So Many Terrorists [UPDATED]


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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183 Responses

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      How very, very awesome it is that the only lesson we seemed to have really absorbed from the shooting of Trayvon Martin is how many more papers, magazines, and page clicks we can sell if we are willing to broadcast to the world how innocent shooting victims totally deserved it.

      Hooray for the triumph of partisan journalism over the view from nowhere!Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        The interesting thing about the NYDN is that they endorsed Romney.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          The DN has been conservative and sleazy for decades.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            I’d always associated it with being on the conservative side of things, but more on the Bloombergian side of conservatism – to the extent that we can call it that – than anything. With this and Shaun King, it seems like they might be trying to rebrand themselves. They do still have Advice Goddess, though.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


            Am I reading the headline differently than you and @tod-kelly? I see it as a call for gun control and gun regulation. So did many of my liberal friends. The God headline specifically seems like a call-out against the evangelical Right.

            When did you move out of NY? IIRC the Daily News used to be the conservative Tabloid and the Post used to be the liberal tabloid (and employer of the great Pete Hamill.) However, the politics switched when Murdoch bought the Post in the 1970s. Now Pete Hamill works for the Daily News.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              Been out of the NY area for 18 years so maybe my memory of the DN and DP are muddled. I never really went for either of them, but both have been outrageous and tabloid for a long time. The Post does get credit for the awesome, Headless Body found in Topless Bar headline though.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

                They are both tabloids and both trade on sensation and sleaze. I do think that the Daily News switched their politics though. At least somewhat. If only because the Post is their rival.Report

            • Avatar nick says:

              Gun control is easy take the class and use those ‘s skillsReport

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I think I am reading the Daily News headline very differently than you. The headline seems like it is very anti-evangelical Republican and pro-gun control. But the News is a tabloid so they are going to go for more direct language than say the NY Times.Report

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with the Daily News headline. You might not agree with the viewpoint, you might not agree with Liberals on gun control, but I don’t think there is anything wrong about calling the Planned Parenthood shooter and Dylann Roof terrorists. Their attacks were politically and/or racially motivated and they were meant to install terror. Terrorism as a charge should not be reserved for ISIS and the extremist fringe of Muslims alone.

    Though I am just starting to think that the big problems/differences between liberals and conservatives is that we inhabit the same physical universe but very different moral universes:

    “For years, an accumulating body of psychological and social scientific research has shown that, as Chris Mooney summarized in an article last year, “liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.” (Mooney later gathered that research in his somewhat unfortunately titled book The Republican Brain.)”

    If this is true, I am not sure what the solution is but I don’t think the solution is for liberals and the left always to exist in silence and shut-up.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Assuming you are referring to the second headline, I disagree with regard to some of the people listed (Roof yes, Sandy Hook no, Colorado Springs uncertain), but the provocative part was putting the head of the NRA on there.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      “I don’t think there is anything wrong about calling the Planned Parenthood shooter and Dylann Roof terrorists. Their attacks were politically and/or racially motivated and they were meant to install terror. Terrorism as a charge should not be reserved for ISIS and the extremist fringe of Muslims alone.”

      By that logic, Ruby Ridge and Waco were terrorist actions. You’d agree yes?Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:


        Ruby Ridge and Waco were actions by government agents so I believe “fascistic” would be a closer fit if you’re looking for that kind of word.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Same with the American Revolution. There needs to be a definition of terrorism that goes beyond “one man’s terrorist or another person’s freedom fighter” but doesn’t include all violence done in the name of particular political or ideological goal.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          To the British at the time, the revolutionists surely would be considered terrorist, especially if they did any raiding and attacking supply convoys, etc.

          I tend to consider terrorists as those who use their methods for political change or influence. In that case, it applies equally to state sponsored actions as well as 4th generation state less folks.Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            And that wasn’t even the worst thing the colonials did. Probably the most barbaric practice was the intentional targeting of British officers.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    Daily News has outrageous headline. Not news.

    The article was waaaay out there, but what to expect from someone named Stasi.

    The headline “God ain’t…” i had no problem with. The rest of it is eww as Todd said. But the headline, yeah fine with me. I know that is a deeply felt thing for religious people to do, but i’m not a believer so i’m more concerned with acts not pious words.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      I’m going to push back here just little on the “God ain’t…” headline.

      If someone were to have gone all Pat Robertson and said, “See? This is what happened when you don’t pray to God! You get shot!” — then by all means, have at it. But saying in the immediate aftermath of a deadly tragedy that your thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families is a near-universal sign of decency, humanity, sympathy, and empathy.

      To rake someone over the coals for having the audacity to tell victims and families that your thoughts and prayers are with them is utter dickishness, and in the absence of being legally able to beat them upside the head with a frozen salmon, I think saying “ew” is entirely justified.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        I agree with the eww and as i said i know prayer is a serious heartfelt thing for religious people. I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve had people offer me prayers and i’m a non-believer and i took it in a completely positive manner.

        I also don’t have a problem with asking what are your actual actions going to be about this. Pols spouting prayers are a dime a dozen and while i’m sure many of them are sincere, they are also a nice time filler for actually doing something. You might say i’m a bit cynical about pols and prayers. I also dont’ think there is any god going to come fix our poop so we better get on iy.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I am not so sure. Offering someone your prayers can also be very much an empty gesture. I think a lot of liberals are really angry about the whole gun control issue. How many mass shootings have occurred in the United States this year? In the past few years? Has any meaningful gun control legislation been passed? No.

        I’m tired of conservatives having it both ways and saying “we just can’t talk about this now.”Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          I didn’t mind the headline, because “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” is so often accompanied by something, “don’t talk about how we can go about trying to fix this, and if we do talk about it, we can only talk about maintaining the status quo or enhancing it.”Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            Right. Exactly so. I think this is the behavior that the Daily News was calling out.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            In the vein of changing the status quo in the face of horrible violence, it looks like Marine Le Pen’s National Front is leading in the first round of regional elections in France.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Which continues the trend of right wing nationalists gaining political tension in Europe. It will happen here as well, if this continues.

              Coincidentally, in U.S. at least, focusing on dark-skinned or “mentally ill” Others allows us to ignore the much larger and more immediate problem: Americans shooting other Americans, on purpose or by accident, and Americans shooting themselves, on purpose or by accident.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              There is nothing morally wrong with politicizing contemporary tragedies. If you want to really change something and an event comes along that will allow you to further your goals than you use it. This applies to every issue and all sides on that issue.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, then. Do you think that if Israel had accepted a two-state solution that this massacre could have been avoided? To what extent do you think that the Jewish guy’s offensive rhetoric played a role in the killings? Had he been kinder to the Muslim dude, do you think that everyone involved might be alive today?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                @jaybird, this is exactly what I meant. Philosophical discourse tends to be useless for advancing any political argument with the general public. Actual events work a lot better. Most Americans were opposed to any intervention into World War II until Pearl Harbor despite some people trying to turn Americans against the Axis Power beforehand. It took an actual event to get public opinion moving in the right direction. When I said that there is nothing immoral about politicizing tragic events, I meant that it is a normal and expected part of politics that most people do at one point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                When I said that there is nothing immoral about politicizing tragic events, I meant that it is a normal and expected part of politics that most people do at one point.

                There are a lot of “normal” and “expected” things that are downright immoral.

                Morality (and, indeed, Civilization Itself) is about reigning in the “normal” and “expected”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And more than that, the problem with “politicization” is that there are some serious responses to any given event and some… less serious… responses to the event.

