More murders? More guns!

Second Amendment Spectacular!

That’s a weapon for every human, cat and dog in the house, though our four-legged citizens lack opposable thumbs and therefore decline to bear arms.

Some days there are no words.

I’ve tried several times to write something sensible about the massacre in Connecticut, but there is no sense to be made of it. Alas, there is plenty of nonsense to be made of it, which may be the primary reason I’ve been keeping my big yap shut on the matter.

The Second Amendment absolutists — among them the renowned Constitutional scholar Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Asshat) — are clamoring for more guns. Um, no, shit-for-brains, issuing M4 carbines to school principals is not the solution. I wouldn’t have made it out of seventh grade alive had my principal been packing.

Our goal here is, or should be, to deny military-grade armaments to the insane (like Rep. Gohmert, who should not be allowed to carry a dime-store squirt gun, even if his mommy promises it’s unloaded).

But how do we get there past the Second Amendment, which has kept lawyers, judges and grammarians scratching their heads for the life of the Republic?

“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.”

Christ, do I ever wish the framers had hired a copy editor to work that sucker over before committing it to posterity. But they didn’t, and as a consequence a certain subset of the citizenry dasn’t answer a knock on the door without an AR-15 and a 90-round drum magazine in the old umbrella stand.

Mind you, I’m a gun owner. Actually, make that “guns owner” because I have five of them — a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 19 Combat Magnum revolver; a 7.62x39mm Ruger Mini-Thirty semi-automatic carbine with a couple 10-round magazines; a Ruger 10-22 semi-auto .22 carbine with a 30-round magazine; a .357 Magnum Marlin lever-action saddle gun; and a boxy-looking S&W Model 22A .22 target pistol that will carry 10 in the mag’ and one in the chamber.

Buying them was about as troublesome as scoring a six-pack from the neighborhood grog shop, and if making the purchase process more onerous would save one human life, well, call me a limp-wristed, tyrant-hugging traitor, but I’m all for it.

In fact, I’ve already made inquiries about selling the entire arsenal, ammo dump and all, to some responsible party in the country, for use in protein collection and/or varmint dispersal. I don’t anticipate a visit from the blue helmets and black helicopters anytime soon, nor do I feel up to toppling the government right this minute.

Besides, the goddamn things look like dead children to me.

60 Responses to “More murders? More guns!”

  1. Sharon Says:

    It seems like three things actually – – hours and hours per day of video game usage where kids are interactive members in incredibly life-like situations of killing, where the more they kill, the more they win; the spoiled me generation where kids have nothing but time on their hands, but no social skills or filters; and easy access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons where alot of damage can be done in an instant. Multiply that by nth degree when the kid has a disorder of some kind. Ever notice though that many of these kids are white, middle-class or higher. No struggle for food/shelter and in most cases, grew up with not a want for a single thing in life, but probably love, affection and social acceptance. Maybe kids growing up on at the bottom of Maslow’s with a strong family unit actually are more well adjusted than what money can buy.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, Sharon, there are a lot of thousand-yard stares out there, and they don’t all belong to combat veterans. I’m thankful to have grown up in a world with fewer “entertainment” options. I can only imagine how crazy I’d be if I’d whiled away my childhood playing first-person shooters instead of riding my bike and swimming.

  2. bromasi Says:

    “well regulated Militia”, I may be wrong about this but isn’t that the national guard.

  3. Byron Says:

    yeah i am in the same place as you Patrick…gun owner (Marlin 30-30, Marlin 22 semi, single shot 20 guage) what i call homestead guns…i know what their purpose kill living things, in this instance predators that threaten our dairy goats….i’m not a goddamn “gun enthusiast” whatever the fuck that means like the Conn. shooters Mom..and handguns were never in the equation for me…hell even Skyrynd knew “handguns are made for killing, they aint good for nothing else”….hell you have to take a written test and drive around with a state trooper to get a drivers license, it should be at least as hard to buy weapons …i dunno they are starting to look like dead children 😦

  4. Stan Thomas Says:

    Maybe you should just surrender your weapons for destruction rather than leaving them in circulation in exchange for a little cash. ‘Course, us folk here in the UK regard firearms as barbaric and will never understand how the man in the street can arm himself like Rambo.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The thing is, Stan, guns are useful tools in the right hands. Byron (above) uses his to keep varmints off his goats. And an old friend in Custer County hunts elk, deer and antelope to augment the beef he raises on and around his ranch, and he could make use of at least some of these weapons. (He also has a varmint problem, mostly coyotes and rattlesnakes.)

