Maybe It’s Time To Try Something New

Hmmm…. Something ain’t adding up.

The number of concealed carry permits in the U.S. has skyrocketed. The United States is the most heavily armed nation in the world. States have liberalized where one can carry in the past few years — in Tennessee, we now have guns-in-cars, guns-in-restaurants, guns-in-bars, guns-in-parks. We’ve also seen guns-in-churches and guns-on-campus movements (Oregon being one of several U.S. states where CCW holders can, and do, legally carry.)

All of this because “I need to protect myself and my family.” Okie dokie, but then how come we’re having more mass shootings? Clearly more guns isn’t working.

Maybe it’s time to try something new?

19 Comments

Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

19 responses to “Maybe It’s Time To Try Something New

  1. greennotGreen

    I can only read “I need to protect myself and my family,” in Jim Jefferies’ fake American accent.

  2. Mary Wilson

    Yes, of course we need to try a MINIMUM of a 3 day background check and a limit of the number of FIRE ARMS one person/gun nut/potential shooter can REGISTER and no automatic weapons. Neither Congress nor our Legislature can even consider ANY attempt at trying to limit the access to fire arms. Did you see how Haslam stammered and stuttered about…” we have to do something but I don’t know what”…He is such a friggin coward.

  3. Shutter

    Its almost like something out of Catch-22… with our current ‘regulations’ you can only buy a gun if you can prove you’re not crazy but if you want to buy a gun its proof you’re a raving paranoid.

  4. For those who listen to podcasts, Zandar vs the Stupid’s weekly (he hopes) one on Blog Talk Radio is mostly devoted to Guns and the “Disunited States of Gunmerica.” Like, I imagine, many of the bloggers who do podcasts, he’s not the smoothest speaker, but the whole program is worth hearing — and, as I’ve said many times, ZANDAR VS THE STUPID has become one of my top daily ‘small blog’ reads, along with Juanita Jean, Jobsanger, Desert Beacon, Something Like the Truth, Okie Funk, and that other one, in Tennessee, with the woman with the red dress — what is that name, Southern something, I think.

    Anyway, — hobby horse time again — the one thing we have to do is stop talking only to people who agree with us. We have to pressure people into bringing the topic into focus — and I am seeing it becoming more and more a major issue on a lot of blogs, but we have to bring it to the general populace, arguing with a hundred people and not worrying if what we say bounces off 95 of them.

    And the long range plan is the same as most problems, elect democrats, nominate good SCOTUS Justices, and put gun defenders on the defensive.

    • … but we have to bring it to the general populace, arguing with a hundred people and not worrying if what we say bounces off 95 of them.

      Ah, the old problem: How do you change an unthinking man’s mind? History has shown us 3 ways:
      1. Kill him
      2. Almost kill him
      3. Cultivate the reflective, thinking minds to lead him.

      You can try to inform the great unwashed, but generally speaking, you wont see the traction that religion, sports, entertainment, etc. gets.

      Better to make your case to those who will listen, then see if it’ll work its way up the leadership food chain. Trying to convince the average American that guns are bad, and that the social agenda needs to be rebalanced is just wind to most. It needs to make sense to those capable of carrying an arguement.

      • Paradox, we probably agree on much more than we differ on most things, and I hope the strength with which I disagree here does not obscure that, or cause any long-term problems. (At least I took an hour to do things like make breakfast and have my usual morning pain pill and tranquilizer just to calm down. Even Captain Puddles, the closest of my cats, crawled on to my lap to calm me more. The language I would have used might have gotten me barred not just from SB but from all of WordPress. You pushed too many buttons at once, which is why this is going to result in one of my multi-part screeds.)

        And I am going to start with an off-the-wall reference, but I consider myself a better-than-average amateur historian in certain areas, including the Thirties and the ‘time between the wars.’ And I’m always fascinated by the number of intelligent, thoughtful people who argued that ‘since Democracy had obviously shown itself to be too weak, muddled, slow, confused, and so filled with compromises that left everyone unsatisfied that it was incapable of handling the various problems in the world; the only real question was which ‘wave of the future’ we should get behind, communism or fascism.’

