Can We Talk Now? Maybe?

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At 6 am this morning, in Rochester, NY, firefighters heard the alarm, forgot about sleeping-in, forgot about Christmas Eve and suited up to fight a fire consuming one of their neighbor’s homes.  Now two of those firefighters are dead and two are in the hospital with gunshot wounds because some anonymous coward with a gun decided to play sniper.

For the confounded ever-loving sake of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!  can we now talk about combating this blight that is stealing our children, our heroes, our young men, and our dreams? 

And please don’t come at me with the G-D Second Amendment—that antiquated, perennially misunderstood piece of verbiage does not trump ALL of the rights of those young firefighters. 

Don’t tell me we need guns to keep ourselves safe—guns are the biggest public health threat to our society, today.  They cost us billions of dollars in loss of life, medical expenses, permanent disabilities and fractured families all to protect the right of the manliness-challenged to tap a keg and fill a Nancy Pelosi target full of holes. 

Why else would the NRA pour millions of dollars into silencing public health officials on this issue?

Your arguments are the demented fever dreams of arrested development.  They are pure bullshit and you know it.  Guns are fun, you say?  Try sex, you’ll never go back.

And Merry Fking Christmas to you, Wayne LaPierre, you degenerate old goat.  Guess these firefighters should have bought the body armor you’re pimping—as if fighting fires isn’t hard enough already.  What kind of program are you going to market to every Fire Department in the land, Wayne?

My erstwhile fellow-Roaster, B4, struck a chord with several of us, yesterday when he said:

We ignore the NRA at our peril, we need to ridicule them, and to marginalize them- hopefully to the point of negation.

My New Year’s resolution, this year, is to take B4’s admonition very seriously and to dedicate my time, energy and efforts to doing anything possible to getting guns out of our daily lives for as long as I live.  And Wayne LaPierre, be warned, because I plan to outlive you and your money-grubbing constituency.  We got tobacco out of our daily lives, now it’s time to get rid of guns.

I would have preferred to be writing something cozy and festive, today, but, as long as these young people will no longer be able to appreciate “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men,” I’m afraid I have to shake my fist and rage, instead.

*****UPDATE: Sad but true*****

A police officer has died of gunshot wounds in Houston after the driver of a car that he tried to pull over opened fire on him.

Houston police spokesman John Cannon says the officer died at a Houston hospital and that a bystander also was killed in the exchange of gunfire Monday morning.

Posted by Bette Noir on 12/24/12 at 11:02 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsHealth CareNutters

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If we can put restrictions in place on free speech, we can do so for guns. The NRA just wants MOAR MONEY! and their “solution” to the gun problem (give even more people guns!) shows it. Unfortunately, I think politicians are cowards and too addicted to the money they get to do anything about it except talk big and pass nothing that helps.

Pessimistic? Probably. But I used to be optimistic. Then the politicians became even bigger idiots when it came to listening to their constituents versus taking the money.

It will take time, as most cultural change does. The good news is that it probably won’t take as long to effect some effective gun control and stop this crazy talk as it took us to work up to this level of lunatic worship of semi-automatic weapons. Sanity does have its advantages.

As pointed out above, it’s going to be a process once the passion dies down, but maybe, just maybe enough people have recognized that regulating the gun industry as we do any other is a good place to start.

maybe, just maybe enough people have recognized that regulating the gun industry as we do any other is a good place to start

I’m afraid to even hope so but it’s just possible that we have finally reached critical mass on this issue.  *knocks on every piece of wood she sees and crosses all fingers and toes*

It’s becoming pretty much just part of the daily news cycle, isn’t it?  This shit has to stop, now.

For our republic’s first 236 years, no one saw a need to post armed guards to protect first graders from mass murderers. Even the NRA seems to accept that our world has changed. So how come the NRA can’t come to grips with the idea that maybe the gun rights that best served the country in 1776 aren’t the ones that serve us best today?

