Open Carry Kills

There was a mass shooting in Colorado Springs over the weekend, a city frequently in the news for gun accidents. 33-year-old Noah Harpham took his AR-15 and opened fire in a rampage that killed three people before police gunned him down.

If only this could have been prevented somehow. From the Denver Post:

Bettis said she recognized the gunman as her neighbor — whom she didn’t know by name — and that before the initial slaying she saw him roaming outside with a rifle. She called 911 to report the man, but a dispatcher explained that Colorado has an open carry law that allows public handling of firearms.

What have we been saying, people? Open carry or open fire: you can’t know until it’s too fucking late!

Slow clap, gun lobby. You’ve got blood on your hands.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

Is There A KKK Member In Congress? UPDATE: PROBABLY NOT!


And there you have it:


Starting to think this was an attempt to discredit the pending real release.


In vetting the list, several people have found some rather unusual names, including openly gay Lexington KY mayor Jim Gray and Knoxville, TN Mayor Madeline Rogero, a gay rights advocate. Both have vigorously denied any KKK connections (Gray here, and Rogero here.)

Many others whose names appear on the list have also denied any connection to the hate group. That the list contains the names of Latinos and GLBT advocates has called into question the veracity of the list and its sourcing.

Meanwhile, Anonymous is on Twitter, still naming names and defending the list itself. So I am very curious to see how this all shakes out.

Is this a hoax? An attempt to discredit Anonymous? Or just some really bad hacktivism?


Anonymous has begun outting members of the Ku Klux Klan and the first list of names has appeared here.

Notice any familiar names? How about this one:


Well slap the dog and spit in the fire, this appears to be Congressman Joe “You Lie!” Wilson! I always knew he was an asshole; I don’t recall hearing he was in the Klan.

I don’t know how Anonymous came by its information or how it’s been verified. I eagerly await a response from the Congressman from South Carolina’s 2nd District, who ran unopposed in 2012 and received 96% of the vote. Is he going to say it’s not true? Probably. Or, who knows, maybe not. Since Rep. Wilson’s most notorious act thus far has been to call the first African American president of the United States a liar to his face, on national television, I think our national news media should at the very least get a response from his office.

And a question for Reince Priebus: will the RNC disavow Rep. Wilson? It will be very interesting to see how the party handles this news, seeing as how they keep telling us that minority outreach is so important.

Is the Republican Party palling around with domestic terrorists? It would be irresponsible not to speculate!


Filed under Congress, racism, right-wing hate

Congratulations, Unidentified FL Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

One of our safest, most responsible citizens EVAH has accidentally shot a customer at a Sanford, Florida, Cracker Barrel. Freedom alert:

Man accidentally shot when customer’s gun falls to floor while at Sanford Cracker Barrel

Customer’s gun fell out of holster

SANFORD, Fla. – A customer’s gun fell to the floor, accidentally shooting a man while inside the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Sanford Sunday morning.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said after interviewing witnesses at the scene, deputies determined that a customer was on his way to the register to pay for his meal when his legally carried firearm fell from his holster onto the floor, discharging one round, which struck a male patron in the lower leg.

The shooting was determined to be accidental and no charges are expected to be filed.

GOT THAT? No charges will be filed because mistakes are made, accidents happen, yada yada. Sorry innocent person who just wanted to grab some breakfast! I hope they sue the living fuck out of Cracker Barrel.

Why aren’t CCWers required to carry liability insurance? It’s long past time to make this simple requirement.


Filed under gun control, Guns

Congratulations, Chris White! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour EXTRA SPECIAL HALLOWEEN EDITION!!!

How much do I love you? I love you so much that I found a super awesome 2nd Amendment Hero just for Halloween. I bring you Chris White of West Virginia. Roll that beautiful gunfail footage:

LOGAN, W.Va. (AP) — An assistant prosecutor in West Virginia has been suspended after pulling a gun and threatening to shoot fake spiders scattered around the office as Halloween decorations.

Logan County Prosecuting Attorney John Bennett tells media outlets that Chris White informed other employees that he is “deathly afraid of spiders” before threatening to shoot. Bennett says he was out of the office at the time but was told about the incident by shaken employees.

He says White assured him the gun wasn’t loaded. Bennett suspended White on Wednesday, several weeks after the incident, because employees were still upset.

The spider decorations have been removed, and Bennett has barred anyone other than the agency’s investigator from carrying guns in the office.

Neither the media outlets nor The Associated Press could reach White for comment.

There is so much to love about this story. Deathly afraid of spiders? Check. Pulling a gun on spiders? Check. I mean seriously, I’m not a huge fan of spiders either, but what kind of idiot pulls a gun when a fucking rolled up newspaper would do the job? (Of course, as the spiders were fake … not even necessary, dufus!)

