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What Do We Do?

Some lunatic shot up a school in Oregon Tuesday. It was only the 74th school shooting since Sandy Hook

Two right-wing eliminationist Infowars listeners shot two cops in Nevada.  The cops were oppressing everyone by eating lunch, and the Alex Jones acolytes covered their bodies with Gadsen flags, screaming about the revolution. 

Some rancher out in Nevada won’t pay his bill to the government for the privilege of having his cattle graze on land held in the public trust. A bunch of Alex Jones types weren’t going to let the federal government essentially stop this man from being a deadbeat. 

A company is going to sell bullet proof blankets for kids to use during school shootings. Because ours is totally not a third world country and this is totally not a banana republic in which we live.  

All the freaks who scream about how the “other” (fill in your own blank for that one) are dragging real America down don’t realize that they have it backwards. It’s not illegal immigrants or Obamacare or black welfare queens or gays or N0bummer himself who are turning this country into a third world backwater.

Instead, I’d argue that our creeping third world status is brought about by the people who believe lawless wild west gunslingin’ justice should act as a template for contemporary society. It’s the notion that a “good guy with a gun” – and they sure as shit don’t mean a cop – is the only thing that stands between you and a “bad guy with a gun”. The cops in Nevada – they were armed. A shooter in Washington State – he was subdued with pepper spray. While he was reloading (remember how the NY SAFE Act limits magazine capacity?) 

But the best we can do is to throw a kevlar blanket to a kid and say, “play dead?” 

Let’s just cut through the bullshit. An armed society isn’t a polite society; an armed society is a dysfunctional, failed state.

Oh, but SWITZERLAND!!1 Right? 

Right. Switzerland

Let’s pretend for a moment that a comparison with Switzerland is apples to apples. Let’s make-believe that the libertarians don’t really mean Somalia when they’re describing their dream governmental structure. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in Switzerland. I have family who lives there. Switzerland is an officially quadrilingual confederation with better schools, better social services, better foreign policy ideas, better medical care, better access to medical care, and excels at just about anything it touches. Switzerland is a wealthy and law-abiding first world functional state. Less than 8% of Swiss live below the poverty line – in the US it’s 15%. Unemployment in this country with a private health insurance mandate is 2.9% – in the US it’s 6%. The Swiss have this whole “functioning society” thing down pat. They do share our mistrust of foreigners and immigrants, however. 

The Swiss are armed, because they have what we call a well-regulated militia. And the Swiss know from regulation. 

And they own their extremely well-regulated guns to protect their country – not to overthrow their Cantonal or federal governments because some asshole on the radio decided there’s tyranny afoot. 

If Sandy Hook didn’t convince you that we have a serious problem, or if the almost weekly spate of mass shootings didn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.  Instead, we have a bunch of guys carrying semiautomatic rifles into Target and Starbucks, because arglebargle. 

Maybe the $100 billion annual cost to taxpayers from gun violence will convince you, if nothing else. 

Will stricter gun laws make a difference? I don’t know. 50-state uniformity would be nice. Expanded background checks would be swell. 

What about expansion of mental health services – that’s the one the gun people like to highlight.  Ok, folks. I’ll go for that. But you realize you have to pay for it. You have to set it up right, run it properly, and fund it adequately. Given the ease with which Obamacare was passed and implemented, please don’t insult my intelligence by pointing to “mental health treatment” as the answer because you know and I know that you don’t want to pay for it. 

How about legislation that allows, say, the families of the slain Las Vegas cops to sue Alex Jones and his corporate empire into bankruptcy? Oh, I’d love to see guys who yell “fire!” in the most crowded of lunatic theaters every single day have to pay for the natural results of their incitement. 

What do we do? 

I don’t know. 

But what I do know is – whatever we’re doing isn’t working. 


  • UncleBluck

    Is anybody else getting sick of looking at Nugent’s ugly mug….Mr I’ll sh!t my pants in public before I will ever serve in the armed forces…..

    • rhmaccallum

      The beauty of the Nugent thing is that he was never really much of a talent at music either. Sort of a looser – looser mentality.

      • UncleBluck

        As someone who has played the guitar for over 45 years I never saw Nugent as much of a talent either…he was more of an entertaining joke to me. I mean, how do you take a guy seriously as a musician/songwriter when he writes/produces songs like “Wango Tango” and “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”……

      • rhmaccallum

        Hey Unk you got me counting now. Playing guitar myself now for 45 years. How did we ever get so old?

