Alrighty GOP, It’s Go Time, Let’s See What You Got!

They’ve got the power, let’s see what they do with it in the clinch.
PS: Is my image too subtle?

Alrighty GOP, It's Go Time, Let's See What You Got!

As you are all now aware, there has been another school shooting1.  As I am certain you are also aware, President Trump has called for our need to address Mental Health as the reason these shootings keep happening.  Since I am one of the resident ‘Gun Nuts’, I figure it’s on me to say, “Yes Mr. President, I agree!  Most emphatically!  We absolutely need to start dealing with mental health!  I’m listening, let’s hear what ideas you and your party have for addressing the issue from this direction.  You have control of the House and the Senate!  Now is the time to strike, before the midterms threaten to take control away.  Hell, wrap it up with DACA so those obstinate Dems will go along.”

Right?!  You are all totally on board with this, I know it!

(Damnit we need a sarcasm tag or something…)

My predictions (at least one will happen, but it could be more than one, even if they are contradictory):

  1. The President and the GOP will offer Thoughts & Prayers(TM), but otherwise do feck all.
  2. They will amend the Patriot Act to declare school/mass shooters ‘Domestic Terrorists’ so the FBI can treat them as such and bring the full weight of federal law enforcement down on them.
  3. They will make even thinking about a mass casualty event a crime unless you are a trained and licensed/certified disaster planner (no more casually speculating about mass shootings in any kind of public forum without credentials).
  4. They will produce no additional budget, nor expand Medicare/Medicaid coverage for mental health care, even if the person is identified by law enforcement or medical personnel as someone who is potentially a danger to others or themselves.
  5. They will make being identified by law enforcement or medical personnel as someone who is potentially a danger to others or themselves a crime punishable by indefinite confinement (like how sex offenders can be kept in confinement after they have served their sentence).

How about you guys?  What do you think the GOP will do in the wake of this?

Image by Bill Ward’s Brickpile Alrighty GOP, It's Go Time, Let's See What You Got!

  1. On a positive note, a potential school shooting was stopped in a town I used to live in. []

Contributor

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget. ...more →

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506 thoughts on “Alrighty GOP, It’s Go Time, Let’s See What You Got!

  1. If history is any guide, #1 & #4.

    What needs to be clearly understood is that the NRA serves the same purpose to the contemporary GOP as unions have served to the Democrats. Some money, especially for state/local elections, and boots on the ground. Dead kids are just collateral damage.

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  2. I would also suspect possibly more mandates that require teachers/professors/school support staff/people like nurses to go through training to “identify” and require us to ‘report’ people that “seem” dangerous. Of course, the FBI may continue to sit with their thumbs up their butts but it seems requiring to send already-busy people for more training, and put more responsibility on them, is a thing now.

    I would also not be surprised at 5, with a side-order of “people who are kinda weird get a little extra surveillance” and a lot of weird-but-harmless folks wind up harassed. But maybe some actually-threatening folks (cough whitesupremacists cough) don’t get looked into at all, because double standards are a thing.

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  3. How many dozen times do the police have to be told there’s a serious problem before they do something? The FBI was told twice he was going to be a school shooter. The teachers at the school were expecting it.

    I’m having a hard time convincing myself this is a Presidential level issue. We’ll pass a law that says the authorities are supposed to follow the other laws?

    If someone wants to argue the authorities don’t have the tools they need to deal with someone who openly claims he’s going to shoot up schools, then we can and should have that discussion, but if they had the tools and just didn’t do their jobs then that’s the discussion we should be having.

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      • *knock knock*

        “Hello officers, what seems to be the matter?”

        “We have a report that there is a creepy kid, possibly mentally disturbed, with poor socialization skills living here, and he is exercising his 2nd Amendment rights to amass a small arsenal of firearms to water the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants.”

        “Yes, that’s very true.”

        “OK, then, just checking. Have a nice day.”

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        • I’ll see if I can find the links later, but in a lot of cases, contact with law enforcement interrupts everything, and the kid (these are not sophisticated killers) just starts talking and talking and talking themselves into some manner of intervention. I mean, the Vegas massacre shooter is likely the exception that proves the rule, but whenever I read about a kid being stopped before the attack, that is the pattern. They just can’t keep quiet.

          Even if no crime is ultimately prosecuted, the plan is thwarted, parents/guardians become aware, the means are removed, counseling is sought, etc.

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          • I agree with this. Just talking with them, discussing the concerns, generally disrupts everything with most spree killers. I’ve read several accounts of disrupted spree killings, and this is the pattern.

            The common thread among them appears to be feelings of humiliation, and talking to them signals that someone actually cares about them. I think that’s the link.

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      • Neither forbidding him from buying a firearm, or confiscating one he already owned, was legally possible.

        I find it difficult to believe that a gun obsessed mentally ill nut can openly claim, in writing, using his real name, that he’s going to shoot up schools and the authorities don’t have the tools to deal with him.

        If that’s the case then this is good news, we can pass laws to deal with the situation.

        If it’s not the case then we can pass more laws the authorities (and criminals) will ignore.

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        • 1. I’ve seen some arguments back and forth about the extent to which the police can act in situations like this. My understanding is that it varies from state to state, but in most states, including FL, they can’t do a whole hell of a lot.

          2. There is some value in defense in depth, so if they don’t trip one trigger they trick another. Then again there’s also some value in not having laws that are widely flouted or ignored by the relevant authorities.

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          • One thing that police can do is take someone into custody for no reason and hold them for 23 hours on suspicion of X. In other contexts, this is often done.

            This kind of thing, along with talking to people about the evidence, the journals, the plans, the training, what are they going to do with it? It’s very likely to disrupt shootings. We need to engage with people, not back away slowly.

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        • I’m bothered by the use of the word “failure” here since it’s not really clear what they should have done. Not only is it not illegal to be a crazy weirdo who talks about killing people and amasses guns, it’s kind of an American tradition.

          When these things happen, it’s much more common for people to say, “Yeah, we figured he was going to do that at some point,” than, “That guy? No way!” We all know who are crazy dangerous weirdos are. They stand out like sore thumbs and exhibit mostly the same types of dysfunctions. But as far as I’m aware, we don’t have any tools to deal with them. We just have to wait until they kill somebody.

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              • You try to sell them an obscure but illegal mod to their AR-15. Or an untaxed suppressor.

                Seriously folks, the ways you can make your gun into a felony are legion, especially something like an AR-15. A 19 year old kid is not gonna be aware of them all. Hell, there are folks who are well versed in the ATF regs who still get it wrong.

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                • Just for the sake of argument, how long could the FBI or ATF get away with this?

                  Jan 3, 20xx
                  For Immediate Release
                  The FBI is proud to announce that today we obtained our 10,000th conviction under the “Run a scam to sell illegal weapons parts to anyone reported to us as a potential school shooter” program.

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                  • How long have they been suckering bombers with that program?

                    Although you have a point, in that the goal of such a program should not be maximum conviction, but intervention and help. Unfortunately, that is not the incentive LE has, so they wait until they can get a conviction, which might be too long.

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              • Just for instance, the ATF can come after you for having the parts to make a bomb or illegal firearm, you don’t even have to have assembled them into a bomb or firearm. They just need to show you have the parts and some evidence you reasonable have the knowledge and means. IIRC motive is not necessary. I don’t know how often such prosecutions are successful in front of a jury, but it’s enough to get an indictment.

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  4. 1 and 4.

    I think they’ll stay the hell away the likes of 3 and 5, not out of any (completely justified) concern about due process and civil liberties, but because they understand that those sorts of measures will subject a lot of their fellow tribe members to a lot of very uncomfortable scrutiny and worse.

    Because when you get down to it, there’s just enough of a chunk of Team Red that’s into Freikorps cosplay and Day of the Rope jerkoff fantasies that the Republican Party leadership knows it would be on very thin ice if they did anything that might inconvenience the extremist Right. This most recent shooter looks to have been a neo-Nazi, and yet people on the Right who are casting about for anything to explain this that isn’t easy access to firearms [1] are really reluctant to even mention this as a possible explanation or reason for concern.

    I don’t even think that the gun control measures being proposed will help very much, if at all, with mass shootings, though a couple of them may be worthwhile for other reasons if they’re implemented properly. I’m extremely frustrated with a lot of my fellow Blue Team members for frequently not knowing what the fuck they’re talking about, or having the vaguest sense that a lot of the objections and distrust they’re facing are somewhat reasonable and can be addressed by actually sitting down and thinking about how to design a goddamn public policy that works.

    But ye gods, at least they aren’t sitting around trying to figure out how to use this as an excuse to sell more guns the way they NRA is.

    [1] Fatherlessness! Godlessness! Violent movies and video games, because guns don’t kill people, imaginary guns kill people!

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  5. You work your side of the street, I’ll work mine.

    For my fellow liberals, I’m advising that its time to stop with the throat-clearing “Of course we believe in a personal right to a gun…”

    Because I don’t believe that. I think whatever moral principle or logic that supported the 2nd Amendment has long vanished.

    See that’s the thing about absolutist stances, they demand an equal and opposite counter.

    If something so modest as a restriction on crazy people owning guns is fought as ferociously as a total firearm confiscation, then what point is there in nibbling around the edges with timid steps?

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    • For my fellow liberals, I’m advising that its time to stop with the throat-clearing “Of course we believe in a personal right to a gun…”

      But what if we actually do believe that?