        We know how that turned out, but even later there was a whole school of American Political Scientists specializing in the ‘Deadlock of Democracy” and more or less urging the US to move in a more Parliamentary direction, maybe giving the President’s Party extra votes in Congress so that his party would be able to pass the ideas he was elected for. (This was BIG in the Kennedy Era — and before the segregationist party-shift — but it lasted quite a while until the Vietnam War killed it.)

        Democracy does work, in its slow, sloppy, painfully slow, muddled, compromising way. I could spend a couple of pages on recent examples, but I’ll just mention one, because it is the complete refutation of your argument. We have SSM now. Not only do we have it, but a majority of the country supports it, at least according to the polls. And it didn’t come because we convinced leaders — in fact our leaders were miles behind the populace, though those awful, rotten, fascistic corporations we love to hate were the real leaders in the fight — because we showed them it was to their benefit to work to give their gay and straight employees the same rights.

        And yet, in 2004, when half the states had passed Constitutional Marriage Amendments, when the blogs and papers were filled with the bigoted screeds of the haters, I saw plenty of posts that read just like yours. We’d never get SSM passed Democratically, or not for five decades. We’d never convince people to accept it, even if we got it legally permissible. And those evil corporations would, by pouring money into Republican coffers do their best to ‘support heterosexual privilege.’

        Oops!

        (And speaking of marriage, and intelligent opinion gone wrong, it was C. Vann Woodward who — even after Loving had been passed, stated that, sadly, “Would you want your sister to marry one” would probably retain its power for a good hundred years more, that people’s sexual fears would remain powerful long after other forms of racism were well on the retreat.

        (Again, oops!)

        There is this continual snobbish hopelessness that gets into us when we forget to trust people. We listen to leaders and think that they speak for the majority of their members — and we listen to the noisiest of them. And we think that the people we hear and read in debates are representative of everybody in their area. (Believe me, there are far too many people who would consider even paying attention to SB or reading her is hopeless because she comes from Tennessee, one of the ‘barefoot, inbred, and stupid’ states. Others of us rather like being in a ‘Weimar Salon” looking down at the controversy on the streets, glad we aren’t at risk of even smelling the powder — or the fighters.)

        There are a lot of things to do, a lot of ways we can be effective. I’ve suggested some in the past, will have a lot more ‘something else’s’ later. But I’ll put one in my next reply, then spend some time on family matters and come back — wearing armor — late in the day.

      • One very short — for me — suggestion to start things rolling. (Yes, it is something that takes an organization to do, not individuals, but not that big of one.)

        Every mass shooting, and most others, involve someone who is an employee who is lost to his company or whatever, permanently or for time for his wounds to heal.. Has anyone thought of setting up an organization that could contact and enlist companies who have lost employees, who have felt the monetary cost of gun control failure, to create their own organization working to change things? They don’t want more people dead or on sick leave, they don’t want the extra security needed, they don’t want their employees getting shot at home, not just at work. And it would be a group coming from such a completely different angle that it might shock people into listening.

        And if we’ve got good enough records, it might be interesting to compare the number of gun deaths in a state, divided by Congressional Districts, and, see if — as I’d expect — a case could be made that there are far more deaths in the districts of those opposing gun restrictions.

        There are a LOT of ‘another ways’ out there but they all start with people taking action, and not just bemoaning how bad the current situation is to people who don’t need convincing.

        And one last thing. Because democracy is all the things I described, sloppy, messy, and slow, and because for it to work, it means that we have to accept the equality of people and convince even the dumb ones — or, remember, just enough to join with we wise men to make a majority — and most of all because democracy means compromise — whatever solution we come up with will be imperfect, sloppy, permit maybe 10% of the gun deaths to continue, and will be attacked by a lot of people on our side who forget that ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good.’

  5. Before I get into a dispute with Paradox Research, I’ve got to ask every single reader here to read this piece in Steve Benen, today, and particularly the speech he quotes from President Obama on this matter.

