What were the odds that the worst thing associated with the name Fast & Furious wouldn’t be Vin Diesel?

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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262 Responses

  1. joey jo jo says:

    rep issa voted to fund project gunrunner in 2008. http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/16553/
    Now he claims to have never heard of the project.
    stupid? lying? stupidly lying?Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    Heh. The USA sells more weapons to Bad Guys than everyone else in the world, combined. Most of the time, we don’t even sell them, we give them away. Fast ‘n Furious? Sheee-it. The CIA is currently arming the living daylights out of Sunni fundamentalists in Syria and not a peep from the usual suspects.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    Can someone give me an idiot’s walk through for this whole shebang? I’ve read a few things on it and am really struggling to make sense of it all…Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Kazzy says:

      Here’s a wiki summary fwiw.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Yea, that is one of the things I poked around. Here is what I’ve gathered…

        The ATF initiated a gun walking program in 2006 in an attempt to ferret out high-level gun runners and drug traffickers. They allowed thousands of guns into the hands of criminals in the hopes of tracing them to the big dogs. Only a small number of guns have been recovered, a great number of them have been used in violent crime in both Mexico and US, including the killing of a Federal Agent, and there have been zero big arrests. Do I have that right?

        If I do, where does Holder come into the picture? And if everything is as bad as some seem to think it will be, why would it “prove Obama is the worst most corrupt politician in modern history” when the program ran under both Bush and Obama?Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

          Holder come into the picture because he was called in to testify to see who knew what when in the justice department. At the hearing said that he had only recently heard of the operation; there were things said later that suggested he had heard of it prior to when he said.

          As to why this makes Obama the worst president ever, well…Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Did he have any direct involvement in what appears to be a grossly bungled and possibly flawed-from-the-get-go operation?Report

            • M.A. in reply to Kazzy says:

              A grossly bungled and possibly flawed-from-the-get-go operation initiated under GW Bush, you mean? 😉 The current radio line is that GW Bush was a saint and Obama is either the next Nixon or Carter, though, which explains why partisans on a witch hunt will gleefully ignore the name of the president under with the “get go” happened.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to M.A. says:

                Whomever was involved in the planning, implementation, and day-to-day oversight of the program should be investigated, whether they are Republican, Democrat, or Martian.

                Going after Holder for lying if he otherwise was uninvolved in the program seems a bit like rearranging chairs during a shootout with drug lords.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Kazzy says:

                We seem to have an answer above. Funding could have been part of the ESA/2008, or it could have been part of the Merida program. Both were signed off on by Bush, and voted for by Issa.

                How much embarrassment do you think Issa would suffer to have THAT bit of info playing on the 24/7 news networks?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to M.A. says:

                I dont know how all of this played out but I think there is a lot of twists and turns between voting for a bill (especially a stimulus bill) and having blood on your hands for a dead Federal Agent and innocent civilians on both sides of the border. Especially if the plan as conceptualized was a sound one and it was the execution that was the issue.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Kazzy says:

                Given that Issa is trying to spin the issue as “Obama directly killed Brian Terry”?

                If it spins one way it can spin the other.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                So take that up with Issa. What spin have I offered?Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Obama directly killed Brian Terry”

                I must confess, I have not seen Issa make this claim.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Kazzy says:

                The alternate reality machine has Brian Terry’s family doing the talk-show rounds right now.

                Turns out Terry’s dad is a Birther, Type A. Who’d have thought?Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

              No, I think the logic goes:

              Obama hired Holder, Holder knew (or in alternate arguments) should have know about F&F, Holder lied to Congress (or told the truth but should have known), Obama has not yet fired Holder, therefore, depending on who you read, Obama is derelict by not dealing with Holder or hiding something very, very sinister.Report

            • Jeff in reply to Kazzy says:

              Because the magic Etch-A-Sketch was reset sometime between November 2000 and January 2001 and “why are you still talking about Bush!”

              In short, TPoSoE.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

          Conflating Operation Wide Receiver [Bush] with Fast & Furious [Obama] is unhelpful.Report

    • joey jo jo in reply to Kazzy says:

      ideological titty fits and impeachment by proxy are the new “governing”.

  4. I haven’t been paying as much attention to this as I should, I’ll admit. Partly because I knew the whole operation started under Bush, and thus the Obama-only investigation seemed even more ridiculous than the usual political pantomime we call governance these days.

    But you lay out some very good and thoughtful points, so now I’ll have to start paying more attention. Dammit.Report

    • Newsbusters.org has been charging that the media have been burying the story. If so, many leftpersons have had nothing to keep up WITH, so don’t be beating yourself up.


      Poking through Newsbusters’ links, it appears that now when the story cannot be ignored, the narrative is that this is the GOP’s fault.

      ABC and NBC Ignore Holder Hearings, CBS’s Fast and Furious Coverage Slows to a Crawl

      Speaker Boehner Bashes NYT’s Charlie Savage for False Reporting on Fast and Furious Scandal

      NYTimes Spikes Fast & Furious Hearing in Print, Omits Eric Holder’s Admission Completely

      MSNBC Panel: Fast & Furious Scandal Bad for GOP, Good for Obama

      That last one’s a beaut. Failing upward.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        As an amateur news watcher/reader/follow, I can say that I’ve been familiar with the “Fast and Furious” scandal for some time now. I didn’t really know much about it, but it seems to have had enough of a presence in enough places for someone like me to say, “Oh yea, I heard about that.” And I got the update on Holder on my Stitcher feed yesterday.

        I won’t comment as to whether the level of coverage necessary for me to know what I know (which is admittedly not much) is more than was warranted, less, appropriate, or something else entirely. Simply a data point. Basically, if I know about it, it can’t have been COMPLETELY buried.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy says:

          The CBS reporter who broke the story was last seen on a milk carton.
          CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson revealed on Tuesday’s “Laura Ingraham Show” the extent of the rage directed at her from the Obama administration for her reporting on the “Fast and Furious” controversy: “The DOJ woman was just yelling at me. A guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed at me.” Attkisson also stated that “they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.”

          The journalist appeared on the conservative talk show host’s program at the bottom of the 9 am Eastern hour to talk about her latest reporting on the growing Justice Department scandal. She highlighted on Monday’s “CBS Evening News” that “new documents…show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial ‘Fast and Furious’ operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his [May 3, 2011] statement to Congress.”]

          Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2011/10/04/cbs-reporter-ingraham-obama-wh-screamed-and-cussed-me#ixzz1yTXNKdHW


          Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard reported on Wednesday afternoon that he had attempted to interview CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson about her dogged coverage of the ongoing “Fast and Furious” controversy, but was told that she was “unavailable.” Attkisson has been the sole journalist on the Big Three networks regularly covering the story, particular during the past several weeks.

          Hemingway described in his blog entry that he called CBS News to interview the correspondent, but was “told by CBS News senior vice president of communications Sonya McNair that Attkisson would be unavailable for interviews all week. When I asked why Attkisson would be unavailable, McNair would not say.” On Tuesday, the reporter revealed on Laura Ingraham’s radio show that Obama administration officials had “screamed and cussed” at her over her coverage of the story.

          The conservative writer further noted that he had “heard from a producer at another media outlet that has previously booked Attkisson that they tried to book her since she made news with the Laura Ingraham interview yesterday. They were also told that she would be unavailable.” Hemingway later called back McNair at CBS and left a message to ask “whether Attkisson’s unavailability has anything to do with reporting that the White House and Justice Department were angry at her,” but as of mid-afternoon on Wednesday, hadn’t heard back from the network executive.

          Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2011/10/05/cbs-attkisson-unavailable-further-interviews-fast-furious#ixzz1yTXnf6CgReport

  5. b-psycho says:

    I blame the War on Drugs, of course.
    Seriously. Is there anything else that causes such brain-deleting panic that obviously stupid on their face ideas like the one that led to all this to even take off?

    Corruption in the ATF? Of course there is. A non-corrupt arm of law enforcement is like a fish with feet. We should be curious what else they’ve been doing too.Report

  6. BlaiseP says:

    ATF is just about the most screwed-up agency in the entire US government, with the possible exception of DHS.

    If anyone with any sense had been running those operations, they would have embedded GPS pingers in the butt stocks of those weapons, so they could watch them move around, here and there. Even little municipal police departments know how to run such an operation. Christ, some bearded granola type can tag a whale with one of these things, but the Wonder Boys at ATF are still marching headlong into the 1980s.Report

  7. A most useful post. Thank you for this.

    One slight correction, though – the Olson memo to which you refer was written during the Reagan Administration, when Olson worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, not during the Bush Administration when he was Solicitor General. The OLC went to hell during the GWB Administration, but before that was well-regarded.Report

  8. M.A. says:

    But given the choice between shining a light on half of a corrupt system or not shining a light at all, why on Earth would you choose the latter?

    That’s a false dichotomy. The appropriate response is: shine a light on ALL of it. Anything else is inappropriate, whether it’s “not at all” or “only the parts we think will embarrass the black guy”. Sadly, the latter seems to be the Issa approach, much like the years and millions spent on a stained blue dress a couple administrations ago.

    One of the most entertaining aspects of how this is playing out in the right punditsphere is the meme that Obama’s asking for executive privilege in regards to the investigation makes him similar – but worse! – to Nixon.

    You know the answer to that; Nixon’s name is forever blackened and associated with corruption. If they compared it to Bush, or to Saint Ronnie the Commie Killer, then they’d be attacking their own. Nixon’s been disowned, so comparing to him is ok.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to M.A. says:

      That’s a false dichotomy. The appropriate response is: shine a light on ALL of it.

      +1. An excellent point.Report

    • Mr. Blue in reply to M.A. says:

      The appropriate response is: shine a light on ALL of it. Anything else is inappropriate, whether it’s “not at all” or “only the parts we think will embarrass the black guy”. Sadly, the latter seems to be the Issa approach, much like the years and millions spent on a stained blue dress a couple administrations ago.

      Hey, let’s suggest this is about race and then support our argument with a case of them doing something similar to a white guy!Report

  9. Tom Van Dyke says:

    in order to find a president that invoked executive privilege they went all the way to Nixon even though W. Bush invoked it more than any other president in history (including four times over a 40 day period in 2007)

    According to your own linked source, Dubya invoked exec privilege 6 times, Bill Clinton 14.

    As for Richard Nixon, again ibid., the Supreme Court denied his claim to executive privilege over the Watergate tapes. He resigned 15 days later.Report

  10. Patrick Cahalan says:

    > I am in no way a trained law enforcement specialist, but
    > I have to say the thought of selling large numbers of
    > especially deadly firearms to violent drug cartels to “see
    > what happens” seems mind-bogglingly stupid. I do not
    > believe that when I say this I am Monday-morning
    > quarterbacking.

    Politically, it’s mind-bogglingly stupid.

    Theoretically speaking, it’s not quite as stupid as it sounds. For a few thousand dollars, you can legally buy all the machine shop tools you need to fabricate AK-47s in your garage. Plans are available on the Internet. It doesn’t even require a very skilled machinist.

    Any self-respecting drug cartel can quite easily get their hands on all the weapons that they want, even assuming that they’re too dumb to figure *that* out, since black market weapons aren’t that expensive, either. Mexico has tough gun control laws, but that’s hardly kept weapons out of the cartels’ hands. More here.

    One of the wikileaks cables revealed, for example, that a legal shipment of 1,030 AR-15 assault rifles from the U.S. to the Mexican military walked off into nowhere.

    So the 1,600 illegal firearms represent a pretty small minority of the total number of guns owned by bad guys in Mexico… and if those 1,600 guns hadn’t been sold across the border by U.S. government agents, they would have been replaced in the black market by 1,600 other guns.

    That said, the fact that the program wasn’t producing results does in fact make it a stupid idea, practically speaking.