This story really hits me hard- a guy I grew up with was killed in an ambush by a guy who violated an order of protection and was going back to prison… he was killed instantly by a 30-06 round that penetrated his vest.  At the end of the resultant siege, the gunman had killed my friend, his own grandmother, the family dog, and himself.  He wounded another cop, and had eleven police departments caught up in the siege. 

Mike Frey, the cop who was killed, was a prince- the sort of guy who’d pull his cruiser over on a rainy day and direct traffic by the school while the crossing guard took a breather in the warm, dry car.  He was a good kid who grew up to be a good man and a good cop.  He had been a decorated NYC transit cop before he transfered to the suburban town he’d grown up in.  His mom was relieved that he was in a “safer” beat.  He died a couple of miles from the house he’d grown up in.

Tragically, not a lot has changed in the intervening years.

Comment by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 12/25/12 at 01:15 AM

I might be moved to support gun control, but just about every argument I hear is based on fear and not reason.

People died due to gun violence? It happens. It happens with any kind of dangerous tool.

The idea that you can end gun violence is a joke, for starters, because you can’t stop people from murdering each other and you can’t stop the distribution of weapons. The most you can hope for is a reduction.

But when I read comments like “This has to stop. Now.” I know I’m not seeing an invitation for rational dialog. I’m seeing a moral panic.

You want to reduce absurd violent crime like the murder of those firemen and the school and mall shootings? How about providing better access to mental healthcare and spotting disturbed children early on in high school? You want to reduce gun violence in general? How about ending the drug war?

Instead of creating moral panics and acting out of fear, use some reason and rationality. Guns are tools. Stop fearing them and the vast majority of sane gun owners. I’m sick and tired of liberals, the people who are supposed to be behind freedom, always acting in a knee-jerk way to guns.

Hey, aveskde, nice thing to post right after B4 describes the gun ambush death of an old friend.  Shows that your much-vaunted morals have jack shit to do with your actual existence.

Hey, aveskde, nice thing to post right after B4 describes the gun ambush death of an old friend.  Shows that your much-vaunted morals have jack shit to do with your actual existence.

Because that has anything to do with what I said, right? If you have a strong argument to make, indeed if your position has truth or is on the side of reason then you don’t need to pull the “You’re mean and insensitive!” card now do you?

Or do you really think a guy who posted a personal story on the internet really cares enough what I think about guns, that if I don’t apologize profusely and tip-toe around him that he will start crying on his computer? Is that your argument?

How about actually addressing what someone says next time, instead of diverting the discussion over feigned moral outrage.

OK aveskde, begin by supporting your statement that “you can’t stop the distribution of weapons”.

What, exactly, makes you think that restricting access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines is impossible?  Yes, we need to improve access to health care for troubled individuals.  But we also need to limit access to guns by the same.

And don’t give me “guns are tools” crap.  Because that is total garbage.  Guns are machines that kill.  No other purpose.  I don’t object to hunting but that is a far, far cry from what has been done with guns recently.  Give me one single reason to justify the brutal murders of 20 6 & 7 year olds and 6 of their teachers and why assault weapons didn’t have anything to do with that.  Tell me why availability of assault weapons was not a factor in shooting dead volunteer firemen who responded to a fire.  If you have nothing else to offer but what bilge you have already spewn then shut the fuck up and don’t pollute this blog any further.

What marindenver said.  Guns are not “tools.”  Or, if they are, they are tools meant for killing people and for nothing else.  (What—target shooting?  Fine.)

And the fact that they’re tools for killing people means that they are imbued with significance that makes people nuts.  I defy aveskde or anyone else to claim that they are neutral objects that don’t stimulate feelings and impulses in people that can—and obviously do—lead to the death of others.

We call them “gun nuts” because the potency and the ability to deal death to others makes people insane, if only for a moment.  If aveskede thinks that fans of guns view them with the same neutral or innocent impulses that are stimulated in people viewing Stratocasters or power drills or Kitchen Aid mixers, he/she is delusional.  You fantasize about Strats or power tools or appliances, you fantasize about musical skill, or stuff you’re going to build, or stuff you’re going to cook.  You fantasize about guns, you fantasize about people—other people, not yourself (yet)—that you’re going to, or could, kill.

OK aveskde, begin by supporting your statement that “you can’t stop the distribution of weapons”.

Prohibition on desirable goods never works. See marijuana, the drug war, the alcohol ban, copyright protection and its circumvention.

What, exactly, makes you think that restricting access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines is impossible?

What happened when we made cocaine, meth and marijuana illegal? Organized crime took over and created supply lines. Buying illegal things isn’t exactly difficult. But let’s also bear in mind that the main goal of banning guns is to effectively disarm violent criminals. In other words, the logic is that if we bad firearms, criminals will find it harder to arm themselves against the rest of us.

Which misses the point that criminals are very skilled at evading the law and setting up supply lines. If we can’t control the distribution of meth and cocaine, what makes you think we’ll be so much more effective at limiting the import of assault weapons?

Yes, we need to improve access to health care for troubled individuals.  But we also need to limit access to guns by the same.

Because guns themselves shoot people? Or am I misunderstanding what you wrote?

If you have effective mental health care in America, and if you catch the bulk of these people early, then you wouldn’t need to ban guns and the laws wouldn’t have to be so draconian.

And don’t give me “guns are tools” crap.  Because that is total garbage.

It is a fact. Anything else is emotional rhetoric.

Guns are machines that kill.  No other purpose.

Exibit A in emotional rhetoric. It does nothing to dispel what I wrote: guns are tools. They kill things. So what? So do knives, cars, cigarettes, and thousands of other common tools in our lives. It matters not that guns kill. That is their purpose, that is what they are built for. It matters who or what they kill, and this is where I propose we keep crazy and disturbed people from using them.

I don’t object to hunting but that is a far, far cry from what has been done with guns recently.

Recently? Guns have been killing people for hundreds of years. This isn’t new. This isn’t some revolutionary phenomenon. You are describing a moral panic, that is what’s new. Some people are shot and so the media creates a moral panic that the nation is under attack.

Give me one single reason to justify the brutal murders of 20 6 & 7 year olds and 6 of their teachers and why assault weapons didn’t have anything to do with that.

I don’t have to. Justification or not, this is not a rational argument for the banning of firearms. It is a moral panic. People six and seven years old die, it’s tragic but it doesn’t justify limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Tell me why availability of assault weapons was not a factor in shooting dead volunteer firemen who responded to a fire.

I don’t have to. This isn’t a rational line of inquiry, it is an emotional one. People die, sometimes in the most senseless ways. Banning guns won’t end senseless murders. It’s as simple as that.

If you have nothing else to offer but what bilge you have already spewn then shut the fuck up and don’t pollute this blog any further.

If you want to prove a person wrong, it helps to detach yourself and analyze what they are saying and spotting the flaws in reasoning. When you’re emotional your thinking becomes erratic and you become prone to non sequiturs.

Bear in mind that this is twice on this blog that people decided to attack my character rather than what I said. That is a very strong indication that your line of reasoning is flawed.

If guns are tools, then so are flame throwers, RPGs, and bazookas (if they still exist).  Can we assume you’re in favor of their possession by civilians being legal?  Hand grenades?  Surface to air missiles?  Are all these items equally neutral in their tool-like functionality?

And should we not ban the ownership of RPGs because criminals will always find a way to get them?  So that the only safeguard against a bad guy with an RPG is a good guy with an RPG?

Is that your idea of a civilized—not crime-free, but civilized—society?  One in which the availability of lethal weapons is defined by the least common denominator, i.e., letting what criminals or psychopaths will pursue define what should be legal?

If guns are tools, then so are flame throwers, RPGs, and bazookas (if they still exist).

