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Briefly, On Policing The Rhetoric Of Teenagers

After two decades of mass shootings scattered all over the country, from Virginia to California to Colorado to Texas and at seemingly all points in between, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting seems to have been an American breaking point. In the aftermath of that particular shooting (seventeen died and another seventeen were injured), polling support has skyrocketed for overhauling the way Americans access and own guns. Even conservative outlets are having a hard time producing polls that undercut the American desire for something, somewhere, to change.

This is a problem for the Republican party. For decades, they have insisted that widespread gun ownership is an unobjectionable good, while simultaneously doing everything imaginable to both destroy the reasonable safeguards that had previously existed in the American system while also blocking all sorts of emergent proposals. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Republicans reached for all of their usual, post-shooting talking points, confidently assuming that they could play the game the way they always had before:

  • Step 1: Offer shooting victims, and their friends and families, utterly meaningless thoughts and prayers, and then get full-on pearl-clutchingly offended whenever anybody points out that thoughts and prayers don’t accomplish anything.
  • Step 2: Insist that the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the time to discuss either mass shootings specifically or gun control generally.
  • Step 3: Angrily blather that it would be unfair to “punish” law-abiding gun-owners with regulatory schemes that might help to prevent mass shootings, regardless of what those regulatory schemes might be.
  • Step 4: Wait for the furor of the shooting to die down.
  • Step 5: Pretend like it never happened.
  • Step 6: Cash checks from various gun groups for having once again stymied any attempt to reasonably regulate guns.

In their defense, this has always worked, even in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, a mass killing in which 26 died, including 20 children. In its aftermath, gun control was again proposed but predictably failed after Republicans used the filibuster to sink various ideas. “Think of the poor precious guns!” wailed various Republicans who simply could not be bothered to think that merely twenty gunned-down children were half as bad as the inconvenience of gun-owners having to wait…*checks notes*…a few days to finalize their purchases.

But unlike most shootings, the still-living victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting did not agree to play along with this particular script. Various students from the school – including Emma González, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alfonso Calderon, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin – responded aggressively to the Republican post-shooting playbook, repeatedly roasting what they saw as vacuous impotence in the face of what was, to them, an obvious and ongoing problem. School shootings and mass shootings are a constant in American life. In the faces of condescending conservative politicians who repeatedly insisted that young people simply did not understand how wonderful it is that Americans have widespread and almost entirely unfettered access to guns (despite having literally endured one of the consequences of that widespread unfettered access themselves), those five students (and countless others) started the #NeverAgain movement. Several weeks ago, millions of Americans participated in their March For Our Lives at events across the country, indicating publicly what polling had already been showing: there seems to be significant support for gun control among the American population.

It remains to be seen whether common sense gun control is appealing electorally. This November’s upcoming elections might give us that information. But in the immediate aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, Conor Lamb, a Democrat running in southwestern PA gun country, won an election while backing a stronger system of background checks, one of several ideas that has been proposed (and subsequently stymied) in the aftermath of various shootings. His opponent, who believed that no new laws were necessary and who enjoyed an A+ rating from the NRA, had been favored to win by double digits. Lamb won in a nailbiter.

Then, earlier this week in Wisconsin, Rebecca Dallet, a liberal candidate for the state Supreme Court, absolutely eviscerated her opponent, winning by more than ten points. Dallet did not shy away from gun control and the NRA poured money in to oppose her but, like Lamb, she not only paid no price, but potentially gained support for her positions on the issue.

Republicans have already been sounding the alarm, apparently concerned that doing absolutely nothing about gun violence beyond proposing that Americans buy more guns might be more of an electoral liability than it has been previously. The intial Republican plan was to simply dismiss the #NeverAgain teenagers out of hand, which included participating in a community forum in which they imagined that the combination of Marco Rubio and the NRA’s Dana Loesch would convince everybody that these teenagers were overreacting to having been shot at. Things did not go as planned. Rubio, thinking he would get one over on the students and the parents, argued that an assault weapons ban would only ban 220 types of guns; Rubio imagined, apparently, that the crowd would nod knowingly and agree, “How could we have been so stupid to have been concerned about gun violence, what with fewer than 20 of our children having been killed. You’re right, Marco.” Instead, the crowd cheered his proposal. This was not the idea. What might have once worked – although it is not clear whether anything so brazenly absurd would have actually sealed the deal – was going to necessitate newer strategy.

So Republicans then have been forced to try other approaches instead.

One of those strategies has been to rabidly conspiracy-monger, apparently believing – or, at least, claiming to believe – that various elements about the shooting itself are either fake or badly misunderstood. This includes all sorts of non-factual claims, including the utterly absurd idea that the entire shooting was staged, or, in lieu of that utterly batshit insanity, simpler, subtler attacks, including photoshopping the students into compromising positions or insisting that they are basically the same as Hitler Youth. Ted Nugent has gotten involved, which always the precursor to subtle, nuanced discussion. Here is somebody angrily insisting that the relative robustness of Hogg’s pubic hair should influence any understanding of his advocacy, which is a very normal thing for a very normal adult man to spend his time thinking about. One of the better and not-at-all-desperate attempts to sway the public against the shooting’s victims involved insisting that at least one of the #NeverAgain movement’s student leaders was not in school the day of the shooting, a claim that collapsed within seconds, owing to such things as this, a video showing the student hiding, in a closet, at his school, during the shooting.* And then there’s Hogg Watch, which is the real name of a real thing that real conservative adults are really doing.

But in the aftermath of the March For Our Lives, Republicans are also now trying their hand at tone policing #NeverAgain’s leaders. This involves appearing to generally agree, at least in the very most general and non-specific ways, with what those teenagers are saying about the current state of American gun violence, but then balking at what those student leaders are proposing and, more importantly, how exactly they are saying it. In this version of the response, some Republicans insist that although they very much want to do something to address the persistent issue of mass shootings, they, unfortunately, cannot, owing to the rhetoric being used by gun control advocates. In this version of the attempt to undermine efforts to address gun violence, those advocating for gun control become the bullies; those insisting upon doing absolutely nothing become the bullied. This effort has focused on several major issues – Hogg, for example, got into it with Laura Ingraham, and refused to back down when she attacked him, which somehow led to an awful lot of conservatives concluding that Ingraham was Hogg’s victim – but the one that currently seems to be most problematic for these particular Republicans is the claim that elected politicians care more about donations from gun groups than they do about the victims of gun violence.

Students and parents at the aforementioned open forum had the temerity to ask Rubio about the money he has accepted by the fistful from gun groups. Rubio’s response, that of course he was going to continue accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sorts of gun groups that stood opposed to any attempt regulate gun purchasing, played roughly as well as everything else he said that night. Students pounced, and have repeatedly argued that politicians including Rubio care more about those gun groups than they do about students.

Aghast while reporting live from his feathery soft fainting couch, here is Rich Lowry, writing at the National Review, explaining the phenomenon:

All you needed to know about student activist David Hogg’s speech at the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., over the weekend was that he affixed a price tag on the microphone to symbolize how much National Rifle Association money Senator Marco Rubio took for the lives of students in Florida.

That, for the record, is Lowry’s opening gambit in a column that accuses the students of being braying meanies whose unkind words about gun advocates are poisoning the well for civil discourse. Comparing students to donkeys is, on the other hand, entirely acceptable because…umm…reasons! Yes, reasons. Unexplained, unstated reasons. But we will get back to that part of it though.

Here is what Lowry is describing – Hogg explicitly accused Rubio of valuing his life, and the lives of every other student in Florida, at $1.05 apiece. As Vox notes, Hogg was not shy about what he was saying:

“I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida. $1.05.” Hogg pointed to the bright orange $1.05 price tag he and other classmates wore to the march.

The figure is their calculation of what each Florida student is worth to the Republican senator; they came up with it by dividing the amount the National Rifle Association has spent to support Rubio’s campaigns, $3.3 million, by the 3.1 million public and private students in the state. Since Rubio’s first Senate bid in 2010, the NRA has spent about $1 million to support his campaigns, and $2.3 million to attack his opponents, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

This is what Lowry is so incensed about. How is it possible that these students could possibly conclude that Rubio is motivated by the huge donations he receives from the NRA?

Yet none of that excuses their scurrilous smears of the other side in the gun debate. The student activists presume that there is a ready solution to mass shootings that everyone knows, and the only reason why someone might not act on this universally accepted policy is malice or corruption. This makes the other side the equivalent of murderers.

Lowry’s argument – that he is literally asking his readers to accept on its face – is that it is a ridiculous smear to believe that politicians would do anything in exchange for money. Hogg’s refusal to be decent to those that he believes aided and abetted the murder of his friends went further though.

In a video interview with an outfit called The Outline, David Hogg said that the NRA and its supporters “want to keep killing our children.” Not that they inadvertently enable people who carry out school shootings via misconceived policy, but they themselves kill children and want to keep doing it.

Lest he be misunderstood, Hogg added, “they could have blood from children spattered all over their faces and they wouldn’t take action because they will still see those dollar signs.”

Lowry thinks this is absurd and offensive. How is it that this mere teenager could possibly conclude that Republicans generally, and the NRA and its supporters specifically, prefer scenarios in which children are gunned down at school? The answer is, of course, right there in Rubio’s record: the Florida Senator has consistently opposed gun control, both vocally — in the immediate aftermath of the Florida shooting, Rubio rushed to the Senate floor to tell everyone that gun control would not have stopped the shooting, which is a hell of a claim considering it was not given the opportunity to do any such thing — and with his constant votes in opposition to gun control. The teenagers really needed to look no farther than the juxtaposition between Rubio’s publicly made comments – at the public forum after the shooting, Rubio said, “I will support a law that takes that right away,” referring to a proposal to up the age-limit on purchasing weapons – and his publicly taken actions, like legislation he himself wrote ending Washington D.C.’s ban on selling rifles and assault weapons to 18-year-olds. Seems like a bit of a disconnect.

Lowry sees the same disconnect everybody does but cannot understand why students are laser-focused on Rubio’s voluntary actions, instead of focusing on his words. He said he cares about children, Lowry protests, so how dare these students conclude otherwise based upon his actions? And, because conservatives can never avoid describing themselves as the real victims, even when talking about the literal victims of literal gun violence which they literally have no interest in even pretending to try to stop, Lowry manages this:

Tellingly, it is Marco Rubio who is the foremost object of the ire of the students, when he has been notably open and accommodating. He showed up at the CNN town hall to get abused and has shown remarkable forbearance in handling political attacks on him that are shameless blood libels. He sponsored incremental school-safety legislation that is becoming law, and for his trouble he is deemed a moral monster who doesn’t care how many people have to die as long as he gets a few more campaign contributions.

Yes, heaven forbid Rubio’s votes (and votes, and votes, and votes) be held against him, because, after all, Rubio said he is opposed to gun violence, and per Lowry, this is what really matters, no matter what those votes of Rubio’s end up producing. Per Lowry’s calculus, it is outrageous to allege that Rubio cares more about his neverending faucet of campaign contributions than he does about student lives, despite his having repeatedly voted in lockstep with what those campaign donors wanted, and in opposition to what those students are advocating for. Correlation is not causation or something.

Which leads us to Lowry’s clincher:

It was hard to believe that our public debate could get even more sophomoric. The student activists are here to say, Yes, it can.

Attaching meaning to actions, it would seem, is a crime that is wildly beyond the pale, one that makes it impossible for Republicans to go along with any gun control proposals at all. Ain’t it just the damndest thing in the world that Lowry ended up exactly where he started? Yes, this shooting had been different, and yes, Lowry was ready to discuss possible changes, but then those mean teenagers were insufficiently respectful of Rubio (and, by extension, Lowry), and he was forced to retreat back to a position he has staked out literally a thousand times before.

Maybe all of this would be more convincing if Lowry’s convenient tone-policing was more than just an attempt to wave away the reality that, like Rubio, Lowry believes that the only solution to gun violence is more guns, a point he himself has made repeatedly, even in the aftermath of last year’s Las Vegas shooting, the worst of its kind on American soil. In fact, the Republican bid, currently, is that the only thing that needs to be done in response to horrific mass-shootings is for Americans to purchase even more guns while lessening the strength of whatever rules governing gun-ownership still barely exist. It is almost as if their offer is to do absolutely nothing at all.

But we must ignore all of that, just as we must ignore the occasional disconnect between what Rubio does versus what he says because we must remain focused on the real scourge: the children who had the audacity to be shot at without quietly respecting the glorious freedom that such a shooting represented.


*Infowars, meanwhile, remained just as Infowars as hell about the whole thing.


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367 thoughts on “Briefly, On Policing The Rhetoric Of Teenagers

  1. The Stoneman spokespeople have mostly reminded Americans why we don’t let high school kids vote. A lot of people I’ve talked to have been discussing the need to raise the voting age back to 21 because current youth seem to be stuck on licking Tide Pods and snorting condoms.

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    • George, this tide pod and condom bit is really brilliant. (censored by maribou for being personal attacks) You and your friends should keep it up, and double and triple down on it any time you’re challenged. There’s basically no chance it will backfire and lead to a series of humiliating cultural and electoral defeats.

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      • Unlike Sam’s comment above, yours went past what George said and into his personal qualities. Ad hominem attacks on particular commenters are still ad hominem attacks on particular commenters, even if they are expressed sarcastically. .

        Part of the reason we have human moderators, not an algorithm.

        Don’t do that, please. Consequences will probably follow if you do it again.

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  2. “the utterly absurd idea that the entire shooting was staged”

    Literally the first time I’ve seen that.

    “Lowry’s argument – that he is literally asking his readers to accept on its face – is that it is a ridiculous smear to believe that politicians would do anything in exchange for money.”

    Lowry never made that argument. But I would gladly make the argument that politicians hardly ever do anything they think is wrong in exchange for money. The NRA is responsible for about 3% of Rubio’s total political donations. Do you think he doesn’t believe in the things he says? Do you think if the other side came up with 4% that he’d change his positions?

    “In this version of the attempt to undermine efforts to address gun violence, those advocating for gun control become the bullies”

    Of course they are. They’re trying to make other people obey them without convincing them. They’re bullies. As for this Hogg / Ingraham dust-up, he got people to boycott her sponsors after she made fun of him for whining about not getting into a college. That has nothing to do with gun rights. It was a personal offense, and Hogg used the power he’s accumulated to retaliate. How is that anything other than bullying?

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      • “In this version of the attempt to undermine efforts to address gun violence, those advocating for gun control become the bullies; those insisting upon doing absolutely nothing become the bullied.”

        If one group wants to do nothing, and the other group wants to change things, which one is more likely to be the bully?

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          • Abolitionists were total bullies.
            Abolitionists were right.
            Therefore bullies are right.

            [Moderator note from Maribou: This hit the flagging threshold and was sent to moderation. I appreciate the reasons for finding it objectionable. In addition, I also read the comment as deliberately inflammatory, which is annoying, but not something I want to censor for 2 reasons: 1) he isn’t the one who went there first, and decided to drag in abolition, raising the stakes on the conversation and making the conversation even more inflammatory 2) it’s clear to me that his intent was satirical because of the sarcastic comment he was responding to and the syllogistic form. totally possible i’m wrong on this and being too openminded because I disagree with the entire line of argument. But, the comment stands. I do appreciate people making the effort to follow the procedure, though, even though I didn’t agree with their call.]

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              • You know who the bullies were? People who wanted to put a stop to this:

                Even if their master was “benevolent,” slaves knew that a financial loss or another personal crisis could lead them to the auction block. Also, slaves were sometimes sold as a form of punishment. And although popular sentiment (as well as the economic self-interest on the part of the owners) encouraged keeping mothers and children and sometimes fathers together, these norms were not always followed. Immediate families were often separated.

                This:

                Slaves were punished for not working fast enough, for being late getting to the fields, for defying authority, for running away, and for a number of other reasons. The punishments took many forms, including whippings, torture, mutilation, imprisonment, and being sold away from the plantation. Slaves were even sometimes murdered.

                And this:

                African American women had to endure the threat and the practice of sexual exploitation. There were no safeguards to protect them from being sexually stalked, harassed, or raped, or to be used as long-term concubines by masters and overseers.

                The people actually doing those things to people they were legally entitled to treat as property, though?

                Totally not bullies, because they wanted to keep things the way they were.

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                  • That wasn’t his implication at all. He was providing a really blatant counterexample, and one among dozens, that demolishes your claim that advocating for change is somehow equivalent to bullying.

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    • They’re trying to make other people obey them without convincing them. They’re bullies.

      This is silly. It would imply that every law that isn’t supported with 100% public consensus is bullying now.

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      • This is silly. It would imply that every law that isn’t supported with 100% public consensus is bullying now.

        My expectation is most of the gun controllers don’t own guns themselves, so what they’re trying to do is impose their morality and worldview on others. They’re the Left’s equiv of the Pro-Life movement, or even the anti-gay movement. “You shouldn’t be in this situation, you should be living your life the way I want you to”.

        Notice the kid’s outrage at those transparent backpacks. Other people are supposed to give up Rights because of their moral outrage, but they personally should not because they’re not the people who need to change lifestyles.

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        • Sure, but gun control is in no way unique in this way. Most people against graffiti don’t paint graffiti. Most people against theft don’t steal. Most people against rape don’t rape. Most people who want some drugs prohibited want to prohibit specifically ones they don’t themselves consume. Most people who want a law against dumping toxic waste in the river aren’t the factory owner who’s dumping his toxic waste in the river.

          Everybody always wants the law to prohibit things they don’t do, keep away from things they do.

          Gun control movement / anti-gay movement would be a better analogy if guns were built for killing oneself not others (for all that something like 60% of gun deaths are suicides, that’s still not what what they’re designed or sold for).

          Rather than finding analogies that support your point – find a counter example. Find a group of people lobbying for any law that would inconvenience them personally. Hold them up as the example of a non-bullying movement with respect to getting any law of any kind passed.

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          • I think you’re, hmm, formally correct, but that the formal objections you’re making also at least apply pretty strongly to the anti-abortion movement.

            But they also, I find, tend to resonate with social liberals. And I think the basic shape of the argument can be strengthened and refined to the point where they’re effective arguments.

            Getting to that point may get away from the bit about bullying… but I think one of the things that’s stuck with me about this conversation is that the whole thing about the Parkland teens being dumb, or jerks, or bullies is… pointless. It doesn’t actually move the ball in a useful direction even if you think they’re substantively wrong.

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          • Sure, most people against graffiti don’t paint graffiti. Most people against theft don’t steal. Most people against rape don’t rape. Most people who want some drugs prohibited want to prohibit specifically ones they don’t themselves consume.

            So owning a gun is the equiv of graffiti, theft, drug use, and rape. Of course, the acceptable number of rapes (etc) in society is zero.

            Elsewhere on this post-set we talk about the lack of trust gun owners have for the anti-gun group and I claim it’s based on a correct reading of where they’re at rather than an incorrect understanding.

            Gun control movement / anti-gay movement would be a better analogy if guns were built for killing oneself not others (for all that something like 60% of gun deaths are suicides, that’s still not what what they’re designed or sold for).

            There’s always some reason why me inflicting my world view and lifestyle on you is acceptable but the reverse is not.

            And your point can be countered but I’ll spare everyone (especially myself) any parrotting of the anti-gay movement.

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    • Pinky: “the utterly absurd idea that the entire shooting was staged”

      Literally the first time I’ve seen that.

      Wow. Have you been living under a rock since Sandy Hook to have never heard of this? It’s become the go-to for InfoWars type rightwing media when it comes to school shootings. There are people up in CT who still get vile messages and even death threats from people sold on the idea that they aren’t grieving parents but operatives of some leftwing conspiracy to take everyones guns.

      The claims that all of these students were paid ‘crisis’ actors hit the pro-gun circuit widely enough for it to show up in various MSM literally two days after the MSD shooting. Claims that Hogg in particular is an actor rather than a student have even been publicly made by various local politicians. And yes, MSD families have gotten threats from nuts convinced now that they are actors in a ‘false flag’ operation.

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      • There needs to be a new rule of internet discussion that’s a variation of the fallacy of the mean and/or the false dichotomy. “The existence of a trivial number of people on the other side of an argument who take insane positions on the internet isn’t evidence of an argument’s validity.” Call it the InfoWars rule if you want. I started using it around the time I stopped citing Salon.

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        • The problem is that we don’t know and can’t tell whether this is a small number of people making these arguments. The crisis actor/staged conspiracy thing is always the first thing that hits these days and it can and does become a political talking point. It can also lead to actual violence. See #Pizzagate.

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        • I don’t think anyone was arguing that the “crisis actor” conspiracy business has any validity.

          It’s just that, the right-wing media is set up, in a way that centrist-to-left-wing media mostly isn’t, with a sort of semipermeable membrane that allows memetic bleed from Infowars to Breitbart to Fox and beyond.

          It’s not that a few Infowars wingnuts dreamt up the conspiracy theory – it’s that it regularly shows up as a serious topic of discussion on supposed MSM.

          The left has a few basket case chemtrail believers – but chemtrail conspiracy crap doesn’t bleed into MSNBC or even Vice.

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          • That’s because people think there is a symmetry between the far left and the far right when there really isn’t.

            Lee and I have done the history here a thousand times but the far-right decided to take over the Republican Party in ways that the farther left rejected and/or were just not able to. Rick Perlstein documented this.

            The further left in general does not trust Johnny Come-Latelys to political movements. They also think the Democratic Party is wrong for supporting Capitalism like it always had even if it supports regulations and welfare state policies.

            There were some left-wing conspiracy types like Louise Menstch (sp?) who briefly got attention at the start of 2017 but they were mocked and dismissed much more than you had people wish-thinking about how any day now “The Master Seargent of Arms will be asked by the Chief Justice of the United States to issue a warrant for the arrest of Trump” or something like that. Many on the left also did not trust Menstch because she started as a right-wing Tory.

            Also the left-wing variants of Infowars and/or Breitbart don’t get the numbers those sites do. Pacifica could get whacky but they also ran into constant budget issues and/or wondering about why their listeners were just aging radicals without any money who couldn’t fund the stations anymore. The closest mainstream variant of Infowars/Breitbart on the left is probably the sentimental swarm of Upworthy. It is telling that conservatives go for Breitbart and liberals go for Upworthy.

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              • I used to listen to my local Pacifica station here in So Cal back when I was a conservative, and found them to be oddly charming and inoffensive.

