Not only does the gun lobby have no shame...

Following the Sandy Hook massacre of twenty first graders with an assault rifle, but the gun lobby is now threatening violent revolution. Appearing on MSNBC on Monday, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt, argued that the right to bear arms is necessary to make our democratic government cower in fear of gun owners. Pratt said, “We have guns fundamentally protected by the Second Amendment to control the government.” He went on to say that he thinks it “bothers lawmakers” that armed Americans can attack them with assault weapons, a position Gabby Giffords probably agrees with.

This is the position the gun lobby is taking in response to the deafening calls around the nation for new gun safety laws, which would prohibit the sale of the very assault weapons and high capacity ammo clips that are routinely used in these deadly massacres. It’s a “pry my gun from my cold dead hands,” approach, which could have tragic consequences - stirring up secessionist crazies around the nation.

Our nation is again dealing with a tragedy that happens all too often, yet the corporate gun lobby, focused more on profits than on safety, is helping set up more and more mass shootings in the future. We know how to respond to danger here in America. One shoe bomber, and we all take off our shoes at the airport. One threat of binary liquids and we can't carry liquids on airplanes. One underwear bomber, and we put in billions of dollars in porno x-ray scanners and grope granny. There are more than twenty mass shootings every year in America and over a hundred people are shot every day...but we can't do something about guns?

It's time to start pushing hard for laws that say that unless you can prove you NEED a gun, you can't have one. And if you do have one, you have to prove proficiency and the gun - and you - must be licensed. To hell with the blood-soaked gun lobby and their toadies Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.


leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 14 weeks ago

In Florida, a bartender and the employing establishment can be held responsible for DUI consequences of patrons. A business could lose its liquor license if it sends someone into the streets who has an accident and is over the intoxication limit.

When I was a juror in a case where North Miami police shot a 20 year old 22 times in the back while running, because they saw "a gun in his waist," I could not decide who disgusted me more- the police or the pawnshop owner who sold the kid the gun.

He was a greasy, silver- haired, overweight slicker in a shiny silver suit, who took the stand with pride. "The Gun" was put on display, which made all the ladies uneasy, and the pawn broker was questioned intensely about whether he was the one who sold this gun to the 20 year old. He was so proud of his merchandise.

"Yep, that's the one," recalling the year-old sale with crystal clarity.

For a moment I thought, oh boy, he has to take some responsibility. But he left the witness stand a hero, having successfully identified the un-fired gun he sold to a 20 year old dead Haitian boy, only in this country a few months.

Eventhough the boy never fired the gun, and was running from the police because of a drug deal, because the police killed him it was a homicide occurring in the course of a drug felony, and the Prosecutor was charging the boy's brother with the murder because he was part of the drug deal.

If bartenders can be held responsible for a death-related DUI, why shouldn't pawnshop owners assume some responsibility for guns they sell which result in armed robberies, violent shootings and murders? This was an obvious case of a gun sale headed for trouble- a kid who barely speaks English, who is poor, who doesn't have a job-

What did that slimeball think was going to happen with that gun? Yet, he left the courtroom smug as a bug, like, "I'm not the one in trouble. Hoo-ha."

The jury was disgusted with the whole prosecution. The brother, in the end was acquitted of the homicide, fortunately because the prosecutor wanted the Death Penalty. He was sentenced for drugs. The next day a a story broke on police corruption and the lead police investigator of the case. It had been withheld from the news until the case was over.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 10 years 14 weeks ago

Don't forget to mention that the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and the guys with liquids didn't even hurt anyone.

David Auts's picture
David Auts 10 years 14 weeks ago

Are we not attacking a symptom of a greater problem by instituting more gun control laws? Isn’t the real underlying problem income and wealth inequality and shouldn’t we put all our energy into solving that problem rather and chasing the issue du jour?

TarryFaster 10 years 14 weeks ago

See what happens when you key the phrase, "antidepressants shootings" into Google. Then reflect on all of the antidepressant commercials you see on TV and the extreme lack of discussion that includes this side of the issue. Like NOBODY is talking about what these under-regulated drugs are doing to us.

Femlin's picture
Femlin 10 years 14 weeks ago

Shouldn't we have enough energy to work on more than one problem at a time? And how is economic inequality the root problem for a young man living in an expensive home with a mother receiving a 6-figure income?

garryej's picture
garryej 10 years 14 weeks ago

As if! As if the govt. (county, city, state, federal) cannot out gun any of us any time it wants - with armored vehicles, large-calibre automatic weapons, gas, armor, etc., etc. Has anyone ever heard of a police standoff where the shooter won? He might kill people in the process but the result is usually (almost always) deadly for the 'gun owner'!

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 14 weeks ago

Because his mother could afford expensive weapons and trips to the rifle range.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 10 years 14 weeks ago

Im a liberal, but I agree with the gun owners in this one instance (separation of powers; overthrow an oppressive govt.. the GOP mainly today are fascists).. People wantine to kill will simply pick up a rock, a baseball bat, a knife, use an illegal gun, or hire someone.. So I doubt restricting guns would make much difference.. Granted it would cut down on a particular type of killing.. And it seems timely real world proof that about the same time as we had this school shooting in america, some nutjob with a knife killed 20 children in China..

Corporate money has turned amrica fascist (10 years of war, the govt moving sharply to the right of the people, controlling the major media, controlling poilticians like puppets.. Corporate money has almost defeated the separation of powers, by controling bioth the legislative branch and the judicial branch of govt.. Another constitutional solution to an oppressive govt was the right to peacrfilly assemple, but we had the cops cracking heads of peaceful protesters.. Can anyone tell me america of not fascist.. Mayve violent revolution is the next only possible solution..

