Random Thoughts On Our National Disease

If people are wondering why I haven’t posted more on the Newtown mass shooting, it’s because I feel like there’s really nothing more for me to say. I’ve posted about my disgust of guns, gun culture, gun loonz, the NRA, and all the rest amply over the years; no use rehashing it now. Just hit the “Guns” tag if you’re new over here.

So, onward. There’s been some good discussion on a lot of the blogs about this issue, some good points raised. One of the best I read was over at Obsidian Wings, comparing “normal” homicide to mass shootings. Dr. Science writes:

Most firearms in America are actually used to make men feel better about their dicks — sorry, as symbols and reinforcers of masculinity. Men buy guns, telling themselves that they will use them in the masculine role of protector and defender. But in fact, guns are used to defend masculinity, first and foremost. Very occasionally, defending masculinity means defending others in your masculine role, but usually it means attacking other men for slights against your masculinity, or women for being uppity enough to disagree with you or reject you. Or children, for caring about anything other than Daddy. The god of masculinity is a very jealous god indeed.

Harsh, yes, but there’s a lot of truth there, too. I also really appreciated what Anne Laurie said when she wrote,

Dear Gun Owner: I don’t want to ‘control’ your guns, I want you to control your guns.

God, yes. A thousand times, yes. That’s the point I was making here. Which is that, despite what the gun lobby wants you to believe, gun owners are extremely irresponsible. You don’t even have to look at tragedies like the Oklahoma three year old who found a loaded gun and shot himself in the head last week (no charges filed against the gun owner), or the Alabama teenager shot in the head during a “prank gone wrong” in October (again, no charges filed). I have personally heard of two people in Nashville who left their loaded guns in unlocked cars parked on the street overnight recently. Guess what, their cars were “broken into” (can you break into an unlocked car?) and the guns were stolen. That’s two more guns now on the black market where they can be used in crimes. Thank you, “responsible” gun owners of America. And thank you, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, determined to get his stupid “guns in parking lots” bill passed. I wonder how many more guns will be stolen from vehicles now?

I understand we’re still piecing together the facts of what happened in Newtown. But from what I’ve read and seen on 60 Minutes, Adam Lanza’s mother was a gun enthusiast, who liked target shooting and kept several guns. She also knew her son was troubled (possibly had Asperger’s, according to 60 Minutes), and had been getting worse in recent weeks. Folks, I have to wonder what kind of “responsible” gun owner/parent knows her kid is mentally disturbed, yet keeps her guns where he can get his hands on them?

“Responsible” gun owners of America: you have proven time and again that you cannot control your guns. We will have to do it for you.

Also, as has been pointed out by Michael Moore and others, anyone thinking this tragedy could have been prevented by arming teachers is overlooking the fact that Nancy Lanza was the shooter’s first victim. And has already been established, she was more than adequately armed. So, STFU. Guns are the problem, not the solution.

But I am interested in some solutions now. Dianne Feinstein has promised to put forward a new assault weapons ban bill when Congress reconvenes in January. I don’t expect that idea to go far in the Teanut-controlled House, but you never know. This list of deadly mass shootings since Columbine is a sobering look at our national disease. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the number of shootings since President Obama first took office has soared: remember, gun sales surged after his election, thanks to the steady diet of fearmongering and hate the right-wing media has spewed.

And on that topic, I just have one word for Rupert Murdoch, who Friday night took to Twitter to offer his usual “blame Obama” tripe:

MurdochGun

STFU. Really. Or maybe, look in a mirror. Your media empire issues forth a steady stream of pro-gun BS, not to mention fearmongering and misinformation about scary black people and black helicopters and anti-Obama, anti-Democratic Party crap. Fox News constantly pushes the outrage button, tweaking the collective amygdala; not a surprise that a few loonies inevitably snap. So maybe if you’re really as supportive of strict gun control measures as you said you were back in July, you could use your considerable influence over Lizard Brain America to try to return some sanity to the gun debate. Maybe ask your Fox News hosts to dial back the crazy a little bit? You know, I realize you’re a fairly new U.S. citizen, but surely you know laws begin in Congress. So if you want some leadership, maybe show some yourself. Because you’re part of the problem.