  • rhmaccallum

    “What do we do? – whatever we’re doing isn’t working.”
    In large part we do this to ourselves each and every day. We wring our hands over Sandy Hook and all the terrible things that occur. We support and pass gun laws. We fortify our schools and playgrounds. We tell ourselves we are all behind stopping this violence.
    But when we’re done feeling good about ourselves we submit. If we take a close look at the entertainment we watch, the video games we allow our children to play and our glorification of all that is violent and repugnant we see the slow but sure morphing of society.
    It couldn’t have been more effective if it had been planned. Maybe it is planned. Every nuance of modern psychiatry and scientific behavioral study has been deployed in order to pander to our most base instincts rather than our most high instincts. Constant bombardment night and day in the form of commercials and products of media sell us a culture of murder, violence, outrageousness, terror and horror…ever escalating.
    Do we really think this continuous background hum of dramatic violence and savagery have no effect? Do we really believe a little feel good debate on gun control cures anything when we return nightly to the indoctrination of evil violent behavior?
    Whatever we’re doing isn’t working.

    • Brian Buckley

      The argument against violent media has been shown time and again to be null. Other countries that have lower rates of gun violence, and violence in general, have all the same games, music, and tv/movies. It’s not the entertainment. It’s the access to firearms and unlimited amounts of ammunition. I’m not for total removal of guns, but I do think they should be regulated across all 50 states at least as well as cars. I don’t agree that civilians should have access to assault rifles. They have one point only, and that’s to kill as many people as fast as possible. Shot guns and hunting rifles sure. Hand guns for personal property protection, fine. Open carry and concealed carry of firearms, ridiculous. Guns only make bad situations more dangerous. The worst part is, most states don’t even require gun safety classes in order to receive a license.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Civilians do not have access to assault rifles. Civilians have access to non-military semi-automatic weapons which fire one bullet at a time the same as any other firearm.

        And your comment about concealed carry shows how outside the mainstream this opinion is: Gallup polls show concealed carry laws are supported by 76% of Americans, and 72% of registered Democrats.

      • For people who pass a rigorous background check and, in NY, demonstrate a need.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Actually the poll doesn’t say that. It simply supports concealed carry. And most states have adopted laws broadly supported by the public saying that you absolutely do NOT need an approved reason to exercise your right.

      • rhmaccallum

        The argument against violent media has been shown time and again the be null only by those that have a stake in violent media. Apologists.

      • AdamaDBrown

        No, it’s been shown to be null by actual science. If you want to blame violent video games, please explain why over the last 20 years–as video games and movies have featured more and more realistic violence–why the murder rate has dropped by around 40%, and overall violent crime rates by close to 70%.

        This “crisis” everyone wants to talk about doesn’t actually exist.

      • rhmaccallum

        Apples to grapes. What does your science say about incidents of mass killings like school shootings or marathon bombings?
        You may wish to believe that constant, ever increasing exposure to easy mass violence has no effect and we are not becoming more inured to this sort of thing…but that is disingenuous. It also goes against every scientific principal of human psychology and behavioral science.
        Also, I retired from NYS Dept. Of Correctional Services about 5 years ago and was there during the boom times of the past 20 years. If murder and violent crime dropped by 40 and 70% in the past 20 years it must have been in India or somewhere.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Mass murders have not increased at all since 1976 according to the FBI, which is when they began tracking them. Not in frequency, and not in number of victims. And no, that drop in crime is right here in the US.

      • That’s not because of gun laws or a “polite society”.

      • rhmaccallum

        Don’t give up on polite society. AdamaDBrown may pose questionablew statistics but he is polite, as are almost all the posters on Artvoice. Much better than seen on TBN.
        I try being polite, sometimes fail. But all we have to do is aspire to be polite…and insist that others do also. That, in the final end may turn the tide.

      • AdamaDBrown

        Except it’s true, even as the number of guns in the country has risen by 50%, and concealed carry has become law in all 50 states, which anti-gunners confidently predicted would wildly increase violence. So the very best that can be said about your position is that there is no evidence for a correlation between guns and crime.

    • Matt

      Europeans consume the same media and Japanese video games are as or more violent than ours. They don’t have this problem. People that have a problem distinguishing between real life and make believe get mental help and don’t have easy access to weapons in those countries. That is the difference.

      • rhmaccallum

        The difference between Europe, Japan and our nation is that here that psychological indoctrination is much more insidious and pervasive. Watch 7 innings of a MLB game. Pay attention. Messages in commercials, messages on the wall behind the batter, messages behind players and coaches being interviewed. Even on this Artvoice page you probably don’t notice all the ads. It is continuous and relentless. Any notion of moderation is absent.

        “People that have a problem distinguishing between real life and make believe get mental help
        ….” Now there is a terrific observation. Here we simply shudder and condemn mental illness to “untouchable” status. If your heart is weak or your liver has cancer everyone is all for you land treatment and a cure. If that organ called the brain has a disease or malfunction your just a looney or a druggie or a piece of human trash.

