Just a Couple of Random Thoughts About Guns

Filed in National by on February 19, 2018

“Guns don’t kill people.”

Then why does the Army issue one to every soldier?

“Gun control won’t stop people bent on murder.”

Yet virtually every kind of crime one can commit — robbing a bank, assaulting someone, you name it — is considered to be more serious when committed with a gun. What makes murder so special that we overlook the role of the gun for that crime alone?

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  1. Paul says:

    The army does not issue a weapon to every soldier. On base, weapons are kept in storage lockers. Servicemen and women do not walk on base armed, except for military police. Weapons are monitored, as well as ammunition, and all is said to be the property of “Uncle Sam”.

  2. Alby says:

    Yeah, sorry. I meant they train everyone to use one and they issue one when they’re on battle duty.

    But I think you knew that.

  3. Paul says:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I note the two simple words, “THE PEOPLE”. NOT “a citizen”. Some collective agreement about guns and security. Sounds like the establishment of police, national guard. Not individual authority in ANY sense. To hold the entire country hostage for an imaginary right to individual ownership of guns is infamous, not to mention, to allow the entire country to be held hostage is stupidity beyond belief.

  4. Paul says:

    @alby I was more focused on the readers than the writer

  5. Alby says:

    Readers? We have readers?

  6. puck says:

    I understand at the time militias were ad hoc, raised when needed from among the people. Another meaning of “militia” is “an armed citizenry.” For better or worse, I think the Second Amendment refers to individual citizens, not the National Guard. Now it is our cross to bear, or to reinterpret if we can.

  7. puck says:

    I remember when police used to publicly advocate for gun control. Now police are just another bunch of right wing, FOX news watching, Trump loving knuckle draggers.

  8. Jim says:

    Changing the constitution ain’t gonna happen. but, can anyone please list the 18 school shooting that have happened this year? Actual shooting that occurred on school property, when school was in session and involved students.

  9. delacrat says:


    Google: “School Shootings 2018”

  10. RE Vanella says:

    “As PolitiFact National has reported, Everytown, an advocacy group co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that seeks to prevent gun violence, uses a broad definition of school shooting — that is, any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building, or on a school campus or grounds. Its database includes incidents when no one was injured; attempted or completed suicide, with no intent to injure others; and cases when a gun was fired unintentionally, resulting in injury or death. The list also includes incidents on college campuses.”


    Yeah, completed suicides and unintentional firearm discharges inside the building are totally safe and we shouldn’t even bother reporting them really. I mean the most important argument here is pointing out how this number is broadly defined.

    Way to keep everyone on point, Jim. You have a way of getting right to the gist of the matter.

  11. puck says:

    Somehow we managed to ban machine guns without repealing the Second Amendment. We can do the same for high rate of fire semi automatic assault weapons.

  12. RE Vanella says:

    No hope now. School hallways that resemble the field after Antietam are cool memes that own the libs.

  13. Alby says:

    The GOP is freaking out about the Florida students taking the lead in the fight for gun control. Former Rep. Jack Kingston went on CNN to declare that 17-year-olds couldn’t possibly be doing this themselves. They must be getting help from — GEORGE SOROS!


  14. puck says:

    At least they’re not getting help from Vladimir Putin.

  15. Alby says:

    Actually, they are. NRA money is Russian money. Russians are gun manufacturers, too, and the NRA represents gun manufacturers no matter where they’re from.


    They aren’t communists anymore. They’re organized crime, the purest form of capitalism.

  16. puck says:

    I meant the students.

  17. Dave says:

    Specifically, Everytown’s definition is:

    “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside or into a school building or on or onto a school campus or grounds, as documented by the press and, when necessary, confirmed through further inquiries with law enforcement or school officials.”

    The problem is not the definition, but the name “school shooting.” In American English, the term “school shooting” is commonly accepted to mean one or more people were shot.

    If Everytown call it what it is it would be named something like “school firearm discharge.”

    For obvious marketing reasons, that’s not a very good term because it is relatively devoid of emotional content, which is key to Everytown’s message. So now the name gets to be picked apart because they didn’t think their way through. They need to trigger emotions. In order to do that, they chose a term that could be disputed.

    I’m not sure what a better alternative would be. Sound bites are always fraught with peril, because the words are too few to accurately convey meaning. However, if you don’t use sound bites, people won’t pay attention (although they should). Perhaps if they led with their definition up front so that there would be no confusion or misrepresentation it might have stuck. Unfortunately, the horse is out the barn though, so now they are faced with Politifact and Snopes entries which are always indicators that the facts are in dispute (even when the dispute is disingenuous).