/rant

Here’s some other good information:

• Ezra Klein reported some incorrect information we often hear about Switzerland and Israel having high levels of gun ownership, and was corrected by a researcher who had studied that issue. Klein posted a transcript of the interview here and there’s some fascinating information.

• A word on the NRA: presented as representing American gun owners but, as this website reveals, its leadership is primarily gun manufacturers and conservative political leaders like Grover Norquist and Ollie North. Time to reveal this group for what it really is and stop being so scared of them. Especially since they appear to have been inflating their membership numbers for years. I’m disgusted they’re bringing their annual convention to Nashville in 2015.

• The NRA is an obvious and easy target (pun intended) but let’s remember the influence ALEC has had on the state level. ALEC is the group which brought us “stand your ground” laws and other initiatives that do harm community safety:

The group has, for instance, promoted:

• A “Resolution on Semi-Automatic Firearms” that expresses opposition to proposals by local, state, and federal governments to restrict the sale of semi-automatic weapons, known as assault weapons.
• A “Defense of Free Market and Public Safety Resolution” that discourages efforts by law enforcement agencies to use their purchasing power to buy police and policing weapons only from gun manufacturers that improve gun safety to protect children. The same resolution discourages efforts to identify and limit public contracting with gun dealers that are not notorious for selling weapons used in crimes.
• A unanimous 2011 endorsement by ALEC’s “Public Safety and Elections Task Force” of a proposal to expressly bar cities from banning machine guns.

• Fun fact: the second most powerful gun lobbying organization in the U.S. is located in Newtown, CT. Wow. Think someone is trying to tell us something here, folks? If this were an abortion-related tragedy occurring in the same town as Planned Parenthood or NARAL HQs, Pat Robertson wouldn’t shut up about it.

• Some interesting conversation on mental health issues and access to mental health services is here.

• Deep in comments points to this interesting article about the advances in 3D printing technology which make gun control even more problematic.

On a final note, every time I blog about gun issues I get trolled by a steady stream of gun loonz, brought over here by a couple of pro-gun blogs. It’s an obvious intimidation tactic, blatant bullying, calling me all sorts of lovely four-letter names for voicing my opinion. You’d think people trying to present themselves as “reasonable” and “responsible” wouldn’t resort to bullying but you’d be wrong. And I’m not going to stand for it. I don’t care what you people have to say. We’ve done it your way, we’ve loosened gun laws and there are more guns out there in our communities than ever before and the result is more shootings and deadlier shootings. So, you’re wrong. I’m finished with you.

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35 Comments

Filed under gun control, gun violence

35 responses to “Random Thoughts On Our National Disease

  1. deep

    Thank you Beale, for being so thorough. Personally, I’d prefer to tell Mr. Murdoch DIAF, but perhaps that’s too violent.

  2. So if Lanza had used a baseball bat, would we have had the opportunity to see this same poetic pleasure written denouncing bats and their resemblance to the male phallus?
    What if he had used a knife like the copycat in China did? Sure, it is more of a stretch to link a knife to a penis, but I’m sure it could be done by a competent wordsmith.
    What if he had used diesel and fertilizer like that loon, McVeigh did some time back? I’m not aware of any links to a penis in that story, but McVeigh did way more damage and killed many more. An argument could be made we need to curb the sale of fertilizer and fuel.

    No, the fact is that killers will kill. It is not in any way the fault of the inanimate object(s) which they use to kill others.

    I think a more responsible topic of discussion is how ALL of these killers have been on prescription medications. What is the FDA allowing these drug companies to push on us?
    Why can’t we have intelligent conversation about natural nutrition so that mental problems happen at a much more reduced rate?
    Why can’t we have a discussion about how LIBERAL politicians struck down a law in CT that would have provided for institutionalization for Lanza and others like him who need such care (PS – Lanza would not have been able to kill innocent children if he had been institutionalized).

    • baseball bats and knives have a purpose other than killing people. i’ve read that no one died in the knife attacks in china. i’m so _sick_ of these kinds of arguments in the face of these slaughters by guns. if it were up to me i’d repeal that pesky amendment and outlaw private gun ownership except for limited weapons for hunting, but then i keep picturing my own children when they were 6 years old and i keep crying.