                Partly it was their earnest belief in their righteousness that compared favorably to the NPR yuppy smarm and hypocrisy. It was also their utter incompetence and irrelevance to anything approaching a threat to the capitalist order they so despised.

                My favorite moment was when they had a show devoted to Native American dance, and the guests proceeded to demonstrate one.
                A wordless dance. Without music. On radio.

                So for about 10 minutes radio listeners were treated to the sound of shuffling and stomping feet, until the obviously delighted host came back to talk about it.

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                • WBAI in New York did a start to finish marathon reading of War and Peace that the old-timers still talked about. Now admittedly this is pretty cool but they were stuck living in the past when the Weather Underground or similar groups mattered.

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              • They did some really interesting radio during their 1960s and 70s heyday especially in New York but since then they have been fading and bankrupt glory. As opposed to other places like Fox which earn mega bucks.

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      • I happen to be “one degree separated” from one of the Sandy Hook victims — she was a “friend of a friend.” Anyway, yeah, this is very real, and is in fact traumatic to the survivors.

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  3. As for the broader point of the article, no one gets to enter the marketplace of ideas without exposing themselves to criticism. They don’t get to be voices of the future when they make demands and untouchable teenagers when you question them. (I looked at that sentence every way I could, and still ended up with the creepy phrase “untouchable teenagers”. You know what I mean though.)

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      • Sorry if I’m taking this line seriously if it was just meant as an offhand remark, but they’re not holding rallies to complain, they’re holding rallies to propose legislation. That’s just another aspect of the central dichotomy. You can’t simultaneously play the roles of an untouchable kid publicly grieving about a tragedy and a citizen proposing policies which impact the country. The first role absolutely requires us to be silent; the second role absolutely requires us to debate.

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        • They get to either be tragic victims, or they can advocate doing something about it, but they aren’t allowed to be both. This is a variant on the “Don’t politicize this tragedy for which we are contributing our thoughts and prayers” line, which in turn is merely a deflecting technique to change the subject until the news cycle has run its course and the whole thing can be quietly forgotten.

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          • I guess there’s a similarity. Both involve the attempt to use passion to override reason. Truthfully, I don’t care when a debate takes place or who is involved in it, as long as all reasonable points are considered. In such a scenario, we’d be talking on a gun policy thread, not a politics of gun policy thread.

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            • So write such a post, about policy, and I’d be willing to say for that post, only policy arguments will be considered, and enforce it as a moderator.

              I mean, we’ve done that before.

              But in the meantime, since this is a primarily a site about politics and culture, posts about what people find incredibly frustrating about political culture will still happen regularly.

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                • Indeed, that would be quite a different context.

                  And yes, the response being criticized in the OP is exactly that, and the reason why I said we will always have posts “about what people find incredibly frustrating about political culture” … because some things that occur in political culture are, in fact, incrediblly frustrating.

                  Just because I like (some) guns doesn’t mean my own personal response to the dumb articles that Sam was criticizing in the OP didn’t come out as mostly gibberish followed by a string of swear words.

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  4. A lot of the current right-wing stars like Ingraham, D’Souza, and Coulter have always been bullies. This has been their shtick since college when they wrote for right-wing trollish newspapers on campus like the Dartmouth review. Ingraham famously named college students who attended an LBGT meeting at her undergrad. This was in the 1980s when attending such a meeting had different results than in 2018.

    The right-wing troll crew always got away with their shit, were encouraged for their shit, paid well for their shit, etc until now. The question is why. They might have been the majority of their generation, maybe liberals from previous generations did not know how to respond and only encouraged further trolling.

    The newest generations are much better at hitting the right-wing troll crew where it hurts. The Ingraham’s of the world don’t know how to react to this. Hence the need to tell teenagers to shut up plus a lot of concern trolling from entitled old people on the dangers of a boycott and going after corporate sponsers.

    Have you ever heard a middle-aged right-winger talk about how they got into right-wing politics? Most of them were teenagers or young adults when Reagan was elected President. They often talk about how the Democratic Party was broken and had the same old-talking points, all the exciting and new ideas were on the right-wing. Now the right-wing is the broken record with the same old-ideas. However, they don’t want to admit that they are losing popular votes and only winning majorities on technical victories and gerrymandering. So they will repeat like broken records.

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    • The right’s idea problem isn’t new vs old, it’s good vs bad. The right has the lion’s share of bad ideas, because their views are quite proudly less correlated with reality. I hate to say it but it really is that simple.

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  5. Nothing is more ridiculous than expecting a basic grasp of current policy and facts before acquiescing to vague and potentially broad policy changes. After all, no one in our society has ever used the cries of children to further cynical, foolish, or short-sighted ends.

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      • It depends on the specific effort and the goals of the effort. The one’s I’ve seen proposed (with the possible exception of looking into the issues with background checks) do in my opinion fall into that bucket.

        What I can say is I’m not convinced they know much (read anything) about the GCA and NFA which are the major federal laws in play, or are well versed on crime/criminal justice policy in a way I think one needs to be to talk about the subject intelligently. And look I get it, they’re kids. Plenty of adults don’t understand it either and weigh in with all kinds of asinine views. My point is just that passion and/or being a witness or victim to something bad does not grant special insight into public policy.

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        • This and related talking points are something I’m seeing often. “These kids don’t know what they’re talking about.” And I’ll confess to bristling a little (and, elsewhere, sometimes a lot) at the idea of, “Wisdom from the mouths of babes.” As an early childhood educator, I actually find the idea on the “profoundness” of 4-year-olds more troubling than whimsical or inspiring… but I’m digressing.

          So, yes, I recognize the legitimacy of the sentiment that we should not take policy cues from teenagers nor necessarily offer added weight to the policy preferences of those most proximal to tragedy.

          But… the thing is… if these kids are so ill-informed — if their policy proposals are so daft or “cynical, foolish, and short-sighted” — it should be reasonably easy to refute them with knowledge, data, facts, reason, etc. Instead, what we’re seeing are personal attacks, lies, smears, propaganda, etc.

          When CNN hosted the town hall, I didn’t walk away thinking, “Rubio is a monster or idiot for not just caving to the wants and needs of the survivor. I walked away thinking, “Rubio might be a dummy because he couldn’t win a policy debate with an emotionally-charged, likely under-informed teenager.” Now, maybe the forum and atmosphere was such that he was in a lose-lose situation, but I think the broader point still stands: if these kids are wrong — so obviously blatantly wrong — it should be relatively easy to make that case without resorting to so much of the ugliness that we’ve seen (though not necessarily on these pages since we generally have reasonable folks here, yourself included).

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          • I see this as more of an issue about the state of political debate. To expand on what I said to Sam above, these kids are far from lonely in making claims about policies and issues they apparently don’t understand. Virtually the entire Republican party and conservative media has spent the last decade doing it with health care. They aren’t being intelligently refuted because the way our media and public debate work right now doesn’t seem to allow for the intelligent refutation or discussion of anything.

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            • I don’t disagree with that. But what stands out is that much of the response I’m seeing to the kids is framed as, “They’re just a bunch of emotional, uninformed teenagers!” Their is explicit acknowledgement of this fact/making this claim. It would seem the logical follow up would be, “And here is why they’re wrong.” (Sort of how you did here… since you’re not some sort of media monster.)

              Elsewhere, “debate” seems to jump right to, “YOU’RE AN AWFUL HUMAN BECAUSE OF THIS MEME AND THAT DOCTORED PHOTO OF YOU!” What stands out to me is that here we’re seeing folks leading with, “Sixteen year old shooting victims are ill positioned to determine policy. Want to know why? Because they love Castro and never got shot anyway.”

              I don’t know if it is progress that there is that little kernel of legitimacy or a stepbackwards that even in demonstrating a bit of legitimacy they can’t actually build upon the logical follow up to that base.

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              • I don’t see much progress in it, just a different tactic for clicks and eyeballs. A friend of mine used to listen to a local right wing Lymbaugh wanna-be on AM radio so I’d hear it when I was in the car with him. I never asked if this was supposed to be ironic or if he was into the message because I kind of didn’t want to know.

                Every once in awhile the host would start to make what sounded like a legitimate or interesting point, but then immediately go down the rabbit hole about dyed red Marxists posing as Democrats and similar nonsense. I don’t know if the interesting part was a hook to catch listeners or if the thought process was just that ridiculous. I suspect the former but who knows.

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                • Ha!

                  Very likely.

                  It boggles my mind. And, frankly, really pisses me off when I see folks who would otherwise be ideological allies go off the rails and criticize the stupid or irrelevant. I mean, for about 9 different reasons focusing on Trump’s skin, hair, or weight is not just unproductive, it is likely counterproductive (on top of actually being illiberal in any number of ways).

                  Like, there is so much legitimate ground to oppose folks on all sides. And yet, here we are… doctoring images of 16-year-olds and chortling about lame ass jokes like “Commander in Cheetoh” or whatever. THAT IS NOT AN ARGUMENT!

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                  • I think the difference is social media and the psychology of it. Not to say that confirmation bias or crass jokes or dumb ideas haven’t always been out there. What’s new is it’s been perfected, commercialized, and put in everyone’s pocket.

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                    • And perhaps we’re misguided in calling much of this debate. Often times, those “arguments” are not being made while actually engaged with ideological opponents or even in service of challenging a position but merely as signaling to members of one’s own tribes. It’s cheerleading at a pep rally, not (failing at) debate.

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      • Gun control efforts are “cynical, foolish, or short-sighted” then?

        “Cynical” is a good word when the word “gun violence” is used to inflate school shooting deaths by lumping them together with suicide and/or drug war numbers. “Cynical” is also a good word if the proposed solution couldn’t possibly have worked against the problem it’s supposedly trying to address.

        “Foolish” is a good word to describe a plan that depends on mass murderers obeying the law.

        “Short-sighted” is the word if long term effects (or history) are ignored, i.e. “does this make gov repression and/or genocide more possible” or even “does this make crime worse”. Our country’s repeated experiments with prohibition do not suggest good things if we try to outlaw vast numbers of guns.

        For example, we have a history of law enforcement mistreating minorities. If we fire up a “war-on-guns”, it will be law enforcement which enforces it, and our expectation should be that it’s the minority communities which end up on the front lines. Very likely it’d be a serious expansion on the war on drugs.

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        • All very good points.

          I’ve put some thought into this, and I believe the current gun control efforts are misguided.
          It needs to be context-dependent rather than individual-dependent in order to be effective.

          This is incredibly similar to our set-up with criminal justice, where individual responsibility is routinely assigned to societal problems; and also one huge reason why it’s so ineffective.
          An individual always acts outside of their individuality in order to create a danger to others– no act outside of their individuality, no danger.

          This came from the realization that I am completely unconcerned about a criminal owning and maintaining a firearm.
          In that case, it is never going to be used, or else the criminal will be in big trouble for having a firearm.
          The danger is where a criminal obtains a firearm for a short period of time (say, fifteen minutes) without intention of ever maintaining it.
          That is, the hazard attaches not to the person, but the context.

          No matter how many criteria are sorted in a system of background checks, the project is doomed to failure.
          The question is: Is this a feature or a bug? Is the intent of background checks simply that of generating make-busy work while achieving nothing in particular?

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    • Is this supposed to be for or against the Parkland teenagers? The teenagers are doing this themselves. They aren’t being manipulated by adults. And the right-wing, being the Avignon Popes that they are, always claim to have a monopoly on policy and facts.

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      • Well for, the record, let me genuflect and ceremoniously state that I think most Republican lawmakers on the federal level are idiots and I disagree, in many cases vehemently, with the majority of their agenda.

        For the teenagers themselves, I think they are probably well-meaning but are being made useful idiots by people with a pre-existing agenda. I look at them the same way I look at most crime victims of unspeakable but ultimately rare acts who are paraded out to push for more criminalization and more surveillance. I’ve seen the movie enough times before to know where it leads.

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        • For the teenagers themselves, I think they are probably well-meaning but are being made useful idiots by people with a pre-existing agenda.

          This seems a weird conclusion, especially in light of the idea that they are pushing a pre-existing set of policy proposals.

          Not, I think, a particularly good set of policy proposals, but ones that lots of people have. The their wrongness is somehow particularly attributable to their age and, to quote one of their adversaries, their resulting propensity for “licking Tide Pods and snorting condoms” seems to be entirely without foundation.

          Yeah, I know that you aren’t on the Right, et c., but the thing is the Right is going well beyond simply saying they disagree. They don’t want to talk about how the kids are wrong, they want to talk about how the kids are jerks. Mostly by justifying how the kids are being mean–“bullying”, even–hapless, innocent victims like Marco Rubio and Laura Ingraham.

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    • I agree 100%. I get a sense that there are some gross individuals on the Left that have decided to use these kids as human shields so they can advocate for the same gun control proposals we have heard for years and then folks like the author of this post can complain about how these nearly-adult individuals are being mistreated.

      I lost what little interest I had in their movement as soon as they complained their constitutional rights were being violated because they had to carry clear backpacks to school. That seems to demonstrate the exact kind of self-centeredness one should expect from teenagers and should remind us all what we are dealing with.

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      • I get a sense that there are some gross individuals on the Left that have decided to use these kids as human shields so they can advocate for the same gun control proposals we have heard for years and then folks like the author of this post can complain about how these nearly-adult individuals are being mistreated.

        To be blunt, this is gratuitous nonsense. If the kids are advocating for the same gun control nonsense we’ve heard for years, and they’re nearly adults, the idea that they somehow had to be be manipulated into it is almost self-contradictory. They react to the problem at hand the way many adults do.

        As for complaining that the kids are being mistreated, well, um, maybe don’t mistreat them? It’s not like the didn’t find real examples, and even if we hadn’t, the first comment on his post proved his point for him.

        I lost what little interest I had in their movement as soon as they complained their constitutional rights were being violated because they had to carry clear backpacks to school. That seems to demonstrate the exact kind of self-centeredness one should expect from teenagers and should remind us all what we are dealing with.

        How self-centered of them to think they have a constitutional right to privacy.

        Why, clearly everyone who brings up any sort of constitutional rights in the context of public policy responses to school shootings is just being immaturely self-centered, and is best ignored.

        Time to confiscate every gun in the country!

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        • I’m not suggesting that the kids are being manipulated to do this. Kids, especially today, love attention of any kind. What I am saying is that some folks on the Left are happy to have found surrogates that they perceive as above the fray. Given their ages, I would disagree about that status.

          And the self-centeredness comes from a willingness to trade away other people’s rights for your security but not your own.

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          • What I am saying is that some folks on the Left are happy to have found surrogates that they perceive as above the fray.

            So what? It would be a total nonissue if bilge merchants like Laura Ingraham had the faintest shred of self-control.

            And the self-centeredness comes from a willingness to trade away other people’s rights for your security but not your own.

            Yes, only a teenager has ever advocated for doing any such thing, and it’s not like disagreements over what is a legitimate right and what isn’t have been the bread and butter of American politics since before the founding of the republic.

            Seriously, even you can’t just bring yourself to say they’re wrong without impugning their motives and character. Maybe the problem is closer to home than it is “gross individuals” on the Left.

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            • Impugning whose motives and character? The teens Sam is worried about in his post? I understand their motives and I don’t know their character. They are children. I tend to let a lot of stuff slide on that front, and it is also why I mostly ignore their opinions.

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              • I understand their motives and I don’t know their character.

                Well, I guess you are retracting this statement, which is, by your own admission, entirely without foundation:

                That seems to demonstrate the exact kind of self-centeredness one should expect from teenagers and should remind us all what we are dealing with.</blockquote.

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                • Pointing out the obvious contradiction of wanting to mess with 2nd Amendment but claiming protection under others isn’t a moral judgement about their motives. I just think it’s kids being kids i.e. self-centered little jerks. As the father of two of them, I’m also aware enough of developmental psychology to know it will pass for many of them.

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                  • Students who don’t want to be shot to death are “self-centered little jerks” which means that Americans unwilling to make any sacrifices at all in regard to entirely reasonable gun control proposals what exactly?

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                    • Kids that want guns banned but aren’t willing to carry a clear backpack in support of their own security sure as hell seem self-centered to me.

                      I mean, seriously, half of the jobs at the mall when I was a teen required female employees to carry clear purses. At my job, we require all employees to carry clear lunchboxes, just to keep theft down. So if these kids are REALLY serious about their security, maybe they could all just agree not to snicker at some girls tampons… but y’know… teens are jerks.

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                        • Both. We don’t allow people to bring in weapons of any kind (including pocket knives) and we also don’t want to see theft. Win-win.

                          And kids routinely walk through metal detectors in less-than-affluent areas all over the country, so let’s not pretend this is new territory. Kids in inner-city school are subject to all sorts of daily inconveniences beyond their control. Making some upper-middle -class kids give up a smidge of privacy seems small in comparison.

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                          • That sort of thing I seriously disagree with.
                            Harsh as it may sound, I think it’s better in the long run to permit the threat.
                            Same with airport security. We need to steel ourselves up and accept that, every once in awhile, one of these babies gets hijacked or something.

                            Here’s news:
                            Last summer I got held up at gunpoint by someone that looked like a high school kid. I gave him my money, and that didn’t bother me so much. But I kept wondering if he was going to shoot me in the back while I was getting away from there.

                            Today, I saw a guy with a pistol in a side holster at my university.
                            I reported it to the university police, and I sincerely regret doing it. I hate it that I would feel targeted by the police for reporting something I felt to be vital information.
                            They found the guy, and they were tailing him while I sat there and listened on the radio.
                            But I wonder how many of those events go unreported.
                            This is likely the only national report you will ever hear of this incident.

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                      • I haven’t researched it but I can almost *guarantee* you that the kids who are serious about their security and getting this national attention, and the kids who “snicker at some girls’ tampons” are not, at all, the same set of kids.

                        Speaking as someone who was thoroughly bullied (physically, verbally, etc.) at school. It wasn’t the freaking drama club doing the bullying.

                        I don’t think “This is security theater that will on some level make our already really stressed out right now lives worse, and we want real solutions,” is an unreasonable response to security theater. Lord knows I’ve been saying it about getting scanned at airports for a decade now. It’s actually *reassuring* to me in some minor way that these kids give a crap about their privacy, I thought that was a battle that only Gen-Xers cared about one way or the other in general.

                        Also, again speaking personally, not authoritatively, and because I *know* you have better character than this, repeatedly calling a bunch of people who’ve just recently been through a pretty major trauma names and lumping their advocacy actions (regardless of one’s opinions of them) in with typical teenage jerkwad behavior is completely unnecessary.

                        It’s *very easy* to disagree with people without disrespecting their traumas – especially their very recent traumas – and I do it all the time. I’m not perfect at it but I also don’t justify myself when someone points out I’m failing at it, I just try to stop.

                        You can have compassion for individual human beings who are literally *just coming out of a great tragedy in their lives*, acknowledge that, and NOT go on to call them names and focus on ways in which you think they are failing to behave the way they should. And still completely oppose their actions and/or arguments. Without blaming your own behavior on someone else (in this case the people whom you believe are taking cover behind the students).

                        Given your high level of moral probity in general, I would have predicted, before reading these comments, that you would also have reflexively done that. I’m quite disappointed.

                        I hate to make this a conversation about you, and I won’t say more about it than that. If you want to call me out for breaking the rules and tell me to censor my own post, I honestly will do so.

                        But there it is. You’re calling a bunch of people who just recently lost people they love in a violent and terrifying way, names. Is that really who you are? What you want to do for *any* reason?

                        *******

                        I would also note (not so much in response to what you’ve said but because many people have been doing this, and I’m unlikely to comment further on this post in a personal role) that the kids themselves are not all advocating the same things. Emma Gonzalez is (perhaps unsurprisingly given class and ethnic differences) advocating *different* kinds of gun control than David Hogg. Lumping them all together as having the same agenda, rather than sharing common goals, is an error I’ve seen made elsewhere.

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                        • “Also, again speaking personally, not authoritatively, and because I *know* you have better character than this, repeatedly calling a bunch of people who’ve just recently been through a pretty major trauma names and lumping their advocacy actions (regardless of one’s opinions of them) in with typical teenage jerkwad behavior is completely unnecessary.”

                          I don’t think it’s ‘name-calling’ to point out the contradictions in their policy positions as self-centered. I also don’t think it’s a revelation to say that nearly all teenagers are, in general, self-centered and yes, jerks. I used to be one of them. I raised one who (thankfully) came out the other side a pretty nice individual. I live with one of them now who is in full Self-Centered Jerk mode and, if she follows the traditional pattern, has about 2 more years left in the cycle.

                          These kids are choosing to be public personalities right now. It’s perfectly acceptable to have an opinion about them specifically and their generation broadly. Implying that I am somehow disrespecting their trauma by doing so is pretty unfair IMO. Certainly even you don’t believe that having bad things happen to you gives someone the moral high ground or untouchable status forever…do you?

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                          • “Certainly even you don’t believe that having bad things happen to you gives someone the moral high ground or untouchable status forever…do you?”

                            Of course I don’t, and it’s absurd to interpret what I said that way. It’s also absurd to call people – any people – “little jerks” and then say you aren’t calling them names. Either own the name-calling, or don’t do it, but c’mon. Don’t do it and then say you aren’t.

                            I didn’t make any claims about them having moral high ground or untouchable status, I said that making sweeping name-calling generalizations about them is unworthy of you. I would be willing to say that making sweeping name-calling generalizations about *any* group of people who’ve been through particularly awful, literal *trauma* (which involves reasonable fear for one’s life or observing other people in grave danger, and is different than “having bad things happen”) is always unworthy of you, and that doing so within a year of said trauma, let alone within three months, when it’s remarkably obvious that the political action they are taking is directly tied to a stage of grief is particularly unworthy. (Survivors of trauma, as part of the healing process, almost always become activists or advocates in one way or another. Eventually. And not everybody. But it’s super-obvious and super-common and it’s super-easy to hold some extra space for them when it’s going on.)

                            I would also say that you can have opinions about them and their generation without name-calling.

                            I actually know a number of teenagers and their parents – I’m not a mom, but I’m an auntie very many times over – and their parents have extremely high moral standards for their kids, find the teenage years both inspiring at times and incredibly frustrating at other times, have complained to me in private about them – but also *wouldn’t* call their own kids – or anyone else’s high school aged kids – “self-centered little jerks” in a public forum. Particularly, they wouldn’t call their kids names to justify calling other kids names. It’s not that they wouldn’t talk about it, vent, compare notes, make arguments by analogy or any of that … they just wouldn’t be insulting. In large part because they want to be better role models *for kids* than to use insults when there are easier ways to make their points.

