Maybe It’s Not The Lack Of Training

Remember last October’s horrific story of an 8-year-old girl who was shot and killed by her 11-year-old neighbor because she refused to show him her new puppy? The kid has just been convicted by a Jefferson County Juvenile Court judge.

Here’s what happened:

MaKayla Dyer, a student at White Pine Elementary, was killed October 3, 2015, outside her home. Juvenile Judge Dennis “Will” Roach II, who presided over Tiller’s case, wrote in a court order that he was playing with MaKayla Dyer, her 11-year-old sister and her friend when he asked her to retrieve her puppies. After she said no, he went inside and came back with a 12 gauge shotgun and a bb gun, telling the girls he had guns.

“The victim then laughed at Mr. Tiller, and stated that she believed they were not real,” read the court documents. “Tiller then made certain the gun was loaded, cocked the hammer of the gun, and shot the victim just above the heart” from inside the window.

Dyer fell backwards and was later confirmed dead.

This heartbreaking story brought to you by bad parenting, gun culture, and the NRA. The 12-gauge belonged to the kid’s father, and if you think it’s perfectly okay to leave a 12-gauge within reach of an 11-year-old, you’re an asshole. Oh, but you say, it’s perfectly fine if they’ve had that Eddie Eagle training! Riiiight:

Judge Roach said Tiller had been trained in firearm safety and had been taken hunting by both his father and grandfather.

Clearly this kid was fucked up in the head, and I have to wonder why anyone would let their fucked up kid mess around with guns. I wondered this same thing about Nancy Lanza and Chris Harper-Mercer and I also wondered the same thing about Chris Kyle, who took PTSD-afflicted vets to a gun range as “therapy.” That just strikes me as supremely stupid. After every mass shooting people say “Oh, we just need to keep the guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” yet those same people are the ones handing the mentally ill their guns in the first place!

And every time a child gets his or her hands on a gun and blows someone away we’re told “well, training …” and yet here’s a fucked up kid who had that training, which he apparently put to good use to blow away his neighbor.

So really, gun people just need to shut up, already.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, NRA, Tennessee

Why Market Solutions To Policy Problems Usually Don’t Work

Interesting piece from Governing magazine, which quotes the University of Michigan’s Barry Rabe, who looked at two market-based solutions to policy issues: the Affordable Care Act and cap-and-trade.

These, of course, were both solidly Republican ideas which Democrats signed on to. Once they did, however, these market-based solutions suddenly caught liberal cooties, and Republicans ran away from them screaming “socialism!” at the top of their lungs.

Rabe notes that by 2008, 23 states had signed on to cap-and-trade:

It seemed a perfect solution. New markets developed, and regional consortia planned to reduce greenhouse gases by 10 percent or more within a few years.

But that perfect solution didn’t last long. Rabe found that, within five years, more than half the states had walked away from their cap-and-trade commitment. The market-based alternative to command-and-control regulations evaporated as a state-based policy tool.

What happened between 2008 and 2013? Well, there was an economic meltdown. There was also a Republican meltdown. Any policy progress while a Democrat was in the White House ground to a halt. The Tea Party took over, state legislatures turned Red. Hyper-partisanship became the rule of the day.

Then there’s the Affordable Care Act, which was designed to dodge complaints of “big government” and encourage the states to create exchanges that would provide insurance policies to their uninsured.

State implementation proved wildly uneven. Federal policymakers found themselves without the results they sought. And everyone came away more convinced than ever that government couldn’t solve problems like this, even though many of the problems were rooted in private market failures.

By the end of 2015, 38 states had declined to set up health-care exchanges, leaving the federal government to step in and create them. Three states — Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon — tried the exchange approach and backed out when enrollment was lower and costs were higher than expected. Some states, like Maryland and Washington, enthusiastically embraced the exchanges but fumbled the launch. Pressed by angry Republicans, who criticized the states’ lack of accountability for federal funds, the Obama administration took back $200 million in grants it had made to states that had struggled to launch their exchanges.