                The San Bernardino event could, reasonably, have someone discuss any/all of the following:
                Gun Control
                Immigration and associated assimilation issues for after-the-fact immigrants
                Immigration and associated paperwork/vetting issues for before-the-fact immigrants
                Radical Fundamentalist Terrorism (Non-Ideological version)
                Radical Fundamentalist Terrorism (Islamic Version)

                It’s when someone says “huh, there was a shooting… this could have been avoided if only we had spent more time on my personal favorite political talking point!” that we’re in a bad place… and, sadly, a lot (if not all) of the above topics happen to be a lot of the loudest folks’ personal favorite political talking point. Which gets in the way of actually figuring out what happened and how to address it.

                (If only marijuana was legal, these guys could have spent their days stoned and watching Saved by the Bell reruns! They wouldn’t have wanted to shoot anybody!)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Which, now that I think about it, is probably an unsolvable problem.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Yes offering “thoughts and prayers” can be an empty gesture, however, I give folks the benefit of the doubt that they are being sincere.

          As for “meaningful gun control legislation,” I have yet to hear the left offer any. Given this happened in Cali, the home of sensible gun control that works, what else can you propose?

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    By coincidence our pastor had a perceptive comment today when he said that prayer without action is a false platitude, but action without prayer is foolish and dangerous.

    I think its perceptive, because while both sides don’t do it, there is a danger in emulating the Fox News thinking, of leaping immediately into rage fueled action against our perceived enemies.

    I could enjoy seeing the NRA becoming a hated and feared Enemy of the People. But I also know that their stock in trade isn’t guns, its fear and paranoia. The view that in an ideal world, we all walk around in constant expectation of deadly violence, like some perverse real life version of the Walking Dead.

    ISIS, the KKK, the neo-Confederates, the Christian Dominionists, the NRA; They all relish the notion of a clash of civilizations, an epic theater where they get to play a starring role, and instead of being small people living small lives, they get to be players in the grand sweep of history.

    My best effort at fighting this is to refuse to be afraid. I openly leave my car unlocked, keys inside; I don’t lock the door to my house. I refuse to view the urban landscape as a dangerous wilderness. I’m surrounded by people of goodwill and friendship. I don’t need a gun, I don’t need to fear The Other.Report

  4. The only thing that stops an evil terrorist with a gun is a good terrorist with a gun.Report

  5. Avatar aaron david says:

    Anyone who calls the NRA a terrorist organization is an idiot.

    Just the same for anyone who calls Planned Parenthood murderers.

    They are both groups acting withing the legal bounds of politics to enact and preserve legislation that a majority of Americans agree with.

    Weapons grade stupid.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Agreed entirely.

      I do bridle at the idea that this NY rag is in any way representative of liberalism in general though.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        I am glad that I didn’t say that! (not that I think that is what you are saying @north)

        One of the biggest problems in US politics right now is the complete lack of trust or common moral source. This leads to not being able to have a dialog, a first step toward solving problems. I have my thoughts as to how this happened and whom to blame, but I am not all the way there yet.Report

        • Even when there was more of a consensus about things people of good will would mostly agree about, the Daily News wasn’t part of it. It’s always been a tabloid that would print anything it could think of to get sales. If it now leans left rather than right, that’s probably on balance a good thing. Drudge and his ilk need some competition.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        This is pretty representative of what I’m seeing from some left-wing acquaintances. It may not be representative of the best of the left, but it’s certainly representative of the loudest of the left.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Unlike the right, BB, the loudest left is also generally the smallest fringe with the least pull on the lefts leaders both political and otherwise and boy howdy do they hate that fact.Report

  6. Avatar Patrick says:

    The problem with the “terrorist” label is that that when we overuse it we start to make the class of crimes that we call “terrorism” so large that the countermeasure space becomes effectively infinite.

    To draw an analogy, physicians use labels for diseases that are roughly correlated with treatments, which is one reason why any oncologist will open just about any conversation about cancer with a disclaimer that cancer is not a monolithic term. A bacteriological infection? We can try an antibiotic on that. A viral infection? Not so much.

    You make “terrorism” one thing, the effective countermeasure space may include {a, b, c… q}

    You make “terrorism” another thing, the effective countermeasure space may include {g, h, o, p, r.. u}


    “Domestic terrorism” is not the same thing as “religious extremism” which is not the same thing as “religious terrorism” which is not the same thing as “mass murder” which isn’t the same thing as “spree killing” which isn’t the same thing as “mass shooting”.

    We’ve turned “terrorism” from a label of criminal behavior to a term with more political meaning than one that has a useful meaning from the standpoint of criminology.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      A very good observation.
      I would also add that the temptation to overuse “terrorism” politically, is that its been demonstrated that no other word will overrule reason, dialogue, analysis and data. The last time I remember the sort of hysteria and paranoia was during the Satanic child molester panic of the 1980s.

      The danger to America from ISIS is infinitesimal, but to hear the talk, you would think that legions of ISIS tanks are standing ready to roll down Times Square.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I take your point, but the Satanic child molesters pretty much weren’t real at all, while ISIS (and terrorism, more generally) is. It’s not entirely fair to compare the two, or people’s reactions to them.Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    Obama making his pitch for gun control how typical. It is interesting to see the left jump on the no fly list as a means to strip folks of their rights when they’ve been protesting the way that folks get on that list and the difficulty in getting off of it for years now. If the no fly list is such a good indicator then how about those on the list should be stripped of all their rights? Sounds like more of his blather that Muslims are good and guns are bad.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      The no fly lists are poorly done and it is a bad idea to tie any new gun measures to them.

      Muslims are what as known as people. They range from as good as can be to as bad as can be. Just likes every other group.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      The people I knew on the left were generally against unaccountable, opaque lists of “bad” people with consequences, including the No Fly List. Until somebody decided to tie it to gun control. Then suddenly, the No Fly List was the gold standard for justice and due process.

      The No Fly List is would be a hilarious joke if it weren’t so damned scary. Expanding it to apply to other things is insane.Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that she says “Now 13 innocent people are dead.” Does she find it to be OK to kill someone it they have DoublePlusUngood thoughts?

    Is she victim blaming?Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    All the other awfulness aside, Holmes and Lanza were not terrorists, and Roof is debatable, since it’s not clear that he was trying to advance any particular policy goal. The cover’s batting one for five here.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      I’d put Roof in the category since he seems to have had a desired end-state of racial separation, however isolated and muddle-headed agenda-wise he may have been, but yeah, AFAICT Holmes and Lanza don’t belong there.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Unless more comes out, there is no way to count Farook without counting Roof. Lanza doesn’t count. I thought Holmes had a manifesto but I can’t remember. Dear depends on details unknown but I could easily believe he will turn out to be one (as Eric Rudolph was).Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Many of the mass shooters are mentally unstable. Instead of keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding Americans, they should focus on the mentally unstable ones.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Many mentally unstable people are largely law abiding until they’re not.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Yes and no. The states need to send mental health adjudications to the NICS system so they can be flagged. If VA had done that, the VT shooter wouldn’t have been able to buy his guns. All with no new gun laws needed!Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                so you’re saying if some state bureaucrat doesn’t like how I think, he can infringe on my second amendment rights?

                What are you, a commie?

                And of course, what do you do for the scads and scads of people who HAVE no mental health records prior when they buy a gun, or who is diagnosed as “mentally ill” because they just shot up a theater?

                Or when they borrow their Uncle’s guns?

                Plain fact of the matter is — these shooters are defined as “mentally ill” because they shot a bunch of people and had jack-all of a record. Or one so skimpy that, had they NOT just shot a bunch of people, trying to abridge their Sacred Second Amendment Rights would have had the NRA a-screaming.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                had jack-all of a record. Or one so skimpy

                From Holmes’ wiki:

                According to Holmes’ lawyer, Daniel King, Holmes began to suffer from mental health issues in middle school and attempted suicide at age 11.[23][24]

                According to Holmes, during his childhood, he was frightened of what he called “Nail Ghosts” that would hammer on the walls at night. He would also see shadows and “flickers” at the corners of his eyes, which would fight each other with firearms and other weapons. Holmes saw Margaret Roth once before she sent him to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton.[25] Holmes was depressed and “obsessed with killing for over a decade”.[26]

                From Lanza’s wiki, he suffered from diagnosed OCD, anorexia to the point of malnutrition and brain damage, and (his father suspects) from undiagnosed schizophrenia and psychotic behavior.

