Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Delicate Constitution


Oh, well, shoot (as they say). I don't know.

We've got a problem with guns. We don't agree what it is, but no matter who you are, you have to admit we do a lot of shooting in this country. Most of us don't, but this is one of those areas where one person can have an outsized effect. And the fact is, other nations do not experience the violence that is routine here in the U. S. of A. You know, unless they're in a war. So there's something going on. Can't keep pretending there isn't.

People who oppose any gun regulation like to say that the problem of mass murder boils down to mental illness. But it's not just mentally ill people doing this shit. All kinds of people are ready to put some hurt on random strangers. And the tut-tutting about the mentally ill is generally done by people who won't even sign on for universal health care.

So we have a situation in which reasonable people, people I know and love, people who will never commit a crime, who merely want the ability to defend their house and home in the way they feel comfortable with, and maybe pop a deer every now and then, are so horrified by the utterly imaginary prospect that someone is going to try to take away their guns that they have drawn a line: and the line is All weapons, Always. They might not need a weapon capable of flattening a crowd of people, personally, but they will defend to the death someone else's right to have it. Preferably someone else's death.

Every time someone suggests assault weapons should be banned, someone else chimes in to suggest how ignorant that is. He will then helpfully explain that there is no such thing as an assault weapon, that it is a semantic construct unrelated to anything in the current commercially-available arsenal, and the simple addition of a diphthong-kit can easily render even a carved-dogwood cap rifle into a fully asthmatic splatterstick at a price of $18.99, available at any Walmart. He will further explain that any bullet is capable of dropping a silhouetted teenager in a dark hoodie and it doesn't matter if it runs him clean through or shreds him spectacularly along the way, so regulating ammunition or the speed at which it can exit a firearm is of no value. Basically, you can kill someone with darn near anything, so these distinctions are without merit.

These people make a good point. That point being it is absolutely true that I do not know anything about guns. So I will state my dumb-ass beliefs as simply as I can.

I am not afraid of gun owners; I might even be less afraid of people than they are. I believe citizens who want firepower for hunting purposes or who feel they are safer when armed should have those arms. I believe the Second Amendment as written is a historical fossil. I believe a well regulated Militia does not mean the lawless Bundy gang or the Nazis at the Capitol, and doesn't really apply to anything currently necessary to the security of a free State. I also do not believe for one blessed moment that living in a country saturated with guns makes us safer. That's some wild-West horseshit right there. Now to the technical part: I think people should not be allowed to own bang-bangs that can rain bullets and mow people down in a couple of seconds. And, as an aside, I believe anyone who thinks he has a God-given right to shoot lead ammunition should be pinned down on the desert floor without water in condor territory.

It is remarkable to me how much folks on the fringes, right and left, autocrat and anarchist, resemble each other. They are disinclined to question their own dogma, they're scared of shadowy government forces taking away their guns, and they have plans to personally hold off the U. S. Military from their basement bunkers.
 
And here I am, silly me, stranded in the middle with my fingers in my ears, afraid of global warming.
 
Is there a way to get these fringes to face off in one massive cage match? When they run out of bullets we can yard out the carcasses for the remaining vultures, and then maybe we can address some issues with actual existential consequences for us all.

29 comments:

  1. I’m standing right beside you, fingers in my ears too👍❤️

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  2. Hmmm... your last paragraph is a great idea, as far as it goes. Maybe the thing to do is use social media to report that the Proud Boys have a secret vendetta against the Oath Keepers, who in turn are conspiring against the Proud Boys. Repeat these rumours about other fringe groups with guns. Since they seem to believe everything they read on social media, maybe we can get them to shoot each other, thereby solving that problem at least.

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    1. If the recent speculation that the COVID vaccine actually prevents you from being able to transmit COVID is true, we may see some significant political demographic shifts.

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    2. Right there’s your next post, please.

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    3. I mean, as long as they were just continuing to keep the virus alive for Freedom, it didn't do anybody any good, right? But if we vaccinated people are not only protected, but can't infect others, well now...hmmm...

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    4. I think mimimanderly is on to something.

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  3. And as a baby step, can't we at least (PLEASE!) place a legal limit on magazine capacity??? (And I'm not talking about National Geographic or Mademoiselle.)

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    1. You'll take my Vogue away from my cold, dead hands! LOL!

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  4. This is one area where I am very, very glad we don't emulate your country. Our mass shooting which pales into insignificance beside many of yours (except for the affected families for whom it is NOT insignificant) spurred immediate action. Action which has so far not been watered down.

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  5. "fringes, right and left"? Tell me about all the people on the left recently committing mass murders or recommending suppression and/or extermination of those different from they are, or trying to overthrow the government. I'll wait.

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    1. She said nothing about mass murders or extermination. They are disinclined to question their own dogma, they're scared of shadowy government forces taking away their guns, and they have plans to personally hold off the U. S. Military from their basement bunkers.