      I mean right now I’m sufficiently on tilt that I’d seriously consider repealing the Second Amendment solely to spite Erick Erickson, but I’m pretty sure that will pass.

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      • This is a part of it. There’s an assumption that there’s a consensus on the broader left around firearm rights/policy that doesn’t exist. My policy preferences line up reasonably well with Bernie world. Still, I support a right to personal ownership of firearms and find most of the reforms circulated every time there’s a massacre to be pointless or maybe counter productive.

        What I’d actually like to learn more about is the Czech model. They recently amended their constitution to include a right to firearm ownership and I think their system could be promising.

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        • In a damn sane world, the gun owners would propose sensible legislation to handle firearm ownership, and the use and misuse of.

          Strangely, that doesn’t happen. Mostly what I see are complaints that other people’s proposed laws won’t work, often coupled with sneers that non-owners “clearly know nothing about the topic”.

          Fair enough. I’m happy to let the subject matter experts come up with a way to address this. I’m not going to ask for 100% solutions here, I’m happy with any progress.

          I will note that solutions that start with “more guns” aren’t actually serious solutions. “Arm the teachers” is not a serious solution. “Arm the students” is not a serious solution. Sadly, it seems to be the most common refrain from the NRA. “if only there had been more guns, like the reason teacher’s weren’t strapped is because they just couldn’t get their hands on a gun.

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          • There are a lot of problems here.

            One, and it’s not the only one, but it looms large, is that roughly half the people calling for gun control are saying, “Nobody wants to take your guns away!” and the other half are saying, “Hell yes we want to take your guns away!”

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          • I’m happy to let the subject matter experts come up with a way to address this.

            Wouldn’t those experts say “ban and buy-back”? Which is a non-starter in the US cuz 2A, so we go to other measures which are non-starters too.

            I think the 2A dead-enders and NRA glad-handers are forcing a high-stakes binary choice on the electorate, tho, one with a *lot* of downside risk for their interests.

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          • Well I don’t think more guns are a solution.
            There is a part of me that’s started wondering if a nationwide approach isn’t the best way to go. I’d be curious to hear what other people on the firearm rights side think about that.

            On the mass shooting issue I think the best thing we can do right now is set up something better and more reliable than NICS. If existing systems were being administered properly they could have prevented or at least made far more difficult quite a few recent incidents. The Texas shooting last year and Dylan Roof immediately come to mind.

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            • I’d bet real money that if you tried to “properly administrate” these systems, you’d run smack dab into other laws and large loopholes placed squarely in your way. Oh, and probably lack of funding.

              It’s almost as if some lobbyist group as made sure to neuter such things, being unable to repeal it.

              But hey, government can’t do anything right, so it’s probably not that, yeah?

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            • Better NICS would help, but doing it properly would require a uniform way to report convictions, etc., as well as some kind of registry. Honestly, if the hard core folks don’t give, that will be the victory the Dems will get – something approaching a registry.

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          • This is kinda the whole point of this post. The GOP is in total control. If they honestly believe that mental health is the issue[1], they have the power to address it.

            My money is on Trump offering up something, but loading it with a poison pill so the Democrats balk, and he can go on Twitter and talk about how the Dems aren’t serious and just want to take everyone’s guns away.

            [1] I don’t, and if they do anything, it will be to criminalize things further with a default attitude of “they’re all evil”.

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    • I concur here largely. We need to reduce the number of firearms in the United States.

      The caveat being what to do about the Second Amendment and the huge difficulty in amending the Constitution. I think prohibition is the only Amendment to be repealed totally even slavery was outlawed by adding an Amendment.

      Realpolitiks sucks and the truth is that the Constitution gives overwhelming power to small rural states on guns and immigration. Democrats can turn immigration into a litmus test but guns would turn us really into a permanent minority party.

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      • The problem is the relationship Americans have with guns.

        “Relationship” is the word here.

        Our cultural attitude towards guns and gun violence is different than it is in most other countries. Other countries have mental illness, other countries have young men with feelings of humiliation and sexual inadequacy, other countries have domestic violence.

        We have a paradox here in America. Overall crime has declined remarkably, yet the number of spree shootings has risen.
        Overall the number of gun owners has declined, but the shrinking number of gun owners have amassed larger and larger arsenals.

        The cultural attitude towards guns is the only variable at play here.
        In the Wild West, gun control was a common and uncontroversial thing. It was considered reasonable for towns to ban the possession of guns in public.

        In the Golden Age of the early/ mid 20th Century, when most men were veterans of war, it was not controversial for the government to ban fully automatic rifles.

        It would have been striking, alarming to the point of alerting the police, for someone to insist on carrying a pistol into a bar, and talk about “watering the tree of liberty with blood”.

        But that has all changed. Our cultural attitude towards gun violence is different now, unhealthy and disturbed.

        There isn’t some silver bullet/magic potion/One Weird Trick remedy for all this.

        When a culture has developed an unhealthy relationship to guns like a drunk with alcohol, it requires a deep and sustained effort to root it out.

        America has become like a family where one member suddenly acts out in an act of shocking violence. It isn’t enough to focus on the one acting out. It is critical to grasp that there was a culture, an environment that nurtured the dysfunction, that inflamed it, aggravated it, sustained it, and helped it along the way to its conclusion.

        The mental health crisis isn’t with these lone individuals, its with all of us, and how we think about guns and gun violence.

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        • I’ve talked about the culture before, and as time goes on, I am more and more convinced that our gun culture is a trailing indicator of our police culture. The more insular and paranoid the police become, the more insular and paranoid the unhealthy* gun culture becomes. The police get to salve their fears with politicians granting them more legal authority. Everyone else gets to stock up on arms and ammo.

          Turn the police, you’ll turn the culture.

          *There remains a healthy gun culture, but it feels attacked enough that it sides with the unhealthy side in defense.

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                  • Could be. Black people have been the victims of state power since the founding of the country, tho, so I don’t see how a continuation of those measures would cause the current level extremism in the white community. Seems to me the better explanation is that it’s a response to government power being used against white people. Waco and Ruby specifically.

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                    • Well we may just have to disagree. In my various adventures in American gun culture I haven’t found loads of sympathy for survivalists or Branch Davidian types (though it is out there and my guess is that its more prevalent in other regions). What I do hear a frustrating amount of is people echoing the kind of extreme self-defense philosophies and paranoia about crime regularly expressed by the police.

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                        • Right, but presumably because they think state power might be directed against them, correct? Where did white people ever get such a strange idea?

                          History, both ours and other people’s.

                          Further, it’s not entirely a “gov power will be used against me” thing. There’s also “the gov can’t be trusted to help me if it hits the fan”.

                          I don’t own a gun, and generically, I don’t need one. However that can change.

                          If one of my daughters picks up a serious stalker, my lack of need for a gun can change. Ditto if I start living out in the country and shooting the wildlife (or the neighbors dog) becomes an issue. Ditto if I move to some area where the police have less than full control. Ditto if I feel I’m a target by someone or something that can introduce violence.

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                        • Another way to say it: given that an arms race against cops is obviously ridiculous the motivation for doing so can’t be the rational acceptance of the irrational. So it seems to me much more likely that it’s motivated by something irrational, like a new-found fear that state power can and will be used indiscriminately, not just against “others”.

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                          • There are bad actors in society. There are irrational actors in society. There are criminals in society. The police’s goals and needs aren’t always well aligned with my needs.

                            Society’s need for me to be disarmed may conflict, directly, with my need to defend myself. Not a vague “some generic person” might show up (although there are neighborhoods where that becomes reasonable).

                            I’ve encountered two scary people over the years which started conversations with my wife in terms of “should we be armed?”. If you can have a conversation that consists of “what do we do if this person shows up on my doorstep intending to kill people”, then part of that conversation becomes “is it less risky to have a gun in the house than to not have a gun in the house?”

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                        • Quite the opposite. It’s because they don’t think state power is capable of protecting them from violent crime (which in certain respects they’re right about) but they also grossly overestimate the threat, especially at the individual level. It is not an arms race against the police. its an arms race against largely imaginary criminals/highly unlikely events that the police insist lurk around every corner.

                          Again, Oscar can correct me if I misread him, but this corner of the gun culture doesn’t say ‘I need this to battle the police.’ They say ‘If the police need this, and I can’t rely on the police, I also need this.’

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                          • Correct, and in a way it makes sense from a Peelian perspective. The public are the police & the police are the public, so one could argue that not only should the public be as well armed as the police in case they have to deal with the same threats.

                            Now if you take it a step further, the public should always be able to outgun the police, lest the police get big ideas about who is in charge. This is a stretch these days, but as recently as the the 60’s, it was still an issue that the Feds and state police were unable to maintain control of smaller departments who enjoyed being violent with undesirables.

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                            • I gotta say, I find this really REALLY hard to believe. The claim is that gun rights extremism is not driven by the evidence of cops using military tactics on law abiding citizens, but by police falsely signaling that crime is so out of control, and hence that citizens lives are so at risk, that military grade hardware is necessary to combat the non-existent chaos and danger. That strikes me as overly complicated, to be honest. Seems to me the better explanation is that people are revving the extremism engine because they increasingly (and correctly, probably) perceive that the cops themselves pose a bigger threat to their lives than some hoodlum shaking them down for twenty bucks.

                              I mean, I admit that you guys are deeper in that culture than I am, so I concede a disparate level of familiarity with it. But if we’re talking about gun rights extremism, and it’s rise in American culture, I have a hard time believing it’s the result of false signals sent by the cops about uncontrollable crime rather than true signals sent by uncontrollable cops.