How inportant is the constututional reason for arms? If
"fascist" Nazi germany did not outlaw guns, might the resistance had more success before 6-million jews were murdered?

Instead of focusing on restricting guns, I would like to see mandatory waiting periods, background checks, and mandatory training and licensing..

I probably will not see replies (I cant figure out how to know when there is activity on these message boards)..

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 10 years 14 weeks ago

...i could not agree more. it was bad enough when i was a kid and they wanted me to do ritalin but at least my mom had enough sense that drugs were not the way out, she just wooped me harder, seriously! now you have doctors prescribing any thing to shut the kid up with out real thougth of the side effects. I let my doctor give me welbutrin once to quit smoking, two days later i was so far up into the scary part of my head i threw them out and then thought hmm, lets see what the potential side effects really are. That was like 10 years ago. so just recently he wants to score me Chantix! potential side effects? he goes through a list but the one that hit hard was the suicidal tendancy one? how 'bout the sudden urge to run in front of an on coming train? so in the meantime i am on my way to potential COPD if i can kick the habit but to take a pill that at 50 i know will "F" with my head? Problem is a kid doesn't know, get the drug out of the equation and then see what happens. Matter of fact? I think someone needs to demand that every kid currently on or previously on any sort of the numerous drugs we so eagerly cop to should immediatley be brought in for serious evaluation and monitoring and quite possibly long term tracking. also those families with kids on dope? need to have all the guns taken away!!! something is just getting more and more twisted with our culture....

drdwb's picture
drdwb 10 years 14 weeks ago

I agree totally, here we are going after a symptom, not the cause.

I own shot guns and a rifle I hunt, I have no automatic weapons I have no pistols,I don't Have a need for them. Here I see us totally over reacting to a tradegy that is playing out over and over, the real cause of many of these mass shootings and for a large percentage of youth and adult suicides is the use of a class of drugs called SSRIs which are a supressent to a much needed brain chemical called Seratonin, one simply has to Google SSRIs and shootings to find many stories and links to research connecting these drugs to the deaths. Yet big Pharma corps control the media,and thus the information released to the public.

I am so frustrated with our corporate controlled media,why isn't this story being told, more people die each year due to msuse and abuse of these drugs than have died in all the plane crashes and wars weve been in, yet there is no action?

leighmf's picture
leighmf 10 years 14 weeks ago

Agreed there have been bogus drugs for everything since Dr. Fleming's Pills for Women. And, a mismatch of psychiatric condition and drug can be fatal to the user or others. That is why PSYCHIATRISTS should be the prescribers, not LPNs or the family doctor. Psych medication needs monitoring and sometimes a period of hospitalization to find therapeutic levels. There are many criteria psychiatrists use to evaluate a patient's illness and ideally brain scans and other tests are run to eliminate disease, such as a brain tumor, which could cause bizarre behavior. Then a patient has to be physically seen and interviewed by the doctor to determine if the drug is effective.

It is logical that shooters and killers associated with reckless or odd behavior and not keeping jobs, are also on anti-depressants. It is because of their underlying illness they are taking the anti-depressant. It is not the drug but the illness that is shooting.

Millions of people take anti-depressants who wouldn't swat a fly, but they'd be crying and non-functional otherwise. This includes the terminally ill and elderly.

Most psych prescriptions require doctor authorization for refills which go along with routine office visits. Unfortunately, the laws have been relaxed to allow others than psychiatrists to prescribe. Patients also have to comply by not combining medications with other drugs, herbal products, alcohol. People who are doing so should be hospitalized- how practical is that? In fact, I will go so far to say that every mass shooter or bomber should have been a hospital patient- not a person on the street.

Mentally ill people should not have access to guns.

JRV's picture
JRV 10 years 14 weeks ago

Every American should hang their head in shame! What kind of a nation have we become? On almost a daily basis some nut case goes on a mass shooting spree wrecking havoc and leaving a bloody trail. In Connecticut, 26 lives are snuffed out including 20 young kindergarten and first grade school kids. An additional 6 adults perished in this mindless carnage as well. Just a few days before, innocent shoppers doing Christmas shopping in a Mall are slaughtered. Gun violence is a blight on this nation. It is the product of weak, spineless politicians who are too cowardly to stand up to the National Rifle Association and others in the gun lobby. The NRA has dictated gun policy in the United States since it created the Institute for Legislative Action in 1968 when Harlan Carter, the NRA’s radical President at the time proclaimed there would never be a new gun law in his lifetime. The NRA"s current head, Wayne LaPierre is one of the most powerful figures in this country because he can bring politicians of all persuasions to their knees. He is nothing more than a terrorist with the blood of thousands on his hands in my opinion and the National Rifle Association is one of the most dangerous organizations in our country today. They have been for the past 40 years as they have aggressively fought any reasonable measures to deal with firearms. I am tired of the gun zealots who immediately claim it's not the guns that are the problem. Guns are a big part of the problem because too many idiots who shouldn't have them do! The gun lobby’s answer is to arm everyone so we can have shootouts in public places to stop the crazies. Our founding fathers would be aghast at the mayhem done in the name of the Second Amendment.

I know my rant is going to anger a lot of people but I don’t care! The bloody massacres are insane beyond description. The sad part is that we are probably past the point of no return. There are so many guns out there now that nothing we could do short of draconian measures would have an effect. Politicians have cowered from this issue for so long they are incapable and completely unwilling to do anything that might upset the gun lobby. Reality is we better accept the fact that on a regular basis we have to witness the slaughter of innocents because of our lack of collective will to do anything about it. No state or local law will have any impact because people just go where it's easier to get guns. Thieves will have an endless supply for as long as we can see because of the staggering number of guns out there.