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    2. She said "fringes, right and left." The right fringes are dedicated to hurting people in very large numbers in a multiplicity of ways, and they work very hard at it. This country has no similar left fringe. False equivalency has been so deeply ingrained in us by the news media that people often just don't question it. I have often encountered people who can't tell the very real difference between "an extreme leftist" and "a leftist who is extremely stupid." There are more of the latter in the US than of the former, but far fewer of either than of those on the far right. The right has convinced people that the center is the left, and the center-left is the far left.

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    3. I agree with you. For the record, I do not consider the two fringes equivalent at all except in their fervency and disinclination to revisit their doctrines. And the gun thing. Which is a far bigger deal on the right, but I've been dismayed to see the same conspiracy-thinking on the left. I prefer my "side" to be reasonable at all times...

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  6. Gun lunacy wasn't such a huge thing until in the 1970s the management of the NRA was taken over by those dedicated to maximizing firearm sales at all costs, and of course the ideal situation for maximizing sales of firearms is civil war and anarchy (as long as there is still a stable currency), so they do what they can to bring on those ends, and they can do plenty. Those people have dedicated themselves to convincing everyone who will listen that the Second Amendment means that ANY citizen has the right to possess or store or transport or buy or sell or otherwise transfer ANY number of ANY firearm under ANY circumstances, with attendant ammunition. Part of the sales effort is to convince people that there are many of their fellows to be afraid of, and that liberals will take their guns if they don’t buy and hide them now. It reminds me of the caching of hidden weapons in Rwanda leading up to the genocide there. The other major part of the sales effort is to convince people that anyone trying to regulate firearms is the enemy and deserving of death. Sales and fascism. A win-win situation, one might say with extreme sarcasm. But I’m rambling. Look up who the board members of the NRA have been since the early 70’s, and then — “Follow the money.” There was an excellent and very detailed article by Jill Lepore about the foregoing in the April 23, 2012 issue of The New Yorker called “Battleground America—One nation, under the gun.”

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  7. I'm not sure what exactly to say here. I don't believe anyone should have a gun at all, after all, if no one has them, you won't need one for your own safety, right? Guns belong in the military, who might need them if there is a war. Possibly also for law enforcement officers, but not to be drawn just willy-nilly, but held back as a last resort and then NOT used to kill.

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    1. That is also my ideal world, but I can't imagine any possibility of disarming America altogether, so I just move on.

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  8. I gave up trying to have any semblance of an intelligent conversation with a Gun enthusiast, ever. I am in complete Agreement with every word you wrote, so I can easily discuss Guns with people who are like us... but the Gun Worshipping kind, not so much. Sadly, even The Man is inclined to lose his shit when that topic comes up and seems fearful some imaginary force could or would take away his Right to bear Arms. After 39 Years in the Military, a portion of it as a Sniper and having to pop whoever they gave him a dossier on, I would think he would have mellowed over the topic... given the carnage Assault Weapons have caused in both War and Peacetime. The only topic we can actually agree on tho' is that Assault Weaponry should not be necessary to Citizen Joe or Citizen Jane... they can be Hunters and they can defend themselves just fine with Hunting Weapons and regular Guns that don't cause mass casualties. I do not see this problem being solved by our Govt. anytime soon... too Hot a topic to touch... wouldn't wanna rile up those Wingnuts armed to the Teeth... since we already Witnessed the carnage they can cause at a Capitol just using their Blue Lives Matter Flags to beat Cops senseless and go looking to hang a former Vice President that had been a Good Soldier to their Lunatic Leader!

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    1. My uncles were gun enthusiasts, one of whom got into a heated argument on the subject with my husband over Christmas dinner, back before we married. He walked out and never spoke to us again, and from what I heard from another uncle, he was really vitriolic when he heard Paul and I married. Fortunately, this other uncle -- although a gun lover -- didn't hold our opinions against us.

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  9. It was clear when a crazed gunman shot a classroom full of 6 year olds, and no one did anything about it, that our country's gun maniacs had us all by the (cannon)balls. It is utterly disgusting.

    The other day Sen. Graham stated that he was glad he owned an AR-15 in case of a "natural disaster in South Carolina". What in the A F ?

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    1. In his case, he really feels the need to do a manhood display.

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    2. I thought natural disasters were things like floods and earthquakes. How is an AR-15 going to help?

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  10. I'm sorry I missed all the excitement here yesterday, I spent the better part of the day undergoing a medical thing. Murr, you sure wrote an excellent piece--I couldn't agree with someone more. I just wish someone could figure out what the ^*%*!@#!! is wrong with this country. Back in the 1990s when Australia had that gun buy-back program, they collected over 650,000 weapons when all was said and done. Here in the US, a program like what would probably increase gun sales a couple million.

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  11. I saw a piece on our TV news last week about a gun buy back happening in one of your states, don't remember which one, but assault weapons handed over got the owner a $300 gift card for something, maybe groceries or similar and smaller weapons got a $200 gift card; one woman handed in her six hand guns. SIX!

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    1. I'll have to look that up. I know various nations have done that but I don't think I knew a US state had.

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  12. Those on the fringes so closely resemble each other because the left-right construct is not linear but circular and the far ends do meet. See. I made a comment without revealing a position and elucidating even less, I suppose.

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