Note: this wasn’t a failure of the policy. It was a failure of politics. Republicans love to talk about the need to “run government like a business,” but when a Democrat does it, they call it Socialism, Fascism, Big Government, etc. Hyper-partisanship has basically ruined our country’s ability to solve big problems, in my opinion. We’re seeing the predictable result of 30 years of “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem” messaging.

The author notes:

The fundamental flaw lies in two assumptions: that markets always work better than governments and that markets will run themselves if government gets out of the way. The first assumption is the stuff of fierce ideological debate, but the second is really a settled question. Markets just don’t run themselves in delivering public goods, because most of the time they are being asked to do things they aren’t used to doing. And because policymakers tend to assume that the markets will take care of themselves, they often don’t build governmental capacity to steer the process. The reformers then end up running after problems as they develop down the line.

Indeed. Government exists for a reason. Government exists to do the things that the private sector can’t or won’t do.

I’m not going to agree that market-based solutions NEVER work. They can work — when accompanied by a strong government regulatory presence. What never works is all one or the other. You need both.

Truly no ideology has more consistently failed than the Libertarian one, or even worse, the Libertarian-lite “run government like a business,” “government needs to get out of the way,” “release the free hand of the market” one, which dominates today’s Republican Party. I really don’t understand why anyone who believes government is the problem would want to be in government. And I don’t understand why anyone votes for someone who believes government is the problem. It’s like going to a butcher shop run by PETA. You’re just asking for failure.

One thing Democrats have consistently failed at is defending their own positions. A Republican yells “BIG GOVERNMENT” and we wet our pants. Democrats need to learn how to defend their principles, instead of trying massage their positions into something Republicans will find palatable. As the past eight years show, Republicans will never find anything a Democrat does palatable. They will even turn on their own market-based policy solutions if a Democrat is the one selling it.

These are lessons we’ve learned during the Obama years. We’ve also seen markets fail the economy and the American people time and time again. We’ve seen bad actors like Turing Pharmaceuticals and Theranos, hell even Enron is still synonymous with “crooks.” The financial crisis of 2007-2008 ain’t exactly ancient history, not with movies like “The Big Short” reminding everyone about how the market failed the global economy.

We’ve seen deregulation in Texas end in an entire town exploding. And hello, Flint, Michigan, where Republican Gov. Snyder tried to “save money” because “government should be run like a business.” Meanwhile, an actual business — General Motors — refused to use Flint River water at its engine plant because chloride levels were too high.

As this article notes, “government requires governing.” Republicans don’t seem to know how to do it. Democrats don’t seem to know how to be advocates for it. And I believe we will never have effective policies until we fix our politics.

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Filed under free hand of the market, Housekeeping

Tennessee Gun Report

So much stuff never makes the papers. For example, one of the local Moms Demand Action members was in a Nashville Krispy Kreme when someone found a loaded gun left behind in the bathroom. Cops were called but it never made the news.

So it just seems so bizarre that our gun-crazy state legislature is bound and determined to ensure that we all are forced to interact with firearms on a daily basis now, whether we like it or not. Check out this fresh hell: a bill has been filed that would allow people to sue if they are injured in gun-free zones:

The bill, if passed into law, will allow any Tennessean with a valid handgun permit to sue property owners for injury or death that occurs within a gun-free zone.

The right to sue does not extend to individuals who do not have a permit to carry a weapon.

The underlying premise of this bill is the assumption that a gun could prevent said injury or death. Facts not in evidence! This strikes me as legally specious, but regardless, the premise is that if you’re in a gun-free establishment and, say, a bear busts in and goes on a rampage, the underlying assumption is that someone with a gun could have taken that bear out. So if they’re injured by the bear, they have a right to sue.

This is a neat little switcheroo on those of us who have been clamoring for mandatory liability insurance for all gun carriers. But every day is upside-down day in NRA land, right?

