It’s different this time

I can’t tell you why I’m so sure we can do it this time, but we’re going to take on the NRA and win. For once, we’re going to make politicians do the right thing, instead of protecting their financial sponsors.

On guns

Molly Ivins, 1993:

AUSTIN – Guns. Everywhere guns.


Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife.


In the first place, you have catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.


As a civil libertarian, I of course support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.


I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson’s heart that teen-age drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channelling?


There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, i.e., the armed forces including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.


The comparison most often used is that of the automobile, another lethal object that is regularly used to wreak great carnage. Obviously, this society is full of people who haven’t got enough common sense to use an automobile properly. But we haven’t outlawed cars yet.


We do, however, license them and their owners, restrict their use to presumably sane and sober adults and keep track of who sells them to whom. At a minimum, we should do the same with guns.


In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns – whether for target shooting, hunting or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe) – should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England – a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace.


The argument that “guns don’t kill people” is patent nonsense. Anyone who has ever worked in a cop shop knows how many family arguments end in murder because there was a gun in the house. Did the gun kill someone? No. But if there had been no gun, no one would have died. At least not without a good footrace first. Guns do kill. Unlike cars, that is all they do.


Michael Crichton makes an interesting argument about technology in his thriller “Jurassic Park.” He points out that power without discipline is making this society into a wreckage. By the time someone who studies the martial arts becomes a master – literally able to kill with bare hands – that person has also undergone years of training and discipline. But any fool can pick up a gun and kill with it.


“A well-regulated militia” surely implies both long training and long discipline. That is the least, the very least, that should be required of those who are permitted to have guns, because a gun is literally the power to kill. For years, I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psycho-sexual hang-ups – always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand. But letting the noisy minority in the National Rifle Association force us to allow this carnage to continue is just plain insane.


I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don’t know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have to have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.


Ban the damn things. Ban them all.


You want protection? Get a dog.

Rahm to Holder: ‘STFU on guns’

Rahmn Emanuel tweeted this yesterday. Compare with this 2009 quote from Jake Tapper:

It turns out that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wasn’t the only member of the Obama Cabinet with a STFU policy.


Then White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had one too, on guns, according to Daniel Klaidman’s Kill or Capture:

“Now Emanuel had his sights set on Holder. The attorney general had gotten off to a rocky start with the White House with his ‘nation of cowards’ speech. One week later, Holder stepped into it again. On February 25, (2009) Jim Messina, Emanuel’s deputy, walked into his boss’s office to inform him of Holder’s latest ‘gaffe.’


At a press conference earlier that day, Holder had told reporters that the administration would push to reinstate the assault-weapons ban, which had expired in 2004. The comments roused the powerful gun lobby and its water carriers on Capitol Hill. ‘Senators to Attorney General: Stay Away from Our Guns’ read a press release issued by Senator Max Baucus of Montana-a Democrat, no less.


“Emanuel was furious. He slammed his desk and cursed the attorney general. Holder was only repeating a position Obama had expressed during the campaign, but that was before the White House needed the backing of pro-gun Democrats from red states for their domestic agenda. The chief of staff sent word to Justice that Holder needed to ‘shut the f*ck up’ on guns…”


The back story on this is important. Emanuel, as a congressman who chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (and as such helped recapture the House) came to understand that for many Democratic members of Congress is swing districts, supporting gun control was a liability. The “majority makers,” as then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to call them, were often from rural or blue collar districts where the NRA was active.

Yes, Rahm was the guy who packed the Congress with so many Blue Dogs, he made sure we couldn’t get any progressive policies passed. In fact, he went out of his way to sabotage any real Democrats who were running.

NRA stopped CT law that would have outlawed 30-round magazines

Art teacher Eric Mueller sets up 27 wooden angel cut-outs in memory of the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY


Wayne LaPierre and the NRA are cowards in the face of the death of little children, shot down in kindergarten class. They took down their Facebook page and they’re nowhere to be found in the media? Why? Because they can’t defend the indefensible. I’m not sure why it’s different this time, but I’m convinced this is the time we take on the NRA – and win:

Magazines that fed bullets into the primary firearm used to kill 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school would have been banned under state legislation that the National Rifle Association and gunmakers successfully fought.
[image display=”thumb” link=”source” align=”right” alt=”angels.jpg” width=”300″ height=”225″ id=”19542″]Art teacher Eric Mueller sets up 27 wooden angel cut-outs in memory of the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. [/image]


The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Adam Lanza, 20, used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle with magazines containing 30 rounds as his main weapon, said Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance at a news conference today.


A proposal in March 2011 would have made it a felony to possess magazines with more than 10 bullets and required owners to surrender them to law enforcement or remove them from the state. Opponents sent more than 30,000 e-mails and letters to state lawmakers as part of a campaign organized by the NRA and other gun advocates, said Robert Crook, head of the Hartford- based Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, which opposed the legislation.


“The legislators got swamped by NRA emails,” said Betty Gallo, who lobbied on behalf of the legislation for Southport- based Connecticut Against Gun Violence. “They were scared of the NRA and the political backlash.”


Proponents abandoned the legislation, which drew opposition from gunmakers including Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) In addition to the e-mails and letters, more than 300 pro-gun activists, including many NRA members, attended a committee hearing to oppose it, said Gallo, a Hartford-based lobbyist for more than 35 years.


[…] Both sides in the debate disputed the role of high-capacity magazines in the Dec. 14 school shooting.
Crook said state legislation “wouldn’t have made a difference.”


“We already have a lot of good gun laws on the books,” Crook said. “You can’t control people who have never done anything wrong before and then just go off the deep end.”


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said in an interview that high-capacity magazines “made the crime all the more deadly” and called for limits.


The media office of the NRA didn’t respond to e-mails seeking comment about the shooting or the law, or return phone messages left with an answering service.

Come Thou font of every blessing

This brought back a funny memory from, oh I don’t know, at least ten years ago. I called my then-boyfriend (a classic-rock kinda guy) because for some reason, I couldn’t get the sound to work on my computer and I wanted to listen to a new CD. I tried everything he told me to do, and in frustration, he finally said it might have something to do with the CD. “What CD is it?” he said.

And since he was always accusing me of being a music snob (I’m really not – I’m more of a music nerd), I apologetically said, “Um, it’s the new Sufjan Stevens CD.” His response: Complete and utter silence.

Ten years later, a lot more people have heard about him –maybe even my ex. But it still cracks me up to think about it.

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