                Leaving aside the undiagnosed bits, OCD and anorexia are (like his diagnosed Asperger’s, which is not an illness) not normally associated with violence; but there doesn’t seem to be any question that Lanza had a significant, lengthy record of mental illness and odd behavior.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                This is a pretty tough landing to stick, because it risks indicating to people with problems that any kind of contact or evaluation by a mental health professional could result in them being diagnosed and barred from buying or owning guns. Plus, distinguishing somebody who is seriously mentally ill and about to go kill somebody from somebody who is seriously mentally ill but will never do anything of the sort in advance is incredibly difficult.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Also, might discourage the seeking of mental health care in the first place by people who own guns. That would be among my concerns.

                Not that any of this can’t be done, but… Tricky.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Actually think you could probably get most “semi-suicidally” depressed people to agree to someone locking their guns up.

                You go see the psychologist on GOOD days as well as bad.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              It’s also a clever trick.

              Mass shooters are mostly mentally unstable. How do we know they’re mentally unstable? They’re mass shooters! So we shouldn’t control guns, we should work on mental health!

              It’s pretty much assuming your conclusion. (Unless they’re Muslim, in which case they’re evil terrorists, not mentally unhealthy. It’s amazing how easy it is to spot mental illness in America).

              Of course, what we should do about the mentally ill is left up in the air, nor how to square the circle of easily available firearms and no way to check anyone’s mental health when they want one.

              I’ve come to view “the problem isn’t guns, it’s mental health” as the functional equivalent of “Well, what are you gonna do? Stuff happens, you know?”. It’s not like anyone ever proposes what to do about it.

              It might infringe on someone’s right to buy all the guns they can afford.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                “so you’re saying if some state bureaucrat doesn’t like how I think, he can infringe on my second amendment rights?”

                I’m talking about a diagnosis made by a duly licensed and accredited behavior health professional not a bureaucrat, so nice try.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Really? Gonna make it mandatory for all gun owners to regularly visit a shrink, or else lose their guns? Regular visits, too, because mental illness can strike anytime.

                Gonna demand that everyone who has EVER seen a shrink file their records with the state and feds, so that when it comes time to do their background check the Feds can paw through it?

                Seems mighty Big Brother, given your conservative leanings.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Imagine the jobs we could create!

                Though we could probably lighten the regulatory burden by allowing for religious leaders to also work. Regular visits with a minister, pastor, priest, or Imam would suffice.

                Maybe we could allow for an online component if people, for whatever reason, aren’t having their spiritual needs met in town.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Indeed, Jaybird.

                Anyways, my point was pretty simple: “keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill” is just as much a canard as “Thoughts and prayers”. It’s a pious, repeated statement with no intent for action behind it.

                After all, who can disagree that crazy people shouldn’t have guns?

                But the actual mechanism for preventing outright crazy people from getting guns? It would require all those intrusive, horrible, government over-reaches — firearm registration (if you get diagnosed as crazy, we need to make sure you don’t already own a gun), medical professionals reporting to the states (so we can see if you’re crazy before you buy a gun!), real and serious background checks with no loopholes at all — even if you’re just selling your gun to your buddy Tim.

                All things I have been assured will lead to the confiscation of all guns and America turning into a dictatorship.

                And of course the horrible specter of “bright lines” — I mean, goodness, the wasted electrons on arguing over what constitutes an assault rifle — can you imagine the horror of trying to define how crazy is too crazy for a gun?

                And it still wouldn’t solve the problem, because a lot of these shooters aren’t diagnosed as crazy until after the fact. We like to forget that one, remember the ones that were crazy enough that we can say “SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN” because facing up to the fact that a normal looking guy, who seems perfectly fine, can just up and decide to gun down a bunch of people?

                And it’s so very easy for him to tool up to do so?

                Well that’s a situation we don’t want to deal with. Better to just pretend they’re all clearly crazy people who, if only someone were doing their job correctly, would have magically been prevented from getting a firearm and possibly should have been already locked up.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                ” a lot of these shooters aren’t diagnosed as crazy until after the fact. ”

                Everybody Cho talked to said “he’s crazy, he’s going to kill someone”.

                Elliot Roger’s parents called the cops and said “he’s crazy, he’s going to kill someone”.

                Adam Lanza had actually been diagnosed as crazy and violent.

                Farook was waving guns around and yelling about Israel long before he shot anyone.

                “nobody knew anything until he just snapped” is a myth.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                And yet none of these very obviously crazy, obviously dangerous people was forcibly institutionalized.
                Which is kinda Morat point. To identify, diagnose, charge and adjudicate a person to be crazy enough to strip them of liberty is very difficult without a very significant expansion of government power.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                “To identify, diagnose, charge and adjudicate a person to be crazy enough to strip them of liberty is very difficult without a very significant expansion of government power.”

                That is absolutely untrue. The VT shooter was identified diagnosed, and adjudicated to be crazy enough to strip him of his liberty. However, VA didn’t send that info to NICS which would have prevented him from buying the guns. Please tell us what significant expansion of government power is needed to have VA and other states to send their records to NICS? All it took in VA was an executive order from the governor. And we know how Dems like their executive ordersReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yes maybe in that instance he could have been forcibly institutionalized. Maybe.
                The trend since the late 1960s though, has been away from coercive institutionalization.

                I’m honestly ambivalent about either choice, so feel free to persuade me one way or the other.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                There’s a difference between ‘everyone said he was crazy’ and *diagnosed* as crazy, which, incidentally, isn’t really a thing.

                Here in the US, people who are judged to be a danger to themselves or others are involuntarily committed, which means this whole ‘bar them from guns’ is a bit of a red herring. People who are a danger to others do not get guns during their *involuntary commitment*, duh.

                I’m a bit confused that people think there’s some sort of *middle* standard where we could set up the law to let us determine they they might be too dangerous to have a gun, but not a threat without it. I am unsure of any *mental health* classification it would make sense to pin that on.

                Perhaps the people *suggesting* this ‘remove access to guns’ could figure out what it would be before suggesting we make a law about it? (And you don’t get to use ‘a danger to others’, that’s already taken.)Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Where did i ever say or even suggest any of those things. You must be getting desperate for an argument since you keep making stuff up.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You didn’t say those things, notme. That’s the point. You stated the problem wasn’t guns, it was crazy people with guns.

                I pointed out that in order to keep crazy people from having guns…well, those steps were necessary.

                Steps you won’t take. Steps you won’t support.

                Because your “crazy people have guns” isn’t a proposed solution. You’re not serious. It’s just a platitude.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                “I pointed out that in order to keep crazy people from having guns…well, those steps were necessary.”

                Just b/c you assume all those statist interventions are necessary doesn’t actually make it so.

                As I pointed out to Will, the VaTech shooter could have been stopped if VA sent their records to NICS. Nothing that I know of currently stops them from doing so. You’d think liberals would be demanding states send their records but sadly they don’t, they just demand that the fed gov pile on more new laws. This is something that would make a difference today as opposed to the usual liberal silliness of banning guns based on whether they have features like a bayonet lug as they did with the assault weapons ban which has never been proven to have stopped any crime.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Ah, so like I said: You want mentally ill people not to have guns, but are unwilling to explain HOW we would (1) keep guns away from mentally ill people and (2) take guns away from people who become mentally ill.