I love this glorious assumption that a gun would solve every problem. Hammers and nails, people. This is pretty much how the gun nuts think: the only way they can defend themselves and their families is with a gun. They just feel so helpless without their ballistic security blanket! Poor dears, I feel sorry for them, really I do.

Without further ado, our semi-weekly roundup of law-abiding armed citizenry:

• February 2, 2016:

A Murfreesboro man was chased by police because he was running naked with a gun, firing shots. The police were armed to the teeth too, with assault rifles, shotguns and pistols. Yee haw.

• January 30, 2016:

A fight broke out in the parking lot of Nashville’s White’s Creek Pike High School while a basketball game was going on and one person was shot. He died.

• January 29, 2016:

1- A Franklin County man accidentally shot himself in the shoulder.

2- A road rage shooting on I-40 in Memphis made the morning commute a little more hectic than usual:

The victim advised police the suspect was in a white 4 door F-250. According to the victim, the suspect was attempting to merge onto traffic at Sycamore View and Sam Cooper when the suspect became angry at the victim and began shooting.

The victim said a man shot him multiple times. He went to Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He has since been upgraded to non-critical condition.

Police said they believe the victim was shot in the leg, arm, and shoulder. There were at least 12-13 shots fired into the vehicle.

Are we safer yet?

• January 28, 2016:

1- A 20-year-old Alexandria, Tennessee man called the Murfreesboro Social Security office and threatened to shoot everyone because he said his check was $100 short.

2- Congratulations, Nashville International Airport! You rank #6 for gun catches, with 59 weapons discovered in 2015. So much for “law-abiding citizens” and “safest, most responsible ever.”

By the way, if gun-free zones are so dangerous, how come there have been so few mass shootings at airports?

• January 25, 2016:

Parents leave their kids in the car with a handgun. What happened next will blow your mind! Just kidding:

Investigators said that one of the children found a loaded semi-automatic pistol inside their mother’s purse. The child then tried to unload the gun when it accidentally discharged, striking the 7-year-old boy.

Brilliant.

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A Question

Doesn’t the piss-poor primary performance (say that ten times fast without stopping!) of Jeb! Bush, and Donald Trump’s loss in Iowa, mean that our elections aren’t, actually, for sale?

I’m actually thinking more about Jeb! than Trump, as I’m not sure Trump has actually spent much money yet, relying on all the free attention the lamestream media has lavished upon him. But Jeb! has a SuperPAC that raised over $103 million as of last summer. As Mother Jones noted:

To put Right to Rise’s numbers in historical context, Mitt Romney’s entire primary effort in 2008 cost $107 million; Hillary Clinton’s cost $245.7 million.

With all that money and he came in sixth? After spending more money than anybody else?

Maybe we don’t need to be so freaked out that he (or she) with the most money wins.

What do you think?

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

That’s Not How It Works

Look, I know people aren’t going to be happy about this, but I’m not feeling it where Bernie Sanders is concerned.

I like Sanders, really I do, I’m glad he’s in the Senate. I’m glad he goes on and on about “billionaires” and such. But he seems way out of his league where presidential politics is concerned. And while the stuff he says shows that we agree on what’s wrong, it just smacks too much of him telling progressives what they want to hear. None of it is grounded in reality, in the reality of what a president can actually get accomplished. Have people been asleep for the past 8 years?

I spent some time going through his January Twitter feed. Mostly it’s him railing against Wall Street and such, serving as a progressive cheerleader: “We will no longer tolerate an economic and political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans.” That’s fine, every candidate needs their fist-pumping moment. Rally the troops, etc.

But then there’s some stuff that’s just undiluted, Trump-like bombast. It’s, “I’m gonna wave my magic wand and change will just happen by virtue of my awesomeness!” Dude, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works!

For example:

BernieSCOTUS

BernieABORTION

BernieBanks

BernieCreditAgency

BernieBillionaires

BerniePharma

None of these are things a president can actually do. Surely he knows that his Supreme Court nominee, assuming they get confirmed, can’t just magically undo Citizens United, right?

