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All Hail Our Armed Corporate Overlords

1. F your gun

A 12 year-old New Mexico boy brought a .20 gauge shotgun to school.  He shot three times, hit two classmates. One is ok, the other was shot in the face and neck, and is in critical condition. 

…the suspected shooter’s family issued a statement Wednesday saying they were heartbroken and that their remorse could not be put into words. They said the two children who were injured have been in their thoughts and prayers.

“We are horribly sad over this tragedy on so many levels,” the family stated. “We are praying that God will be with everyone who has been affected.”

The family added it will cooperate with law enforcement to “piece together how this awful tragedy occurred.”

The gun came from home. Maybe the family could take its prayers and condolences, double-check their homeowner’s insurance, prepare for the lawsuit they so richly deserve, and properly secure their weapons.

As of December 14, 2013, there had been 26 school shootings since the tragedy in Newtown, CT. But we’re told we don’t have a gun problem. Not at all.  Yet for some reason, school shootings are an overwhelmingly American problem

What would you expect their logo to look like?

2. The Freedom to Pollute Shall not be Infringed

Freedom Industries recklessly poisoned the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians last week. Poor oversight, crappy facilities, a laughably inadequate response, environmental carelessness – ignorance, all contributed to a catastrophe that people still don’t quite get. 

Here’s what I get. When you elevate “job creators” above “people”; when you lionize big corporate interests over clean water and people’s health; when you abandon or reject regulation and oversight of industries that pose a continuing imminent threat of mass poisoning, you have ceased to maintain a proper representative democracy. From the Charleston Gazette

While DEP has said it hasn’t inspected the site since 1991, when it was owned by Pennzoil, Kolb and Bauerle said Monday that the agency had looked into a previous odor complaint at the site and another odor complaint in St. Albans related to a company called Diversified Services, which handles shipping of materials for Freedom Industries.

Kolb and Bauerle arrived at the operation shortly after 11 a.m. In the parking lot, they met Kanawha County fire coordinator C.W. Sigman, whose office was also looking into residents’ odor complaints.

The DEP officials went to the office, where Dennis P. Farrell, who identified himself as president of the company, greeted them. They told Farrell about the odors and asked if the facility was having any problems.

“He said as far as he knew this was a busy time of year. They were just handling a lot of trailers,” Kolb said. “As far as he knew, there weren’t any problems.”

The DEP officials asked Kolb to show them around the facility. When they went outside, an employee asked to speak to Farrell. After that conversation, Farrell told the DEP officials there was a problem, and led them to tank 396.

There, the DEP officials said, they found a 400-square-foot pool of chemical that had leaked from the tank into a block containment area. Pressure from the material leaking out of the tank created what DEP officials called an “up-swelling,” or an artesian well, like a fountain of chemical coming up from the pool.

They saw a 4-foot-wide stream of chemicals heading for the containment area’s wall, and disappearing into the joint between the dike’s wall and floor.

Initially, no one saw the chemical pouring into the Elk River. 

This disaster is a direct result of bad right-wing/glibertarian laissez faire environmental and regulatory policies. You know – the notion that “job-killing regulations” are worse than people-poisoning absence of regulations. 

Instead of rounding people up into death camps, FEMA provided water to the nine affected counties pursuant to a declared federal state of emergency. The area where this happened is known as “chemical alley”. When the pointy-headed nerds from the federal Chemical Safety Board and local environmental groups encouraged West Virginia to improve its oversight and regulations in the area, but no one wanted to do it because jobs and freedom

This is the libertarian/conservative dream scenario. Lack of oversight to prevent catastrophe, and inadequate or non-existent health insurance to treat injuries resulting from it. Add “tort reform” to the mix, to prevent or dramatically restrict liability for wrongdoing, and we might as well elect Freedom Industries and its ilk as dictator-for-life. 


  • Black Rock Lifer

    Some gun “fun facts”-
    -100,000 Americans are shot each year, 33,000 die from guns
    -More Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than in all wars from the revolutuion to the present.
    -More guns tends to mean more violence, this holds true whether you are looking at different countries or different states.
    -States with stricter gun control have fewer deaths from gun related violence.
    -The south is the most violent region in the US followed by the west and midwest. The northeast is the least violent, NY is one of five states with the lowest gun violence.
    -20% of the population own 65% of all firearms.

    • AdamaDBrown

      “More guns tends to mean more violence, this holds true whether you are looking at different countries or different states.”

      Wrong. No matter how much this is repeated, it’s simply scientifically false. Read the Harvard study. It’s one of about a dozen saying the same thing, that there has never been any actual evidence that more guns = more crime.

      http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

      Gun ownership is at an all time high in the US, while violence is at a
      50 year low. And the US violent crime rate is a lot lower than many
      countries with strict gun control laws. But if you want a specific example, feel free to look at Switzerland, where the government hands out automatic weapons to every young man age 18-30. Their murder rate is, quite literally, the lowest on the planet Earth.

