Why Is Gun Control So Hard

Umm, not exactly.

Umm, not exactly.

Another day, another horrific shooting in America.

Actually, not just one. This also happened today in Kentucky. And this in West Virginia. Not to mention this and this.

But no, these and all the other gun stories today will get overshadowed by the events in Virginia, which unfolded on live TV while viewers were taking their first sips of coffee.

Why is gun control so hard? Why, after every shooting, does nothing ever change? Despite the fact that large majorities of gun owners — not just people but the gun owners themselvessupport basic gun control measures like waiting periods and universal background checks, it doesn’t happen.

Why? Why is it always “too soon” to call for gun control after a tragedy, but nobody waited a beat to call for arming military recruiters after the Chattanooga shooting? Or arming teachers after Sandy Hook? In fact, action has been swiftly taken in several states to arm National Guard recruiters, even though everyone fails to mention that at least one of the “good guys” at the Chattanooga military base actually was armed. Apparently it didn’t do a damn bit of good, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good talking point, shall we? We even have a Knoxville Republican wanting to give Guardsmen immunity if they use their guns and injure someone.

After every shooting we’ve loosened gun laws, instead of tightening them. And yet we have more shootings. So, that’s not working, obviously. Why can’t we try something new? Why doesn’t anything change? Here are some of my ideas:

• White people largely associate gun violence with “those” neighborhoods in “that” part of town, ergo it doesn’t affect them, it’s a problem for the Blahs. Even though this is factually untrue, that’s the general consensus, as portrayed in the media. So, “not my problem.”

• Coverage of mass shootings is sanitized. I understand there’s a delicate balance here, but throughout our history, pictures have done what words cannot. For example, it took this to change peoples’ attitudes about the Vietnam War and student-led protests:


The video of today’s shooting went out across the internet, and was auto-played on every network and cable news homepage. While not bloody, it was shocking. It may shock people out of their complacency.

• We don’t know how to talk about a policy response to shooting tragedies. It’s always too soon to talk about gun control, but with an average of one mass shooting a day, the time will never be right. Conservatives like to claim the moral high ground with shaming headlines like this one:


No one wants to politicize a tragedy but no one also ever points out that calling for arming teachers, National Guard recruiters, airplane pilots, etc. is doing just that. If the other side can do it, so can we. It’s not exploitation, it’s called taking action to prevent the next tragedy, idiots.

• Rural areas dominate our representation in Congress and state houses. Guns are a different thing in rural areas than in urban areas. Yet gun legislation pretends this is not the case. For example, Tennessee’s rural-dominated state legislature has opened a huge can of worms for metropolitan areas (and state economic drivers) Nashville and Memphis. Ditto our Congress, which sees guns as some kind of RuralMurrica cultural touchstone, not the black market highway to urban gun crime that it is.

• History. If shooting 8-year-olds in their school, and a member of Congress meeting her constituents, wasn’t awful enough to get action, nothing will be. That’s an oft-repeated talking point but it’s also bullshit. Nobody thought the Confederate Flag would ever come down from the South Carolina state capitol, either. Change happens if you want it.

• Laziness. We’re a country of 300 million people. That theater shooting in such-and-such city was awful but hey, I didn’t know any of those people. I’ll write my Congress Critter later. But first, hey let’s watch The Bachelor!

Your ideas?


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

25 responses to “Why Is Gun Control So Hard

  1. Jill Meyer

    After the shooting a couple of months ago – I can’t remember what it was but it was horrendous – I sent out an email to friends and rels saying that it was time to show the bodies of those murdered. And if you’re too squeamish to do that, then show the room where the shooting happened with the blood and guts. That’s the only thing that will spur people to action, if anything does.

  2. I expect to have much more tomorrow on more important points. Here I’ll just mention that the ‘Great Progressive Champion” from Vermont offered his condolences, Hillary called for action.

    • Yes, and I can’t forget that the “Great Progressive Champion” from Vermont voted against the Brady Bill, against universal background checks, and probably has an A rating from the NRA

      • Good Lord! Assuming that I’ve understood “Great Progressive Champion” right, even your self-avowed socialist can’t get this right.

        I personally think America needs an Elliot Rosewater, a man devoid of financial and fame concerns, who might campaign against the other presidential candidates, but with no interest in winning the seat. All he would do would be to talk genuine sense (not America’s version of it) on points like gun control and the need to get back to evolving the Constitution and the structure of the government. This is the liberal I’ve been alluding to.

  3. Randy

    Waiting on the Pro-Life crowd to come out against gun violence. Waiting…

  4. Unfortunately — if that’s the right word — people are squeamish. The picture you show — and a few others — made some difference in the Vietnam story, but even they were, if not ‘sanitized,’ among the least shocking, because no one would or could have shown a village filled with blood-spattered body parts.

