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This might be* stupid, but hear me out.
One of the problems with guns is that for all the fancy gadgets and accessories, they are pretty low tech. You can put a laser site on a rifle. It's still just an enhanced version of a very old technology. It's a technology that is so old that it is not networked in any way. It cannot be controlled from afar any more than a hammer or hacksaw can be. [Read more]
Our gun laws have been distorted to suit the needs of a single interest group. That small, privileged group’s desires outweigh the needs of nearly every other American, and have more influence with our elected leaders than the suffering of crime victims, the recommendations of law enforcement, or the common-sense demands of public safety. These privileged few are not hunters, or sportsmen, or homeowners concerned with self-defense. They are hobbyists. We live in a gun collector’s paradise, and it is very dangerous.
Our health affects one another. Whether it is because you can carry a disease or illness that can transfer to another person or vice versa in every day circumstances, or whether you work in a field where your health might affect the health and well being of others (e.i. food service), or whether you are in a field where being physically unwell might cause you to increase the risk to others’ lives such as being an airline pilot or truck driver.
Add to this the myriad ways that our health affects our lives and the lives of those around us… and then multiply that by adding our mental health. [Read more]
If we're talking about increasing gun safety through numbers reduction, the most effective words in the English language will be "Ewww," "So 2011," and "Jesus, what a pain in the ass." [Read more]
Megan McCardle provided a prime example, as linked to by Michael, of one particular take on what transpired in Newtown as well as other mass shooting that tends to get in my craw [emphasis mine]:
Most crimes are motivated by unlovely impulses that are at least comprehensible: the desire for money, sex, respect, revenge. We don't do these things...But we can understand why people want to--we know what someone is after when they hold up a liquor store, or even kills their spouse for the insurance money. Understanding is not sanction: these crimes still have the power to anger and horrify. But they're comprehensible, and that comprehensibility is surprisingly comforting.
The alternative is Newtown. When one tries to picture the mind that plans it, one quickly comes to a dead end....Trying to climb this mountain of wickedness is like trying to climb a glass wall with your bare hands. What happened there is pure evil, and evil, unlike common badness, gives an ordinary mind no foothold.
Since we can't understand it, we can't change it. And since we can't change it, our best hope is to box it in. [Read more]
American exceptionalism, the wisdom of an entrepreneurial free market, and job creation wrapped into one. The marketplace, not the government or the law, is always ready and able with a solution for any problem, for a price, so that a given American can 'save' themselves while others.....well for others, who aren't packin' and whose kids don't have $300 armored backpacks.....things may not turn out too good. [Read more]
As reports thicken of a possible deal between the White House and the House Republicans – a deal which will supposedly avoid the rest of us going over some fiscal cliff on January 1 – it is worth remembering at least four reasons why such a deal is probably best avoided, and why cliff jumping (bungee or otherwise) is completely unnecessary. Four reasons that take us from the current intransigence of the contemporary Republican Party back to the nineteenth-century origins of so much of that intransigence. [Read more]
Everyone is sick right now. There's only one thing it seems we can all agree on, which is that we can abide the massacre of children neither in conscience nor gut. It's an unfortunate truth that what transpired on Friday in Newtown was different in degree rather than in kind, but the degree seems to matter this time.
Even more unfortunate is that this heightened arousal doesn't really seem to be leading to many cogent answers to the question, "How do we prevent this from happening again?" [Read more]
I've taken down my posts recently. I tried to get away from this website and this discussion but -- I can't.
Reading some of the comments that I got which obviously misunderstood what I was saying made me at once sad that my attempts to articulate what I think is causing this horror were being misunderstood. I got paid to talk about public issues for several years but I found it really upsetting when I was getting comments basically accusing me of nonsense. It is much easier to stomach criticism and grow a thick skin when you are talking about institutional racism or economic policy than when you are trying to articulate the cause of mass murder. I especially felt uncomfortable with the fact that I was writing may be hurting or offending people. [Read more]
I know I've brought this up before but back in the 90s, when I worked at a chain book/video/music store, a dude used to come in with his family and a nine millimeter pistol in a shoulder holster. The rules back then in New Mexico were that it was legal to carry an unconcealed firearm, though establishments were allowed to ban them and it was illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits. So, this guy with his military style haircut (but not the kind of body or discipline you'd associate with having completed the most basic basic training) would come into the store with his piece in full view. The store owners didn't care to ban him.
After every major gun-inflicted tragedy we're told by the pro-everything-that-shoots bunch that it's too soon to be talking about gun control. We hear again that guns don't kill people, it's the people misusing the guns who kill people. We hear that they could just as well be using knives or garrotes or box cutters or poison or 3,000 pound vehicles.
Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree [Read more]
I'd intended to make no post on this topic. While I won't go into my views on the overall topic, my opinion is that nothing will change; not one single thing. Not two days from now; not two years; not in the next decade.
But the usual thing that is said is starting to show up, again, from various sources and I (in a flash of wishful thinking) hope to stomp on it early in its appearance, whatever its variation:
We need to have a conversation about gun control. [Read more]
It's Saturday, the day after what will forever be known as the Sandy Hook School murders. Yesterday Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death six adults and 20 small children.
We're all in shock and looking for answers. We're crying, grieving, mourning, and we want answers. We want gun control that actually controls guns. We want people not to blame the guns but the shooter. We want to know the names of the victims, and, as I write this, all news stations are on alert, awaiting a press conference where those names will finally be announced.
There are 300 million guns in America, which is enough to arm everyone. About half of households are gun owners. That includes the house I grew up with. It includes some of my colleagues and friends. It includes right wingers and left wingers. They're good people and to them, guns are objects and they have as much a right to them as they do to any other object in their lives. [Read more]
20 children have been murdered in Connecticut. This what you can do about it right now:
1. Write and call your Congressman. Writing to your Congressional representatives is the most important thing you can do, more important than writing to the White House. Write and call your House member first, and then your two Senators. You can find their contact information at house.gov and senate.gov.
So it has happened. Remember the other day when I wrote that Michigan had become a Right-to-Work state? It's not that I'm prescient or anything, announcing a done deal on Saturday when it didn't actually become law until yesterday (Tuesday), when Govnerd Ricky signed the two "Hasta la Vista, Union" bills hustled through the Republican-led legislature in a dazzling demonstration of warp speed. No, it's just that I've come to know those guys. No amount of talking, cajoling, coercing or begging was going to change the course of that bloody action, no matter what. [Read more]
From a spending standpoint one of the problems for Social Security, and for any retirement annuity or lifetime pension, is how to maintain purchasing power for recipients in a world of generally rising prices. It would be so nice, all agree, if prices could just be made not to rise so quickly. This is, unfortunately, very difficult to control.
Enter the Chained CPI. It's a measure of inflation that takes the substitution effect of consumers changing their buying habits in response to a rise in prices. If the price of steak goes up, the story goes, consumers buy more chicken and the government doesn't have to worry about making sure that retirees can keep up with the price of steak. [Read more]
Forget about Benghazi. The whole imbroglio was little more than an election gambit gone sour. Republican leaders, frustrated that their charges failed to wound Obama in November, have vented their fury on his choice for Secretary of State.
But Susan Rice's record as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. raises other more serious concerns. The New York Times published two articles today, a news story and an op-ed, which question Rice's judgment concerning several African dictators. [Read more]