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                              • I gotta say, i think you are off on this Still. I’m familiar with some of the hard core “negative culture” gun rights types. They are terrified of rampaging crime, terrorists and personal fear of people other than cops killing them. Most are very pro-cop/military. There is some suspicion of authority, but that is mostly not the armed authorities. When they are suspicious of armed authorities it is in the frame of action movie tropes: the bureaucratic bosses are PC, paper bound politicians while the front line guys are hard nose street wise goodfellas. Real mens men.

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                                • The claim is that fear of crime is what motivates radical 2A extremism which demands continued access to military grade weaponry and intransigent opposition to regulations on purchases? No, I don’t see the connection there. I mean, I’m trying, but I just don’t see it.

                                  Btw, you mentioned how the gun rights extremists you know are pro-cop. The Philandro Castillo case seems relevant here.

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                                  • Yeah for the NRA and that ilk they sided with the cops over Castillo in a second. It’s fear of crime and totalitarian gov taking over. They are fine and dandy about gov when they are in power.

                                    Lots of cops are 2nd A extremists. They are not separate groups.

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                          • I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree afterall. :) My experience with gun culture here in Colorado and in Texas is that folks ramped up on gun accumulation/rights aren’t motivated by a threat of crime, but as a bulwark against tyranny.

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                            • I strongly suspect there’s a regional bent. People in the urban Mid Atlantic aren’t really worried about federal tyranny. Too many people work for the government, either directly or through contractors. But there are enough islands of poverty and urban decay that violent crime can feel closer than it actually is. Even when it’s phyisically close it usually isn’t demographically.

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                  • OK lets go with that.

                    SLC is of course predominantly Mormon, and its politics is flavored by their culture and sensibilities.

                    Do Mormons dig it when somebody strolls into a mall with an AR-15 slung over their shoulder and starts talking about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants?

                    Do Mormons walk into Temple wearing pistols, y’know, for protection?

                    In fact, aren’t Mormons the exemplar of a high-trust, high-collaboration society where violence is shunned?

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                          • That’s probably not helpful, but having in-group leaders that the gun owners respect stoking paranoia seems even less helpful.

                            As does having those leaders (and no small number of rank and file gun owners) engage in public imbecility that would tend to validate the decision of those elites to make fun of them.

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                                    • And that’s without getting into my opinion on how well Prohibition (both versions 1.0 and 2.0) and immigration restriction work.

                                      (Or are we avoiding discussing whether something would work and are, instead, focusing on how good people agree that some things just shouldn’t be condoned by a decent society?)

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                                        • Oh, sure.

                                          Banning guns will work approximately as well as prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of drugs, and immigration restrictions.

                                          Even if laws are passed, the hammer of the law will also come down hardest on women and minorities and the people we’re most hoping to be restricted by this law won’t be because of the inclinations of law enforcement.

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                                            • If the suggestion is that we just need to change how the culture views guns, makes sure that everybody knows that they’re *NOT* cool, makes any movie in which guns are shown to be an automatic ‘R’ (some exceptions might be made for historical movies, I guess), and otherwise allows them to be continued to be bought/sold/used (albeit in very limited circumstances), then I’d say that, hey…

                                              That might actually have a chance of working after 20-30 years.

                                              I might even be on board with that policy.

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                                              • The variable in all this which we really can’t predict is how culture will change.
                                                But the thing beyond dispute is that it WILL change.
                                                Gay marriage was a fantasy, until it wasn’t. Smoking was entrenched in American culture, until it wasn’t.

                                                The contours and agendas of our politics is changing, and will continue to change forever.

                                                And yes, in fact, it took about 20-30 years for the battle against tobacco to bear fruit, starting from the 1964 Surgeon General’s report.

                                                The gun culture of the NRA is very narrowly concentrated among a few demographics which punch above their weight politically.

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                                                • The variable in all this which we really can’t predict is how culture will change.

                                                  Fair enough.

                                                  Having acknowledged that, is our takeaway “we need to tread cautiously” or “full speed ahead, all we have to do is pass laws that make what we don’t like illegal!”?

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                                                  • We don’t get to choose whether to either tread carefully, or move full speed ahead.

                                                    Society is always move at breakneck speed, whether we like it or not by events that are beyond our control.
                                                    The 2000 election didn’t hinge upon Middle East politics, but 2004 sure did; The 2004 election didn’t have the economy as its focus, but 2008 sure did.

                                                    America is different today than it was last week and will be different next week than it is today.
                                                    The electorate that goes to the polls in November will be different than the one that went in 2016.

                                                    The Parkland shooting, the expose of Harvey Weinstein, The Russian hacking and Trumps antics have all begun to shape the issues and positions of the midterm elections.

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                                              • I imagine you’ll be surprised by how many illegal assault weapons those hillbillies are capable of assembling.

                                                We’ll have home use 3D printing in this time frame. Owning an “assault rifle” will eventually be a matter of desire.

                                                The movie (R-rating) part might work. Leaning on the media might also work.

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                                              • This seems to assume there will be an identical illegal demand for guns the same as pot. But there are some rather large differences between the two things:

                                                First, pot is something people actually enjoy to use, and can use it privately in their own home.

                                                Whereas guns…don’t really work that way. I mean, people presumably enjoy shooting them, but, that’s not really possible in a universe where they are just illegal.

                                                I mean, we can probably directly compare that to fireworks…and notice that the market in illegal fireworks is pretty small, and while people often ignore state law there on certain days, there’s not some massive firework smuggling system going on. So the ‘shooting for pleasure’ people will probably stop.

                                                So, once we get past ‘Likes to collect operate guns as a pure hobby, and will presumably move on to other more-legal hobbies. Like archery or something.’, in my mind there are basically two sorts of ‘massive amounts of guns’ gun owners left:

                                                The actually unhinged people who seriously consider that it might be fun to shoot a lot of people, and people play-acting about the government.

                                                The people play-acting own guns mostly to show off to other people…who will get caught, because telling everyone you have illegal things that half the population is scared of is dumb. Or they will give up because they can’t show them off, and maybe end up with old rusting guns they managed to keep and some half-built 3D printed thing, all hidden in a basement closet that they can show some close friends, and that’s it. Those people are not important.

                                                The unhinged people, be they unhinged because they actually believe the stuff everyone else is play-acting about the government, or just unhinged for other reasons…turn out to be really bad at criminal conspiracies. They telegraph what they are doing for years. They tell other people their violent fantasies.

                                                Can they locate and purchase contraband guns? Maybe. Can they make their own? Possibly. Can they manage it without being caught? Almost certainly no.

                                                Second…people generally do not care about pot smokers, or even dealers. I do not smoke pot, but I know several people who do, and I know of at least two who ‘deal’, although their dealing is basically ‘They buy from a real dealer and split the cost and pot with a few others and make a small profit from their efforts’.

                                                I’ve never considered telling the police about the ones that aren’t really my friends. Why would I? I don’t care what they do…and note I live in Georgia, a state where pot is flatly illegal.

                                                But guns? Okay, if I had a friend who was mostly responsible and he had, hidden securely, some secret hacked-together gun for some sort of hobbyist reason…yeah, okay, fine. Although if he keeps showing it off, someone else is going to turn him in.

                                                But some guy who built an illegal arsenal? Hell no am I staying silent about that. Although I will be reporting them anonymously because that guy is crazy.

                                                Likewise, an illegal gun _dealer_? A guy who seems to be selling guns to anyone who wants them? Yeah, I’m reporting them.

                                                And it’s not just me. While it has only recently been that a majority of Americans want pot legal, well before that the vast number of Americans didn’t care enough about pot to bother to report anyone for it. Americans generally think of pot as victimless, unless children are somehow involved. (Although only pot, and maybe ecstasy. Cocaine and meth, people are not so apathetic about.)

                                                Whereas we’re starting with about half of Americans having no such opinion about currently-legal guns, and wishing someone would do things about them now…and that amount will only get larger if they’re illegal.

                                                You are correct that some of the culture needs to change to make guns verboten. …but the rest of American exists too. And people don’t walk around with signs on their head.

                                                So I think assuming it will be as easy to get hands on illegal guns as it is on illegal pot does not really make sense.

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                                                  • It doesn’t matter how high the supply could be if the demand isn’t there, and the few people who do demand the guns are somewhat crazy and not particularly competent at negotiating the black market.

                                                    There will, of course, be some demand, and thus guns smuggled in, because I left an important type of gun owner off my list: Actual criminals who use guns. These criminals will be supplied by a black market, basically the same as they are now.

                                                    But the thing is, making that into a pure black market, where every aspect of gun ownership is illegal and they have to be smuggled across the border in crates of fish, instead of a gray market where legal guns constantly enter it and the illegal part is often only the last step of selling to felons, will vastly increase the price.

                                                    We think of drug prohibition as a failure, but it’s actually pretty good at increasing the cost of drugs by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of what farming such drugs should cost. So much that various replacements have been invented that can be manufactured even closer. PCP and meth for cocaine, synthetic nonsense for pot, etc. None of those would exist in any sort of free market, but moving drugs has become so prohibitively expensive that people try to _make_ them where the demand is. (None of that should be taken as evidence the war on some drugs is a good thing, I’m just saying prohibition does really cause an increase in drug prices.)