Until there is one uniform, comprehensive national firearms law that provides consistency throughout the land we will never see an end or meaningful reduction to this madness. The piecemeal approach of the past has been completely ineffective and more laws at the state and local level aren’t the answer. Putting more band aids on with an assault weapon ban, or plastic handgun bans or bullet restrictions won't work either. I believe the following would serve as a foundation to start bringing the national gun violence plague under control.

  1. Purchase of any firearm, whether from a licensed gun dealer or private party at any gun show, requires a standardized national written application with positive proof of identification and structured to identify criminal or mental histories. Exchange of firearms between other private parties should require filing a standardized notice with local law enforcement providing the identity of both the buyer and seller and complete description of the weapon. There should be meaningful penalties for non compliance
  2. Mandatory seven day waiting period between date of application and date of delivery of the firearm while a thorough background investigation is conducted.
  3. Mandatory classroom training in the safe use, storage and maintenance of firearms before a sale can be consummated and followed by demonstration of basic proficiency as a condition of obtaining the permit or license.
  4. Required licensing of firearms owners and registration of all firearms in a national firearms data base.
  5. Support of this system should come through establishment of user fees sufficient to cover the costs.
  6. Mandatory confiscation and destruction of any unlicensed or unregistered firearm along with stiff penalties for failure to have a license or register a firearm.
  7. Strictly enforce existing laws involving commission of crimes with a firearm.
  8. Classification of Firearms into the following with increased fees for the type of weapon.
    1. Handguns – recreational
    2. Handguns – modified
    3. Long guns defined for legitimate hunting purposes
    4. Weapons of war which is any weapon designed and intended for use by the military and has no legitimate value as a hunting weapon.
    5. Collectors weapons

While these measures will be fought to the death by the gun lobby and they aren’t the panacea for all violence, they are a first step in trying to solve what has become a national disgrace. If we aren’t willing to do this much in the name of 5 and 6 year old kids who are senselessly slaughtered at Christmastime by someone who possessed handguns legally purchased by his mother who herself became a victim, then we truly do not deserve to call ourselves the greatest nation on earth.

douglas m 10 years 14 weeks ago

ive been readings these blogs for a long time but this is the first stupid thing i have ever seen.
you have to prove your afraid of your nieghborhood because you dont make much money like some obvious people that made that satement!
the only thing i have heard smart so far about gun control was to have a mental check status on the sale and puchase of all weapons.
the second amendment is as strong as the first amendment for many reasons.
i dont own a gun but i support them.
statistically more gun laws equals more gun crimes.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago
Quote hartmann:"We know how to respond to danger here in America. One shoe bomber, and we all take off our shoes at the airport. One threat of binary liquids and we can't carry liquids on airplanes. One underwear bomber, and we put in billions of dollars in porno x-ray scanners and grope granny."

Yes, those are pretty ridiculous over reactions, aren't they, and so is the current propaganda that is done in order to disarm Americans from the criminals...not just the street criminals but, more important, against those that have stolen our Democratic of the very reasons we have an Amendment to the Constitution encouraging everyone to have their own weapons. If you listen to those people who pretend to be liberal Democrats who are wailing about more gun controls, the criminals in Washington would have nothing to fear and everything to gain as we all have everything to lose.

The overreactions that were taken in the name of protecting us against the terrorists have taken away our liberties and freedoms...subjecting us all to totalitarian-like rule that is not finished with us in that regard quite yet. One more step for them is to take away any possibility of retaliation by a well armed citizenry.

I know that there are those who believe that there just wouldn't be any contest in any kind of battle against the entrenched powers and that may very well be true....or not. But even under such a possibility of a rebellion happening would not be a very welcome thing in Washington. And then you have to wonder if our military would even follow orders to fire on potentially their own fathers, brothers, or sisters. But I'd bet such a possibility would be even more influential in how Washington governs than if they didn't have to worry about such things. After all...look how gutless the Democrats are (the Republicans have most of the guns...don't they? If more Democrats stopped shirking their responsibility and quit being such pusillanimous cowards and armed themselves...we'd have more bite behind our keep the greedy hounds at bay). If you let your only means of protection reside in organizations that are easily, and most likely, corrupt then you have no protection at all.

We already know that our votes don't really count for anything...both parties represent the wealthy in this country not the majority. Take away all the guns and they don't have to worry about it at all. They would continue along their merry corrupt ways and continue to pretend there is a democracy and continue to screw the majority.

You said that there were over 20 mass shootings every year...without, of course, a caveat that none of them were even close to the last one in that school in Connecticut. Are you really interested in portraying the truth or are you really trying to use propagandist scare tactics on behalf of those in power who would rather see us all without guns?

Have you even mentioned the similar attacks on children in schools in China where they ban guns and where the killer used knives and clubs? And then, what about Rwanda? Egads...if those 800,000 victims had guns they could have protected themselves...don't let that happen here in America!!!

Are you even concerned about the root why these people did what they did? Are we even willing to modify our behavior, as parents, as educators, as administrators, as politicians? Will wealthy parents teach their children not to be such snotty rich kid brats who make fun of others? Or not so rich parents teach their children not to make fun of others for any reason? Will the U.S. stop murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent children in other countries? Will they just stop all that killing, bullying, stealing from other countries?