    The tape of the killing that went out over the air at breakfast did, I assume, shock those watching — and I don’t have enough tears in my body to do justice to how I felt for the fiancées and friends who were the first to see it, totally unprepared. But it was a rare newstape in that it was not repeated over and over with every broadcast about the story, and of course that is understandable. It makes us, me certainly included, too uncomfortable, and I don’t think I’d want to know someone it DIDN’T make uncomfortable.

    To make my point even more strongly, I’ll offer you a challenge, SB, that I hope you refuse — just as a ‘thought experiment.’ But imagine you were to go through the tape and find the ‘zero shot’ the actual frame where the bullets were entering the bodies or leaving them. Imagine posting them — next to a standard, ‘sanitized’ shooting from a tv show with the ‘neat round hole in the forehead and lack of blood.

    The people who could bear to look would be affected, but I wonder if the protests — even from WordPress — would take a full minute before you had to remove them.

    Pictures work, if someone is able to look at them, but sometimes the very thing that would make them effective is why they can’t be used. (Imagine, for example, you had pictures of the injuries and deaths that occurred in the last ten ‘2nd Amendment Heroes’ you rang, the children shot or almost shot, etc. Could you bring yourself to run them?)

    Which makes one of several comments I will make on your post. I’m splitting them up — and some will be delayed until after a doctor’s visit — because ALL your points are good ones, at least worth discussing and arguing with. (Actually, the only one I do differ strongly with you about is the suggestion that this is a racial issue. There’s plenty of racism among the gun nuts, yes, but not in the way you put it.

  5. One quickie, then see you later this afternoon. But ‘why does the fact that most gun owners want stronger and saner gun controls not mean we get them’? Think Catholics, Catholic authorities, and abortions. In fact, the rate of abortions among Catholics was never much below that of the populace in general, and I would guess that most Catholics are, in private, accepting of them. But politicians, for obvious reasons, can’t interview all the members of the diocese — nor would they all likely speak their minds if they thought their statements might become public.

    Instead, the politicians, quite understandably, hear a Bishop speak, think he is representing his ‘flock’ and assume that all or most of them will oppose any loosening of restrictions on abortions.

    The analogy is obvious — and even Bishops have their ‘Larry Pratts’ demanding ever more extreme statements.

    More later, but have to get ready for doctor now.

  6. Shutter

    As much as I admire the sensitivities of anti-gun enthusiasts, as a group you’re pretty damn delusional. The battle is over. They won. They won 40 or 50 years ago. Face reality, if mass shootings in schools doesn’t slow down the momentum to get more and more people to buy more and more guns and use them more and more often, NOTHING will.

    Its like the folks bemoaning Wall Street. Forget about it. Game over. We lost. And we lost decades ago. Thinking that throwing a few of the worst offenders into some cushy prison will change the general attitude of the wealthy manipulators is again.. delusional. We’ll never get our money back, we’ll never root the scum out of government and we’ll never regain the middle class without a social economic ‘adjustment’ I would not wish on my worst enemy. The cure would be worse than the ongoing hemmoraging. And they damn well know it.

    If the left expects to get things done we need to start facing reality where reality is — winners and losers. We’ve been losing for so long we’ve made ourselves into some weird kind of self-righteous powerless punching bag, a very effective tool to be propped up and laughed at whenever necessary.

    • If you’received correct, then the whole shit house will be going up in flames in the not too distant future. Goodbye, Mother Earth, it was nice knowing you.

      • As much as I have, for some reason, thinking of Tom Lehrer recently, I’m not ready to start rehearsing “We Will All Go Together When We Go” quite yet. (Though I can’t deny brushing up on the words after every report that starts “This last [month] was the hottest on record.”)
        Not flames, but water, made toxic by the heavy metals that leached into it as the waters rose.

        But I’m still holding on to some sliver of hope, politically as well as for humanity as a whole. Some of what Shutter says is not entirely wrong, we have, at times become people who confused ‘moral victories’ with real wins. (And — my old sweet song — we’ll continue to do so as long as we think only people who have as much knowledge as we do are worth talking to.)

        Still, we have a pretty good record of getting off the canvas and back on our feet. Democracy itself was supposed to be dying in the Thirties. “Oh, it has failed, the only question is, which is the real ;wave of the future,’ fascism or communism.” But somehow, a member of the 1%, a titled, grumpy, very conservative Imperialist, a General with an overdose of ego, and a drunken neo-Tsarist Dictator (who did CALL himself a Communist) put fascism to rest, and then, what was left of Marxism collapsed in its own impracticality. (Neo-Tsarism, unfortunately, remains to plague Russia.) We might just make it, after all.