                            I expect your kids have the context and appreciation to understand what you do and don’t mean by that, and that even though it’s an insult, you don’t love them any less for it, but when you start calling strangers those kinds of names, those strangers have an entirely different context for what you are saying, as do the rest of us.

                            It’s cheap name-calling. You are better than that.

                            I don’t think it’s unfair to tell you I think you are better than what you are doing. It’s super rare for me and if you want me to stop, delete these comments, or whatever I will. I also won’t elaborate further because the last thing I’m trying to do is pile on to you here.

                            *shrugs*

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                              • Since you asked, not especially. It’s that it’s an insult, not the words used, up to a certain limit. I mean “self-absorbed fisher” (and read the actual f-word there) is not really *more* of a problem than “little jerk” either. It’s demeaning, it’s cheap, both to the insulter and the insulted.

                                There are certainly contexts where insulting people isn’t actually insulting – show up in my pal’s garage for poker any night and you’ll hear the insults flying. And for most adults, anyone who hasn’t, say, been in reasonable fear for their life within the last three months, I’d give it a year to be generous, or isn’t speaking about their most vulnerable and scared places, I’d say who cares what they get called. (Again, speaking personally, not as a moderator.)

                                But neither of those terms you suggest as potentially less objectionable is anything I would call any kid I felt responsible for/to in public and in writing, other than *maybe* in a behaviorally-limited, time-bound way, as in “BLEARGH, so and so was being such a self-absorbed fisher this afternoon can you believe what she did:” and even then I’d be cautious about it and probably obscure details.

                                Why do you want to call them names?

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                                • Again, I don’t consider it name-calling. I call it ‘an accurate description of behavior’. I also grew up in a family where people called you on your BS in exactly the same way and it never felt like anything other than tough love. I’ve done exactly the same with both my kids and will make zero apologies for it.

                                  And if I’m being honest, I’m sort of incredulous (though not really surprised) that so many folks to the Left of me find it troubling to make a generalization about teenagers (re: NOT just the Stoneman kids). Sadly, it’s the world we live in.

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                                  • , I’m not doubting your love for your family or your family’s love for you, to be clear. Nor am I asking you to apologize to anyone. Just to see if you can’t shift your perspective. Feel free to decline to make the effort, it’s not your job to not make me sad.

                                    I also don’t find it all that troubling to make *generalizations* about teenagers, and have said several times that that isn’t the problem. I find it troubling to make *generalized insults* about teenagers, or to make specific insults about specific teenagers, written down and in broad public contexts.

                                    I have a full slate of opinions about teenagers, generalizations, and I’m not telling you to stop having them.

                                    here are some of mine:

                                    When I think of the teenagers I know, of myself as a teenager, of the students I know who are barely out of teenagerhood? Yes, they have flaws, individually and in some ways as a group. Lack of myelin is a real thing.

                                    But they’re also capable of great heroism and great selflessness. (to be clear I am not claiming those things for the Parkland kids, I can see why people do, and I can see why they don’t – I have a lot of empathy for them, but they are decent human beings and activists, not heroes). I’ve seen teenagers act as nobly as anyone else.

                                    Teenagers are fully as capable as anyone else of being decent human beings. Teenagers are as likely as anyone else to be struggling under some pretty horrific weights and doing their best to look out for each other anyway (and *many* of them are in those positions, many more than CPS ever interacts with). And for many of them (probably not mostly kids whose demographics match David Hogg’s, I will concede, but some of those, and overall not necessarily a minority of kids, either), their biggest challenge will not be stopping being self-absorbed and unkind.

                                    For most people who are currently teenagers in the United States now, their biggest challenge will be some combination of learning how not to enact the things that were done to them on other people and / or asserting themselves and protecting their friends against a system that thinks calling them all kinds of dismissive names is perfectly fine. That thinks sneering, and insults, and outright mockery is just a normal part of how we talk to people who are somehow “less than” we are. And who backs up that attitude toward people with an equal amount of mistreatment of people.

                                    I tend to presume you also do not accept or endorse that system, cf your comments about how screwed up both major parties are here and elsewhere, so it surprises and bothers me when you seem to be folded into it, instead.

                                    And I get indignant on teenagers’ behalfs not because I want them to be coddled every time they get a hangnail, but because it seems like self-absorbed behavior on we adults’ part to look at the giant enormous mess we are leaving them to deal with, and then complain about how self-absorbed *they* are.

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                                    • Well and you know what?

                                      Forget what I said before about “I”ve never been a mom but..”

                                      I mean, sure, technically I have not mothered children. Technically, all my *healthy* experience of families is second-hand.

                                      Non-technically, I was the primary (most stable, most consistent, most reliable) caretaker for three other children starting when I was about age 5 (there were only 2 then, the third came along when I was seven). Including several teenage years of doing my damnedest (which I always was very aware was not enough) to mother not one, but *three* other teenagers while serving the needs of two very self-absorbed, narcissistic adults and dodging physical and other kinds of abuse. (As always, I can’t help but footnote that those two adults were really different and one’s self-absorption was a lot more toxic and less forgiveable than the other’s.)

                                      That’s what I was doing as a teenager. It almost killed me. And I bailed on my sibs to go to college – though not completely, they knew I was always ready to drop everything for them, and not without involving other adults in the family outside the home. Also, they have all told me they see it as blazing a trail for escape, not abandonment, so I try not to beat myself up for it now. At the time, though? At the time, I internalized every blaring complaint about how teenagers were self-absorbed, temperamental, temporarily insane and not equally valuable human beings, whether it came from my dad, aimed like a weapon, or just from the cultural consensus around me. I did believe those things. Those beliefs were like frigging shackles that made everything I accomplished all the harder to accomplish, weighing me down when I didn’t have enough time to even really notice I was wearing them, let alone navel-gaze.

                                      But they weren’t true about me then (I was kicking the universe’s ASS, surviving and mothering even in the half-cocked way I managed to do so) and they aren’t true about teenagers “in general” now. If you want to say I, and all teenagers, have certain developmental challenges – myelin, hormones, etc – that made what I did a lot more *difficult*. yes. I’m on board with that part. But not with the insulting and the eye-rolling and the assuming that every kid is going to act out in the way that kids who are, really, *very* privileged compared to the average kid will. Or that kids who just went through a hellish time are somehow best addressed with snark and name-calling, no matter how non-vitriolic the speaker intends to be.

                                      And I’m not going to defer to parental wisdom on that, because literally the only differences between me and real parents are the ones I outlined above. And I really don’t think that made the job of parenting *easier*, on the whole. (It was 110 percent frigging worth it and the only thing about my childhood I wouldn’t trade in for not having been abused -unless it meant they’d be saved from what we all went through *too* – but it wasn’t ever easy. And it didn’t leave any time for being self-absorbed.)

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                                      • “…the only differences between me and real parents are the ones I outlined above.”

                                        Maribou, you of all people, who has explained to so many people on this site over the years about how they do not really understand the female/abused/minority/LGBTQ experience without having actually experienced it…I’m really struggling to give you a pass on the statement above but it’s so blatantly wrong that I don’t think I have it in me to do that, so…I think I’m just going to excuse myself here.

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                                        • I think you misunderstand, and probably in my frustration, I wasn’t clear..

                                          I do not know what it is like to be an adult, raising children, at all. I do not know what it is like to be a parent in the best, most beautiful sense of that term. I don’t even know what it is to be a good parent, an adult with adult responsibilities and ways of addressing the world, with little kids to tend, at all – and I am far more adult, and more skilled as an auntie than I ever was as a “mom”. But plenty of teenagers are the kind of mom I was, not the kind of mom I think kids should have.

                                          I will never be a good enough parent to sit on the back porch drinking a beer and enjoying how much my (wonderful, going to be a force for good in the world, but also sometimes a huge pain in the ass) kids think I’m a self-righteous asshole. That’s not a set of privileges I will ever have. Nor will I have the worries and fears attendant on being an adult cradling one’s own tiny baby in one’s hands and wondering what the world will hold for them. There is a great deal, good and bad, that my attenuated version of parenting will never encompass.

                                          What I do have, and what I did do, and what I insist is freaking relevant to a lot of people’s lives, and a lot of people’s families, perhaps rather more so than the idealized experience that seems to be to be the exception, rather than the norm, in this relatively privileged country, let alone world wide ….

                                          Is to raise three children, in very trying circumstances, into wonderful, functional, adults who are also remarkably good parents (far better than I was and in an entirely different league than either of the adults who failed to parent us). Circumstances trying enough that they literally drove me to rewrite my whole self because *someone* needed to do that work and there was no way I was going to let my siblings not have the very very basic things I knew we all needed.

                                          I know what it is like to have a sick child, and to sleep in their hospital room, and to argue with doctors, and to measure life-saving meds that will also kill them if you mismeasure.

                                          I know what it is like to teach a kid to (really nurture a kid while they flower into the kind of person who can) read, to tie their shoes, to hit a baseball, to be kind, to solve problems, to stand up for their friends, to do the right thing and to admit it when they’ve failed.

                                          I know what it is like to be in a mother role in a house where the one quasi-functional adult works 60 hours a week and is not functional enough to mother. To serve meals, settle disputes, worry about bullies, plan birthdays, contact teachers, spend more hours driving kids around to after school activities than it seems like you should have available in the day (and set up carpools and work with other parents even) .

                                          I know what it is like to be an adult who is treated as the-best-closest-thing to a *real* parent three other adults will ever have, even as they and I both share the responsibilities of supporting and mothering the person who gets the credit from the world for being our mother (and who, when I was very small, *did* mother me and thereby teach me what being a mother was like).

                                          I’m not a mom the way your wife is a mom. I’m not a dad the way you are a dad. Not even close.

                                          But to tell me what I did wasn’t parenting, that I don’t know, for example, what it’s like to be the parent of a teenager and how insufferable and annoying teenagers can be and how much one can worry and work and set high standards to help them get past that stage in their lives?

                                          That’s pretty much, to address what you brought into this head on, like telling a gay person who has been married for 15 years that they don’t *really* love their partner because their context isn’t your context.

                                          If the idea of me being a parent, albeit in a different way than you are, is so wrong that you have to step away, so be it.

                                          But I’m tired of pretending what I did doesn’t count as parenting. Because, among many other reasons, I am damn proud of those three kids I raised. Not of the job I did, but of how they turned out. And they weren’t *parentless*. They didn’t just magically turn out that way. They had me.

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                                          • I also, if anyone is wondering and because I certainly didn’t have the time to be this self-absorbed back then:
                                            – bought groceries
                                            – made sure the bills got paid
                                            – mediated between two very angry adults who didn’t agree about money and both were financially incompetent to make sure they didn’t break our finances
                                            – was fully aware by the time I was 9 or 10 of every aspect of said finances, both legal and illegal
                                            – managed the doing of household chores (mostly doing them, sometimes delegating them)
                                            – literally, over and over, was the only person doing anything for our house and the children in it for days and days at a time, even nominally, starting when I was five.

                                            The only aspect of being a parent I really never did, other than being a grown-up with grown-up skills which certainly would have made everything a lot easier, was hold down a full-time job and be responsible for making sure there was income into the household. But having held down a full-time job for 20 years now, I am quite sure it is less work, all told, than going to school (particularly given that if I got anything less than a 100 percent I’d be threatened, ridiculed, and/or attacked) plus hiding all this from the world at large was. I think making that trade would make parenting easier, not harder, for me.

                                            My parents had lucid periods (and faked lucidity outside the home just fine). There were whole months, at times, where they pitched in on the parenting. But they weren’t in any sense reliable parents. If I look at parents who do a good job, and I look back at my youth, what I was doing was a lot more like parenting than not like it. What my parents were doing was not.

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                                            • And I was the person my siblings turned to when they missed the bus, had a nightmare, scraped their knees, didn’t know what to do in general. Not my mom. Not my shitstorm of a father.

                                              Me.

                                              My brother actually struggled a bit as an adult to determine that as kids, I had been more of a parent than a sister – not like we fought over it but like he spent a lot of time mulling it over in his own head.

                                              What he told me ended up being the clincher was – not any of the times I put my body between him and my father’s anger, not any of the meals I put on the table – but simply,
                                              “I remembered the time when you were in 7th grade and me and (sister) were in elementary school and we missed the bus and we knew home was an hour long bus ride away and we didn’t know how we were going to get home and we were really scared at first. We didn’t even think for a second to call mom or dad. Or some other grown-up.. We knew the teachers should just call you and then you would take care of us.”

                                              After he said that we both cried for a while. And then we stopped lying to ourselves about how our relationship is what it is, not what we pretended it was for the sake of our family’s reputation.

                                              Yeah, being in 7th grade kept me from being a *real* proper adult parent who would not have put kids into a situation where missing the bus was that scary for them in the first place. And it sure as heck constrained my options for solving the problem. But it didn’t keep me from solving that problem.

                                              And to loop back to the Parkland kids a bit – they aren’t perfect. But if their teenaged, definitely not as good as an ideal adult’s, attempts at turning their hurt into something better end up breaking the back of the NRA, I would guess that you, , and the other folks who IMO-and-by-my-cultural-standards do deserve to have guns (self included even though I choose not to have ammo in the house until and unless one of us ever gets our gun skills up to what I consider acceptable levels) are *more*, not less likely to end up not having a total gun ban. Because it doesn’t matter what those kids think about gun policy, or clear backpacks, or whatever dumb thing dumb pundits focus on. It matters that they are hurt, and they are taking that hurt, and trying their best to turn it into a positive force for good in the world. Including, by the way, reaching out and building bridges and *learning from* those very folks in Chicago and elsewhere that you rightfully pointed out the MSM doesn’t give a crap about. IF they keep doing what they are doing, and don’t let themselves get ground down and sneered out of their passions, things *will get better* and they will grow and improve and learn more about guns and what the biggest gun-related problems and best gun-related policies in the nation are, and when they are fully-myelinized adults they’ll do a damn sight better job of solving the gun problems that the country *actually* has, than anyone in our generation or our parents’ has done.

                                              It won’t matter, then, whether you or I agree with the policy suggestions they were chanting at these early marches. It’ll matter how we treated them, that, tough love or gentle, we did *love* on them and respect them and lift them up, when they were trying their best to be decent human beings.

                                              And it will matter *for us*, by that point, that they were the gun control advocates we needed, as outlines below, rather than the gun control advocates that should have existed in some ideal world.

                                              Just like it mattered to my siblings that I was the good-enough parent *they needed*, far more than that I wasn’t a parent in the proper, ideal sense of the term.

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                                    • “For most people who are currently teenagers in the United States now, their biggest challenge will be some combination of learning how not to enact the things that were done to them on other people and / or asserting themselves and protecting their friends against a system that thinks calling them all kinds of dismissive names is perfectly fine.”

                                      Is your contention that essentially modern teens have been dealt a shitty hand and their biggest challenge will be overcoming their status as victims? Yeesh.

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            • These two comments… ‘s here and ‘s above has me wondering to what extent is the vitriol being thrown the kids’ way is precisely because of the reality or perception that they are being used by the left because of their supposed untouchability.

              If you think your enemy is trying to win by annointing their new weapon as untouchable, maybe the best tactic is to show just how touchable it is.

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          • Since we’re going to describe entirely reasonable gun control efforts as “a willingness to trade away other people’s rights” I assume we can similarly describe gun control opponents willingness to trade away the lives of children for their own unfettered access to guns? Or would that be unfair in a way that what you just wrote isn’t?

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            • That logic would track if I believed that access to guns was the root cause of these shootings. Since I don’t, I can’t agree with your description.

              What I will say though is that I 100% support potential federal measures to reduce teen violence and death. My solutions are probably much different than yours, but we can both agre on the general goal, right?

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              • You don’t believe that access to guns makes shootings (and mass shootings) easier?

                As for the idea of a general goal, I would be extremely dubious if somebody told me that they wanted to stop flooding but were also against dams. We keep being asked to believe that gun control opponents “agree on the general goal” right before they insist that nothing should ever be done except ensuring more sales for the gun industry.

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                • Sam,

                  I focus on root cause, not symptoms. Assault weapons don’t cause mass shootings. If you’ve lowered the bar to ‘not less shootings but just less people dying in mass shootings’ then you should probably throw in the towel.

                  There’s a ton of things I would do, some of which even involve guns, but a lot of it doesn’t.

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                  • The root-cause of the overwhelming number of mass-shootings is unbelievably selfish men who believe that the world, having insufficiently rewarded them simply for existing, must be punished. The assault rifles make carrying out the mass-shootings much, much easier. It’s why Nikolas Cruz didn’t bring a black powder long rifle with him to Stoneman.

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                    • I do find it interesting to hear someone who sees racism lurking behind so many issues, putting the blame solely on these shooters for losing their sanity.

                      And tragic as these events are, I would just love to see the Left taking an equal interest in the streets of Chicago.

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                      • 1. “sees racism lurking behind so many issues” is an interesting way to describe what is explicitly there and plain to see. 2. Do you think gun control advocates ignore violence in places like Chicago, Cincinnati, or Louisville?

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                        • “Do you think gun control advocates ignore violence in places like Chicago, Cincinnati, or Louisville?”

                          I think folks that are solely focused on ‘banning guns’ absolutely ignore violence in those places. They prefer to focus on the less-than-1% of shootings that scare them.

                          As for those people who advocate for reducing more widespread gun violence…those folks ARE maintaining a presence in those places and actually offering real solutions. Unfortunately for them, they also look a lot different than most of the people attending March for Lives rallies and raging at the world on chatboards, so they don’t get the same media attention.

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            • Since we’re going to describe entirely reasonable gun control efforts as “a willingness to trade away other people’s rights” I assume we can similarly describe gun control opponents willingness to trade away the lives of children for their own unfettered access to guns? Or would that be unfair…

              Depends on whether there is any magic thinking and who is doing it.

              The proposed solution after Virginia Tech was a law that the gov talk to itself to prevent the legally insane from purchasing guns. If the GOP had opposed that legislation you could describe them as opposing “reasonable gun control” and a “willingness to trade away the lives of children”.

              Of course what happened was Bush signed that into law, the NRA was good with it, everyone agreed it was a reasonable way to deal with a demonstrated problem.

              The proposed solution after SandyHook was a waiting period for purchasing guns, but the shooter murdered his mother to get her guns so “waiting period” or even “purchasing” guns seem irrelevant. He also planned his crime for a year or so beforehand (which is typical).

              So the thinking here seems to be either
              1) Mass murderers will obey THIS law even if they’re willing to kill their mothers.
              2) This was signalling by the politicians to their supporters at the expense of the rights of the people affected and it wouldn’t have prevented SandyHook.

              If it’s #2 then the number of “children’s lives traded” would have been zero, so yes, it’s unfair.

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              • On the subject of “common sense gun control”, roughly 70% of the counties in the US have one or fewer murders, 54% have zero murders, lots of these places are awash in guns. 5% of the country has a problem, the other 95% does not, the 5% typically already has lots of gun control.

                That is the world of the NRA’s backbone, and it’s why “common sense gun control” looks insane from their point of view.

                https://crimeresearch.org/2017/04/number-murders-county-54-us-counties-2014-zero-murders-69-1-murder/

                https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/25/most-murders-occurred-in-5-percent-of-countys-says/

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                • You’re aware that county by county has nothing to do with population percentage, right? That counties are in no way population balanced?

                  Like “5 percent of counties”, while relevant in a lot of ways, is absolutely *NOT* “5 percent of the country” having a problem, unless you think of “the country” as being a federation of counties rather than its people or its states.

                  I mean, I’m pretty sure you know that.

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                  • You’re aware that county by county has nothing to do with population percentage, right? That counties are in no way population balanced?

                    Yes, absolutely. Those links mention the ultra low murder rate is only 20% of the country by population (I don’t recall if that was the 50% or the 70%).

                    But it explains why the Guns! wing of the GOP is so strong in the outback, and why the outback’s views on this are so different. They don’t just think they don’t have a problem, with a murder rate of zero they actually don’t have a problem. Odds are they also need to shoot animals on occasion or know other people who do.

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                    • I don’t disagree with what you are saying about the outback, I just disagreed with the part where you literally said “5% of the country” had a problem and 95% of the country did not. Which was, as you acknowledge above,strikingly inaccurate.

                      I’m not trying to argue the argument, here, just encourage people to say what they mean and not what’s more rhetorically powerful.

                      Were I trying to argue the argument I would probably start by pointing out that the NRA’s central nervous system (not sure about backbone, I’d argue their backbone is made of money, not people at all) is not composed of the outback, but of people who want the outback to think they are on their side. (An argument Mike D has incorporated into what he has to say, before, I believe.)

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                      • “with a murder rate of zero they actually don’t have a problem. ”

                        Speaking as someone who spent her childhood in a county with a murder rate of zero, that doesn’t necessarily follow. I know (hearsay, non-admissible – but dude, I *know*) of one or two murders that were ruled accidental deaths because it was just better for everyone that way. One of them happened when I was a teenager, the other one before I was born.

                        OTOH I suppose the consensus of the people in that county *is* that those particular murders were not a problem. And still effectively zero compared to a lot of other places.

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                      • I just disagreed with the part where you literally said “5% of the country” had a problem and 95% of the country did not. Which was, as you acknowledge above,strikingly inaccurate.

                        Yes and no. We do have a lot of people living in those 5% of counties, but the murder rate isn’t even close to even in even those areas.

                        It’s not well supported by my links, but they do touch upon it when they start to go down past “county” and into “streets”. I’ve seen other research on this, for example suggestions that the VAST bulk of Chicago’s murder carnage is generated by 10k or so people.

                        I would be surprised it it’s even 5% of the country (by population) with a problem.

                        Big picture is the bulk of America (by land or population) has a murder rate which ranges between “average for Europe” and “absurdly great for Europe”, and we have a single digit percentage of America with an eye wateringly high murder rate. Witnessed blood on the streets multiple times, personally know lots of people who have ended up dead, high murder rate… and they also have high levels of gun control and it’s not helping much.

                        All of which implies gun control, if it’s going to work and not simply demo emotional outrage, needs to be targeted and intelligent. We’re not going to take away the Parkland shooter’s gun with some words on a piece of paper that he’s magically going to obey, but we had more than enough information to target him specifically.