No one wants to look at the root causes or deal with them. Instead of modifying THEIR attitudes and actions they'd rather make the majority of people, who had nothing to do with the killings, suffer. Take away all the guns... and people will just find other ways of killing masses of people. This has been proven in China and other countries already. Knives, clubs, gas, explosions, biological agents. Deal with the root causes...our whole attitude system...change it from a greed, class, hate and "I'm better than you" system to one where everyone respects everyone else...and propagate that down to the children as well.

douglas m 10 years 14 weeks ago

i cant believe that 20 children in china were killed by a knife attack on the same day and no ones cares to mention that we should ban all knifes. same concept. violence is violence, its wrong but hurt people need to lash out. a nation mourns and grabs at any possible solution.
what stops a person from driving over a bunch of people,getting rid of all the cars?
maybe starting with mentally ill people and getting them more help through more programs,god only knows.
i am not trying to lesson what happen just trying to jump past captian obvious-guns bad.

novasystems's picture
novasystems 10 years 14 weeks ago

I couldn't agree more with Thom's editorial on guns. I am a gun owner, and would gladly give up my old shotgun (which I never use anyway but grew up with) with gun control laws. Gladly. While the conversation about this tradgedy is thankfully morphing into more thoughtful conversations, I note that there is an elephant in the room no one is talking about in the media, and its name is the pharmaceutical/medical industry and the enormous addiction to SSRI's in this country. Every drug in this class (Paxil, etc. ---there are tons of them now) has the potential (and proven track record) to occasionally induce psychotic and self destructive behavior, and statistically moreso in those who are very unstable. The control the pharmaceutical/medical industry has even over the media is phenomenal; you will never hear someone on regular TV discuss this in detail or have guests on who know this field intimately. Never. Gun violence kills a few thousand people a year, a good percentage of it happens with people who are on SSRI's and other meds. You will never see a published tox screen readout on the perpetrators. My God! what would become of the huge profits and game of lies this industry is based on if the evening news published the names of the drugs these people are found to be on. Probably the same thing that should happen to the gun industry. Both are parasites, surviving on deception and redirection, like any good parasite that tries to keep your immune system from noticing there's something living off you that does not belong there.

Everyone is finally looking around at the multiple causational factors and starting to wonder how to approach this. This is good. All the big issues in Mental Health, Public Safety, Gun Control, and DRUG USE, SPECIFICLLY SSRI's have to get a good public airing. We can't turn the ship of opinion on a dime, and this recent tragedy will hardly be the end of things like this for years to come, but we do have to look at ALL factors.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago

Has anyone noticed the eyes in those photos of all of those mass they were on drugs or under hypnosis or something? Notice how wide-open they are. Every one of those killers had the same kind of stare. What better way of scaring people into cracking down on gun ownership than to use an MKULTRA-like mind control on certain patsies. Just like they scared the masses out of their freedoms on 911. I'm not saying I totally believe this but just raise it as a possibility.

Lizzy's picture
Lizzy 10 years 14 weeks ago

People continue to post the lie that a man in China killed 20 children with a knife. He did attack the children BUT THEY ALL LIVED!!!!

Crucual difference between a knife attack and an attack with a semi-automatic weapon--You are much more likely to survive.

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 10 years 14 weeks ago

We need to work towards a consensus that the central rational 60% can agree on. As some above stated we also have to deal with the reality that the country is already saturated with more (and more useless) weapons than can be controled. That said, I beleave that we can find creative solutions that can creatively improve the situation.

(1) Enforce Strict Liability on ownership of dangerous weapons. If you own dangerous weapons; keep them under control, out of the hands of children and others who might misuse them -- or risk extreme liability for any consequences resulting from their misuse. We already have precident for this. Ultimately if your weapon (in anyone's hands) causes injury -- you will suffer severe penalty (financial or incarceration) for not controling it's access.

(2) Require Mandatory Insurance for such Liability. This is the same as mandatory insurance for owning a car, ensuring care and compensation for those who suffer hurt. (Yes, it's a gift to the insurance industry, but they will do the background checks (and raise rates on high-risk individuals) -- something government might not be able to do. The Insurance Industry will also support this legislation, bringing big-bucks to the table.

The above and other creative innovative solutions, deal within the reality we face, can gain broad support from all many sides of the table, and can over-time work to reduce our out-of-control problem. Responsible gun owners can easilly support these reforms, as it's what they teach in practice. If they do, it pulls the rug out from under the extremists on both sides of the shouting-match.


dialindicator's picture
dialindicator 10 years 14 weeks ago

So, Thom is it income deparity like on last friday. Or is it high capcity clips like on monday. Or is it assault weapons like on tuesday. Or is it all guns like today. I can hardly wait to see what needs to be banned in the coming days. If Adam were still alive,by your politics we could imprison him for the rest of his life and just ban assault rifles and I would be all for those. But Adams not here nor is his mother. Next in line to blame and punish is the gun itself. So lets punish the gun and all who own them, lets not only restrict assault weapons, let us take every single shot 22 and crush them, let us take them all away. In the name of safety, in the name of justice.

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 10 years 14 weeks ago

Pratt needs mental counseling!

Anyone's intuition can be a useful and insightful "Mental Detector", just reading the statements by Larry Pratt indicates he has a few loose screws:

Larry Pratt, argued that the right to bear arms is necessary to make our democratic government cower in fear of gun owners. Pratt said, “We have guns fundamentally protected by the Second Amendment to control the government.” He went on to say that he thinks it “bothers lawmakers” that armed Americans can attack them with assault weapons, a position Gabby Giffords probably agrees with.

No where in the founding father's discussion of the present 2nd amendment did they call for preparing for armed insurrection against ourselves as a reason to keep and bear arms. Only someone mentally obsessed with their selfish vision will promote such a looney tunes justification for hoarding hand guns. That's our Larry Pratt.

In fact, if anyone wants to bring up mental illness as a contributor to the problem of guns and violence in America it is obvious you must include questioning the mental state of any gun hoarder. Hoarding guns is evidence of a serious mental disorder.

