Thoughts, prayers and tacos

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Force), proposes that all serious cats bring more than thoughts and prayers to a gunfight, or even a taco truck.

Our “leaders” are sending thoughts and prayers around and about once more, this time to a small Baptist church outside San Antone.

I often think about tacos. (“Man, a taco sure sounds good right about now.”) I have even been known to pray for tacos. (“Jesus, let there be a taco stand around here somewhere!”)

None of this has ever gotten me a single fucking taco.

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34 Responses to “Thoughts, prayers and tacos”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I don’t pray, but lots of folks pray for peace. We see everyday how well that works. Abbot, Trump, and Ted, the Toxic Avenger, Cruz should just shut the fuck up.

  2. fieldte Says:


  3. khal spencer Says:

    We can wipe our asses with all the “thoughts and prayers” the GOP offers and at least those T and P would have a use– as TP. Meanwhile, nothing gets done.

    Guns are not a rational discussion in America. They are religion, and we all know what good it does to lecture people about religion. You get one population worshipping guns and the other population wanting to burn them at the stake. First casualty is real dialog.

    As far as these mass shootings are concerned, what they do to defy solution is they are random, unlike the predicable shit in parts of Albuquerque or Chicago where we know we have armed criminals preying on people. Mass shootings happen to nice white people in states with strong (San Bernadino, Newtown) and weak (Texas, Nevada, Colorado) gun control. There are something like 60-80 million gun owners out there and virtually all are benign. Present company, I hope, included. One lunatic and you get a mass shooting and shit, how does one know who the flake needle is in the gunstack?

    These events are those “rare but catastrophic” events we talk about in my line of work up in BombTowne. With “rare but catastrophic” events associated with a process, you either avoid them by not allowing for their possibility or rigorously control for failure modes to make them extremely rare and controllable. Examples are the rigorous conduct of operations protocols in place in nuclear facilities or power plants. First generation nuke plants can be accidents waiting to happen, so strict controls cover their operation and planning. When you fail at that, you get Chernobyl (a runaway production reaction design where the rules were ignored during an exercise) or Fukushima Daichi (deliberately glossing over a possible 1,000 yr tsunami).

    So we either ban guns or we strictly control for the most lethal ones, possibly by revising the 1934 National Firearms Act to require that semiauto ARs be regulated similarly to full auto guns. Sort of a moderate version of the Aussie Solution since a real Aussie Solution would probably mean war. We limit the firepower of handguns (mag limits?) Perhaps we require screening for ownership. Kinda like I had to undergo annual shrink screening in order to work with those WMDs up here, back when I did that kind of work. Oh, and we find a way to get those 300-500 million guns already out there under control, including those in the hands of lunatics, political freaks, and gang bangers. Good luck.

    Not much chance of that happening with guns, sailor. Its religion, you know. Now I think I might go down to the range for a while to offer my thoughts and prayers. After last year’s legislative session in NM, I am convinced both sides are beyond hope for tying their shoes, to say nothing of tangling with a huge and intractable problem that involves guns, poverty, political dysfunction, social media brainwashing, income inequality, and God knows what else.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth bringing back for an encore: John Paul Stevens on the five words that could fix the Second Amendment.

      Now, here’s the process for repeal, which ain’t no day at the beach, true. Still, why not have a go at it? Via the legislatures, not via a constitutional convention, which Charlie Pierce rightly warns could go anywhere, and most probably places we’d rather it didn’t.

      The real nut-cutting involves what K says about the guns already in dubious hands. That right there is where the rubber meets the road. How do we deal with the national arsenal?

      • khal spencer Says:

        Problem with an amendment is the color of the table. Far more red states than blue so an amendment to the 2A is more likely to end up with you and I having the right to keep and bear an ICBM.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yeah, my proposal assumes a willingness to pull together in the national interest, which is patently ridiculous.

