Tag Archives: nra

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Dead horse at the OK Corral

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I do hate to beat a dead horse — or a live one, for that matter — but there was a shooting today at Lone Star College, a community college near Houston.

That’s in Texas, in case you didn’t catch the “Lone Star” bit.

This wasn’t your typical “crazy guy with an AR-15 walks onto campus and starts shooting” kind of shooting. This was two idiots getting into some kind of idiotic argument and at least one of them deciding shooting was the best way to resolve it. One bystander, a school maintenance man, was wounded, as well as one of the arguers. Another person apparently had a heart attack.

Nevertheless, Rep. Ted, Poe, RWNJ-Texas, immediately hit the airwaves to explain how “defenseless” the poor students at LSC were and how students should be allowed to carry concealed weapons so they can defend themselves.

But apparently, that’s exactly what happened.

Reports now indicate that at least one of the two idiots arguing was a student, and at least one was illegally carrying an concealed weapon. By Rep. Poe’s reasoning, if other students had been carrying concealed weapons … well, I don’t know. If more students had been carrying concealed weapons and started shooting, I’d guess more people would have been hit, maybe even killed. But that’s just a guess, y’know. Has no basis whatsoever in reality and is probably just a bunch of fallacious reasoning to boot. Because it’s certainly not logical to think that if two idiots arguing equals three wounded people, then, say, four people shooting at each other might equal six wounded people. And how many wounded people before you get one dead? Two dead?

Of course, maybe ole Ted is right. Say there was only one guy with a gun, and the guy he started shooting at was a student. But the student didn’t have a gun, so he got shot, along with the maintenance man, who also didn’t have a gun, while the shooter ran off into the woods, where he was later found by police.

If only that student and the maintenance guy had had guns! Then it woulda been the OK Corral all over again … well, maybe not. Some of those guys were law enforcement, hired to back the businessmen of Tombstone, Arizona, against the Evil Rancher Cowboys and … oh, never mind. That’s more than 100 years ago. The only reason I brought it up at all is that those nine guys who’d been feuding with each other for a very long time back in 1881 fired about 30 shots in about 30 seconds, and in the end three were dead, and three were wounded. Of course, they were all shooting at each other, and in a narrow lot between a couple of buildings (not the OK Corral at all), which probably prevented any bystanders from being hit.

These guys at Lone Star College were out in an open courtyard.

My point, and I do have one, is just this: Think it through, people. We don’t live in Deadwood. We don’t live in the Tombstone of the 19th Century. There’s a reason they called it the Wild West. And the Earps and Clantons didn’t have AR-15s.

Once upon a time, in a whole ‘nother life, I owned a gun and frankly wasn’t a bad shot. But I’ve grown up some since then, and my owning a gun just isn’t something I want for myself or for anyone who comes in contact with me.

But in case you’ve not heard me say it before, I don’t favor banning guns. I favor humanity willingly putting down the damn things because we finally understand that killing people is a bad thing to do, whatever the reason. And no, I’m not some whacked out idealist who actually expects this to happen anytime soon — but it will, eventually, provided we don’t blow up the planet first.

There are no good reasons, however, to block some kind of regulation. If you want to own a gun, you do not need to own an AR-15 or armor-piercing bullets unless you plan to kill people wearing armor, and if you plan to do that, I’d suggest psychiatric help. Oh, and NRA, children in elementary schools aren’t usually wearing Kevlar, although I suppose that is something you think would be a good idea.

And one more thing. Some folks like to blame violent video games for the crazy people who go out shooting other poeple, but I think they’ve got it backwards. It’s the whackos who think that arming everybody on the planet will end gun violence are the ones inspired by video games. Think about that one for while, until I find another dead horse, possibly in the OK Corral.

It’s a joke, right?

kidswithguns

Sadly, no, but British news had to remind its viewers of that tonight as they played clips from Wayne LaPierre’s news conference, if by news conference, you mean “insane ramble about turning our schools into armed fortresses because the world is a scary place filled with bad guys just waiting to kill all our children.” Or something like that.

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And why would they need to do that? Read it here, if you like. Or, if you’ve the stomach for it, watch it:

By the way, the National Rifle Association has more web sites than the US government. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But their web site is really confusing, and finding any one particular piece of information is next to impossible without Google. Just sayin.

And if you’ve tried to read and/or watch some of LaPierre’s nonsense by now, you can go ahead and stop. Just read this instead.

I suppose the irony of all this is that the news conference was held today, of all days — December 21, the supposed end of the world. Obviously that didn’t happen, since I’m sitting here typing, and I never expected that it would.