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                        • As I said I wasn’t disagreeing with your argument. Just with the “5 percent of the country has a problem” math claim that you were making based on the specific numbers you were citing before.

                          I think of you as the/a math guy, I want your math rhetoric to be good!

                          The way you phrase it here, agree or disagree, is solid, the old way wasn’t. :)

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                      • I would probably start by pointing out that the NRA’s central nervous system… (not sure about backbone, I’d argue their backbone is made of money, not people at all) is not composed of the outback, but of people who want the outback to think they are on their side.

                        The job of the Guns! wing of the GOP isn’t to supply money to politicians, it’s to supply votes, especially during the primary.

                        I mean, sure, they do give money, and it’s encouraged, but the amount they give rounds to zero when compared to everything else. The Money! wing of the GOP gives money to politicians.

                        Money! has money but no votes (rounds to zero), Guns! has votes (ignoring God! and Moats! here who also have votes).

                        And agreed with the rest.

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                    • Also – asking because I think your way of framing this is interesting, NOT to barrage you with complaints – you realize the inverse is equally applicable, right?

                      Like if 80 percent of the country’s population, or 50 percent or whatever primarily knows guns as “stuff that bad people use to end lives and/or impose their will on the rest of us,” they’re not going to understand the Guns! wing of the GOP any more than those folks understand them.

                      Certainly not before the age of 25.

                      And it’s not like the Guns! wing of the GOP is exactly rushing to make themselves more relatable to those folks.

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                      • I hope it’s not piling on to say that I think if the Guns! wing of the GOP were outlining its position in the terms Dark Matter has been using here and elsewhere, it would discernibly move the needle away from gun control on the Left.

                        Like, not enough to change the overall partisan dynamic. But enough to depolarize things somewhat.

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                        • I hope it’s not piling on…

                          It’s not, and even if it were I’m an adult.

                          I think if the Guns! wing of the GOP were outlining its position in the terms Dark Matter has been using here and elsewhere, it would discernibly move the needle away from gun control on the Left.

                          Thank you very much, but I think you and I are very much in the minority (although maybe not on this forum).

                          Trump got himself elected mostly by pulling on emotional strings. Both sides of the debate on guns/abortion/pensions/WoD/etc mostly do the same; Every tax increase is sold “for the children”.

                          All of these groups are well resourced, experienced, do studies, etc… if logic, reasoning, and explanations of facts worked at this level then we’d see a lot more of it.

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                      • And it’s not like the Guns! wing of the GOP is exactly rushing to make themselves more relatable to those folks.

                        What do you suggest they do? We’re laughing at Rubio for not handling being called a ‘child killer’ especially well, but he went to that meeting to engage with people and handled it better than most of us.

                        The anti-guns group has a lot of emotion, a lot of ignorance, lack a desire for education, lack a workable plan but insists “something must be done and that something must be less-guns”.

                        With that as the starting point I’m not sure why the NRA is at fault for failing to find a “compromise”.

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                        • Dude, just turn your own frame around and look at “the anti-guns” group with the same charity you are giving the outback.

                          As for the NRA, their leadership at least, which I see as quite distinct from the outback people and responsible-but-swayed gun owners generally, they aren’t at fault for “failing to find a compromise.” They’re at fault for being a weapon used by giant profit-seeking machines that need things to get fanned higher and higher, rather than finding a compromise. Scared people *buy more guns*. The purpose of the corporate machine known as the establishment gun manufacturing companies is *to make more money*.

                          Human beings, in this case chiefly NRA leadership and politicians who let themselves be extorted through NRA leadership, are at fault for letting the machine’s need for more dollars trump human considerations to the point where they *actively* do everything they can to fan the flames of distrust.

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                          • Look at how they reacted to Trump. Instead of tweaking their message to appeal to large swathes of people who were newly distrustful of their government, they started sending Dana Loesch out to do Freikorps cosplay.

                            I really hate the “Oh the NRA are terrorists!” line some people on the Left have taken to repeating, because it’s both horrible in substance [1] and tone [2].

                            But still, given the way they aggressively and repeatedly go out of their way to piss off liberals for no reason, I’m not sure why it’s a surprise liberals hate their guts.

                            [1] They’re actually political activists exercising their Constitutional rights to be jackasses.

                            [2] Attacking them is one thing, and I do it with glee, but attacking them in ridiculously overheated and fundamentally false terms accomplishes the opposite of what is intended, and makes them look like they’re being unfairly victimized by the Left.

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            • I can point to a phrase that talks about the right to keep and bear arms and whether or not it should be infringed.

              We can *ARGUE* about whether it means what it says, but I can sure as heck point to it.

              When it comes to privacy… I’m wondering if you have anything close to a copse of trees to protect you from the winds that are blowing.

              (I know that this little copse is not anywhere close to immune to the chainsaw you’re using against the 2nd, but that’s fine. I know you know it too.)

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              • I can point to a phrase that talks about how the approach you’re using to determining what rights the Constitution protects is totally wrong, to wit: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

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                  • Sure. That strikes me as a totally legitimate argument.

                    What strikes me as a totally illegitimate argument is that disagreeing with over which rights the Constitution protects proves your character is so badly flawed that any arguments you make should be dismissed out of hand.

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                    • Well, I’m not a fan of “The 2nd Amendment doesn’t protect an individual right to own a gun! Wait! What about my right to privacy!” arguments.

                      I’m down with you arguing that you have an individual right to privacy. It’s in an emanation from the penumbra of the 4th.

                      But my willingness to use that technique on the 4th extends to a willingness to use it on the 2nd… and I can see how the 2nd can be read to imply that the right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.

                      I mean, if we’re getting all broad in our readings and whatnot.

                      If you want to be broad on the stuff you like and narrow on the stuff you don’t, that’s your prerogative, of course.

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                      • There is also the possibility that the constitution of the US is not the perfect unchangeable everything document.

                        I mean, the whole thing with the various amendments to the constitution, is that they’re amendments.

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                          • “Sure. But I’d rather amend it than say “oh, yeah, it’s never meant the thing we assumed it meant for the last hundred years or so”.”

                            This simply isn’t true. – “From 1888, when law review articles first were indexed, through 1959, every single one on the Second Amendment concluded it did not guarantee an individual right to a gun. The first to argue otherwise, written by a William and Mary law student named Stuart R. Hays, appeared in 1960. He began by citing an article in the NRA’s American Rifleman magazine and argued that the amendment enforced a “right of revolution,” of which the Southern states availed themselves during what the author called “The War Between the States.””

                            https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/nra-guns-second-amendment-106856?o=1

                            A ’57 Chevy is older than the unalloyed individual right to own a gun.

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                            • One of the things that I inherited a while back was “Elsie”, the shotgun that belonged to my great-grandfather. Another was the gun taken off the dead body of a Nazi and brought back to the States by Uncle Bill. Yet another is the rifle that my father built himself from a kit when he was in Indian Scouts in the 1950’s.

                              And here’s a bunch of Winchester rifle ads from the 1950’s.

                              The past is another country. They do things differently there. But they seem to have had a lot of assumptions about gun ownership and its ubiquity.

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                              • Like when the Clanton gang said “You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers” and Wyatt Earp responded “Your proposal is acceptable”.

                                Different times, man, different times.

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                              • Sure, ownership of guns happened. An unalloyed right to that ownership is not the same as ownership.

                                There’s no unalloyed right to drive an automobile – it’s a privilege for which you have to pass a test and that can be repealed if you prove incompetent to do so safely. People still do rather a lot of it.

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                                • I would add to this, my most beloved , that if you think your grandpa and your great-grandpa thought any old fool should be able to shoot off a gun… I mean, I guess that’s possible? But all the gun owners I grew up around (good or bad people) were united in their opinions that guns were for people who could be trusted to safely handle them.

                                  Their opinions about what exactly that entailed varied very widely, of course, and don’t necessarily reflect anything like gun control advocates’ opinions. But they were, nonetheless, *strong* opinions and they very *strongly* disapproved even of letting kids have BB guns *if they weren’t responsible about them*. To the point of taking social action against it. (Didn’t honestly grow up around many people who were in favor of bringing in the law to solve problems, if at all avoidable, which had its upsides but also really sucked sometimes.)

                                  They demonstrated no qualms with “person X can’t be allowed a gun, they suck at it” unless, perhaps, they were person X. (Noted above, they weren’t all good people. Plus none of us want to believe that about ourselves on some level…)

                                  I realize this doesn’t *disprove* your assertion.

                                  But given that context on my part, you have to do more work than just “people owned lots of guns! and they liked them a lot!!” to convince me that people also thought there was an individual *right* to guns. Let alone that the law did.

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                                    • Apparently, it’s only recently that people have agreed that the underprivileged should also have access to weapons.

                                      Perhaps we *SHOULD* go back to only the politically connected and otherwise privileged having them…

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                                  • …something that you had to ask permission for and then received if you were privileged or otherwise connected.

                                    I must be privileged or well connected, I applied for a licence to drive a car and was granted one with minimum inconvenience

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                                  • In my culture, it was something you had to prove you deserved. Even rifle kits for kids (like the one your dad built) were part of that proving. If the kid isn’t old enough to build his own rifle, he isn’t old enough to use his own rifle. If the kid is likely to use the BB gun to shoot people, he doesn’t get a GD BB gun (he doesn’t have to actually shoot someone to have the evaluation made). (And he gets sense knocked into him in healthy or unhealthy ways, until he is worthy of having one, most likely.)

                                    My experience of gun owners is that they are *responsible* and they expect a certain level of control. Yes, even governmental control although they would *far* rather sort these things out without calling on the law.

                                    My experiences of gun hoarders in America (and to be clear I’m talking about *a subset* of gun owners that I think has captured the NRA at about the timeframe dragonfrog references, NOT about your average gun enthusiast whether they make me nervous or not, whether they believe in a constitutional right to bear arms or not – though I do think the subset has poisoned the discourse for the rest of us by framing things as “what side are you on?” and getting regular gun owners to see themselves as on THEIR side) … is that these awful people don’t give a crap how many people who shouldn’t be running around with guns ARE running around with guns, and how much harm they are doing thereby, as long as nobody messes with their own guns.

                                    It’s one of the purest examples of FYIGM I can think of, and that’s as a person who thinks almost all claims that people are thinking FYIGM are bunk.

                                    OK, now I’m really done commenting on this post.

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      • I demur on who is and isn’t gross. Like it sounds like you are, I’m wholly uninterested in emotional, gut level appeals and affirmations. It’s been shown over and over again to be a bad way to decide on policy. That they’re so effective is a sad reflection of where we are.

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      • — I don’t want random strangers to see what is in my backpack. I carry all manner of things, some of them quite private. For a very obvious example, I might carry a book with an obvious LGBT theme. Must I out myself to every random person on the subway? Even if I’m willing to do that, should everyone have to? In every context?

        Do I want random people to see my tablet? My photo equipment? That stuff is expensive. It might attact criminals.

        Dammit I like my backpack opaque. Attacking these students for wanting the same is — well — it reflects poorly on you.

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  6. Personally, I believe the children are our are future
    I think that we ought to teach them well and let them lead the way
    We, as adults, need to show them all the beauty they possess inside
    and give them a sense of pride to make it easier.
    We need to let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.
    Don’t forget, everybody’s searching for a hero
    Let’s face it: people need someone to look up to
    For decades, I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
    It was a lonely place to be
    And so I learned to depend on me.

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    • I like this, but it falls short somewhere.
      Part aspirational, part prescriptive, part pragmatic.
      I’m not sure if it’s the aspirational or the prescriptive part that falls a bit short.
      I think everyone arrives at the pragmatic part at some point.

      I think it’s this part:
      we ought to teach them well and let them lead the way… show them all the beauty they possess inside and give them a sense of pride to make it easier.

      I’m around a lot of 18 – 24-yrs olds these days, and there is a lot of good to be seen in them.
      But they have been infected in a fundamental way.
      In stead of “teaching them well” we have taught them primarily of the supremacy of our own fears.
      They are unfit to lead, because the lenses we have required of them to see through has altered the world into some odd cartoonish miasma. Viewed in the whole, it seems incredibly improbable, and not particularly credible. But that’s not how it’s presented. It sets on over the slow course of time, bit by bit, until, without realizing, it has them with an alligator-clench that can’t be shaken off.

      Perhaps we ought to teach them well, but we would rather poison them instead, at a slow and imperceptible pace.

      I want to tell you two things. One will make you feel good, the other not so much.

      In my class today, there is the girl who recently returned from a semester in Germany, and her eyes have been opened to possibilities. She is a good student, and very pleasant. She is a PoliSci major, and pre-law. Not sure what she’s going to do with that. Her boyfriend, on a football scholarship, sits next to her. He’s studying to become a teacher. There is the freshman, a religious studies/polisci major, very polite fellow, asks smart questions, makes a point of holding the door for everyone into the classroom. The young actress, avowed feminist, often traveling to audition here or there. The young married who adores her new husband. She’s taken a liking to me, and I’m glad because it makes things more comfortable for me there. The girl who always eats in class. The misfit girl, very pretty and pleasant, but she feels keenly that she is not part of the popular crowd. These are good people, and I am happy to be among them. Only the actress bugs me, but that’s because a lot of feminism nowadays is framed very much like NoI/Farrakhan thing noted on another thread; maybe that’s just the evolution of all identity movements.

      Names and places have been changed here, in order to protect myself and others:
      Years ago, I was working in the Midwest. The general foreman on the job was from New England; a really good guy, very competent– couldn’t ask for better. It was a horrible job, because it was so overrun with meth. A lot of the people on the job, and in supervisory roles, were from Appalachia, and many were related in one way or another. One of them was the main supplier, and he had someone else who was doing most of the selling for him.
      One day, the New Englander disappeared without saying any farewells, and everyone thought it was very odd, and unlike him. A couple of weeks later, the story came out. He had walked in on them in an office trailer when they had the meth laid out. He was told, “I don’t see anything on this table that doesn’t belong to you,” and was advised to leave immediately.
      That’s the way the main drug dealer on the job became the GF.

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  7. I’m going to echo here, these clearly aren’t naive 10 year olds, they are 16 & 17 and articulate and well spoken enough to be playing on the national stage. They are tossing rhetorical punches, I’m not going to feel bad for them if they catch a few in return. The whole Ingrahm dustup showed pretty clearly that Hogg understands how the game is played and is more than willing to play it.

    As for their opinions on campaign contributions, it’s a false narrative (that continues to remain effective despite that), and that isn’t how campaign contributions work. Groups do not give money to politicians who are not somehow already sympathetic to their policy goals. If Rubio came out tomorrow in ardent support of gun control, the NRA would not merely up their annual contributions to his campaign until he changed his mind back to their way of thinking. The money they give would dry up and they would focus their resources on unseating him. Politicians whose voting changes with the dollar amounts aren’t reliable and stop getting dollars to campaign with.

    So, either the kids truly are naive and think politicians are so easily bought and sold, in which case I’m not overly inclined to give them undue attention. Or they get how it actually works, and are employing an effective narrative because it’s effective. For that, I’ll give them props for understanding how the game works at such a young age, but I’m not gonna feel bad as the adults hit back, because they stepped willingly into the ring. Either way, hey, I’ll listen to them, because they did experience this, and they have an important perspective, and honestly they will be of voting age very soon, so it’s in my interests to hear them; but teenagers are notoriously self-centered and even worse about thinking things through than idealistic adults are, so I’m going to take their policy proposals with a huge grain of salt.

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      • Pretty sure there’s good evidence that he was at school, so accusations that he wasn’t are false, and people spreading it… I wish doing it would cost them something, but I’ve become too jaded to believe that. One could, perhaps, argue that he was in a part of the school that was nowhere close to Cruz, which might offer a means to discredit some of his claims (or not, I have no idea what he claims his experience was, other than he was at school that day).

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    • Are the teenagers more or less “self-centered” than the adults who not only refuse to discuss gun control as a reasonable approach to combatting gun violence, but who insist that even considering the discussion is an enormous personal assault upon them?

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  8. Groups do not give money to politicians who are not somehow already sympathetic to their policy goals. If Rubio came out tomorrow in ardent support of gun control, the NRA would not merely up their annual contributions to his campaign until he changed his mind back to their way of thinking.

    I don’t think this is an accurate description of how it works. Rubio might be -personally, and in general- more, rather than less, favorable to widespread gun ownership, but I very much doubt Rubio has very strong opinions on, for instance, background checks, or magazine sizes, or that definitely 18 years olds should be able to buy AK-15 rifles in DC. For all I know, in private, he might agree with here

    His strong opposition to, and the reason he votes against any, no matter how small, measure that could restrict gun sales, is because of the NRA contributions he, and most of his party, gets. So, yes, he might be more rather than less on the side of the NRA, but he knows, if he ever voted to, for instance, approve funds for gun violence research, he will lose the NRA contributions. And he’s rather not lose those

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    • @j_a

      Great, then all the kids need to do is get the various gun control orgs to offer Rubio more money and he’ll be more open to, or at least less hostile towards their goals.

      Problem solved!

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        • It’s not like gun control interests don’t have people with deep pockets as well. But my point was that politicians are not bought by contributions, so much as kept on task by them. Voter actions are still more important than just spending.

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          • Isn’t the NRA basically a front for the gun and ammunition manufacturing industry?

            One might reasonably expect gun control advocacy orgs to have, at most, financing levels on par with that smallish minority of the NRA’s budget that comes from gun fans rather than gun manufacturers.

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    • The assumption that the primary form of pressure the NRA applies to the likes of Rubio is campaign contributions (and the withholding of the same) isn’t terribly plausible. It’s that they command the attention and support of a sizable activist base [1].

      [1] The NRA has a fairly small number of members in terms of being representative of the population at large, but it’s probably measured in the millions, and that’s a lot of angry phone calls, letters, and the like.

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      • The NRA also has a particularly effective lobbyist in FL who has had considerable success in ending the political careers of FL politicians who don’t toe the line.

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          • Yeah, I’m cool with that. I am even cool with using ‘s brush to paint 98% of the sitting national politicians (the other 2% being the ones set to retire, who suddenly have the courage of their convictions).

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            • I couldn’t resist the shot at Rubio, who has an amazing talent for endlessly stepping rakes, but there’s really a fine line between “being a coward” and “being appropriately responsive to the demands of your constituents”.

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              • Dude, I will never fault you for taking a rhetorical shot at a politician. It’s the folks who reflexively get in front of those shots like they are taking a bullet for their hero that irk me.

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      • The assumption that the primary form of pressure the NRA applies to the likes of Rubio is campaign contributions (and the withholding of the same) isn’t terribly plausible. It’s that they command the attention and support of a sizable activist base

        This.

        The donations are not actually that relevant in changing behavior of how politicians vote. The relevant thing, the thing they worry about, is the threat provided by the NRA in the form of primary challengers.

        Although I suspect the teens know this and are just bringing the donations up because it’s a lot harder for Republicans to deflect real cash vs ‘You are scared the NRA will primary challenge you’. The donations are an actual fact people can point to and wear on their shirts, as opposed to a hypothetical.

        And I mainly suspect the teens know this because instead of running around demanding that donations be given back to the NRA (Which would accomplish basically nothing except rob the kids of a debate point.), they are instead running around collecting voters who are single-issue anti-NRA.

        These teenagers are very very smart. And it’s fun watching the right have no idea how to deal with this, and resorting to personal attacks…but the teenagers just…keep coming.

        [1] The NRA has a fairly small number of members in terms of being representative of the population at large, but it’s probably measured in the millions, and that’s a lot of angry phone calls, letters, and the like.

        The problem with the gun control side has always been lack of enthusiasm.

        The Parkland teens are changing that equation, and I think a lot of people are missing the fact they really don’t have to change things very much for the balance to tip to the other side. All they have to do is create roughly the same percentage of single-issue gun-control voters as on the other side, people who will see the NRA’s rating as a negative.

        And, frankly, I suspect the students have already succeeded. It’s a youth movement. If you graduated before Columbine, or even a for a few years after that, you have _no idea_ the sort of crap students have to put up with that is justified by ‘keeping the campus safe’. (And note some of this even a lie…a lot of that is due to the drug war, but it doesn’t matter…it was justified in the name of ‘campus safety’ because ‘people might start shooting the place up’.)

        The Parkland students just pointed a finger and said ‘Those gun-supporting assholes did this. They are the reason for all that. They are getting paid by gun manufacters’, and, well, they’re not obviously wrong. (They are perhaps over-simplifying stuff, but that’s a far cry from ‘wrong’.)

        And that, basically, was The End. I’m not even sure we need to wait for existing students to grow up, there’s an entire decade and a half of current voters who suddenly flashed back to active-shooter drills and said ‘Huh. Good point. I, like most of the population, was in favor of stricter laws about guns, but now I’m going to vote that way.’

        At some point, having the NRA endorse you will become toxic, and we might already be there. Or maybe we’ll have to wait for more people to graduate and start voting. But it will happen.

        At which point the Republican party will scramble to do something to try to pacify the gun control people, because this situation will result in pro-NRA Republicans always winning primaries, and then always losing the general.

        Of course, in the current world, the Republican leadership has almost no control of their party, or their base, and _already_ have a problem of the farthest-right candidate always winning primaries and thus blowing the general. So should be interesting to watch them try to cause some sort of realignment…while the NRA fights them, no less. (They have already completely failed at their realignment on immigration.)

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        • (They are perhaps over-simplifying stuff, but that’s a far cry from ‘wrong’.)

          Addendum: I think saying ‘You’re factually wrong, I’m not being bribed by the NRA, I’m being extorted by the NRA!’ is, perhaps, not a winning argument for politicians to make even if it _could_ be simplified to that level.

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  9. Oh I agree that the whole bully thing is stupid and remarkably rich from people who make a living saying inflammatory things and taking aggressive and controversial (and stupid?) political stances. Granted I also think that when the kids decided to become advocates they made themselves legitimate targets in the arena. And I do think they’re being used, though not necessarily wittingly, by those who already support a pre-existing agenda. Look up Chris Van Hollen’s remarks at the march the other week. None of this stuff is new.

    A useful comparison I think would be if somehow a 16 year old crawled out of the wreckage of Flight 93. I would certainly want to hear his or her story. Maybe that person would become understandably passionate about terrorism, and enter the public debate on the big issues of the day. But would I feel that kid was due some kind of special deference, especially if his or her experience was being played up by Neocons or law enforcement agencies and their apologists to push bad policies they’ve wanted for years? Of course not.