    Further, their definition doesn’t tell me how they treat discharges from approved activities, such as rifle clubs (I’m not sure there are any such clubs that practice on campus). I think their definition should have included the words “accidental” and “illegal.”

    Words matter, but more importantly, in communication the transfer of information needs to consider not just the transmitter (what I want to say) but the receiver (what they hear). When they hear something different than what I said, it is natural to blame the receiver and sometimes it is the receiver. But sometimes it’s not.

  18. RE Vanella says:

    Words and messaging are irrelevant. They don’t “matter”. Kids mangled bodies pile up you we want to write six paragraphs on semantics.

    If classrooms of mowed down first graders didn’t “matter” than nothing does.

    Say there were 5 school shootings, say there were 30. What’s the difference.

  19. Alby says:

    As long as the number is above zero, it’s too many. Imagine the rot that has eaten away the soul of someone arguing that there have been “only” six “real” school shootings in this seven-week-old year.

  20. jason330 says:

    There were 5 school shootings in the time it took Dave to type that.

  21. Alby says:

    “In American English, the term “school shooting” is commonly accepted to mean one or more people were shot.”

    Only because Frank Luntz hasn’t been dispatched to rename it. Give Republicans six months and enough focus groups and they’ll have their troops convinced “school shootings” are a good thing. They discourage students from sleeping in class.

  22. RE Vanella says:

    Still shaking my head at “rifle clubs.” Yeah , getting an accurate count of those and removing them from the count will shed some real light on this epidemic for the parents of slaughtered children.

  23. Alby says:

    Someone in Kentucky vandalized a blank billboard with “Kill the NRA.” The NRA instantly posted it on its official Facebook page, claiming, “this is a wakeup call. They’re coming after us.”

    No, not “us,” Wayne LaPierre. Just you. I will consider it a failure of karmic justice if he dies of any cause other than a gunshot.


  24. jason330 says:

    He is easily the most deserving of a violent death involving many bullet holes and much agony.

  25. Paul says:

    Puck, with all due respect, the evidence directs our attention to how we will proceed as “the people”, the group of us now beginning a new life as citizens, not subjects. How will we manage common defense? The central idea is “us, together” not me in my castle. That was covered under amendment 4, not 2. There is no “balance” of interests in the 2nd amendment. It is four square about how to proceed into the future in a potentially hostile world, relative to our nation. It is about coordinating the federal authority with state authorities. Not one word, ONE, about or implying an individual right. Scalia got it wrong, and why wouldn’t he, he was bought by the 1%.

  26. Alby says:

    The Supreme Court ruled consistently, for many decades, that individual protection had nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. Indeed, if Scalia were an honest person — he wasn’t, he was a conservative hatchet man and political hack — he would have acknowledged that in 18th-century America, a person would never use a gun for self-defense. You couldn’t load one fast enough for it to do any good. I’m not suggesting that “original intent” has any standing as a tool for interpreting the Constitution, but it was his own standard, and he ignored it whenever it was convenient.

  27. Dave says:

    “getting an accurate count of those and removing them from the count will shed some real light on this epidemic ”

    No, but it will make it a bit easier to defend your numbers, which leads me to ask how’s that working for you so far?

    Everyone can pooh pooh this all they want, but the fact is, it’s narrative shifting by minimizing the problem because only 5,6, or 7 whatever, when 5, 6, and 7 are too many.

    So yeah “Give Republicans six months and enough focus groups and they’ll have their troops convinced “school shootings” are a good thing” because that’s what they always do. I just like to make it more difficult for them to do that. In the case of “school shootings” it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  28. RE Vanella says:

    Narrative shifting!

    Ah, you asked about the number 18. I never used it in my “narrative”. The number and the words are unnecessary to the narrative. I don’t even have a narrative. The narrative tells itself.

    I’m done playing word games. Are all those kids still dead?

  29. Alby says:

    As I said, Dave, someone going before the public to proclaim there have “only” been 5, 6 or 7 school shootings is going to come off like the monster they probably are. I want them to make this argument, in public, as often as possible.

    Give ‘Em Enough Rope isn’t just a great album by The Clash.

