Posted tagged ‘Gun Nuttery’

We Have A Problem With Guns

June 18, 2015

The front page in today’s Charleston, S. C.’s hometown paper:

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.44.30 PM

It’s a little hard to read, but the sticker that partly obscures the headline about a mass shooting advertises the latest deal at a local gun store.  “$30 GETS YOU EVERYTHING” — all the goodies needed to have a fine time with your new weapon.

Race, terror, the long history of attacking African American leaders, institutions and anyone else at hand in support of white supremacy, all the evils that run like a river through American history dominate the coverage of the massacre at Emanuel A. M. E, and they should.  This is an atrocity bred in the bone of the American idea, as Jelani Cobb writes:*

For black Christians, the word “sanctuary” had a second set of implications. The spiritual aims of worship were paired with the distinctly secular necessity of a place in which not just common faith but common humanity could be taken for granted. No matter the coming details about the shooting in Charleston, it seems almost inescapable that the assault on a single black church is an inadvertent affirmation of the need for an entire denomination of them.

I don’t want to distract from the core, essential truth:  racial disparity, cruelty administered on racial grounds, systematic discrimination based on race remain at the center of US life, and we need to say that out loud and do what we can about it every damn day.

But at the same time, as Cobb also writes,

We periodically mourn the deaths of a group of Americans who die at the hands of another armed American. We periodically witness racial injustices that inspire anger in the streets. And sometimes we witness both. This is, quite simply, how we now live.

We have a problem with guns.  It isn’t going away.  You can dig through the twitter streams and comment threads as I have, but you already know what you’ll find.  For too many Americans, the solution to our gun problem is obvious:  the answer to a bad shooter in church are good ones.  If only those at prayer had been packing, Dylann Roof wouldn’t have been able to kill more than three or four before taking a couple of hundred grains of lead to the throat in return fire. If only…


The ammosexual defense of their kink is predictable and almost certainly incorrigible.  Driven (and heavily armed) that’s a view that’s managed to hold political sway over the mushy majority for whom the notion the the liberty of the gun-sniffing few outweighs the freedom of the rest of us to assemble, travel, speak without fear of suppressing fire.  What drives that is, at least in part, the normalization of gun fetishization.  Which is what you see above.  And is what must be shamed out of the public square.

The Charleston Post and Courier has apologized on its Facebook page for the sticker, calling it “a deeply regrettable coincidence.” Forgive me if I don’t take that statement in the manner its author may have intended.  It’s not the coincidence that’s regrettable.  It’s the deeper implication behind the juxtaposition.  Just in case its readers may have missed the contingency of that mea sorta culpa, there’s the phrase that followed the paper’s regrets:

We apologize to those who were offended.

“To those who were offended.”  How about to the human race.  How about to the nine folks praying at church last night — except, of course, they can’t because the guns that come with whatever gaudy deal (here’s a perfect gift for your 21 year old! A precision machine designed to deal death in quantity!) have in yesterday’s employment ended those nine souls, took their lives and everything they might ever have been or done.**  How about to the families of those gone, then — except what will you say.  “Sorry we advertised more death with the news of the deaths of your loved ones!”

I don’t mean to single out the Post and Courier — and especially not the folks writing and editing it, who have no control over what the business side does.  But it’s just so damn telling.  As long as guns are just fit fodder for the daily special we’re doomed to repeat this miserable charade over and over again, mourning yet more victims while doing absolutely f**k all to honor their memory in any way that may lessen the odds of it happening again.

*See also Charles Pierce, marrying his gift for language and his capacity for righteous rage in this piece.

**And yeah, I’m channelling (read, clumsily paraphrasing) that Clint Eastwood speech from The Unforgiven here.

Image:  Karlis Padegs, Madonna with a Machine Gun1932.

Least Surprising News Ever

September 9, 2013

Guns are to George Zimmerman as land wars in Asia are to superpowers.  Never, ever, ever a good idea:

George Zimmerman’s estranged wife called police officers to her father’s house in Florida Monday, saying the former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted of murder threatened her with a gun.

Shellie Zimmerman called police shortly after 2 p.m. Monday, said Lake Mary Police Chief Steve Bracknell.

Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested and officers were at the house trying to determine what happened, Bracknell said.