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 10 years 14 weeks ago

Excellent post, thank you!

psa9009's picture
psa9009 10 years 14 weeks ago

It boggles my mind that even after such a horrendous and horrific act ( New town, CT) 20 children (10 and under ) murdered early morning in a classroom full of life, Lobbyists ( basically bribers) , Congressmen ( especially Republicans, few democrats too) ) , NRA and socio paths refuse to revisit the gun laws . They are looking for ways way to wiggle out of this issue or maintain status quo. There is no sense in arming people with little or no education with assault weapons, tommorow they will be armed with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ,would that be justified too. I listen to Talk radio ,KFI ( AM 640 ) in Southern California , I 'd like to know if they have spend 5 minutes in support of banning assault weapons like the one used in the massacre of 20 beautiful toddlers because they are owned by Clear Channel which is a conglomerate . Why don't they arm these sick people with brief case size ,Nuclear Bombs because this will protect them with a sure shot guarantee against a Fascist regime thay fear will happen in the USA . These very people will kill Doctors for performing abortion that is done on consual basis or to save a motyher's life but they will do everything ( beg, borrow or steal) to support gun toting sick or abnormal people ,who can loose their mind over any stupid argument These NRA supporters they have no empathy for children and the parents whose life has changed forever ,for any amount of blood that is spilled, Tim McVey ( Oklahoma) and now this inhumane incident will never impress them because this is a me, me , me world. Shame on these pro assalt weapons proponents.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 14 weeks ago

"More gun laws equal more gun crimes..."Really, Douglas?! I just got finished watching Democracy Now, where I learned of a situation worth mention in this debate. Turns out Australia has had its own problems with mass shootings. They endured occasional incidents of this sort for twenty years, if I recall correctly; until April 28, 1996, the day of the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, when a Newton gunman killed 35 tourists and injured 23 others in a shooting rampage. It was the worst such incident in that country's history. Immediately after it occurred, the Australian government passed strict gun control laws that, among other things, made it illegal for civilians to possess assault weapons. All owners of such weapons were required to give them up. For compensation they were paid the full value of each weapon, plus ten percent. Not a bad deal, I'd say. But the best part of all is that it has worked. To this day, more than fifteen years after the Port Arthur massacre, there have been no more mass shootings in Australia.

macmanor's picture
macmanor 10 years 14 weeks ago

Thom, I almost always agree with you, I admire your deep thinking and excellent understanding of issues that are beyond me. But guns do a lot of good, I think it is important to address the root causes of violent behavior.

Video games, movies, and television condition people to violence. Not a problem for most of us, but some percentage of the population will react in an atypical way, and may be moved to play out terrible fantasies.

Heath care in this country should be an embarrassment to every citizen; we do not take care of our own people's needs, and that includes mental health care. If one were to tally suicide by all means, substance abuse, domestic violence, and mass shootings, there is an obvious need to be doing some things differently. There is no political will or popular sentiment for taking care of each other in the current social climate. Not every human need that can't be met by the individual is an "entitlement". People contribute to the common welfare even if they don't become economically self sufficient, and in the American economic system all but a very few are one health problem away from poverty.

Guns give the weak members of society a means to protect themselves from the strong and predatory members of our society, and that is not a bad thing.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 14 weeks ago

As I've heard pointed out numerous times, assault weapons are not suitable for hunting or recreational target practice, nor are they an appropriate means of self defense. They are weapons of war and their one purpose is the indiscriminate, mass killing of human beings. They don't even require a good aim to hit their targets. There is simply no place for them in civilian life.

Palindromedary, since participating in this blog I've had an impression of you as a thoughtful person with a good head on his shoulders. However today you seem less rational than usual. There's something about this issue that brings out so much paranoia in people. While you have made many excellent points on the subject, I think you are over-reacting to the idea of gun control in general. Nobody has suggested taking all guns away from everyone.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 14 weeks ago

Furthermore, the very idea that "We the People" can keep the U.S. government in check with our guns (as Mr. Pratt the NRA guy suggests) is patently absurd. The government not only has way more in their arsenal; their weapons are so vastly superior to anything civilians can access, we might as well be countering assault weapons with pea shooters! Let's get real, folks. We'd be out-gunned in no time.

Need I remind you that it is non-violent resistence, not violent revolution, which has proven most effective in social movements? I am confident Mr. Hartmann would support me on this.

To answer "Femlin's" question in message #6, you don't have to be poor to suffer the consequences of economic injustice. Any society thus afflicted is a society in decline, where you have the majority of people marginalized to various degrees. It creates a negative, hostile environment for everyone. Among the many social ills exacerbated by this problem is its toll on mental health.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 14 weeks ago

The number of people now taking antidepressants in our country is mind boggling. And wasn't that Connecticut shooter under the influence of some kind of psychotropic medication when he went on his murderous rampage?!

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people...!" If I hear that tired old NRA mantra one more time, I think I'll scream. - Aliceinwonderland

nora's picture
nora 10 years 14 weeks ago

A gun is a fetish

Today Thom said that -- in reality since the guns most Americans have stockpiled in hopes of standing well armed against an out-of-control government or a take-over of some kind are essentially USELESS against the superior weaponry of our government -- all these Americans are really only holding these guns as a FETISH. [I've taken a lot more words to paraphrase Thom's quick remark in conversation with a caller.]

WOW. I think Thom has a powerful point of understanding right there.

It actually helps me try to understand who we in America are: The American culture is dominated by mostly people who are transplanted warring tribal peoples of Europe; these peoples' violence and weapons always have been the prominent expression of their worldview, and their reliance on violence and weapons has not disappeared. In a modern culture where there are social taboos against open violence, these tribal peoples attempt (unsuccessfully) to sublimate their worldview but just end up INVESTING A GREAT DEAL IN THEIR FETISH, the GUN. They imbue their FETISH with magical powers to keep them safe -- even though, in reality, their guns cannot ever save them from the power of the better equipment of the Overlords and Overlords' henchmen.

This really is an object lesson. Never allow your elected officials and bureaucratic administrators to get so powerful that they become your Overlords! Avoidance of that requires involvement in citizenship and participatory vigilence.

Unfortunately, at this point, I don't think tribal European peoples who embrace violence and weaponry above all else, can make the best CITIZENS, unless, of course, they change in a big way.

Thanks to Thom for his thought-provoking comment.

nora's picture
nora 10 years 14 weeks ago

RE Mental Health needs

Regarding the need for mental health services in the USA and these death-by-shooter incidents--

Our Congress is scurrying to change the subject because -- IN THEIR RUSH TO AUSTERITY -- they cut $4 BILLIONS from mental health care in USA. A travesty.

[Always PLENTY $$$ for the banks and corporations, though.]

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 10 years 14 weeks ago

I HAVE heard it said that people who shoplift may get sexual satisfaction from that activity. THE tension builds trying to hide the item and then make it outta the store without being caught and then a release of endorphins when they do.

HIGH powered assult weapons may give the same release of endorphins. THE anticipation while driving to the range, then the release of endorphins while ripping into the target, and the feeling of power and domination when doing so.

SO yes I believe SOME PEOPLE could subconsciously consider their hoard of guns as a fetish. NOT much different from a person with a shoe fetish stealing, hoarding, smelling, and fondling women's shoes. THE gun fetishist somewhat fondles his weapon while he cleans it. AND fetishism is almost exclusively found in males.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

Shaking the tree!!! Very well put. Thank you for being realistic.
Since 9/11/01 - with all the panic and parinoia, and willingness by "the people" (government) to dismantle our Liberties because of fear and phobia - I have learned in any crisis, big or small, to count to zen in order to avoid escalating the issue into something worse through irrational reaction.

I am sad for what happened, the loss of innocent life is always tragic. And those poor parents...Such a nightmare!

And though I support "rational" gun control policy, nothing angers me more than when another person's irrational and irresponsable behaviours are taken out on me and others who strive to be honest responsable people.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

Or maybe shoot someone!?!?
I hear ya sister...
We all need to put on some vinyl, hit the bong, do some self reflecting, and chill the f*ck out.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

I can confirm this; having family that has lived in Australia for 39 years and spent 3 years there myself.

The gun laws in Australia work...Than again Australia also has Universal Healthcare and top notch hospitals, and mental health programs...Along with that all Australian's - by law - receive a minimum of 21 days paid vacation per year...My sister, who works in Child and Family Services in Australia get a total of 6 weeks paid holiday per year. Australians consider increases in paid days off more valuable than salary increases, which their wages are already livable to beging with...Those crazy Aussies!!!

mitchell b kapaun's picture
mitchell b kapaun 10 years 14 weeks ago

novasystem is correct, the shooting was/is a mental health issue. I follow and love to listen to thom but in this case he wrong. Take away the 2nd amemdment then it will be the 4th and etc. etc. Soon the only rights will be those granted to the new "individuals" i.e. corps - how many deaths occur daily because of the drug industry forget guns

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago


I will also confirm your perspective on Assault Rifles; as a former Soldier in the U.S. Army I can attest that there is ABSOLUTLY no reason for any civilian to own such a weapon. During my trainning I handled and fired Assault Riffles (fully automatic). You could empty an entire magazine (100 rounds or more) in a matter of seconds...And you are correct you don't always have to aim...Just squeeze and spray!
Though semi automatic, the guns used in the latest two masacres are truely WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!

Global's picture
Global 10 years 14 weeks ago

Just remember the II amendment is in the Bill of Rights not the bill of needs. If you want to change that you have to go through the constitutional amendment process. I don't think that will happen even today. Do not give the dictator Obama and his liberal cronies any idea that this is what needs to be done. They will use this situation to politicize the control agenda. Pali is right On this one.

IvonneGar's picture
IvonneGar 10 years 14 weeks ago

I believe that if we take as model the Australian plan we can achieve some control. Let's not be naive to believe that NRA, lobbyists and politicians are going to do anything, they are hooked like drug addicts in favors they owe corporations and the like. We also need to get rid of toxic members of the Supreme Court!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"Palindromedary, since participating in this blog I've had an impression of you as a thoughtful person with a good head on his shoulders. However today you seem less rational than usual."

Well, nobody's perfect in everyone else's minds. And even I recognize the fact that I may not be right in everything all the time. But, I've got to say that there are those who believe that all they have to do is trust in a higher power (of government anyway) to keep us safe and forget about the history of Nazi Germany, etal. They too believed in their higher powers of government and many Germans, then, believed that they lived in such a modern and sane world that such massive criminal behavior would never happen.

But, according to author Edwin Black, many people did learn about the concentration camps and by that time their propagandized minds found it all acceptable. It was necessary, they believed, for the survival of their country. It started in small increments that ratcheted up to too late to do anything about it or risk going to the gas chambers themselves. Do not make the same mistake the Germans did...believing the people that run the system are going to to act in your best interests when they have already, so many times, demonstrated just the opposite.

The root causes of the Germany's aggression and assent in what their leaders were doing (the holocaust and in attacking other countries) need to be looked at. I won't go into any at length here because I am not a historian but I'd say that the rise of Hitler and the German aggression leading to WW2, and after, had an awful lot to do with WW1, the strict reparations the German people had to pay, bankster manipulations, Churchill's manipulations and deceptions, and an underlying antisemitism. Propaganda by Hitler and Goebbels was used more effectively than ever before because of their use of broadcast radio and audio amplification.