                                                    If gun prohibition multiplies the cost of legal guns by a mere ten times, it would put them out of the range of a lot of criminals…and that’s what has already happened in other countries. I once read a story about how criminal gangs in, I think Australia, sometimes go in for joint-ownership of a single gun.

                                                    And that’s illegal guns in a world where vast manufacturing plants are allowed to operate legally in the US, and smugglers could ‘easily’ purchase American guns and smuggle them in.

                                                    In a world where that is not how it works, where gun smugglers cannot walk into a gun dealer in the US and buy guns legally, a world where there is only a hundred thousand guns made a year, for law enforcement and military, instead of 11 million…yeah, the cost jumps to hundreds of times as much, and we start getting local machine shops (Probably car chop shops, if we had to guess) making ‘local substitutions’, crappy little 3D printed things that will work for a bit before exploding and crippling their users.

                                                    The ‘synthetic cannabis’ of guns, if you will.

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                                • If what this guy did gets legs those folks will be on the outside looking in.

                                  Top GOP donor: ‘I will not write another check’ until candidates support assault weapons ban

                                  The man behind the Jeb! Superpacs is now bringing his considerable skills and influence to gun control? Man, ain’t nothing can stop this movement now.

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                              • This seems like yet another example of Murc’s Law to me. And a more frustrating one than usual, because I actually think the pro-gun folk are actually substantially right about a lot of the issues and no one can hear them over the lemon-blending and TV smashing.

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                                • From the internet:

                                  Murc’s law, for the uninitiated, is the widespread assumption that only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics.

                                  It’s weird how, in this case, the people that you think are substantially right about a lot of the issues are the people you’re assuming don’t have moral agency.

                                  Maybe they do have it but they’re using it in service to the thing that (even) you think they’re right about.

                                  Why should people who are right about a particular issue exercise their moral agency to change their opinion about it?

                                  I mean, I understand why people who are wrong about it should.

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                                  • You’re misinterpreting: Murc’s Law is about the erroneous assumption that only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics.

                                    I’m assuming the pro-gun people do have moral agency, and that they (by and large) use that moral agency that makes the cultural conflicts around guns much worse, and generally contributes to the overall toxicity of gun culture.

                                    Their reasonable policy preferences and interests don’t help.

                                    Maybe this is OK if you think literally nothing should be done, but even there it’s a high risk strategy. The Democrats could win some elections. It’s happened before.

                                    The last time they held Congress and the White House, they didn’t do anything on guns, it was because guns were a low salience issue. Overall gun crime was down and Sandy Hook hadn’t happened.

                                    Next time? It’s a lot less likely. And if they find their way into power with a base that’s convinced that gun owners are just a bunch of unhinged weirdos who are compensating for something, the entirely legitimate concerns of those gun owners are going to be swept aside.

                                    That doesn’t seem good to me. So I would like some of that agency those pro-gun advocates have to maybe be turned to something other than convincing all of Team Blue what asshats they are.

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            • Where do all these violent people who are willing to shoot at the police come from, asks the nation that perpetuates violent black markets?

              To add: We’ve always had lots of guns, IIRC it wasn’t much of a problem before prohibition, or between prohibition & the start of the drug war.

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          • I’ve observed this as well. I hate it. The place where I target shoot stocks all kinds of faux law enforcement crap. I’ve spoken to the guy who owns the range. He claims he refuses to let police certify there due to their support for the big changes we had in 2013. Nevertheless, if you need a t-shirt with some asinine slogan you’d see over at Police One it’s the place to go.

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          • @chip-daniels

            But there is a huge overlap between gun people and pro police people. The idea of a brave ban of armed civilians fighting a tyrannical government is silly and absurd.

            But humans have deep and unbreakabke capacities for wish thinking. There was the guy on Jason’s Facebook feed who seemed absolutely convinced that it was America’s armed nature that prevented Japanese invasion during WW2 as opposed to a lack of capability and the Pacific Ocean.

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            • I’ve seen multiple people switch midstream from, “We need guns to protect us from tyranny!” to, “Well, if you take the guns away, mass shooters will just use sporks or something!”

              The two assertions are, shall we say, in considerable tension with one another.

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              • This is true and accurate. It’s right there with my facebook feed, where people who have spent the last 12 months posting about how our government has been taken over by outright fascists are now demanding that same government go out and disarm the citizenry.

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                • Anyone who thinks that the solution to government tyranny lies in the 45 you bought last week, is…let’s just say “deluded” is the polite term.

                  An armed citizenry protecting us against the tyranny of government is a fairy-tale Americans like to tell themselves, in order to avoid actually taking responsibility and doing something about it.

                  It’s so much more pleasant to conjure heroic fantasies out of our Founding Myths then get up off our asses.

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                  • I have mixed feelings about the ‘resistance to tyranny’ thing. To the extent there’s something to it I think it’s that firearm ownership in our culture/system is a stick in a bundle of rights that’s hard to mess with without implicating a lot of other things. But let’s just put that aside.

                    What’s in practice being demanded is more mass criminalization. I do think there’s some serious dissonance in saying that the government is fascist or supports the agenda of fascists but then demanding that government is given a while host of new law enforcement powers.

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                • My thoughts on this are complicated.

                  On the one hand, I think “resisting tyranny” is a daft reason to own a gun, and an incoherent justification for gun rights.

                  On the other hand, it can’t possibly work if guns aren’t dangerous.[1]

                  On the grasping hand, I think it’s rather amazing that just as a lot of the Left was freaking out about fascists, the NRA started talking about how individuals needed guns not to protect against tyranny, but to protect against protesters from the Left.

                  They blew a pretty big opportunity there in pursuit of some particularly creepy culture war bollocks.

                  [1] This is also true of the (IMO) eminently sensible and very common justification of having them for self defense.

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                  • I’ve never been an NRA member and their handling of left wing protest and episodes like Philando Castille has further illuminated what they are.

                    But really you don’t see any dissonance here? What kind of #resistance gives up its right to be armed to those it claims must be resisted? And anyway, see my comment to Morat above. I don’t want to go down a path arguing arguing a position I don’t really hold. There’s some serious inconsistency (or at least lack of introspection) between saying the government is corrupt and being woke about police abuse in one breath but then calling for new policies that would empower and exacerbate those people/problems in the next.

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                    • There’s some serious inconsistency (or at least lack of introspection) between saying the government is corrupt and being woke about police abuse in one breath but then calling for new policies that would empower and exacerbate those people/problems in the next.

                      I agree strongly with this, and often find myself making the same argument, occasionally even with a bit of success.

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                    • What kind of #resistance gives up its right to be armed to those it claims must be resisted?

                      Me, that’s who! Me me me!

                      See, this is why I keep coming back to the culture, and our relationship to gun violence.

                      I yield to no one in my loathing for the President, but I don’t see gun violence as the answer.

                      Its this culture that I see as being sick and toxic, the notion that we are constantly in peril, with darkness and evil lurking at our door.
                      That I am alone, able to trust in nothing but my firearm and ability to kill my neighbor, my Congressman, the President.

                      This culture of fear and suspicion is what produces tyranny. In virtually every death of a tolerant peaceful free nation, it welcomes tyranny as the savior of violence and chaos.

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                    • ’ve never been an NRA member and their handling of left wing protest and episodes like Philando Castille has further illuminated what they are.

                      The people who literally write the gun laws?

                      You wonder why the background check system doesn’t work well? Think about how serious the NRA is about background checks, and realize no law passes Congress on guns — or remains for long, without quiet amendments buried in other bills — without NRA support.

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                      • The NRA certainly isn’t pushing for administrative improvement but the bigger issue is federalism. Many states also have their own background check requirements and a lot of the agencies that administer these transactions aren’t exactly well run or tech savvy. Things get lost, certain types of findings don’t translate well across jurisdictions. Dumb yes, but there’s more to it than the federal gun lobby.

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                        • The NRA certainly isn’t pushing for administrative improvement but the bigger issue is federalism. Many states also have their own background check requirements and a lot of the agencies that administer these transactions aren’t exactly well run or tech savvy. Things get lost, certain types of findings don’t translate well across jurisdictions. Dumb yes,……

                          You mean that having 53 jurisdictions (or several thousands, if we are counting local ones) doing the same thing their own way is not a great idea?

                          I’m shocked

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                    • What kind of #resistance gives up its right to be armed to those it claims must be resisted?

                      I want to second with my answer:

                      The people who still think we live in a democracy operated by rule of law. It is…striking how the left believes that, and the right has a lot of problems with that concept.

                      Our government, despite people trying to move it into somewhat fascist behavior, is nowhere at the point they need to be resisted with violence, thanks to the rest of our system working as intended. The only part that isn’t is that Congress is acting as enabler.

                      And at this point, the government’s worse tendencies are restricted enough that they just need to be voted out. The attempted fascists, and their enablers. (Or even better, vote out enough of their enablers that investigation and removal of them can begin.)

                      Now if Trump tries some extralegal way of stopping either of those, and that method works and the courts do not stop him…well, it’s probably not time to go to violence either, but ‘inability to change government via elections’ has to, at least, be true before violence can even hypothetically be an option.

                      But there are a lot of options still on the table before that. I would suggest the next option, if Trump was to extra-legally remain in power, or extra-legally keep his enablers in place, would be general boycotts, a threat to deliberately crash the economy, putting pressure on the business community and the wealthy.

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                      • “Kidding aside, “arm trans women” is getting said on my Facebook feed a lot these days.”