    And, to tie it in to other comments I will be making above, I have frequently suggested that “People are people too” and that we, not just the leaders we hope hear us talking among ourselves, have the right and duty to do our own actual work in getting our points out. I have suggested that those of us who can should buy small newspaper ads, that we should print up fliers, and get friends who are store owners to put them on the counter next to the cash register, that we even consider running radio ads — if we have businesses — on things like sports programs, and (as not a few companies do) include political statements as part of the ads.

    Well, it’s not short enough for the radio ads, but for flyers, for newspaper ads, merely quoting the President would be powerful enough. Tie that in with a suggestion I’ll be making above, and we might actually have “something new” to try.

  6. Thank you, Mr. Benton for your thoughtful response.

    Before I make some observations about your post, I’d first like to say that even if I were diametrically opposed to each of your ideas, it would never occur to me to show you anything less than respect for your thoughtfulness.

    I’ve come to realize that the whole concept of reflective consideration is NOT universal; frequently, either some manner of youthful trauma, or age is necessary to get a person to consider their lives deeper than the two inches that represent the majority.

    Regarding democracy, I should point out that I am not a cynic toward it, it’s just that I understand that thoughtful leadership directs it best, and that as egalitarian as we’d like to be, painting everyone in a democracy with the same brush is a bit unfair, and unwise.

    A silly example comes to mind: Kurt Vonnegut wrote a short story about Harrison Bergeron, who had to be severely hobbled in order to make him average. You can read this at your leisure if you wish.

    I’m suggesting that we don’t ask thoughtful people to assume that their opinions are equal to the average when in fact, they went to a lot of trouble to sort out what they see around them. On this note I will tell you that I’ve kept a personally investigative journal for 4 decades, half of which was on a daily basis. I never assume people possess the depth of awareness one earns through investigation. I’d suggest that as much as you may want to be of the same mind as the average American, you’re going to have to give yourself a bit more credit. You deserve to do so.

    I’m going to close with this, because the considerations of your thoughtfulness easily trumps any need for dialectics. Also, please forgive me if all this comes across a bit presumptuous; I’m a fan of yours and of SoBe’s before I’d consider being critical.

    Thank you.

    • I will be back later for more discussion, but just wanted to say that I read “Harrison Bergeron” when it first came out — I seem to remember that Vonnegut sold it to F&SF and that it got cover mention, but that may be wrong, it may have been in Judy Merrill’s Year’s Best anthology. I found it one the ugliest stories I’d read then — this was the early 60s or late 50s, and the question of corrective affirmative action was just being discussed. It came across as a response to that, and an ugly one, with a touch of Randism and McCarthyist anti-Communism included. (I know Vonnegut is not seen in those terms, but the effect of the stoory was so strong, then and now, that I have found it impossible to squeeze Vonnegut into my own reading time.

      The idea — more than implied in the story — that ‘democracy means leveling down’ and that that is the ‘fair’ way of gaining equality is one often imputed to Progressives of all stripes, but my own wanderings around the fringes of the political river, on both right and left banks, has never shown me a single person on the left, no matter how crazy they are in other ways, advocating or defending anything like this. (And of course the later arguments on both affirmative action and fairness for the disabled would have loved to use the story on their behalf.)

      The error, in the story and in your own position is assuming that people are ‘one-piece,’ that ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ are meaningful general statements rather than being meaningless unless a specific topic is mentioned. (I wouldn’t want a total political screwball like Ben Carson in the White House — but I wouldn’t want Hillary Clinton operating on the inside of my skull either. For that, I want Carson — or would if his skills are still what they once were.)

      The point is that we have to try and find ways to reach everybody — and, as I keep on saying as well, we’ll fail in 95% of the attempts — but that 5% can swing many an election. And no, it’s not easy. You have to dig into the person you are talking about, find the right approach, grit your teeth and keep from knocking his teeth down his throat over some of his statements, and do a lot of other hard things. You have to judge how far you can — and how far you have to — go in compromising, and yes, you have to give up some of your best ideas because you just can’t convince enough people to go along with you — yet. And you have to double your trank intake, have patience, and simply assume that, ever so slowly, you’ll reach your goal.

