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'Outrageous and Chilling': Police Condemned for Charging Peaceful Environmentalists With 'Terrorizing' in Louisiana

I have a political viewpoint on the gun issue summarized as;

  1. I don’t care even an iota about what the founding fathers said about anything. They were mostly a bunch of rich male slave owners with no moral center when other people in the same time period had such a center. So any argument using the constitution is worthless to me personally though if it can be used successfully in an argument with the US voters overall I will be cognizant as to its effectiveness on others.

  2. if I were dictator I’d draw the line at the crossbow (which is to say crossbows are illegal - only long and compound bows allowed). But as @SkepticTank says the genie is out of the bottle and a whole lot of people are going to bristle a lot and some may do a lot more that that if you try to restrict rights they are used to exercising.

So what I typically propose is no new bans. No ban on say all semiautomatic which is the only rational place one can draw a line when discussing assault rifles. I would concentrate on background checks, licensing, perhaps even putting identification in bullets. And make sure we get actual gun owners who do want guns out of the hands of crazy people on board.

To @SkepticTank: you would have to make a much better case if you want to move someone on what is usually a very emotional or strongly held viewpoint. I don’t know what it would take for me to want to get a gun but it hasn’t happened yet and I have a hard time imagining a bunch of conservative crazy people are coming to attack me. Is this your entire argument - that there will be a literal culture war? Any other reason I should get a gun?

Dara

First of all I believe that referencing the Founding Fathers, which Waldman incisively did in his book, is extremely germane since so many gun fanatics claim that they need to own a gun for self defense. But as Waldman brilliantly informs the reader in his book that belief is predicated upon extremely specious reasoning. As to your second point it needs to be pointed out that, after experiencing mass shootings in the 1990s, both Australia and the U.K. effectively banned most guns from being owned by their citizens. As a result Australia and the U.K. have gone through extremely few mass shootings while the allegedly greatest country in the world [i.e. the United States] has, by far, more mass shootings, gun homicides, and suicides by gun than any other industrialized country in the world. So yes, the abolition of guns and especially assault weapons is what every intelligent and rational person should be supporting in this gun obsessed and violent prone country. One of the very few things which the United States excels at these days is killing people, both at home and abroad. As one of my bumper stickers notes [and which is not very popular in the rural part of the country where I live]:

Bury Guns Not Children

I’m not saying it isn’t useful to look at past writings to the extent it helps fight legal battles or to convince constitutional literalists of something (but I would argue there aren’t that many of those people overall though many of them are in power).

What I’m saying is that it can’t be used in arguments with people like me who don’t care what was written back then or what people who were writing were thinking back then. Maybe people today do need a gun for self defense. Maybe they don’t. But the argument for me has to be made now and not over 200 years ago during a slave nation that killed native Americans and didn’t give women any rights. Fuck them (with a few exceptions - I hear Thomas Paine was a good guy). Arguments for me must stand on their own grounds as they exist today.

Hmm I am aware of the 1996 shooting in Australia leading to their gun law change. I did not know about the big shooting in Scotland the same year leading to changes in the UK. I’ll have to read more. Good luck but I think these types of changes are pretty hard here. I’m still focused on other things (Medicare for All, Ending all our wars and starting some form of green new deal). I thought it best to try to steer clear of this issue in the past with a low chance of success and a high chance of losing elections (eg I thought 2016 Sanders had a perfectly sane view and 2019 O’Rourke had a view that not only wasn’t going to succeed he’d cause more down ballot losses).

I’m not talking about overthrowing the military, I’m talking about evening the odds against right wing militias.

Because this is going to happen more and more:

~https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/us/shooting-breonna-taylor-protest-louisville.html

I like what Chomsky said on this subject when he noted that terror is terror, and that is whether it comes from the right or the left. Attempting to “evening [sic] the odds” with guns instead of rational ideas does not make for a very compelling argument.

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How are those rational ideas working out, Terry?

They are working out a hell of a lot better than trying to win an argument at the point of a gun.

You never tried it.
And the track record for rational ideas is terrible.