                Since you oppose “statist” solutions, I suppose we’re stuck with “voluntary disarmament” in which mentally ill people will make the rational, well thought out choice to either discard their guns or not purchase any.

                The paranoids will be fun to watch on that count.

                Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve done you a disservice — Out of the 300+ mass shootings, you propose a solution which would have stopped…one. Congrats! The nation rests comfortably in the knowledge that that guy would have been stopped.

                The remaining 300+ cases are, sadly, acts of God and your thoughts and prayers are will the victims and also it’s the fault of liberals.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’d be interested in how we mark people as “officially” mentally ill.

                Would we be able to protect this list with the same level of serious protections as we protect our OPM data or credit card info?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I’m guessing that the people who say “It’s not guns, it’s mentally ill people with guns” have no answers to that either.

                Not where to draw the line, not how to verify the diagnosis, not how to appeal, not how to determine if a newly diagnosed person owns a gun….nothing.

                All the appearances of a solution, and in a pithy little phrase, but no actual proposed fix. Reminds me of the budgets of a certain House luminary. So chock-full of asterisks, of numbers never crunched and decisions never made.

                So much promise, and in such a tiny pamphlet. You know why the ACA didn’t work? It was like 1800 pages long! A real solution would be in 5. Bold faced, in 20pt font with double-spaces and big margins.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                I know somebody who sat on a jury to decide whether a guy was sane enough to be released. He checked himself in to a clinic of some sort and the doctors eventually decided that he was dangerous and needed to stay for treatment (medication, if I remember correctly).

                On his meds, the guy seemed normal and wanted to go home, but apparently there’s a strong tendency not to want to be the doctor who signs off on releasing somebody who might conceivably be dangerous. It’s easier just to say, “Ehhh… he still needs supervision,” and let the state hold onto him until some other doctor decides to put his neck on the line by signing his release paperwork, or until the courts force the issue.

                It was a very interesting story. I had no idea that was something that happened.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                During a graduate class on health care policy at the U of Denver, we had a guest speaker one evening who described himself this way: “If I’m on my meds, I’m an incredibly effective advocate for properly diagnosing and treating mental illness. If I’ve been off my meds for three days, it is not safe for anyone to be in the same room with me. When I’m on my meds, I want to stay on. If I’ve been off my meds for three days, I will kill you before I let you force them on me. The non-profit I work for provides someone to travel with me to verify that I take my meds.”Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Geez, seldom considered I would see the day Morat had the lesser of the statist positions.

                I don’t anticipate dully licensed pro’s fixing this. What we see is the marginal of the margins. Folks that slip through the cracks by shining on the pro’s or just not showing up on any mental health radar.

                I am going to say something here that will get a lot of rotten eggs hurled in my direction.

                Some percentage, maybe 5-15% of regular urban, cool headed folks need to gun* up. They need the capacity to use arms safely but effectively against those who have lethal ill will against the peaceful procession of life in urban areas.

                Not out of fear, but out of understanding that the mechanics of liberalism requires equal and opposite immediate force against those willing to kill commoners for whatever biochemical brain misfire that occurs on whatever random minute, of whatever random day.

                Until the irrational fear of domestic arms is overcome, I will attribute a significant percentage of the body count of these urban events to the unprepared.

                * I say gun here, but it can be substituted with any demonstrably accurate ranged weapon that could effectively (and continuously) stop a or multiple lethal aggressor/s in less than 90 seconds.

                Also as a side note, that liberalism here is not used in the context that notme targets on regular basis.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                In light of recent events i was thinking about renewing my concealed carry permit.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I recently took and passed the concealed carry class.

                I however, will not pay the couple hundred greenbacks and register with the state, or have my finger prints taken. Also do not wish to become a second class citizen that becoming a CHL holder makes of people. I was really discouraged in this.

                What surprised me was the class was mostly about legalities, not just in public, but around the house. Not much content about ‘actual’ safe handling/operation of guns in public.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Yes. The problem is, indeed, that a CCL is simply too onerous to get these days.

                Why in Texas, I think they make you take 8 hours of training! It only takes 10 minutes to buy a gun and a holster.

                Goodness, you’d think the homicide rate was at it’s lowest point in 50 years, the way those fools are carrying on.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Where I come from there are three classes that generally break down into the following:

                Firearm handling 1
                Firearm handling 2

                The first two deal with safe handling, effective shooting techniques, etc. The last one deals with the legal requirements/obligations.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Some percentage, maybe 5-15% of regular urban, cool headed folks need to gun* up. They need the capacity to use arms safely but effectively against those who have lethal ill will against the peaceful procession of life in urban areas.


              • Avatar Damon says:

                I’d also “ha” at that. The percentage should be nearer 50%. “One of 2 chance of getting shot if I try to rob that dude? I’ll pass.”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Real life rarely works the way people prancing around with their CCL think they do.

                Watching the utter mess cops — people theoretically trained in handling these situations, who practice regularly — I think the only thing worse than a criminal with a gun is a criminal with a gun and a would-be hero with his shiny new CCL.

                And the thought of would-be heroes heroically drawing their concealed weapons and rushing into an active shooter situation is terrifying. One such Samaritan was almost shot by another such Samaritan when whats-her-face (the Democratic Rep) was shot a few years back.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                First off, cops don’t practice “regularly”.
                ” In reality, most police departments only train about two times a year, averaging less than 15 hours annually”


                Hell, I’ve spent more time on the range that that in a month. And not all “would be heros” are interested in being a hero. They are more interested in getting out alive and will leave the area once their own saftey is assures. That’s what I’d do. Screw the public, my CCL wouldn’t be for “helping the public” it’d be for “saving my own ass”. Let’s the cops risk their life. But the only reason that’s a risk, and a fair one, is that generally, our society is unarmed. Twould be a different thing if the exception was folks were unarmed. Folks would have adapted.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                This group of armed citizens, in order to “use arms safely but effectively ” they should have training, no?

                One would also assume that they would need to be screened, so just any criminal can’t walk around deputizing himself as the Sidewalk Commando Guardian of Order, right?

                And a set of regulations that provide guidance in the use of force so it isn’t just Joe’s Curbside Justice, I’m thinking.

                They should also have a uniform or badge so that in a sudden firefight they don’t get mistaken for a shooter of ill will.

                And since they should be under the jurisdiction of the lawful Sheriff, they can be deputized.

                In fact, Deputy Sheriffs would be a good name for this force you suggest.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I did say immediate, which is often the difference between burying a couple folks and burying dozens.

                But whatever affords the rationality of pushing that responsibility on someone else.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                My snark was that we already have what you suggest- in some localities there are volunteer Deputies.

                The point is that even if we take your proposal up, we would still need to decide what these people are.

                Just anyone who self-appoints themselves as the Strong Man of Maple Avenue?
                How would we react to the Crips declaring they are “protecting South Central”?

                Your proposal cuts right to the heart of what a civilization is. Do we regulate and restrict the use of violence, and if so, to whom and how?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I would propose the power of decision should be backed into the framework of a republic. Not a representative republic but a republic where the power is distributed to the body of the people.

                There will always be arms, there will always be ‘strong man’, the only societal changes in time is how they are met.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                And it’s so nice that a fearful man, all out of proportion to the threat (your father faced far more crime, you know), can buy himself strength in 9mm form and stride forth to show those thugs who is boss!

                You don’t need learning, or leadership, or ideas, or even muscles. Just 500 bucks and a pawn shop, and you’re BMOC.

                Go Team America!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I honestly don’t know how this:
                “..decision should be baked into a republic …where the power is distributed to the body of the people”
                Is any different than what have right now.