    Edit, seem to have botched the reply function, this was to .

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    • I mean maybe the kid wouldn’t deserve special deference, but I really don’t see what problem would be solved by focusing on how he was some kind of jerk, or even just naive and being manipulated, especially if he’s just espousing a fairly common (if wrongheaded) policy view.

      I know that complaining about ad hominem attacks in American politics is pointless and almost impossible to do in a principled way, but nonetheless it is, at least in principle, possible to argue a point while foregoing them, and sometimes doing so is smart politics. This really seems to be one of these times.

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      • The problem is, when one side* is holding victims forth as being due deference with regards to their opinions on policy, how do you effectively discredit that? Ad Hom isn’t particularly honorable or decent, but it can be damned effective.

        *Side being a bad term here, but I am insufficiently creative enough to come up with something better.

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        • The problem is, when one side* is holding victims forth as being due deference with regards to their opinions on policy, how do you effectively discredit that?

          At most, you just say that, and no more. “Look, neither their age nor their status as victims gives them any unique degree of policy insight.”

          I don’t even know if that is necessary or helpful here. If the kids are arguing for something and it’s wrong, just go after the argument. If they are making errors, go ahead and point that out. “Unfortunately, Mr Hogg has a common, but incorrect, understanding of how the NRA is so effective in advocating against gun control….”

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          • If the kids are arguing for something and it’s wrong, just go after the argument. If they are making errors, go ahead and point that out. “Unfortunately, Mr Hogg has a common, but incorrect, understanding of how the NRA is so effective in advocating against gun control….”

            Maybe I came off as more sympathetic to right wing media/Republican officials than I meant to be. I wish the discussion could be had this way. And I mean that on any number of issues, not just this one.

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          • At most, you just say that, and no more. “Look, neither their age nor their status as victims gives them any unique degree of policy insight.”

            Given the large bloc within the right that is actively opposed to the very idea of policy insight (creationism in schools, abstinence only sex ed, global warming denialism, drug warriors, voodoo / trickle down economists, anti war on christmas guerrilla movement etc.) – that seems unlikely.

            Republicans have to be careful around the concept of expertise, reality, policy insight. It can be useful as a stalling tactic to induce regression to apathy, but they have to be fairly clear to their base that it’s just words uttered in sleep-deprived hour 78 of the filibuster; that they’re not actually serious about letting expertise and science infiltrate policy making. Because, on some deep level, a lot of the conservative base knows that reality has a liberal bias.

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            • I would say reality has a liberal by American standards bias. I mean, I’m a social democrat and would prefer a much larger welfare state, more regulations, etc., but when I look into the actual specific programs of center-right parties in Europe, I’m not flummoxed and gobsmacked by them the same way I am Republican policies. I may not agree with them, but I don’t think they’d be ruinous for France or Germany or Bulgaria the same way the vast majority of GOP policies are.

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    • I don’t see the kids complaining. I see the kids responding to punches by punching back. Hogg didn’t complain when Ingraham mocked him over his college rejections (which probably happened a long time before Parkland). He just tweeted back with return fire and the power of the pocket book. Wouldn’t a right-winger call this Capitalism and the market in action?

      But the response from the older pundit class is to say that these boycotts are troublesome or to fall back on “Both Sides Do It!!!” in terms of a particular USA today editorial.

      To be somewhat fair, I do think that the right-wing trolls got away with being bullies for decades. I can only imagine that the response of liberals at Dartmouth when Ingraham was a student there was ineffectual at best and encouraged her most horrible instincts at worse.
      So there was a time when liberals/Democrats tended to be on the defensive and just curl up into a ball and scream “don’t kick me.” That time passed and now liberals/Democrats are saying “Fuck this shit and fuck you too” and the powers that be are agahst. The Reagan Youth are heading to the sunset and being replaced by something they don’t recognize and don’t like.

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      • I can see that. I’m the kind of wet blanket that doesn’t like this discourse in general. If some kids want to play in it they’re free to do so. I just don’t think there’s anything particularly special or compelling about them.

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        • In my ideal world, we would have noble discourse without inflamed rhetoric. In a realistic world, I’m tired of Democrats being told that they are the only ones with agency and need to do everything with one arm tied behind their back and their ankles tied together because we are the “good guys.”

          I get that everyone expects Republicans and right-wingers to act like trolls. I can’t tell if civility policing Democrats and liberals is because they agree with the Republican agenda and/or they want the Democrats not to stoop low and they have a naïve faith that such high ground will pay off.

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          • The other day my wife asked me why I seem to be so much harder on liberals than conservatives, despite the fact that my politics are pretty liberal. I said its because my expectations are higher.

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            • Maybe but there needs to be a balance between “higher expectations” and “being required to fight with one arm tied behind your back and both ankles tied to.”

              It might not be the intent but it ends up being the effect that the higher expectations ends up with liberals bound and getting punched in the face.

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  10. From the OP: “In its [Sandy Hook] aftermath, gun control was again proposed but predictably failed after Republicans used the filibuster to sink various ideas.

    I checked the link you provided and it doesn’t mention a filibuster anywhere. It does, however, mention two pieces of federal legislation (emphasis mine):

    “Legislation introduced in the first session of 113th Congress included the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 and the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases. Both were defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013.”

    You will notice it says defeated because both of these came to a vote and were not filibustered. Also, I will note that Connecticut passed some of the most strict gun laws in the country after Sandy Hook. A note on how well that went:

    “In February 2014, the Hartford Courant reported that Connecticut had processed about 50,000 assault weapons certificates, but that anywhere from 50,000 to 350,000 remained unregistered. “And that means,” wrote the Courant’s Dan Haar, “as of Jan. 1, Connecticut has very likely created tens of thousands of newly minted criminals — perhaps 100,000 people, almost certainly at least 20,000 — who have broken no other laws.”

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  11. My initial thought was that it’s kind of dirty pool to let kids say the things you want to say and then complain when they catch criticism for it because they’re just kids.

    Then I remembered that most of what passes for “criticism” in the cable news world is actually just name calling and character assassination, so maybe it’s a good thing to have kids involved so that fact is a little more obvious to everybody.

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  12. I think that a lot of the pro-rights-for-women-to-carry-handguns-to-protect-themselves people are doing themselves a disservice by fighting against these kids tooth and nail.

    Just invite them to speak. Ask a question. Let them talk for 12 minutes. Ask a follow up question Let them talk for another 8. Look at the camera and say “there you have it!”

    You’d get the anti-rights-for-women-to-carry-handguns-to-protect-themselves people tripping over themselves explaining “these kids do not speak for everyone who is opposed to women carrying guns to protect themselves!”

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  13. I think it is admirable how the Parkland teens have conducted themselves, but I can’t help but view them from the point of view of a parent of a young person.

    Which is to say, we can and should expect them to do or say something foolish, rash, or intemperate because they are after all, young people, still developing social skills, and entirely untrained in being public persons.
    David Hogg responded with admirable maturity and shrewd wisdom to Laura Ingraham, but it could just as easily have gone the other way.

    So it probably isn’t wise to place the bulk of the burden on their shoulders, or to delegate the gun control message and effort to them. Adults still hold the policy whip hand and we need to step up and take responsibility for the world while we still control it.

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  14. I have to echo what up above.

    These kids, along with the slightly older generation of young people in the 18-25 age bracket didn’t come to age when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan had a drink together and cut deals together. They didn’t come of an age when there was actual moderate Republican’s.

    They came of an age where the President was treated like an usurper, a fake, was assumed to be lying about his past, his religious beliefs, and everything else with no actual proof. They came of age seeing supposed reasonable Republican’s ignoring their racist base, all so they could block some modest center-left policies, then install a right-wing Supreme Court justice, and massively cut taxes. They came of an age where even supposed high quality conservative publications sounded like a ranting Internet commenter.

    So, they’re not going to care when some center-right “independent” clutches some pearls about the Discourse after that same person shrugged or was mealy mouthed about every single bit of insanity of the Right for decades or cries about how it’s unfair that a left-leaning organization is actually using it’s moral high ground to it’s advantage instead of worrying about how it will look to people who are going to oppose them anyway.

    As Saul said up above, conservatives got away with treating anybody to the left of Zell Miller as a gay Marxist Muslim out to destroy America for close to 40 years. Even when Obama won, he still thought he was dealing with the children of Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, instead of the children of Newt Gingrich and Roger Ailes. We realize Donald Trump was not an aberration, but the simple reality of the conservative movement writ large. He’s just saying the quiet parts loud.

    Now, the Right is just upset that these kids are actually effectively punching back.

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    • That really was pretty OT. In future, please try to confine such links to more reasonable places and not interject them in the midst of heated debates where people are already working hard to not go off on each other.

      Next time I’ll probably just censor the comment. Or you could place the link elsewhere next time, and I won’t have to.

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  15. I was going to do this as a response to someone above, but I think it’s really more a general observation, so here it is, apropos of nothing:

    It is amazing how much work is done, by everyone on both sides of the issue, to avoid admitting the simple fact that almost everyone in this country who is committing crimes with a gun has the gun illegally. It’s hard to tell, considering a lot of weapons are not recovered, but it’s not unreasonable to assume it’s close to 80%.

    That fact should be carved with an exto knife into the computer screen of everyone discussing this.

    But the left ignores people being murdered in cities with illegal guns because, frankly, society doesn’t care about that, but only about mass shootings. Mass shootings are not, statistically, a real problem in this country, but no one seems to care about inner city violence, so the left screams about mass shootings.

    However, the problem with the focus on mass shooters is that they often get their guns legally, so we end up in dumb debates about what non-criminals but mentally-unbalanced people should be denied guns. Real extreme edge cases, with weird constitutional and due process implications, the sort of things bad laws are made out of. Or we argue over what guns we should, or should not have….which is a discussion we need to have at some point, but again, in reality, almost all crimes committed with guns are via simple illegal handguns.

    The right, meanwhile, will, in a weird joking way, assert that laws will not keep criminals from buying guns, but people might notice they will never actually keep the focus on that fact, they seem a bit hesitant to proclaim it loudly, and quickly follow up with the dumb conclusion of ‘So there is nothing we can do!’.

    And, I guess, they’re just hoping we never notice there _is_ a really obvious thing we could do to solve that problem. We could solve it same way we currently make sure criminals don’t get legal demolitions explosives, or any of the legally-manufactured medical cocaine, or anything that starts legal but can be illegal in the wrong hands.

    We could simply track it, duh, and if it goes missing, especially if it’s later found in the hands of people who should not have it, we *gasp* throw people who were last responsible for it in jail unless they can give a really good explanation in court. (And we do this for substances that can be divided up and skimmed. It’s much easier for solid objects like guns.)

    The solution to this thing is almost trivial. I am not certain it would solve the entire problem, I have some other stuff I’d like to see happen, and of course it would take time get the guns off the streets that are already out of the system, but it is an absurdly obvious first step, one that we have refused to do.

    Or, to clarify: The NRA refuses to allow to happen…because the NRA makes a lot of money selling the guns that end up in the hands of criminals, and also selling guns to people they have convinced that ‘the government is gonna take their guns via registration!’

    So, to pull this back to the topic at hand: The Parkland kids are technically focused on the wrong things, but I don’t really care. They are making a beeline attack straight for the NRA, and they are doing it by creating a bunch of single-issue _gun control_ voters to operate in opposition to the NRA, so I am cheering them on in their slightly mis-motivated but very well-targetted attack.

    And then, in a bit, after the NRA has been discredited and their power removed, hopefully someone will propose gun registration and actually do something useful.

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    • I agree with a good part of this. The most effective thing that we could do to cut down on homicides and gun-related crimes in general (ex suicides) isn’t taking AR-15s away from hobby shooters or making it easier for people in big cities to legally obtain guns for protection or arming teachers or stopping private gun owners from selling individual guns without a background check. All of that is window dressing and culture war.

      The most effective thing we could do would be to disrupt the pipeline through which straw buyers legally obtain handguns in states with more lenient gun laws and bring them to places with very strict gun laws and considerably more criminal activity. We’re not going to do that anytime soon though, because people on both sides are too invested in yelling at each other over the culture war stuff.

      If I am reading your comment correctly, you’re saying that you’d rather focus on the stuff that has efficacy, but you’ll join the culture war fight because that’s the best strategy available right now. I get it, but it drastically underestimates how much popular support the NRA’s default positions (and not necessarily the NRA itself) have. In general, I think that the gun control crowd overestimates how many people share their priors. But I guess that we will find out.

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      • In a more sane world we’d have a universal licensing system conducted on a shall issue basis. The thing that makes a lot of gun owners nervous about supporting that is that it could be used as a pretext to eliminate access, which is what I believe much of the gun control crowd wants. I think that would probably address a lot of the straw sale/prohibited person falling through the cracks issue. Unfortunately there’s a serious trust problem.

        Of course you’d then have to do a lot of other things to fix our homicide rates. The availability of firearms in certain contexts may exacerbate violence but they aren’t the driver.

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        • As a gun owner who started learning about guns before I started school, I really think gun owners need gun control favorers to trust them more than the other way around. (I learned mostly from my grandad, some from my dad in his more humane moments when we’d go out hunting together, and I cherish those memories – granddad didn’t help me with the parenting much, not really ever his gig, he’d been a terrible father himself, and we only saw him on weekends (though we did live at his house for 6 months once). But he was good at granddadding, and wearing the youngers out by making them weed his acres of gardens, and he did teach me about guns and skinning rabbits and Irish poets and such.)

          Most of the reason most people (voters, activists, not snarky elitists on the internet) who want to eliminate guns entirely want to eliminate them is *because they’re terrorized and afraid*. At this point, between the cop shootings, the homicides, the suicides, the idiotic accidental deaths, etc – I really can’t blame them. I don’t feel what they feel, but I can see why they feel it. And they have no positive associations, never end up eating elk their friends shot, never spent hours outside in the effort to acquire dinner, never appreciated the focus of target shooting at a range, never cheered for biathletes during the olympics, on and on and on. All those small, cherished ways guns are a good part of some people’s culture(s) and not others. If they weren’t so afraid, they’d have different priorities.

          Canada is not like this. We’re not adversarial like this. At least not in the Maritimes. The vast majority of gun owners, gun safety advocates, etc are the same *people* working for the same goals, not two opposing camps who think the other one just wants to ruin their lives.

          Why not focus on trying to get *them* to calm the f down and trust gun’s rights folks more, by teaching them they can trust you and your guns and your moral probity in the face of the power a gun gives a person, instead of on getting them to prove themselves trustworthy by getting them to let go of fears no gun rights advocates are currently doing much to alleviate? The constant ramping up and ramping up of antagonisms doesn’t serve the cause of keeping guns available to those who use them responsibly. It serves the cause of the gun manufacturers making a lot more money selling guns.

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          • I actually agree with everything you said and I try to live that. The first guest post I wrote here was an attempt at it. Several times I’ve taken people to the range with me who I know have strongly diverging views from mine on the politics of the issue. I also try to take to heart the advice has written here before about politics being a never-ending sport. You can’t disengage from it or put up a wall around your position and expect people with no natural sympathy for where you stand to work with you much less make common cause.

            I also try to make the distinction you’re making and reflect it in my appeals. I’ll admit I have a real tough time with the elitist side of the anti-gun argument. I have a lot more sympathy for the fear side of it. What to do though when the people who are afraid become the sword of the elitists? I try to turn the other cheek as much as I can, even as people who I like and respect say that what I’ve got locked up in a safe in my home puts the blood of children on my hands.

            I will say I try to advocate among other pro gun rights people that they remember what they’re representing. Most of the ones I know get it, but there are larger forces at work- media and government fear mongering, rampant tribalism, and yes, parts of the gun culture that are unhealthy and can be very alienating. All you can do is keep putting yourself out there, trying to lead by example, and hoping others will do the same.

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            • Although I understand the frustration with being accused of having “the blood of children on my hands” – this is an argument I’ve heard before from other writers/editors here at the site – I don’t understand how it is any fundamentally different than the inverse argument which gun advocates always throw at gun control advocates? The “your gun free zone caused this” or “not allowing everybody to constantly carry guns everywhere caused this” or whatever other similar variations are used.

              It seems as though many gun advocates, although not all obviously, have no problem poisoning the bejesus out of the well constantly, before insisting that, ACTUALLY, they’re the ones being bullied, etc.

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              • Personally? I don’t think it is different and I think it’s a dumb argument to make. It’s why I don’t make it. I think the right to arm oneself is an important political right along with the rest (freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, etc). I stand up for it on that principle, and also because I think trying to eliminate it in the social, legal, and political realities of the United States would be a disaster on a whole bunch of fronts.

                But I also think the idea that people walking around strapped all the time for no articulable reason would make the world safer is dumb. I think implied threats of armed political violence are, in most contexts, dumb. I think treating firearms casually, or like some kind of magic cultural talismans is dumb. Gun owners need to own that and do a better job of policing it but I think the pitch is so high I don’t know how to drag it back. That’s a lament, not an accusation.

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                • Gun owners need to own that and do a better job of policing it but I think the pitch is so high I don’t know how to drag it back.

                  Are you serious about wanting to drag the pitch back down?

                  Because the solution is pretty obvious: Help depower the NRA.

                  They are the people who have raised the pitch so high in the first place, and keep pushing it higher and higher, mostly just so they can make a profit. They are the people who caused basically your entire second paragraph.

                  They are the reason, as you said above, that there is a ‘trust’ problem in registration, because the NRA has deluded people into thinking the government is just going to, one day, require everyone to turn in their guns. (Which is something they haven’t even done with _machine guns_, which _are_ all registered.)

                  And their entire premise is nonsense. If the US government went off the rails and spent, say, one year tracking down everyone who legally owned a gun, with plans to swoop in at the end and take those guns, I’m pretty sure it could get most gun owners.

                  Anyone who has or had a state carry license of any sort. Anyone who bought a gun from a FFL where the deal closed within 20 years of that, so the records are already with the government. Anyone who has a background check run within that year. And, finally, FFLs can be ‘compliance checked’ every six months and BATF agents view their records at that time..and could surreptitiously photograph names and addresses during that.

                  And, outside of official government records, throw in some surveillance of gun ranges and watching the mail to see who gets NRA membership stuff, stuff like that.

                  I’m pretty certain the government secretly could track down close to 99% of all legal gun owners in a year if the government stopped following any rules and planned to confiscate all guns. Hell, I bet private individuals could get 95% of gun owners with _public information_.

                  But somehow gun owners don’t ‘trust’ the government with…information it already has and can trivially get. So we can’t have them collect…slightly more information.

                  And this is directly due to the NRA spewing nonsense and paranoia for decades, due to the fact that they make a huge fraction of their money off illegal gun sales.

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                  • I will never in a million years defend the NRA, which is think is pretty much irredeemably horrible at this point.

                    But the NRA itself is part of an increasingly deranged right-wing political-media complex, and it is amping up the culture war rhetoric because it needs to do so to keep the support of its own members. This satisifices as a short-term strategy and keeps the donations and attention of the activists flowing in.

                    And, well, it’s not a logical entailment, of course, but the most enthusiastic and vehement gun rights advocates tend not to have a lot of discomfort with the extreme rhetoric and the general tone of the right-wing political media-complex.

                    Of course, this means deliberately trying to alienate anybody who’s not part of the Right (regardless of their opinions on guns). But I don’t know if there’s enough of a non-Right pro-gun constituency to make defanging the NRA work by presenting a viable alternative that pro-gun folk who don’t think anybody else will protect their interests.

                    [1] Once the Dems get their next big win, which will happen sooner or later, it won’t look so hot.

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                    • But the NRA itself is part of an increasingly deranged right-wing political-media complex, and it is amping up the culture war rhetoric because it needs to do so to keep the support of its own members.

                      That might be a reasonable defense, of a sort, of other entities on the right. That they had to keep amping up or be left behind. That justification works for the National Review, or the Heritage Foundation, or many other things on the right getting amped up…although it’s really more an ‘explanation’ than a moral justification.

                      However, the NRA is one of the founding causes of this amping up to start with, by amping up under Clinton and his ‘jack-booted thugs’ and the events at Waco and Ruby Ridge and implying that the US government is coming to kill all gun owners. They are, fundamentally, one of the main reasons why the Republicans went off the rails, working hand and hand with talk radio and eventually Fox News.

                      They don’t get to use what they themselves caused as a ‘justification’ for the fact they have to keep amping things up. If I had to put a number on it, 25% of this situation is their fault to start with.

                      But I don’t know if there’s enough of a non-Right pro-gun constituency to make defanging the NRA work by presenting a viable alternative that pro-gun folk who don’t think anybody else will protect their interests.

                      That isn’t how the NRA gets defanged.

                      The NRA gets defanged by creating a dark mirror of the NRA. By basically creating anti-NRA members. Creating a universe where other politicians start critizing a high grade from the NRA and bragging about how the NRA hates them, because _that_ attracts voters.

                      At that point…well, pro-gun people probably are going to want to find some sort of _respectable_ pro-gun organization to represent them. No one’s saying they have to start voting Democrats.

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                      • It’s not intended as a defense at all, just as a statement of the scope of the problem.

                        The NRA is an absolutely terrible actor here, but one that has made itself indispensable to too many people to easily displace or disempower.

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                  • Look I’m not now and never have been a member of the NRA. They don’t speak for me, and they do play a negative role in fanning the flames of paranoia. But, and correct me if I’m wrong, I believe your own position is that there should be a slow ratcheting up of regulation until it’s practically possible for even law abiding people to be armed, at least with semi-automatic rifles and handguns (I’ve seen you lay out a very specific policy but I’m struggling to remember the exact details).

                    I know others who discuss here who see it differently than me, and that’s fine. But understand, I think there’s a right involved, and I’m not interested in regulating it away, or in the kind of enforcement activities it would eventually require. My main beef with the NRA is that their tactics might be part of what provokes the backlash that causes the outcome they say they fear. Other than not joining or donating I’m not sure what power I have with them.

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                    • But, and correct me if I’m wrong, I believe your own position is that there should be a slow ratcheting up of regulation until it’s practically possible for even law abiding people to be armed, at least with semi-automatic rifles and handguns (I’ve seen you lay out a very specific policy but I’m struggling to remember the exact details).

                      My general idea to stop _mass shootings_ is a reduction in allowed magazine size and not allowing external magazines, at least not ones that can be made any length. I am willing to grandfather most existing guns in, although a bunch of existing larger magazines would have to go.