                        I support this. If you’re part of a group that has experienced some oppression or harassment, I think it’s a damn good idea to be able to defend yourself–armed and unarmed. The idea of relying on someone else to protect you is just foolish.

                        “Andy (now Andi) get your gun”.

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                      • Didn’t see your comment until just now but this is one of the reasons I think the left ought to be more skeptical about gun control as typically proposed. There’s a history of the authorities chosing not to protect trans people, gays, racial minorities, and others from private violence. I don’t want to make criminals out of people in those kinds of situations and I’ve never understood the enthusiasm for effectively doing that.

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                        • There’s a history of the authorities chosing not to protect trans people, gays, racial minorities, and others from private violence.

                          There’s also a pretty long history of authorities choosing to harass and arrest and even kill those exact same people when those people do arm themselves, and especially when they defend themselves against private violence by members of the majority. Regardless of the legality of their gun ownership and their actions.

                          If the authorities are okay with people harming a group via private violence, they’re not really going to be okay with that group ‘fighting back’. The problem is not authorities somehow ‘exempting’ that group from protection from the law (Why would they do that?), the problem the authorities in those circumstances, specifically want harm to come to that group but (sometimes) don’t feel like stepping forward publicly under the color of the law to do it, so let other people do it.

                          But give them any legal excuse to do that, any reason they can hassle the group itself, like gun ownership, and they will.

                          I am not saying those people should not attempt to defend themselves, if they think that will help. Maybe it will save some lives, I dunno.

                          But in my opinion, ‘persecuted minorities should arm themselves’ is not a particularly workable solution for them to stop being persecuted, and is pretty dangerous.(1) If the majority, and the legal system, is not on their side and willing to see them assaulted and killed, ‘arming themselves’ just gives those people another point of attack….oh, look, now they have guns and the police can _shoot_ them.

                          1) I admit, there is a _certain point_ where that works, but that point is well past ‘individuals arming themselves’ and somewhat closer to the Black Panthers, or at least the stated mission of the Black Panthers. (The Black Panthers notable had a problem of their leadership stupidly attacking the police, but their _stated_ original mission was basically armed patrols.)

                          It is worth pointing out that the authorities did everything they could to destroy the Black Panthers, even to the point to trying to start gang wars.

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                          • — Yeah exactly.

                            People are just so ignorant of what it is like to be broadly hated. They don’t have the first clue.

                            Imagine if I had sex with you (cis dudes), and then after the fact decided to murder you and brutally disfigure your body. Then imagine I got caught. Would I likely go to jail?

                            You can do it to me you know. You all get that, right? You can just fuck me and murder me with a reasonable chance of getting away with it. No, really. Even if you “get caught.”

                            You cannot murder a thing. No one much cares if you stomp a crayfish to death, nor a trans woman.

                            It’s damn offensive when people act like, hey, just tote around a goddam AR-15 when you go on a date and you can live a nice safe life. Good fucking grief people.

                            I suppose if I accept living life like a war zone — but fuckit, is your life a war zone too? Does that sound fun?

                            Yeah I suppose the cops are brutal monsters — along with our president — but I doubt any of you want to live your life in a militia compound. Most of you are soft as fuck anyhow. (Be honest.)

                            Civilization matters. Community matters. Governance matters. We have police for a reason.

                            Stop voting for assholes and bigots. There is zero room for the (current) republican party among decent human beings.

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                            • Sorry to go off topic here, but recently you shared an article about an emotional condition that is closely associated with ADHD; you had indicated you just learned about it. I am trying to find the link again but can’t seem to. Can you share it with me when you get a chance? Thanks.

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                • Well, the Trump admin certainly has a fascistic feel, to be sure. Did the Obama Admin? Depends, I guess. I mean, Operation Jade Helm was a go until real patriots exposed the Marxist Kenyan Muslim’s desire to impose martial law on a third of the country, so….

                  One thing all sides share right now, atleast at the national level, is a distrust of the other side’s competence and ethics in governing. That’s just as true of the above-the-fray types as it is hard-core liberals and conservatives. And that distrust even extends to shared doubts about the so-called deep state, the hidden and (obviously!) corrupt inner-workings of entrenched power. What’s new, seems to me, is that people increasingly agree that even their own side sucks. The above the frayers see that too, even as they smugly say “I told you so” to score some last self-satisfying points as intellectualism in politics erodes before their eyes.

                  Maybe we all need to focus more on returning power to the states.

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                  • For the last year I feel like I’ve been getting an education in what living in a deep red state must have felt like in 2008. And that’s not to compare Obama and Trump on politics or competency. It’s more that I am confronted daily with a level of hysteria that doesn’t make much sense to me at the individual level, especially from people I once thought rational.

                    My hope for the Trump administration was that the idiocy of it so delegitimized the presidential soap opera that our politics has become that we found our way to a more levelheaded, less news cycle driven type of politics. That was pie in the sky to begin with. The more I think about it, the more I realize destroying the presidency probably would come with its own set of disasters. I have no solutions, other than maybe read less and drink more.

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                    • That’s a BSDI argument I honestly don’t understand. Obama was a bog-standard Democrat. Trump is a terrible person, a terrible, leader, and a terrible president, seventeen different sorts of disaster waiting to happen.

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                      • BDSI means you don’t have to reassess your priors. It means you can ignore dealbreaker issues by simply removing them from the table.

                        After all, if both sides support that dealbreaker issue, then you obviously can’t vote based on that. Both sides are the same!

                        So you can go ahead and vote on abortion, or gay rights, or just for your Team — because all the “Bad stuff” the other side does it to.

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                        • After all, if both sides support that dealbreaker issue, then you obviously can’t vote based on that.

                          But… this is entirely rational? There are some issues, including ones that matter to me, where there is little or no meaningful difference between the parties, and indeed I don’t vote based on them.

                          This doesn’t mean I don’t have extremely strong partisan preferences. Oh my no.

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                          • Of course it’s rational when it’s true.

                            The irrational part is where you force both sides do it. Where you grab onto anything, even just a mere assertion or flat out just make it up, in order to claim “both sides do it”.

                            Surely you’ve heard people say “Well, X must do it as well. They all do it”? No evidence, no reason to think that — except it gets you off the hook for a deal breaker.

                            The irrational part — the logical fallacy equivalent — is basically lying to yourself about what is and isn’t a deal breaker. Where you basically rationalize away that deal breaker. Everyone’s lying, it’s a conspiracy, or “both sides do it”.

                            It’s not really a deal breaker, but you don’t want to admit that to yourself. “I could never vote for someone who sexually assaulted anyone” becomes “Well, they’re both guilty of it so I’ll just vote for who I was gonna vote for anyways”. Because sexual assault isn’t a deal breaker to you.

                            It’s just a preference, but you don’t want to admit it.

                            Roy Moore, for instance. You’d think pedophilia would be something of a deal breaker, that people would balk at voting for a pedophile just because he was of the right party. And they would. So clearly Roy Moore wasn’t a guy who liked high school aged girls — he was just a victim of a conspiracy.

                            Now they can vote for Moore without voting to support married adults cruising high school chicks.

                            “Both Sides Do It” can be true. But in my experience, it’s used 99.9% of the time like whataboutism — a way to put aside an issue entirely, to pretend it’s not there, so you don’t have to think about it or admit to yourself that it should be a factor. And so you don’t have to admit to yourself that no, you don’t care if you’re voting for a pedophile as long as he’s on “your side”.

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                            • That’s almost the opposite of what BSDI means to me.

                              For me, it’s “Sure, Trump paid for sex with porn stars and concealed it during the campaign, and sure he takes eight-figures of vacation every month, but Democrats are no better because Obama once put his feet up on his desk, and wore a tan suit.”

                              It’s the idea that to be impartial is to be in the middle of whatever you’re reporting, rather than telling the truth.

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            • There were also people convinced that America’s tyranny was going to be leftist populist Venezuela type tyranny than a rightist style tyranny despite everything in America history including the Trump administration to the contrary.

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          • I wonder if its that the police cause popular armament, or whether there’s a common cause. Your culture has gotten progressively more paranoid over time, especially after 9-11. This could be jointly affecting popular gun ownership (see: people’s perception of crime rising even as crime falls) and police officers wanting more and more guns.

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            • I think it lags police attitudes. Related to comment, the issue isn’t so much big cities have SWAT teams and such, because they have those kinds of problems.

              It’s when your town of 10,000, or your county of 20,000* has a SWAT team and an APC and the cops run around in their tacticool gear on a regular basis and serve minor warrants in it. That bleeds into the population, makes them think things are way worse than they are, gets them nervous and paranoid.

              *Or a more populous place with a crime rate measured below 1/100,000.

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        • It’s also worth noting that Yet Another Factor in gun issues is that…well, if your city, state, or town makes it difficult to acquire a firearm — you can drive two hours and pick one up somewhere it’s not so hard. And then transport it back.

          “X has strict gun control laws, and nothing has happened” is pretty much countered by that particular issue. State’s are incredibly hampered by this — the “laboratories of democracy” really can’t do any decent experiments without, effectively, massive contamination.

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          • This is inaccurate. To legally buy a firearm from a dealer in another state the firearm needs to be transferred from an FFL dealer in the state of purchase to an FFL dealer in the state where the purchaser is a citizen. The in-your-state FFL dealer is subject to the laws of that state and it’s illegal for that FFL dealer to transfer you something outlawed in that state.

            Now maybe there’s something to the idea that people in more controlled states go to less controlled states to find someone who will do a straw sale. However you can’t just walk into a store over state lines and buy something you can’t in the state you live in.