                You seem to want some sort of Sheriff’s Department, with civilian auxiliaries, except somehow the outcome would be different than Everytown, USA.

                Seriously- these Guardians of Public Order, wouldn’t they be exactly the same people who wear the badge of LAPD, NYPD, or Ferguson PD?

                How would the reality of our daily lives be different?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Sorry I didn’t see this last night. We’ll have to joust this one in the future 😉Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Ah yes, “MOAR GUNS”.

                Always the solution. Why, I hear Scotland is a nightmarish dystopia. Those fools basically banned guns after a school shooting.

                I bet they’re basically run by criminals — you know, as they have all the guns — and their police creep fearfully about, dripping weapons, hoping not to encounter any of those frightful , armed criminals.

                Australia too, I bet.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Whatever straw you like to flail dude, just happily work up a lather at it.

                Anyhow, what’s a few bodies more in waiting for an honest to goodness qualified, certified, trained in the high magic of boom sticks, deputy right?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Normally I’d just laugh at your heroic delusions — I know two of you in real life. One actually carries TWO concealed weapons, so he doesn’t have to reload. The other complains manfully when Denny’s won’t let him in with his piece.

                It’s sad and funny but mostly sad.

                Because I know what’s going through their heads — it’s fear. Not of anything real. Neither have ever been the victim of a crime, they live in an incredibly peaceful suburb. Some unspecified paranoia, an almost impotence. They clutch their guns, feeling strong finally, and wish with all their hearts they could use them and prove their strength.

                And here you come, with your talk of “strength” tied into a few pounds of steel. What fragile strength that is, and goodness how must you fear to need to clutch to it, as an infant clutches his blanket.

                It’d be sad, if scared people like you weren’t running around with lethal weapons, one tiny fright away from shooting someone.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Actually, most CC folk are VERY cognizant of the ramifications, legal, civil, and moral, of discharging their weapon.

                Fairly on point:
                As as I told someone who was “thinking about getting a gun” to protect herself from a rash of home robberies. “Are you comfortable killing someone in your home? Are you comfortable with your daughter seeing it?”

                Most people have the innate understanding that taking a life is no small thing and that if you CHOOSE to carry a firearm and choose to use it, regardless of the legal consequences, you just may kill someone.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Not sure if I should have projection-straw issues with this or not but whatever.

                So the gun policy of urban areas pivots around Morats observation of a couple of less than perfect gun owners. Glad it’s a settled issue.Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          RE: Holmes, from wikipedia:

          According to Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, Holmes chose the Century 16 theater for his attack because he liked movie theaters and the specific theater had doors that he could lock in order to increase the number of casualties, as well as being in an area where police response would take longer. He specifically chose to attack a midnight screening because he believed fewer children would be present, not wanting to kill them. Holmes allegedly considered other locations for a mass shooting, such as an airport, but ruled it out because an airport would have too much security. He also wrote his reasoning that an attack on an airport would be confused as an act of terrorism, saying, “Terrorism isn’t the message. The message is, there is no message.”


          • Avatar notme says:

            “Holmes allegedly considered other locations for a mass shooting, such as an airport, but ruled it out because an airport would have too much security. ”

            God forbid he actually face someone that could defend themselves. So much for “gun free” zones.Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              Uhmmm … Holmes didn’t rule out airports because the *passengers* would be packing heat. You realize that gun-free zones can still have armed security, right?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Duh, I didn’t say Holes ruled out airports b/c of the passengers, that’s your assumption. Presumably the security guards at the airports would be armed and those same guards would defend themselves and the general public. Holmes wanted a place without any armed folks.

                Yes, gun free zones can have armed security but it doesn’t mean they will. My wife used to work at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, a gun free zone with unarmed security guards. She didn’t know this until one day an off duty cop killed a guy that brought a gun there and started threatening people. Luckily, the cop was there to pick up a prescription for his mother.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Indeed, I’d wager the majority of “gun free zones” are free of armed security. Most, if not all, schools are gun free zones.Report

  10. Avatar notme says:

    Criminals modified their rifles in violation of CA law? You mean they broke the law? Clearly more gun control is in order. At least the handguns were legally purchased in CA.

  11. Avatar Lyle says:

    One issue not often publicized is the large group of mentally ill folks who shoot themselves. In fact 1/2 of all gun deaths in the US are suicides. This does argue in favor of gun restraining orders as now legal in Ca:
    This allows the police to temporarily take guns away from folks. Given the suicide issue perhaps expand it to where a mental health professional things someone has a chance of trying to commit suicide to request such an order.
    BTW there a total of 41k gun deaths a year and 21k of them are suicides.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal says:

      Are ‘Suicide by cop’ deaths accounted for in those numbers? Just curious.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        I doubt it, but it wouldn’t make a significant difference. Killings by police officers are on the order of a thousand per year. Let’s go nuts and say 20% are suicide by cop. That’s about 1% of all sucides.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      BTW there a total of 41k gun deaths a year and 21k of them are suicides.

      That can’t be right. IIRC there have, in recent years, been around 13k total homicides per year, on the order of 9-10k involving guns. Accidental gun deaths are much lower, in the hundreds.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos says:

        The CDC’s 2013 data has about 11,000 homicides, 21,000 suicides, and 500 accidental deaths by firearms. So the 21k is correct for that year, at least, though the overall number was somewhat lower than the 41k.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        The CDC is saying around 16,000 total homicides, 11,000 with firearms. The FBI is giving numbers close to what I remembered. I’m not sure why there’s a difference.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    And if I may rail against the “people on the no-fly list shouldn’t be able to buy a gun” “argument”, l remember when people were added to the no-fly list for creating scenes. Hell, I remember when Cat Stevens was not allowed into the country.

    The solution to the problem, whatever it is, is not a modern “Hollywood Blacklist” for private citizens who pissed some government functionary off.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      If your argument is that the no fly list is overly broad and opaque and arbitrary, I am 100% in agreement.

      The argument that these people should be on the list, yet able to buy deadly weapons is, I hope self-evidently absurd.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The argument that these people should be on the list, yet able to buy deadly weapons is, I hope self-evidently absurd.

        This statement could be read as saying “we should prevent Cat Stevens from buying a gun”.

        Am I reading that correctly?Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          It should be read as “Why the hell is Cat Stevens/ Anyone Else on this list, if they can safely be trusted with a deadly weapon”?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Given that I see one of the solutions to that conundrum as being “we seriously could solve this problem by making sure that Cat Stevens is not able to buy a gun!”, I’m less than thrilled with the phrasing.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              For the record, I am firmly in the camp of drastically reducing the list, making it more transparent, making it more lawful with the ability to petition etc.

              I’m actually skeptical of the very existence of a secret list of otherwise law abiding people who are barred from transportation. I can grudgingly support it, but believe it needs a hella lot more safeguards and scrutiny than it has.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So if we could demonstrate that the list was sufficiently rigorous and was put together by people who knew what they were doing, it would be a useful tool to ensure that people like Cat Stevens could be prevented from buying guns?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                If we had sufficient evidence that Cat Stevens was so dangerous a person that he posed a threat to air travel, then yes.

                I feel a little funny even having this sort of exchange- isn’t that the most core purpose of law enforcement and national security, to sift thru the intelligence and evidence, to distinguish people who can legitimately be restricted, from those who can’t?

                The way you posed the question seems odd to me, like if I breathlessly asked :
                “So if we could demonstrate evidence of criminality that was sufficiently rigorous and was put together by people who knew what they were doing, it would be a useful tool to ensure that people like Cat Stevens could be thrown in jail?”

                Well, yeah.

                I am in agreement with you that the list, if it should exist at all, shouldn’t be some sort of witch hunt based on spectral evidence, rumor and hearsay, but based on normal law enforcement standards of evidence and empirical data.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                But we’re not talking about throwing people in jail after a trial.