      I’d only let them go to a responsible owner, which is why I won’t try to sell them off here in Bibleburg.

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        “guns are useful tools in the right hands” : straight from the NRA manifesto. No, guns are for killing things and, in the case of pests, rather inefficiently. We have rats and foxes here in the UK, so we trap or poison them. We used to allow Hoorah Henrys on horseback and packs of dogs to hunt foxes but recognized that they were only doing it for fun. The idea that an amateur armed with a 357 Magnum is an effective pest control solution beggars belief.
        I know guns are a culture thing in the US and you’ll no more get rid of them than automobiles. So let us mourn this tragedy like a plane crash and not pretend anything is going to change.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That’s quite a leap you made there, Stan. I’m hardly the NRA type.

        And yes, a .357 makes an excellent varmint gun, even for an amateur, assuming said amateur is not a complete eejit. No. 9 shot shells are good for buzzworm control, and the standard 158-grain hollowpoint is suitable for keeping coyotes away from your goats. Coyotes are harder to milk and not nearly as cute.

        I don’t consider poison an ideal solution because of dispersal issues. You risk your dogs and other household critters with that sort of thing.

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        Lovely chap that you are Patrick and NRA member or not, you are using the language of the pro-gun lobby. Casual references to shooting stuff, like it’s a part of everyday conversation. Here’s a picture of my arsenal. Throwing in technical language – 158-grain hollowpoint ?? – like I might talk about a Shimano shifter.

        With one of your guns in your hand, search your soul and ask whether your thought pattern is: ‘see that man/dog/coyote across the street, I can blow it’s brains out from here’. And how does it compare to ‘see that 1000ft hill, I can ride a bike up that’? Because until moderates like you see one as normal and the other as barbaric there will be no change.

      • High Plains Drifters Says:

        All of the language of the NRA isn’t nuts. And guns are in the constitution. Horse buggies, an apple a day, powdered wigs, beer wine and mead … Lots of things they left out.

        This is an issue where both sides need to realize there are strong feelings, and demonizing the other is a sure fire way to not be taken seriously. You’re doing more harm for your own cause than good by saying “sounds NRA -ish and therefore is nonsense.”

  5. khal spencer Says:

    I’d be reluctant to put mine or yours in circulation, Patrick, except to someone of sound mind and moral fibre. Which leaves out an awful lot of folks. If you are serious, I would have an eye on that Model 19 (assuming for the moment that I am of sound mind), but not this week. I put mine in away where I don’t have to look at them at all.

    There is a busy discussion over at Red Kite, where Charles Pelkey put up a moving essay at The Explainer. Bottom line to me is what I said over there. Hunting and target guns are one thing, and those guns don’t seem to drive Canadians or Norwegians to mass murder very often, but there is no logical need for civilians to have unfettered access to weapons whose only home is the battlefield. I think we need to restrict high capacity assault weapons to those who pass psychological tests and perhaps require these guns to be secured at approved shooting ranges, which is the only place they should be used, and where one’s deranged kid or spouse can’t obtain easy access to them.

    As far as the 2nd Amendment, anyone who really wants to dig into that needs to go farther than parsing the damn thing. Go to the Federalist Papers and a few other period sources. There was a lot discussed (I think by Madison and Hamilton, if my memory doesn’t fail me) about universal citizen-militias vs. a powerful standing army answering to central government. Sad to say, we now have an army of lunatics armed with M4’s who don’t trust the government as well as a huge standing army.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Charles wrote a moving piece, for sure. The world is a very small place at times.

      I think you’re right re: Madison and Hamilton. The Second was a big states’-rights/anti-Federalist argument, as I recall — standing armies being tools of tyranny, freemen in arms defending home, hearth and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and so on and so forth.

      Somewhere between there and here our own homegrown arms race accelerated, perhaps out of control. Frankly, I don’t know what it would take to stuff this ugly genie back in its bottle.

      But at bare minimum we need to choke off the supply of high-capacity magazines. As I recall my Mini-Thirty came stock with a five-round magazine. I’d be fine with five-round mags as a start. Then you have the chance to clip the loony shooter with a chair, a fireplace poker or a skillet while he’s reloading.