  • Sean Danvers

    There has to be some way to depolarize the parties here. As with just about everything these days, relations are downright adversarial between the pro-gun crowd and the anti-gun/gun control crowd. Until some sort of rational discussion can take place about actually advancing the causes supposedly espoused by both sides there is no hope.

    BTW, I’m glad to see somebody took the time to recap a particularly shooty week in US history. It really says something that these things have become so commonplace that both sides of the news machine don’t even bother to cover it unless theres a real body count.

    • UncleBluck

      Here is some rational. Nearly 90% of the public want some sort of gun control….however the gun lobby simply blames mental health buys off our corrupt congress……..We have no corner on the mentally ill in the US. Other civilized countries have the same issues with mental health. The difference is they don’t allow the proliferation of weapons……

  • Some Guy

    Here’s what to do – mandatory liability insurance for guns, just like we have for automobiles. If an insurance company won’t insure you, you don’t get to have a gun. That’ll end all of this real quick. No way do insurance companies insure nutjobs like the Vegas murderers.

    • I like that.

    • The Church of Bill Hicks, LDS.

      That’s also a tremendous response to the gun fetishists who immediately try to form a gun/automobile narrative every time there’s one of these incidents. Wow. Tremendous. Thank you, Sir.

    • Matt

      I’ve thought of this idea too. At the very least make judgements non-dischargeable debt like in DUI cases. Families deserve to at least be financially made whole, they never will be emotionally.

    • AdamaDBrown

      Completely aside from the fact that owning a firearm is a constitutional right subject to strict scrutiny, and this fails on that grounds alone, it’s still a false comparison. You don’t need insurance to own a car, only to take it out in public.

      • BlackRockLifer

        That might be a good middle ground, if you want to take your gun out in public you need insurance.

      • Lamont Cranston

        It would be a much better world if only the children of people like you were killed in mass shootings.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Don’t forget the open carry folks who are organizing visits to restaurants, stores, and other public places with shotguns, AK-47’s, and other weapons just to push the envelope. Only a matter of time until this nonsense ends up in a tragedy.

    • Sean Danvers

      Good spot on NPR the other day about the growing backfire (pun intended?) the open carry movement is drawing, even in Texas. Apparently people are made uncomfortable by a group of heavily armed people walking around in public, what with all the mass shootings and all. What a shock!

      • BlackRockLifer

        I caught that last Friday evening, they played the 911 call of a restaurant owner telling the operators these gun fanatics were scaring his customers inside and scaring those outside from coming in. Reminds me of the group of gun fanatics that tried to intimidate a group of moms for gun control by assembling with their weapons outside the place the moms were meeting. That’s just thuggery no matter how you cut it. Gun owners mistakenly believe their weapons somehow give them a louder voice and more power than the rest of us, pathetic.

      • JP Fitzpatrick

        If this happened in Florida, would you be able to invoke “Stand your ground” to use deadly force if you felt threatened by them? These guys are exhibit A on how a “good guy with a gun” can be perceived as a bad guy with a gun real quick.

    • Scott Whitmire

      Pretty much everyone outside of OCT has been referring to these idiots as the Westboro Baptists of the gun rights community.

      • They’re worse. Westboro Baptists are just obscene loudmouths. These guys are coming to fast food joints and department stores armed for no fucking reason.

  • Bernard Lomax

    I wish the left had the stones to start down the very, very long road we need to take to fix the gun problem.

    Start a push to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

    It will fail miserably for many, many years and people will say it’s crazy to even try but a decade ago the idea of gay marriage was equally insane and we got there. We can do it again.

    The great thing about our constitution is we made it a dynamic document. It’s not the infallible word of God, it’s a bunch of ideas human beings came up with and sometimes they get stuff wrong. Based on the world they lived in, the right to bear arms made sense for the founders. With the evolution of technology and growth we’ve experienced as a nation since the thing was written, it no longer makes sense for us.

    It’s time we admit that and fix the damn thing.

    • rhmaccallum

      What we really need is a constitutional convention to make adding, repealing or modifying an amendment reasonably doable. As is the calling, convening and passage of a constitutional convention is about as realistic as pigs in space.

    • I don’t agree with your opinion. But, a constitutional amendment/repeal is the only proper way to infringe on the right to bear arms.

  • jimd54

    60 Minutes did a bit on the deplorable way we treat mental health. Basically jails have become psych wards. It’s all about the money isn’t it?

    • Sean Crowley

      cause prisons have become money makers

  • The important thing is that we do absolutely nothing.