How can anybody take this guy seriously? Jamelle Bouie at Slate tried. Bouie took Sanders’ “revolution” rhetoric at face value and concluded that it will take more than that for Sanders to accomplish any of the stuff he says he wants to do.

Let’s set aside reality and pretend for a moment that Bernie Sanders wins the White House. As Bouie notes,

…the world where a self-described socialist wins the presidency is a world of tremendous political change, where untapped and new voters flood the polls to lift Sanders—and his Democratic fellow travelers—to victory.

But even if thousands of new people show up to vote on election day and lift Sanders to an unprecedented win, that doesn’t change a gerrymandered House, it doesn’t change partisanship, it doesn’t change the country’s ideological divide or the Republican Party’s intransigence, it doesn’t change the Tea Party’s existence, it doesn’t change any of that. The idea that by merely electing Bernie Sanders (and down-ticket Dems) we’ve created the change that will usher in the progressive agenda is just such horseshit.

Please don’t tell me that it’s going to be different this time, that Bernie Sanders is a transformative candidate who brings all of these new people into the process, the “millennials” and such. Yeah, those same millennials who can’t be bothered to vote, ever, until we invent a cool app for them. Look, that’s what we said about Barack Obama. And yes, Obama got elected — twice! — and we also lost the House, the Senate, a whole bunch of state legislatures, and saw the rise of the Tea Party.

So I just can’t take this shit seriously. I’m a pragmatist and a realist. I don’t have time for fairy dust and magic wands.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Congratulations, Joseph Lemier! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

A man in the checkout at a Dollar General in Lehigh Acres, Florida, was just trying to do some shopping when he got shot. Why? Read on:

Brandon Orlando was standing in the checkout line when the man standing behind him accidentally dropped his gun on the floor, and it fired.

“I heard it go off it sounded like a balloon,” said Orlando.

According to deputies, when the gun hit the floor, it shot off a round. The bullet ricocheted off a conveyor belt and then grazed Orlando’s stomach.

“It’s just a crazy freak accident that happened, but thank God I’m still alive,” he said. “I’m happy.”

Just a “crazy freak accident! Except it’s one of those things that’s happening with increasing frequency. The more people walking around with loaded guns, the more gun accidents. It’s called math.

And as for our 2nd Amendment Hero?

The gun owner, Joseph Lemier, called the sheriff’s office immediately. When a deputy got to the scene, he ran Lemier’s concealed weapons license and learned that it had been revoked.

Lemier also claimed that the safety was on when the gun hit the floor. But upon inspection, the deputy found that the safety was not operational.

Yeah, a real law-abiding citizen would never let that happen. Except, of course, when they do.

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“Things Just Happen”

Quite possibly the stupidest thing you will read this week:

According to police, four children were left alone in a vehicle while their mother and step-father went inside a store to a pay a bill.

One of the children found the gun in the mother’s purse and tried to remove to the magazine to unlock it.

However, the gun fired and struck his seven-year-old brother in the head. The boy was flown to a Knoxville area hospital where he died.

“There’s always a danger leaving a child in the car because they can pull it into neutral or anything else,” Crossville Police Chief Rodney Shoap told Local 8 Now. “Things just happen.”

Things just happen? Because they can put the car in neutral? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? What about leaving your loaded gun in the car, maybe that wasn’t such a swuft idea? Ya think?

No, things don’t just “happen.” Some idiot left her four kids in the car with access to a loaded gun and the absolutely, 100% predictable thing happened.

What did you people think would happen when you told ordinary people that they needed to carry guns with them everywhere? Did you seriously think that some person in East Jesus, Tennessee was going to take out ISIS, stop a carjacking, defend freedom and the American flag, be a big damn hero, whatever?