      But I’ll bet you that right now the loonies are buying 90-round drums like hot dogs at the ballpark because the derned feddle gummint is a-gonna be comin’ for they guns. Jesus wept.

    • High Plains Drifters Says:

      // There was a lot discussed (I think by Madison and Hamilton, if my memory doesn’t fail me) about universal citizen-militias vs. a powerful standing army answering to central government. //

      Here’s the thing: life was cheap at the time. Patriot Joe had no problem offing Private Harold because he was an extension of Evil King George. By the transitive property (??), in 1782, if Prrsident George sent Militiaman Harold off to Pennsylvania to kick over a still or something, Private Citizen Joe would feel okay popping a cap in Harry’s ass.

      But in 2017. Emperor Hillary has sent her storm troopers to your house to steal your bibles and enforce the mandatory wear of Birkenstocks. Corporal Harry couldn’t get a job at jiffy lube and is working for the ATF. Are we saying its still okay to kill Harry, instead of going to court to argue your case, because he’s “Big Government”?

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Dang. Operation Birkenstock was supposed to be kept secret until the 2016 elections were won by Empress Hillary. Now how are we going to get that fleet of black helicopters over the Red States and round up all those guns from freedom loving Murrcans when we lost the element of surprise? Can’t trust you with anything…….

  6. Opus the Poet Says:

    And nobody even mentioned the elephant in the room that kills about 4 times as many people as guns, is the number one killer of human beings under the age of 35, and makes riding a bike to work or entertainment akin to a stroll through Kabul with a target and a US flag on your back.

    I’m talking about motor vehicles, the most perfect murder weapon ever devised. Want to kill someone at random with no repercussions? Run them over with a car. There are numerous built-in excuses, “I didn’t see him”, “My foot slipped off the brake”, “I hit the wrong pedal with my foot”, “Unintended acceleration”… My gawds, the list goes on for pages. And those are just the ones that killed people immediately, not counting the ones that will die from long-term toxicity that is a byproduct of automobility… Guns aren’t even on the top 10 ways that people under 16 die.

  7. Douglas Glondeniz Says:

    I feel the same way you do Pat. I have a bevy of hand guns, revolver and semi ( no giant capacity mags) and a few sporting rifles and my trio of M1 Garands. That said, I belong to a shooting club and we have a safe place to go when we want to shoot. Our club is CMP sanctioned for M1 and AR platform matches. One of the reasons I have avoided buying an AR or an AK is because I don’t like the image those firearms have. That’s just my take though. I served with the blue zoomies and learned to shoot in basic and beyond. I feel sick about what happened to those kids as I would expect most responsible gun owners do

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Doug, I was never that organized; like Groucho, I tend to avoid any clubs that would have me as a member. I did my shooting informally, in gravel pits, at friends’ ranches, at my own 43-acre place outside Weirdcliffe. It was fun, an exercise in ballistics, like shooting pool, only noisier.

      I can’t recall the last time I did any shooting, though. Maybe I got it all out of my system in Custer County. I used the .357 once to chase away a smallish, pain-in-the-ass neighborhood garbage bear that was trying to climb in a living-room window, and both of us felt pretty silly about it — me because I was pretty sure that actually hitting the bear would only piss it off (I fired over its head), and the bear because … well, because he was a bear running from a four-eyed fat bastard with a hand cannon.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Spot on, Doug. I have a fascination with military rifles, but wouldn’t want to own an AR or AK or M4 because its sending the wrong message. If there was a way to keep them under lock and key at a secure site, I have no objections whatsoever to people using these for competition, etc. I shot some of that stuff in ROTC but my personal choice is something more subdued like a Mini-14 or Model 70, with open sights for more challenge.

    • Stan Thomas Says:

      So it’s settled then, everyone should be able to own several self-loading weapons that can kill up to 10 people without reloading. But machine guns, anti-tank weapons and Soviet classics are out.

      • Douglas Glondeniz Says:

        You are free to own or not own whatever you like. I would ask you to respect the rights of other law abiding people to do the same.

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        Doug, you are free to do as you please and you’re far enough away with enough X-ray machines between us that your choices cannot affect me. But, as an outsider looking in, I’m holding up a mirror to highlight the hollowness of the sentiment “goddamn things look like dead children to me” within a gun totin’, yee-hah society.