    So, two out of three, “stupid idea” wins.Report

    • The “theoretically speaking” part is, I think, what Tom’s getting at above by saying you can’t compare F&F with Wide Receiver. Wide Receiver, as I understand, was shut down pretty quickly once it became clear that the “theoretically speaking” part wasn’t going to translate into “practically speaking.” That operation, as I understand, also included tracking devices for all the firearms involved, but those devices either had too-short lifespans or were removed by the cartels.

      I’ve also seen it alleged that once BATFE HQ became aware of what was going on with Wide Receiver, they shut it down pretty quickly, though I’ve not seen any detail on this.

      The point being that there’s a difference between (a) allowing a bad idea to go through and quickly shutting it down once it became clear it was a bad idea, and (b) implementing that bad idea when you already know it’s a bad idea, except on a larger scale and with fewer safeguards.Report

      • +1 to all of this, and why I underscore my belief that you HAVE to have a public investigation of this mess.Report

        • Fully agreed. One of the counterarguments I’ve seen against holding Holder in contempt was from Nancy Pelosi, pointing out that she never tried to have any Bush officials held in contempt. Though in most instances I thought Pelosi was very good at her job, agree with her policies or not, I don’t think this is something she should be proud of. Contempt is the only tool Congress really has for negotiating leverage on things like this, and it’s not even a terribly effective tool. I think a Congress trying to expose uncomfortable truths about the Executive needs to be prepared to use it as a credible threat if it’s at all going to be effective.Report

          • Someday I’d love to see you do a post on Olson’s opinion about Justice Dept and congressional subpoenas. Is there a rational reason for it, other than otherwise Congress fishes with the WH for fun? That the executive branch can simply refuse an oversight committee what they seek without repercussions seems curiously ill thought out.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              All claims of executive privilege are not the same, nor are they always held up by the courts. Nixon and Clinton both lost, over Watergate and Lewinsky respectively. In Dubya’s case, Cheney’s advisory meetings with energy execs are the sort of thing exec privilege is recognized as proper for, as was an attempt to subpoena Karl Rove. Presidential advisers must feel free to give their opinions without fear of retribution or consequences, or else people will be afraid to be frank and honest with the president.

              To subpoena Obama advisers David Axelrod or Valerie Jarrett for instance would be the same, largely unjustified. By contrast, Eric Holder is OUR Attorney General, not Obama’s, and is fully answerable to Congress—even if only to reveal his incompetence vis-a-vis F&F for partisan benefit.

              In response, a House committee voted Wednesday along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The White House dismissed the proceedings as “political theater.”

              [Cato Institute’s] Louis Fisher, author of “Politics of Executive Privilege,” questioned the legitimacy of the administration’s claim to executive privilege.

              “If it had been legitimate, I think they could have raised it a year ago,” Fisher said. “It doesn’t look good to work with a committee for more than a year and then to pop out that this is executive privilege.”


              • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I agree with this mostly. I’d quibble on the Rove; my recollection wasn’t that he was in hot water for giving advice, it was that he had been accused of instructing the JD file knowingly fallacious criminal charges against democratic candidates at state levels. In the end, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but that’s a little more serious than giving advice to the president.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                If David Axelrod gives an illegal order, is it illegal? He has no legal authority, no post.

                Chris Wallace: “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. They exerted executive privilege in that case, and would not let him testify. Karl said the key issue there was not that President Bush had been involved in these conversations, but that Karl Rove, as a non-confirmed member of the White House staff, was an extension of the president and to subpoena him to testify was in effect subpoenaing the president. So, this question of executive privilege does not necessarily mean that the president is involved. It can be White House aides who were involved … other people like that. He said what surprised him was the fact that this was over Justice Department documents, not White House documents. The Cabinet officials, because they are subject to Senate confirmation, are not covered by executive privilege. They are in fact, as I say, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. The fact that they would assert executive privilege there raises the question certainly as to whether there were communications if not directly between Holder and the president, between the Justice Department and White House officials, and that some of these documents they’re seeking may have involved White House officials.”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Or was it for refusing appear before Congress during the Plame investigation?

                So many choices.Report

              • Are you familiar with the details of the affair or just throwing spaghetti @ the wall? The idea here was to clarify what exec privilege is about, not a generic partisan poo poo fling.

                I ask this because Bush himself [and Cheney too] were interviewed by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, hardly the stonewall we’re seeing here.

                [Fitzgerald neglected to interview the actual Plame leaker, Richard Armitage, but that’s just one of those things.]Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Just poo flinging. This little scandal is bringing to mind so many memories of the previous adminstration!Report

              • No doubt. It’s always Bush’s fault.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Richard Armitage’s fat ass should probably have been put in the Little Box for a few weeks. I would have rendered him like so much bacon. He’s the source all right, but he was right in there with Cheney and all the rest of those goddamn PNACers. They knew from the very beginning the whole casus belli for the Iraq War was a complete bag of shyte. So did everyone at CIA and you can bet your ass Armitage was right in there, short-circuiting DO and feeding Cheney and all the rest of them everything going through the Middle East desk.

                CIA is mostly honourable people. They do the needful and they don’t get any of the praise they deserve. When the shit hits the fan, though, they always get a face full though, and it’s assholes like Richard Armitage who cause these problems. CIA’s not supposed to be a political animal. Richard Armitage was just such a political animal. That fat fuck belongs in the Little Box, out in the hot summer sun. If there’s anyone I really wouldn’t mind torturing to death, it’s someone like him, who’s ready to give up an operator for some political points.Report

      • Thx, MarkT. Actually I didn’t know the difference, only that there was one. F&F was the Obama admin’s baby, not Dubya’s. As I opined elsewhere in the thread, my impression was that F&F was a gigantic flustercluck rather than a crime, and Holder’s been hoping he could stall it to death.

        Or at least until after the election, which they may still succeed at.

        Makes the Admin and the President himself look damn bad, and frankly, a legit campaign issue re competence:

        June 29, 2011: A reporter asked President Obama about the matter at a White House news conference. Obama responded, “As you know, my attorney general has made clear he certainly would not have ordered gun running to pass through into Mexico. The investigation is still pending. I’m not going to comment on the current investigation. I’ve made very clear my views that that would not be an appropriate step by the ATF, and we’ve got to find out how that happened. As soon as the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken.”


      • Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        So, let me see if I understand what’s basically at issue here. The basic allegation is that the Obama DOJ revived Wide Receiver in an even more dangerous form under the name Fast And Furious, and that Holder must have known about this if not ordered it, in any case before the time at which he says he did if not from a time near entering office, that the program resulted in one of the guns being present at an incident in which a Border Patrol officer was killed, and that Holder is now wrongly refusing to turn over documents that might show he had knowledge of the program’s revival before he says he did. Is that essentially it?

        If I’m not mistaken, the program is now shuttered and administration admits the revival of the program was a mistake (correct me if I’m wrong). So the issue being investigated is essentially limited to when did Holder know what, and perhaps accountability for why the program was revived the way it was. Is this correct or is there more to what is being investigated by Congress?Report

        • wardsmith in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Michael, did not Scooter Libby face jail time for “misremembering” something? Clearly Holder has “misremembered” here also. Should Holder now face jail time? Inquiring minds want to know.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to wardsmith says:

            I have no idea what’s clear, I’m just trying to get straight what those minds want to know. To me, it looks like it’s mainly, ‘What’s the quickest way to run Eric Holder out of town?” when perhaps the public interest is more in its being, “What in the hell happened here?”, the latter being something I’m not at all denying that Holder is being less helpful than he could be in helping Congress figure out (though it’s also true that there are facts and documents that he is by law barred from making public).Report

          • Tod Kelly in reply to wardsmith says:

            “Michael, did not Scooter Libby face jail time for “misremembering” something?”


            Ward, you must know from the OP that I believe that the WH has to hand over the docs, and that if Holder lied he has to go. But Libby did not look at the possibility of jail for misremembering something. He was indicted and convicted of willful obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to the FBI during an investigation, stemming from the leaking the identity of a covert American operative for political gain. Now, it may well be that we find out something similarly bad was done by Holder, in which case he will also possibly face jail time.

            But Scooter Libby didn’t face jail time for not remembering something, and at least with the facts that are in, his case and Holder’s are not remotely the same.Report

            • wardsmith in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              Tod, you usually are closer to the facts than this. In point of fact Scooter’s memory was the ONLY point of contention and the jury didn’t believe him when he said he didn’t remember. Memories are never perfect but the special prosecutor ALREADY KNEW who had leaked the information and the witch hunt against Libby was nothing more than partisan bullshit and you and everyone with a brain knew that at the time. What changed?

              I could bring in the witch hunt against a sitting Senator from Alaska, a case that was EVENTUALLY THROWN OUT (after Team Blue safely got their 60th senator conveniently from Alaska) and numerous prosecutorial overreaches that have occurred under /this/ administration but then you’d just accuse me of playing Red Team/Blue Team. But what is Blue team playing? I’m all for light, but I’m not in favor of selective flashlights that only shine in the red corners ignoring the blue misdeeds.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

            Darrell Issa is a thief and a liar. Lied his ass off about being on some EOD team sweeping the stadium before the World Series. Got transferred out of his unit for bad conduct. Lied about that, too. Stole cars, more than one.

            I wouldn’t trust anything Issa says. You shouldn’t, either.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Blaise, you realize Barack Obama lied to his own autobiography. Goose and gander time, brother. Enjoy.

              1. Hussein Onyango, Barack’s grandfather, wasn’t really imprisoned and tortured by the British. Interestingly, this destroys the case that some conservatives have made about Obama’s hatred of Great Britain – or at least the primary reason for it.
              2. The father of his Indonesian stepfather, Soewarno Martodihardjo, wasn’t killed by Dutch soldiers in the fight for independence.
              3. Regina, a friend at Occidental who Obama writes about as a symbol of the authentic African-American experience turns out to be based on Carolina Boss, who is white. Regina was the name of her Swiss grandmother.
              5. Obama wrote that he broke up with his New York girlfriend in part because she was white. But his next girlfriend, an anthropologist in Chicago, was also white.
              7. Obama wrote about his high school friends as an alienated, ne’er-do-well “club of disaffection.” In fact, most members of the “Choom Gang” were “decent students and athletes” who went on to successful careers.
              8. Obama’s mother left his father, not the other way around.

              Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/9_lies_about_obamas_life.html#ixzz1yTUsh0Xu


              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I don’t see Obama lying about his military service. Or stealing cars. I’m sorta down on that sort of thing. You should be, too.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Oh, now you’re the judge of what lies are permissible and what aren’t. BHO’s autohagiography has 38 lies in all, those were 9 of them. You don’t care, let’s face it.

                I don’t believe a word you say either, but I’m always open to checking the truth of your claims regardless. Sometimes you’re marvelously unique and spot-on.

                You realize you’re simply poisoning the well with this Issa thing right? Your link has no proof, only allegations.

                Oh well, I don’t deny such tactics work on some people. Rock on.


                Description of Poisoning the Well

                This sort of “reasoning” involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This “argument” has the following form:

                Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A is presented.
                Therefore any claims person A makes will be false.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I’m curious, Tom. When you claim Obama lied 39 times in his book, is that an example of poisoning the well?Report

              • Are you genuinely curious, Mr. Still, or are you being disingenuous? Tell the truth now…


                Did I write “I wouldn’t trust anything Obama says. You shouldn’t, either.” because he lied in his autobio?

                I don’t believe I did. And if you got that impression, I did not mean to leave it. I was pointing out that the blanket attack and delegitimization of Issa is poisoning the well, and that if Issa’s attacker really believes what he wrote, he must apply the same attack and the same standard to President Obama.

                And of course that Darryl Issa’s past has absolutely zero to do with this F&F thing, which I trust is obvious to the merest child here.

                [And FTR, I abjure the use of the word “liar” and used “lie” here in reference to BHO only as an echo and a parallel construction. I do find Barack Obama’s misrepresentations of his life disconcerting [if you do follow the links], but more because his autobiographical books were such a large part of his rise to power. IOW, not for his creative lapses in veracity, but that we still don’t know who the hell he is.

                And why none of this stuff came out in 2008, when it made a bigger difference. The press failed us.]Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Shrug. I think you just called me a liar, but that’s okay, Tom. Tu-quoque never saved your argument before. Fact is, Issa’s a problem child with a stinky military record and it all came out in the wash.

                I can understand why Issa is a hero figure to you, Tom. Like you, it’s all about da outrage. I’m not poisoning the well, I’m airing out a nasty little lie. Sweeping the Super Bowl stadium for bombs, hee hee. That’s just precious. Don’t you think so, Tom?

                Maybe after all the crap we’ve heard from Birther Boy Darrell Issa, it’s high time for Darrell Issa to produce his own military record or for someone to subpoena it. I’ll betcha Barry has a copy of Issa’s service record in his lower left drawer of the Oval Office desk and he’s just waiting for Issa to make a court case of this. Being the Commander in Chief has its perqs, including access to aaaaaall those files in the St Louis records barns. Betcha they have the Ark of the Covenant in there, somewhere. Maybe it got burned up, like Dubyah’s service record. Highly fucking convenient.

                You don’t think this Fast and Furious thing is going to hold water. You’re smarter than that. So don’t get all huffy about this and call it Poisoning the Well. Don’t try to shit an old shitter like me, Tom. I know from military fakers and Issa has all the hallmarks.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                As usual you avoid the issue. You seem to have an issue with Issa’s alleged lies but conveniently ignore Barry’s b/c they are somehow little white lies in his autobiography.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I’ll tell you what’s usual with me. I’ve been in the business of turning softies into soldiers long enough to have a genial contempt for anyone who wants to tell me a lie about his military service. There’s nothing particularly honourable about the profession of soldiering. It’s a lazy man’s paradise if you know how to play the game. But I’ve also done a fair bit of interrogating and I know how to interview people quickly and effectively. Nobody tells me the truth. But even when they’re lying to me, and everyone does to some limited extent, the best-constructed lies contain at their cores a nugget of truth and I learn more from lies than from the truth.

                Barry and his lies are interesting. No politician is an honest man. Nor is an attorney. They’re trained to lie. See, Scott, lies don’t bother me as much as half-truths. I can learn more from a big fat stinky turd of a lie than anything else.

                Darrell Issa is already on dangerous ground. The GOP leadership put him up to this because they know he’s expendable. He’s going to grandstand and fulminate for a good long while, but Barry’s going to win this one. Just like Bush won and for the same reasons. Let this toothless dog Issa bark his head off. He’s at the length of his chain and he will be hanged at the end of that very same chain.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Eric Holder’s the stinker here. Attacking Issa’s past with unproven allegations is sophistry.

                As for him being my hero, no, not really. I admire his courage in putting up with the inevitable attacks on his character, though. Many others in Washington go along, get along.

                This Maxine Waters thing is even worse.


                In an extraordinary development last February, to avoid accusations of a tainted investigation, all five Republicans and the top Democrat on the ethics panel withdrew from the case and replacements were named.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                A stinker, huh? Tom, this faux outrage is just so Weak. It’s unbelievable. Extraordinary developments! Oh my gosh!

                Darrell Issa is a thief and a liar. He can go along, all right, because some of us can’t get along with fake-o serial exaggerators. You can admire him. My observation with such people, admire ’em from a distance. Large asteroids strike that sort of person. Watch and see.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Yes, I heard you the first time you tried to deflect Holder’s cockups and call Issa a liar. I suppose some people will fall for this tactic, but I suspect not many here.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Not even getting into the rest of the usual partisan BS TVD explains that he’s above that posts all about, but the fact that Obama supposedly dumped somebody for x reason, then went for another person of the same type is not surprising to anybody involved in the dating world at all.

                I know plenty of guys who said they’re done with redheaded/brunette/skinny/etcetera girls. Guess who they’re currently with?Report

              • Reading comprehension, Jesse. Try again.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I didn’t misread. Obama supposedly broke up with a girl partly because she was white. Then, he dated another white girl.

                Pretty much every guy I know has said, “I’m done with x girls because they’re y.” Six months later, who are they with?Report

              • Then unless you deny Obama’s autobio has numerous, um, veracity problems, you have no point, just a quibble.

                I’ll stipulate the point if you want, there are so many others. Mostly I was illustrating that the ad hom on Issa is unfair, and had a little fun with Obama in the process.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Any autobio is going to have veracity issues along with consilidation of people for issues of storytelling, outside of freaks who have perfect recollection of their lives.

                To be blunt, nobody on this board could give an autobiography without 38 “lies” of the level in his autobio. I have no doubt he was told his grandad was tortured and some of his Indonesian ancestors were killed by the Dutch. For example, I’m sure every Southern soldier died saving a virgin Southern belle from the Northern hordes trying to rape her, not say, tripping on a rock and dying of exposure.

                Any person expecting 100% verifiable truth from an autobiography is either being silly or has an agenda. The overall storyline of Obama’s autobiography rings true, even if his great-granddad didn’t die fighting the Dutch.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                and had a little fun with Obama in the process.

                Heh. Poo flinging, right? I mean, I oughta know, nowhatI’msayin?Report

              • The point was that dogging Issa for Holder’s funk-ups is bogus, Still. Getting the Obamans upset by showing how bogus it really is was the cherry on top.

                June 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm
                Are you genuinely curious, Mr. Still, or are you being disingenuous? Tell the truth now…


              • BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                No, Tom. We’re dogging Issa for Issa’s fuckups. That’s because I see Issa’s name in the story, telling his High Dudgeon joke again.Report

              • Dog Eric Holder then, because the topic is his cockups, not Issa’s past. Focus.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Actually, it seems what Issa is concentrating on with these documents is the internal and public Justice Department reaction to the whistleblowing that brought Fast and Furious to light:


          On February 4, 2011, the Department of Justice denied whistleblower allegations that guns in Operation Fast and Furious had been allowed to “walk” to Mexico and defended the Operation itself. Ten months later, on December 2, 2011, the Justice Department formally withdrew this denial and acknowledged that Fast and Furious was “fundamentally flawed.” In responding to Congress, however, the Justice Department has taken the position that it will not share its internal deliberations related to Operation Fast and Furious that occurred after it denied anything inappropriate occurred on February 4, 2011. This position effectively denies Congress and the American people information about:

          o The Justice Department switching its view from denying whistleblower allegations to admitting they were true.

          o Hiding the identity of officials who led the charge to call whistleblowers liars and retaliate against them.

          o The reactions of top officials when confronted with evidence about gunwalking in Fast and Furious, including whether they were surprised or were already aware.

          o The Justice Department’s assessment of responsibility for officials who knew about reckless conduct or were negligent.

          o Whether senior officials and political appointees at fault in Operation Fast and Furious were held to the same standards as lower level career employees whom the Department has primarily blamed.


          • greginak in reply to Michael Drew says:

            1- This is nothing. They know they changed their story, what is their to learn about it? They are looking for memos with politicaly incrimnating statements in an election year.
            2- Another nothingbuger. How are the offcials who badmouthed the whistleblowers not allready public knoledge? If they didn’t do it publicly then what is the issue?
            3 Again just looking for memo’s suitable for embarsing people.
            4 More of the same. If people were negligent under O then they were just as negligent under B. ( likely both would be my guess)
            5 Ummm differnt spanks for different ranks. Of course upper level folks weren’t treated the same. they never are.

            If you want a non-partisan investigation to find out what happened then you need to do that This is both an ATF stupid op and, at this time, all about crreaing a political storm in an election season.Report

          • The whistleblower concern has some merit, though wording this as only seeking identities of who led the charge doesn’t help the impression that this is a witch hunt; still, if there was a coordinated effort to silence the whistleblowers, that’s a big problem that needs to be exposed in detail, and is also something that I think would fall well outside the scope of any claim of executive privilege. Certainly, in an employment suit by a whistleblower, this would be discoverable I would expect. Probably the same analysis applies to the last item on the list, though those two things seem to go hand in hand.

            At first glance, the first item, about the basis for the change of views, seems like just a witch hunt sort of thing, but I can charitably see a case for it being relevant and important- if the DOJ won’t say why it changed it’s mind about the allegations, and there is reason to be skeptical about the completeness of the documents already produced, then documents about why DOJ changed it’s mind would identify if there is other evidence that wasn’t disclosed or produced, and in fact may have been destroyed.

            The other two items, though, seem like pretty weak sauce.Report

            • I will add that my assumption was that they were looking for more significant documents than this, so my impression of the inquiry is significantly less favorable than it was an hour ago.Report

              • I’m not following, MarkT. Retaliation on whistleblowers, lying to Congress [when did you know?], refusing legal, constitutional requests for documents [the AG is answerable to Congress].

                I didn’t expect much else, in fact I didn’t know about the retaliation on whistleblowers. I just thought it was a monstrous piece of adminsitration incompetence that they tried to bury, Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.Report

              • I was expecting that they were more clearly looking for documents about how F&F came to be or more directly seeking to tie Admin officials to involvement in the program. The whistleblower issue is very important, certainly, and I still question the EP claim, but this seems a few orders of magnitude less important than investigating F&F itself. By and large (not entirely) these issues come across as being concerned primarily with finding out how Democratic appointees in DOJ felt about Issa’s investigation, not “what caused F&F” or “what did/is DOJ doing to correct this problem,” etc.Report

              • “Less favorably” of course also does not mean “unfavorably.”. I’m basically where Michael D. Is.

                Issa’s motives seem purely political, but he’s still On the right side of the issue.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                I think I agree somewhat with both of you. The substance seems to have run out, but there does seem to be enough question about the Department’s response to the allegations merit this pressure from Issa, IMO.

                I will say that I find the writing in the correspondence with Holder (public letters, effectively) to be incredibly overwrought and hackishly political in the way it goes about communicating the Committee’s interest in the various documents. But I haven’t read a lot of this kind of correspondence, and I imagine that’s pretty par for the course.Report

              • Scott in reply to Mark Thompson says:


                Why is Barry and crew so afraid of transparency in gov’t? Isn’t that part of what he promised us?

                “Information will not be withheld just because I say so; it will be withheld because a separate authority believes my request is well-grounded in the Constitution. Let me say it as simply as I can: transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,”Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Barry’s not afraid of transparency in government. The GOP is being pulled into a shouting match they can’t win. The louder Issa yells, the dumber the GOP looks.

                You guys just don’t understand why Barry’s pulling this shit. He’s trolling the GOP. Barry’s done a lot of that over his career. He trolled Hillary Clinton and won. He pulled this DREAM Act shit just to piss off the GOP. There’s no other possible reason. And the GOP, true to form, just barks its head off, struggling and choking at the end of its chain, with Obama blowing kisses at the poor dumb animal from a few feet away.Report

              • Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:


                So all of Barry’s statements about honesty and open gov’t were just a cynical ploy to bait the GOP? Wow, and all this time I thought he really was trying to implement “hope and change.” I guess he is a genius after all. I guess you must be a genius as well to understand his methods.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Pretty much, yeah. And don’t you get all huffy. The GOP’s meltdown and screeching and Exasperated Mommy act is getting awfully cheezy, don’t you think? Flouncing around, oh the goddamn Drah-Mah….

                Grow the hell up, GOP.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Scott says:

                ayup. hope and change.
                and a stake through the heart of the current republican party.

                for the benefit of all of us.
                most of all moderate republicans.Report

  11. greginak says:

    I dont’ think its clear what Issa is looking for. he wants docs. But what is he investigatiing. It was stupid idea under Bush and stupid idea under Obama. But what is the issue? Is anybody saying it wasn’t a dumb idea and its better off shut down.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

      If there’s nothing to hide…Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to greginak says:

      The investigation, as I understand it, is (at least on its face) to determine why a covert program that was putting guns into the hands of drug cartels at an ever increasing amount was allowed to continue unabated at a lower lever of the ATF, until a whistleblower brought it to a higher level of the JD. That it is also political point scoring is certainly true.