  30. pandora says:

    The term school shooting reflects the number of guns shot in schools, right? I’m not seeing the problem with the wording. This particular shooting falls under the definition of school shooting and mass shooting.

    There doesn’t need to be a death or injury for these shootings to count. In fact, I’m not sure why we wouldn’t count a gun shooting at school (no matter the outcome) as a school shooting.

  31. Alby says:

    See if you can follow the ammosexual logic:

    Why bother enacting gun laws when people will violate them anyway?

    That’s why we should get rid of laws against bank robbery — I notice people rob banks quite frequently despite the penalties for doing so.

    Same with rape and domestic abuse. These things will never go away, so why criminalize them?

    Campaign fraud? Almost goes without saying — people violate those laws all the time, so why have them?

    Once you get rid of all the laws, everyone will need a gun just to buy bread and milk. NRA nirvana!

    Sadly, I am not just making this up. I thought I was, and then a half-hour later comes this:


  32. Alby says:

    A modest proposal: We don’t outlaw guns. We outlaw the manufacture and importation of guns.

  33. Dave says:

    “I’m done playing word games”

    Then you are done period. I told you what the word “shooting” meant to most people. You might be living in some sort of cultural bubble where it means something different. I tried to explain to you that words don’t mean what you say they mean, they mean what people hear. It’s arrogant to think that people have to attach the same meaning to words that you do. They don’t and they do not do that. They attach whatever meaning they learned (or whatever Fox tells them it means).

    Communication is about recreating in the mind of the receiver what is in your mind. If you think that’s a game, then yeah, I’m done playing games as well.

  34. Liberal Elite says:

    @A “A modest proposal: We don’t outlaw guns. We outlaw the manufacture and importation of guns.”

    That won’t fly. But we could easily raise the cost of gun ownership with mandatory gun insurance used to pay into a victims fund covering medical costs and other losses. Why should taxpayers bear these costs, as we do now???

    You drive a car?… liability insurance protects people and saves lives.
    You carry a gun? …

  35. Dana Garrett says:

    If the 2nd amendment had nothing to do with organized and official militias, it wouldn’t have used the word militia. As such the amedment has as much relevance today as does the amendment about lodging soilders in one’s home. That’s no relevance.

  36. Dave says:

    “mandatory gun insurance ”

    Yep. There is a long history of liability insurance(https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/how-umbrella-policies-started-part-1-early-liability-coverage). I recognize that Congress indemnified the manufacturers, but it didn’t indemnify individuals.

    The NRA offers personal responsibility liability insurance but it only applies to hunting or trapping on public or private land, shooting in competitions, shooting at private shooting ranges. But since they recognize the risk, why wouldn’t be a easy to sell to acknowledge the risk of carrying in public and then requiring insurance for that?

    And know it doesn’t directly save lives, but it might give people a second thought about owning gun if there is an annual cost to do so – which indirectly would save lives.

  37. Alby says:

    @LE: Of course it won’t fly. That’s why I called it a “modest proposal.”

    It was patterned on Rush Limbaugh’s statement that he’d allow all the illegal immigrants into the country provided they can’t vote. I’ll let them keep all the guns they have now — one per resident of the U.S., roughly speaking — as long as they don’t make or bring in any new ones.

    It’s not a serious proposal. Nor was Swift’s.

  38. Jim says:

    For there to be an effective dialog both parties have to first agree about what they are talking about.
    Unfortunately, when discussing the current events we find ourselves at odds even before we talk.
    We can agree that, without discussion, the murder of 14 students is repugnant. The murder of one is too many, but let’s not lie about the number.
    There is a cry that “something” must be done. “Something” is where the conversation abruptly ends because we are often not talking about the same things.
    So that we can have a meaningful conversation, about the same things, let’s define a few things, I’ll start.

    There is the demand that we must ban “military grade weapons.” Forgive me, I can’t define this. I do not know what a “military grade weapon is.”,

    There is the call to ban “assault rifles.” An “assault rife” is a shoulder fired weapon, capable of full automatic fire. i.e. as long as the trigger is pulled and held the rifle will continue to fire until it is out of ammunition. Many “assault rifles” have the ability to also be fired in the “semi-automatic” mode, i.e. one pull of the trigger results in the firing of one cartridge. Fully automatic weapons have been strictly controlled by the federal government since 1934.

    There is the call to ban the “AR-15.” The “AR” does not stand for Assault Rifle, it identified the original manufacturer of it, the Armalite Rifle, model 15. It is a semi-automatic, box fed weapon, NOT a fully automatic weapon.