                      However, mass shootings are, in reality, a really rare thing to be trying to stop, so it’s pretty far down my list of ‘gun laws I would create if I could make any laws’.

                      As I said at the start of this, the most reasonable law, the one that literally will not impact any law-abiding citizen while vastly decreasing gun violence, is a registration system with _very harsh_ penalties for people who remove guns from it, and even some strict liability system where people who keep being ‘robbed’, or who _legitimately_ keep being robbed, can’t own guns anymore.

                      That’s the law I would make if I could make laws.

                      But at this point it doesn’t matter what sort of reasonable laws I want.

                      The public has pretty much given up on expecting any sort of reasoned compromise or debate by the gun lobby, and once the gun lobby gets shoved out of the way, we should expect random and nonsensical gun control laws for a couple of years.

                      But understand, I think there’s a right involved, and I’m not interested in regulating it away, or in the kind of enforcement activities it would eventually require.

                      I love this weird disconnect where guns just magically appear out of nature, like leaves and pinecones, and the government has to go full fascist on people’s rights to enforce gun laws.

                      Guns are manufactured objects. There will be less of them if less of them are made, they will be tracked if we track them once we make them, they will not be made in certain configurations if we disallow those configurations.

                      My main beef with the NRA is that their tactics might be part of what provokes the backlash that causes the outcome they say they fear. Other than not joining or donating I’m not sure what power I have with them.

                      I wasn’t saying what you, personally could do. I don’t know your situation. I was saying what gun owners, on average, could do.

                      And that is: Distance themselves immediately, and as far as possible, from the NRA, because the NRA is what is causing 90% of the toxic mess, the ‘high pitch’ as you put it.

                      If they work _fast enough_, they might be able to create some sort of _reasonable_ gun owner group that could create and guide reasonable gun control laws. Actually, there’s probably such a group out there, so they should find it, and it should start trying to get media support, taking a position, trying to pull in politicians, etc.

                      But…it’s probably too late.

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                      • On your proposed policy I disagree on the magazines but could probably find common cause on liability and a registry (my preference is a licensing scheme, not a registry but maybe therr’s a compromise in there).

                        I love this weird disconnect where guns just magically appear out of nature, like leaves and pinecones, and the government has to go full fascist on people’s rights to enforce gun laws.

                        Guns are manufactured objects. There will be less of them if less of them are made, they will be tracked if we track them once we make them, they will not be made in certain configurations if we disallow those configurations.

                        The disconnect I love is the one where the law is signed and magically the millions of firearms out there just disappear or legally fall into the regulatory scheme. We’re also right around the corner from being able to fabricate firearms with 3D printing (there are already lots of home builds out there).

                        But we can put that aside. What we’re talking about is creating new crimes, mostly felonies. The way crime is enforced in this country is with SWAT raids and stop and frisk and mass surveillance and ridiculously long sentencing guidelines and jail house snitch testimony and junk science and mass incarceration and prosecutorial misconduct.

                        The government doesn’t have to ‘go full fascist’. The architecture is already in place from the war on drugs and war on terror. The judge-made holes in the 4th Amendment are the law and are easily applied to new contraband, which already includes illegal weapons. I also see no reason not to assume all the usual class and race overtones to how our system works wouldn’t play out the same way they always have.

                        So is all that worth it to try to stop 12 or 13,000 murders, the vast majority of which are driven by prohibtion and poverty? My opinion is no, especially when those rates along with all other crime have been dropping for over 25 years with no clear connection to gun laws. Make some real efforts on drug policy and the economic situation in the districts that produce these murders. If that doesn’t work maybe I’ll have a more open minded about some of these issues. But there’s nothing crazy about assuming that the government is going to enforce new gun laws the same way it enforces other criminal laws.

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                        • …I am unsure what you mean by ‘licensing scheme’.

                          If you mean licensing guns…that’s exactly the same as a registry, as far as I can tell.

                          If you mean licensing people to own guns, bu tnot keeping track of what guns they own…that doesn’t actually accomplish the goal of making sure guns don’t slip out of their hands.

                          What we’re talking about is creating new crimes, mostly felonies. The way crime is enforced in this country is with SWAT raids and stop and frisk and mass surveillance and ridiculously long sentencing guidelines and jail house snitch testimony and junk science and mass incarceration and prosecutorial misconduct.

                          It sure is an interesting argument that the system is so bad we shouldn’t make any new laws that would be enforced by it. That raises the obvious question of why we should have any of our _existing_ laws.

                          Why should we have the felony of mail fraud, when it’s enforced with SWAT raids and stop and frisk and mass surveillance and ridiculously long sentencing guidelines and jail house snitch testimony and junk science and mass incarceration and prosecutorial misconduct?

                          Is it really _worth it_? I mean, almost no one dies from mail fraud.

                          And it sure is weird how the horrific and abusive justice system seems to stop right exactly at the point it would inconvenience old white conservatives.

                          I’m reminded of the gasping when some wealth rich person is denied bail and forced, against their will, to stay in jail! How _dare_ the court require them…to do something that poor people end up having to do all the time because they can’t afford bail.

                          Make some real efforts on drug policy and the economic situation in the districts that produce these murders.

                          Nope. You don’t get to propose that we do something we’re _not_ going to do as a solution to an actual problem.

                          It doesn’t matter if that nonsense caused the problem to start with, which, BTW, it didn’t, as evidenced by plenty of other countries having basically the same drug laws as us.

                          If we are going to live in a country where we have crappy drug policy, and lack of economic opportunities, we need to regulate guns…and it’s clear we are going to have crappy gun policies and we are going to have a lack of economic opportunities as an _actual fact_ for the foreseeable future. You can’t just wave your hands and wish that would change, and then claim your wish fixes the problem.

                          The judge-made holes in the 4th Amendment are the law and are easily applied to new contraband, which already includes illegal weapons.

                          So, uh, don’t own any contraband guns.

                          I’m actually a little baffled as to how this confusing. No one is actually suggesting outlawing anything. (I am, in an entirely different policy proposal, suggesting not allowing the manufacture and sale of _new_ weapons of a certain type, but it’s absurd you brought that into the discussion of a different policy suggestion of mine to confuse the issue, and it was probably a mistake for me to even acknowledge that.)

                          The policy suggestion currently on the table is _requiring registration_ of things. The only ‘contraband’ would be if either the owner was not legally allowed to own a gun and didn’t register one they owned (Which is a situation that is already illegal.), or a legal owner stupidly decided not to register.

                          So, again, just don’t own any contraband guns.

                          And, again, I find myself saying ‘conservative’ things like ‘So, duh, don’t break that law’, and it’s really weird how so many anti-gun-control arguments are liberal and conservative arguments except flipped around, except the conservatives have managed to invent a much weaker position.

                          It’s weaker of course, because when conservatives say something like ‘illegal immigrants shouldn’t have broken the law’…they’re breaking the law because they have no possibility of a life where they are from, and were not given a chance to come here legally. Whereas these hypothetical gun owners who decide not to register their guns…were given a chance to register their guns, and be fine. They just decided not to, I guess.

                          Oh, I know, they believe that the government will seize the guns, and we should…respect their cultural beliefs and let them do otherwise illegal things?

                          So is all that worth it to try to stop 12 or 13,000 murders, the vast majority of which are driven by prohibition and poverty?

                          …uh, yes? I do, indeed, think over ten thousand murders a year is something the government should try to stop?

                          What do you think is a significant amount of murders a year we should try to stop? Note that as guns are used in about half of all murders, anything more than twice as high as that would logically mean we shouldn’t have laws about murder at all.

                          Man, I thought I was joking when I suggested making mail fraud legal. Little did I know I wans’t going far enough.

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            • I appreciate that. FWIW that putting oneself out there and trying to lead by example is something that I did already think you are doing, regularly – it’s why I get baffled when you come in to an argument from a corner I wasn’t expecting that seems like a departure from that (whether or not it is). Like, “where is this coming from, man?”

              And while I realize it’s probably rarely obvious from the points I argue, my championing of gun control, gun control folks (especially these teens) etc … is actually a perhaps more quixotic version of the same thing. At least from my perspective.

              My position is more or less that I don’t ever want a full on gun ban because *I like guns* – I think they’re beautiful, I think they’re powerful tools, I think that for all of the awfulness guns have been used for, they have *also* made many people’s lives much better many times over in history including feeding families that were an integral part of my own family tree, and I literally typed most of what I did last night *within reach* of the (locked cabinet containing) the guns we own – but if we can’t figure out a way to have them without scaring the pants off what feels to me like half the damn country at this point, thanks-very-much-drug-war-and-NRA, well, the culture I was inculcated in says *we don’t deserve to keep them*. So we / y’all / whatever combination of that particular particle-wave-form are the ones I see as having the responsibility to fix it. And lifting up those scared teenagers and making sure that the only gun owners they can think of aren’t people who want to shoot them… or people who are terrified of being shot… I’m pretty sure that’s part of the only way to get there.

              (I should say, again, because again the ambiguity rises up – it’s not that the gun culture I was raised in was *problem free*. That same granddad that I watched reverently as he cleaned his guns, the one who cooked me rabbits he’d showed me how to skin and let me follow him around like an eager puppy when he hunted? When he was a dad, long before I was born, he used to get drunk and rampage around the house with a loaded, safety-off rifle threatening his children with it. He knew all the rules, when he was sober (which he was almost all the time by the time I was 4 years old, so I don’t remember that side of him). When he was sober, that sort of behavior was pretty much not just unacceptable but *blasphemous* to him… but he still did those things when he was a drunkard awful father. So yeah, I love (some) guns and I want to keep our culture in some sense… wild? enough to have them in the hands of anyone who will use them right, not just (especially not just) the State. Keep the culture something enough to have them. But they are, also, a serious fishing problem. And I personally feel like I have the blood of children on my hands, not for *caring for guns*, but for not doing enough, advocating enough, confronting enough NRA-admin-assholes to fix the problem -because I do care for guns, and I do feel overwhelmed by the scope of the country’s problem, and I kinda sorta *most of all* just want to go back to reading Field and Stream in a corner of my grandfather’s house while pondering hunting techniques I’ll never use but will enjoy watching someone else occasionally make sure we have dinner by using, and not worry about any of it. That would be a lot easier. Fighting for a situation where angry terrified teenagers can face down the NRA and quite possibly, when stacked up with all their allies, win, instead, is … a pretty sucky way to spend my time. Even with as half-assed an effort as I put into that.)

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              • Your vision of how gun ownership should be is again, consistent with my preferences. The reason I came into this particular conversation the way I did is because it reminds me of a lot of other arguments that I reject.

                You think this invasion is a bad idea? You must be objectively pro Saddam.

                End the war on drugs? You’re ok with teenagers killing themselves for fun with heroin?

                You think the NSA and FBI shouldn’t have all the power they say they need? I guess those charred bodies at ground zero don’t bother you.

                You’re pro-choice? Well I guess you’re totally fine with slaughtering babies.

                You’ll notice a lot of these examples are more associated with conservatism, and it drives me batty that the gun issue seems to cause a lot of liberals to forget the other things they know. I can’t justify pushing back on the use of emotion to override reason in those other instances but then turn it off here.

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                • That makes sense. It’s not how I view the argument being made, but I can certainly see why it looks that way. I also reject (and am damn tired of) the form of argument that you demonstrate by examples here, possibly for a different reason than you do, and have bumped up against arguments from liberals on this and other issues that I objected to very much for reminding me of those arguments. I have certainly been told “X? You must very objectionable Y!!!!” in the comments section of plenty of ideologically-focused websites, and been threatened with banning once or twice for expostulating against that response.

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        • Of course you’d then have to do a lot of other things to fix our homicide rates. The availability of firearms in certain contexts may exacerbate violence but they aren’t the driver.

          Violence is violence. It is going to happen regardless. Firearms do not cause ‘violence’.

          Firearms, and this is quite obvious if you compare the statistics to any other country, turn existing violence into homicides.

          People in other countries get in bar fights, sometimes even at a higher rate than the US, depending on the culture. Those bar fights almost never end in death, because no one can pull out a gun.

          Gangs in other countries attack each other with knives, and occasionally someone dies. Gangs in the US attack each other with guns, and a lot of them, and often innocent bystanders also, die.

          People even attempt to outright deliberately murder people for money or whatever in other countries, but a higher percentage of _those_ fail without gun access. Knives are horrible murder weapons that require a lot of force or knowledge, plus cleanup, poisons are complicated and often treatable, and the options just get worse from there. (And the level of complication that lack of a gun introduces probably would make some amount of people just give up.)

          A reduction in guns will not reduce the amount of violence or violent crime in the US. It would reduce the number of homicides resulting from those things.

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        • In a more sane world we’d have a universal licensing system conducted on a shall issue basis.

          If 80% of all gun crimes are committed with illegal guns, that horse has already fled the barn.

          The thing that makes a lot of gun owners nervous about supporting that is that it could be used as a pretext to eliminate access, which is what I believe much of the gun control crowd wants.

          Agreed. And note this means the issue isn’t so much a lack of trust as it is the gun control crowd really shouldn’t be trusted.

          I think that would probably address a lot of the straw sale/prohibited person falling through the cracks issue.

          It’d certainly fix straw sales, but is it reasonable to think it’d reduce illegal access to firearms?

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      • All of that is window dressing and culture war.

        The only ‘culture war’ anyone is fighting WRT guns is against the absurdly dangerous and unhinged culture of ‘infinite guns so I can fight off imaginary people invading my property’.

        That culture, a culture entirely invented by the NRA over the last two decades, is utterly horrible and anti-societal, and does deserve to be ‘attacked’ in the sense we really should not allow it, or at least not allow them to have the level of weapons they think they are allowed to have.

        The right can’t invent toxic cultures poised on the edge of violence and very armed, and then complain when those cultures get ‘culture warred’. Yeah, of course we’re going to have a problem with those things.

        And, of course, in any culture, especially against one that most of the population regards somewhat dubiously, they hide behind more responsible people and crow when a shot hits one of the body shields.

        ‘See! See! You see, Reasonable Hunter who treats a gun with respect! This uninformed person wants to ban _your_ gun. They hate _all_ gun owners and want to get rid of all guns!’.

        I have increasingly come to the conclusion that those people are…pointless, especially if we can remove their input. Sad little people we don’t really need to do anything about, as they are living in a constructed delusion and, as the NRA becomes toxic, will have less and less support for their delusions.

        If we actually manage to get gun registration, some portion of them will (In the style of ‘self-deporting’) ‘self-felon’ themselves by refusing to register their guns and thus losing all rights to them, and a few of them will suddenly realized that ‘prying guns out of their cold dead hands’ is a) actually very easy, their muscles will relax when they are killed, and b) they’re not that sympathetic when they just shot the cops who showed up to arrest them.

        And the other half will register and probably start acting like normal gun owners.

        If I am reading your comment correctly, you’re saying that you’d rather focus on the stuff that has efficacy, but you’ll join the culture war fight because that’s the best strategy available right now.

        Not really. I’m saying that the Parkland kids are trying to solve a less useful problem than I am, but they have _instantly_ run into exactly the same roadblock as me: The NRA.

        And so they have gone after the NRA as their first step, and thus I’m entirely behind them for that step, because for my solutions to be implemented, something has to be done about the NRA also.

        It’s worth pointing out that the teens have a few different things they want anyway. The teens are not some unified block, except they have all correctly realized the NRA is in the way and how the amount of political power they have seized is absurd for the level of support their position actually has.

        I get it, but it drastically underestimates how much popular support the NRA’s default positions (and not necessarily the NRA itself) have.

        The NRA’s ‘support’ is irrelevant. What is relevant is the small amount of very loud voters who show up on their command to complain, and the slightly larger amount of voters who vote how the NRA tells them to.

        The NRA has actually been quite bad at getting people elected for some time, even before Trump, so pretending there’s some secret level of support is silly. Most political observers agree the NRA’s power is _overestimated_ at this point, and perhaps always has been. There’s a reason they pad their membership.

        But, regardless, all it requires to counter this is a larger group that thinks the NRA endorsements or having anything to do with them is _toxic_. That’s it. That’s all it takes. Once politicians get worried about anti-NRA pushback to roughly the same amount they get worried about the NRA-originated pushback, the NRA is over. And that’s what the teens are doing.

        And after that, gun regulation can happen…although note a lot of gun control people are getting pretty damn angry about this situation being allowed to exist for this long, and stupidly have wrong priorities of getting angry over mass shootings instead of normal shootings, so we’re going to have some stupid laws at first.

        Of course, ‘the reasonable gun owners’ could get out in front of this and make some useful laws and explain why they would work and other laws are needless or even harmful…except that group really has no representation at all. Politics, right now, consists of Democrats who often know nothing about guns at all and don’t know how to figure out what gun control makes sense, and Republicans who probably also know nothing about guns at all and are just NRA puppets, or if they do know things about guns they can’t admit it and still have to parrot the NRA’s absurd positions.

        The ‘reasonable and workable gun control’ position has been almost entirely filtered out of politics, consisting maybe of a few hunter Dems, and I’m not even sure about that.

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        • And after that, gun regulation can happen…although note a lot of gun control people are getting pretty damn angry about this situation being allowed to exist for this long, and stupidly have wrong priorities of getting angry over mass shootings instead of normal shootings, so we’re going to have some stupid laws at first.

          I think there is no way to prevent these mass shootings via gun control, and the actual solution is to stop glorifying the shooters. Cut the number of mass shootings in half and people will still be just as angry because the media will focus on the half that remains (we’ve already reduced the amount of violence by a lot and people don’t understand that because of the media).

          On the subject of misplaced priorities, Florida has had three mass murders in the last year where law enforcement should have seen it coming but did nothing. The first question I’d ask if I were in Parkland is “how many other self identified school shooters are out there with law enforcement ignoring it?”

          The answer may be “all of them”. Both the FBI and local police apparently felt dealing with people like that wasn’t worth their time. If it’s actually “they don’t have the tools” then this is a good chance for learning and fixing, however the media has implied they simply aren’t doing their jobs.

          Of course that solution doesn’t involve reducing guns to the general population.

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          • I’ve actually seen media reports on how much positive attention Cruz is getting (first it was from his younger brother, then it was from teen girls and young women across the country).

            So not only is he famous because he killed 17 kids, he’s getting fan mail from the opposite sex.

            Tell me again how the media doesn’t have a part in this?

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            • I’ve actually seen media reports on how much positive attention Cruz is getting (first it was from his younger brother, then it was from teen girls and young women across the country).

              Yes, I think has it totally wrong as far as motivations go. This wasn’t rage, this wasn’t lashing out at the world, another shooter survived to explain what he was doing and why.

              This was victory. A cheating shortcut to victory with some side effects, but victory nonetheless. In one bold move the shooter did something with his life that forced everyone to know him. He’s become a celebrity.

              It’s possible to look at Darth Vader and see the power and importance and not care that he flushed his life and had to live in pain in a metal cage. It’s even possible to look at Darth Vader, know darn well the cost, and still think the power and importance made it worthwhile.

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          • As for the police, I see a way forward here. I’ve mentioned before that I like the idea of the self-protection ROs, so if a family or close friend/roommate feels that person may try to harm themselves or others, they can file an RO and have the person’s weapons removed until the person can get a hearing. Structure them right, so rights are protected (and we don’t have people using them to disarm a person they want to hurt), and they can help.

            Now if a state has these on the books, then the police have a tool they can use. Once a troubled person comes to their attention, they just go talk to the family and express their concerns/show them evidence, and suggest the family use the RO to disarm the person until things can get sorted out. It won’t work all the time, but it could short circuit a significant number of these attacks if the right people get wind of it.

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    • At the very least, a handgun registry.

      I’ve mentioned before that I understand the issue that people have, that a registry can be used to seize guns from people without due process. But I also think that a registry can be designed such that any attempt to do that would send up red flags and get all sorts of gun rights lawyers motivated and what not. I mean, the NRA could be key in the design of such a registry (and other things that have efficacy), but they’d rather not bother, so when it eventually happens (& I do believe it will, at some point), I’m willing to bet their input will, by that time, be largely ignored.

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      • At the very least, a handgun registry.

        It’s pretty clear to me that as soon as handguns are tracked, criminals will not only switch to other weapons, but the gun manufacturers will design weapons that legally do not qualify as handguns but replace them pretty well, and start selling them. We might end up slightly better off as they would probably be harder to conceal, but that’s it.

        I’ve mentioned before that I understand the issue that people have, that a registry can be used to seize guns from people without due process.

        There’s a much larger issue here. It turns out that the government has a record of everyone’s houses, and in fact can easily see most of them from the street, so the government could _seize our houses_ without any sort of due process at all!

        …once, of course, the legal system has collapsed and the government is allowed to operate without due process.

        But I also think that a registry can be designed such that any attempt to do that would send up red flags and get all sorts of gun rights lawyers motivated and what not.

        So the theory is that seizing guns maybe be completely unnoticed…because the government might use ninjas?

        So we better put in some sort of restriction on the government looking up stuff in their own databases, because that…is possible? Except not really.

        Man, sometimes I cannot understand anti-gun-control arguments being made.

        Here’s a question for you: If the government was going to seize guns, let’s say that in 2020 a Democratic president and Democratic Congress with a filibuster-proof majority wanted to seize all guns while they were in office. And they were willing to ‘break laws’. (Or, as we’ve seen WRT torture, merely have lawyers write secret memos saying that laws didn’t apply.)

        …do you really think the executive branch couldn’t, _currently_, without any registry at all, spend a year first and track down 99% of current gun owners? They could computerize all the current defunct FFL registrations they have, they could do ‘compliance’ checks of all the FFLs and record names and addresses while looking at their forms for ‘compliance’, they check state concealed carry information, they could spy on gun ranges, they could buy NRA member lists, etc, etc.

        And then, once they have a list of probable gun owners, in ten minutes, pass and sign a law banning guns and mobilize gun confiscations of all those people?

        I honestly don’t understand how people think rights or privileges work. People do not have those things because the government doesn’t know how to find people exercising those things. They have those things because, if the government tries to take away rights, or tries to take away privileges in an arbitrary manner, the courts will disallow it.

        You can’t, like, slightly obfuscate things with the government and thus get away with things it doesn’t like. The government has a gigantic law-enforcement system, and gun owners very rarely keep that fact secret to any extent.