      But since the scenario so reeks of possible corruption, do we really want to let the people that executed it (whoever they were) to stay on after a collective “my bad?”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        If the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply to drug cartels in other countries, who *DOES* it apply to?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Yea, when their are bodies in the street, saying, “That was a dumb idea. We’ll stop” doesn’t really fly.

        I’m not even saying anything wrong happened. But it absolutely should be investigated. But honestly and thoroughly. Not for point scoring. To whatever extent that is possible.Report

    • greginak in reply to greginak says:

      ‘All those responses are well and good ,but what is being investiagated? Certainly some of the dunces who said “well this failed the first time, so lets ramp it up again” should be working in the food service industry. Sounds good to me. But what is being investigated by Issa?Report

  12. Scott says:

    What is really pathetic is the way Dems like Sharpton and Pelosi are now trying to insinuate that the contempt vote is really about race or voting rights. I guess when the going gets tough Dems will race bait.Report

  13. Maribou says:

    I haven’t read this post after the jump, or any of the comments, but I felt compelled to comment myself:

    Leave Vin Diesel alone! You’re just jealous!!!

    (I figure Russell and James Franco shouldn’t have all the fun…)Report

  14. Mark Logan says:

    Kazz, and others.

    Long time follower of this site, but have never posted before. This subject however has been something of a hobby of mine, as I have a close friend who has “gun fever” and is deep into the NRA theory’s. Hence, I have listened to all the hearings, read everything available, and held lively discussions with him for about a year and a half. I am retired LE.

    This is a very complex thing to follow, and there is much that is opaque to us, the public. The DEA has at least one mole in a cartel, probably more, and the BATF probably does as well. Hence, everything that is released from Justice has to be extremely carefully screened for any bit of information that might reveal to a crime syndicate the ID of a spy. This situation has made it very easy for some to paint Justice as obstructionist. That is not to say they aren’t, which I am not in a position to assert, just giving analysis here, not advocacy.

    I would be happy to answer specific questions, but most of the comments, indeed the OP, are far too broad, and I don’t have time to write a book, nor do I think anybody would want to read one written by me.

    For anybody interested in digging into this mess, be aware it’s going to take some time. Here’s the article that IMO most accurately conveys the things I heard in the hearing:


    Next, I would recommend a reading of the ranking chairs summation:

    • Ace point, Mr. Logan, but AG Holder could have called executive privilege a year ago on those grounds, instead of at 11:58 PM yesterday.

      Judge Napolitano sez that he would have reviewed the docs in camera, and squish anything that compromised national security or diplomatic confidentiality. AG Holder has not made those arguments anytime in the past year of this circus. Simply making that argument to the press—if not truthfully to Issa and the House—a year ago would have put this to bed.Report

      • Mark Logan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Mr Van Dyke,

        I’m not sure how to respond to Obama not exerting executive privilege at the very beginning of this. Why would he wish to?

        On viewing in camera, much has been already. Early in the hearings, I distinctly recall a discussion about a meeting where the Chair and ranking member, along with “professional level selected staff” (not sure what that means) would be allowed to view all the documents that were famously heavily redacted (some -whole pages) in camera, and later meetings indicated that did indeed take place. As to the things they are currently asking for, be aware that the number of documents is apparently huge. Numbers I’ve been seeing in the press vary from 80 to 100,000 items. I must wonder what Nepolitano meant, exactly.Report

        • Mr. Logan, if it were a matter of principle and defense of the presidency, executive privilege should’ve been first!Report

          • M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            And then the Republican line would have been “Obama goes straight to executive privilege, what’s he hiding?! He’s not being transparent!”

            This is your cake.

            This is you eating your cake.

            This is you with no cake.

            This is you listening to Rush Limbaugh while being angry that the “libruls” won’t let you have your cake and eat it too.Report

          • Mark Logan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            I think they were not anticipating such a request. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt on that at the moment, it appears a bit odd. Let me explain.

            As Agent Forcelli mentioned, there are fewer BATF agents in all of Arizona then are police officers in a square mile of NYC at any given time, and he’s done both jobs. I have seen nothing to refute that, barely a dozen people have been mentioned. If they generated 100,000 documents in that period of time, they didn’t do much else.

            We are of course guessing, but the subpoena request appears to me to be asking for a Wikileaks style doc-dump of a large section of the DOJ. Fishing expedition, and of internal communications of people dealing with investigations of organized crime!

            I believe that Nepolitano has seen exactly what the problem is there, and is asking for a special prosecutor. Those critters can do things like start looking as stupid real estate deals, but land on a girl who doesn’t do her laundry very often. Their scope is very broad. Congressional committees leak like sieves, and are much more limited.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Mark Logan says:

      I would actually be interested in a book on this subject…it seems like it’d make some fascinating and gripping reading.

      Or, at the very least, a guest post.

      May I please beg you to write one?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Ditto. Just the story of the who, what, whens of the development of these operations, their shelving, their revivals, the blowback cycle, etc. would be fascinating, Traffic-level stuff, I imagine.Report

        • Mark Logan in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Nob, Mike,

          I’m afraid I am not qualified to write such a book. I am merely a guy who watched all the hearings, and had the ability to discern a bit more from the agents testimony than someone with no experience in LE likely might.

          If you dig up Wednesday’s CPAN2 telecast of the House Oversight meeting where they had the vote, you will see many mentions of information and testimony that has been taken from such key people as Melson and Bruerer which is not public. No mention is even made of Voth. As reported in the WaPo, he was their direct supervisor. I find it inconceivable he has not been interviewed but have absolutely no way to know. I am still a pretty darned ignorant source.

          I feel compelled to write now simply because what I am seeing in the press right now is so shallow, you couldn’t drown a gnat in it. Turn off your TV’s folks. They haven’t gotten their heads fully wrapped around this yet.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Mark Logan says:

            I don’t think many people have, Mark. I have to say, I’ve found the liberal focus on the 2nd Amendment rantings of some of the people on the right who have been pushing the story to sound a little unhinged (by way of how unhinged the theories being spouted on the right are – i.e. I thought they were liberal attempts to handwave away the basic issue by pointing to crazy talk on the right about it). But then I heard that the NRA is actually scoring the full-House contempt vote; that they’ve been pushing for it to happen from the beginning of the episode, or whenever it came on their radar. I don’t know about that last part for sure, but I find the scoring thing (which I think is pretty well established to be real) pretty interesting.Report

            • M.A. in reply to Michael Drew says:

              NRA are zealots; there’s no reasoning and no compromise with them. And they’re in the pocket of a bunch of lunatics that generally align with the Republicans. They were offered several chances to meet with the President to find compromises and solutions to gun problems, and they refused.

              NRA CEO’s word on the subject: “Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?”

              Remember: you have the right to have an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds tucked under your pillow at night, in case a rampaging bear wearing a bulletproof vest breaks into your McMansion.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to M.A. says:

                “Remember: you have the right to have an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds tucked under your pillow at night, in case a rampaging bear wearing a bulletproof vest breaks into your McMansion.”

                M.A. – how do you see these weapons as more dangerous than a standard deer rifle?Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Greater penetrating power = more chance of hitting bystanders or unintended targets, for one.

                More bullets in clip = “spray and pray”, again more chance of hitting bystanders or unintended targets.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to M.A. says:

                M.A. – Have you heard any stories about someone shooting armor piercing rounds that just got away from them and hit innocent people? Of course you haven’t because those rounds are A) Very hard to come by and B) The kind of people who purchase those are smart enough to shoot at safe targets where a bullet isn’t going to disappear into the unknown.

                And regarding more rounds in the magazine, controlled fire is always more lethal than ‘spray and pray’.

                I’m also confused about the ‘bystanders and unintended targets’ thing. It’s almost as though you are implying that a gang member who uses a bolt action to only take it his enemy is a better scenario than doing a drive-by and killing everyone on the front porch. Aren’t they both murders and isn’t the problem gang violence in any form?Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                AP rounds are more common than you think.

                And the people who purchase them are NOT “smart enough to shoot at safe targets.”

                And regarding more rounds in the magazine, controlled fire is always more lethal than ‘spray and pray’.

                No; controlled fire is more lethal towards the intended target. Big difference. Stray bullets kill bystanders. Stray bullets have been known to travel more than a mile and still hit someone.

                I’m also confused about the ‘bystanders and unintended targets’ thing. It’s almost as though you are implying that a gang member who uses a bolt action to only take it his enemy is a better scenario than doing a drive-by and killing everyone on the front porch. Aren’t they both murders and isn’t the problem gang violence in any form?

                Gang violence is a problem. Gang violence perpetrated by some asshole with a semi-auto and a large clip, spraying bullets everywhere, is MORE of a problem. Keep the thugs from having that kind of weapon and at least the people around them are a bit safer. I’d prefer to make the restrictions tight enough that the thugs were left with just knives, fists and baseball bats personally but I doubt that’ll ever happen.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                No, mike, it is a Small Problem when someone who can’t call the police solves a business disagreement in a relatively final way.

                It is a BIG problem when little kids are getting shot, and killed just for walking down the street.

                The latter destroys neighborhoods and communities.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Armour piercing rounds are easily obtained through disreputable channels.

                Spray and pray is exactly what suppressive fire is all about. During WW2, Americans had to be un-trained out of their bad habit of always lining up on a target. When they wouldn’t lay down suppressive fire, they took horrible casualties. Suppressive fire keeps people alive.

                Gangs will use bolt-action weapons. Let’s take the labels off how gangs operate: they are fighting in cities and city fighting involves sniping and counter-sniping. Not only do they have long guns, they use them.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                NRA has made bad friends in pursuit of a good cause. A given bullet’s impact and ability to damage is no practical measurement, nor is the calibre or size of a weapon.

                Where the NRA might have done some good over the years, politically, it never did. It didn’t even serve the hunter’s ends: it’s made a botch of those. It’s made lasting enemies of every police department in the land. The NRA’s continued opposition to any regulation of gun shows, its attacks on anyone who might wish to impose some sanity on this situation, its paranoid rants have all proven a magnet for the lunatic fringe.

                I wish we did have a National Rifle Association worthy of the name, one that would remember the Second Amendment contains the phrase “well-regulated”, one which stood up for the rights of gun owners and honest gun dealers, one which would demand legislation so young children could be given practical gun safety instruction, just as they’re given education on sexuality and driving and other legitimate behaviours with concomitant dangers.

                Liberals don’t want to take your guns away. Liberals want people like you to own the guns, people who reverence nature and hunting, people who secure their weapons and bring their weapons to port arms and open the bolt and make sure there isn’t a round in the chamber every time you pick it up and secure their ammunition and get rid of ammunition when it’s old and dangerous. Yeah, people like you not only deserve the right to own guns, people like you should be against the NRA in present form because it’s people like you who understand what “well-regulated” means in the context of the armed citizen. We wish everyone was like you. There are, however, people who aren’t. You won’t take objection, I hope, to this old Liberal noting that fact.Report

              • M.A. in reply to BlaiseP says:


                We don’t want to take guns away. We want guns to be like vehicles; you get TRAINED on their use, LICENSED when you’ve proven you understand handling them safely, in a “well regulated” sort of way consistent with the wording of the 2nd amendment.

                More responsible usage, less redneck “here hold mah beer an’ watch this.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to M.A. says:

                Yeah, that won’t have any disparate impact.

                We can even say “it’s for the children!”Report

              • M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                We make you get trained and licensed to operate a 1.5 ton vehicle. We make you get even MORE training and licensing before we let you operate an 18-wheeler.

                We probably make a mistake letting some of the morons on the roads rent a U-Haul with no training on how to drive it.