No. These people leave their guns everywhere because they aren’t responsible, they aren’t “law-abiding citizens,” they aren’t the “safest ever.” They’re ordinary people who go about their ordinary days doing ordinary stupid shit like leaving their kids in the car, leaving their purse in the car, lose their keys, drop things, forget stuff, and make bad decisions. Except when you do all of those things with a loaded gun, people die.

I don’t even have a thought and a prayer for you people and your fearmongering enablers like the NRA, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Tennessee Firearms Assn, and the entire Tennessee Republican caucus. Scratch that, I do have a thought. Fuck you, that’s my thought.

By the way, who leaves their goddamn purse in the car in the first place? If your community is so safe that you can leave your purse in the car, why the fuck do you need a gun?

Idiots.

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Filed under gun control, Guns, rants, Tennessee

Congratulations, Unidentified WA Man Dane Gallion! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

[UPDATE] 2:

“He feared mass shootings”:

His father, Donald Gallion, had called the King County sheriff’s dispatch to say his son had returned home extremely upset, claiming the gun had fallen out of his pocket and gone off, police said.

Dane Gallion later told the arresting officer that another moviegoer reached for his crotch and that’s when he accidentally fired the gun, according to the probable-cause statement. Gallion said he fled the theater immediately because he didn’t want to be taken for a mass shooter.

Finally, at the Renton police station, he told another officer that a man had been bothering him, but declined to go into the details, according to the statement. Gallion alleged the gun accidentally went off and scared him, prompting him to leave; he denied having handled the gun.

Looks like a paranoid, trigger-happy loon — exactly not the kind of person you want walking around with a gun in a public place.

————————————–

[UPDATE]:

He was one of our safest, most responsible gun owners evah. Shocker!

————————————–

It’s a wingnut trifecta! Guns! Benghazi movie! GunFAIL!

(CNN) —A man who shot a woman while fumbling with his gun in a Washington state movie theater has turned himself in, authorities said.

The victim was in stable condition after she was shot in the torso Thursday night in Renton.

She was in the theater watching the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” when the shooting occurred, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.

The unidentified suspect took off after the shooting, the Renton Police Department said in a statement.

His father later called 911 and said his distraught son told him the gun discharged after he dropped it in the theater, authorities said.

That’s a responsible gun owner for you! Accidentally shoot someone in a movie and then take off like a scared little boy. Brilliant!

One question: are we safer yet? Just asking!

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Congratulations, Larry Lotz! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

That gun sure kept that family safe:

Larry Lotz, 65, snapped after his wife, Karen, admonished him for leaving the coffee maker turned on in the couple’s Barrington, Ill., home, according to police reports.

After the argument, Larry Lotz walked out of the kitchen and into his home office, where he grabbed a .45-caliber handgun, Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Corbin told the Chicago Tribune.

When Karen Lotz followed him into the office, Larry Lotz fired four shots at his wife, striking her three times — including once in the head, Corbin said.

He “snapped.” Well clearly, the wife should have been armed, right?

Oh, by the way, she’s dead now. Slow clap, gun nuts.

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Tennessee Gun Report

The past week has given us a handful of accidental shootings and various other gun hilarity. One question: are we safer yet?

• January 15, 2016:

In South Nashville, a man was shot in the arm, but his story doesn’t add up:

Police told News 2 the victim said a car pulled up next to him and, after an exchange with the driver, he was shot in the arm.

Despite their interaction, police said the victim could not provide a suspect description and an exact crime scene could not be located.

On the news they said police believe the man accidentally shot himself and just doesn’t want to admit it. Sigh.

• January 14, 2016:

A Johnson City felon received 15 years in prison after he posted numerous photos to Facebook of himself posing with guns.

• January 13, 2016:

1- In Nashville, someone shot at a school bus full of kids.

2- Background checks work! An Arkansas man used a fake badge to get a first-responder discount at a Memphis gun store; the background check revealed that he’s worked for the police department for just three weeks back in 2014 and never returned his equipment.