      And, with gun control, every single positive step you take saves lives, even if you wished you could do 50 times as much. Which means it is worth the work, the occasional embarrassment, the pain of seeing too many preventable deaths even as you prevent even more.

      But there will be a ‘tipping point,’ there always is, and it’s usually not the thing you think it will be. But it happens, and soon you are on the offensive, and the opponents are doing their best Mat Staver imitations — but only if you keep working and keep talking — and not JUST to people you know are already on your side.

      • Your perseverance is laudable, and I made the same point on Operation Yellow Elephant some years ago, suggesting that making peace with the right maybe as distasteful as hugging a porcupine. Yes, preaching to the choir doesn’t advance the cause, and patiently explaining is certainly preferred.

        Perhaps, one of the most important projects in this regard is to learn (by rote, if necessary) the rebuttals to the classic conservative talking points. It’s for this reason I posted on here about the irreversibility of the explosion that takes place in a gun, and how in any other mechanism that is as unforgiving, we demand responsible behaviour (and training, usually).

        To argue, ‘… but the Constitution …’ presumes that the only people who have been able to offer insightful observations regarding human nature haven’t existed since the American Confederation, and you’re going to have a hard time of convincing me of that. At the end of the day, if ALL this needs to be reconsidered given modern-day circumstances, then that’s what your going to need to do.

        … and no, there isn’t someone else; as much as you would like to see this happen, you’ll need to be part of it. I took a clip from Jim Jefferies on this point.

        This dialogue is probably sorely overdue.

  7. Continuing onward, hoping that others are finding this interesting, and first apologizing for the lack of graciousness in my own reply — I was somewhat rushed and find it difficult without gushing.

    And now to the ongoing disputes. And the key line for this late-night response — more tomorrow unless you beg me to stop — is the one about ‘ learn (by rote, if necessary) the rebuttals to the classic conservative talking points.’ No. Two reasons no.

    First, we have to learn to be the ones to take the offensive and to force the Republicans off the high ground that we’ve for some reason, ceded them — arguably since 1974. They are the ones who should be defending their indefensible position, and we have to find new arguments that will do just that.

    New arguments because of the second point. Beware the Kabuki dance. I’ve watched it so often, more in arguments between believers and atheists or creationists and scientists, but in some political discussions as well. Both sides know all the standard talking points, and the ‘proper’ responses to them. They play them with the formality of a hand of high stakes bridge, each one knowing just about what the other will do. Their own points strengthen their side’s confidence and bounce off the other side, as always. And both go home happy at the effort they put in defending their particular positions — and nobody has been, in the slightest amount, touched by the other side. (And if there are any reporters there, they can write their stories in advance and spend the whole night texting or playing games, trusting they’ll notice if the familiar rhythms get disturbed even a little.)

    We have to keep coming up with new ways of arguing, new ways of seeing the situation, forcing the defenders to actually stop and think — because the answers to these questions aren’t in the back of the handbook. (For many of them it will be a new experience and it will show.)

    I’ll even point to my point of a couple of comments back about pushing companies and businesses to think about how gun violence affects them, especially if an employee is a victim — even a surviving one, That’s a new one, afaik, and worth using.

    To wrap this up with one aphorism that is pretty general. “The only way you win a political discussion is to get your listener to say ‘Y’know, I never thought of it that way, but once you hear it, you’re 80% there.”

  8. One last ‘good night kiss’ to you all. Have heart. We have had more public movement on this recently than we have had in a long time — and with both Obama and Clinton taking strong stands (and JEB!’s ‘stuff happens’) it is getting bigger in America’s conscience. And you guys know the wide group of blogs I scan regularly, and more have them have chosen gun control and gun violence as subjects than any time recently.

    That tipping point I mentioned, we’re getting nearer and nearer to it.

  9. Aside from taking exception to your flat-out ‘No’ rebuttal to my observation (I tread very carefully when in full disagreement), I’m completely behind your efforts. I’m working on Life Coaching and Life Skills Coaching, and that’s a luxury I simply don’t get.

    Otherwise, go get’im.