                Why should the same not be true for guns? Why should you not have proof of passing a certified training course before you can own one? Proof that you know the difference between valid and invalid uses of a gun, proof you know how to handle one. Proof you’re not the type of rampant moron who will point a loaded weapon at someone and squeeze the trigger, then whine about how “I thought the safety was on” in court.

                I’d like you to explain. What sort of “disparate impact” are you talking about?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise – I agree with you and I’m certainly not a blind supporter of the NRA. In fact I haven’t donated to them in years. The problem though with liberals (and I’m going to generalize here) is that you get a lot of people like our friend M.A. here that clearly know next to nothing about firearms and say a lot of things that don’t really pass scrutiny. That makes the Left seem woefully out-of-touch on gun rights because quite simply, if you don’t really understand the thing you want o regulate, you’ve got no business trying to regulate it.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The problem though with conservatives/libertarians (and I’m going to generalize here) is that you get a lot of people like our friend Mike Dwyer here that clearly know next to nothing about firearms and say a lot of things that don’t really pass scrutiny.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                It seems even M.A. agrees with my position and seemingly yours. The Liberals are not the enemy here and we are so easily reduced to straw men. Remember, Mike, Liberals stand for Liberty, always a dangerous word, for freedom means I can do what I want and you can’t stop me, in the case of gun ownership because the law has provided me this freedom under the Second Amendment.

                Who has told you we believe these things? It wasn’t the Liberals. The Liberals read the entire Second Amendment, not just the final clause. When I see the Gun Crowd out there rattling on, trying to demonise us for positions we never took, I know what’s going on. So do you, now. Do not listen to anyone who would try to tell you what Liberals believe, they are all lying bastards. Just ask one of us Liberals, we’ll tell you.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                us liberals got ears, and we do listen to folks from the country when they start to explain “there ain’t no police out here, and the nearest neighbor is miles away — if I have to defend myself, I’m on my own.”Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                M.A. – Unfortunately you just went off the rails on that last comment. I’m not going to get into a pissing match about gun knowledge but that statement was just kind of ridiculous.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, you have made your bed very hard and if you must now lie in it, Liberals around here seem rather better informed on the subject of weapons than you were led to believe by all that third-party hokum you’ve been fed over the years. You might back off a bit from your position on what we’re trying to regulate and why.

                Why would a Liberal want to take your guns away? Think about this for a second. You’re obviously a man who loves nature and hunting and I’ll bet my life your behaviour as a gun owner is beyond exemplary.

                Let’s talk about gun safety. Wouldn’t you agree we ought to at least have a reputable gunsmith examine the weapon for rust and defects before someone kills himself discharging an unsafe weapon? I want to see the trained gunsmith play a much larger role in gun purchasing than he does at present. Where’s the NRA on actual “gun safety”, not this lying bullshit about what the NRA says Liberals believe. I’m a real honest-to-God Liberal and when I hear “gun safety” I mean Gun Safety, weapons safe to fire.

                There are tens of thousands of rusty old weapons in the drawers of stupid people’s night tables, with twenty year old ammunition in the chamber. Nobody’s cleaned that weapon or exercised the magazine spring since Reagan was president. Would you be okay with picking that weapon and firing it? You know you wouldn’t.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                No, Dwyer, it is YOUR statement that is ridiculous. You know NOTHING about me and you made a blanket statement impugning my knowledge of firearms as well as impugning my motives.

                You’ve also made statements completely misrepresenting the stance that “liberals” take regarding firearms.

                Do I currently own a gun? No. Do I have family that do? Hell yes. Have I been hunting? Hell yes. Have I taken firearms safety courses? I took my first one at 10 years old and I’ve refreshed periodically ever since.

                I enjoy hunting. I enjoy shooting at the range. I think guns can be really, really cool. I enjoy the smell of gunpowder just as much as I enjoy the smell of a campfire, which is to say a whole hell of a lot.

                I also know the difference between those things and other things that guns can, have and will be used for and I have NO problem with a licensing requirement for varying levels of weaponry.

                You didn’t know what the hell you were talking about, you just wanted to take a cheap shot at me and at “liberals.”

                The problem though with conservatives/libertarians (and I’m going to generalize here) is that you get a lot of people like our friend Mike Dwyer here that clearly know next to nothing about the positions of the other side, don’t care to find out anything beyond what they heard Rush Limbaugh spewing in between cigar chomps, and say a lot of things that almost never pass scrutiny.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                You both sound like a pack of fools, glaring at the strawmen behind each other, but ready to punch each other out for being those strawmen.

                I figure you both on the same side of the issue, more or less, so quit yer fighting fore I throw water on the lot of ya!Report

              • Blaise, MA:

                I’ve got a pretty good idea of where Mike’s coming from on this. I don’t think he’s right to be using the generic term “liberals” for what he’s referring to, but what he references is certainly true of most coastal liberals, and especially coastal liberal politicians and opinion makers, groups that get the most airtime and tend to be at the forefront of gun control advocacy.

                Frankly, it’s also true to an extent of most coastal elites more generally, regardless of ideology, but it’s a low enough priority for coastal GOPers that they tend to just go along to get along – they won’t much participate in intrastate debate, so limited resistance to gun control legislation within the state, and in the national debate, they’ll just go along with their party’s wishes.

                I know at least a minimal amount about firearms due to a job I once held, but that minimal amount is about 100 times more than most of the folks around these parts.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:



                “Why would a Liberal want to take your guns away?”

                You were around when the AWB passed, correct? And I assume you read all of the literature about the President Obama’s position on guns when he was in IL? Conservatives didn’t coin terms like ‘cop-killer bullets’ and ‘assault weapons’. So you tell me, why would I think that liberals might want my gun.

                Keep in mind that it’s S.O.P for internet discussions to assume all conversations are generalizations unless told otherwise. I took the extra step of identifying my coments as such to help you all out. Pointing out to me that three or four people on this board might know more about guns than my generalization implies seems to miss the point.

                In my personal experience, both in personal conversations and during years of internet debates, liberals GENERALLY know less about guns than their conservative counterparts. I don’t think a conservative has ever asked me if I caught a deer this year, or if I eat what I kill or my favorite, what kind of bullets I use in my shotgun.

                And I always ask liberals to define ‘assault weapons’ for me when they mention regulation and the majority of times they say something about ‘machine guns’.

                So yes, those are genralizations but that is my personal experience.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                1) many people who claim to go hunting in fact go out into the woods to drink beer.
                2) eatin’ what you kill is not standard operating procedure for a lot of “citified” hunters. It’s a hell and a half to drag a deer back to your car…

                You really should meet more of my kind of liberal (they ain’t terribly good democrats, mind). The kind that’s been shot at, shot back — had bullets pierce the back of their car…Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                The NRA and their acolytes have told far too many lies about Liberals for me to ever take them for anything but troublemakers. The NRA’s leadership ought to be ousted, en masse, and replaced with respectable people who can bring some measure of sanity to this debate.

                As a Liberal, I have tried to lay out our positions, trying to defuse a rotten debate. I have no respect for all this cheap talk about what Coastal Libruls and some amorphous Blob o’ Statists Tryin’ to Take Yer Gunz Away. It’s bullshit, okay?

                Go back and tell all the rest of ’em Liberals are not your enemies. We advocate entirely sensible positions on gun ownership and gun safety, positions I do not hear from the NRA. You might be better served to talk these things over with us directly and quit listening to Wayne LaPierre and the rest of those manifest assholes. We believe in the rights of man, partially and imperfectly exposed in the Constitution and we don’t take our scissors to the Second Amendment any more than we would to the First or the Fourth or the Fifth or the Fourteenth.

                As for Obama and his policies, his role as State Senator in Illinois was to carry water from Emil Jones to the Republican Party, who dominate rural Illinois. At that time, there was much talk about Police Brutality and Obama got everyone involved with that issue on the same wavelength. All that was needed was to videotape police interrogations: saved the police from being charged with brutality and saved the suspects from being brutalised.

                Now I believe Liberals and honest gun owners have nothing to fear from each other. I’m not worried about the guns. I’m worried about the ammunition, mostly. Tons of expired ammunition lurks in America’s closets and desk drawers, unsecured explosive materiel and nobody’s saying jack shit about this problem. I don’t want to take your guns away. I want you to take your expired ammo down to the police station so they can dispose of it safely. I want you go down to the gun shop and get your old weapons disassembled and repaired and if it’s safe, to have that gunsmith fire a clip through it every few years and if it is an old historical weapon, I want the firing pin removed. I want your children to quit being able to fuck around with loaded weapons carelessly left around, especially with a round in the chamber. You face a threat, you can chamber that round yourself.

                No more straw men, please. I want the mythology around weapons and ammunition dispelled, including these vicious mischaracterisations of Liberals. Don’t buy into it. Assault weapons are a canard. The black market in assault weapons is large enough to declare the horse has long since run out of that barn. When I see the NRA and gun owners united around common-sense solutions to these problems, then maybe I might think differently but I do not expect it any time soon.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Blaise – you keep going on and on about he NRA even after I told you that I am not a huge fan of them and all of my experiences with liberals being silly about guns is from personal contact, not from reading NRA newsletters.

                So I need you to sort of take that in and keep it in the ol’ noodle for me.

                Also, I’m sure your track record with guns is just as good as mine. We have all heard about your various exploits and I would expect no less. But again, we’re talking GENERALIZATIONS and it was liberals that passed the AWB and coined all kinds of scary-sounding phrases to get our guns. And it was the President who is on record of being okay with grabbing handguns. Etc, etc. You might be a common-sense liberal on guns but your side of the aisle is not homogenous on this issue.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike, I must reiterate, you’re not the problem. You’re the solution. All the people like you are the solution. I know you’re not buying into this NRA bullshit, you backed away from them and good on you for doing so.

                This country need thousands of people just like you, not Liberals, not Conservatives, honest, respectable gun owners who are ready to make their positions clear on these subjects. Actual people, ready to campaign on behalf of rational policies which can save lives. Not generalisations. Not cheap talk. Lives depend on developing rational policies on gun ownership in America, policemen’s lives, especially. They get to wade into the aftermath of these tragic situations. Every time I see a cop with a bulletproof vest it secretly horrifies me. Brings me back to my days of wearing the old M69 vest. Unpleasant memories.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                how do you see these weapons as more dangerous than a standard deer rifle?

                Depends on what you mean by “dangerous”, Mike. From your point of view, they aren’t inherently more dangerous than a standard deer rifle because a well trained person will be careful with both kinds of guns, and an accident or incompetence can cause harm with both kinds of guns.

                But what about the rare occasion where a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately? He snaps – for whatever reason – and goes on a rampage. Which gun is more dangerous then?

                I think that’s MAs point.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                How often does something like a rampage happen?

                More often than, say, Muslim Terrorists attacking planes and/or buildings?

                If it’s less often than that, maybe we could explore the whole “not setting up the equivalent of a TSA” thing.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Is there an argument in that comment?Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

                We’ve had multiple rampages in pittsburgh in the past year. And it’s a SAFE city.

                How many times do people get hurt/killed stopping to help a stranded motorist? More times than you might think, in meth country.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:


                In recent memory we have gone through a great deal of over-reaction to things that have happened.

                We should not over-react to things that have not happened.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Worst. argument. ever.

                Rampages. have. happened.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                And we’re back to my responding to what you said:

                Here, I’ll cut and paste it:
                But what about the rare occasion where a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately?

                See what I’m saying in context to what we’ve said.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Jaybird says:

                But what about the rare occasion where a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately?

                We have no training/licensing requirements to speak of, so we can’t guarantee a “well trained gun user.” But we still have plenty of rampages and they are all easily verifiable and have happened.