3- This WTF moment comes from Murfreesboro:

A witness told officers he heard shots fired, then overheard a woman asking someone why he had shot at her, according to the report.

The witness told police he saw the man come out from behind the nearby McDonald’s on Memorial, the report stated.

Officers apprehended Brandon Climer, 30, of Fawnwood Drive, who appeared to be intoxicated, the report stated.

Climer was taken to Saint Thomas Rutherford Medical Center, where he said it was his wife’s fault he had gotten into trouble and that he was going to beat her when he got home, the report stated.

Climer said he had chased a woman to defend himself, according to the report. He was charged with felony reckless endangerment and possession of a handgun while intoxicated.

Guns just make every situation so much better, don’t they?

• January 12, 2016:

1- A Murfreesboro man accidentally shot himself in the foot at his apartment when he tried to grab his gun as it slipped out of his hand. Ooops.

2- An 18-year-old was arrested for “reckless homicide” in connection with the accidental Christmas Eve shooting of a 16-year-old:

Jones admitted to shooting his friend while handling a pistol.  He said he then panicked and fled.

• January 11, 2016:

1- A Kingsport dad accidentally shot his 4-year-old in the head:

According to police, last Friday Bobo was shooting a high-powered adult pellet rifle at targets across the street from his home in Kingsport. A family member told the Times-News that during this time his 4-year-old son, Teagan White, rode his bicycle into the path of his father’s target practice and was struck one time in the side of his forehead.

Dad has since been arrested on unrelated drug charges. The actual shooting occurred on January 9.

2- A Knoxville man walking down the middle of the street didn’t like it when a car honked at him so he did what any Tennessean would: he pulled out his 9mm and shot at it.

3- An assault rifle was stolen from a Memphis gun show over the weekend.

4- A new bill would allow guns in private K-12 schools. Tennessee Legislature wants everyone packing, everywhere, all the time, and they won’t rest until it happens. God. Meanwhile, a state senator says allowing guns on college campuses is his “top priority.”

5- A Blackman High School student is accused of bringing a gun to class.

6- A Greeneville man pulled a gun on another man to get help fixing his truck. Hilarity ensued.

 

• January 8, 2016:

After yet another gun store burglary, police are asking gun store owners to increase security at their shops:

At gun stores, police said crooks often use the smash-and-grab technique. In many cases, the only thing standing in their way is a sheet of glass.

“People who break into stores to steal guns are going to use them to create other crimes. They’re criminals,” Vaughn said.

[…]

There are no laws requiring Tennessee gun store owners to have specific safety measures in place. The ATF doesn’t regulate them, and Vaughn said that’s the way it should be.

But Vaughn said he hopes owners will take it upon themselves to add security going forward.

That’s just fucking stupid, people. BTW, if you’ve ever been to a gun store in any rural area, they’re often even more vulnerable — sometimes the front of someone’s house or a garage. I’m going to hope that gun store owners go ahead and “do the right thing” as the one mentioned in the article does, but I’m a realist and know too many idiots and cheapskates out there don’t give a crap. So I’m thinking this wishing and hoping nonsense will amount to squat.

• January 7, 2016:

1- A man unloading his gun accidentally fired it, sending the bullet into his neighbor’s bedroom. She was in bed at the time, but not shot.

2- One of our safest, most responsible evah brought his gun into a Dept. of Children’s Services office in Lebanon. Hilarity ensued:

It was discovered that a 10-year-old child, who was in a cubicle for an interview with a DCS worker, had noticed a handgun in a bag. The juvenile got the weapon out of the bag and showed it to the worker.

Authorities confirmed the gun was pointed at the worker to display it, but not in a threatening manner.

Police said the gun belonged to 34-year-old Nicholas Collier who has a handgun carry permit.

Collier, a contract worker for DCS through Omni Community Health, had placed the bag in the cubicle with the weapon inside.

He has been cited for possessing a weapon in a government building where signage indicates weapons are not allowed.

Awesome. Are we safer yet?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee