Business as usual

Robert Lewis Dear, held in the Bibleburg shootings. Photo: CSPD

Robert Lewis Dear, held in the Bibleburg shootings. Photo: CSPD

Yesterday’s terrorism in Bibleburg is getting the usual reaction across the Innertubez — shock, horror, dismay, etc., plus the usual elbows being thrown in pursuit of sociopolitical points. Seems everyone has a dog in the fight, including Your Humble Narrator.

A friend asked if it was official “that Colorado leads the nation in this sort of violence,” and it’s true that my old home state has generated more than its share of headline-grabbers.

But maybe we should be paying less attention to wholesale bloodshed and more to the steady drip, drip, drip of retail homicide that somehow eludes us.

There’s Chicago, for example. And Baltimore. Body counts that mostly don’t have a damn thing to do with revolutionary politics or a slight to somebody’s imaginary friend.

It’s just too easy for Americans to kill each other. And while we wait to add a bit of insight regarding cause to what we already know about effect, we can be certain of one thing right now: Gun sales will skyrocket, in Bibleburg and elsewhere.

It’s like watching the fire department fighting a five-alarm with a tanker truck full of gasoline.

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28 Responses to “Business as usual”

  1. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    These folks who are described as “pro life” while shooting people at Planned Parenthood remind me of Stan Smith, the American Dad in Fox’s cartoon show. He famously said, “Abortion? That’s the only killing we don’t like!” Of course if we could keep guns out of their hands things would be a lot better..which brings me to my next question for the (usually) right-wingers: Why do they seem to be OK with folks being gunned down, saying it’s just the price we pay for our “freedoms” under the 2nd Amendment…but then turn around and say we can’t let a single refugee in from Syria? Are they going to yank the “…tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..” plaque off Lady Liberty next? Or maybe JEB will add, “Christians Only” to the bottom?

  2. Sharon Says:

    One might call it Christian terrorism…ends justify the means.

  3. GJ_John Says:

    That this happened in C-Springs doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that some sort of right-wing shoot-’em-up hasn’t happened here in Dysfunction Junction yet. After all, we’re home to things like this: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/western-slope/donald-trump-billboard-getting-attention-near-grand-junction

  4. Steve O Says:

    I’m not allowed to talk about this using specifics, but with a little bit of Wall Street googling y’all can probably fill in the blanks.

    Major sporting good retailer specializing in hunting just finished doubling the size of their corporate HQ only to immediately start cutting staff. Seems they assumed that the rush in guns and ammo that started around 2008 would go on forever. Now that our Kenyan born, soshuhlist, terrorist coddling prez is on his way out, folks aren’t hoarding and/or preparing for the Second Coming quite as enthusiastically as before.

    That’s at the macro level. At the local, events like this always raise sales within a few hundred zip codes of where the action went down

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Ah, the gun bubble. Couldn’t buy an AR-15 except at double retail, and couldn’t find a box of .22lr at any price. As Patrick noted in an earlier post, conspiracy folks stocking all those guns and ammo next to their canned water and freeze dried food. Idiots.

    • Steve O Says:

      I love the folks who buy the year’s supply of food and water from Costco. If they’re so sure the world is about to end, why do they care about saving money?

  6. Steve O Says:

    Colorado is a weird freaking state. You got our ongoing experiment in libertarianism down south and the People’s Republic of Boulder just an hour and change away.

    More sunshine than anywhere along with high rates of depression and suicide.

    Highly educated work force that’s all imported because of a failing school system.

    A study in contrasts from just about every angle.

  7. Stan Thomas Says:

    I suppose one can take solace that US shootings usually feature a lone gunman and a lower death toll. But the link here, boys and girls, is guns with a capital G.

    Following the Paris attack everyone in Europe was asking where the fuck did they get Kalashnikovs – turns out it’s not that difficult in Belgium. But this is not even a question in the US of A.

    Everyone now assumes there will be strenuous measures to clamp down on firearms across the EU. Yet all of you here talk of owning a lethal weapon, something that has no other purpose than killing, as though it is somehow normal, acceptable. And not just single-shot hunting rifles but fucking semi-automatic assault weapons. It’s alright because you’re responsible gun owners. But it should come as no surprise when mad and bad people easily get their hands on normal, everyday objects too.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Reading over the Buzzfeed report, I suspect Dear would have passed a background check. No felonies, no Class A misdemeanors, no adjudication of mental defect. Perhaps if his wife had pressed charges for that assault, he would have a record of violent spousal abuse that would have flagged him. She did not.

      Sometimes that’s all you need–one swift kick in the pants. I would elaborate, but the guy in question saw the light and I would not wish to embarrass him (or me) if anyone from Upstate NY is reading this.

      Unfortunately, Dear is yet another example of flying under the radar. The loon who shot Gabby Giffords likewise never showed up on a NICS list because while his college banned him, no one sought to have him adjudicated. The Aurora shooter’s shrink was on the fence as far as reporting that one. So it goes. I think we need to adjust the height of the bar as far as passing a background check.

      “…It’s alright because you’re responsible gun owners. But it should come as no surprise when mad and bad people easily get their hands on normal, everyday objects too….”