But maybe, just maybe, this blatant display of pure mind-boggling insanity will help push us toward an end of the world as we know it — an end to the fear-based, insular ideology that so much of the fearful right insists that we all live under.

Oh, I know, plenty of people will buy such clever lines as “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” hook, line and sinker. Or maybe the correct analogy in this case is “lock, stock and barrel.”

LaPierre blames the media and the “political class” for all these shootings, and I’d actually agree with him, at least partly, if he didn’t say it’s because journalists and politcians are “so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners.” And right after that he notes that “a lone, unarmed school principal” died to protect the children of Sandy Hook School from “evil monsters.”

See, that’s another thing. Adam Lanza wasn’t an evil monster. Adam Lanza was a sick kid, living in a gun-obsessed house in a gun-obsessed community. It’s not his mom’s fault either, although she really shoulda been thinking about having all those guns in a house with a son like that. But she was a single mom who probably really didn’t know how to deal with the situation — because as a culture, we stigmatize mental illness to the point that we’re all at least a little bit mentally ill.

But to Wayne LaPierre, the mentally ill are evil monsters, and it’s horrible that we don’t have a national database of mentally ill people because, you know, all mentally ill people are potential killers.

Think about that for a minute. And then think about Wayne LaPierre’s little speech. I have to give it to his speech writer. It was calculated to reach the most unevolved and fearful of us, to strike terror into our hearts, much in the same way George W. Bush et al did after 9/11, and, of course, using a lot of the same kind of lies, exaggerations, debunked theories, misquoted statistics and outright fabrications Bush et al used back then too.

“Incomprehensible loss.” “Unspeakable crime.” “For the safety fo our nations children.” “Insane killer.” “Utterly defenseless.” “Monsters and predators.” “Genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day.” “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization.” “Copycats.” “Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members who have spread like cancer in every community.” “Vicious, violent video games.” “Blood-soaked slasher films.” “Ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty.” “Moral failings.” “Demonize lawful gun owners.” “If we cherish our kids more than our money or celebrities.”

And then, he said, because you’re terrified and can’t be bothered to actually think and discuss whether or not anything he actually said is true or even makes any sense whatsoever:

There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.

We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. We mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us. We must act now.

People, being this scared just isn’t necessary. We don’t live in Deadwood. But if you think we do, by all means, arm yourselves to the teeth. But please, stay out of our schools, our malls, our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, our doctors’ offices, our post offices and anywhere else sentient beings go.

Because you’re not one, and you haven’t been for a very long time.

Guns don’t kill people

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More than 60 people have been killed this year by “deranged” gunmen in America — nearly half of them today — and there’s still a couple weeks left to raise that number. I’m talking the kind of shootings where someone walks into, say, a school, and starts shooting. Not counting the deranged assholes who decide to shoot their whole family up because, I don’t know, maybe they lost their jobs and are about to lose their houses. Or the ones who get the bright idea to rob a store, then freak out and start shooting when it doesn’t go the way they think it ought to. Or the ones who just thought it was a good idea to shoot somebody to death.

If I were counting those, the number would be well over 10,000. The number of firearm related homicides comes to about 3 for every 100,000 in population, which ranks the United States behind such peaceful countries as El Salvador, Jamaica, Swaziland, Colombia and Mexico but well ahead of such uncivilized countries as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Poland, Japan, Qatar and Chile.

Of course, what makes today’s senseless bullshit more painful is that 20 of the victims were children. Actual children, in elementary school. None older than 10. But ultimately, that won’t mean a thing. Because it was just some crazy guy, y’know. A crazy evil guy.

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And besides, and former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reminded us, if you take away all the guns, somebody will just use a bomb.

If only those teachers had been carrying. Then it wouldn’t have happened. Just like in Aurora, Colorado, where if only theatre-goers had been armed, they could have shot down the black-clad, semi-automatic weapon carrying, kelvar dressed whack-job who opened fire on them in the dark. I can see teachers whipping out their guns in a classroom, can’t you?

Unfortunately, owning guns didn’t help Nancy Lanza. She owned three. The three her son Adam used to kill her and then go to Sandy Hook Elementary, where he killed those kids and a few more adults.

There oughta be a law.

I’m not stupid enough to say we should outright ban all guns, although I do agree with the sentiment. I’d rather we as a species would realize the futility of living in an armed culture and just.plain.stop. But that’s not gonna happen. Sadly. We’re just too enamored of our guns, and too scared to live without them, not realizing we’re scared because it’s too damn easy to get a gun.