Early days, could be a misunderstanding, have to hear both sides, she probably had him down on the linoleum in fear for what little frontal lobe capacity he may have, yadda, yadda.

I don’t have words left for how utterly stupid American gun policy is.  But on this one?  The only surprise here is that Zimmerman beat my internal over/under on how long it would take for him to go back down this road.

Oh — and if I’m Shellie Zimmerman, I’m looking long and hard at research like this. [PDF]  No snark here; this kind of thing is (literally) deadly serious.

Image:  Arthur Devis, John Orde, His Wife Anne, and His Eldest Son William, between 1754 and 1756.

Will No One Rid Me Of This Vexatious Solon?

February 21, 2013

I’m guessing that most of those who read this blog will already have heard about John McCain’s latest descent into former decency:

Constituents at a town hall hosted by Sen. John McCain Wednesday in Phoenix cheered after the Arizona Republican told the mother of an Aurora, Colo. shooting victim that an assault weapons ban could not get through Congress.

“My 24-year-old son, Alex, was murdered in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.,” Caren Teves said. “These assault rifles allow the shooter to fire many rounds without having to reload. These weapons to do not belong on our streets.”

“I can tell you right now you need some straight talk. That assault weapons ban will not pass the Congress of the United States,” McCain responded. The video, posted Thursday by Phoenix’s KTVK, showed the line drawing applause and cheers from the crowd.

YMMV, but from where I stand, it takes a special sort of person to tell the mother of a murdered child that they need “straight talk.”  And by “special” I mean…

…you know what I mean.

He’s got the self-righteous condescension act down, certainly.  I have no doubt that Ms. Teves has an abundance of experience of blunt reality, but John McCain still found it in him to set her straight. That’s impressive — albeit in a wholly unimpressive frame.

So far, we’re on familiar territory. John McCain is no maverick, never has been.



But for all that I didn’t catch the next level of wretchedness in this encounter until dinner time, when I told my son about it.  He listened, and then asked the question so obvious that I’m still wondering why it didn’t occur to me first:

Would McCain, my twelve year old wondered, would he have told a man that he needed some straight talk about his murdered son, and the implications of that death?

Who can say?  It’s a counterfactual, meant to stimulate thought, not to secure a certain answer.

But damn, that’s an instructive question.

The dismissive tone of McCain’s answer was obvious, of course.  But I didn’t at first quite hear the gender condescension.  If McCain’s questioner had been a 6′ 5″ guy with muscles and facial hair, would he have so blithly offered “straight talk?”

Maybe.  But I can’t convince myself that the president-of-the-Sunday-morning-shows would have let it fly quite so readily.

In any event, my takeaway from this (besides that I am, as usual,  proud of my son) is it sure took guts for John McCain to bully Caren Teves to make a few points at a town hall, didn’t it?  In that context, ISTM that the defining quality of all those few, unhappy few members of the GOP’s should-no-better faction  (and yes, I’m looking at you, Lindsay Graham, et al.)… is that core property of the sane-ish rump of the national party is cowardice.

It’s ugly as hell to watch, but I am comforted that these are the markers of an institution far down the oblivion express.  I share John’s weariness at having to whack the same damn moles day after day — but I am increasingly confident that it hurts them more than it hurts us.

And with that — it’s time to return to the last of the wine to wash down an excellent (and on-sale) rib-eye.

Image:  Alfred Bierstadt, Study of Wild Horses, before 1902


Tone Deaf is to the (AZ) GOP as Zephyr is to Hurricane

September 1, 2011

I lack words to express my revulsion, but then, none are really necessary in response to this (TPM via HuffPo):

Eyebrows shot up all over the country Thursday following news that that the Republican Party in Pima County, AZ — home to Tucson and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) district — is raffling off a Glock similar to the one used to shoot Giffords in the head in January.

Props to the ousted Pima County GOP chief for his condemnation of this — but it ain’t his party any more.  Now, it seems, in order to be a 21st century Republican, you need to have both your moral sense and your capacity to imagine the emotions of others surgically excised at birth.

I got nothin’ more to say on this.  I gotta go OD on antiemetics.

Image:  Hieronymus Bosch, Hell (detail), 1500-1504


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