      Word, Stan.

      About a month ago I sent in a 600 word essay to the New Mexican in which I suggested we could regulate those plastic bad boys halfway between old fashioned internal magazine autoloading hunting rifles (or the M1 Garande, which had an internal magazine that restricts capacity to 8 rounds) and fully automatic or selective fire high capacity military weapons, which require a special Federal permit.

      My opinion is the semiauto-only civilian version of selective fire military hardware like the M-16 or M-4, in the hands of these loons, is a distinction without a difference. Shit, in the hands of your average right wing loon, we might be safer if they had full auto, since they would blow off their magazine in 2 seconds, waste most of the rounds, and then someone could grab the rifle and shove it deeply up his ass muzzle first. And then ask if he had a spare magazine.

      So far the New Mexican has not printed my screed. I guess I am not liberal enough for them. Here ’tis.
      http://northmesamutts.blogspot.com/2015/11/if-discussion-sucks-so-will-outcome.html

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s a strange culture, Stan. If “culture” is even the right word. I’ve lived in it all my life and I don’t pretend to understand it.

      My father was a veteran of World War II, but we never had a weapon in the house. I don’t know why; never asked. The old man didn’t talk much about the war. Maybe he’d seen enough guns to last a lifetime.

      Now, me, I got my first pistol (illegally) at age 17. I considered myself to be in the Vanguard of the Revolution®, though the Revolution was mostly unaware of this and The Man wasn’t exactly shitting himself in terror over my little .380 Llama seven-shot.

      The Revolution never quite eventuated, but a series of jobs in bad neighborhoods did, and after the .380 jammed on me while the CSPD was chasing a bad guy up my fire escape I got rid of it in favor of a much more reliable .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver, which I still own. I lived in cheap rentals and slept in my truck when I traveled and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

      The Mini-Thirty and .357 Marlin lever-action I got when we lived outside Weirdcliffe. The sheriff’s office was a long ways away, and we had bears, mountain lions and the occasional two-legged varmint in the vicinity. I used the .357 once to run off a bear that was trying to climb in the living room window. It makes a fine loud noise, about like God slamming His front door. And it was a very small bear, so he took me seriously.

      But now, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have all these goddamn things on my hands and the issue has become what to do about them.

      Here’s one responsible gun owner’s solution. I’m not sure I’m there yet — as a lifelong paranoid I’m not comfortable with the idea of Them having a monopoly on firepower — but it’s definitely time to thin the herd.

      • khal spencer Says:

        At least it wasn’t a nice, old fashioned N or K frame Smith and Wesson revolver he wrecked, if you get my drift.

        Living in the NE Heights isn’t too bad. A friend of ours lives in the SE Heights near Gibson and recently got pretty rattled when her neighbor’s house was broken into and burglarized.

  8. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I hear you Stan, but gun ownership is part of our constitution, and whether you or I agree with it or not it is the law. So, where does that leave us? In the U. S. the federal government, states, and municipalities can limit what kind of firearms can be possessed and where they can be carried and used. Please reference the article by Justice Stevens in Patrick’s previous post. So, you can’t own a sawed off shotgun or, in most cases, a fully automatic gun. Now you think ALL guns have only one purpose, to kill, but then go on to say that maybe a single shot rifle is in a different category than a semi-automatic assault rifle. So where do we draw the line? I submit that the assault weapon ban and magazine capacity limit of 10 rounds that used to be federal law be reinstated. And we also should pass a law requiring mandatory background checks for all firearm purchases. Illinois had a novel law passed in the 1970’s, and still in force, requiring a Firearm Owner’s ID card. You can not buy guns or ammunition in Illinois with being a registered firearm owner with the requisite background check. I support that law as well. Anyway, all guns, and many other objects, fall into your broad category of lethal weapons. A law banning the sale of pointy knives was being proposed in your country. Might be yanked out of the kitchen drawer and used as a lethal weapon, Now, I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty fucking stupid.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Having a single background check and an ID is an interesting idea, rather than having to do a NICS check every time you buy something. The state has these on file and can automatically cross-reference them to the criminal and adjudicated mental defect list whenever it is updated.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        In Arizona, if you have a current concealed carry permit, which requires 8 hours of training including range time and a background check with fingerprints, then an Arizona dealer does not have to do the NICS check when you purchase a gun. You still have to complete the FF4473 form. The Firearms Owners ID (called FOID) in Illinois has survived some legal challenges. The fear was that the gubmint would have a data base of every gun owner. Currently there is no federal data base of gun purchases or owners.

    • David Rees Says:

      It is a part of our constitution, and, like other amendments to that document, we’ve changed and modified a few of them over the years as we’ve changed as a nation. It’s now time for the 2nd to be re-worded as well.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Yep! And why not re-define ARMS? As far as I know you can’t own a fighter jet with guns and bombs attached or other weapons of war, so why CAN you own a machine gun? Our crackpot congressman claims the AR15 is needed for Iowa farmers to shoot coyotes. I ponied up some dough to the Brady folks a few mass shootings ago – the idea being only if enough of us join the anti-gun lobby will there be a way to counter the small number of NRA kooks and their lobbyists. Polling shows a large majority of citizens in favor of MORE, not less control on guns and their owners.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Actually a machine gun is a destructive device and heavily regulated. Nothing in Heller vs. DC (or previous rulings) precludes more rigorous controls on firearms. NYS’s SAFE Act, for example, largely passed muster. Its a political issue.