        • khal spencer Says:

          I wish we could pull together. The national interest is circling the bowl as the pols make use of their legislative kneepads before their respective bases.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          The national interest is circling the bowl as the pols will do anything they can, including using foreign influence and money, to get re-elected. Nothing else matters to them. As Carlin said, “never underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people.” Especially under the spell of anti-social media propaganda. The enablers of that propaganda were in DC last week, and told congress to go pound sand up their collective asses.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Texas shooter may have been young man court martialed out of USAF.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Dishonorable discharge disqualifies one from gun ownership. How did this clown get his? Private sale? Straw purchase? Record fuckup? Had the gun for a long time?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Psycho lived in a trailer park along the Midland Trail in Bibleburg; Old Colorado City, to be specific. I used to cycle past that place all the time back in the day.

      Looks like a bad-conduct discharge instead of a DD, too. I expect more details will manifest themselves over the next few days. Until the next shooting distracts us from this one, that is.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Abusing his spouse, child and dog, huh? Even if the bad conduct discharge doesn’t prevent gun possession, the domestic violence conviction is the court martial should have. All the signs of a violent criminal were there, and yet he got a gun, an assault weapon to boot. Not a gun, a weapon to kill people quickly and efficiently. The next thing we’ll hear is the NRA will say a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun, so we are even up.

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Just got a visa to hang out in Italy for most of 2018. When we come back we’ll start working on permanently escaping this insane gun culture. I used to donate to the Brady Campaign but I don’t bother anymore as the gun industry’s got the NRA by the short hairs and the money to buy off all the law-makers they need. Combined with a never-ending supply of stupid people, that’s enough to make sure the USA will never follow the Aussie model.
    It’s all about freedumb, dontcha know?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Free dumb is the most expensive kind.

      Get a big place, Larry. A big big place. You’re gonna have lots of visitors. Roommates. Moochers. Whatever.

      • khal spencer Says:

        You know what Larry’s wife says…

        • psobrien Says:

          All are welcome as long as they can adjust a front derailleur and change flats? How big a place are you getting Larry?

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            We live in a tiny apartment in Sicily during the winter and an even smaller one during the summer season at our Piedmont Cycling Resort.
            BUT the former is spitting-distance away from two nice hotels while the latter’s in a hotel complex – so there’s plenty of room for everyone….and you won’t have to listen to me snore!
            You’re on your own for the visas though – you can stay only 90 days in Europe without one.

  6. DownhillBill Says:

    Larry is right. And his wife is *always* right.

    I don’t believe that civilians should have semi-automatic weapons, but that ship sailed so long ago it probably still had sails. Maybe limitations on manufacture of ammo for them could eventually lessen the problem (it’s not the hand loaders I worry about), but that would, of course, require unobtainable consensus. Does anyone still teach that word? The concept is fast slipping into myth. In the real world, I plan to remain armed for the foreseeable future.

    I didn’t shoot for 40+ years. One night a couple of years ago I was nearing the end of a ride when I was knocked down, knocked out, and woke up looking at a sawed off shotgun. In my experience, there’s nothing like being treated as prey, just a piece of fresh meat, to inspire quick reassessment of the need and practicality of being able and ready to defend oneself. And until then I thought I had no more innocence left to lose. Hah!

    I still have my previous views on gun control, though I’ve added “hitting my target” to the definition. I now have a concealed carry permit, a carefully chosen carry pistol for bike carry, and a range membership. I don’t think most of the people around here who have CCP’s should, because they are either unwilling or unable to put in the effort or expense of regular training. They seem to think they can hit their targets because they’ve seen a bunch of Dirty Harry movies. Fortunately, most of the bad guys & girls don’t train and are manifestly stupid as well.

    I don’t ride to be some sort of agent of natural selection, but having been caught unaware and unarmed once, I’m not willing to let that happen again. Someone who tries to pull a truck into the bike lane and run over me will find its not that easy. I don’t like being that way, but barring major changes that we can’t realistically expect any time soon, so be it.


