****e Initiative.

    Sorry, no link, but the language was pretty rough. But the idea goes like this: when these shootings happen, the news people no longer publish the name, address and profile of the accused. They simply name him/her as “Some a*****e.” No more giving these people the one thing they ache for: notoriety.

    This is something we could actually do. The President could ask. The public could ask. Real pressure could be brought to bear on the networks.

    Of course, it might be bad for the cable news networks, but oh well.

    • Stu

      Florida Man?

      • Cypressclimber

        I don’t follow, sorry.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    For comparison, these are the murder rates for the Canadian provinces and US states that border each other. There is considerable overlap. (e.g., Manitoba borders both North Dakota and Minnesota). With two major exceptions– Ontario is low and Manitoba is high– the rates are in the same ballpark

    1.5 British Columbia
    2.2 Washington
    1.3 Idaho

    2.2 Alberta
    2.1 Montana

    2.7 Saskatchewan
    1.3 North Dakota

    4.1 Manitoba
    1.7 Minnesota

    1.2 Ontario
    5.6 Michigan
    4.4 New York

    1.3 Quebec
    1.1 Vermont
    1.0 New Hampshire

    0.8 New Bruswick
    1.8 Nova Scotia
    1.8 Maine

    So why is the US higher on the whole? Metropolitan areas:

    54.6 Detroit (accounting for Michigan’s high number on the border list)
    53.2 New Orleans
    35.5 St. Louis
    34.9 Baltimore
    34.4 Newark
    31.8 Oakland
    23.7 Stockton
    22.6 Kansas City
    21.8 District of Columbia
    21.5 Philadelphia
    21.3 Cleveland
    20.2 Memphis
    19.0 Atlanta
    18.5 Chicago

    Compare these to the highest murder rates in Canadian metropolitan areas:

    3.8 Regina
    3.2 Winnipeg
    2.5 Thunder Bay
    2.1 Edmonton
    2.0 Hamilton
    1.8 London
    1.8 Calgary
    1.7 Vancouver

    Clearly, the reason must lie not in the gun culture of places like Montana or North Dakota, but in some factor related to metropolitan areas. A comparison of the differences might be instructive. Does Detroit, for example, have less restrictive gun laws than Regina or Winnipeg? A Canadian friend of mine once commented that if Southerners (and their descendants in the North) were discounted, the US would have a murder rate comparable to Denmark. He pointed out that Scandinavian-Americans committed murder at about the same rate as Scandinavians, Japanese-Americans at about the same rate as Japanese, etc. So the “honor culture” that colonists brought with them from the Scots Border and planted in the dueling tradition of the mountain and tidal South may be an important factor. “Suh! You have insulted mah honor!”

    • Stu

      We were “Born to Fight.”

    • Pete the Greek

      That’s it, TOF! Pistols at DAWN!

    • ivan_the_mad

      I was raised in a more rural place, which I would wager is more like the places in your first list. I recall handguns were rarer, and usually revolvers; nearly all rifles were bolt- or lever-action (mostly the former). Contrast this with the (ugly) polymer, high-capacity weapons which have come to so dominate the merchandise at gun shows and shops today. The change, I think, is more than mere aesthetics. I think Mark has his finger on something regarding a Gun Culture, but it is probably better to speak of Gun Cultures, which would at first glance complement your figures.

      • Stu

        A lot of it is aesthetics. One can get a very plain looking (wood stock) .223 semi-automatic that has the same performance as the polymer (ugly as you say and I agree) weapons out there that for me, come across as for “wannabees”. But while I think they are marketed for this particular group, I know folks that have those weapons and use them for recreational target shooting.

        But while these ugly looking rifles that are meant to look like military grade equipment get caught up in the “assault rifle” crusade, they aren’t even assault rifles. Counter that with what I own which is a surplus M-1 Garand that fires a 30-06 round. That is actually a true assault rifle by definition and it is more lethal than .223. But it’s great for hunting as well and the price was right. It’s also really heavy and built to last.

        • Pete the Greek

          What, bruh? This is totally tactical!!

        • MarylandBill

          Just a nitpick, but the Garand is not an assault rifle, at least in its original configuration it could only be fired semi-automatically and it had an internal magazine.