        There is a case working its way through the Federal system about a San Francisco law requiring guns to be kept locked up unless being carried around. So far, the city has won on the first appellate level. So we see where that goes. I suppose the down side is that a few folks in ‘Frisco, as my mom called it, will be carrying their heat to bed with them. Which can lead to some obvious, off color jokes….

        Heller won against DC not because Scalia wanted to preclude all gun control, but because DC went too far in the eyes of the majority. I’ve argued that we agree on a nationwide baseline standard for controls and then declare victory, thus eliminating the “underground railroad” from gun-permissive to gun tough states. That would, of course, require each side to give something up; good luck getting the lambs of California to lie down with the lions of Arizona. Where I live, the gun control nuts are as bad as the gun nuts. Maria Viscoli of New Mexicans for Gun Safety, for example, wrote in the New Mexican that we just should get rid of the goddamn things. Well, that will not fly in ‘Murrica…my suggestion here is to start with our world famous revolving door felon system.

        As far as the public, there was a recent Pew poll showing the public about equally divided on more controls vs. gun owner’s rights. Sadly, the argument rarely has to do with facts but rather the shit people watch on TV. As your wife says, Larry…..
        http://www.pewresearch.org/data-trend/domestic-issues/gun-control/

        And just to be clear, I quit the NRA in the early eighties and don’t speak for them, in case anyone wonders. Nothing to do with guns, either. Had to do with a loud fight with an NRA fundraiser who wanted me to write a check to Strom Thurmond’s re-election campaign. I ran out of four letter words describing to him what I thought of old Strom, told him I was not a single issue voter, and then hung up.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I think if the two sides of the debate trusted each other a little, more could get done. Whenever there is talk about controls or registration, the right fears confiscation–the President’s allusions to Australia, for example. It would be a little easier to push the idea of a national ID card if there was a little less concern about someone knocking at the door down the line. A firm promise to stay in the political center might help.

      Plus, O’G kind of nails the other issue: racism. As long as gun violence is confined to drug dealers, gang bangers and their unfortunate neighbors, no one gives a rat’s ass except the disenfranchised folks in the city who have, to quote an old Bruce Cockburn song, a bullet hole in the kitchen wall. As soon as some lunatic starts shooting up good middle class people, usually with an assault rifle, all hell breaks loose on the indignity of it all. Meanwhile, the real gun problem in the US remains: handguns in inner cities.

    • Boz Says:

      Pat -There is a federal database. It just happens to be a roster of all of the NRA members. Yes, joining the NRA puts you on their database, which is no more secure than any other. So when the boys (and girls) scream about a national registry, well, there it is. And it seems the gun nuts just can’t stop bragging about their arsenals, at least the ones I have to work around every day. AR this and AK that. Kinda reminds me of cyclist…

    • Stan Thomas Says:

      @Pat O’Brien
      Guns have one purpose and one purpose alone – to kill. I don’t say I’m fine with hunting rifles or Purdey shotguns, I’m not. But there is a scale of lethality from target pistols used in the Olympics to Bren Guns. And I am stagered that any Fat Old Guys can think a Kalashnikov-type weapon is “fun”.

      The USA accepts guns as normal, everyday items. I read that, in this incident:
      http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2015/11/02/colorado-shooting-victims-were-recovering-addicts-cyclist
      a woman called the police to report the shooter carrying a gun in the street. The police informed her that he was entitled to do this.

      As for knives, there was, maybe still is, a proposal to only sell knives with blunt ends. Not a problem. And if you think it’s stupid then you are clearly lucky enough never to have had a major row with your wife.

  9. Hurben Says:

    Once more, you Americans scare the shit out of me with your politics. Nothing to see here at the end of the world, please move on. Lights have been turned off.

    • psobrien Says:

      Hurben, please leave a light on for us. Sandy owns 3 Ashford looms, and “The World’s Fastest Indian” is one of our favorite movies. We might need sanctuary if Trump gets elected. Would you take us a refugees?

  10. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, gentlemen and ladies, we have had most of this discussion before, more’s the pity. Poll results in the good old U.S. might tell us what the majority of citizens think about an issue, but unless they vote they are pissing into the wind. I think the NRA stinks, and like Khal, I quit them long ago. But they are very good and getting their members to vote on this single issue, and use this leverage and a big bag of money to get our corrupt politicians to vote against any reasonable gun legislation. So here we are. What to do? I vote for opening the bar early and reading the latest issue of Adventure Cycling. And now time for a shameless plug to make sure Patrick’s pay checks don’t bounce. Try the Adventure Cycling Cyclosource catalog for some of your holiday shopping. Lots of gifts for almost anyone. I loaded up on Chico Bags and pint glasses. Lot’s of other gifts under $30.

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