    • khal spencer Says:

      Jesus, Bill. Glad you are here to write about it. Was there a reason the asshole nailed you? Or just the usual bike-hater on steroids?

      I’ve briefly toyed with the idea of an LC9 (I hold a New Mexico CHL) as it can slip into a jersey pocket. So far I have kicked that can down the road. It seems like a capitulation to both the insanity of our time and the loss of civil society in general. But as your story makes clear, that scenerio is a real possibility.

      Agree with you that regular training similar to IDPA is required if one is to carry.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        That was the first of 3 robberies the two 20 yr olds (+ a driver on the other 2 rips) pulled that night. The detective sounded puzzled the next day – they all actually had jobs and told him they were bored and wanted some excitement. They’ve been locked up since that night, maybe that meets their definition of excitement? The kid with the shotgun got 14 years, and the girl with the baseball bat pled down to 6 by ratting someone out on a couple of 2nd degree homicides. Tried to slither out of the plea agreement too, but the judge wasn’t having any of that. He told her she could accept the deal or go to trial on all 8 felonies. Heh. She was the really dangerous one, calling the shots, cool as a cucumber, no remorse. There was a police Lt. watching when they pulled #3. That poor guy (#3) looked like he might have had $0.50 to his name.

        I had been shot at on the bike once years ago, but the driver wasn’t trying to hit me and didn’t come back, so it didn’t have the same effect. I did get 15 rpm out of nowhere, though.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      The NRA’s answer is always MORE GUNS!
      I don’t think I could reach for and snap a smart-phone photo of some clown who f__ked with me while cycling, let alone aim and fire a weapon of any sort. Unless you have a 50 caliber gun mounted on your head, how is the a-hole gonna know you’re armed and dangerous and not to mess with you?
      Reminds me of the guy who once showed me some sort of Elmer Fudd pistol, saying it was to prevent carjacking. I asked “Really? So when Mr. Carjacker runs up to you at the red light with gun pointed at your head, you’re gonna say, “Wait, just a second” while you pull your Fudd pistol out? By then the guy’s yanked your a__ outta the car and run you over with it!”
      Same with a guy piloting a multi-thousand lb motor vehicle – if he’s gonna run your a__ over, your gun’s just gonna make a dent in your back.
      I think the answer is LESS GUNS, not more. That’s why I’m moving to a place where the crime is at least well organized…. so your average civilian rarely gets shot.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        I absolutely agree about the NRA. Batshit wackos, unlike the vast majority of people I’ve met on the range, curiously enough.

        What most people don’t realize is that muggings happen way faster and way closer than you would expect. Awareness is essential to avoid being blindsided, and there’s no room for hesitation or fumbling around. None. And most folks don’t know how they will react in a hyper tense situation. I’ve known for a long time that I’m not wired to panic, but I wasn’t sure that would apply during a mugging. It does, just an accident of neurochemistry. Not everyone has the same experience.

        The grass roots here are crawling with well armed cockroaches, so I will be ready for them. You have given me a higher opinion of Italian criminals, though.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Heh: “… that ship sailed so long ago it probably still had sails.” Heh.

      Delighted that the sawed-off was not the last thing you ever saw, Bill.

      I’ve been threatened with a firearm while cycling only once, and I was in the driver’s window so fast it surprised me more than it did him. “Pull a gun and up your ass it goes” is what I said, or something very much like that. The driver and his companion both stayed put, as did the gun he’d been jabbering about, which was a very good thing for all three of us.

      I don’t really want to carry while riding, though I understand why some people do (especially anyone who’s stared down the pipe). It’s just one more thing to think about. And then if the asshole runs you you from behind at 55 mph, chances are you don’t even get the opportunity to give him something to remember you by.

      To be honest, I’m not certain I want to own firearms at all anymore. I used to enjoy shooting, but the ongoing body count has taken all the fun out of it for me.