Yes, they are.

Can we assume you’re in favor of their possession by civilians being legal?

Really, you’re just making a slippery slope argument. We don’t typically let people use those weapons because there are few places one could use them without causing serious damage. Further, there is a danger of civilians out-arming the police officers whose duty it is to maintain order.

So the issue boils down to practicality, and order. However in some states you may legally own bazookas and other less conventional weapons provided to acquire the proper permits.

Hand grenades?  Surface to air missiles?  Are all these items equally neutral in their tool-like functionality?

They are all tools. I don’t see what’s unclear about this.

And should we not ban the ownership of RPGs because criminals will always find a way to get them?

As I already mentioned, they are not banned. They are tightly regulated.

So that the only safeguard against a bad guy with an RPG is a good guy with an RPG?

Usually what happens is that once a criminal organization starts deploying such weapons, the state retaliates in a much bloodier, swifter way.

Is that your idea of a civilized—not crime-free, but civilized—society?

A free society does not treat its citizens like criminals when they are not harming other people. Gun owners are not harming people. Crazy people with guns, and organized criminals are harming us.

One in which the availability of lethal weapons is defined by the least common denominator, i.e., letting what criminals or psychopaths will pursue define what should be legal?

A very loaded question, because wanting to own a rocket launcher does not make you a criminal or a psychopath. Using those weapons against others is what makes you a criminal and a psychopath.

Gun owners are not harming people. Crazy people with guns, and organized criminals are harming us.

You just defeated your whole case there aveskde.  Crazy people with guns are de facto gun owners.  These are the people who are harming us because they have availability to guns.

As far as this:

People six and seven years old die, it’s tragic but it doesn’t justify limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens.

And this:

this isn’t a rational line of inquiry, it is an emotional one. People die, sometimes in the most senseless ways. Banning guns won’t end senseless murders. It’s as simple as that.

I can’t even comprehend the sickness of someone who would advance these arguments.  People six and seven years old die at the hands of a crazed shooter and you fucking blow that off to argue that the shooter had a right to have the guns?

Don’t come back aveskde.  Don’t respond at all. You’re f’n banned.

Whether or not aveskde is still here, I wanted to address this:

Really, you’re just making a slippery slope argument.

No, really, I’m just making an argument based on an elucidation of basic principles.  Avedske’s argument throughout seems to be, “they’re all tools, neutral in their danger, and are only rendered dangerous when mis-used by bad people.”  But immediately after asserting that bazookas and flame throwers are merely tools, he adds, “We don’t typically let people use those weapons because there are few places one could use them without causing serious damage.”

So what?  So why not restrict their use to the proper place and thereby protect everyone’s freedom to own them?  Why NOT allow anyone and everyone to own an RPG, so long as the conditions of their use are properly delineated by law?  Isn’t that the basis of his/her entire argument?

In fact, there are few places one could use a semi-automatic rifle without causing serious damage, too.  Once you condone the outlawing of a weapon because its use can cause serious damage, you lose your ability to argue for freedom as an absolute, and you acknowledge that the danger resides both in the nature of the object, and in the behavior of the user.

Either all the culpability is placed upon users, and all weapons of any description may be legally available, or you acknowledge that there is something inherently dangerous about such objects that permits (i.e., requires) a civilized society to ban their ownership, let alone use.

None of this, by the way, begins to touch on the huge disparity between your “freedom” to own, fondle, collect, fetishize, and even safely use weapons, and the “freedom” of the rest of society not to be endangered by them.  I think people who collect guns are a little, or a lot, crazy.  I think people who collect Hummel figurines are, too, but in a different way—a way that doesn’t pose a threat to the collector’s neighbors, children, etc.  But this is a topic for a different discussion.

Aveskde made it really clear what kind of a prick posts such a crass, empathy-free comment right below B4’s comment on his murdered friend: a complete and total embarassment of a human being. 

Thanks to everyone for responding to this soul-less git.

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