This is why I don’t want people carrying guns everywhere. Absolutely zero judgment on when it’s appropriate to pull out your weapon. “I’m scared” seems to be the perennial excuse, but people are scared of lots of things.

Now, it’s also possible that White pulled his gun to force the removal of said fake spiders from the office decor. In other words, he’s a gun bully. Again: Not okay! Not appropriate!

Once again I leave you with the obvious: this guy doesn’t need a gun. He needs a therapist.


Filed under gun control, Guns

The Flat Tax Is Simpler And Other Stupid RW Ideas

The GOP debates have brought one of Republicans’ treasured ideas back into the forefront: the so-called “Flat Tax.” This happens every presidential election cycle and it takes up a lot of oxygen because, let’s face it, everyone hates filing their taxes. I get it, it’s a hassle, hell I don’t like devoting a couple days of my spring to the unpleasant task, but like death and stupid Republican ideas, it’s a fact of life in America, so I just suck it up and do it.

We all know that the Flat Tax is a dumb idea from a revenue perspective, that it ends up being a huge tax hike on the middle class and a tax cut on the wealthy. I don’t think Republicans care about that, they’ve been selling “trickle down” snake oil for decades. I think Fundiegelicals like the idea because it mirrors a tithe, and Fundiegelicals love to codify their religion in U.S. law as a way of maintaining some modicum of relevance for their dying brand.

But I think what really appeals to rank and file conservatives is this idea that when implemented, the Flat Tax will somehow be simpler. This is another piece of right-wing spin that has zero basis in reality. But it’s an attractive piece of propaganda, so it’s repeated ad nauseum. Republicans love to tell people what they want to hear, don’t they?

Here is why that’s utter bullshit. From the 2011 Memory Hole, I bring you former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder:

Many useful steps could be taken to simplify the personal income tax. But, contrary to much misleading rhetoric, flattening the rate structure isn’t one of them. The truth is that 100% of the complexity inheres in the definition of taxable income, which takes up millions of words in the tax laws. None inheres in the progressive rate structure. If you don’t believe that, consider the fact that the corporate income tax is virtually flat once a corporation passes a paltry $75,000 in taxable income. Is it simple?

Back to the personal tax. Figuring out your taxable income can be quite an effort. But once that is done, most taxpayers just look up their tax bill on an IRS-provided table. Those with incomes above $100,000 must perform a simple calculation that involves multiplying two numbers together and adding a third. A flat tax with an exemption would require precisely the same sort of calculation. The net reduction in complexity? Zero.

Got that? The complexity comes from the multitude of deductions codified in the tax code, not the tax rate itself. And as Blinder points out, every single deduction is there because Congress voted for it. Every single deduction is there because some group lobbied for it. I wonder if right-wingers clamoring for the Flat Tax would be willing to give up their home mortgage interest deduction, their charitable giving deductions (including what they give their churches!), their deductions for their kids? Would they give up their deductions for property taxes, state and local taxes — or, as is the case here in Tennessee, sales taxes? As Blinder noted,

Every tax “gimmick” has an ingrained constituency. I shake my head in disbelief when I hear politicians claim to be able to raise huge amounts of revenue by closing loopholes. Arithmetically, that’s easy. Politically, it’s almost impossible.

Blinder goes on to make the mathematical case, showing that the Flat Tax is really a huge tax hike on the middle class and tax cut for the wealthy. Go to the link and read if you wish; I maintain nobody gives a shit about the math, the selling point is the simplicity. And it’s just not gonna happen. What you’re going to end up with is a tax cut for bazillionaires and tax increase for those who can least afford it.

Same as it ever was.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, taxes

Tennessee Gun Report

I got behind schedule again, folks. Sorry! Lots of gunfail across Tennessee, though. And I’m sure I missed a few, as well. Tennessee gunfail, smells like freedumb. Enjoy!

• October 29, 2015:

Someone left a loaded handgun in a Goodwill donation box in Murfreesboro.

• October 28, 2015:

A Chattanooga-area 13-year-old was accidentally shot in the face, but is recovering:

The department says that the preliminary investigation found that the young teen was accidentally shot by a family member while posing for photos with firearms.

Ta da.

• October 27, 2015:

How’s that “I need a gun to protect myself” stuff working for everyone? From Chattanooga:

A Shreveport, La., man said he was shot with his own gun after taking a man he barely knew out on a late-night run for beer.


The victim said he and two associates were staying at the King’s Lodge on the side of Missionary Ridge while in town repairing dumpsters.

He said Taylor, who was also staying at the King’s Lodge, began coming by bumming cigarettes and beer.