Antisemitism is ever as much alive in the US as it was in Nazi Germany (Arabs are Semitic people too, you know.) It was the predominant Christian hatred of the Jews for having betrayed Christ (as the story came to be modified by later Church fathers). Muslims are also villainized for so many other reasons by Christians and since the west had to go to Muslim countries for their oil... that attached a lot of other anti-Arab sentiments as well. Conniving western powers, if they couldn't steal it outright (like they tried to do in Iran and other places eventually installing a puppet regime--the Shah Pahlavi dictator), then they would threaten "carpets of bombs" if they couldn't buy them off with "carpets of gold". It took another "Pearl Harbor" to sufficiently frighten Americans to accept the "carpet of bombs" they created one on 911.

So, do you really believe that a ruling regime, such as we have here in the US--
1.that uses a corrupt political system of a pretend democracy [a corrupt two party system]
2. that owns most of the media spewing propaganda
3. that lords over an economic system bent on our eventual destruction
4. that a system of healthcare where only the top few wealthy people have it but others will die of lack of it or starvation
5. that a system where the banksters and Wall Street and corporations have steadily squeezed many of us into poverty
--will really "protect" us?

If our government was so intent on protecting us from those few who occasionally go off the deep end then perhaps they shouldn't be selling weapons to Mexican Drug Lords. Maybe they should set a good example and not send soldiers out to murder people because we want to control the oil. Our US military has murdered way more civilians and children than any of these lone gunmen. Yet our country praises the "brave heroes" that are compelled to do it by a corrupt, lying, government run by the Military Industrial Complex. "Truth? You can't handle the truth!" And I am not referring to you, specifically, Aliceinwonderland, I'm just using Jack Nicholson's quote from that movie "A Few Good Men" some years ago. I mostly agree with everything you have said...except on the issue of gun control. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."-Thomas Jefferson

And finally, more people die in car accidents every year than all of the lone nut gunmen have caused and we don't hear from many people that we should ban cars. The overall benefit outweighs the few that are sacrificed. However, some people believe we should ban motor vehicles...most people would think them just a little bit crazy. So too is it with guns. But the problem with the argument that they are only trying to ban assault weapons...that no one should have them...or at least make them undergo stringent psychological tests limiting ownership by only those who pass the tests is that first they will go after the assault weapons, then they will go after all guns.

The other problem is that just who would it be to determine who passes the psychological tests? That reminds me of a cartoon I saw showing a big building with a sign on it saying "mental asylum" and through the windows you see all these people reading bibles. So, are the sane people, to be decided by the government, all deemed so because they all have drank the cool aid that says that the government is good...the government is there to protect you? And if you have any ill feelings toward anyone in the top economic stratum of our the ruling elite..then you are crazy and not fit to own guns? How ban guns on the basis of a government that is controlled by the ruling elite.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"The government not only has way more in their arsenal; their weapons are so vastly superior to anything civilians can access, we might as well be countering assault weapons with pea shooters! Let's get real, folks. We'd be out-gunned in no time."

And this would be even more so the case the more we citizens give up the assault weapons, wouldn't it? And that's just the way they want to keep it. That's the real reason why they are behind most of the propaganda to get us to give up our weapons.

Perhaps we really need to be moving in the opposite direction...every citizen be just as well armed as our military. We would then not only outnumber them but we would outgun them as well. This very reality would be more than adequate to put some future Hitler wannabe down even before it started. This very reality would prevent the very possibility of a totalitarian regime from even forming in the first place...and in the event it did...would make them think twice about being too dictatorial and sending out their guns to force us all into submission.

Look at how much trouble the US has had in countries we have illegally invaded and occupied from people willing to fight back; and, if they had better weapons they could have kicked our butts out of their country a long time ago.

As it is, fighting with what little they have (compared to the high tech war we have been conduction against them) we will eventually, like in Vietnam, give up and go back home and attempt to invent yet another false history in an attempt to cover up losing.

But the people that really lost were the common people in both their countries (losing their families and infrastructure) and our country (losing the lives of our soldiers and our tax dollars to the Pentagon geeks). The Military Industrial Complex made out very a way...they won those wars. But we, the people, lost.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 13 weeks ago

Palindromedary- There is nothing in your reply that I disagree with. But I still stand by my assertion that our puny litte weapons are no match for the greatest terrorist organization in the world: The U.S. Government! - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"Need I remind you that it is non-violent resistance, not violent revolution, which has proven most effective in social movements?"

Do you think that would have worked against Hitler? Do you think that would have worked against the US in Afghanistan or Iraq? Do you think that works in Israel? Who wants to be the first lamb to the slaughter to be a martyr for the rest of the herd who will all stand back and distance themselves when their name is called? Who will be the first line of suckers to take the rubber bullets or, perhaps, later, real ones? Remember Kent State? Do we even remember the names of those 4 killed or 9 others who were wounded by the National Guard for simply protesting against the US invasion of Cambodia? Remember Rachel Corrie who stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago

And, Aliceinwonderland, I agree with're right...our puny little weapons are not any match for what our Fascist regime has. And I, for one, will most likely remain part of the herd that will continue to be "full of fury...signifying nothing". I am certainly not crazy enough...or brave enough..or foolish enough..or young enough to do anything stupid on my own or even in a small cabal. It takes a multitude of those kinds of people, well armed, to make any real difference. And I don't even have any assault weapons, myself, although I hear for $600 one can buy an AK47, illegally, on the streets. (Goes to show that even if you made them illegal...they can still be bought).

Unless, from the outset, we were ALL heavily armed with assault weapons and that, in itself, would be a psychological threat enough to stave off any totalitarian impulses against us, we really wouldn't stand a chance...or would we? Vietnam kicked our butts out of Vietnam....Afghanistan will eventually kick our butts out of there eventually...all it cost us was thousands of our soldiers lives and mucho big bucks from the tax payers.