        Merry Christmas.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Stan, believe it or not, there are responsible firearms owners in the Colonies. You’ve been trading quips with some of them.

        My Custer County pal is another such. He’s particular about what he eats, so he raises some of his own beef and hunts other animals — not for sport, or for fun, but for food. His reasoning is that the animals he raises and hunts are less likely to be full of stuff you’d rather not eat, and it puts him closer to the source of his food. He finds this valuable in a number of ways, as do I.

        Now, he could hunt these animals with a bow and arrow — plenty of people do. But he’s a skilled marksman with a firearm, and he chooses to hunt with his legal weapon of choice. He’s an athlete and a free-lance journo’ like me, but with even less free time, because he’s raising an autistic son. So wandering around the Wet Mountains awaiting the perfect bow shot to keep meat on the table is pretty much out of the question.

        This guy is the model firearm owner. He never takes a whimsical shot, eats what he kills (except for the rattlesnakes) and hates the NRA. Him we don’t need to worry about.

        But there are 300 million guns in this country, and some of them belong to people we do have to worry about. So the question is how to let my friend keep hunting dinner while keeping the loonies from hunting us. There are no easy answers.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Well, Stan, I’d offer you a bit of advice. People who live in glass houses should not throw too many rocks. While we Yanks might be quite willing to mow down our own wives and children in cold blood, it wasn’t that long ago that some pretty respectable Brits set up an execution squad in the middle of a town and mowed down several hundred unarmed men, women, and children in cold blood.

        Of course, they weren’t white folks like most UK residents. They were darkies, and therefore, fair game. Of course, I am talking about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, aka Amritsar massacre. My read of history was that Gen Dyer was not some loose cannon with an official mental defect, but a respected member of your army with a mental defect who was subsequently venerated for his act of cold blooded mass murder.

        So with all due respect sir, we may be pretty fucked up on this side of the pond, but we seem to have inherited that gene from our forefathers on your side of the pond. Have a nice day.

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        Yes, we Brits have a chequered past. But we have tried to move on. In living memory, my father played a part in flattening Germany cities from the air. Today I have German friends and colleagues and we are sometimes moved to reflect on how such things could ever have happened.

        So Patrick, in a country where most people get their meat from McDonalds, can you justify a gun culture based on the premise of a tiny minority wanting to pretend they’re Dave Crockett?

      • High Plains Drifters Says:

        I hear a lot of whining, nothing close to a recommendation.
        We have a constitutional issue. Banning more types isn’t an option. And an amendment would take a dozen years, with no guarantee of ratification.
        So help us out. What’s the next step? We’ve admitted we have a problem.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Stan, as HPD notes, this is a constitutional issue. Like it or not, the Second Amendment exists, and wrestling with it is no day at the beach.

        As regards hunting, now, in 2011 some 15 million licenses were issued. Some of these licensees were no doubt trigger-happy nitwits — any American who has ever lived in the country can tell you a tale or two about that lot, and I doubt those 15 million account for all of the 300 million guns in private hands in this country.

        But I expect most of them were like my friends who hunt: careful, methodical meat eaters who prefer to get theirs the old-fashioned way rather than via the feedlot.

        Part of being an American is (or should be) about safeguarding the rights of the minority. In its simplest reading the Second protects those 15 million hunters from well-meaning people who can’t tell the difference between a .30-06 bolt-action hunting rifle and an AR-15 with a 90-round drum magazine.

        Unfortunately, a broader reading leaves us wide open to massacres like the one in Connecticut — where, The New York Times reports, an older, more responsible generation of gun owners has been appalled by the rise of a new generation fond of assault weapons, shooting into explosives and propane tanks, and in general acting the fool.

        Closing the gap between these two concepts of Second Amendment rights is gonna be a tough hustle, and it will take more than glib phrases about Mickey D’s and Davey Crockett to get the job done.

  8. md anderson Says:

    An interesting bit of historical information came my way on a blog regarding the “right to bear arms” business. In a nutshell,the history of the phrase “to bear arms” has it’s origins in feudal times and referred to the right to serve in a military capacity. Back when the king asked the dukes who asked the counts who asked…well you get the idea… to raise an army, only those in the “military class” has the right to “bear arms.” (thus they had a “coat of arms”). They weren’t recruiting out of the peasant class. (Its only modern armies that do that.) Military service was one of the few ways of upward mobility. The argument goes that the framers of the Constitution possibly could have been referring to this right, and not just the right to own a gun, which most folks would have had as it was a useful tool for the purpose of defense against wild critters and the gaining of food. I think this is an interpretation that needs to be explored more.