    • If Lanza had used a baseball bat we wouldn’t have seen this level of slaughter. (ADDING: sale and transport of ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer used by McVeigh, is highly regulated in this country. If you’re suggesting we get that law applied guns I’m ALL for it.)

      Please, grow the fuck up. That tired old argument has been debunked a thousand times.

      I did say we need to talk about mental health issues and whether it’s liberal or conservatives is totally beside the point. Ronald Reagan opened up the state mental hospitals in California and a good friend of mine lost both her parents as a result — her disturbed father got his hands on a gun, killed her mother and then himself. She found the bodies.

      Your finger pointing is total BS. When I said I don’t want to hear what the gun loonz have to say I meant it. You repeated your NRA talking points we’ve heard a thousand times already, now fuck off.

      Let me be clear to you and other gun loonz: this thread is not for a conversation about if we need gun control legislation. That ship sailed. That conversation is over, at least, it’s over on my blog. We’ve had it a hundred times. I’ve heard the same stuff. I’m tired of it. If you want to have that conversation, take it somewhere else. Get your own damn blog.

      This thread is for talking about the WHATS of the gun control issue.

      And before you go off whining to your Second Amendment/Tenther friends about your free speech being violated and liberal intolerance and blahbeddy blah, let me repeat what I’ve said before: this is MY house. MY blog. If you don’t like it, the free market has provided you ample places where you can go and talk about mean old liberals.

      Buh-bye.

  3. deep

    Interesting article showing that it’s going to get increasingly difficult to “ban” guns or even to “control” them.

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/16/gun-control/

  4. There are a several items that I will be spouting off about on an oh, so ,very IMPOLITE post at my blog (polrant.blogspot.com) sometime ttoday or early tomorrow.

    Two of them will be on deeply cherished (and complete horseshit memes) notions dear to the hearts of gunzloonznation.

    The first is the “statistics” that are used by them to try justifying their idiotic assertions about this country being safer as a result of having more gunz.

    The second is the absolute lack of any discernible sense of collective responsibility on the part of the NRA, it’s lobbyists, their pet congress critters and the voiceferous minority of shitheadz at places like mikeb’s blog and some other pro-regulation sites.

    I am, usually, considerably more temperate here, than at my own house. I moderate comments, but it doesn’t mean I don’t welcome them. I just reserve the rights (and, actually, it’s more in the way of a duty) to shitcan comments like Usagis, ‘cuz, shit is what they are. A comment like that will not see the light of day. The memes have all been debunked many, many times and as Southern Beale says, rehashing them will not make them anything but hash.

    In a perfect world, the DoJ would be using RICO statutes against FuckTheNew’sCorpse, the NRA and the rest of the people who profit from the carnage.

    • Speaking of FuckTheNewsCorpse profiting from the carnage, I caught an ad for a local gun store on the Nashville Fox station yesterday (not Fox News but the local station) — that’s the station that broadcasts NFL football. It just seemed so … inappropriate, so tacky, it was all a big “whee-heee getta loud of all these guns guns GUNS we got here COME ON!” I wanted to hurl.

    • deep

      oh, that reminds me demo, I’ve been meaning to go to your blog and pee on the rug. Y’know… an early x-mas present!

  5. Multifaceted problem, no doubt. I’m fine with attacking this culture of death on any front, just so we get this fight going. Ban assault rifles and ammunition that exceeds the needs of 99% of gun owners. I’m perfectly happy to start there. Mental health funding for free/low cost mental health care? I’m in. In the future, when I encounter a gun nut, I’m just going to offer a heartfelt “sorry about your tiny dick” and move briskly away from them. So over this nonsense…children are being killed so we can act like Navy Seals on the weekend. Fuck that.

    • In the future, when I encounter a gun nut, I’m just going to offer a heartfelt “sorry about your tiny dick” and move briskly away from them.

      LOL. It worked for Hummers. The only people I see driving them now are women.

  6. Ann

    Excellent blog and comments. Thank you for speaking out. I hope you can ban the idiots without too much trouble. Don’t pee on SB’s rug you asshole.