                Your strawman is invalid.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, I’m increasingly frustrated by having to do your thinking for you in order for the conversation to precede. You think you’re being cute and clever, always bringing in the Cassandra-like “but wait!’s and “what if”s, even when they make no sense in the context at hand. You admitted what I think is the problem I have in discussions with you: you view arguments liberals say as code for laws they want to pass. That gets tiring. But it also makes a discussion with you impossible because you’re not reading what I write, but translating what I write into a decoded argument for something you reflexively oppose.

                That gets pretty frustrating.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well then, if we are not in agreement on whether gun rampages with an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds are non-existent to this point, I doubt we’ll find much common ground when it comes to the effectiveness of gun bans when it comes to preventing rampages with these same guns.

                Then again, maybe the TSA is doing a great job at preventing terrorism.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                That said , if we’re jumping from “a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately” to something like the VA Tech shooter (who, if I recall correctly, used a handgun instead of an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds), then we are left discussing such things as handgun bans (similar to the one in Washington DC), waiting periods, gun show loopholes, and other well-trod ground.


              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:


                No. Well, you can go down that road. I mean, you’re already on it. In fact you’re never not on it. That’s why you can’t hear what people actually say.

                It’s your “decoder”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, then let me hear the examples of the rampages that have happened.

                I cannot think of a single one and googled a bit and can’t find examples of any. (All of the rampages involved sad little run-of-the-mill weapons.)

                (I *DID* find some examples of SWAT teams doing stuff but that falls a bit outside of the scope of what we’re talking about.)

                If we can’t find any (and I couldn’t), I posit that going back to “We should not over-react to things that have not happened” seems a good position to have.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                JB, go back and re-read the comment that started this subthread. You’re still “decoding” it gettin it wrong.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sure, up there at an earlier comment MA said:

                “Remember: you have the right to have an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds tucked under your pillow at night, in case a rampaging bear wearing a bulletproof vest breaks into your McMansion.”

                In response to that, Mike quoted MA and then asked:
                M.A. – how do you see these weapons as more dangerous than a standard deer rifle?

                Your response to Mike was:
                “Depends on what you mean by “dangerous”, Mike. From your point of view, they aren’t inherently more dangerous than a standard deer rifle because a well trained person will be careful with both kinds of guns, and an accident or incompetence can cause harm with both kinds of guns.

                But what about the rare occasion where a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately? He snaps – for whatever reason – and goes on a rampage. Which gun is more dangerous then? “

                And my question was about this last part that you said.

                “But what about the rare occasion where a well trained gun user who uses the gun inappropriately? He snaps – for whatever reason – and goes on a rampage. Which gun is more dangerous then?”

                Which then brings me to my question: Has this ever happened?

                If it hasn’t, and I can’t find evidence of it having happened, then I’d say “We should not over-react to things that have not happened.”


                What am I getting wrong?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Which then brings me to my question: Has this ever happened?

                What does “this” refer to in the question above?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Reading the above, I get the answer:

                A well trained gun user uses the gun inappropriately (and “the gun” refers to “an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds” and “inappropriately” refers to “a rampage”).Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If that’s right, how do you make sense of the final sentence? “Which gun is more dangerous then?”

                How can that sentence make any sense except as a conceptual, distinction?

                And if you can’t see that, then I think it counts as evidence that you read liberals through a decoding filter. You know, the one you admitted to using when you read liberals.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Which gun is more dangerous then?

                I would have to look at the guns that actually have ended up killing people in rampages.

                From John Allen Mohammed to Seung-Hui Cho to Marc Lépine, it seems to me that rampages are committed with, as I said above, “sad little run-of-the-mill weapons”.

                If you’d like to talk about what guns would be more dangerous in theory, I’m back to “We should not over-react to things that have not happened”.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you keep using your (willful, at this point) misinterpretation of the claim to justify your interpretation of it as the the right one, you’re never gonna get anywhere, JB. Baying at the moon. I mean, who are you trying to convince at this point? Me? (That’d be weird.) The lurker? Yourownself?

                But! I’ve devoted too much time to this ridiculous issue. Sorry for being impatient. All that. I’ll even let you get that last word in – just so long as it’s respectful 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Can you give me the sentence that I should be seeing as true?

                The sentences that I am able to come up with* are sentences for which “We should not over-react to things that have not happened” is an appropriate response.

                *”But *IF* a guy decided that he wanted to go on a rampage and *IF* he used an assault rifle with an extended clip and armor-piercing rounds, then wouldn’t he be able to kill a lot more people than the people who have committed rampages with run-of-the-mill weapons and bullets and couldn’t we conclude from that that these weapons and bullets are even more dangerous?”Report

              • M.A. in reply to Stillwater says:


                That’s part of my point. It dovetails nicely with Kimmi’s from below:

                because, quite simply, your next-door neighbor is crazy. And if you’ve got a right to nuclear weapons… so does he.

                The reality is that the NRA ignores the “well regulated” portion of the 2nd amendment. In a “well regulated militia”, if the commanding officer decides you are too goddamn stupid to know which end of a gun points forward or too goddamn stupid to be trusted not to point a gun at someone in a “here hold mah beer an’ watch this” moment, you will not be holding a gun. EVER.

                Follow this logically. We require licensing for cars. We require MORE training and more licensing to drive the larger, more dangerous commercial vehicles or to haul certain categories of cargo (hazmat) that would be extremely dangerous to all around if you were in an accident or did something stupid. There are certain vehicles that are simply not allowed on the roadways because they wouldn’t be safe for other vehicles around them.

                Why is it such a big deal to have the same thing regarding guns? To say – hey now, you get licensed for a basic gun and then you can have it as long as you obey the restrictions on when/where you can carry it and practice basic safety rules. You want the more dangerous variety, you go through the really intense background checks and training so that we have some form of reasonable assurances that you’re not going to do something really fishing stupid or horrifying with it.

                Because our other option is to just throw our hands up and shrug when things like this keep happening and I for one think THAT is a fishing stupid idea.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to M.A. says:

                M.A. – Define ‘more dangerous variety’.

                I would also suggest that you not associate auto licensing with gun licensing as equivelant. The accident rate for autos, where everyone undergoes a licensing process is higher than the accident rate for guns.

                280,000,000 guns / 24,477 accidental shootings = 0.009%

                254,212,610 autos / 32,885 accidents = 0.013%Report

              • Stillwater in reply to M.A. says:

                Why is it such a big deal to have the same thing regarding guns?

                It’s a big deal for pretty obvious reasons. People who like guns and want to maintain access to them are suspicious of legislation that encroaches on the general right to have them. That parts pretty obvious, right?

                I think your bigger point is a question about the level of resistance to what would seem like pretty reasonable requirements or restrictions if the political context weren’t so polarized. It’s one of those things where the two sides can’t find common ground (overlap of the set of restrictions) because each side thinks conceding anything to the other is the first move an inexorable slide in the wrong direction.Report

              • M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                200 million privately held firearms, not 280 million, according to FBI stats.

                31,347 firearm deaths in the USA, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.

                254,212,610 autos in the USA; 32,885 auto deaths. I see where you pulled those numbers from.

                Now let’s run the REAL math (rounding to 3rd decimal place):
                31347 / 200000000 = 0.015%
                32885 / 254212610 = 0.013%

                Keeping in mind gun ownership is more centralized. 1 in 4 Americans can be said to “own” a gun, in whatever condition, and many of them are sitting around never maintained and never used. On the other hand, almost every able adult owns a car and uses it regularly.

                Tell me again why there shouldn’t be licensing requirements based on how much can go wrong how quickly with a weapon?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to M.A. says:

                M.A. I have multiple sources (Reuters, Gallop, Democracy Journal) which put U.S. gun ownership at 270-280 million but that is really irrelvant. You are not looking at the correct statistics.

                The point of gun licensing/training would be to prevent accidents, not homicides, correct? I mean, how would you train someone to not murder people with a gun? So when I pulled my numbers I only looked at ACCIDENTAL shootings in the U.S. (both fatal and non-fatal). That number is 24,477.

                The best thing we can do to prevent accidental deaths is to simply put locks on guns. Every gun should come with a free lock. If Uncle Sam wants to subsidize that, I’m on board. Beyond that, hunter education courses are pretty smart, but hose have already been happening for decades.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to M.A. says:

                anger management courses might help with second degree murder cases.Report

              • M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                Far too many deaths are automatically ruled “homicides” the way you are dishonestly trying to massage the statistics. Deaths due to stray bullets are a homicide. This death is ruled a homicide, not an “accident.” I gave you the number from the CDC of actual gun related deaths, deaths where the person died after being shot, for 2010.

                If we’re going to have this discussion, we’re going to have an HONEST discussion, not one where you strip out any meaning trying to play the statistics to where you want them to be.

                Make real licensing requirements with a real background check. Make people get more training if they want to own something with more than single-digit magazine capacity. Check the licensing every time someone buys a gun or ammunition, record it, and make it so that even private sales of the car must be reported and registered just like we do with automobiles.


              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Stillwater says:

                You can get an extended magazine for a deer rifle and the guns are equal. And those are exactly the kinds of factors that make arbitrary gun regulation so pointless.Report

              • rexknobus in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike or Scott — So here’s a question. Where do you draw the line? Should any citizen in good standing have the right to purchase, own, and use any weapon of any kind whatsoever? If yes, o.k., I get it. If no, where do you draw the line? Do we actually believe the same things about laws restricting the possession and use of weapons, but just have different lines that we draw?

                And for the record, I’m a Marine Corps vet, a liberal, and a person who lived in a dodgy neighborhood in L.A. for nine years. You bet your sweet life I would far rather have the gang members toting bolt actions rather than automatics. Cripes, were you kidding? And I’d rather have them toting knives than bolt actions. And flowers rather than knives. 😉Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Rex – I’m for ownership of whatever you want as long as you are a ‘citizen in good standing’.Report

              • rexknobus in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Mike — Oh. O.k., well at least we know where we stand. We differ greatly — I can off-hand come up with long lists of things that I don’t think we should be able to own. Cheers.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Including nukes?
                How about biological setups capable of bioterrorism?
                How about Class A explosives?
                How about Class B, for that matter?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Kimi – I thought we were talking about firearms?Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                am I offtopic?
                I’m trying to draw some lines in the sand we all can agree on.

                Or at least have some fun trying! 😉Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Kimmi – not off-topic but I think it’s probably a good idea to not start talking about hypotheticals beyond firearms. I mean, I would love to get my hands on a grenade launcher but that’s well beyond basic firearm law.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                and yet we regulate things with licenses… horribly dangerous Class A explosives.Report

              • Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                I’m not sure what you mean by “any kind of weapon.” I think law abiding citizens should be able to own class 3, automatic weapons. Sadly, not all states and cities allow citizens to exercise their rights.

                As for those gang members, how many of them can legally own firearms in the first place. Clearly, CAs gun control doesn’t work but then again it didn’t work for DC, NY, Philly, Chicago or any other liberal bastion.Report

              • Scott in reply to M.A. says:


                Why should I comprise my rights? Which one your rights are you willing to comprise on? Liberals blather on about right and how they should be protected but the truth is they really only care about some rights.

                As for your claim of offers to meet with Barry, do you have any proof?

                Of, and just so you know, true armor piercing ammunition is illegal to own. Also, they are called magazines not clips.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Scott says:


                your “rights”? How about my right not to have some rampant mentally deranged right wing lunatic spraying bullets that hit indiscriminate points in a neighborhood while “deer hunting”? My right to not have the bullets from some gang shooting spread out and go through random windows in a neighborhood I live in, hitting innocent people in their houses?

                As for your claim of offers to meet with Barry, do you have any proof?

                Yes. YES I DO.

                Which [of] one your rights are you willing to [compromise] on?

                Everyone compromises on their “rights” in the making of law. If you want a true libertarian society, go live on Solaria.