          • Stu

            Well, that depends on the definition. I subscribe to notion that it was designed to actually kill people in combat as opposed to the current weapons which are aimed at simply putting people down whether dead or not.

            Regardless, it goes to show the silliness of so-called “Assault Weapon Bans”.

      • Pete the Greek

        Meh, people were panicking lately because there was a threat of a ban. I really don’t think they ‘dominate’ for much longer. I just heard today in fact that Walmart, for one, will no longer be selling AR style rifles. Because they are stricken with guilt? Because they are being ordered to by Obama ?!?!

        Nah, the demand is not enough to really offer them there anymore. Standard bolts and levers (some of which being polymer are just as ugly as the ARs) are in much higher demand now.

        There’s always going to be a market for them. But right now, it’s totally saturated. The HUGE price spike caused a FLOOD of demand, particularly for things like 80% lowers. Pretty much anyone who wanted one now has one. Or two. Or three.

        It’s the same story with detachable, standard capacity magazines. They were going for a mint a couple of years back. Now, whenever I go into the gun store to purchase powder and wads there are pallets of AR mags in boxes, on sale, at silly reduced prices.

        Sounds like you and I came up in a similar rural backdrop. My first was an original Winchester 30/30, which I still have (and can outshoot my best friend and his AR with. 🙂 )

  • ivan_the_mad

    A practical, and hopefully undisputed goal, might be to limit as much as possible the transfer of firearms to or ownership by prohibited persons (under the GCA and any applicable state and municipal/local laws).

    Close the gun show loophole: Require all transactions (to include gifts and sales) to be processed, with background check and record of transfer, by an FFL. Subject the seller to a background check as well, in case they’ve become a prohibited person since their last FFL transaction. Stiffly penalize non-compliance. (Although I’m not sure if this would significantly deter straw purchases.)

    Gun licenses: Similar to CCW permits, but for general ownership. Require renewal, to ensure periodic scrutiny.

    I am not sure how mental health records tie into background checks; if they do not, then that is also low-hanging (relatively speaking) fruit to leverage an existing system. Drug tests are not unreasonable, I think, but they would be more practically a part of licensing than a transaction.

    ETA: I have been careful, in my suggestions, to build on existing solutions, rather than to invent new ones out of whole cloth.

    • Stu

      How would a gun license cut down on the violence?

    • Cypressclimber

      Would a requirement of a “speech license” pass constitutional muster?

      If not, how does that bear on a license regarding the second amendment?

      • freddy

        You’ve provided a lot of thoughtful and insightful comments on this (and other) threads. Always a pleasure to read!
        To take you seriously, I would answer that there already exist limits on speech. The classic example is the illegality of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, but speech that is threatening, or slander, or fraud is also illegal. Regarding licensing, ham radio operators must pass a test before taking to the airwaves.
        It is arguable that licensing firearms would contravene the second amendment in a more meaningful way that the limits to free speech already in place.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Constitutional law is beyond my ken. But a couple of things to note:

        Some places, e.g. NY and DC, already require licenses for firearms ownership.
        Your question is something of an apples and oranges comparison: We bar categories of persons from exercising their Second Amendment right. We do not (to my knowledge, at least) bar categories of persons from exercising their First Amendment right.

  • It might be instructive to look at the correlation between restrictive gun laws (say, complete bans on carrying or even owning guns) and gun crime. If having the relevant legislature Do Something About Gun Violence is going to help, then it should be a negative correlation. If the correlation is positive, that suggests that the problem will not be corrected with more restrictions on legal gun ownership.

  • Sirene

    The vast majority of gun related deaths are suicides….My question is how taking a gun away would cause the suicidal depressed person not to want to commit suicide? Would taking the artifact that many use to commit suicide result in people having less urges to commit suicide?
    Would taking away one of the artifacts used to commit suicide result in less depressed people?
    Would the suggested course of action be to take one of the methods people can use to commit suicide effective in lessening the amount of people who want to kill themselves?
    There is equally high percentage of people killing themselves with a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. Maybe we can ban those too or maybe we can take care of the actual problem.

    • MarylandBill

      I agree that suicide probably should be discounted as a measure since many of those who use a handgun to commit suicide probably would choose other means. That being said, there are still an awful lot of people killed by hand guns in this country.