    • Ann:

      If you’re speaking about Deep’s comment, he wants to come pee on MY rug–and that’s okay, my roommate, Buddy the Wonder Dog would, if I had rugs.

      My blog is NOT for people who are like, all fuckin’ genteel and shit! {;>)

  7. gene108

    I do think this should be “come to Jesus” moment for gun owners.

    They can define the solution to this problem of mass shootings and have something they will be comfortable with or let others decide what shape control should take.

    If mental health issues are a bigger problem, than let the pro-gun folks demand better mental health facilities across this country and actively work to distigmatize mental illness, so people aren’t embarrassed to seek treatment.

    Other groups have faced similar sorts of pressure. Video games created their own ratings system, so parents knew if a game was age appropriate before buying to head off any more restrictive action by lawmakers.

    Others have stepped up and handled there stuff, when more radical elements wanted restrict their activities further.

    it’s time for gun owners to step or step out of the way.

  8. Just two points to gun nuts:

    Guns do not kill people, they do not jump into a cab and travel to a killing site. No, fools at the NRA, people with guns kill people.

    Now, that asshole who suggested that basesball bats are anagalous to guns and nutrition would have fixed up Adam Lanza – I was unaware that so much stupidity could fit into one brain. The only point of guns, especially assault weopons is to kill – brutally and quickly. Ya know, like mowing down 20 innocent kids and their teachers.

    The time for gun control is not now, it has passed, What we need now is corrective legistlation to remove all assault weopons and require ID for all folks wishing to buy a gun. That ID should be in the form of a license issued before a gun is purchased.

    And to all second amendment assholes, why do you forget the begiinning of the sentence:

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    Which IMHO was to make sure that a new country with a limited defense capability would allow its people to have arms to protect the country, not kill its citizens. This is an example of where the constitution needs to be chaged. The right to bear arms shall not be infringed so that those who hunt or target shoot can do so safely. Automatic weopons are not permitted.

    • Since the Founders obviously wrote the Second Amendment to prevent the nation from having a standing army, why don’t we ask people to just pick one: you either have your Second Amendment or your Dept. of Defense. Can’t have both.

      • You know, at first I thought that might be a good idea. But then I realized the gun nuts who hate the government would likely go for it. Thinking they could do a better job then the government they would likely arm themselves with tanks, bazookas and North Korean nukes. Then whole towns and cities and could be wiped out to protect our 2nd amendment rights. When I think of this I do not like your alternative so much.

  9. Susan

    Boy, do I live in a different world. When I saw the title “National Disease” I was thinking “evil”. In all the comments above I didn’t see anybody talking about evil either. The first thing I thought of when I heard this news is that there is plenty of pure evil in this world and I hoped the gunman was dead. We make choices to fight for good or evil, or do nothing everyday. Violent video games are all about killing people which numbs people to evil and makes evil acceptable. It seems like evil in all its different forms…. greed, fracking, fighting, killing….is more acceptable as inevitable, every day.

    • I have no problem with holding Hollywood and the video games industry accountable for spreading violence, profiting from violence, etc… At least the whole “ratings” thing was an attempt — albeit a lame & ineffective one — to keep young kids from being exposed to violence.

      But I don’t get your point about blaming “evil.” You seem to be saying, evil walks among us and there’s nothing we can do about it. Bullshit. That’s way too easy and frankly lazy. Just saying someone is evil and oh well? Fuck that. How about, kid has a mental problem, let’s a) get mom to realize that and maybe not leave her guns lying around the house, and b) have some kind of policies allowing some kind of intervention in the case of mental illness? Something?

      Evil is a cop-op, and a bad one at that.

  10. Amanda Ryden

    I used to be an FBI agent, now I am an ER physician. Guns are tools, tools for hunting to feed the family, tools to protect self and others if threatened with death by other (please don’t break into my house while I am in it), tools for ‘keeping the peace’ if you are in law enforcement or the military. They are not toys to be gleefully played with or not respected, they are not toys to leave available in cars and on the counter, they are not for the extension of a man or woman’s anatomy. If this tool is readily available, it will be played with, disrespected or used for horrible purposes. Assault weapons have no place in the public realm, they are for killing many people rapidly, they are not for hunting to feed the family or for competition on a shooting range. They should be banned.