                We’re talking about telling people if they can fly.

                For what it’s worth, I am somewhat at ease with the whole “go to jail after being found guilty in a trial” process. I mean, without getting into the whole “indict a ham sandwich” thing and the whole corruption thing and the whole “police using secret black sites” thing and the whole “rough rides for mouthy citizens” thing. Oh, and the whole “rape” thing that happens to prisoners.

                Sure. I am somewhat at ease with the process involved with imprisoning people.

                But that strikes me as a fundamentally different process than determining whether someone should be allowed to get on a plane.

                If they’re bad enough to throw them in jail, throw them in jail. If they’re not, give them the full rights and privileges associated with being a citizen who is not in jail.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And that’s without getting into the whole “we’re talking about the no-fly list as it exists, not the imagined perfect one that would meet spec for doing the thing that you’re suggesting” thing.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                And we’re not even going to talk about “they aren’t on the no fly list” because they are a serious risk but the gov’t doesn’t want to limit their movement because they are under surveillance, might turn up some other bad guys, etc.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Again, I am in vehement agreement with you.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It honestly doesn’t feel like you are. It feels like you’d be down with several different tiers of citizenship with different privileges extended depending on the level of vetting granted by the government.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Not at all.

                There are plenty of restriction on liberties allowed by the constitution right now, such as wiretaps, search warrants, and heck, the police can imprison you without a trial, just for a very limited time like 72 hours or so.

                The logic of these is that we need to grant the police sufficient power to investigate and restrain potential lawbreakers, but, and here is the nut graf, only under very limited and highly regulated circumstances.

                The fly list could, in an idealized state, serve a similar purpose. Lets say they need a showing of evidence to a court, and case law demands that the evidence be specific and detailed enough to warrant a restraint of travel, and the suspect can petition for redress.

                I agree none of that is on the table at the moment. but conceptually we already allow plenty of restriction of liberty without an actual court trial and conviction, all explicitly allowed by the constitution.
                Yet we don’t talk about how that creates separate classes of citizenry.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                So your no-fly list would be as temporary as a search warrant or would it be indefinite?

                By extension, would your list of people prohibited from purchasing guns through legal channels prohibit them temporarily or would this prohibition be indefinite?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                ItS the bog standard liberal caveat. There is plenty of nuance to negotiate and adjudicate.
                The way that some search warrants are narrow while others broad, some wiretaps temporary others ongoing.

                It would be silly wouldn’t it, for anyone to stake out some absolute position, since my whole point is that it depends on the evidence and circumstances.

                I think your stronger case would be to note that if we had enough actual evidence of danger, we would probably have enough for actual criminal charges like conspiracy.

                I’m honestly hard pressed to imagine a case where someone is clearly dangerous enough to not be allowed to fly, yet lacks enough evidence to arrest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Are there indefinite search warrants? Like a judge could release a search warrant that would be good for a decade?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Dude, I’m pretty certain that the police don’t have the power to just randomly add someone to the no-fly list because they’re trying to keep them in the country.

                The only way the police can stop someone from getting on an airplane either is with an arrest warrant or some court order, and inform the airlines of that.

                That’s really got nothing to do with the no-fly list as it actually exists. It’s like saying stop-and-frisk is okay because search warrants exist.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                And in other news, the ACLU is taking the fed gov back to court over the lefts favorite new anti gun tool, the no fly list.


              • Avatar greginak says:

                Good. The no fly list is a poor idea, badly executed. Nice to hear a conservative happy with the ACLU. I remember when being a card carrying member of the ACLU was an effective attack on a Dem prez candidate.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Where did i say i was happy with the aclu? I’m only happy that their actions point out the stupidity of the left’s new found infatuation with the no fly list as a tool to ban guns.

                Personally, i think the no fly list is a good idea that is poorly executed by the government and is now being used by the left for political reasons for purposes it was never intended for.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                So you are happy with the ACLU as long as it supports a pissy bit of partisanship. Okay. Well at least we can bond for this moment over agreeing with the ACLU. And we can agree using the no fly list as currently debated is bad idea.

                It’s time for group hug.Report

              • Avatar Damon says:

                Yes, but that’s never going to happen, because 1) the gov’t isn’t going to be willing to give up the intelligence data to prove someone should be on the no fly list and no one is going to be willing to endure a multi year hearing where the judge or master is read into the classified documents.

                That’s why you can’t see why you’ve been put on the list. That and they don’t want to disclose they screwed up, if they did, by getting crap intelligence.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Agreed. I would be happy to see it go away, but it’s not a hill I would die upon.Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          I am firmly against letting cats have guns.Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            You can have the gun my cat owns when you pry it from her cold dead paws. Please be careful of the claws, they are sharp.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal says:

            “Mama put my claws in the ground.
            I can’t use them any more.
            That coal black rotty is comin’ down.
            Feel like I’m meowing at heaven’s door.”Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      It gets even better, as some Homeland employees are on the terrorist watch list. Way to go fed gov!

  13. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Back to the main point of the post:

    Who is the target audience for this newspaper?

    It strikes me that the target audience most inclined to buy this is on the web and hasn’t subscribed to a newspaper, like, *EVER*.

    Are they hoping for newsstand sales?Report

  14. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Somewhat related, but I thought I would hear the anti-gun crowd making a lot more hay with the London terrorist attack this weekend. Which was, basically, guys stabs three people, killing no one, and is then easily contained by police.

    I’m not a gun control guy, but this seems like some serious pushback against the argument that people who want to kill mass numbers of people will, if they lack easy access to guns, just find a way to do it that will be as or more deadly than if they had had guns.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Maybe the guy didn’t know how to download “how to make a pipe bomb” off the interwebs?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I would have thought so too. But given the Lufthansa incident over the weekend, the main reason that comes to mind is that the anti-gun folks want to avoid a discussion about immigration?

      I’ve got nothing else.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      It’s just part of the insanity of talking about guns. Of course guns not only make it easier to kill people but are also much more convenient then other ways. That is their purpose and why they have been used by armies for quite a while. Guns are good at what they are designed for and are generally better then the alternatives.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Yeah. “Guns don’t kill people, people do”. Well yes. But guns make it so much easier to kill people, which is why soldiers carry them.

        Then there’s “you wouldn’t ban cars” and “cars are more lethal” which is just inviting a lengthy discussion of statistics (“How many driving hours per 100,000 Americans versus carrying gun hours per 100,000 Americans”) and into the weeds of “A car killing someone is an accident or misuse of a car, whereas someone getting shot is someone uses a gun as intended”.

        God forbid we admit the truth: We have so many mass shootings in America because angry people, crazy people, and anyone else willing to be really violent can get a hold of them very, very easily. And guns, even in the hands of a novice, are considerably more lethal than anything else they can get their hands on. MUCH more lethal. Because they’ve been optimized to be so, in every aspect.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          And america seems to have more than our share of crazy angry people.Report

          • Avatar Dave Regio says:


            And people that elevated the Second Amendment to something it was never intended to be.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              @dave-regio Could be. The Sainted Founders would have no clue what to make of all the weapons and stuff we have now. So their intentions aren’t all that useful except in generalities.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, the founders never would have foreseen a bunch of crazy white guys hiding out in basements writing screeds about the government daydreaming about overthrowing it.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                On no they were all over that. Modern firepower and the modern world…ummm no….they wouldn’t have a clue.

                In fact i’d propose that anyone who thinks they know what the founders would think about modern political issues shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, hold a sharp knife or operate heavy or even light machinery.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Could we make this same argument about the 1st Amendment and the internet/twitter/facebook?

                Could we make this same argument about the 1st Amendment and ISIS’s brand of Islam?

