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Liberty and Such As

Here’s how yesterday went. 

1. A survivalist in Alabama shot and killed a school bus driver, kidnapped an autistic 6 year-old boy, and absconded with him to his homemade bunker, where a standoff continues. He committed the murder and kidnapped the boy in order to “air his grievances.” Neighbors told reporters that he was a strange person who seemed ready to snap at any time. No word on whether gun enthusiasts in Alabama have come out in support of a comprehensive public mental health scheme yet. I’m sure there will be a well-attended and angry meeting in a suburban library to demand better mental health and improved background checks, right? Or is this just another episode where a well-regulated militiaman liberated a tyrannic bus driver from his life, and protected a 6 year-old boy from the tyranny of his home. 

2. While former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords dramatically addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee as a spokesperson for reasonable gun control measures, a workplace shooting took place in Phoenix, AZ

Arizona and Alabama have comparatively no gun control whatsoever, and are theoretically populated by “good guys” who are armed to the teeth. It is that possibility of any prospective victim being armed that is supposed to deter crime, say gun control opponents. 

3. Why can’t you just own a bazooka

4. 91% of NRA members agree that the mentally ill should not be allowed to buy or own guns – I’d like to meet the 9% who think it’s ok. Yet when asked yesterday about background checks, NRA spokeszombie Wayne LaPierre suggested that, because we aren’t prosecuting people who try to buy guns despite being denied due to a bad background check, we should dispense with them altogether. The logic here is non-existent, and it underscores the fact that, in the end, the NRA is just a shill for the gun manufacturers. This is all too reminiscent of past hearings where tobacco company executives rejected science which showed that smoking is a major form of cancer and other diseases. 

5. Another responsible gun owner/patriot bravely defended his liberty against the tyranny of a person whose GPS got him lost

Rodrigo Diaz, 22, was driving around with his girlfriend and two friends when he pulled into a driveway, thinking they had arrived at another friend’s house, his brother says. But instead he pulled into the driveway of Phillip Sailors, 69, who thought his home was being robbed, his lawyer says. Sailors then shot Diaz, according to the police report, citing what Sailors told officers at the scene. Diaz later died after surgery.

“Basically, what happened is they were looking for one of my brother’s girlfriend’s friends,” says his brother David E. Diaz-Valencia, 23. “The guy came outside and my brother’s girlfriend said he was screaming, ‘Get off my property!’ and he shot into the air. My brother was backing out fast because he was scared and he rolled down the window to say he was sorry and he was not doing anything wrong. Then the guy shot him in his head.”

6. Yesterday, it was announced that the economy unexpectedly shrunk by .1% in the 4th quarter of 2012. At first blush, this is bad news, but if you look at the data, the reason for the contraction has to do with a 22% drop in defense spending. Imagine that – reduced government spending in the economy has the ability to contract the economy; government spending has the ability to grow the economy. People who oppose the economic stimulus and Keynesian economics, however, usually dummy up when it comes to military Keynesianism.

Paired with evidence of how the austerity imposed by Cameron’s Tories in the UK is leading to a triple-dip recession, while stimulus spending in the US has managed to help keep the economy moving quite well.  

Maybe that Krugman guy knows what he’s talking about