      I’d hate to be caught unarmed if the evildoers come a-calling, but it hasn’t happened to me yet, and I’ve owned at least one gun for nearly a half-century now.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Word, O’G.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I’m with you Patrick. I’m down to one revolver, a single action revolver no less. And, I am not sure I will keep it. Other than in the Army, I have never had any one shoot at me or even worried about it happening. I can see how one experience like Bill had might change my mind. I also see Larry’s point about would you have the time to get ready to defend yourself. Situational awareness is everything. If you pay attention you can avoid most trouble, riding or not. I used to love shooting too, especially plinking with .22 pistols and rifles. Not any more, especially at the city range. If you roll up there with an Obama bumper sticker, then you might get shot. At least it feels that way.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Police just arrested a lovely couple in Fanta Se on Saturday night quite close to our house down there. Two kids in the back seat of a car. Girlfriend was driving down St. Francis Drive while stinking drunk. Boyfriend was shooting a 9mm at random out the window of the passenger side. Fortunately, a cop saw them and made an arrest.

          The problem with guns in America can be said in two ways. One, as Larry might say if he were less polite at the pickle barrel here, is that we are utterly foolish assholes for having them. The other way is that for every Pat O’Brien, there is the lovely couple from Santa Fe. We are doomed to armed incompetence and the bloodshed that results from said lack of standards.

          As my former post-doc, himself a gun owner and hunter would say, “some people should not be allowed to own guns”. But as far as the politics, you know what Larry’s wife says.

      • DownhillBill Says:

        Oooh, a compliment from the grand snarkmeister himself ! Thank you.

        I used to just back people down with my attitude and good looks, but one’s been trumped and the other’s running out. The supply of belligerent crazies hasn’t dwindled at all. I refuse to give into that bunch.

        Surprisingly, I find shooting at the range relaxing and I like most of the people I’ve met there. Who knew?

        I’d like to think that lightning wouldn’t strike again, but I’ve already been buzzed & threatened again. Recognized the guy later when I saw his pic in the paper: former cop who’d been convicted recently for shooting a kid to death at a car wash.
        I never drew the weapon, but had my hand on it. He was a big younger guy who could have taken me out with one hit. He said “That don’t scare me none” but didn’t come any closer. I’m inclined to think that incident might have ended differently had I not been armed.

        One year when the murder rate here was sky high, one of the bangers shot a guy in the head on New Years Day just so he could claim the first kill of the year. Those guys have plenty of guns and they are not giving them up. Even if you never enter the projects, they’re still around. We have a crazy situation in this country, and I guess the choices are leave or deal with it.

  7. psobrien Says:

    Just saw this. He should have not been able to buy a gun. Now the question is where did he get them.

    • khal spencer Says:

      NPR said he was the purchaser. So what happened with the vaunted NICS system? Is this another Dylan Roof screwup? Or does the military not report convictions to the NICS system like civilian courts do???

  8. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Many years ago some, uh…let’s call ’em “fellows from South Central Los Angeles” came to visit the SoCal wholesale pharmaceutical warehouse I ran the data processing for. They weren’t shopping for aspirin and barged through every door with guns pointed. All the employees were rounded up and forced to lay on the floor with a pistol to the back of our heads while our hands were half-assedly (is that a word?) tied behind our backs.
    They marched us all into the vault (kind of like one at your bank but with just shelves inside for the REALLY good dope) then slammed the door and spun the combination lock as one of the gents says, “Man, they’ll die in there! There ain’t no air!”
    I got bored and popped the door open after what seemed to be about 15 minutes… and of course our visitors were long gone.
    After that experience I wanted even LESS to do with guns rather than more, despite the fact at least some of these guys thought they might be murdering about a dozen innocent people.
    Google “violent crime statistics USA vs Italy” if you don’t yet understand why I can’t wait to get outta here!

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