  9. sherkat Says:

    I had three guns when I decided it wasn’t a good thing to have them around with the kids and such. Crime is at its lowest point in US history, and if it were not for the mentally ill having easy access to high powered weapons, it’d be even lower. So, the fantasy of somehow saving yourself or your family with a gun is just that. The reality is that it is much more likely that some dirtbag will break in and steal it, or your new neighbor’s unruly kid will dig it out and shoot his sister when you have them over for wine.

  10. Sharon Says:

    Being an Austin, Texas girl I have friends and family on both (or even many) sides of this one. And I can understand the different perspectives that really good people have – usually those disagreeing have the difference between more rural and then more urban heritages.. Serious conversation and discussion is needed where everyone has a voice that is heard.Will agree with all that have commented above – this is going to be hard to get those who have a firm opinion to move the dial as this is a very polarizing topic in US.

  11. BruceM Says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen: A thought. Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. The guns are out there, and people won’t willingly give them up.

    Why are we so inclined to use them against one another?

    Could it be we’ve allowed our society to become one of fear? Our past election consided simply of telling people what to be afraid of and who was to blame for it. Gohmert thinks people should fear the government. If the government isn’t out to get me, my neighbor will come and take my possessions unless I shoot first.

    We live in a climate of fear. Is it any wonder we kill one another?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Bruce, it’s a pleasure to have you back in the conversation. It does seem a bit like the Cold War arms race brought home, doesn’t it? Us against Them, with Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), damn the unilateral disarmament and every man’s finger on a big red button.

      How are things out your way?

      • BruceM Says:

        Patrick, life here in the Pacific NorthWet is great! I’ve finished growing the required web between my toes. Natives are born with web feet, but we aliens have to grow them once we arrive! As for guns, I’ve grown weary of the small-minded people who believe there is a case for owning weapons of war. Once, in New Mexico, I was a member of the Mounted Patrol, a civilian aux of the State Police. Once out of that, I realized my sidearm was only good for killing people. I sold it and haven’t own a gun since. Nonetheless, I understand why people do own them, but still …..

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Good man, Bruce. Once you have the gills, you’ll be set for life.

        Glad to hear all as well. Pop round more often, we need sensible commentary to go along with the usual blithering idiocy from Your Humble Narrator.

  12. High Plains Drifters Says:

    The 2A might be the most poorly worded sentence in the entire Big C + BoR.

    But the really scary part is that neither side is willing to suggest updating it, because of the fear of losing.

    Just more evidence that we get exactly the gubbermint we deserve.

  13. JoeyDurango Says:

    Bruce, I think you’re spot on. This isn’t an issue of guns and gun control – the recent shooting in the Portland mall was with a stolen gun. People out to wreck havoc will do so no matter what. I dislike rednecks, trophy hunters, conspiracy theorists, and other guns-are-the-answer-to-everything dummies as much as anyone, but guns are a tool that, as with all tools, can be misused.

    Somehow we managed to get along for the better part of two centuries without the sort of random senseless violence we see in contemporary culture (at least the community-centered violence we see now – wouldn’t want to count all those wars, coups, subterfuge, native genocide, etc. that we perpetrated, directly or indirectly, outside of our definition of community). At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man at the age of 30, the world is changing and not necessarily for the better.

    I’ve my own ideas of why, but it would take a lot longer than a comment-section post to explain… suffice to say that as the world is more interconnected virtually, in reality we’re ever-more fragmented, disconnected, lost in a vast system of humanity that is way larger than evolution ever prepared us to deal with. Once human groups get over a certain size, anonymity breeds lack of accountability breeds lack of meaning breeds hopelessness breeds violence, and on and on. We’ve lost focus of what it means to structure societies to humanity’s advantage, as opposed to around a few powerful humans’ benefit.

  14. Khal Spencer Says:

    HPD is right. We won’t amend the 2nd for the same reason we can’t get a budget. Compromise is seen as a weakness and neither side will budge.

    There are a host of issues. This kid needed mental help but he didn’t get it. His mom obtained those guns legally and he shot her and stole them. So no background check was done on Adam. If his mom knew the kid had issues, why were her weapons so easily available? Perhaps a locked gun safe would have stopped this whole crazy thing.