Welcome to the Commons Clifford. It’s always nice to have folks here who present their opinions in a thoughtful manner. On the Constitutional issue - the Supreme Court ruled pretty definitively that the second amendment does imply an individual right to bear arms - so your suggestion just does not pass Constitutional muster at this time. For me, the biggest issue with guns lies in suicide prevention which is where the most gun deaths occur and where the most progress is possible to make.
I like laws that promote biometric triggers that avoid accidental deaths and make it a bit more difficult for stolen firearms to be used or for teens to commit suicide with their parents guns. I like programs that encourage research into gun violence and suicide prevention so we can discover programs that work. I like cooling off period laws that avoid the large number of suicides where the person killed themselves the same day they purchased their firearm. I want to see better methods of tracing firearms used in crimes, better databases for checking eligibility for purchasing, and more stringent requirements for being able to sell them.

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Once again, I much rather attempt to engage in a conversation with intelligent and rational ideas which is next to impossible with the gun fanatics, whom I am surrounded with in the rural part of the Pacific Northwest where I live.

And as someone who has changed from never wanting to own guns, to being forced to reckon with the fact that these are turbulent times marked by wanton and continuous displays of hard power by the right, I am now trying to convince my wife to let me arm our household. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. Of course, my wife’s Buddhism will win out in the end so I’m screwed. Meanwhile:

~https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/01/opinion/black-gun-ownership.html

Dpearl

You opine that:

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That may be - but according to the Constitution it is the Supreme Court that gets to decide that - and right now Heller is established precedent.

Now the anti-choice crowd felt about Roe, the same as you feel about Heller and they have taken the long view in chipping away at that decision. As they continue to gain more control over the courts over the last fifty year period - they may indeed eventually be successful in that quest (I hope not - but one more Trump term will almost certainly do that).

So, let’s think about that 50 year time scale over which your views about Heller might gain steam and change the court precedent. As the polar ice caps are melting, a billion refugees are searching for a place to live that supports life, and ecosystems are collapsing around us - do you really think that a reversal of Heller will be high on the agenda?

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You’re lucky to have her to keep you from your worse instincts.

From forgetting that my phone is in my pocket to leaving a door open so squirrels and chipmunks can get at my bag of birdseed, I make stupid mistakes all day long. I simply can’t imagine owning a tool where there may be dire circumstances attached to my fallibility.

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You left off the end of that sentence of mine that you quoted!

I like most of that. I think there is a lot of pushback on biometric triggers as I don’t think gun owners are satisfied as to their reliability - the only way I know to make them super reliable is to use an RFID watch or ring on the hand you will fire with and gun owners aren’t keen on that requirement.

You didn’t list my idea (bullet ID) which I don’t hear people talking about, but it makes perfect sense to me (how many criminals know how to make their own bullets - 1%?). I searched and saw this article from 2016: ~https://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/09/01/new-proposal-would-put-serial-numbers-on-bullets/21463389/ but I don’t know what became of it. Of course this only helps after the fact for a possible deterrence since you (or the person who didn’t safeguard their bullets which is also something to clamp down on) are sure to get caught in a crime where a gun is fired and will do nothing to help accidental death or suicide, so it is only part of the picture including your other recommendations that can get passed.

I glanced at that story, but I really liked this comment that was just posted in the NYT comments:

Something that people forget is that safe gun ownership is expensive. A good gun (that won’t explode in your hand) costs around $500.00. Ammunition: $25.00 for every 100 rounds; if you’re going to practice to get good, you’ll need to spend this amount at least every week or so–which is about $1000.00 a year. Accessories: holster, cleaning supplies, ear & eye protection, and so on can easily run several hundred more dollars. Beginner Class: $90.00 Range Time: $275.00 - $350.00 a year; you need to practice regularly if you want to stay sharp. How many poor people can afford any of the above? How many of them will buy stolen guns on the black market–guns that may hurt them by not working properly or guns that will get them jailed because they were stolen before they purchased them? How many people won’t learn how to shoot, so when they do fire their gun, it won’t hit what they’re aiming at? That is one reason that gang shootings are often killing three-year-old kids and grannies–the gangsters don’t practice. Think of the money spent on bullets that could be spent on online classes towards a useful degree or on healthful food. This whole “guns make me feel safe” is a consumer racket. Most of these panicked people will buy the gun, use it a few times, and then leave it sitting in a drawer somewhere for the next fifty years.

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The AR-15 I’m interested in is more like $2500.
The shotgun I can buy used for under $200.
The Beretta APX is $330.

As I tell my wife: Well worth it, and I’ll drink cheaper bourbon to pay for them.
As my wife tells me: Hell no.
On the bright side, I guess she wants me to drink the good stuff.

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