It’s also too easy to decide that killing people is the answer to our problems, and too easy to pretend we don’t have any problems that might lead us to make that decision. Or that our neighbors don’t. Or our friends. Or our children.

We’ve got quite a volatile mix here. Mental illness is a stigma (or evil), getting decent medical care for it is next to impossible and guns are for sale at Wal-mart, while our politicians pretend that the National Rifle Association isn’t a bunch of crackpots with thick ties to gun manufacturers and regressive racists who fear we’re headed toward a New World Order. Hell, the NRA opposes legislation to require gun owners to report it if their weapons are lost or stolen.

Meanwhile, our children are targets in their schools, teenagers going to the movies are targets in their theater seats and mothers who own semi-automatic weapons are the first ones to go down.

I’m sure we’ll see a rash of metal detectors and armed guards in schools now, because that’s such a better answer than actually looking at the very real problems we have in this country. We’re awfully good at the bandaid method of problem solving, which is to say we never actually solve the problem because we never actually address it. That would require much deeper thinking, much more painful soul-searching than we’re willing to do.

Like, for example, why the United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s people, owns nearly 50 percent of its guns. And to what “well-regulated militia” Nancy Lanza belonged that she had those guns her son so easily confiscated for his own use.

Now there’s a culture war at which we really should be taking a closer look.

stolenguns

Stop thief!

Want more proof the National Rifle Association is an extremist group? In Pennsylvania, they lobbied and successfully blocked a law that would have required gun owners to report to law enforcement if their weapons are lost or stolen.

Can’t have that now can we? And that’s not all. Once that happened on a state level, a number of municipalities passed such laws on their own. So what’s the NRA doing now? Working with the state legislature to pass laws that will make it prohibitively expensive for those municipalities to prosecute violators.

Y’know, even if you believe that the 2nd Amendment allows citizens to have whatever type of weapons they choose with no background checks, licensing or anything else, you’d think if said assault weapons are lost or stolen, the owners would want someone to help get them back.

Otherwise it starts to sound a lot like the perps on the cop shows, don’t it? Cop: “The grenade launcher that killed Mr. X was registered in your name.” Suspect: “That launcher was stolen months ago.”

How convenient.

And speaking of extremists, did you see that the Salt Lake Tribune endorsed Barack Obama over favorite son Mitt Romney? Seems the editorial board couldn’t figure out who Mitt is now that he’s pandering after the Tea Party and other religious extremists.

Now, you may or may not know that I pretty much consider all religions cults, but this Latter Day Saints thing takes the cake. I’m sure there are good people amongst the Mormons, as there are amongst all religions, but it seems a lot of ‘em know even less about where their religion comes from than your garden variety Christians do.

Seriously, this dude Joseph Smith, see, he found these golden plates buried in the dirt somewhere, written in a script he called “reformed Egyptian” that nobody’d ever heard of and then magically translated them. They had this entire history of people in North America — cities and animals and plants and metals (none of which is actually true, of course, but it’s another one of those Heavenly-Father-put-the-archaeological-evidence-in-there-wrong-just-to-test-our-faith kind of things, I imagine). Thus, the Book of Mormon.

After he finished translating the plates, he gave them back to the angel who first pointed them out to him. Eleven people claim to have seen the plates, but it’s not all that clear if they ever actually did, since even the guy who wrote down Smith’s dictated translation never saw them … and, in fact, they were not in the room when Smith did his translation.

But hey, who am I to judge? Just because Joseph Smith was convicted of fraud … oh, I didn’t mention that? See, he made his living as a treasure hunter. He’d put “seer stones” into his hat, peer into the hat and tell dupes where to find treasure, which, oddly enough, was the same method he used to translate the Book of Mormon, so he didn’t actually have to look at it while he translated. Somebody somewhere got ticked off when the treasure wasn’t there, and Smith went to court, where he was found guilty. Or not, if you believe the church, although it’s pretty clear he was into those seer stones from an early age.

Oh, and every time Smith did something stupid, like, say, getting caught cheating on his wife, he would come up with something to make it all right, like, say, plural marriage, which, incidentally, his wife wasn’t too fond of.

I dunno. I guess you can call me intolerant of other religions if you want, but then again, I’m equally opportunistically intolerant of religion. My mild-mannered alter ego considers herself Buddhist, which she says she considers more a philosophy than a religion. OK, whatever. At least she doesn’t try to foist it on other people.

Neither does Mitt, he says, but his whole family seems awful proud of the missions they do. Like Mitt, y’know, he spent all that time in Paris proselytizing instead of in Vietnam getting shot at, and Ann Romney says they’s pretty much the same thing.

Extremists. The whole damn lot of ‘em.