    Does anyone really need a weapon whose only purpose is the battlefield? If so, then American as a nation is toast. I got into the receiving end of a shitstorm today when suggesting to several high level security folks that perhaps we needed to ban assault rifles. One mentioned that any fool with a semi-auto and a dozen ten round clips (looking something like O’G’s piece) could have done almost as well as Adam. Another said there is probably a run on assault rifles and drum magazines as I write this. Probably true. People in this country are nuts. But they missed the point. By extolling these killing machines, what are we saying between the lines?

    So the bigger issue is a country where so many demented folks see violence as a solution to their issues and are arming for Armageddon. We can’t even trust anyone with fertilizer since the day Timmy McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Pulling a Rambo is becoming trendy, and I don’t know what to do about it. You can even get video games and buy movies extolling such behavior. Nice.

    UK is having its own issues with increased violence. Social unrest and bigotry, coupled with Jihadist maniacs have the other side of the pond sparking and flaring. I am curious as to what those non-violent Brits will do when more of their own countrymen start blowing up more buses and train stations. After all, when Schickelgruber firebombed London and Coventry, most Brits didn’t see a problem with replying with Hamburg and Cologne. Are we SURE our mellow Brits are past resorting to such behavior?

    As far as the United States of Maniacs, at some point, a nation becomes so dysfunctional that a Constitution and Bill of Rights becomes problematic anyway. I think we are headed in that direction and I don’t see any adults in the room to stop it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Meanwhile, here in Colorado, this weekend set a record for single-day background-check submittals for potential gun purchases. Happy days.

      • Khal Spencer Says:

        Gawd, Patrick. I hope all your first graders are getting automatic weapons training. “Johnnie, did you remember your crayons and your AK-47? Janie, did you remember your lunch and your M4? Hurry up, the Suburbia Central School M113 Armored Student Carrier just turned the corner and is right up the street!!”

        And lest we forget the new and more relevant version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, written for 21st Century America:

        You better stay down
        You better not cry
        Better not shout
        I’m telling you why
        Adam Lanza’s coming to town

        He’s loading his clips,
        And checking them twice;
        Checkin’ whose schools ain’t buttoned up tight
        Adam Lanza’s coming to town

        He sees you behind the bookcase,
        He knows that you’re someplace
        He knows if you’ve gone under the desk
        So please run for goodness sakes!

        O! You better stay down,
        You better not cry
        Better not shout, I’m telling you why.
        Adam Lanza’s coming to town.
        Adam Lanza’s coming to town.

      • High Plains Drifters Says:

        Every time there’s an “incident,” folks go get more guns. Maybe 20% suddenly realize the threat and want to arm themselves. The rest already have plenty, but think guns are about to be banned

        Mississippi ran out of ammo right after Obama was reelected.

  15. Khal Spencer Says:

    Lest we Americans think we have a corner on the market of extreme violence.

    • Ira Says:

      That was for sure a sad day for Norway, Khal. US is not alone in this sort of tragedy, for sure. There was an attack on a school in Montreal killing 14 young women. But that was over 20 years ago. And the Norway attack was an isolated incident. The Newtown attack was the third mass shooting in the US in a week. Access to mental healthcare, gun control, treating drug use as a crime rather than a social issue; there are lots of possible contributing factors, but the fact remains USA is leading the world in gun violence. I just wonder if anybody will remember this once the satellite trucks have packed up and gone on to the next “big news” item.

  16. High Plains Drifters Says:

    Have been struggling with Major Depressive Disorder for a dozen years or so. And I’m alive today because of Army doctors and the VA. That is to say, I had access. Many do not. Many do not and go on to do terrible things

    We can argue forever about whether access to mental health services is a right, a privilege, or an entitlement. But for a second, forget your own ideology and political affiliation, and boil it down to nuts and bolts. Less access = more death. Simple math here. Less of one produces more of the other. Please ask yourself: you cool with that? Cuz I can think of 26 reasons why I’m not.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My brother HPD raises an important point here: This is as much a health-care issue as a Second Amendment issue. It also raises questions about how we as citizens of a Republic — that imaginary “well directed militia” — largely nap through a foreign policy that can lead to havoc abroad and at home.