        What stops the government from doing that sort of thing is the law, the courts, and public opinion, not them lacking a list of gun owners they could probably get by giving Facebook a few thousand dollars.

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        • …but the gun manufacturers will design weapons that legally do not qualify as handguns but replace them pretty well…

          For a legal manufacturer, this would be hard. If the barrel is less than 16 inches, or the overall length is less than 26 inches, and it’s not a handgun, then it’s a short-barreled rifle. SBRs must be registered with ATF. Possession without proper registration is an open-and-shut federal felony. Transfer of ownership requires completing a new registration and paying a $200 fee in advance.

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        • Personally, I’m with you on this. I think if somehow the legal system had collapsed so far that federal government could do door to door seizures like those people fear (and actually cared to do them), we’d have much larger issues, and the run up to that would be obvious. I frankly don’t care if the feds have a registry, it’s not the feds I worry about, it’s some local or state official using the registry for personal or political reasons (like cops trolling the DMV records to get a date). Which is easy to fix – no one gets to search the registry without a proper warrant or subpoena. I mean, this isn’t hard, right? If the police take all your guns because they searched the registry without a warrant, then you get to sue the police.

          And if conservatives are afraid that law enforcement will do some kind of backdating trick or whatnot (like when intelligence agencies who are supposed to be spying on Americans pass LE tips on illegal activity that Americans are doing, and LE has to create a bit of fiction to explain where the tip came from), or that it’s really hard to sue the police, well perhaps they should have a talk with their elected officials about not letting LE do that, and lowering the bar for suits, because conservatives are, traditionally, the ones all too happy to let LE have all those scary powers & protections.

          The ability of people to not connect that the powers they want government to have, are the same powers that cause the fear of the government they have, just frightens me.

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          • If the police take all your guns because they searched the registry without a warrant, then you get to sue the police.

            …well, yeah, because they took all your guns without due process.

            Is it somehow better that, being forbidden to search the registry, they snuck an undercover cop into the gun store and saw you buying ammo, and concluded have a gun? And from that…seized all your guns?

            Is that situation fine?

            I’m all for not having the police be able to rifle through government databases for personal reasons, but I fail to see why the threshold on ‘they get to see who has guns’ should be higher than ‘they get to see who has cars’.

            ‘This person got murdered by a blue sedan, let’s put in all the possible suspects and see who owns a blue sedan’.

            ‘This person got murdered by a 45, let’s put in all the possible suspects and see who owns a 45’.

            You don’t need a search warrant for the first database check, I am unsure why one would be needed for the second.

            If this some sort of profiling argument? That police might profile gun owners? Well, police profiling is certain a novel thing for _conversatives_ to complain about, but the fact is, the police haven’t really ever discriminated against gun owners.

            There are things the police, and the FBI, probably shouldn’t be keeping track of because they have a long history of misbehavior against certain people, and those things point them towards such people. Gun owners…are not those sort of people.

            But, hey, some sort of law that says that police cannot look up gun ownership unless they are investigating a specific crime that involves a gun would probably be fine.

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            • That’s why I said a warrant or a subpoena. Just something that creates a legal record of the inquiry and shows that the search is for a legitimate investigation.

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            • Remember this story?

              The cops raided this family’s house with a warrant for marijuana based on how they saw that this family shopped at a hydroponic gardening store.

              If you’ve got a problem with marijuana in your state, why *WOULDN’T* you get warrants for the houses that have been shopping at hydroponic gardening stores?

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              • That is why I say that conservatives need to own that the fear of confiscation is a fear they have created by granting government the power to make it a reality.

                They have the power to take that power away.

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    • We have bad actors, with money, who are strongly motivated to be bad actors and who already don’t follow the law.

      Issue #1) 3D printing can already make cheap, low quality, untraceable guns. They don’t do that in any scale because it’s illegal and there’s no market, the mass manufacturers make cheap high quality guns.

      Issue #2) Drug dealers already have a “ship illegal things from overseas avoiding gov oversight” pipeline set up, adding one more product would be trivial. They don’t do that currently with guns because the local mass manufacturers make cheap high quality guns.

      If we use the law to shut down the current set of loopholes, is it reasonable to think this is the end of it, and the highly motivated bad actors will simply accept they can’t get guns, or is it more likely that the bad actors will change their actions? Is there the potential to make things worse? Maybe turn a problem with traceable illegal guns into untraceable illegal guns?

      I view the “illegal guns” problem as unfixable as long as the war on drugs is going on. The amount of money and motivation is simply too high to be fixed by tossing yet another “Prohibition” log into the dumpster fire.

      The lion’s share of harm reduction needs to be in ending Prohibition, not in doubling down on it.

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      • Issue #1) 3D printing can already make cheap, low quality, untraceable guns. They don’t do that in any scale because it’s illegal and there’s no market, the mass manufacturers make cheap high quality guns.

        No it can’t. ‘3D printed guns’ are complete crap, and will continue to be complete crap. We’ve had the supposed threat of ‘plastic guns’ hanging over us for decades, and, yet, mysteriously, those don’t exist. If they can’t make plastic-only guns in a factory, they can’t make them in a crappy printer.

        3D printing might make it a bit easier to smuggle guns, as they can print half it, but that’s it.

        Issue #2) Drug dealers already have a “ship illegal things from overseas avoiding gov oversight” pipeline set up, adding one more product would be trivial. They don’t do that currently with guns because the local mass manufacturers make cheap high quality guns.

        Which would be a reasonable concern if guns were being made anywhere else in the world and could be smuggled in.

        But guns are almost all made in the US. They _aren’t_ being made elsewhere.

        The lion’s share of harm reduction needs to be in ending Prohibition, not in doubling down on it.

        Prohibition is wildly successful at multiple the cost of goods by a dozen or two.

        Drugs are cheap to make and usually addictive. This makes them useful to smuggle.

        Guns…are not those things. In place where handguns are illegal, handguns do still exist…they’re just incredibly expensive, so expensive that gangs will sometimes pool their money to afford one…and it’s a real lose if the police get a hold of it. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars.

        The market dynamics are totally different.

        Also, most people are apathetic about drug users, and even somewhat apathetic towards drug dealers. As I mentioned the last time we talked about prohibiting guns here, I know quite a few people I could buy pot from. Do I care? No.

        You tell me someone is an illegal gun runner? Yeah, I care. I probably care enough to tell the police.

        So the _social_ dynamics are totally different too.

        On top of that, guns, despite being ‘more expensive’ for the end buyer, gun are nowhere near as profitable, size-wise, as the pure drugs that are smuggled in. If anything, durg prohibition would, for the first time ever, be doing everyone a favor, as there’s no incentive to smuggle guns (At least not for other people) if you can make more profit smuggling drugs.

        But, again, on top of that, smuggled from _where_?

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        • Well, other places do make guns, but most are made here.

          However, even if the US did ban handguns for private ownership, the US would probably still make a lot for export, and many of those exported would find their way back into the country if the demand was sufficient.

          You might be right about the amount of demand we’d see, but IMHO, it’s because plastic guns would be an option. Sure, you wouldn’t want one for a running gun battle, but if you just needed to put a few pistol rounds on target at close range, you can do that with a plastic gun, then destroy it. What that would mean, of course, is that you’d have less kids running around with guns just because a gun is a power totem.

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          • Also, it’s not like there aren’t hundreds of millions of guns out there in civilian hands now, and it’s not like guns are made out of spun sugar, so they could circulate for decades.

            There are obviously circumstances where interdicting guns can work, I just think what we have in the US are almost the exact opposite of those circumstances.

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            • Also, it’s not like there aren’t hundreds of millions of guns out there in civilian hands now, and it’s not like guns are made out of spun sugar, so they could circulate for decades.

              There are about ten million gun made a year in the US.

              Pretending that reducing the amount created won’t reduce the number of guns is silly.

              Moreover, the turnover of guns _by criminals_ is actually pretty high. In addition to confiscation and destruction by the police, guns also get too hot to keep around due to their involvement in various crimes and are destroyed.

              But, this is actually a pretty weird argument anyway. Here, let me try:

              Also, it’s not like there aren’t tens of millions of homes with lead paint already, and people will take a very long time to remove it, so people will be dealing with lead paint in homes for decades. Conclusion: Stopping the sale of lead paint is pointless.

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              • Also, it’s not like there aren’t tens of millions of homes with lead paint already, and people will take a very long time to remove it, so people will be dealing with lead paint in homes for decades. Conclusion: Stopping the sale of lead paint is pointless.

                After lead paint was eliminated, people changed their actions and lead paint was instantly replaced with other types of paint.

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                  • Yeah, it’s not like they outlawed paint, they outlawed paint with lead in it.

                    “Replacing it with different types of paint” was exactly the point.

                    Just a weird response.

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                    • I did a post last year about how we kinda need an effective replacement for handguns before we can really hope to remove the current technology from circulation.

                      I recall people giving me a lot of grief about that.

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                        • @dark-matter I wasn’t ridiculing the analogy, I was seizing on it.

                          Outlaw the more dangerous kinds of guns in ways that address *dangerousness* (not popularity), people will replace them with less dangerous replacements, probably *hurried along by the market*, in theory that would be a *good thing* wouldn’t it??

                          I mean, I don’t necessarily agree with the analogy, or not, I was just treating it as a thought experiment and that’s where it led.

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                          • I was responding to you, , per se, but rather the idea that we can simply strictly control something popular without a better replacement ready in the wings.

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              • Pretending that reducing the amount created won’t reduce the number of guns is silly.

                Stopping the sale of guns may not be entirely pointless, but it may well not make enough of a dent to justify the costs.

                I think this is more likely to be true because I believe some of those enforcement costs will end up driving violence in other ways. This is actually already something that happens, as attempts to enforce gun laws in cities often drive police to behave in ways that victimize racial minorities, breed mistrust of police, and thus make effective enforcement of laws against violence considerably more difficult.

                There’s a sort of truth to the “But Chicago!” counterargument, but it’s typically obscured by the–to be blunt–tendency of a lot of gun rights advocates to be authoritarian police-worshippers who never met a racist dogwhistle they didn’t like.

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        • ‘3D printed guns’ are complete crap, and will continue to be complete crap. We’ve had the supposed threat of ‘plastic guns’ hanging over us for decades, and, yet, mysteriously, those don’t exist.

          3D printing of guns, as a technology, basically started in 2012 and we’re seeing the exponential increase in quality and technology that the rest of the 3D printing (and computing) field is enjoying… and it’s still just hobbyists doing this without a budget.

          Predicting that 3D printing can make guns in the long term is like predicting quantum computing will eventually be able to break certain types of encryption. It’s not so much a prediction as an expectation since there doesn’t seem to be anything which prevents it from happening.

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          • 3D printing of guns, as a technology, basically started in 2012 and we’re seeing the exponential increase in quality and technology that the rest of the 3D printing (and computing) field is enjoying… and it’s still just hobbyists doing this without a budget.

            Again: There has been a demand for non-metal gun for decades, so much so that we passed a law about in 1988.

            Plastic working has been around for over 100 years.

            They have been unable to create non-metal guns that function in any reliable manner.

            It’s not a matter of how ‘good’ 3D printing gets, it’s whether or not it is literally possible to make a firearm without a partially metal action. It appears not, at least not one that will fire conventional ammunition reliably.

            If you can’t do that, you cannot 3D print a gun, any more than you can 3D print a spark plug or a computer.

            People, can, of course, just smuggle around the action of a gun and print a gun to fit it, but the action is _already_ the part of the gun we regulate.

            Granted, there are plenty of other sort of ammunition you could make such guns use…but those guns already exist and aren’t regulated, and we’ve discovered anything using a propellant besides gunpower is either pretty crappy or too unwieldy…although I’m sure there will be some 3D printed BB and potato guns.

            …and I feel I should also point out you can’t 3D print _ammunition_, either. I don’t mean in the obvious literal sense that you can’t print gunpowder, you can just buy or make that(1), and you can melt or reuse casing, and melt the bullet….but you can’t make primers.

            And any attempt to make primers, hell, any attempt to make _gunpowder_ either, is going to result in something so variable that these hypothetical carefully crafted plastic guns will blow up.

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            • so you have a lathe for the metal parts in addition to your 3d printer.

              I mean, I know people who (legally) as a hobby or small business make guns. It doesn’t require large-scale manufacturing.

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            • The action can be plastic, the chamber & barrel need to be metal if you want to fire more than one shot out of the barrel.

              So of course the solution to that is to print a revolver with multiple barrels, or to fashion a barrel and chamber from metal pipe you can get at the local hardware store & mount it in a plastic frame.

              Still not very accurate at range, nor a gun you will be firing rapidly or often, but cheap and entirely disposable.

              Rifle ammo, of course, is beyond any currently printable plastic.

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              • The action can be plastic, the chamber & barrel need to be metal if you want to fire more than one shot out of the barrel.

                Structural integrity of the chamber and barrel is the problem that’s preventing the creation of good firearms via 3D printing, and while no one is working on enhancing that for guns, they are working on it in general.

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            • Again: There has been a demand for non-metal gun for decades, so much so that we passed a law about in 1988. Plastic working has been around for over 100 years. They have been unable to create non-metal guns that function in any reliable manner.

              I never said “plastic guns”.

              Google “is it possible to 3D print metal?”. The answer is “yes, but the technology is extremely new and developing”.

              We’re headed for a world where it’s possible to 3D print metal gun barrels.

              https://newatlas.com/desktop-metal-3d-printing/50654/

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              • We’re headed for a world where it’s possible to 3D print metal gun barrels.

                One of the companies that builds metal-powder laser-sintering 3D printers has printed off all of the parts for an M1911 .45 caliber pistol, assembled it, and fired 1,000 rounds through it. It’s an advertising thing, of course. The strength is sort of secondary in that advertising; their big message is that there was no post-printing machining, the printer is accurate enough to fabricate fully finished parts.

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                • You are talking about something that is _incredibly_ expensive, and will probably continue to be in the foreseeable future. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a machine, and possibly ten thousand dollars to print a gun….although if you’re smart, you can print a bunch of it in plastic, I guess.

                  But it is literally cheaper to build an AK-47 in a machine shop.

                  Guys, if you want to say ‘handmade guns’ and claim that people wouldn’t be 3D printing most the gun, just say that. We’ve had those forever. They really aren’t going to be ‘3D printed’, though. I’m sure someone will print some fancy handgrips or something, but that’s about it.

                  But…I suspect there’s a reason people trying to make something out of ‘3D printed guns’ like they’re a new threat. An unconscious reason. Because once you realize that any fool with a machine shop can already create handmade guns, at least of a certain sort, and has been able to for basically forever, you end up asking: Where the heck are those guns?

                  We can make workable, and moderately safe (Safer than 3D printed ones, at least.) guns in machine shops. We have countries in the world that functionally ban guns,. So…shouldn’t people be making guns in machine shops there?

                  But the amount of handmade guns in places we should be finding them is very low. The police in Australia, with its harsh anti-gun laws that basically ban all semi-automatics, estimate that 10%-20% of seized guns are handmade.

                  In fact, the odd and interesting thing is that only a small fraction of the illegal gun owners are even willing to use handmade guns. And they _aren’t_ ‘professionally’ made ones, but instead utter junk, single shot nonsense cobbled together with duct tape and baling wire. Single shot jobs, either on purpose or just because the thing won’t stay together. (Which is really weird, because single shot guns _are legal_ there, although obviously not for criminals. Of course, Australia has the same sort of registration I am proposing, so it is presumably hard for some criminals to get their hands on legal guns.) I don’t doubt we’ll see some plastic 3D printed ones showing up there soon, and they will work exactly as well as duct taped ones.

                  But here’s the thing: There actually has been a singular instance of a machine shop owner making professional-ish guns in Australia. They were clones of the MAC 10.

                  He managed to make about 100 before being caught.

                  And…that’s basically it. In Australia, where there is all the incentive in the world for there to be a illegal handmade gun manufactures, the small fraction of the criminal population that is using handmade guns are using crap they made themselves, 80%-90% of the criminal population won’t even touch the things, and there has been exactly one large scale attempt that managed to make, statistically, no guns.

                  Everyone claiming that guns will turn into the next drugs is making a claim that would seem plausible if we literally had no other countries in the world to look at. But…we do have those.

                  Drugs are created and smuggled because they can be sold ‘out of crime’ to random people, because people enjoy drugs. Guns…don’t work that way. Guns are a net cost to criminals. They are a _business expense_, except for the few suppliers of guns.

                  Criminals just need guns as long as the other criminals have guns. Reduce the supply, increase the cost, and everyone just keeps making do with less and less guns. Although they probably go through ‘crappier and crappier guns’ first. Or, in a few notable instances, end up sharing one gun for an entire gang.

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                  • FYI Metal laser sintering printers were being offered for just under $100K as of a little over a year ago, with 50 microns resolution and a print bed capable of printing any part of a handgun you might want.

                    Not arguing your larger point, just saying that the tech and price point are further along.

                    As to your larger point, I suspect the reason the guys who know how to make guns at a home shop don’t is because A) the people who buy illegal guns like that are dangerous, unstable people who are very much unlike the consummate professional customers from a John Wick movie, thus if they don’t rob or kill the craftsman at some point, they are likely to give up the supplier at the first hint of a deal, and B) people who have the skill to build quality homemade firearms aren’t going to be making them for random criminals.

                    That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, but there is currently poor incentive for craftsmen to supply weapons to thugs and idiots.

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                  • You are talking about something that is _incredibly_ expensive, and will probably continue to be in the foreseeable future.

                    Notice we’ve gone from you claiming the technology was impossible to only claiming it’s expensive. And you’re correct, the CURRENT level of expense and skill needed to do this are so high that we’re not going to see it used for illegal firearms, especially as long as there are cheap mass produced guns out there already.

                    But “the foreseeable future” is the technology will increase in quality+quantity and decrease (exponentially) in cost and skill needed. Today’s $100k machine is next decade’s $5k machine.

                    This looks a LOT like how computers increased in power and utility and decreased in cost until everyone could do everything.

                    There actually has been a singular instance of a machine shop owner making professional-ish guns in Australia. They were clones of the MAC 10. He managed to make about 100 before being caught.

                    Similarly it was possible to catch professional music copiers until everyone had a personal computer which was capable of it. As long as you have only one person out of a million who is able to do this, the law can deal with producers as criminals.

                    So your argument depends on the technology not advancing and becoming better and cheaper. That’s not the way to bet.

                    In Australia…

                    Yes, everything you’ve said is correct. But Australia was never awash in guns, never had murder levels we have, never had the armed “war on drugs” we have, and disarming the civilian population was popular there.

                    Transform our culture into Australia’s and getting rid of the 2nd AM is easy, as will disarming everyone, and making all of the rest of these ideas work.

                    Criminals just need guns as long as the other criminals have guns. Reduce the supply, increase the cost, and everyone just keeps making do with less and less guns.

                    Translation: This time Prohibition will work!

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                    • Notice we’ve gone from you claiming the technology was impossible to only claiming it’s expensive.

                      I’m pretty certain I didn’t say that making guns was impossible. That would be nonsensical.

                      This looks a LOT like how computers increased in power and utility and decreased in cost until everyone could do everything.

                      Physical machinery does not work like that. The cost is not in electronics. The machines will become cheaper as they are actually mass produced instead of being prototypes, and that is it. We don’t have incredibly cheap refrigerators or cars. We don’t even have incredibly cheap computer cases.

                      And, seriously, I feel like I’m talking to people who don’t know anything about the current state of metal-working. (Which is weird, because I _barely_ know anything about it!)

                      Everyone does realize we’ve had computer-controlled metal shaping for decades, via CNC lathes? Where you can download plans and create a piece of metal in that shape? I’m hardly the expert on them, the last time I saw a CNC was two decades ago at my high school, where we all made dumb tops to spin and little cats and dogs, but I seem to be the only person here who knows they exist and ‘make your own metal part’ isn’t some amazing new tech breakthrough.

                      It’s just not stupid and absurdly expensive ‘printing’ that everyone is all hyped about because it’s new. Instead, you put in a block of metal, and it is carved away with lasers, instead of trying to build something with lasers and polymers.

                      That is much cheaper than 3D metal printing. It will always be cheaper, because blocks of metal are inherently cheaper than the stuff that has to be used in any sort of printing, and on top of that the machine is simpler, being basically a laser and a computer controlled thing to rotate it. 3D metal printers have to deposit the polymer in place and then melt it in a forge.

                      CNC lathes still cost tens of thousands of dollars, mind you, but it’s better than the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the metal 3D printers do. And making things in them is not that expensive at all per object.

                      The only real problem in gun making is that making a rifled barrel in a lathe is somewhat complicated. It can be done, but it’s complicated to set up. (Obviously it can be done, because machining lathes are literally how it is done by actual gun manufacturers.)

                      Google ‘cnc barrel rifling’ or some such thing, and you will see a bunch of gun hobbyists trying to figure out how to do it, and quite a lot of them appear to have succeeded. You will also see plenty of business advertising exactly that service for hobbyists who do not want to spend ten of thousands of dollars on their own machine.

                      But even if they don’t want to deal with that, procuring pre-rifled tubes of metal is not impossible, and, really most illegal handguns are designed for very short use and don’t really need to be rifled anyway. Or they could just make very small shotguns.

                      And, again, mysteriously, no one makes illegal handguns using CNC machining equipment. In places where handguns are illegal, and sell for tens of thousands of dollars, we’ve had…one guy try it.

                      Heck, in this country fully-automatic weapons are illegal, and somehow the illegal gun network is not trivially converting semi-automatics and selling them.

                      But everyone is so sure criminals are going to start using a 3D metal printing process to make the guns that is literally hundreds of times more expensive and requires ten times the cost in equipment than things they can already do in a machine shop.

                      In reality, even outright criminals tend to not own guns that are illegal in and of themselves, like handmade guns and fully automatics, because criminals get guns from the grey market. Grey market guns are only a small mark-up, as the only illegal step is the last one, and gun runners can pose as perfectly legal people who just happen to own a lot of guns.

                      Gun runners possessing outright banned guns, or guns made in a metal shop, is not something most are willing to do, and if they do, it’s a huge mark-up, something like 5000%.

                      Translation: This time Prohibition will work!

                      Translation: Prohibition has always been successful at raising the cost of things a hell of a lot.

                      This is exceptionally stupid in the case of drugs, as the cost of drugs is almost completely negligible, and drugs often can be made locally. Pot is literally a weed and has almost no inherent supply cost at all.