                Oh, and I fixed your spelling and grammar. Do us all a favor and stop frothing at the mouth long enough to check it yourself next time.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Scott says:

                because, quite simply, your next-door neighbor is crazy. And if you’ve got a right to nuclear weapons… so does he.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kimmi says:

                I’ve played poker at a table with 8 guys, 4 of whom I knew were armed (handguns, 9mm mostly, one guy had a .38, the guy who owned the garage had a desert eagle stashed in a drawer somewhere).

                While most of these guys were and are, in fact, crazy, they’re well within spec.

                Then again, it’s probably a cultural thing. In Colorado, if I heard that I was somewhere that had 50% of the folks around me being armed, I wouldn’t worry. I probably wouldn’t think about it.

                If I found myself in Jersey and I heard that 50% of the people around me were armed? I’d probably find a reason to leave.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

                A friend of a friend is a real estate agent. She carries around a grenade at all times (sometimes visible, sometimes not.) There have been enough times that she’s needed to use it.

                Chuck it and run like hell.

                I’m glad I don’t live in her neck of the woods.

                (and that’s playing poker with foolz, not going drinking with fools, and those are people you mostly know).

                99% of people ain’t totally batshit crazy. The other 1% scares me.Report

              • Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

                Depends which part of Jersey. I’ve never felt anything but safe when I’ve been around Pineys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piney_(Pine_Barrens_Resident)

                But in most of the rest of the state, if you knew that 50% of the people around you had firearms, the odds would be pretty good that half of them were black market firearms. I’m not sure this would change much if NJ ever introduced a modicum of reasonability to its gun laws.Report

              • rexknobus in reply to Scott says:

                “Why should I comprise my rights? Which one your rights are you willing to comprise on?”

                Scott — what rights? Nobody’s saying you can’t be part of a well-regulated militia. Sign right up and exercise the right that the 2nd amendment affords you.

                But your context is a bit weird. Am I supposed to respond that I have the right to drive 95 and thus I’m compromising that right by agreeing to drive 65? If somehow I do have the right to drive 95 — then I gladly compromise it. Myself and every other dope I see on the highway can’t handle that speed.

                Most of the regulations that govern my behavior in public don’t seem to me to be restricting my “rights.” And, without actually doing an in-depth comparison, I’m pretty sure that most regulations that I am subject to are generally fine with me. And it’s fine with me to impose them on everyone else as well.

                You want free speech, your own religion, habeas corpus, no soldiers bunking in your house, and the right to join a militia and carry a black-powder muzzle loader, then you’ve got no problem with me. Do your own study and see if any liberals at all have a different point of view.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to rexknobus says:

                where we do have 70+ speed limits in this country (desert), it’s quite possible to be able to handle that speed. if youv’e got a car for it.Report

              • rexknobus in reply to Kimmi says:

                Kimmi — go for it. My first job was as an orderly in an emergency room. Took some of my teenage thrill out of driving (and I never could do a motorcycle after that). Obviously, most people driving at high speeds get away with it. Good for them.

                My mph numbers were somewhat arbitrary, just to illustrate my point.

                And, of course, the vast majority of gun owners never put a bullet in another human being.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to rexknobus says:

                You may have freedom of religion but surely the fathers could not have foreseen a mosque built in the shadow of ground zero!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Don’t you hate it when you think of an even snarkier answer when you’re doing research in the lab?

                “Surely the fathers could not have foreseen a bunch of white guys conspiring in basements against the government!”Report

              • Scott in reply to rexknobus says:


                Last time I checked the 2nd amend codified my right to a firearm but maybe your liberal copy of the constitution is abridged. There is no right to drive 90 miles and hour last time I checked

                I would also suggest you check out 10 United States Code Sec 311 for the composition of the unorganized militia.


              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Hey, the Second Amendment’s the law. I’m sorta amused watching you guys advocating for letting insane people have fully automatic weapons.Report

              • Scott in reply to Scott says:


                Where have I or the NRA ever advocated such a thing? Surely you can make up better stories.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                I really only have you and the NRA to work with, here. Listen, Scott, you know what really pisses me off so heartily about all this? The Mexican government is being destroyed with American guns sold to complete drug maniacs and all you guys can come up with is some bullshit about Fast and Furious.

                If the NRA or any of the rest of these worthless bastards gave a damn about the Second Amendment you’d see that right in the context of a well-regulated militia and not a bunch of swarming apes running around gunshows for Mexican drug lords. All I get out of Ward is empty talking points we’ve all heard a thousand times. No thinking going on here. You want to talk about Liberals cutting out your Second Amendment rights, then we’ll talk about that dangerous asshole Wayne LaPierre making sure that American gun shows provide the weapons to murder brave Mexican reporters and policemen and dude those weapons are all coming from the USA. And yes it is a shame Fast and Furious went titsup and an agent got killed, not that it makes a particle of difference to any of y’all because your Second Amendment rights and Wayne LaPierre’s consistent opposition to meaningful gun sales rules trump those people’s right to live. Y’all make me sick.Report

              • Scott in reply to Scott says:


                If you really care as much as you say then why do you care so little about F&F? From the numbers I’ve seen over 2,000 guns were lost with only 700 recovered. That is is around 1300 guns killing Mexicans and Americans.

                Not to mention that Barry’s crew let these weapons go, watched the carnage they created and then had the nerve to use the violence in Mexico to call for more gun control here in the US.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Fast and Furious apparently failed because the tracking technology failed. Fast and Furious is a tiny little turd in a whole sea of shit. Why do you only care about Fast and Furious, an effort to track down where illegal weapons go, and don’t give a damn about the lives of Mexican reporters or policemen? Guns sold like so much firewood off folding tables at gun shows, no FOID card, no registration check, no nothing. That doesn’t bother you. And if Wayne LaPierre is any guide to these things, that’s just great.

                But Fast and Furious? Oh boy, can’t get mad enough about that. Nossir.

                The USA exports more weapons to bad guys than everyone else in the world, combined, as a matter of policy. This is a good thing, good for our export markets, good for all those unlicensed gun dealers, too, selling weapons to criminals. We shouldn’t control that problem and heaven forbid honest, law abiding gun owners should complain about this vast conspiracy and enabling of crime throughout the world. What do we get from the likes of you? Some bullshit about how we’re trying to take your Second Amendment rights away.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Scott says:

                Here’s a better question: why don’t you back law enforcement’s efforts to track down illegal gun exports? That’s what Fast and Furious was, you know. See, here’s why the NRA is leading you guys around by the nose and turning Fast and Furious inside-out and blaming Barry for this episode: if ordinary people understood how straw purchases of weapons and ammunition worked, they’d be outraged and demand reforms. We’d regulate these sales, make sure honest, law abiding Americans could purchase weapons and nobody else could.

                But that would be very bad for the NRA and since the USA is up to its armpits in the arms export business, as it has been for well over a century, selling arms to crooks and tyrants when it isn’t plain old giving them away, as in the case of Egypt, which we’ve been propping up with billions in arms deals — we give them our tax dollars and they buy our weapons with that money — the defence industries wouldn’t much like this, either. It’s a bigger fucking racket than you can possibly understand, all worried and wringing your hands over a few crates of weapons gone missing: dude, thousands of Mexican soldiers defect to the drug lords every year. We are creating a monster to the south of our border, and the State Department and DoD have blood on their hands, letting this go on.

                December 6, 2011 8:46 AM
                By Sharyl Attkisson

                Selling weapons to Mexico – where cartel violence is out of control – is controversial because so many guns fall into the wrong hands due to incompetence and corruption. The Mexican military recently reported nearly 9,000 police weapons “missing.”

                Yet the U.S. has approved the sale of more guns to Mexico in recent years than ever before through a program called “direct commercial sales.” It’s a program that some say is worse than the highly-criticized “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal, where U.S. agents allowed thousands of weapons to pass from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.

                CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson discovered that the official tracking all those guns sold through “direct commercial sales” leaves something to be desired.

                One weapon – an AR-15-type semi-automatic rifle – tells the story. In 2006, this same kind of rifle – tracked by serial number – is legally sold by a U.S. manufacturer to the Mexican military.

                Three years later – it’s found in a criminal stash in a region wracked by Mexican drug cartel violence.

                That prompted a “sensitive” cable, uncovered by WikiLeaks, dated June 4, 2009, in which the U.S. State Department asked Mexico “how the AR-15” – meant only for the military or police – was “diverted” into criminal hands.

                And, more importantly, where the other rifles from the same shipment went: “Please account for the current location of the 1,030 AR-15 type rifles,” reads the cable.

                There’s no response in the record.

                The problem of weapons legally sold to Mexico – then diverted to violent cartels – is becoming more urgent. That’s because the U.S. has quietly authorized a massive escalation in the number of guns sold to Mexico through “direct commercial sales.” It’s a way foreign countries can acquire firearms faster and with less disclosure than going through the Pentagon.

                Here’s how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.

                And it did approve 2,476 guns to be sold to Mexico in 2006. In 2009, that number was up nearly 10 times, to 18,709. The State Department has since stopped disclosing numbers of guns it approves, and wouldn’t give CBS News figures for 2010 or 2011.

                With Mexico in a virtual state of war with its cartels, nobody’s tracking how many U.S. guns are ending up with the enemy.

                That’s why Barry isn’t going to open Holder up to interrogation by this little car thief Darrell Issa. Issa doesn’t have a clue what sort of monster he’s about to release here. Part of me wants to see Holder forced to testify, just so Americans can see what goes on in their name.Report

              • damon in reply to M.A. says:

                it’s “extended magazine” not clip. A mag and a clip are two different things.Report

  15. dexter says:

    The last year I lived in Colorado I heard a deer hunter had shot a white horse.
    I live in the south and assume everybody is armed, drunk, high on meth and ticked about something so I try to be very polite.Report

  16. Mike Dwyer says:

    M.A. ,

    “Far too many deaths are automatically ruled “homicides” the way you are dishonestly trying to massage the statistics. Deaths due to stray bullets are a homicide. This death is ruled a homicide, not an “accident.” I gave you the number from the CDC of actual gun related deaths, deaths where the person died after being shot, for 2010.”

    Okay – but again, why would homicides be included in any discussion of proper licensing ? I will repeat, you cannot prevent an intentional murder with training/licensing. So if you want to filter down homicides that were really accidents and add that to my total, feel free. But you should only be looking at ACCIDENTAL shootings to get your %.Report

    • wardsmith in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Mike, up above you made a mistake in your math, not what MA detected (he only plays his one note flute and the song goes like this: Conservatives are evil, conservatives are evil, conservatives are evil…_). You were far more generous with auto accidents than you needed to be, because you counted all CARS, not all DRIVERS. The number of licensed drivers seems to be: 190625023. Divide that into 43,000 auto accident deaths per year gives us .0226% per licensed driver. Cars don’t kill people, cars with (bad) drivers kill people.

      The bigger issue, which deserves its own OP (and I think you should write it Mike) isn’t whether having licensed gun owners isn’t a good idea, it is, but whether in our society we can accept the inevitable consequence of that, which is at any time in the future “politicians” can take away the guns and/or license. This is another of those camel’s nose under the tent issues.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to wardsmith says:


        I’ll take that OP suggestion under advisement. There’s definitely more room for discussion on this topic.

        The reason I went with CARS and not DRIVERS is for the same reason I use GUNS and not SHOOTERS. It seems fair. Otherwise you get a major skweing of the results (for example, I own 8 guns).Report

        • wardsmith in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Clearly you’re not killing enough people with your guns to keep up. Nope a gun without a shooter is about as safe (or safer) than a car without a driver. Guns (cars) don’t kill people, people kill people. Twas ever thus.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

            Actually, it’s bullets that kill people and it’s people who load those bullets into magazines and it’s people who chamber those rounds and it’s people pull the triggers. The gun has nothing to do with it. Now if you believe everyone should be packing and nobody should be denied that right, hey…Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

                I’m all about da bullets. Pop guns are for little boys wearing faux leather jackets and cowboy hats.