He said on the night of the shooting on Sept. 17 that Taylor asked him to take him to get beer. He said they went to two different stores without getting any. One was closing and another would not sell him any because Taylor did not have an ID. He did get beer at a third store.

He said Taylor asked him to take him to a residence in order to get his wallet. He said he was not familiar with Chattanooga streets so he followed the directions of Taylor to a residential area that turned out to be near Willow Street.

The witness said he carries a pistol and had it by him because he cannot wear it and have his seatbelt on. He said after he had stopped at a stop sign that Taylor suddenly grabbed the pistol and jumped out of the vehicle.

Mr. Shaw said he got out and yelled at Taylor, who turned and fired at him.

Well, that gun sure did him a helluva lot of good.

• October 22, 2015:

A Nashville man told police he’d been shot by a stray bullet but it turns out it he’d accidentally shot himself. Oops.

• October 21, 2015:

A Memphis 15-year-old brought a gun to school.

Awful lot of this going on. Read on.

• October 16, 2015:

• A Shelbyville high school student was arrested for bringing a loaded gun and knife to school.

• October 15, 2015:

1- Predictably, Tennessee Republicans think more guns is the answer to school shootings. Because hey, that solution is working so wonderfully right now!

2- A drunken Rogersville man started shooting at people on a hayride.

• October 14, 2015:

A high school student in Shelbyville has been suspended for bringing a loaded gun to school.

• October 13, 2015:

1- A Jackson man forgot that guns are not toys, paid with his life:

A 22-year-old Atwood man died Friday after he accidentally shot himself while playing with a handgun, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department told The McKenzie Banner.

The McKenzie newspaper reported that according to David Bunn of the Sheriff’s Department, Colton Tilley, 22, of 1830 E. Main St., and four other young men were in a garage early Friday morning when Tilley was fatally shot. The garage is behind Tilley’s mother’s house, Bunn said.

Tilley had “dry fired” the 9 mm handgun several times as the loaded magazine hung loose from the weapon, the Sheriff’s Department said. He aimed it at the wall and his knee and the weapon did not fire. He then pointed it at his head and the weapon fired, the Sheriff’s Department said.

2- In Chattanooga, a gunman opened fire on a school bus stop full of elementary, middle and high school kids. Just ordinary, every day American terror in our poorest neighborhoods.

• October 5, 2015:

Concerns have been raised about the gun shows they hold regularly at the Tennessee State Fairgounds in Nashville:

Members of the Nashville Fair Board have expressed safety concerns over a new gun show and questioned background checks.

The concern is whether private sellers at the event are required to perform background checks on the people purchasing guns.


Fair Board Commissioner Kenneth Byrd said he is concerned. He released the following statement to Channel 4:

“As I have said for quite some time, I am skeptical about supporting gun shows at the fairgrounds. Moreover, no dealer should be using our facility to take advantage of so-called ‘loopholes’ in outdated, careless and toothless laws. We should not wait for a school shooting in Nashville before having this discussion and asking, ‘Why are we supporting these sales at a taxpayer owned and subsidized facility?”

Frankly, I’ve been concerned for quite some time, and I’m just shocked that someone on the Fair Board shared my concerns. For one thing, I’m trying to think what the reaction would be if Planned Parenthood held a women’s health fair at the state fairgrounds. I’m guessing there’d be a lot of outrage. Gun control people really need to stop being so nice. Who was it that said gun control needs its own Operation Rescue? With trucks displaying scenes of mass shootings circling outside the NRA convention, and protestors showing up outside gun shows begging people not to go inside? That would be fun.

Anyway, they have quite a few gun shows at the State Fairgrounds — there’s one coming up in early November — and they’re commonly held at the same time as other events. Once I went to the fairgrounds for a plant sale and saw they were also having both a gun show and exotic animal show, as well. Put those two together and bring that guy who killed Cecil the Lion. Gun

I appreciate Commissioner Byrd’s concerns but I think we all know what would happen if gun shows were banned from the state fairgrounds: some wingnut in the Tennessee State Legislature would file a bill making it illegal for the state fair board to do that. Because, you know, it’s the state fair. They might even pull the state fair from Nashville, which in retrospect I think would make a lot of people very happy. Our state fair is pretty crappy, especially compared to some of the really awesome state fairs around the country. But that’s another discussion.

1 Comment

Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Congratulations, Unidentified CA Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Give this guy a goddamn medal:

A 9-year-old San Jose boy was wounded early Wednesday when his upstairs neighbor shot himself in the foot and the bullet pierced the floor between them, police said.

The bizarre incident occurred about 5:45 a.m. in the 1900 block of Almaden Road, police said.

Investigators said the man discharged the gun and the round went through his foot and the floor before striking the boy in the leg as he lay in bed.

Both were taken to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, said police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia. Neither was identified.