    So, to insure we are talking about the same things can we have some of the your definitions of “military grade weapons”, “assault rife” and “AR-15.”

  39. Alby says:

    Nobody’s interested, Jim. We’ve played that little game for too long. Your weapons are all going bye-bye.

    No negotiating. We’re taking your guns. Better run.

  40. Jim says:

    Well Alby, your comment covers it all, no discussion about what the problems are and what solutions are possible. So tell me, do you desire to amend the Constitution or just change the government by violence (if required)?

  41. Alby says:

    None of your business, sport. I don’t consort with the enemy.

    Nothing anyone says on a blog is going to solve the problem. I hate to break that to you, but you and I discussing this is a waste of energy.

  42. RE Vanella says:

    We regulate all sort of dangerous products.

    Industrial chemicals
    Bank loans

    Only gun control requires a strict adherence to proper nomenclature. If you don’t use the proper words or know every detail you can’t take a position.

    It’s a simple road block technique.

  43. Alby says:

    @Jim: You seem like a decent sort, so I apologize for being so blunt. Let me explain a little further:

    The pro-gun bunch has responded to the tragedy in Florida by telling its followers that those aren’t high school kids, those are actors. They trotted this out for Newtown, and we foolishly failed to drive the people who said that from society, so now it’s back and in the RWNJ mainstream this time.

    You don’t negotiate with people like this. They are not rational enough to negotiate with. And even if you wanted to, this isn’t the time. This is the time to push as hard as possible. You don’t win by negotiating. You negotiate when you can’t win.

  44. RE Vanella says:

    That’s actually very well put. This is an example of a larger flaw too. I call it the Chris Coons Conundrum.

    When you go into a negotiation with an adversarial faction which doesn’t care to negotiate the results are usually shitty. You give away the store and get basically nothing. The bipartisan deal is its own reward, I guess.

    Think of it like this. If you’re pragmatic and your adversary is ruthless you’re going to lose.

  45. Jim says:

    And that is exactly why nothing will get done – people would rather have a problem to complain about than do something to fix it. You don’t have a big paint brush, you have a spray gun and paint everyone that does not walk in step with you as the enemy. And if that is the way your mind works and what you believe that’s fine. That attitude is the same as that of red neck peckerwoods. Forgive me for making such a blunt observation but, ya know, if ya ain’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem.
    Back to my original request, I guess you can’t articulate what your objections are but thank you for your time.

  46. Alby says:

    I could articulate them. I’m not interested in doing so.

    “The enemy” is anyone who does not recognize and acknowledge that the Republican Party must be destroyed. If that includes you, so be it.

    I have adopted this attitude because it’s the attitude that has worked for the people I’ve been trying to reason with for 40 years. So reason is out the window, and so are the people who preach that in an effort to derail the project, which is getting rid of the cancer on humanity that the Republican Party now represents.

    But I guess that’s too inarticulate for you, you pusillanimous phony. “Do something to fix it”? You mean like the NRA has “done something to fix it”?

    I’ve tried fighting fire with water and chemicals, and here we are, so now it’s time to try fire.

    Try to understand that I owe you exactly nothing.

  47. RE Vanella says:

    When I think of a politician like Chris Coons I think of someone who really gets things done. A problem solver.

    I know you sincerely think the pragmatic approach is effective in “getting things done.” I’ve seen zero evidence that that’s true.

    Or it just depends on what outcome satisfies you.

  48. Alby says:

    If you go into negotiations with your hat in your hands, you’re going to leave without a hat.

  49. Jim says:

    Well, Alby- you certainly told me!

  50. Alby says:

    Oh, no, Jim. You told me. Don’t be modest now.

    You came here wanting to … what, lecture us? … about firearm semantics. That old horse was put out to pasture years ago. Even if it weren’t a played-out discussion point, what does it have to do with anything today? Nobody here brought up the semantics of potential bans on particular weapons. It’s a pointless discussion nobody wants to have, capisce?

    I am under no obligation to you or anyone else to propose anything. I have my position. What yours might be is of no interest to me.

    Is this clear enough for you?

  51. spktruth says:

    Right on Alby! I am with you. The republican party must be destroyed. They are the party of the billionaires and care nothing about WE the people nor do they believe in the Constitution or democracy. One thing Trumpolini has done for the country, exposed the pukes for what they really are.