Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, May 1, 2014 8:30 pm

War, huh! Good God, y’all. What is it good for? Gun sellers’ bottom lines.

Well, that and right-wing seditionists.

At its convention in 1977, the NRA rejected its history as a club for hunters and marksmen and embraced activism on behalf Second Amendment absolutism. Rejecting background checks and allowing “convicted violent felons, mentally deranged people, violently addicted to narcotics” easier access to guns was, said the executive vice president that year, “a price we pay for freedom.” In 2014, 500 days after Newtown and after a year of repeated legislative and judicial victories, the NRA has explicitly expanded its scope to the culture at large.

The NRA is no longer concerned with merely protecting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms – the gun lobby wants to use those arms on its fellow citizens. Or, as the NRA thinks of them: “the bad guys”.

It is useless to argue that the NRA is only targeting criminals with that line, because the NRA has defined “good guys” so narrowly as to only include the NRA itself. What does that make everyone else?

I’m actually a gun guy. Grew up with long guns, did target shooting. Carried concealed earlier in my career when I was covering some people I was worried were serious bad guys, and I still support the right of law-abiding citizens to carry concealed — if they’ve been properly trained in the use of a firearm. Problem is, a serious percentage of gun-holding Americans either have not or have decided not to care what they were taught; as several years of covering the Knife & Gun Club for various newspapers taught me quite well, the American public is in no way, shape or form a well-regulated militia.

Now, that position puts me well to the right of pretty much all my liberal/Democratic friends and not even on the absolute left fringe of the pro-gun crowd. (Some people support gun ownership but want strict limits on concealed carry, for example.) But to Wayne LaPierre and his minions, it makes me the enemy, someone they’re trying desperately to find a way to shoot legally — not me personally, understand, but people like me, anyone who disagrees with them.

You can call that Second Amendment absolutism. You can call it fanaticism. You can call it irrationality. I call it batshit freaking insane, flirting with treason. And if you want to know why police chiefs historically have favored gun control, it’s because they have to clean up after the messes that the Wayne LaPierre disciples of the world, whether or not they are, in fact, NRA members, tend to create.

LaPierre has decided to use this nightmare apocalyptic vision he outlined in his speech at the convention to get people to buy more guns, grow more paranoid, be prepared to see any reversal as an existential threat, to be met with deadly force, even in the teeth of the lowest homicide rate in decades. This is the behavior of a man who is neither sane nor law-abiding, and more innocent Americans are going to die because of it.

Monday, July 15, 2013 6:42 pm

Quote of the Day, 2nd Amendment edition

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 6:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Charlie Pierce at Esquire:

If there really were a national background check for mental stability before you could buy a gun, I’m not sure American Society could pass one.

Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:04 pm

Firearms and neurotransmitters

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 8:04 pm
Tags: ,

As I’ve said before, I grew up with guns, target shooting with .22 rifles and the odd .410 shotgun. I once carried concealed while covering the Klan in Iredell County almost 30 years ago. I favor the right to gun ownership and even concealed carry. But having spent a lot of time as a cops reporter, I also know that the “responsible American gun owner” is much more of a myth than the NRA, and even regular gun owners, want to let on. The bevy of “accidental” shootings at gun shows across the nation recently is just the tip of the iceberg.

In that light, I know just how high the bullshit level comes to in this essay by Walter Kirn on gun ownership in The New Republic:

Growing up around guns and owning them as an adult affords a person memories and experiences that strangers to guns may have trouble understanding. The divide is phenomenological, not political (or not political until it gets to be), like the gulf between those who’ve had sex and those who haven’t or those who smoke and those who’ve never lit up. Pulling a trigger and being prepared to do so cuts patterns in the self. Depending on the nature of your social life, which time around guns can shape and color in ways that I’ll describe, you might forget that these patterns are even there, because you’re surrounded by people who share them—until someone or some event challenges you to answer for your thinking.

Kirn gives us 3,300 words of anecdata, what-the-hell? analogies and magical thinking, best responded to by two contributors to No More Mr. Nice Blog, Aimai

If you want to make a Second Amendment absolutist argument be my guest — but if you want to make it on the grounds that your hazy memories of feeling safe pulling the trigger with daddy gives your gun ownership primacy over my hazy memories of being able to drop my kindergartners off for school well, [forget]  you.

… and Steve:

I’m tired of gun owners’ demands that I privilege guns’ effect on their neurochemistry over the safety of everyone else in the country — not just the thrill of the shooting but the delicious in-group joy of being part of the He-Man City Slicker Haters’ Club.