                      And, of course, for the original Prohibition: Literally any liquid with sugar in it sorta turns into alcohol.

                      Prohibition on things that can be created for almost nothing, doesn’t work, because dozens and hundreds of times their cost is…still affordable.

                      It would work pretty well on machined items that already cost hundreds of dollars.

                      You can’t just wave your hands and go ‘everyone knows prohibition doesn’t work’. Prohibition of _drugs_, aka, of minute traces of chemicals, doesn’t work.

                      Prohibition of automatic weapons, OTOH, seems almost perfectly successful. A 100% success rate. Utterly perfect. When was the last time we had anyone killed via automatic weapons? (Bump stocks don’t count…we stupidly didn’t prohibit them.)

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                      • Or let me turn the question around: Why do _you_ think we don’t have automatic weapons floating around the gun black market?

                        There is clearly a market for automatics, as bump stocks exist. And a lot of existing guns are pretty easy to modify. Heck, some of them can probably be modified with a 3D plastic printer. And people do that…to their own guns. But those guns are not commonly found on the black market.

                        The answer in my mind is quite simple, and it’s why registering would work pretty well, and would not result in gun sellers selling handmade guns. It’s the same reason that criminals in Australia switched over to guns that are still legal there, shotguns and whatnot, instead of having handguns smuggled in or made. (And if they really do want a handgun, the criminals seem to be making them themselves.)

                        It seems that, currently, the gun black market doesn’t want anything to do with weapons that are literally illegal. This is because it’s not a black market at all…it’s a gray market. Their entire business is built upon them possessing a bunch of guns that are legal, and just secretly selling them to criminals. That is what their entire pricing is based upon.

                        If we set up a registration system where they cannot do that, a system where any unregistered guns they own are illegal and possession alone will result in jail time…their entire business model changes and becomes more expensive.

                        They can’t openly have inventory or be known as someone who sells guns, because a single police search puts them in prison. The entire thing changes from a gray-market business with a small mark-up to a black-market business with a huge mark-up.

                        It honestly doesn’t matter where those illegal guns are coming from to supply the new black-market. Maybe they will be like pot, where sellers sometimes just grow it in their house, maybe they will be like meth, where local labs make it, maybe they will be like heroin, where it’s smuggled into the country. Note the markup goes up as that list goes on, and the first isn’t actually plausible for guns no matter what people think of 3D printing.

                        Even if we go with meth-style markup, where local machine shops make weapons instead of some overseas factory, that’s an absurd level of markup.

                        Right now, the markup is the equivalent of those people who sell single cigarettes on street corners.

                        Tell me if you disagree with this?

                        And if so, what do _you_ think is stopping gun sellers in the US from selling illegally modified fully-auto AR-15s, or Australian gun sellers from selling now-illegal handguns?

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                      • “‘I seem to be the only person here who knows they exist and ‘make your own metal part’ isn’t some amazing new tech breakthrough.”

                        I would just like to point out, irrespective of the rest of your current argument which I probably agree with on some things and disagree on others, that I brought up lathes like *way up thread*.

                        I’m reasonably familiar with CNC lathes in that I’ve seen one used within the last two years.

                        Y’all may now continue your croquet-game of an argument (that’s not disparaging, I’m sort of enjoying it), but I object to the claim that I didn’t act like lathes are a thing.

                        That is all :D.

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                        • Sorry, I for some reason forgot about that comment, and I wasn’t trying to direct my ‘Why is everyone acting like metal 3D printing allows anything that wasn’t possible at home before?’ point at you.

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                      • CNC mills cost about as much as a decent AR-15.

                        This is, I believe, the 3rd time I’ve corrected you regarding either the state of art with regard to small shop fabrication, or the current pricing. I’ve actually spotted more than three errors in your assumptions, but I’m very busy this weekend and haven’t had time to hit every one. Suffice it to say, you are correct, you don’t really know what you are talking about in that regard, so please stop until you do.

                        Your economic arguments can hold water despite being wrong about the technology or pricing, but not because the tech is too expensive, but rather because A) the existing grey market which you properly identify, and B) the cottage industry that knows how to make weapons with hand tools, CNC mills, and 3D printers has no connection to, or reason to trust, the people who would be interested in buying such weapons to further criminal activity, and vice versa. The venn diagram of criminals who want guns and people who can make guns has a very tiny area of overlap.

                        That is how things exist today. The argument you need to make is why the area of overlap would not increase considerably should handguns become severely controlled.

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                        • CNC mills cost about as much as a decent AR-15.

                          The system being shown there, while in the technical sense something that can accept CNC commands, is not the sort of thing I am talking about. Honestly that seems like it only exist to carve the stuff they specifically sell on the site, which is an ‘80% complete AR-15 receiver’. With the holes already carved into it. It seems rather unlikely we’d allow those to be continued to be sold if all guns had to be registered.

                          And that machine can’t carve one of those from scratch, due to the holes. At least not without repeated manual repositioning. Which introduces errors and a lot of time.

                          To make something with the holes needed to make a receiver from scratch, you need something capable of moving and rotating the piece within the machine. A five-axis machines. Which are, indeed, somewhere around multiples of ten thousand dollars.

                          Or maybe the theory is indeed the criminal manufacturers will be rotating it by hand. If you want to argue the ‘they will do everything as manually and as cheaply as possible’, yes, it could be done with cheaper machines (Hell, it’s theoretically possible to do it by hand)…but you’re also arguing a fraction of the output speed by having to reposition it half a dozen times. And that also makes more waste due to often inexact positioning, although that hardly matters (Aluminum is not super-expensive.) except in more wasted time.

                          I think the difference between me and some other people posting about this is I was taking the idea seriously. I was assuming a framework where the number of guns produced by criminals would be _relevant_. I didn’t even bother to do the math, I just sorta assumed some sort of professional work. But let’s do the math.

                          Let’s suppose a world where criminals could make, oh, a million guns a year, total. (Which is under the amount that enter the grey market currently…about 400,000 firearms are reported stolen a year, more are actually stolen, and that’s not even getting into personal sales and straw purchases.) If we assume there are about 20 of these illegal gun plants (Which actually seem high), they’d need to make something like one hundred and fifty guns a day to output a million a year.

                          Which requires them not spending an hour printing each receiver in a cheap CNC machine they constantly have to reposition, and then having a 30% chance they screwed the positioning up on at least one milling pass and have to throw it away. Considering that the milling is probably the most expensive and complicated portion of the thing, and most likely to go wrong, I assumed they’d want a bit better than _hobbyist_ level manufacturing.

                          But, hey, maybe instead there will be 100s of those places, each making 30 guns a day running the cheapest lathes possible and having a good fraction of their guns made badly because they mis-position things. I dunno. I would assume not, except that’s how meth labs seem to work, completely slipshod random manufacturing practices, so maybe criminals would make guns that way also.

                          I am not sure exactly what point that is trying to make except proving me wrong in the cost of the lathes…that sort of setup would literally have more capital investment by criminals, just spread wider, so my larger point that this requires a fairly expensive capital outlay still stands.

                          I’ve actually spotted more than three errors in your assumptions, but I’m very busy this weekend and haven’t had time to hit every one.

                          My ‘errors’ are because people keep just sorta handwaving at ‘people can print or otherwise make their own guns’ and don’t actually describe any sort of system they would be using, and decided to just handwave the costs being really low, because there’s some hypothetical machine that they think can do it.

                          But a) People have had the ability to make their own gun the entire time guns have existed, and the ways being described are more expensive than what already exists, and 3D printing is only cool because you can change designs rapidly and do a bunch of different stuff, not because it’s better or cheaper than existing methods.

                          And b) it actually isn’t that easy to manufacture complicated metal parts in any sort of systematic and quick manner, and we know this because there are like dozens of industries that manufacture complicated metal parts in a systematic and quick manner…and they all use expensive machines to do it.

                          I think some people here have not run the basic sanity check of ‘If this thing was really this cheap and produced a workable gun part in a reasonable amount of time, wouldn’t gun manufacturers be using it to make guns?’

                          And those people should probably ask that about plastic 3D printing also. While it is indeed possible to print a lot (not all, but a lot) of the gun out of plastic and there is nothing technically wrong with that idea…that’s not a particular cheap way to work plastic, and fricking Stormtrooper cosplayers can do plastic injection molding.

                          If a manufacturing industry is going to be replicated by criminals, the default assumption should probably be that it will look somewhat like the existing one, unless there’s a good reason to think otherwise. If there were other, better ways of doing things, the industry would presumably already be doing them.

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                          • First, the CNC I linked too is a general purpose CNC. It can mill a block into a receiver. And yes, it can not rotate the work piece, but it can rotate the tools, so the number of hand rotations is not high. That said, the tech is not bleeding edge, it’s not even cutting edge anymore. I can build a better mill at home with parts I can source online for about that much money, and control it with open source software. The cost is mostly representative of the fact that not too many people want one.

                            I was assuming a framework where the number of guns produced by criminals would be relevant

                            the default assumption should probably be that it will look somewhat like the existing one, unless there’s a good reason to think otherwise

                            Here’s your good reason: If you had an underground manufacturing system in the US that could meet current demand for weapons used by criminals in non-domestic crimes, it would have a hell of a time staying hidden unless it was highly distributed such that law enforcement could not target any specific operation and deal it a crippling blow. If it was centralized/industrialized such that it would need the machinery you are thinking of, it would have to be located outside of the US.

                            You are right that 3D printing is not a mass production technology, nor is most CNC that goes from raw stock to finished part (you cast or forge the part to an unfinished state, then use the CNC to finish the part). I’m not arguing that. I’m saying that if you lost the grey market access to firearms, there are technologies that are affordable and available to small scale producers such that a black market could develop if external suppliers and/or logistics could not meet demand. The fact that it doesn’t happen is, I believe, more due to the fact that firearms production still requires a degree of skill in order to assess final quality.

                            Think of it this way, if a chemist makes a bad batch of drugs, the customers might complain about low quality, or they might get sick or die, but the drug trade won’t much care, and the chemist will be encouraged to fix the issue. Thus the chemist is not in much danger if a bad product goes out. Too many cut outs and the people who would be able to harm the chemist won’t be inclined to do so unless it’s an ongoing issue.

                            However, if a gun smith makes a bad batch of guns, unless he has some serious cut outs so he is utterly removed from the users, someone is going to be looking for their pound of flesh. This is going to be a powerful disincentive for the vast majority of people who have the skills to mass produce firearms.

                            Likewise, the whole 3D printing/desktop CNC space is still very new, and even though it can produce firearms, there isn’t a 100+ years of trust in the technology, so again, if the grey and/or black market is still supplying, people will take the known and trusted over the new and uncertain. But it won’t be uncertain forever, and people are already playing around with firearm designs optimized for 3D printing and/or desktop CNC*.

                            *It’s important to keep in mind that every firearm on the market today is designed with the production methods in use by the manufacturer in mind. Parts are designed to be cast, forged, and milled, because that is how it’s been done for 100+ years and that is what all the gun makers have made capital investments in. But people are letting computer optimization play around with old designs that are traditionally cast, forged, and milled, and that optimization is done with the knowledge that the part could be printed and minimally milled/finished, which is producing some pretty interesting results. I can’t know the future, in 20 years, the type of gun you might print at home will look nothing like the gun printed today. It might not even operate like any gun made today. I can envision systems that don’t even rely on the traditional primer and powder combination we use today.

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                            • If you had an underground manufacturing system in the US that could meet current demand for weapons used by criminals in non-domestic crimes, it would have a hell of a time staying hidden unless it was highly distributed such that law enforcement could not target any specific operation and deal it a crippling blow. If it was centralized/industrialized such that it would need the machinery you are thinking of, it would have to be located outside of the US.

                              Oh, I agree any system would be rapidly be tracked down and dismantled. I’m just trying to get across the _scope_ of such a system.

                              I’m not arguing that. I’m saying that if you lost the grey market access to firearms, there are technologies that are affordable and available to small scale producers such that a black market could develop if external suppliers and/or logistics could not meet demand.

                              The question isn’t really ‘Could a black market develop in illegally manufacturer guns?’. Of course it can.

                              The question is ‘Could a black market in illegally manufacturer guns even make a meaningful impact on the number of guns out there?’

                              It doesn’t matter, with regard to restricting guns in some manner, if there are only thousands or even tens of thousands illegally manufactured weapons a year. That is nothing. The Chicago PD, by itself, seizes 5,000 guns a year. So do the NYPD.

                              I’m not seeing how a black market can operate at anywhere near a replacement rate. (Although it should be noted that a good portion of illegally-owned guns, right now, are stolen, so we’d have to wait a few years while people who had their guns stolen eventually all lost their right to own guns.)

                              This is why, when I’m faced with a handwave that criminals will, very shortly, be able to make their own guns, and thus gun control is pointless because the market will be full of homemade guns, that I turn around and say ‘Please describe that universe’, because I basically can’t figure out a _plausible_ universe when handmade guns are anywhere near a problem.

                              The smaller scale the individual manufacturing are, the less they proportionally make….and the more skilled people it requires.

                              Alternately, larger operations, basically real factories, with professional equipment, can make more, cheaper, with fewer skilled people per gun made…and a hell of a lot of capital investment loss if the police show up. I just sorta picked that version because it _hypothetically_ is easier to make enough guns that way, although it would also be a lot easier for the police to stop.

                              There is also the version of the universe where large-ish factories in Mexico produce guns, aka, the same as above, minus the police risk. But the problem there is that said guns would have to compete with drugs for smuggling routes, and would either be outbid, or guns would be even _more_ expensive.

                              I can’t know the future, in 20 years, the type of gun you might print at home will look nothing like the gun printed today. It might not even operate like any gun made today. I can envision systems that don’t even rely on the traditional primer and powder combination we use today.

                              It is perfectly plausible to 3D print a CO2 gun, like a pellet gun, except shooting small nails.

                              This would probably be _more_ useful to some gangs than firearms. Firearms are usually used to threaten to force compliance, but you can only threaten people so far before you either have to shoot them, and thus render them unable to ‘comply’, or they figure out you won’t shoot them.

                              Shooting nails into them mostly still allows them to comply, while being incredibly painful and dangerous enough to them that they can’t just ignore the pain.

                              Of course, knives are _equally_ good at that. A CO2 gun just lets you do it at arm’s length.

                              I’m of the opinion that guns are basically used by criminals because there is (and this is a cliche for a reason) an arms race.

                              Once the amount of guns that criminals might run into goes down, the desire for that criminal to _have_ a gun goes down, especially if that gun turns into a liability because they have to track down an illegal one to start with.

                              Especially if guns are now ten times as expensive, and half as reliable.

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                              • This is why, when I’m faced with a handwave that criminals will, very shortly, be able to make their own guns, and thus gun control is pointless because the market will be full of homemade guns, that I turn around and say ‘Please describe that universe’, because I basically can’t figure out a _plausible_ universe when handmade guns are anywhere near a problem.

                                Many of your arguments are repeats of the “computers will never be in the home” line of thinking we used to hear in… the 70’s(?). You’re correct right this moment and next year, but the long term trends suggest the “home 3D printer able to make a gun” will be cheap enough to be the “plausible universe” within the next 20 years.

                                The graphs I see for 3D printer abilities (ALL abilities) are exponential and expected to remain exponential. That includes cost and quality. Granted, these exponential graphs will at some point need to become linear and be subject to the normal “scale” costs of manufacturing, but right now the base technology is rapidly evolving.

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  16. I like how the phrase “gun violence” has come to be used. I find it amusing, that a gun has commits violence. Just like in the UK where they have a problem with “knife violence” or “knife crime”. Like there is rampaging knives committing felonies in the UK. Really? The violence is being done by the human. Even if every gun and knife were removed from the face of the earth, and the knowledge to make them eliminated, people would still rob, rape, assault, and kill other people. THAT is the real problem. The means is secondary-at best. I don’t recall a lot of these crimes 50 years ago. Something has changed in our culture. We’d do well to figure out what and maybe try and fix that.

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    • “The means is secondary- at best” is an interesting, and often made, claim. It has even been made in this thread. Nobody anywhere is denying that humans are the ones committing the violence of course, but it is a fun thing to claim, because why would we focus on the tools that make the violence so much unbelievably easier when we can propose to change the human spirit instead?

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      • Well, first, being pedantic, “gun violence” clearly suggests the gun is the violent actor. It’s almost as hard to hear as “high capacity magazine clip” or other stupid phrases. But words have meaning and catch phrases are use for manipulation. I wasn’t claiming “Nobody anywhere is denying that humans are the ones committing the violence”, but somehow this foolish phrase is now common–but all I’m seeing is “we must limit the tool used”. Not seen much, at least in most media, about changing the user of the tool. I view it like drugs. Mankind has a long history of using mind/body altering ingredients. Limiting their use by law has never really changed that.

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        • Pedanticism is one of the hills that gun advocates insist upon occupying, frequently arguing that those without an encyclopedic knowledge of guns cannot seriously be opposed to mass-shootings. This nonsense above is more of the same.

          However, the comparison to drugs is an interesting one, and I would be willing to bet a considerable amount of money – let’s say, a billion-trillion dollars? – that drug use has been going on for much longer than mass-shootings. Wanna take the other side of that? We can begin our research immediately after agreeing to terms.

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          • Saaam.. . You have been doing awesome, spirited, and within bounds, and I’ve really been enjoying 99 percent of your authorial responses whether or not I agreed with them, but please refrain from calling other people’s explanation of their opinions nonsense in quite such a blunt and confrontational way, it’s not helpful and I hate moderating people on their own dang posts.

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          • It isn’t necessarily a desire for encyclopedic knowledge, but just basic understanding of both firearms [1] and the laws that exist today [2]. Being more informed allows one to focus in better on what is not only feasible, but also effective. People get tired of constantly explaining the same thing over and over, especially when it isn’t specialist knowledge, but information that is easy to find and understand.

            [1] It’s nutpicking, I know, but a few days ago I saw an interview with a teenager who seemed quite sure of himself when he told a reporter that AR-15s are so powerful that if you shot a deer with one, the deer would literally explode. That is a pretty out there example, but more generally, there is a lot of effort to regulate things which are difficult to regulate and/or at best only tangential to the problem at hand.

            [2] A lot of times, activists call for laws to be passed that already exist, but that the government doesn’t really enforce much, either because it’s difficult to do so, or because it conflicts with other priorities.

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            • It seems entirely reasonable that the teenager might have been responding to the kinds of injuries described in something like this:

              I have seen a handful of AR-15 injuries in my career. Years ago I saw one from a man shot in the back by a swat team. The injury along the path of the bullet from an AR-15 is vastly different from a low-velocity handgun injury. The bullet from an AR-15 passes through the body like a cigarette boat traveling at maximum speed through a tiny canal. The tissue next to the bullet is elastic—moving away from the bullet like waves of water displaced by the boat—and then returns and settles back. This process is called cavitation; it leaves the displaced tissue damaged or killed. The high-velocity bullet causes a swath of tissue damage that extends several inches from its path. It does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic bleeding. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange

              .

              To be fair, that isn’t an “explosion” per se, but it is absolutely horrific.

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              • He probably was. He was still mistaken. I’m not sure I agree with that this particular mistake is incredibly important, but there is this underlying issue where AR-15s aren’t particularly powerful for rifles… but they are rifles, and the doctors who are very understandably horrified by the injuries are comparing them to handguns.

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                • As I said, I recognize I was probably nutpicking a bit there, especially since it’s trivial to show the kid he’s wrong.

                  But my generalized point stands, if a person wants their opinion on a topic taken seriously, they should make a bare minimum effort to understand the basics. I mean, should we take seriously the opinions of people who clearly don’t understand how insurance works, when they talk about reforming our health care system? Should we listen to people who are spouting misinformation about drugs and addiction, especially when such information is roundly decried by established experts in the field?

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            • I’m torn on this. There’s a lot of painful ignorance on the gun control side, but there’s also a lot of bad-faith nitpicking on the pro-gun side [1], and that tends to be a self-reinforcing cycle. Since the pro-gun people are usually more knowledgeable, it’s really unhelpful when they use their expertise to pointlessly own the libs.

              [1] Seriously seen multiple semi-prominent ones insist it’s crucial to know what the AR in “AR-15” stands for.

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              • I’d be happy if the speaker understood the terms: magazine vs clip, full auto vs semi auto, generally what is required to purchase a hand gun or long gun from a dealer, to ship it between states, and what, generally, the law allows civilians to purchase and which are controlled by the National Firearms Act. That would be a good start.

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                  • The same as the difference a uterus and cervix, or blastocyst versus an embryo versus a fetus.

                    That is, a useless distraction to dismiss arguments.

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                      • Hey, if we were a bunch of policy wonks sitting around trying to craft legislation, you would be right on the money.

                        But that’s not what’s going on here, or at Parkland.

                        What is going on is the bigger challenge of America’s relationship to guns and who should have them, and under what conditions.

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                        • I dunno. All in all, I think we should be encouraging each other to know more about the political change we want to enact.

                          Part of my problem with the way some pro-gun people handle this is that they use it as an annoying power play, driving the perception on the part of people that don’t know better that the distinction between “automatic” and “semi-automatic” is some weird bit of trivia, like Eugene Stoner’s favorite color something.

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                            • I… don’t think it is.

                              I mean, it’s a distinction that is already legally relevant, and it provides a clear example where there’s a broad consensus that heavily restricting civilian ownership of some classes of firearms is legitimate and Constitutional.

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                      • Its the absurd posture of “if you don’t know the technical details of the female reproductive system you aren’t to be taken seriously on abortion” to demonstrate the equal absurdity of “if you don’t know the difference between a clip and a magazine you aren’t to be taken seriously on gun control.“.

                        Both issues are high level moral issues, not small bore technical ones.

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                        • OK, well, speaking as someone with a uterus and a cervix I really don’t think the difference is small bore and technical at all. *puzzled face* Not just for abortion, but like, it’s *important*. The equivalent of knowing the difference between a testicle and the base of the shaft of the penis, whether or not you use those terms or terms less technical and more salty. If someone started talking about vasectomies and they didn’t know the difference between those two parts of the male anatomy, I’d figure they were kooks, not just ignorant of the details… and kooks aren’t to be reasoned with.

                          Basic female (or male) anatomy is far more general-knowledge-and-important-for-life than are the parts of any tool.

                          Is this one of those generational differences I keep hearing about?

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