        Now, back to guns…

      • Shutter

        Demo…. regarding a flame-out, have you ever gone ice skating? Gliding around on ice standing only on two very thin steel blades? Almost sounds impossible but it works best if you keep moving. Thats what the filthy rich and their running dogs in government have done. They’ve figured out a way to balance the unholy accumulation of wealth and power against the slow slide of the rest of us into poverty… and make us love it. No easy thing to do, keep the peasants grinnin’ and jivin’ while feeding them crap, de-educating their kids, allowing mass slaughter in the streets, implementing a reactionary framework of armed thugs usually called ‘the police’, brainwashing us into thinking that several generations of video violence really has no effect on them but smoking one joint can ruin their tender brains for life…

        Don’t underestimate the brainpower it takes to herd 318 million people into the corner and keep them there while convincing them its for their own good. These overseers are not stupid but they make every effort to make sure WE are.

        Guns are a lost issue. Media ‘coverage’ is melodramatic and escapist at the same time, it makes for good (good in the sense of feeding the frenzy of fear and violence that keeps the herd moving along) entertainment and occasional outbreaks of real media orgasmic intensity when its a school or a public place but NOTHING EVER CHANGES.

        In short (well, sort of) they’ve figured out how to balance their unholy avarice on those two thin steel ice skate blades without falling over. It took decades but they’ve got it down. I’m not looking for a collapse any time soon. When I see ads for Spam and the many ways it can be delightfully served to our families I see the future.

  7. Not pix of the vix in situ.

    Nice, well lit, carefully framed and composed autopsy photos–and having the dispassionate, clinical narration by the pathologist/forensics tech droning in the background as they are viewed.

  8. Pingback: Arms Race | From Pine View Farm

  9. There are a number of ways we can start things shifting, though I think the slow building up of pressure, followed by the tv shooting, will be a main factor. (There was a lot of police violence against blacks before Ferguson, but somehow that became the turning point — as did, to an extent, Matthew Shepard’s death for gay rights.)

    Again, time is pressing, so I’ll scatter an idea at a time over tonight and tomorrow, but the first and most important thing we have to make sure we do is to elect a Democratic President AND SENATE. We have to be sure we are in a position to change SCOTUS — and to preserve what we have, if it is our side that feels the inevitability of mortality. (We’ll never replace RBG, but we can find someone worthy of her legacy. And we have a ready successor for one of the other side in the well-respected and worthy Sheldon Whitehouse. (It’s a minor giggle to imagine, if he were to be appointed, whether Scott Brown would try for his seat too.)

    And, just in case, we have to work to win as many individual Congressional Delegations as we can. Remember, if there isn’t an electoral vote majority, the voting is by States, and they can pick any of the top three vote getters.

    More later, probably, though there IS a Mets game…

  10. …And WHAT a Mets game. Which leaves e with just one reminder for tonight. As I’ve said many times, making sure we have a candidate running in every district is going to bring people out who will be voting on down ballot choices as well. If we can solidify those State Legislative seats we can expect, and win more of the toss-ups, then one or two surprises in other races might make a difference, And right now, until there is a SCOTUS change, it is only on the state level where we can do much. There are some federal laws, but fighting back in the states is as important.

    More specific gun-related proposals tomorrow, but bright ideas don’t mean much unless we can pass them.

  11. Good morning — barely, but sciatic nerve problems and sleep are not a friendly combination. Anyway, you made an important point that too ofyen goes unsaid, that guns mean different things, both realistically and symbolically, for urban and rural people.

    That’s why I have rethought my own position over the years. I started being totally against private possession of guns, all for an English-style system. But, eventually, I began to realize that there is an understandable use for guns in rural areas. Even if we assume that rifles are sufficient for people who hunt — and eat what they shoot — I can understand the nervousness of someone living alone — or being alone — minutes from the nearest neighbor, maybe a quarter to a half hour from the nearest law officer.

    The rules can’t be the same, but that means that somehow we have to get both groups — or representatives who want a solution, not a problem — simply talking to each other. Because neither side, neither absolute, is ‘right’ in this case, and because — incredible as it seems this late into the third century of this country — we still don’t understand each other or know how to talk to each other. (And there is this large political party, the one with the elephants, who benefits by keeping the paranoia level high on both sides.)

    (I’ll admit that verbally ‘firing’ at either side is easy — hence the Bernie comment I made above, but Vermont is still substantially rural.)

    We have to find a solution that shows we appreciate both positions, that shows we don’t condescend to either side’s justifiable (and exaggerated as well) fears about guns. (The rural fear of being unprotected is justified, we have to separate that from the ‘they’re coming to take our guns away and enslave us’ madness of the Larry Pratts and other racist rabble rousers.)