      • Diane Burley

        Yes, let’s do it the Swiss way — which is pragmatic – -and safe. There is mandatory conscription for all Swiss — so they are assigned a gun, trained how to use it – and must store it at home. To buy a gun one must have a permit – and be registered. It used to be that 50 round ammo was stored in the home — but that stopped in 2007. Now it is stored in barracks, unless on active duty. Again, smart move. Automatic weapons, guns with silencers — can not be purchased — unless high hurdles are jumped – -including making sure there are weapon locks.

        It is a canard that all Swiss are armed with no gun restrictions.

      • http://politicalclassdismissed.com/ Michael Rebmann

        Mandatory conscription = mandatory enslavement to the Sate.

      • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

        Tell it to the Swiss.

      • rhmaccallum

        Besides real good cheese all Swiss males are part of a militia and the Swiss have been and continue to be strictly a neutral nation. Not condoning or taking part in wars that are outside their territory and none of their business. I’d support mandatory service if it was to insure we did not go to war.

      • http://politicalclassdismissed.com/ Michael Rebmann

        Absolutely, a non-interventionist foreign policy is a game changer for the good.

      • Diane Burley

        Perhaps, but it would probably give those loons in congress a pause before they hit the button on the war conveyor belt.

      • AdamaDBrown

        “Automatic weapons, guns with silencers — can not be purchased — unless high hurdles are jumped”

        You know that the restrictions on those things are actually higher in the US than in Switzerland, right?

        Also, there’s no restrictions in Switzerland on buying and taking home ammunition.

      • Black Rock Lifer

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/
        The evidence provided in this link contradicts your claim, also to quote from the same link “Switzerland has tightened their gun laws substanially and now pursue an entirely different approach than the US.”
        Also from the link, “Gun ownership is declining overall and is at or near all time lows” The reason gun numbers are up is because that 20% I cited own 65% of all firearms, the number of households with guns is declining. Violence is at a 50 year low due to many well known factors, aging out of the baby boomers (lower percentage of young males), better mental health care, better drug therapy, and more intervention.

      • AdamaDBrown

        The number of households with a gun is NOT declining, per Gallup. In fact it’s the highest it’s been in 20 years.

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

      • Black Rock Lifer

        The small window you cited does not show the big picture, gun ownership has declined since 1960 with only a small upward blip in the last 2 years. This is due to the gun lobby’s concerted effort to scare uninformed Americans into believing Obama is coming for their guns.

      • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

        Adama, have you actually looked at the Swiss laws? When people who think the “well regulated militia” clause means something contemplate what that provision should mean, one only need look to Switzerland, where the people you’re talking about are the members of a militia. The guns are to be kept at home or at the local armory. To keep your weapon after your militia service is complete, you must be licensed. By virtue of the fact that the weapon was government-issued, it is also registered with that government. Improper use of a service weapon is a crime.

        Firearm ownership by percent of population is also lower, overall, in Switzerland.

        Switzerland will issue private persons a permit, which allows them legally to purchase up to 3 firearms (with some exceptions not requiring a permit), and in order to obtain this permit the individual must submit to a detailed background check.

        Switzerland is also very rich, very insular, very xenophobic, and different in many other ways from the US.

        But if you’re recommending Swiss-style gun restrictions be introduced uniformly in the US, I’m willing to hear you out. But I doubt you are.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Yes Alan, I’m quite aware of Swiss laws. I’m also aware that that doesn’t change the fact that firearms are widely available in Switzerland, which is the point. Registration and permits don’t prevent murders, and never did. So, are Americans simply murderous psychos, or is it maybe that there’s something else involved besides the availability of guns? Multiple murders are not statistically significant in terms of the murder rate in the US.

      • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

        No. America has 50 different gun laws. Switzerland has 1 (despite being a confederation of Cantons, more loosely organized than our federal system). Yet, as you brought up, Swiss gun deaths are significantly lower (almost non-existent) as compared with here in the US. You make the correlation that “more guns doesn’t mean more gun crime”.

        Yet when I point out the restrictions on gun ownership that exist in Switzerland (restrictions that are stricter than arguably in any state in the US and possibly violative of 2A) you argue that this is meaningless.

        While I think there are myriad socioeconomic reasons why Switzerland has a lower rate of violent gun crime, I also think “keeping restrictions in place so that lunatics and convicts can’t get them” counts as well.

        I’ll also note, as an aside, that Swiss gun laws are among the (if not _the_) least restrictive in Europe. So, it’s not as if a Swiss who can’t get a gun could waltz over to France or Germany and pick one up there. By contrast, if NYS law prohibits a local loon from buying a gun, he can always traipse off to Virginia or Pennsylvania and get one there.

        Registration and permits “don’t prevent murders”, but they prevent people who shouldn’t have easy access to firearms from having easy access to firearms. Just like passport controls and fences don’t keep undocumented aliens out of the country, one has to commit a crime as a threshold matter.

      • http://politicalclassdismissed.com/ Michael Rebmann

        The population of Switzerland is about equal to the population of New York City, rendering the comparison of Cantons and States irrelevant.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Swiss restrictions are no stricter than many US states, and looser in many ways. For instance, in Switzerland automatic weapons are common and easily accessible, whereas here they’re extremely rare and tightly controlled in every state. Switzerland’s laws on handguns are less strict than in New York State, Massachusetts, California, et al. If you’d like to argue that those restrictions would be in violation of the second amendment, I’d agree with you.

        And no, registrations and permits only work that way if you set them out with the express intention to deny some people from owning weapons, based on terms OTHER than those spelled out under due process, such as felonies, violent misdemeanors, etcetera. In that case, if your intent is to deny people the right to own or carry a firearm based on whether you like them or not, their attitude, things other than actual judicial action, yes, it’s violation of both the second and fifth amendments.

      • Black Rock Lifer

        looked into the link you posted. This was not a true “Harvard Study” but an article published in 2007 in the Harvard Society for Law and Public Policy, an organization of Harvard Law School students, neither author is affiliated with Harvard and the study was not peer reviewed. Kates and Mauser (the authors) are pro-gun ideologues attempting to disprove what study after study has shown, more guns means more deaths. The authors cherry pick and conflate data to make their case. The REAL Harvard School of Public Health has numerous peer reviewed studies contradicting most of the conclusions of Kates and Mauser.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Kates and Mauser are two of the most highly regarded criminologists in North America. Another one, Gary Kleck, started out his first study of firearms expecting to find out that gun control reduced crime, only to find out that his own data disproved his assumptions. Seriously, please read the actual research.Pretty much the only “study” that supports “guns = crime” is the one by Kellerman, who 1) isn’t a criminologist, 2) was specifically paid to come to that conclusion, and 3) redefined the data in order to make his point.

      • Black Rock Lifer

        We will have to disagree, I noticed you didn’t address the fact this “study’ was not peer reviewed or an actual Harvard study. As for the claim that “pretty much the only study that supports guns=crime is one by Kellerman”, that’s just not accurate, there are many reputable studies to that effect, some can be seen at the legitimate Harvard site.

      • Rob Patterson

        “Kellerman … was specifically paid to come to that conclusion”. Citation please?

      • AdamaDBrown

        Kellerman is an employee of the RAND Corporation, which is the financier of the Violence Prevention Center, an anti-gun group. His study was paid for by the VPC.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Kellermann

    • AdamaDBrown

      Also, your other statistics are equally wrong. New York is 25th in homicides involving a firearm, not in the bottom 5, and there’s no particular regional correlation. Also, those numbers are deliberately skewed by including suicides.

      • Black Rock Lifer

        NY is indeed the 5th lowest in firearm deaths per capita,(the only accurate statistic) see http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000
        Also there is a regional correlation, see my previous link to confirm. Finally suicides should be included as they account for over half of all gun related deaths, no other method is so effective or readily available. Most other methods fail and the person has the chance to seek help and survive, not the case with guns.

      • AdamaDBrown

        FBI uniform crime reports say you’re wrong.

        http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

        Also, suicides are more than two thirds of all deaths from a firearm. That said, the US suicide rate isn’t significantly higher than countries where firearms are banned.

      • Black Rock Lifer

        Your stats are raw number of deaths, per capita is the only reasonable way to measure due to population variances. My point stands.

      • AdamaDBrown

        No, it doesn’t. If you measure per capita, NY stands 25th.

      • BlackRockLifer

        Take another look at my link, NY is clearly 5th from the bottom in firearm deaths per 100,000. This number includes accidents and suicides which are due to the prevalence and accessibility of guns.

  • rhmaccallum

    Can you just imagine the hue and cry from that same libertarian/conservative block if this release had occurred at a government facility?

    • Ridgewaycynic2013

      Yes…”thanks, Obama”.

    • Black Rock Lifer

      FOX “News” is already blaming government claiming the inspectors weren’t doing their job. Never mind the fact that FOX and the Republicans have been criticizing and undermining goverment regulation while claiming the private sector should be self regulating.

      • rhmaccallum

        FOX is expert at talking out of both sides or their mouth at the same time. It’s an art and a talent.

  • Russ Andolina

    Wow the comment section from the “Fuck Your Gun” article was (unsurprisingly) a tire fire. Ever find out who the Anon was threatening to literally kill that Carl guy?

    • http://www.buffalopundit.com/ Alan Bedenko

      IP was traced to a college in Texas.

      • Russ Andolina

        Of course it was.

  • jimd54

    This is a very interesting discussion. I thank everyone for being civil.