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      • We need to reduce the number of firearms in the United States.

        My expectation is cutting the number in half would do little (or nothing) if it was taken from the “law abiding citizens” half.

        If we’re going to run around repealing amendments, then I suggest something on the first so we can stop glorifying these types of crimes. He did this to get in the news and become a name. He succeeded. The next guy will do the same and also succeed.

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  6. 1 and 4. Maybe turning them into domestic terrorists but probably not.

    I think the big issue and it strangely leads to a GOP advantage is that they have a lot more single issue voters. The deregulation and tax cut people will stick with the GOP even if they hate the parties hawkishness or social conservatism. The Evangelicals will sell their souls for the “right” judges on the Bench. Ditto with anti immigration folks and guns.

    Meanwhile Democratic voters have a lot of issues they care about but maybe not to the same levels of passion. They also seem to have more dealbreakers.

    Democrats are getting more and more mad about the gun issue but gun nuts are digging in their heels and going further to the right. I can’t tell how much this is because they realize time for them will soon be up.

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  7. That being said I am hesistantv to label mass shootings about mental illness rather than evil. There are lots of under treated or non treated mentally ill people in the United States. The overwhelming majority of them are harmless.

    Chronic homelessness is often an issue of nontreated mental illness but we don’t do anything there.

    The GOP just doesn’t want to spend money on any social service. Not one cent. Look at Trump’s proposed budget and all the cuts to social services

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  8. There is absolutely no way they are going to do #2, and they will fit tooth and nail against it if the Democrats propose to do so.

    Mass shooters in the US are overwhelmingly angry white men who hate the kinds of people the GOP also dislike – women, Latinx, black, brown, Muslim. Do they even generally acknowledge Dylan Roof or the Nazi who rammed the crowd of demonstrators as terrorists?

    Do they want to formalize a change that will make clear just what percentage of domestic terrorism is by their own camp? They certainly do not.

    Heck this latest guy even trained with white nationalistic militias, Trump’s own biggest fan base. If there was any school shooting that would lead them to contemplate #2 (and I maintain there isn’t), this one sure ain’t it.

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  9. My guess are 1 and 4. The Republicans are too deep in the ideological rabbit hole to break from any established patterns at this time. They aren’t going to call for anything remotely resembling effective gun control because the NRA vote is a big part of their coalition. Republicans also waged a long war against government provided or funding for any sort of healthcare. As noted above, Trump is massively slashing support for social services. They aren’t going to do a turn around on this either. That means anything the Republicans can do will be deeply authoritarian like 2 and 5. Its for the best that they stick to the usual script.

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  10. Oh, and to answer your q:

    GOP will do 1 and 4, because those require doing nothing (well, except sending T&P).

    GOP won’t do 2, 3, or 5 because those require doing something.

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  11. I may wanna hear from Sam here… but in reading about this particular shooter’s history, it seems like there were extended and multiple interactions with both LEO and mental health professionals… with the latter constantly recommending no action by the former. He was a minor during most of these.

    I can’t help but wonder if this was because the only “action” possible was imprisonment. Which, sure, in hindsight was preferable in this case. But odds are we don’t want every mentally ill teen jailed. So here it seems the issue wasn’t a failure to recognize mentall illness but a failure/inability to treat.

    If I’m right… then what? How do we create paths that respect the freedoms and rights of the potentially mentally ill while also ensuring public safety? What options can we give those mental health professionals that don’t involve the police?

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    • One possibility is Gun Violence Restraining Orders. There’s a good article about them at NRO of all places.

      Providing processes for getting guns away from people that shouldn’t have them that don’t also require criminal conviction may be helpful.

      Also, while it might not have helped in exactly this case, making sure that all the crimes that should get into the NCIS really do get into the NCIS would have helped with some others. And unlike some of the other things that get tossed around after mass shootings (AWBs, magazine capacity restrictions, arming teachers, et c.) both these are things that are likely to help with more typical forms of gun violence as well as mass shootings.

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  12. Here’s Republican Bret Stephens:
    Repeal the Second Amendment

    No, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But every wild, “out there” goal becomes real when we begin to speak of it, when we conjure up the image in our mind of what America would look like without the Second Amendment, where guns are like they are in Australia or Japan.

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  13. Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel when we can just look at people who successfully manage kids with weapons. How does ISIS prevent such mass shootings at their youth training camps? All we have to do is just copy their program.

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    • My working assumption would be that they do it the same way I understand our own military does it during training — guns and ammo are kept locked up tight except when under close supervision. I seem to recall reading that, at least for enlisted personnel, bringing a privately-owned firearm on base is treated as a serious crime.

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  14. With regards to banning a weapon to prevent school shootings:

    Until we get a handle on the contagion angle, it will do very little. Once the kid gets it in his head to kill his peers, the lack of availability won’t be a factor. There are tons of examples, plans, videos, and step by step instructions on how to build single shot, semi-auto, and full auto weapons online (mostly shotguns and sub-machine guns).

    Very few of these are accurate at range, but they work well enough for short to medium range where you have tightly packed people, and they are reliable enough to kill and wound a couple dozen people before you can expect a failure. And all of them can be built with common, low cost materials and tools available at any big box or neighborhood hardware store (or online). Even welding is not much of a concern if you aren’t looking for a long life weapon, given how available high strength epoxy is. And nothing on the tools or materials list is something that LE can flag (like, say, ammonium nitrate)

    Almost all of them can be built in a weekend. Toss in 3D printing and home CNC and it becomes orders of magnitude easier.

    Seriously, read the links & I posted. The AR-15 is used because it’s popular among mass shooters. Making it unavailable will slow things down until something else becomes popular. Then it becomes a game of whack-a-mole.

    To echo , the focus should be less on the means, and more on how these people slip through the cracks. Change policy so disturbed people don’t get criminal records or otherwise wrung through the CJ system. Make it so people can be recommended for help, and it doesn’t become a Scarlet ‘N’ (for Nutter) for the rest of their adult lives. Make funding available so these people can get help.

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        • “Nothing can be done!”

          Your argument doesn’t have any evidence or argument, Oscar. Your premise is that if Nikolas Cruz didn’t have access to an AR-15 he would have made a home-made bomb out of cow shit or indiscriminately hurled poison darts with the same effect. Well, let’s make him do that. Compel him to make a homemade bomb. And when *that* more difficult means of mass killing becomes “popular” we’ll figure out how to deal with identifying *that* threat. You’re argument starts from a presumed right of Americans to own military grade weapons and works backwards to claiming that that access doesn’t contribute the culture of violence resulting in those weapons use in mass killings while conceding that that violence will be expressed irregardless of measures to prevent it.

          I mean, you’ve agreed with the premise of my argument for banning assault weapons and similar: that America *is* a culture of violence. Your solution is to concede that fact and try to keep violent actors from slipping thru the cracks *even tho* they’ll act on their violent impulses no matter what. As you said, they’ll just move onto the next thing to inflict mass casualties. Nothing can be done! My suggestion is that we change the culture of violence which compels people to do these things by taking away the most effective means and most identifiable symbols of that violence. Just ban the effers.

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          • Really, , that’s my argument? Because I disagree with your preferred solution, I want to do nothing?

            Just ban the effers. Because we solved alcoholism by banning alcohol. Because we solved addiction by banning drugs. Clearly we will solve random violence by removing the means to it.

            Restriction without treatment merely incentives workarounds and black markets. If all you do is ban the AR-15, you will fail. If you ban the firearm and also begin trying to curb the culture of violence that sees the AR-15 as the most effective means to enact that violence, then you will have a better chance. And I’m not entirely convinced that the ban is necessary, or at least not worth the political effort. I’d rather spend the political capital changing the treatment side, since there are probably fewer politicians who will stridently resist such things.

            But a ban alone will do little to nothing. The AWB had no measurable effect on random violence and it had 10 years to affect change.

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            • If you ban the firearm and also begin trying to curb the culture of violence that sees the AR-15 as the most effective means to enact that violence, then you will have a better chance.

              I agree entirely.

              In fact, written more broadly, it dovetails neatly with mine of changing our cultural attitudes towards gun violence.

              I think there is often a false dichotomy between controlling the means, and controlling the source desire.
              I think they work hand in hand.

              Per my comment about smoking bans, if you imagine that the cultural attitudes of smoking were fixed and unchanging from 1964, present day bans on smoking would be laughably ineffective. No one would obey them, and it would take draconian actions and mass mobilization of the police and army to enforce.

              The same political campaigns to ban smoking, had the effect of changing our culture. The mere act of debating whether smoking should be banned in elevators, caused people to challenge the idea of smoking itself, subtly and incrementally altering our image of who smokes, emboldening those who didn’t.
              As the number of smokers shrunk, it had a virtuous cycle of enlarging the pool of ban proponents, which made further bans easier to enact.

              The number of gun owners is shrinking, and the number of “legitimate” owners (i.e. hunters and sport shooters) shrinking even faster. The image of gun owners is changing, and is being altered by the NRA and gun owners themselves.

              Every spree shooting, and its defense by the NRA alters our perception of what it means to be a “gun owner”. A generation ago our image was of kindly Uncle Bob who went deer hunting. Now increasingly it is of a vacant eyed nutter who mumbles about watering a forest of trees with blood.

              We can and should strengthen the government’s ability to identify and treat those who are dangerous to us. Part of that strengthening is to give government the power to strip them of deadly weapons.