                Could we make this same argument about the 3rd Amendment and the Air Force/Space Command?

                Could we make this same argument about the 4th Amendment and modern plumbing?

                Could we make this same argument about the 5th Amendment and modern encryption?

                The 7th Amendment given modern inflation?

                There are so very many reasons to abandon so very many of the things protected by the Constitution that the fathers never could have foreseen.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Why do you use the word “abandon”?

                What part of the 2ND Amendment would a ban on semiautomatic weapons for example, “abandon”?

                Couldn’t I argue that this could be entirely in keeping with the spirit and original intent?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You know, “the Fathers could not have foreseen X, therefore we need to have an Amendment to the Constitution” is an interesting argument that I would like to see on a National Level.

                Let’s Amend The Constitution! We, as a society, can do it!

                I whole-heartedly support getting together for a Constitutional Convention.

                I imagine we could put all sorts of arguments to rest.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah I’m pretty sure that my point was exactly the oposite of a constitutional amendment.

                I’m more curious as to why interpreting the 2nd narrowly is “abandoning” something.

                It’s a sort of base stealing, where it’s just assumed that the status quo interpretation is somehow the self evident Original Intent.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Did banning gay marriage violate the 14th Amendment?

                Hell, did banning inter-racial marriage violate it?

                Wouldn’t saying “It doesn’t violate it if you interpret it narrowly” kind of fly in the face of what the words actually say?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                More to the point, is *ANYTHING* unconstitutional?

                Is there anything that I could give as an example and not get the response “Oh, I’m just interpreting that part of the Constitution narrowly”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I suppose in the same way that you could argue that banning Twitter would be entirely in keeping with the spirit and original intent of the 1st Amendment.

                I’d rather you argue that “they couldn’t have foreseen this, so we need to amend it”, though.

                But it’s not like I don’t know that an Amendment would fail but a legislative/executive/state-level push wouldn’t work in 40ish% of the states anyway.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                “…is anything unconstitutional?”

                Short answer…No.

                There is, literally nothing written in the Constitution that is so fixed that it can’t be interpreted away. A cursory glance at history proves that.


                Like the Bible, no one has the magic decoder. Our understanding of the intent can never be free of our participation and influence. That’s why SCOTUS hands down opinions, not commandments.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Welll, there is a crazy philosophy out there that thinks that the 18th Amendment was necessary to prohibit alcohol.

                And the 21st Amendment was necessary to unprohibit it.

                It probably looks really crazy from where you stand.Report

              • Avatar Dave says:


                Like the Bible, no one has the magic decoder. Our understanding of the intent can never be free of our participation and influence. That’s why SCOTUS hands down opinions, not commandments.

                I wrote a lengthy two-part post so I wouldn’t have to read this kind of stuff on these pages ever again…

                Oh the humanity…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And let us look at a quote from Loretta Lynch:

                “What we are looking at is whether or not the police department has engaged in unconstitutional policing,” Lynch said in announcing the investigation, which she said had been requested by several officials and activists.

                As it turns out, the police are merely reading that part of the Constitution narrowly.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Oh for sporks sake. Yes yes yes it’s true jay, i want to shred the entire constitution. That is my point. You’ve discovered the evil plot. Not just the simple observation the founders wouldn’t be remotely able to conceptualize our modern world nor do any us know what they would have said about how to deal with our modern problems. I’m sure good ol Tommy J would have a lot to say about internet porn and AlHam would have brilliant insights into Bitcoin and the best playstation games. That does really truly mean we should abandon the big C.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Not my argument, Greg.

                My argument is “would you buy it if someone said this about getting rid of (other thing)? If not, why do you buy it about getting rid of (thing)?”

                And if your response is “WHAT THE HELL?” when I ask about (other thing), why is that?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I didn’t say anything about doing xyz based on my statement. In fact my statement wasn’t meant to advance or criticize any particular position. It was just an observation that doesn’t support anybodies policies.Report

              • Avatar Dave says:


                Not just the simple observation the founders wouldn’t be remotely able to conceptualize our modern world nor do any us know what they would have said about how to deal with our modern problems.

                Would they have to? I’ve seen the 1970’s-1980’s original intent be kicked around this subthread when the late 18th-early 19th century version is more applicable. I pulled this quote from one of my earlier posts:

                As understood by its late 18th and early 19th century proponents, the original intent relevant to constitutional discourse was…that of the parties to the constitutional compact – the states as political entities. This original “original intent” was determined not by historical inquiry into the expectations of the individuals involved in the framing and ratifying the Constitution, but by a consideration of what rights and powers sovereign polities could delegate to a common agent without destroying their own essential autonomy. Thus, the original intentionalism was a form of structural interpretation. To the extent that the historical evidence was to have any interpretive value, what they deemed relevant was the evidence of the proceedings of the state ratifying conventions, not the intent of the framers…

                A narrow interpretation of federal power goes much farther in preserving the original boundaries between the federal and state powers than, for example, John Marshall’s broad reading of the Necessary and Proper Clause in McCullough (or worse, his narrow reading of the Tenth Amendment).

                If we know the nature of the compromise, we need not worry about whether or not the Framers anticipated the internet, etc. if we want to honor the commitment to state sovereignty. However, we’re under no obligation to honor that commitment and if future generations choose to interpret the Constitution through a different value set, there’s little stopping them from doing so, hence the evolution of modern constitutional jurisprudence during the first half of the 20th Century and beyond.Report

              • Don;t you see that disagreeing with Heller is the first step on the slippery slope to tyranny, as is disagreeing with Citizens United? The fact that they were both 5-4 decisions proves nothing except that 44% of the Supreme Court is composed of traitors.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Meh. Not paying appropriate fealty to the Sainted Founders as all knowing all seeing Gods is the slippery slope to shredifying the constitution.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              And what pray tell was the 2nd amendment never intended to be? A protection of our rights?Report

              • Avatar Dave says:


                And what pray tell was the 2nd amendment never intended to be? A protection of our rights?

                My apologies in advance for a response that should have been a full-length post…

                Why would the people that pushed most for a Bill of Rights, the anti-Federalists, those that distrusted centralized power the most, believe that the Bill of Rights was going to protect their rights? To the extent that it protected their rights, it only did so by placing more explicit limitations on federal power than those already in the document (hence the 10th Amendment).

                The debates surrounding the Second Amendment had nothing to do with private ownership of weapons but rather the fact that the proposed Constitution was going to give the newly-formed government the power to regulate the militia, a power that was firmly in control of the sovereign states under the Articles of Confederation. The perceived threat to liberty was the possibility that the government would neglect the militias (which states were doing at that time anyway), raise a standing army and threaten the sovereignty of the states.

                Consider this scenario, as unlikely as it would be: The day after the Bill of Rights was adopted, each of the thirteen states passed laws banning the ownership of firearms unless said ownership was related to an individual’s service in the federal militia. Work with me here…

                Could these laws be struck down on federal grounds on the basis that private gun ownership is restricted? In my opinion, no. I could cite Barron v Baltimore here but that would be too easy so I’ll explain: So long as state laws do not interfere with the powers exclusively granted to the federal government (hello, Supremacy Clause), the federal government has no business interfering with the police power of the states.

                Put another way, from a federal constitutional perspective, the federal government’s power to intervene on so-called gun rights was contingent on the federal government’s ability to carry out its power to raise militias. The entirety of the text of the Second Amendment reconciles quite cleanly to the text of the remainder of the Constitution, especially the Militia Clause and the Tenth Amendment.

                When I look at the Heller decision, I think the dissent’s opinion, one that rests largely on the original intent, is the more historically correct and accurate reading of the Second Amendment. The federal protection of gun rights only extended so far as it was necessary to accommodate service in the militias. Private gun rights were matters determined by the people of the several states (again, Tenth Amendment).