    But the first step is to get people talking with AND listening to ‘the other side.’ Somehow, if we have any connection to groups on either side, we have to shove them to a conference room, and ket them be surprised at how understandable their position is.

    Or, of course, we can assume such conversation is impossible, and the fight goes on, taking decades longer than needed.

    (And one other point you made I want to disagree with. There are a lot of problems that have a strong racial component. But this one — even though racists end up more frequently on one side — isn’t one of them. I think the fears — even the paranoid ones — are sincere, and that the fear is not mainly connected to race.

  12. OK, so my Elliot Rosewater idea saw no action. Not too surprised; as much as it was a big picture solution, the nature of that big picture wasn’t very clear.

    I’m certainly behind any mobilization of any and all forces available to you to fight the ugliness that shutter had identified, but I’m not sure you are ready to mobilize just yet. Please permit me to explain.

    The battle you will want to address will require more than progressive blogs like this one, or even mobilizing key players, although these will eventually be needed. What you’ll need will be to amass the progressives of America, and having offered a clearing house, a home base, begin a dialogue on first, what is the problem, then the long process of what to do about it.

    It will be here, at the Great American Liberal Rebirth that those who can think beyond the conventional wisdom, beyond the dogmas, will begin discussing the wisdom of universal access to firepower for example, and to revisit all the arguments that had originally required the second amendment to exist at all.

    This progressive think tank will not accept conservative talking points as arguments, but instead will drill down into the most essential aspects of the problem, then consider a raft of solutions, including what other nations have done to address this same concern.

    While firearms can readily serve to begin this consolidation of America’s progressives, the momentum of this project will spawn new investigations into other concerns. I can’t emphasize enough the need to galvanize progressive America to discuss matters that conservative America can NEVER get their heads around. What’s more, don’t even wait for some charismatic white knight to save the day; Americans have a habit of blowing their brains out. YOU DO IT NOW. It is the grassroots movement that has the greatest staying power, and that which can have the momentum to address the effect of the power brokers shutter had referred to.

    • Some interesting thoughts mixed in with some total impracticability. My main problem is your assumption that Progressives (and Conservatives) are ‘all of a piece.’ I’m sure almost every person here has some areas where he questions progressive dogma. (I’m not as sure as most Progressives are that unions are automatically on our side — even as I insist on the attempt to increase unionization. I remember the ‘Hard Hat Movement’ during the Vietnam era, I remember that, at many times in the past, unions were frequently as racist as any organization, were among the leaders of the anti-immigrant movement and had bought entirely into the ‘they’re taking our jobs’ lie. And I’m a firm believer in the classic freedoms — even for people I hate.)

      But my main argument is that we need to — in as many ways as possible — split the conservative movement — and that means talking with them, not at them or about them. (And, for those who shrink at that, let me remind you that it was only be not merely talking with racists, but by compromising with them that we got Social Security, that there really were ‘progressives — for whites only’ — that we needed to get on our side — look at the vile John Rankin, or even Woodrow Wilson for prime examples.

      Rather than just creating a Progressive juggernaut through grass roots work — as if we haven’t been doing this for fifty years — we need to find ways to peel off conservatives, to bring them to see that we are even better for them than the fools they are following — but this time woithout compromising on anything vital. Again, to bring the topic back to guns, we need to REACH those members of the NRA who actually support our position and not their leaders, and get them to open their minds to other points we have in common — and we aren’t going to do that by simply inventing clever insults.

      • Conservatives MIGHT question the rhetoric coming out of the Reichwingnoisemachinen, the KKKonservaturds which is the group that’S* interested in guz and only gunz,all the fucking time? Not so much.

        Those members of the NBA who find common cause with those who are for sensible firearms regulation are in evidence to about the same degree as unicorn riding Sasquatch.


        In a word, “bullshit”. Ceding the grouday to the gunzlon isludicrous.

        * (what in the HOLY BLEEDING FUCK is with the capital “S” refusing to be lc, after a comma?)

      • * (what in the HOLY BLEEDING FUCK is with the capital “S” refusing to be lc, after a comma?)

        That has GOT to be on your end ….

      • CB

        dc, if you’re on your phone, and *you* think it’s a comma, but it’s actually a period — this happens to me all the time when I’m not wearing my glasses — the default will be upper case. Odd thing to me was upper case after an apostrophe.

  13. Shutter


    “In a word, “bullshit”. Ceding the grouday to the gunzlon is ludicrous.”

    Sorry you feel that way. Whatever way it is anyway…

  14. I doubt that you’re having all that much trouble understanding my position on gunz. You sound like someone who owns some gunz and has an unreasonable (unreasoning?) fear of gummint confiscation.

    FWIW, slavery, civil rights, gay marriage, the 40 hour work week and legalized recreational pot–among many other social changes–were all brought about by delusional liberals and .progressives.