Without guns, I guess we're all just going to have to resign ourselves to a slow demise through bad health, disease, and starvation so that a few at the top can buy ever larger estates, yachts the size of battleships, and have magnificent balls to flatter one another in their faux magnanimities.

Perhaps, what the world really needs is a world dictator or who enslaves every single human being on earth to do exactly what he/she wants. The whole world would have to give up all their weapons to this one dictator...this dictator would have satellite stations that would monitor every home and business in the world..even read the very thoughts that people had...and would have lasers or particle beam weapons that would zap into oblivion anyone who uttered a wayward thought..... We could call that space based system....God.
....then maybe we could all live in peace. And the really creepy thing is that some people would actually think this was a good idea. Merry X-mas everyone! Oh, not Dec 25th yet? Excuse me....but isn't that really a Pagan date? But, I digress....... . . . .zap! ouch!

Ema0129's picture
Ema0129 10 years 13 weeks ago

As the crazies call for more guns everywhere and armed insurrection, my response is: bring it!

For too long many have used the 2nd Amendment lie as cover for their greed. Gun proliferation is about MONEY. As with so many issues of our day, the fight against Oligarchy / Plutocracy is a fight worth having. It is a fight we will win if we each just do a tiny little bit.

Ema0129's picture
Ema0129 10 years 13 weeks ago


Ema0129's picture
Ema0129 10 years 13 weeks ago

JRV your plan has my full support.

mcowley01's picture
mcowley01 10 years 13 weeks ago

#13 JRV, your post deserves to go viral, reach as much of the population of the USA as possible and be put before Obama and Biden for their serious consideration.

You are spot on.

Leostar's picture
Leostar 10 years 13 weeks ago

You have a good point, but that's only one, or even a small group, but what if everyone in the Occupy Movement for example decided they needed to apply some force and the Military refused to gun down their own? which I understand that 80% of the Military would support standing down if the situation ever arose.

Leostar's picture
Leostar 10 years 13 weeks ago

Well said, and to learn about what is REALLY going on watch Jesse Ventura's investigation and this link reveals what the 'powers that be' are really up to.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 10 years 13 weeks ago

The Twain Report
All The News That Mark Twain Says He Would Report If He Was Alive Today'

After careful thought, The Twain Report has arrived at the inescapable conclusion that there is a grain of truth to the republicans' saying that American sins are to blame for the murders of the school children in Connecticut. Admittedly, that grain is heavily-ergotified, but republicans have experience with ergot dating back to the witch trials. (No wonder republicans are terrified of psychedelics: they do stupid, bad things when they're high, so they think that everyone else would, too.)

Unfortunately- and as always- the republicans have conveniently misplaced a key component of the equation. But hey, they're trying, you have to give them that. Anyway, here's what they're missing: our military has been murdering children in Iraq and Afghanistan for over ten years, and absent honest repentence it is impossible- absolutely, completely irrevocably IMPOSSIBLE- to initiate an energy wave like that and not have it return to sender. And even successfully confiscating every gun that every American has, would not and could not stop the violence that America has sent out into the world, from coming back to haunt America. Besides which, it is impossible to confiscate every gun, and even if it was possible, more guns would come across every border to fill in the gap. That is the unfortunate reality of it: whenever people want something enough to pay money for it, other people find a way to sell it to them, regardless of whether it's legal or illegal. It's always been that way.

Anyway, karma is something that is sometimes easy to trace by using two-dimensional logic- action "A" causes reaction "B." Every time- just look at the history of any country and you'll see it. Unfortunately, two-dimensional logic is a pretty big stretch for republicans, because their party line is, "Damn Proud to be One-Dimensional."

Let me give you an example of one-dimensional thinking: when the flounder of The Twain Report (and former bearded lady at a sideshow) was a kid, he beat up on his dog one day because he was feeling angry about something that had nothing to do with the dog. And like God's grace, the dog took the beating in silence and still loved him. Then, a few days later the flounder was riding his bike to school and a dog ran out of a yard and bit him. But because our flounder is smarter than the average picnic basket, it only took him... let's see, one plus one is four... No, wait, one plus one is eighteen, that's it, everyone knows that. No, that doesn't sound right either. Ok, let's do this on paper: one... plus... one... equals... TWO!!! Damn, I'm smart! So anyway, it only took our flounder fifty-three- count them- 53 years to figure out why that dog bit him. For 52 years he was very concerned with the trauma that he felt from that dog biting him, and yet he was unconcerned about the beating that he had given his dog. Hmm, does that remind you of any group of people? No, don't tell me, I know this one... YES! It reminds me of our current moldy crop of republicans! Damn, I'm smart again!

Ok, so allowing for the intelligence differential between our flounder and republicans, and the fact that our flounder is a real Christian instead of a possessed devil worshipper pretending to be a Christian, within maybe 1,000 years- hypothetically speaking and with a bow to Heisenberg who in spite of the fact that he wasn't real sure of himself, became the republicans' patron saint because he figured out that "here's how you ignore the direction things are going." thing- the republicans should figure out that there is a pretty clear karmic connection between American troops and American drone strikes murdering foreign children, and American children being murdered.

And until the republicans figure out this oh-so-ellusive fact, ever true to form, they will continue their casual murder of countless foreign children, and when American children are murdered, the republican will continue to blame gay people or people who don't support our troops, or people who wear green suspenders on Tuesdays.

You know, the onlly difference between hypocritical christian fanatics and hypocritical muslim fanatics is the hat. Which brings me to a possible solution to our republican problem: if every progressive sneaks up behind a republican and superglues a turban or a fez to their heads, then the other republicans would shoot them:

"No, Bubba, don't shoot me! I'm yer brother!"

"You do look like him, but my brother would never wear a damn turban."


And just like that- and without any need for re-districting or other jerrymandering, we'd be rid of half ot the republicans.

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