                Remain interested in your opinion on the subject of universal gun possession. Should everyone get the right to pack?Report

              • wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

                An armed society is a polite society.

                My Israeli friends were shocked when Maj. Nidal was able to rampage murder so many on a “military base!” They were incredulous when I told them that Clinton had ordered the bases disarmed except for MP’s. To a man they said, “That could /never/ happen here”.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                If we provided the same training that Israel provided their soldiers, there’d be less bitching from the liberals, I promise.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to wardsmith says:

                That’s simply not true. A polite society can be armed but it doesn’t follow that an armed society is a polite society. Let Africa, the Middle East, Chile, Colombia, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, the list is very long… prove armed societies are not polite. Somalia, too, heh heh.Report

              • wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Let Africa, the Middle East, Chile, Colombia, Central America, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, the list is very long… prove armed societies are not polite. Somalia, too, . I’ve been to most of those places and in nary a one can I point to a LEGAL ability to own weapons. Mexico has very stringent anti-gun laws. Fat lot of good it does them, but the laws are on the books. Same for the rest. Costa Rica is my favorite Central American country, I seriously considered retiring there. Always found it fascinating that they had no army whatsoever with all their militant neighbors. Asked someone about it and he said, essentially, “It would not be macho to invaded an unarmed country”. With Nicaragua next door, I found small solace in that sentiment.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Look, I hope you’ve been following along with what I’ve been saying here. Arming a society does not make it polite, which was your contention. Now would you at long last come around to answering the point you were asked: should we allow just anyone in this country to own a weapon? From what you’ve been saying, (and not saying) I must conclude that’s your position.Report

              • Wardsmith in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise read “legal” in my post. When gun ownership is criminal you can count on the criminals having all the guns. They are then wolves among sheep.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                So, no restrictions at all.Report

              • Murali in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Ward, that mostly applies toplaces where there was already significant amounts of gun ownership and then subsequent criminalisation.

                Gun control is easier and more effective in places which never had much of a gun culture. e.g. in places like Singapore criminalising fire-arms means that even criminals find it exceedingly difficult to get access to guns. Now, in the US, where there i already a significant presence of not just fire-arms, but illegal ones as well and where there is already a massive import industry south of the border, there is a very real worry that declaring guns illegal tomorrow will merely disam honest people.

                But that is nowhere near a universal experience.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to wardsmith says:

                An armed society is a POLITE society?????
                and you cite ISRAEL???
                Israel is worldfamous for having the absolute worst negotiators, people who just sit and yell and demand that you do things. This is not my definition of politeness. It is also not the world’s.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kimmi says:

                A society where everyone is wearing an explosive vest is a polite society.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Kimmi says:

                Switzerland let its citizen soldiers keep their assault rifles at home. The Swiss had a bad episode in 2001, where an insane man shot up the cantonal parliament in Zug, but he did so with his own weapons, not service weapons.

                But the Swiss have a polite society. The whole country is an armed camp. Some serious hardware out there in people’s closets. But the troops don’t get issued ammunition. The weapon you’re issued remains yours for life. Once you’re discharged, they’ll retrofit it from full auto to semi auto.

                Different countries, different mindsets.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to wardsmith says:

                An armed society is a polite society.

                Taken from a book in which assassins try to murder someone by insulting him into demanding a duel.Report

              • Mark Logan in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Yes. If making society more polite is the main goal, bring back dueling.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I’m going to assume you’re being serious, and point out that this attitude just means that whoever is the fastest gun can do what he damn well pleases.Report

              • Mark Logan in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Density Duck

                Good sir, I am certain you do not understand the fine tradition of dueling as practiced in the 18th century and well into the 19th!

                First, let me offer a point about the phrase “armed society is a polite one”. It seems clear to me it is at least partially tongue in cheek, and my comment is of like spirit but has a grain of seriousness -a point- as it were, within it. The dialogs of that period were much freer of the ad hominems that mark the discourse of today. This is because real violence was just an inch away. The manner in which Senators and Congressmen address the speaker instead of each other is a remnant of that.

                Duels were carefully structured affairs. You must be thinking of callow street thugs in Westerns. They were not all deadly either. In one case, a man challenged to a duel (and thereby given the choice of weapons) selected “shovels of pig manure at 5 paces”.Report

              • On the other hand, Mark…

                Both Alexander Hamilton and Stephen Decatur were essentially legally murdered by political rivals who didn’t like them under the pretext of dueling.Report

              • Mark Logan in reply to Mike Schilling says:


                Of course. I recall Burr was ruined by the affair, I am not familiar what happened to the man who shot Decatur.

                “Armed society is a polite one” assumes there will be some enforcement necessary from time to time. Arms are for killing people. The value it places on politeness can not be mistaken.Report

        • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Indeed. one would have thought he’d realize that skewing the results by owners would disadvantage the guns.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Kimmi says:

            Interestingly it doesn’t.

            I re-figured based on this new understanding of the data. I assumed every gun owner in the U.S. = 1 shooter. The statistics for licensed drivers are easier to come by. So….

            203 million drivers / 10.8 million auto accidents = 5.32%

            55 million shooters / 24,477 accidental shootings = 0.04%

            ..which in my opinion doen’t really justified the mandatory training classes that M.A. is advocating.


            • wardsmith in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              I prefer these kind of stats because the terms are more consistent. Still not sure where you’re getting your total licensed drivers. This link is newer than where I got the 190M number, but still only 195M. Hmm, looking further I see my number is still old, 2004. The newest number I could find (at Dept. of Transportation) is 2006. I’m suspecting it is an estimate, you’d think the feds would just ask the states how many they licensed?Report

            • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              be a bit more charitable. I think you can afford it. Let’s say that most auto accidents are “scuffs and bumps in the parking lot” (90%). You’re still talking a 10x difference.Report

      • M.A. in reply to wardsmith says:

        The number of licensed drivers seems to be: 190625023. Divide that into 43,000 auto accident deaths per year gives us .0226% per licensed driver. Cars don’t kill people, cars with (bad) drivers kill people.

        And how many UNlicensed drivers?

        To hear people like Mike Dwyer tell it, half the road is full of unlicensed drivers here from Mexico.

        Round and round we go, let’s make up another lying tweak to the “statistics” in the name of buttressing a bullshit point.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to M.A. says:

          “To hear people like Mike Dwyer tell it, half the road is full of unlicensed drivers here from Mexico.”

          I have absolutely no idea where that came from. You’ll have to enlighten me.Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I could train a bunch of guys to not kill innocent bystanders. It’d be like police training, a bit, and a bit like military training.

      I could also train folks in anger management (PARTICULARLY if we aren’t talking about actually stopping them from murdering folks, just making sure they Get Their Man)Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Oh I dunno about that, M.A. The slugs I turned into soldiers learned a few things about weapons discipline and the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Convention. I made sure they learned those lessons and as far as I am aware, and I’ve kept track of many of them (and they of me) , not one of them marched down that asphalt in front of the training battalion HQ and went off to murder anyone. A few of them did get into some serious psychiatric difficulties. Two committed suicide.

      I blame Hollywood and TV for what happened to America’s once-healthy respect for firearms. Guns aren’t a solution. Guns don’t make you a man. Guns are tools and tools require training. People don’t die from gunshot wounds unless their brains are blown out and that’s usually a self-inflicted wound. They die of blood loss and shock and it’s a slow, agonising death. Don’t kid yourself about the impact of training, it really does make a difference, especially with accidental death. Weapons discipline does not entirely prevent anything but it sure as hell cuts down these tragic statistics.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Guns are made to kill living things with a minimum of effort on the shooter’s part.

        They are very, very, very well designed for it (although exactly what you plan to kill and from how far away will inform your choice of gun).

        The problem in America is “gun as symbol” more than anything. A gun is for killing. End of story. Whatever else you may do with it, from target shooting to paper weight, the thing was designed to throw a piece of lead across a distance and into a living thing with the goal of killing it.

        Somewhere, somehow, we just decided to stop considering them weapons — which leads to sloppy handling at best. They’re not a dick substitute, they’re not a status symbol, they’re not an idealogical tool.

        They’re a killing tool.

        I preferred the NRA back when they understood that, respected it, and advocated that anyone who picked one of them up needed to damn well understand that.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Morat20 says:

          > A gun is for killing. End of story. Whatever else
          > you may do with it, from target shooting to paper
          > weight, the thing was designed to throw a piece
          > of lead across a distance and into a living thing
          > with the goal of killing it.

          To which other objects do you attribute anthropomorphic purposes? That’s not intended to be a trite question, I’m actually curious.

          Is an archery set designed to throw a 3′ shaft with a metal head through a person?Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Weapons have assumed mythic and anthropomorphic identities and yes, been dick substitutes since the first stories were told. Try as we may to impose sanity and reason onto this debate, it just won’t fit. We must endure the irrationality of mankind, however much we dislike it and wish men were reasonable. They just aren’t.Report

          • M.A. in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Or a deer, or a bear, or… well, yes.

            People didn’t develop bows and arrows so that they could lob arrows at targets. They did it to more efficiently kill their next meal, the next snooping predator coming in to steal their meal, or a rival human.Report

  17. Mike Dwyer says:


    “I cannot think of a single one and googled a bit and can’t find examples of any. (All of the rampages involved sad little run-of-the-mill weapons.)”

    Most homicides come from basic handguns. That’s why I cringe every time someone talks about assault weapons and armor piercing rounds.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Which is more dangerous: A gun or a swimming pool?

      (Freakonomics had a non-trivial number of problems but that particular chapter was very good.)Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

        Hah. Which is more dangerous: A swimming pool or a car?

        Which is more dangerous: Being in an airplane when it’s 300 feet off the ground, or being in an airplane when it’s 30,000 feet off the ground?Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Uh, a rudimentary analysis of risk will inform us of the consequences of Mr. Newton’s laws on the moment of impact. Curiously, the same laws apply to the impact of a 5.56 round on the human sternum.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to BlaiseP says:

            Yes, well, that’s the kind of response you’d expect from someone who knee-jerks a response even though they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to DensityDuck says:

              It’s Danger Duck to the rescue. Our hero. And this is the sort of response I’ve come to expect from someone who doesn’t understand risk. Risk resolves to two terms: probability of disaster and scale of disaster. So when we get to some dumbass asking which is more “dangerous”, an aircraft at 300 or 30,000 feet, all aircraft must traverse the 300 foot altitude, whether they’re burning and in free fall or they’re on approach to the widest runway in Christendom.

              The risks at 30,000 feet are different, since we could say that aircraft is at risk of catastrophic decompression. But the most “dangerous” vector is at 300 feet rising since we have more crashes on takeoffs than landings.

              What’s your major malfunction? Risk isn’t “Danger”, risk isn’t even uncertainty. You need more fucking decision theory and probability before you tell me what I don’t know, Duck. Equating risk with danger is only exposing one half of the risk equation, the scale of the disaster.

              So when I return the thread to Mike Dwyer’s excellent and obvious point, outlining which weapons actually pose any Risk to Human Beings, that being handguns, because they fulfil both sides of the risk equation: more handguns are involved in homicides than rifles or shotguns or arquebuses or cannons, and you come ’round here to ask which is More Dangerous, a car or a swimming pool, I think I’ll once again apply a little science here, Danger Duck. If you think it’s knee jerk to observe the only “danger” is posed by the bullet and not necessarily the pistol that fired it, well, Mike and I have been having a productive discussion. I’ve never had one with you, Danger Duck.Report

  18. damon says:

    None of us knows what really went on with this “plan”, but damn it, people got dead, and we have an agency knowing allowing weapons to move out of the country into the hands of drug cartels. This warrants an investigation. A full, fair, honest investigation with no “executive privilege”, and full and complete cooperation.

    If I lie to an auditor when one comes around asking about something I did I can go to jail, face a fine, or both, not to mention lose my job, and my company can lose work and face a severe PR problem. Why should it be any less for “public servants”?Report