    • I’m curious if in your job as an ER physician you see a lot of gunshot wounds, accidental and otherwise. I’m also curious about what kind of records are kept on shootings, accidental and otherwise. I know the FBI supposedly tracks this stuff but it doesn’t seem as though we have this information readily available.

  11. calvin

    ” “Responsible” gun owners of America: you have proven time and again that you cannot control your guns. We will have to do it for you.”

    This

  12. *chews on remote*
    *pees on bathroom rug*
    *runs and hides under blanket*

    ,,,,,,

    Sandy.

    • LOL That shoe hasn’t been chewed on sufficiently ….

      • themadkansan

        heh. Sandy’s hangup was cords – she had a penchant for excising short lengths off the ends of any that were conveniently left accessible, so long as nobody was watching.

        …Until one day, when she tried one that was still plugged in. ~O!O~

        Ever since then, she’s not given =any= of the cords in the house a second look – wonder why… >:)

        She’s primarily a chewbone fiend now.

      • oh, wow. Her name is Sandy? How ironic.

        I had a dog who chewed through a cord at work once. Thankfully it was one of those cords connected to something nobody was using … “bring your pet to work day” was still kind of a new thing and I’d hate for her to have been the reason they stopped doing it.

  13. Luke

    How do the gun-nutters defend the overwhelming evidence that in countries where guns are not readily available (UK, Japan, Australia for example) homicides by firearms are significantly lower?

    At some point we all need to shake ourselves from this collective murder fog we have lived in for our lifetimes and say 12K homicides by firearm, not to mention the countless accidental deaths, injuries and suicides by guns should not be the status quo.

    All eyes are on Obama and congress

  14. Southern Beale:

    I have a treasure trove of links to all sorts of stuff about firearms related topics.

    If you’re looking for data on homicides and the like, this is a great place to start: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr

    There’s all sorts of wonderful stuff out there; very convincing evidence that MORE GUNZ does not = more safety, quite the opposite. Of course the information is only of value when you’re giving it to someone who is willing to read it and think about it.

    I’m not sure if I said it here yesterday, but the gunzloonz (a sizable minority of firearms owners) ARE the people that Mr. Obama was talking about when he inadvertently told the truth about folks clinging to guns and religion in 2008. They are just as convinced of their righteousness as the fundie KKKristians teabaggists (and there is some serious overlap) and just as wrong.

  15. Let’s see if we can get this:

    “If you have to carry a gun, the terrorists have already won.”

    on T-shirts, billboards and bumper stickers.

    Also, why don’t the Pro-regulation (not “anti-GUNZ”) folks take a page from the Anti-choice playbook (no, not shooting people we disagree with!) and show up at the next congressional hearings on “Gun Control” with great big glossy signs with photos of dead PEOPLE on them to let the congresscritters know that we know that they know what’s really goin’ on and we’re sick and fuckin’ tired of them pretending that they dont.

  16. Luke

    Listen to the Johnny Cash song, “I Hung My Head.” Should be required listening any time a gun nutter or the NRA starts rambling on about “responsible” gun owners.

  17. Wyatt_Earl

    Hey, gun nuts! Two words: “Well regulated.”

    • “Hey, gun nuts! Two words: “Well regulated.””

      i’ve had “gun nuts” go to great lengths to diagram the amendment to prove that grammatically it says just what they want it to.

  18. Nra is under the payroll of arms manufacturers, not really gun owners
    ]and question…. does the First Amendment state ” the right to bear firearms or the right to bear musket ?

  19. democommie

    renxkyoko:

    The 1st Amendment covers the Right to freedom of speech, expression, assembly, etc.

    The 2nd Amendment covers the RIGHT FOREVER’N’EVER’N’ALWAYS TO HAZ TEH GUNZ!!

    It is a fundamental tenet of gunzloonznation that when the radioactive dust settles after Nuk’emageddon that there will three things left behind–cockroaches, Twinkies and THE SECOND AMENDMENT! That their interpretation of the U.S. constitution is ridiculous would be laughable if it weren’t for the reactionary element that controls the SCotUS.