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              • Yes, exactly.

                I mean, I enjoy firearms and I’d rather let people own and use them, but your methodology is (IMHO) sound. I’m not even opposed to removing weapons from dangerous people, as long as we have an process for dealing with false positives that restores rights and property to people.

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                • I think a total gun ban is a great idea for Democrats to push for this year. I heartily endorse the idea. Heck, Remington filed bankruptcy and Ruger is in financial trouble, so gun ban talk is desperatley needed to get sales back up.

                  Even if enacted, the Clinton ban showed that it would do something between jack and squat about gun violence, but it will help an industry hard hit by the absence of America’s #1 gun salesman.

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          • is right about the ease with which AR type rifles can be fabricated and it’s only getting easier. There’s already a whole industry out there dedicated to builds. Unskilled people complete 80% lowers (the regulated part) with drill presses in a couple hours then buy the non-regulated parts. I don’t know how you stop people from being able to create pieces of guns. The machinary behind it isn’t nearly as complex as people think.

            The real reason I don’t see an AWB doing anything though is that it doesn’t ban semi-automatic handguns (which, post Heller, is probably unconstitutional). Media attention to ARs aside, I believe semi automatic handguns are still the most used in mass shootings. High capacity magazines are widely available and they’re not any less deadly in close quarters.

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        • , your argument here seems to echo the argument deployed against suggestions to limit availability of handguns to prevent suicides. That someone determined to commit suicide will just find some other means.

          The problem is that while they may very well seek other means they are much less likely to succeed in actually killing themselves. Furthermore, research suggests that very few people attempt suicide again having failed once. Handguns are very effective on the first attempt. Do the math.

          So the argument for restricting access to “assault weapons” rests on the reality that they are very effective at committing mass homicide. Make the fuckers work for it. Make them attempt mass killings with rocks or knives or baseball bats. Fewer people will die.

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          • No, my argument is that in the history of fecking forever, when has a ban ever worked to stem the flow of something that the population clearly wants?

            I mean, if an AWB will work, certainly we can point to other very popular things that were successfully banned. Right?

            Now if you want to tack on age restrictions, or something else that might reasonably be effective, to make them work for it, hey, I’ll entertain that.

            But if you want to ban it, first you need to make a lot of people have no desire for it.

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            • Well, my understanding is that full automatic weapons are tough and expansive to come by, and I can’t recall off the top of my head any recentish incidents where they were used. This despite the fact that converting a semi-auto to full auto isn’t that terribly difficult, or so I’m told. So maybe that counts.

              Alcohol prohibition is a more interesting case. The fact is alcohol was a huge social problem leading up to prohibition. Yeah, there was a black market and it led to some serious organized crime problems, but subsequent to repeal alcohol as a social issue really declined. It’s like we hit a reset button on that. So, sorta successful?

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              • Well, my understanding is that full automatic weapons are tough and expansive to come by…

                How close do you want to come? There are probably at least a half-dozen regular commenters here who could design and build a trigger add-on that could provide a 3-6 rounds per second maximum rate, with selectable single-shot, 3-shot burst, or fire until the magazine is empty. Highly illegal devices, but not technically all that hard given a suitable semi-automatic weapon to attach them to.

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              • Full autos are not widely desired, so the restriction works. They are fun to shoot, but they burn through ammo (read: money) at a prodigious rate and tactically their utility is very limited. Always has been. Even criminals glommed onto the fact that full auto is a great way to burn through a mag without actually hitting your target.

                Older rifles could be converted by someone with a decent set of gun smithing tools and skills. Modern rifles require a lot more work and skill.

                As for alcohol, how many other confounding factors were at play (i.e. how strong of a movement was there to get people help, etc.), and that has to be weighed against how many people were killed/lives destroyed by law enforcement being zealous/etc.? A smarter AWB probably would not have a cost measured in tens of thousands of lives (owning a gun is not like having an addiction, so there is that), but it will still have a cost, and if it is not coupled to some significant social policy (rather than purely criminal), I’m unconvinced it would be worth the trouble.

                So sure, try a ban, but make sure there is more than just a ban. But if it comes down to a ban, or better social policy, go with the social policy. Deal with the underlying pathology, or the pathology will just find a new way to express itself.

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  15. If we start with the idea that gun violence is a public health problem some things come to mind. First an integrated plan addressing multiple vectors is necessary.

    With both tobacco and drunk driving, the activity was made very expensive by either taxes, fines etc. Laws were tightened up (lower blood alcohol levels and age restrictions). Public education helped to alert the public to the activity’s danger’s and stigmatize the behavior. Any one of these approaches could be picked apart as not up tot the task. Together they helped improve things.

    In the case of tobacco we had big tobacco endlessly calling for more research as a delaying tactic. With guns, my understanding is that it is illegal for the gov’t to pay for research. I wonder why. We need more a better information, especially concerning the nexus of mental health and guns. This should be a well funded area of research.

    This is off the top of my head. I’m sure people with more knowledge and expertise than I in the area could come up better, more detailed plans if we would let them.

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    • I think the challenge is that there’s disagreement over which of the two examples you use is the appropriate overall direction. The “tobacco” model would be that the costs of gun ownership are higher than the benefits and we need to find ways to reduce gun ownership overall. The “drunk driving” model is that the main issue to contend with is the irresponsible or criminal use of guns, not gun ownership itself.

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      • I agree. Your point does present a challenge. Although given the wide spectrum of gun types and capacities, I think there is room for both approaches. So hand guns and hunting rifles would get the drunk driving treatment and everything else the tobacco treatment.

        An additional way to augment both approaches would be to repeal the laws that give gun manufacturers special status, such as the product liability protections they enjoy. A well researched Surgeons General’s report on gun violence similar to the one on tobacco years ago could be another element in a comprehensive approach.

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  16. When it comes to a ban, the counterfactual that has to be considered is that semi-auto rifles have been in civilian hands since before WWII, and the AR-15 has been available since the 60’s, and it hasn’t been a problem until the last 20 years or so.

    The problem starts, as with so many things, with the drug war. SWAT teams had semi-autos since the very early days in the 60’s and 70’s, and the modern Patrol Rifle (the AR-15 in every patrol car) came about after 1997.

    So that cultural shift that turned a niche class of guns into the most popular type of civilian rifle? The drug war that put everyone in the mindset of being at war. Police, gangs, and everyone caught in the middle.

    In one sense, there is an appeal to a ban. If we could say, “We are gonna ban/severely restrict this class of rifle for the next 20 years, complete with buy backs and all while we wind down the drug war and get a handle on the problem culture.”, I could be sold on the idea. But the drug war won’t end, or no one will actually deal with the culture issue, and the ban will be permanent, and historically, bans never work the way anyone intends.

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    • If it’s just a ban on this class of rifle, then…

      Criminals and Suicides drive the big numbers and neither of them use this for their thing, so it’s a nothing-bugger for the big numbers.

      The mass murderers will find a different way. The lower functioning ones might end up with something that doesn’t work well. But wow, we might look at whatever the high functioning ones come up with and wish they were still using rifles.

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        • Maybe mass murderers will look at other countries, and replicate how they do mass murders.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_killers

          Of course the problem with the above list is it doesn’t have Timothy McVeigh on it. On the below one it’s just a list of lists… but this thing happens.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mass_murderers_by_nationality

          Right now we have this meme that mass murderers must use a rifle, but it’s just a meme. For a highly functional individual with time, money, and patience, the AK isn’t all that effective a killing tool. The Pulse killer probably could have blown up an airplane or three (I’m assuming media was correct in reporting he could work as airport security).

          The problem isn’t the rifle, the problem is the mass murderer.

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          • Its more than a meme.

            Had the Pulse killer wanted to blow up an airliner, he would have to outwit all the security protocols put in place after 9-11.

            Had he wanted to blow up a Federal building like McVeigh, he would have to circumvent the restrictions on fuel oil and fertilizer put in place after the OKC bombing.

            Had he wanted to light his shoes on fire, he would have to get past TSA safeguards put in place after the Shoe Bomber.

            After every mass killing, we put new security provisions in place, and they seem to be effective.

            Every mass killing that is, except with guns. After those, we do absolutely nothing.

            And mass killings in Europe and Australia are remarkably rare, compared to America.

            The only variable here is the gun.

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            • Had the Pulse killer wanted to blow up an airliner, he would have to outwit all the security protocols put in place after 9-11.

              The same security protocols he’d be expected to carry out?

              Fully licensed, fully vetted, professional armed security guard who can work at an airport. At a minimum, he’s an armed guy inside of security who knows how security works. He gets on an airplane and makes it crash. Suicide but whatever.

              Way more likely we don’t make security guards go through the same security lines we make everyone else (and/or there are other flaws) so yes, he can indeed smuggle explosives in.

              Had he wanted to blow up a Federal building like McVeigh, he would have to circumvent the restrictions on fuel oil and fertilizer put in place after the OKC bombing.

              I’m reasonably sure farmers still use fertilizer and fuel oil is also still common. My expectation is anyone going down this path gets diverted into “which gun should I use”.

              After every mass killing, we put new security provisions in place, and they seem to be effective. Every mass killing that is, except with guns. After those, we do absolutely nothing.

              Typically after a mass killing the anti-gun people suggest laws that wouldn’t have worked to prevent the incident they’re supposedly trying to prevent. And yes, since they’re clearly just signalling to their fellows how anti-gun they are, the pro-gun people kill the suggestions as one step towards a totally-gun-free-utopia.