I’m not arguing that every gun-rights supporter falls into one of those two categories. Certainly I don’t. But a lot do, and, worse, they seem to expect us to try to make sane, constitutional policy on their basis. No. Sane countries do not allow themselves to be run by people who are not sane. Anyone who wants to argue to the contrary is not, by definition, a responsible American gun owner, no matter whether your people came here on the Mayflower and Miles Standish’s musket hangs over your fireplace mantel.

Friday, December 14, 2012 7:55 pm

On today’s Connecticut massacre; or, PARTS of the Constitution are a suicide pact

Commenter Kurt Weldon at Pierce’s place:

When the Patriot Act was thumbing its nose at the First Amendment, we were told “the Constitution is not a suicide pact.” And yet, when the Second Amendment is discussed, the Constitution is very much a suicide pact. The First Amendment is phrased as an absolute. We treat [it] as conditional. The Second is phrased conditionally. We treat it as an absolute.

Words matter, and history’s greatest clusterflocks are, to a one, tagged with the shattered remains of people who believed otherwise, the destruction not distinguishing in many cases between the merely ignorant and the guilty as sin. Are we really going to continue to treat as rational actors the kinds of public figures who argue, in effect, that if we give each kindergartner her own Glock, this crap won’t ever happen again?

However, lest I be accused of looking at the world only through shit-colored glasses, let me pass on, via commenter Patrick Myers on the same thread linked above, an observation — and, perhaps, instructions for you if you’re wondering what to tell your kids about what happened today — from Fred Rogers. Yeah, that Fred Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

Among those helpers today were cops, firefighters and public school teachers — the same cops, firefighters and public school teachers the Republican Party and its sponsors, the Koch Brothers and ALEC, have been demonizing so loudly and publicly for so long. Bad as today was, but for some of those teachers it could have been far worse.

My aunt is a retired public school teacher in Connecticut. Her older daughter’s husband is one today.

No, I don’t believe in banning individual gun ownership. But I also don’t believe for a goddamn second that the American people currently constitute a well-regulated militia, and anyone who claims otherwise, including a majority of the current Supreme Court, apparently, is batshit insane. I believe in the Constitution, but I have never signed a suicide pact and I don’t know another soul in America who has. Maybe I just need to get out more.

Saturday, May 8, 2010 12:36 pm

If Joe Lieberman gets any stupider, we’ll need to water him twice a week.

Sen. Joe Lieberman has proposed that people on a terror watch list be stripped of their citizenship — unilaterally, by the State Department, with no trial and no appeal.

That’s dumb enough, and anticonstitutional enough, on its own. And, certainly, we have learned over the years that expecting Lieberman’s proposals to be neither dumb nor anticonstitutional is like waiting for Godot when Godot has been buried in potters’ field for a couple of decades.

But wait! There’s more! The reason Lieberman wants to do this is to make it easier from a legal standpoint for President Obama to use drones to call in Hellfire missile attacks on people we think are terrorists. See, assassinating U.S. citizens without due process is illegal and unconstitutional and therefore almost as bad as lying about receiving oral sex from someone to whom one is not married. But if the victim isn’t a citizen any more, then the killing becomes simply Another Bold Strike in the War on Terror.

Of course, were Obama ever to be impeached on these charges, Lieberman, being All About Joe and a hypocrite besides, would no doubt vote to convict.

UPDATE: People on the terror watch list may be stripped of their citizenship, but it’s still OK for them to buy guns:

According to new statistics compiled by the Government Accountability Office and exclusively obtained by the Huffington Post, individuals on the terrorist watchlist were involved in firearm or explosives background checks 1,228 times in the past six years — and 1,119 of those transactions were allowed to proceed.

Less than 10 percent — only 109 — were denied.

Three of those matches involved the purchase of explosives, and all of those sales were allowed to proceed.

So: People on the terror watch list should be stripped of their citizenship. And a lot of people who support this think the Bill of Rights should not apply to noncitizens. Except for the Second Amendment. Wait … what?

Friday, August 21, 2009 8:01 pm

The kid is alright, or, Say hello to the Boomstick, hellbeast!

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags:

A friend of mine from high school, now living alone in the rural South, reports being female, liberal and armed:

My therapist had been encouraging me to buy a shotgun for years, because he didn’t like my living out here without some form of protection. (You KNOW you are doing okay, mental-health-wise, when your therapist is urging you to buy a gun.) … You can snicker at its small size, but loaded with 000 buckshot, it should serve my needs just fine, unless wild elephants overrun Mississippi.

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