We’re seeing a large number of neighbors accidentally shooting people next door, downstairs, upstairs, etc. I’m wondering how long it will be before we see HOAs and building management companies initiate no-firearms policies?

1 Comment

Filed under gun control, Guns

Told Ya So

My bullshit meter smelled a rat when Theranos was first hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was being elevated to Tech Hero status.

Seems I was right:

Theranos, the Silicon Valley blood-analysis upstart founded by Elizabeth Holmes, is under fire.

The Wall Street Journal and others have questioned the company’s technology, which is supposed to require only a tiny sample of blood to deliver accurate, quick and cheap test results. Ms. Holmes and Theranos have fired back with counterclaims and additional information, but the company’s purported $9 billion valuation now looks overestimated.


On Friday, though, The Journal reported that a Theranos partner, the pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance, was postponing its introduction of the company’s testing centers. That suggests that even after 12 years of development, Ms. Holmes’s approach is far from proven. In any case, the promised tiny finger-stick blood samples and proprietary equipment aren’t yet being used for most tests. That makes Theranos look more like a small, cut-price version of testing incumbents like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp than a disruptive force.

I just felt all along that the hype surrounding Theranos was more about promoting Holmes and elevating the price of her upstart’s stock than anything else. It just had the whiff of scam to me.

Will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

1 Comment

Filed under health insurance, healthcare

Calm Is Creepy

I’m finding myself increasingly creeped out by Ben Carson. Aside from spouting some generally crazy stuff — which, let’s face it, is SOP from today’s GOP — I think his much-ballyhooed “calm manner” is creepy as hell.

One Iowa voter says:

“That smile and his soft voice makes people very comforted,” said Miriam Greenfield, a farmer in Jewell, Iowa.

No! No! It doesn’t! It reminds me of this:

You know, maybe compared to the shouters that have dominated the Republican Party lately (Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and the entire Tea Party), a “calm demeanor” makes a refreshing contrast. During the Obama years, conservatism has certainly been characterized by its inchoate rage. But when it comes to presidential politics, Americans like calm. And there’s just something super-creepy about the way Republicans do it. Mitt Romney had that creepy, robotic tone to his voice, too, and back in 2012 I wrote:

Things Romney should never say on TV: “It won’t hurt a bit,” “trust me,” “would I lie to you?” and anything ending with the name “Clarice.”

That goes double for Ben Carson. He’s even more chilling because the creepy voice spouts some seriously crazy ideas. And when I hear that voice I expect a shiv in my side.

No, I’m not comforted. Not in the slightest.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election

Congratulations, Unidentified AL Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Well-regulated American goes to grocery store, shoots customer for Freedom:

HAZEL GREEN, AL (WAFF) – Two men were transported to the hospital after a shooting at Griner’s Supermarket in Hazel Green.

The owner of Griner’s Supermarket said a shopper’s gun fell to the floor and discharged. When it went off, the shopper and another man were hit.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department say both men were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been talking about. When more people walk around with guns, more gun accidents happen. That’s just logic. And yes, we are seeing more and more cases of innocent people being shot by gun idiots. Last week a woman dropped a gun at a Beaumont, Texas medical clinic and shot another patient in the thigh. In Georgia, an 8-year-old child was killed. And of course we have our Kansas friend, protecting America by shooting himself in the leg at a movie. That’s just three incidents, last week, off the top of my head. I’m sure there were others.

    This is insane, America.

If you have a CCW permit, you should be required to carry liability insurance. Furthermore, these cases of gun negligence need to be prosecuted. There are no accidents. Walking around with a loaded gun with a bullet chambered is negligence. If you don’t have a round in the chamber, then when Mr. or Ms. Butterfingers drops their security blanket, it won’t fire. If you’re too chickenshit to go to the grocery store without your gun, then at least show you’re responsible by not having a round in the chamber. Again: that’s common sense. And if you don’t follow basic safety procedures, you are too irresponsible to be walking around armed. You clearly don’t know what the fuck you’re doing.

It is long past time for these 2nd Amendment Heroes to be held accountable for their actions.


Speaking of our Kansas 2nd Amendment Hero, this story has crossed my radar:

Salina attorney and former Saline County commissioner John Reynolds, a long-time concealed carry advocate, said it’s best to keep the weapon holstered and not touch it unnecessarily. He said even people who practice safety still have accidents. He said he shot a hole in the ceiling of his office three or four years ago, and he had a gun malfunction and shoot the floor.

“Sooner or later everybody has one,” he said. “If you handle something the same way over and over, sooner or later you just screw up.”

Are we safer yet? If even CCW advocates admit gun accidents are inevitable, then all the more reason why you should be required to carry liability insurance.


Filed under gun control, Guns