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      • Arson in a packed space is by far the easiest to pull off and inflicts the largest death toll by a wide measure.

        The Happy Land nightclub fire, set by a guy getting revenge on his ex, killed 87 people.

        A gay nightclub in New Orleans was set ablaze and 32 people died.

        Nightclubs, dance halls, and schools are all vulnerable to fire. The death toll from the top 5 US nightclub fires is over a thousand dead.

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        • Please don’t start a conversation on how to min-max mass murder.


          Anyone with an engineering background (and/or mindset) could probably get into three digits if they’re willing to think about it for a while. Getting to four digits is more of a challenge but IMHO is also possible. No, I’m not going to detail how I think it could be done.

          This “gun” meme doesn’t just hurt us, it also helps us by preventing original thinking by high functioning mass murderers. At the moment these nuts are min-maxing Columbine’s techniques. However the Columbine killers were dysfunctional children who didn’t have jobs or a budget.

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    • IIRC Utah permits teachers to carry concealed and it hasn’t been an issue in the decade or so that has been permitted.

      That said, it seems a thin answer to the issue since it relies heavily upon enough teachers being comfortable doing it to represent a sufficient probability of stopping a shooter before he’s had a chance to run out of ammo or targets. It’s not nothing, but it’s also not much.

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      • Ah yes, arming teachers. Already teachers, already social workers, already chronically underpaid, already dealing with too large classrooms, already given a great deal of crap to do in the case of an active shooter — let’s make them security guards to.

        What, more than security guards. Crisis response shooters, expected to deliver lethal force with 100% accuracy (don’t want any friendly fire around the kiddos). That’s probably what, just 20 hours of training a week, right?

        I’m sure that the Venn Diagram between “teacher” and “willing and able to take the life of someone they probably know” is practically a circle!

        It’s not a solution, thin or otherwise. It’s flagrant stupidity masquerading as a serious response.

        In fact, I’d bet money that it’s statistically worse than doing nothing at all.

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        • It isn’t meant to withstand scrutiny as a real proposal.
          Its meant to be a distraction to avoid talking about the underlying framing.

          Why should we accept the premise that violent disturbed men (and its always men) are allowed to possess weapons of war?
          Why can’t a civilized society declare that anyone who wishes to possess a weapon demonstrate in the affirmative that they are capable of using it responsibly?

          These are the questions they don’t want to discuss.

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        • Utah is a strange one. They have not had, to date, a single school shooting.

          No one knows if it’s because of the permits, or because the schools train & drill regularly for the event, or if there is something they are doing on a more social policy front that is catching the problem kids before they grab a gun.

          From 2014, but it was the first that popped on a search.

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          • No one knows if it’s because of the permits

            It’s not. You know how I know? Ft Hood shooting. Sure, only those whose duty required it were armed — but that still amounts to a lot of trained marksmen with guns who could be there in under 5 minutes.

            Then there’s regular shootings at schools with armed guards. It’s not like the shooters didn’t know there were armed guards, and they cheerfully went anyways.

            And concealed carry doesn’t deter anyone in the slightest (humans are optimistic buggers who simply assume the odds are it’ll be the way they want, which to a wannabe shooter means “no one will be carrying concealed”) and open carry just says “Shoot me first before I know there’s a problem”.

            And given teenagers are actually worse than adults at being overly optimistic in deciding the world works the way they want, the idea of a teacher carrying concealed would literally never occur to them — and if they one did, they’d just assume they’d never run into them (or find them first, I suppose).

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        • That’s probably what, just 20 hours of training a week, right?

          I wonder how much training, and providing firearms, would cost for 3.2 million people, which is the approximate number of public-school full-time teachers in the US.

          Note the number of people employed by all law enforcement (local, state, and federal) in the US total 1.2 million, and only about 800,000 of them have arrest powers and thus logically have guns and firearm training.

          So if we’re talking about arming and training all teachers, we’re talking about approximately four times the _entire armed law enforcement_ cost of firearm training. (Let’s ignore the fact that law enforcement is often extremely under-trained in weapons.)

          That would also require us to buy something like 1.65 _billion_ dollars worth of guns, assuming we go with a $500 Glock 19, the handgun of choice of police. This would cost us 2.4% of the _entire_ budget of the US Department of Education. Plus ammo, of course, and somewhere to lock all these guns up during non-school hours.

          But I dunno, maybe we’re talking about arming only one teacher out of twenty, which is about the lowest possible level that we could plausibly claim to have ‘armed teachers’ and get at least one in every school.

          So we’re talking about something that is only one fifth of the cost of arming and training in weapons all law enforcement?

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          • HAHA! It’d go like the rest of Education. Teachers would be required to pay for their own gun, their range time, and their certification hours would be unpaid and after school hours. On top of their current duties. If they’re lucky, the school would actually pay for their instruction.

            Just not the gun, bullets, or their time.

            And then the school board would switch out weapons and tactical doctrine every six months.

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            • It’d go like the rest of Education.

              I dunno. The air force _is_ considering holding a bake sale to pay for their bomber^Wparade, so maybe our schools actually _will_ get all the money they need….but only if that money involves shooting people.

              …are we literally in the punchline to a joke?

              Edit: Actually, it’s sorta sounding like a _really poorly phrased genie wish_.

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          • I wonder how much training, and providing firearms, would cost for 3.2 million people, which is the approximate number of public-school full-time teachers in the US.

            We wouldn’t do “all”, not even “most”. I expect the bulk of them are unwilling or unable.

            But how many teachers are ex-military? In the national guard? How many are gun enthusiasts? How many would cc if we didn’t have these “gun free zone” posters up?

            It makes no sense to purposefully disarm people like that so the only person with a gun is the rampage shooter.

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            • I think it kind of does, because the vast majority of the time, the only person with a gun will be nobody.

              If I was 100% certain that there would be a mass shooting at a particular school tomorrow, I’d want a bunch of armed teachers. But I’m very nearly 100% certain that there won’t be a mass shooting at that school, so by a very wide margin, all we’re doing is introducing guns into a situation where adults will need to keep track of them and keep them away from kids.

              In order for that to pay off, you have to actually have a mass shooting and actually have an armed teacher do something about it that makes the outcome better. How often will that happen relative to how often screw-ups will happen if we introduce a a few hundred thousand guns into 100,000 schools? I can’t be certain, but eyeballing the numbers suggests that your kid will be more likely to be killed by a loose faculty firearm than by a spree killer.

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              • In order for that to pay off, you have to actually have a mass shooting and actually have an armed teacher do something about it that makes the outcome better.

                If it’s successfully stopped then it’d hardly be a mass shooting.

                I can’t be certain, but eyeballing the numbers suggests that your kid will be more likely to be killed by a loose faculty firearm than by a spree killer.

                Human intuition is terrible at evaluating different low probability events so I’d really like to see stats… which not only don’t exist, but probably also can’t. If we liken this to vaccinations, then a successful vaccination can end up killing more people than die from the original disease.

                Big picture is in terms of numbers, these mass shootings are so rare they don’t exist.

                However we seem to care about them so much that serious people want to rewrite the Constitution, get rid of fundamental rights, and treat every person in the US as a potential school shooter to force their disarmament. In that case, then we should be looking at “easier” and “less destructive” courses of action.

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      • He wants to give “just a little bonus” to teachers who are licensed and comfortable carrying. Pay people extra in professions that have nothing to do with guns (or should) who have accepted the social responsibility of owning and being trained and comfortable with firearms. Aka, subsidize gun culture.

        It’s a sop to gun folks and gun culture, and generally conservatives who are responsive to signaling of that kind. “They want gun control, but guess what *I* think we should do? You’re gonna love this!”

        That’s what it is, nothing more and nothing less.

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    • The pro-gun control side is often, with (IMO) real justification, accused of advancing policies on the basis of, “We must do something. This is something. Ergo, we must do this!”

      But now we’ve got “arming teachers” as the GOP counter-proposal. Well, that and complaining about violent movies and video games like it’s 1994.

      If they keep this up, we’ll probably wind up with an Assault Weapon Ban like it’s 1994, too.

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      • Well, that and complaining about violent movies and video games like it’s 1994.

        I have to agree with Trump suggestion here. Movies probably _should_ have ratings.

        Of course, I’m not so sure about video games, after all, there are just a few of those in existence, and computers that can talk to video displays are rather expensive…

        …oh, whoops, I’m accidentally posting from 1964.

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        • Hell, why not cut out the middle man and just arm the kids? My idea is that every child over 8 carries a gun while on school premises. Don’t need to rush the shooter anymore! The littlest ones would attend windowless schools surrounded by SWAT teams locked down from 8 to 4.

          Another idea I have: place a dozen or so hand guns and rifles along the walls of every classroom easily accessible in times of emergency.*

          Why isn’t anyone taking these proposals seriously????

          *And a few taped under random desks here and there…

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        • The teachers did better than that cop did – two of them died taking bullets to save students. One literally threw himself into the line of fire so the bullets would hit his body and not those of the fleeing students.

          If the proposal was to arm the teachers and disarm the cops it would probably save a lot of lives.

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        • That’s one of the scary things that really, really needs to be looked at closely.

          Because we’re in a situation where stuff has been tested in the field and it didn’t *WORK*.

          Gun-free zone? Didn’t work.
          Assault Weapons Ban? Didn’t work.
          If you see something, say something? Didn’t work.
          Having good guys with a gun on site? Didn’t work.