    • Sean Crowley

      …so we can sell products that make it seem like we have. The bullet proof primary school nap rugs are a scream.

  • Kevin Hickey

    Just an anecdote:
    I was working with two Swiss guys and we went to Wendy’s for lunch. They were pointing at all of the parking spaces and saying something in Swiss German about them. I asked them what they were talking about and they said, “Everyone of these parking spaces have stains where oil has dripped from the cars; in Switzerland the police would fine all of the cars that are dripping oil.”
    I said, “It must be tough living under that kind of strict regulation”.
    They said, “Should Wendy’s have to pay to clean up their parking lot?”

    The point is that they have a lot of freedom, but they accept the fact that they have to be grown ups and be responsible.

    • rhmaccallum

      I find that same attitude in Canada.

  • Scott Whitmire

    Just a few points:

    74? Hardly. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/11/us/school-shootings-cnn-number/index.html

    or: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/06/10/wow-journalist-attempts-to-debunk-anti-gun-groups-list-of-school-shootings-in-america-since-sandy-hook-heres-what-he-found/

    Which brings me to the next point. Those that lead the charge for greater regulation of guns are routinely dishonest. Why use events that were perpetrated using guns bought through background checks to call for background checks? That’s manipulative and dishonest.

    We’re constantly treated to the notion that “No one wants to take your guns” by the same folks that point to places like UK and Australia for a model of what we should do. Places that engaged in near universal confiscation. Again, fundamentally dishonest.

    Homicides in general and firearms homicides as well as accidental deaths from firearms have been dropping steadily since before the Clinton AWB while the rates and numbers of firearms owners have been steadily increasing. Yet we are treated to the drumbeat that this is spiraling out of control. Fundamentally dishonest.

    Why on earth would any of the 100 million gun owners in this country agree to compromise with people that have telegraphed that they are implacable in their desire to see guns eliminated and are routinely shown to be liars?

    From the recent incidents-one was stopped while reloading and this is evidence that SAFE is a good idea? The incident in Oregon was carried out with an AR and standard capacity magazines. Like the school shootin in Colarado, it was stopped before it got into hgih hear by a “good guy with a gun”. Twice in recent memory, the solution that many decried as lunacy has shown itself to be effective in mitigating the situation. The key to stopping these things is a rapid application of force to disrupt the shooter. If this becomes the norm, the problem goes away. Since these monsters want a high body count above all else, a series of low body count events will discourage the others.

    • It’s 2014 and you’re telling me we need to have fucking shootouts at the OK Corral, which is a euphemism for schools, cafeterias, restaurants, department stores, etc. ad infinitum.

      Even one additional school shooting after Sandy Hook Columbine was one too many.

      What’s your solution, and don’t tell me “gun violence is down” because we’ve spent the last 30 years getting lead out of gas and homes and throwing a generation’s worth of young urban poor into jail.

  • John Wilcox

    Maybe it’s time we actually go full-tilt and REPEAL the 2nd amendment once and for all. No more stupid debate with these lunatics trying to justify their dumb, unnecessary weapons. Let these gun-huggers learn how to fight with their fists like a man.

    • Luke Reject

      I agree 100%, but why stop there? Lets get rid of the 1st Amendment too, who needs those crazy religious nuts making stupid moral judgments. Lets also get rid of the 4th Amendment too. If you aren’t doing anything wrong what would you have to hide from the police. 13th Amendment? Why not, most people are slaves to the government anyways. 18th Amendment? Alcohol is the root of all evil, right?
      I think you are on to something.

  • MaxPlanck

    Acting as the gun industry’s puppet, the NRA long ago ceased representing the interests of reasonable and responsible gun enthusiasts and instead has catered to gun fetishists on the extreme fringe, flexing its formidable clout at national, state and local government levels, precluding even the most modest gun safety measures.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Guy with a gun on the loose in Clarence, Eastern Hills Mall on lockdown, house to house search underway, call out the National Guard if necessay.
    Guy with a gun in Buffalo, no big deal, poor peoples lives are worth less, no need to demand or expect any real effort or attention.
    Just a little sarcasm but there is indeed a double standard with public safety, all citizens deserve the same protection, law enforcement resources should be allocated by need, not by the ability to pay for it.

    • John Wilcox

      Maybe there’s a feeling that many on the east and west side are already armed and able to protect themselves, while those in Clarence and it’s environs are at a gunman’s mercy?

      • BlackRockLifer

        There are more guns in the suburbs and rural areas than in the city, just take a look at the next Safe Act protest, where do you think most of those guys come from?

      • Luke Reject

        Please support your statement with facts. And don’t just include registered guns in your tally, make sure you include all of the stolen and unregistered guns found in the city.

      • Clarence is gun central.