                However…before the liberals start popping the champagne corks…

                1. I couldn’t care less if law abiding citizens own automatic weapons and my views on gun control are relatively neutral. I don’t reflexively knee jerk to the Second Amendment but I’m skeptical that further controls are going to do much to stop people that want to do harm from trying to do that. Call me a skeptic.

                2. Going back to my gun law example above, my opinion is that laws of that nature would get struck down by state courts. Given the traditional role of the state police power involved matters pertaining to public safety, public health, general welfare, etc., the private possession of a handgun for the purpose of self defense safely stored in accordance with other regulations have nothing to do with those roles, and since they pose no public threat, my belief is that such laws fall outside of the state’s power.

                I don’t think this is an absolutist position at all. I’m simply restating the limited holding in Heller, a decision I agree with by the way.

                3. I’d have to check, but I recall reading Scalia’s opinion about the right to bear arms being included in several state constitutions. That said, given how times have changed, the firearm fetishization I see from the right seems to make the anti-Federalists look tame by comparison.

                4. Although the Second Amendment doesn’t explicitly protect individual gun rights, I’m one of those people that believe that the 14th Amendment does. Since I’d treat DC like a state, I’d apply the 5th Amendment as well. I’m not a fan of the incorporation doctrine per se, but since the 14th Amendment became a check on the police power of the states (read the earliest decisions – Slaughterhouse, Munn, etc.) and private firearm ownership was traditionally a police power matter, state regulation of firearms became subject to federal constitutional scrutiny.

                The problem here for conservatives, however, is that it transfers firearms ownership out of the category of an enumerated right per the Second Amendment (where it clearly doesn’t belong) to unenumerated rights per the Privileges or Immunities/Due Process Clauses of the 14th. Since we know how much conservatives love constitutional rights that they can’t read directly off the document and think the court enforcement of unenumerated rights amounts to liberal judicial activism at its worst, should I expect you to join the liberals in condemning Heller?

                Yeah, I didn’t think so…

                PS…that bullshit about the Second Amendment protecting against federal tyranny? If you go back to the historical documents, it was not individuals collectively that were seen as the protectors against federal tyranny but the people acting in their sovereign capacity – i.e. the state. States never relinquished the authority to defend their sovereignty with the use of force if necessary.

                So no, the Second Amendment does not empower individuals to stand up to federal tyranny. To the extent individuals participate in such an action (highly unlikely today anyway), they would have to do so acting under the sovereign authority of a state. In any event, since such an action if it were to happen would take place outside the constitutional structure (much like secession), what the Constitution says is irrelevant.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Could these laws be struck down on federal grounds on the basis that private gun ownership is restricted? In my opinion, no.

                I don’t understand how you think that ‘in your opinion’, because it’s not really up for debate. Regardless of how one reads the 2nd amendment, there’s no way to read it as forbidding the states from doing *anything* until incorporation under the 14th. The original Bill of Rights, as written, did not apply to the state government’s behavior, QED. (Which blows giant holes in a lot of dumbass theories about the point of the 2nd, because a lot of people making these arguments have apparently completely forgotten this.)

                Anyway, presumably, looking at gun ownership under the 14th…due process applies to any gun control laws already. I mean, it’s not some complicated subjective decision the government is doing there…it’s barring specific things from being purchased and sold. Trying to base an unenumerated right of that does not seem successful.

                Privileges or Immunities…huh. That’s certainly an interesting approach. I was under the impression that clause really didn’t do anything.

                As for the 5th…I don’t get it. What part of that would apply?

                …my opinion is that laws of that nature would get struck down by state courts. Given the traditional role of the state police power involved matters pertaining to public safety, public health, general welfare, etc., the private possession of a handgun for the purpose of self defense safely stored in accordance with other regulations have nothing to do with those roles, and since they pose no public threat, my belief is that such laws fall outside of the state’s power.

                That’s a…weird idea as to how the government is allowed to operate?

                The government bans all *sorts* of things that pose no public threat…and that’s assuming you can get them to agree that privately owned firearms safely stored pose ‘no threat’. There’s a lot of illegal things that pose a more hypothetical threat than guns, that state still doesn’t allow.

                I mean, it’s all well and good to say it *shouldn’t* do that, and even I will agree with that to some extent (Why can’t I buy contacts with an expired prescription?), but I’m not sure why you’re resting your assumptions on the state courts just *deciding* they don’t like laws forbidding harmless private gun ownership, considering that literally this very minute there are thousands of people in jail for violating various gun ownership laws.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Try Scotland. Didn’t they really crack down on guns after a school shooting? The nightmarish future envisioned here did not, in fact, come to pass.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      You might not have heard much about it from anti-gun folk, but it became a part of anti-police brutality meme in contrast to the man with a knife shot by police here in the states last week (not to be confused with the man with a razor shot by police here in the states last week).Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Well, the only thing of interest about it on this side of the pond was that UK authorities used the word “terrorism” to describe what looks to me like an ordinary crime.

      That’s not to downplay the moral gravity of stabbing people in a subway station. It was a violent crime, and here’s hoping the guy’s victims recover fully and quickly. But it is to say that there is a difference between “ordinary crime” and “terrorism.” And this isn’t “terrorism” so much as “something not nearly so bad as what a mentally ill guy who was frustrated at not getting laid might do.” But that wasn’t terrorism, it was mental illness.

      Is Her Majesty’s government trying to tell me this guy in the tube station was mentally healthy? Because I’m not buying it. There’s something wrong with a guy who goes out and stabs random strangers in a Tube station. That he yelled out something political while he was being arrested just doesn’t seem to cut much ice.

      Most charitably to Her Majesty’s Government’s use of the word “terrorism,” if this guy was a “terrorist,” he wasn’t a very effective terrorist. So we really aren’t all that afraid of him. There seems to be a threshold level of violence a wannabe terrorist needs to be able to achieve before he can inspire the requisite level of fear.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      @tod-kelly – If you want to get depressed, spend some time on the wikipedia List of Rampage Killers page.

      (“Not included are school massacres, workplace killings, hate crimes or familicides, which form their own categories.” – see? I told you, depressing.)

      Anyway, go to the “Oceania” header. I guess guns aren’t popular there, since you can see the (W)eapons column is mostly “M” (=Melee) weapons, machetes and the like.

      Depending on the attack, they mostly killed between 12 and 20 people per incident (I left out the one that killed 32, since it seems less well-documented).

      That’s pretty on par with most of the tallies for individual gun attacks (though some of the gun attacks do go higher, and the tallies for incidents where the killers also incorporate arson or explosives are truly staggering).

      For example, the US attacks in the top 15 (which all used firearms) ran from 10-23 dead/incident.

      Now, if you go down to the School Massacres header (I have no idea why they break them up this way), the top three are all American (and therefore, used firearms), with individual tallies that are slightly higher – let’s leave off Andrew Kehoe in MI in 1927, since he ALSO used explosives (44 dead), but look at Cho in 2007 (32 dead) and Lanza in 2012 (27 dead).

      The TL; DR is that yes, guns obviously make it easier to kill more people more quickly, and America (USA! USA! USA!) is doing her part to keep us up high in the rankings; but judging by these numbers (without crunching them) it appears that a determined assailant(s) with a machete or axe or explosives or car can fish a lot of people up pretty bad.Report

  15. Avatar Kazzy says:

    The latest cover is indeed brilliant. In part because they didn’t even choose the most heartwarming pictures they could have found (likely in less than 2 seconds of Googling) as if to say, “We can’t even do this all that well.”

    I haven’t weighed in on the prior two covers in part because I’m not sure where I land.

    But on the third? Yea…. awesome. They’re playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers.Report