      Who here knows someone who killed another person(s) with a firearm, or used one as her or her own personal express off-ramp to the Next World? I know at least one of the former (outside warfare) and too many of the latter.

      I’ve known others who checked out via razor blade, drugs or high places, of course. If you really want to go — and want to take someone along for company — there are plenty of ways to do it.

      Spending a bit more on health care, and a bit less on wars of choice, might help reduce a portion of our Second Amendment liability.

      • Douglas Glondeniz Says:

        If you look back, mental health funding was cut starting back in the Reagan administration. I believe that this has a lot to do with what is happening these days. Some mentally challenged people are on the street and some are already in prison instead of getting the help they need. I do not mean this as a slam on people that need mental help. It is a clear sign that we are not doing enough, all in the name of the all mighty buck. Pat, you are right on about less wars and more health care. Maybe this could have been prevented if that were the case.

  17. Pat Says:

    Well, folks, it appears we have a reasonable conversation going on here. I don’t expect it anywhere else right now. But, I can hope. Patrick, you have demonstrated how to correctly respond to someone who has a closed mind. You tried but it is locked up tight. Trade the guns you have in at a gun shop. Whoever gets them will have to go through the background check. Perhaps a good single action .22 revolver would bring the fun factor back. Think of it like your favorite Sturmey Archer three speed equipped bike with those little leather loops polishing the hubs as you rode along.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, shucks, Pat, we try. And rarely, we succeed.

      You know which firearm I liked the best of all of them? That Ruger 10-22 carbine. Popping empty beer cans with .22 longs was not only cheap, it was great for flushing out the headgear on those days when the words or pictures just wouldn’t come when called.

      And yes, the beer cans were emptied days before the carnage commenced, in case anyone was wondering.

  18. Brian Smith Says:

    This was an enlightening read. I wish we could transport the minds here, even the one’s I have issues with, to the forefront of this debate. When I duck hiunt, I am limited to 3 shellsin the gun. I cant take a 12ga street sweeper into the blind. That’s what this nut job’s mom had in the closet that he took. It was in his truck. Who the hell needs that to hunt….ducks that is.

    • Khal Spencer Says:

      Thanks, Brian. That’s gotta be part of the debate.

      Interestingly, the last few days has resulted in my version of Herself gradually accepting the difference between legitimate hunting and sport firearms and modern day battlefield equipment. Prior to that, if it had a barrel and fired a bullet, it was equally evil.

      I was paging through a copy of Guns and Ammo this morning and again, was amazed by the numbers of advertisements telling us we all need battlefield-grade firearms to defend the home and hearth. My God, get real. Someone here tell me that if someone is breaking into your home and hears you racking 12 gauge shells into the shotgun (that’s why I like pump action shotguns–NO ONE short of a deaf man can miss that sound). Well, tell me they aren’t gonna leave? Folks, this is the USA, not Afghanistan or Iraq. When there ceases to be a difference, I’ll be on the next plane volunteering to wrench for Larry and Heather.

      I’m not blind to the decent and law-abiding but somewhat eccentric folks who own assault weapons purely for sport shooting, and am sorry they are caught in this crossfire. One’s personal avocation for high capacity assault rifles has to be balanced against the greater good. Its not a greater good when people abuse the easy availability of these weapons to take out a grade school, mall, and movie theatre. If we are to be able to own these things, the gun owning public and its lobby need to step to the plate and figure out how we can do so without putting the public in constant danger. Its really up to us–if we want to avoid more bad politics and bad carnage.

      No right is completely unrestricted.

  19. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, the rational conversation continues here. And since Stan’s mind is closed tighter than a gnat’s ass stretched over a rain barrel, I will pay him no mind. I know, be civil and listen.
    Patrick, why not just keep the .22s? Or, trade the whole lot in for a couple of top drawer .22s.
    Charles’s piece over a RKP was excellent.
    Maybe I will head over to the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel tomorrow and let Ken cheer me up. I bought a new wool Walz cap last time I was there and that tickled the shit out of me. And yes, sometimes I wear it off the bike! Have a great holiday. Later.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Pat — is the Old Bisbee Brewing Company still going strong? When I visited on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 it seemed like a great place, and pretty damn’ good beer, too.

      I might keep the Ruger .22, if only to hunt squirrels for the stew pot come the Aporkalypse (that dire day when the collapse of society means one can no longer find pork chops at the grocery). The S&W .22 was an impulse purchase that I regret; it was a piece of crap from the get-go and should be melted down and turned into a couple-three toilet handles.

