Guns: Bullet Points

Guns, guns, guns. So much going on. I thought I’d put down, in concise terms, how I feel about guns since a lot of people seem to jump to some rather inaccurate conclusions. What more appropriate way than the use of bullet points?

  • I believe owning a gun makes one less safe, not more safe. This isn’t just a hunch, it’s backed by plenty of evidence.
  • The US would be a better country if guns were:
    • More scarce
    • Harder to get (waiting periods, universal background checks, etc.)
  • I believe no one (outside of military or law enforcement) has a legitimate need for high-capacity assault-style weapons like the AR-15.
  • The epidemic of gun violence in the US is a complex problem requiring complex solutions. There is no simple fix, no one law that will change everything.
  • No, we cannot eliminate all gun violence and that isn’t the goal. We can and should drastically reduce it.
  • Gun control isn’t binary, it’s not all or nothing. So one can advocate for gun control without wanting wholesale confiscation of guns.
  • “Gun control doesn’t work in Chicago you stupid idiot moron leftie!” — Chicago doesn’t have walls, it has open borders. Indiana is right next door and it’s very easy to get a gun there. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the US, there is only so much local regulations can achieve.
  • I do not think the “No Fly List” in its current form is the way to prevent terrorists from getting guns.
  • While I’m not a fan of guns (clearly) I also don’t believe that black people should be killed by police for having one.
  • The NRA is akin to a terrorist organization at this point. It makes meaningless statements like “No guns for terrorists, period.” while impeding any real attempt at reforming gun laws. They intimidate through fear, both for politicians (fear the NRA will support opponents) and regular people (fear that the government is going to take all their guns away, and fear that if you don’t have a gun you’ll fall victim to horrific acts of violence).

This is far from exhaustive. I’ve written plenty about guns, so if you want to know more, check out the “gun” tag.

Here we are again

Here we are again. Yet another mass shooting in America, this one setting a new record as the deadliest. This time the victims were primarily LGBT and primarily latinx. While geographically distant, it still hits too close to home.

What has changed since the first mass shooting I wrote about here–the murder of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT–in 2012?

Other than a bunch of other shootings happening between then and now, well, nothing.

The same inaction in government. The same bullshit from the NRA and their brain-washed, gun-worshiping minions. The NRA, while spouting meaningless platitudes about their policy being “no guns for terrorists” continues to block any and all attempts to increase gun regulation, while stirring up fear in the masses and pushing the need for guns for self defense.

Despite the obviousness of the fact that having more guns per capita than any other country on Earth has not made us safer, they keep pushing for more and more guns, and people are eating it up.

In 2012, I eviscerated their ridiculous claim that more guns will make us safer and this all still holds true.

And gun nuts, without any evidence, repeatedly claim that gun control won’t work, that bad guys will still get guns and good guys will be defenseless. This claim isn’t based in reality:

Our neighbors to the north, Canada, have much tougher gun laws. According to the CBC, “It takes up to 60 days to obtain a firearm in this country, after registering, taking a course and going through background checks.” Oh, dear! By the NRA’s logic crime in Canada must be out of control! Is it? No. In fact, there were 598 homicides in the entire country in 2011! How about in the USA? According to the FBI that number was 14,612 last year! OK, to be fair let’s adjust for population differences.

Homicides per 100,000 population (2011):

Canada: 1.73

USA: 4.7

As of 2014 those numbers are down slightly:

Canada: 1.45

USA: 4.5

Would-be heroes are most likely deluding themselves. In 2009, ABC News did an experiment based on actual mass shooting in Illinois, testing the theory that an armed student in the lecture hall could have intervened and stopped the shooter. The theory didn’t fare well. Even the volunteer with the most gun experience was “killed” in the mock-shooting. It’s worth a watch here.

Was this a perfect experiment? No, but it should nonetheless be an eye opener for those who think that untrained civilians with guns have a high chance of successfully intervening against a bad guy with a gun. The blog post I linked above has some anecdotes of failed attempts along these lines, for example:

In February, 2005 David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. opened fire (with a MAK-90 semi-automatic rifle) at his ex-wife and child, outside a courthouse! And courthouses, as the NRA correctly pointed out, are already protected by armed security. A civilian, armed with a pistol, attempted to intervene and was shot and killed. Arroyo was able to escape from a gunfight with police, including a trained sniper, and take officers on a car chase before eventually being taken down.

Will something finally change? I wish I could say I thought so. But I’m very skeptical. However, we’re seeing more movement than before. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) led a 15 hour filibuster on the Senate floor yesterday, with support from many of his Democratic colleagues:

Senate Democrats ended a nearly 15-hour filibuster early Thursday after Republican Party leaders reportedly agreed to allow votes on two proposed gun control measures.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said that a compromise had been reached. Votes would be held on whether to ban people on the government’s terrorist watch list from obtaining gun licenses and whether to expand background checks to gun shows and internet sales, he added.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our legislative branch that a 15 hour filibuster was needed just to get the point of permitting a vote on legislation.

If passed, will these measures be perfect? Will they fix everything? No, and no. The problem is so large, deeply-ingrained and multifaceted, it will be take a great deal of time and effort to really make a serious dent, but we have to start somewhere.

I won’t hold my breath, but I will keep my fingers crossed.

 

And Then There Was One

Trump holding up hands with tiny fingers
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Someone pinch me, I think I’m dreaming! It can’t really be that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, can it?

Ted Cruz “suspended his campaign” (the term generally used for dropping out) last night, after losing the Indiana primary to Trump by a large margin. Last night one of John Kasich’s senior staff (I forget which, will update if I find it) was saying he would stay in, but today the reports are that Kasich will suspend his campaign, leaving Trump as the last man standing from a previously enormous Republican field and the GOP nominee.

OK, I should say “presumptive” nominee. I guess there could still be some shenanigans during the convention. And the Donald could also announce that he was just fucking with us this whole time, and that we’re a bunch of morons and drop the mic. Wouldn’t that turn some people’s world upside down?

Ladies and gentlemen, all this time I have been playing a character. A loud-mouthed, lying, racist, misogynist with no real qualifications for the job, to be exact. I never thought it would get this far, but Americans are more stupid than I would have ever believed! As my character would say, ‘What a bunch of losers!’ I suggest all the Trump 2016 supporters take some time to reflect on what they were really supporting, and who they are. And our leaders, especially those in the Republican party, should think long and hard about how they helped create an environment in which Donald Trump the character could come so far. Let this serve as a wake-up call.

With that, I am suspending my campaign to be the Republican nominee for president. Good luck, and God bless America.

Oh, I wish!

Some day there will be books written with various opinions on how exactly we got here, but for now we need to just focus on how to avert disaster.

Still digesting all this. You can expect more blogging on the election to come.

You Don’t Get It

There is a common refrain coming from supporters of the recent anti-LGBT laws like HB 2, that those protesting are ignorant, and simply reacting to spin and misinformation. That we don’t get it. In the address announcing his executive order, NC Governor Pat McCrory said:

 You know, after listening to people’s feedback for the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, passion and frankly selective outrage and hypocrisy especially against the great state of North Carolina.

And people like this guy trolls Twitter for mentions of HB 2, posting memes abusing the likeness of legendary NFL referee Ed Hochuli:

Continue reading

Why Your Point is Pointless

Are you someone who has said something like the tweets below, in the media, on social media or just to friends?

You probably thought you were gosh-darned clever, and caught these guys red-handed being hypocrites!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the point you’re making doesn’t actually exist. You’re really making a terrible analogy. Continue reading

Reblog: Ryan T. Anderson’s salad of rotten apples and oranges

Ryan T. Anderson is ALL ABOUT the anti-LGBT laws in Mississippi, North Carolina and Missouri, and he has the sads that businesses and major artists are not so enamored with them.

At The Slowly Boiled Frog, Mr.David Cary Hart takes on one Ryan’s recent screeds.

Anderson tries to redefine the controversy. The Mississippi law is anything but narrowly applicable. And those public restrooms in North Carolina include those in public schools (which was the point of the Charlotte ordinance). Also, Mr. Anderson conveniently ignores the fact that the state nullified numerous municipal nondiscrimination ordinances in North Carolina’s largest urban areas. Thus “at issue” are laws that officially make LGBT people second-class citizens. It is a new flavor of Jim Crow.

Check out the full post here: Ryan T. Anderson’s salad of rotten apples and oranges

To Boycott or Not to Boycott

boycott

With the recent passage of some pretty crappy laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, I’ve seen calls to boycott the states.

But is boycotting the right thing to do? Boycotts have mixed results in bringing about change. The reality is they don’t often substantially impact the target’s bottom line, but instead focus media attention and harm the target’s image, according to Northwestern University’s Brayden King. How much financial impact could individuals have boycotting a state? Even if you add in the various governments that have banned travel, how many of their state and municipal employees are really traveling to MS and NC on “non-essential” business anyway?

King notes that the study has one ironic conclusion: “Companies with poor reputations to begin with are less vulnerable to boycotts, because they have less to lose.”

Extend that to states, and I think North Carolina has more to lose than Mississippi, so a boycott may be more effective there. Indeed, we’ve seen NC getting more media attention, despite the belief of many (including myself) that MS passed a worse law.

Things start to heat up when companies and celebrities get involved. I’m not talking about releasing some empty statement about how they are “disappointed” with the law. I’m talking about PayPal canceling plans to open a new facility (which would have brought 400+ jobs) and Bruce Springsteen canceling a show in North Carolina. These are attention-grabbing headlines. Continue reading

Hate in the States

msprotest
Protest in Mississippi

As I type this, hundreds are gathered in Jackson, the capitol of Mississippi, protesting the state’s HB 1523, the preposterously-named “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act” and urging the governor to veto it. The fallout from North Carolina’s HB 2 (pdf) is still coming down. What the heck is going on?

While the recent successes for LGBT rights in the U.S.–particularly the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling–have caused many to let their guards down and celebrate victory, others have been urging us to stay vigilant. In his book “It’s Not Over“, author, activist  and radio host Michelangelo Signorile predicted a backlash, and warned us against “victory blindness”. It turns out, he was right.

We have seen a rash of anti-LGBT laws sweep the country, mostly at the state level and often under the guise of “religious freedom”. Let’s take a look at a few of the worst of them. Continue reading

My new goal

I have a new goal: publish at least one new blog post per week. There is so much to write about these days! Even if no one reads it, it will still help getting stuff off chest. Because we are living in very frustrating times!

And no, this doesn’t count as my one for the week. I am home alone tonight without anything particular to do, so I can hopefully crank out a substantive piece. Wish me luck!

Ryan Anderson is a Sad, Lonely Man

Red heart with white equal signIt’s that time of year again when couples celebrate their love (out of obligation or desire) and singles wallow or embrace their singleness. Looks like our favorite Ryan T Anderson is in the wallowing camp. His “woe is me” is indirect though, and not obvious unless you’re familiar with him.

He wrote this piece on the topic of love for Valentine’s Day: Does love really equal love? I’m going to be honest, I only skimmed it. Ryan says the same things over and over again in slightly different ways, so if you’ve read a couple of his pieces that’s all you really need. This one was more of the same: love is not all equal, same sex relationships are different (meaning inferior), oh heavens to Betsy! Oh, and straight people ruined marriage and opened the door for those pesky gay people to get married. Damn straights!

Who is Ryan Anderson? He’s a man in his mid 30s who has never been married and does not appear to even be dating. He’s Catholic, but he’s not a clergyman. He’s educated, employed and a decent looking guy when he’s not letting his beard grow out of control. Why is it that he’s single and had no discernible history of romantic relationships? Continue reading