      P.S.: “Gnats ass stretched over a rain barrel.” Hee haw. I am so stealing that one.

  20. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Khal, the sound of an 870 locking up would turn away any baddy but an idiot. And you are on the mark about no right being completely unrestricted, especially since no one really cried loud when the last assault weapon ban was law. My better half enjoys a good plinking session; maybe yours would too. Maybe this worthless congress can finally do something. But, they need to fix the budget mess first.

  21. Larry T. Says:

    The 2nd Amendment argument is tough to understand. Laws prevent ordinary citizens owning fighter planes, tanks, and other weapons of war. While I have no issue with hunting rifles, there’s ZERO need for automatic weapons or pistols – weapons useful only for killing other human beings. ALL of those things should simply be banned…the only folks who should have them are law enforcement and military. The hunting rifles should be plenty to keep the gummint from taking over as so many of these folks fear.

    • Brian Says:

      It was common citizenry with “hunting rifles” that wrestled this country from the British

    • khal spencer Says:

      I had to jump through a flaming hoop sideways while whistling Dixie through my ass to get a NYS concealed carry permit for pistol. I think that is quite reasonable in general for handguns and high capacity semi-auto weapons.

      Interestingly, Connecticut had such a convoluted assault weapons law that you could own most anything without violating it if the gun company was smart. The Bushmaster 223 was apparently legal. Go figure. Written by a gun manufacturer, I bet.

      CT law:

      Bushmaster 223

  22. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Pat, I picked up that gnat’s ass saying living in Georgia in the late 70s. Steal away brother!
    Went to the Old Bisbee Brewing Company 2 years ago and we really dissappointed. The pilsner was undrinkable (sour, cloudy, and flat) and the red ale was barely passable. Sent them an e mail, since the bartender said she doesn’t make the beer, and did not receive a reply. But, I like second chances so we will give them one. Let you know how it turns out.

  23. khal spencer Says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but this op-ed was written in the LA Times by the judge who sentenced Jared Lee Loughner, the looney who shot Gabby Giffords.,0,6774314.story

    A conservative case for an assault weapons ban
    By U.S. Judge Larry Alan Burns

  24. Stan Thomas Says:

    Hi Patrick, don’t want to re-open the debate but, as one of the few Americans I ‘know’ outside work, I just had to let you see this spam e-mail. Is this for real ????

    “Excerpt from Muad’Dib’s January 7th, 2013 Critical Mass Radio interview:

    …They used a poster child for this to get everybody’s sympathy and to get everybody’s emotions up so that they could hopefully bring in a gun ban. They used a little poster child, a little blonde-haired blue-eyed six year old girl. She was the face, the poster child. She was supposedly killed along with the other 19 six year olds and seven year olds at Sandy Hook. Three days later Obama was there doing a photo op and she’s sitting on his knee. She’s supposed to be dead, used as a poster child, this little girl died – she’s sitting on Obama’s knee three days later. The same little girl.

    And then they have her parents interviewed. It shows that they’re all actors. It never really happened, because the guy that was supposedly her dad, is shown in the video where he’s to the side and he’s laughing and joking with other people and then he’s called up in front of the camera. He’s off to the left. Then he’s called to the center, to the focus of the camera to be interviewed and to give his speech about Sandy Hook and about his daughter. And he goes from on the side from laughing and joking with everybody, he comes up to the center and … he takes the joking, smiling face off and you can see him physically trying to force his face to look sad and then he starts talking about how his daughter’s been killed. They’re actors. There were no bodies.

    It was a made for TV drama to try to ram through the gun control laws, because they want to kill the American people and they can’t kill armed people. That’s why Hitler disarmed the Germans, it’s why Stalin disarmed the Russians, it’s why chairman Mao disarmed the Chinese and they killed between them something like 120 million of their own people. And that’s what they want to do in America and they can’t do it because the people have the Second Amendment and they have guns. So they have to do all of this, and they’ll keep doing it. There will be more incidents like this, which are made for television, until they manage to persuade the American people to give up their guns. And then they’ll start killing the Americans. Because the Americans are the only people stopping them from doing what they want to do already. They know they can’t put their next phase, which is reducing the world’s population, they can’t put that phase into operation whilst the Americans have got millions of guns. “

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