Thom's article -- "Two Simple Laws Could Solve America's Epidemic of Violence" -- is extremely persuasive. (I'm concerned that the title of the article might overstate the situation since neither I nor Tom can really KNOW if these 2 laws COULD or WOULD solve our violence issue.) But this is the nature of all attempts to reduce harmful human behavior -- you can either do nothing or do something, and if you want to do something it makes sense to look at prior history and see if humans have successfully reduced similar negative human behaviors in the past. Thom's 2 suggestions are so sensible, and grounded in prior successful legislative accomplishments, that no rational person could reject trying them. Thom's reasoning is compelling, there is no apparent downside to the laws he suggests, and those laws appear VERY likely to help reduce gun violence.

There are still important questions that need to be answered in order to enact these 2 laws -- such as the interplay between state and federal law; and the precise text of the 2 laws -- but can we start a movement in which voters agree to the following:

1. I will provide every legislator and candidate for political legislative office with the text of Thom's article and ask a simple question: Will you commit to drafting, sponsoring and voting for these 2 provisions to become law?

2. Any legislator or candidate whose response is not "YES" will not receive my vote.

I'm sure that legislators and candidates will avoid answering on the spot and will say they need time to review the article and look into it. And they should take that time. But this movement needs to keep a running list of all legislators and candidates who have been asked the question, and a record of their reponses -- NO, YES, I DON'T KNOW or no answer. This list should then be used as a litmus test for voters who are part of this movement. If a candidate has not committed to a YES answer, s/he will not get my vote.


ricksimpson's picture
ricksimpson 3 weeks 1 day ago

You could get distilled,concentrated cannabis oil from us here in the united states.... dont die out there..reach out to someone..reach out to

jason13's picture
jason13 3 weeks 1 day ago

I imagine gangsters will be lining up to register their guns.

rs allen 3 weeks 12 hours ago

Whatever you consider 'a gangster' to be it is true they do produce and spread their own kind of carnage and sadness. But they do not walk into schools to kill as many children as possible. They do not pick out some night club to target anything that still moves. They do not hole up in a highrise motel room and strafe outdoor concerts with auto-matic weapons. Gangsters do not decide the sabbath needs a thorough soaking of blood in the pew aisles.

In short jason the gangsters that you are so worried about do not shoot up movie theaters, night clubs, concert grounds, elementry / high schools, shopping malls, college quads or churches. When gangsters shoot they have an intended target not just some mass of people.

gumball's picture
gumball 3 weeks 10 hours ago

What punishment should be handed down to those that will not comply with this new law?

Regina86's picture
Regina86 1 week 1 day ago

I think that if you ask this question and get a direct answer to it, yoga is medecine for soul and body you can understand how quickly this business will move forward.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 1 week 1 day ago

It's the culture, damit.

Does any younger than, say, 40, know how a strawberry should taste? Or that the u.S. has been waging war – killing people - in 10 or 15 (it’s hard to keep count - the essay supposes as many as 76) different countries for most, perhaps all, of their adult lives? All kinds of people – babies, children, women, oldsters, the infirm – well, anyone who happens to be in the path of the grand spread of democracy. Well, democracy u.S. style. And a strawberry ought to taste like a strawberry.

Here’re some paragraphs from another fine essay by Rebecca Gordon, posted on tomdispatch:


Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, America's Wars, A Generational Struggle (in the Classroom)

Posted by Rebecca Gordon at 8:06AM, February 22, 2018.

The 9/11 Hijackers Were Iraqis, Right?

Teaching in a Time of Wars

By Rebecca Gordon


Here's another thing I remember from those early years. To my surprise, many of my students supported torture -- less as an interrogation method than as punishment for truly heinous crimes (torture, that is, as righteous vengeance). Terrorists should be tortured, some argued, as payback for 9/11, but perhaps because their own childhoods were still so near in time and memory, a number of them thought that those most deserving of torture were not political terrorists, but child abusers.

Just about all of them were certain of one thing: the men who flew the planes on 9/11 were Iraqis.

When Johnny (and Janie) Come Marching Home Again...

Eventually, of course, war veterans began to appear in my classes. They were older and in many cases more mature than the other students in ways that didn't just reflect their age. I often teach an ethics class in which students work with a community-based organization. One veteran chose to do this "service learning" with Swords to Plowshares, which provides services for vets. They'd helped him when he first got out, and he wanted to return the favor. "If anyone tells you they came back whole from Iraq or Afghanistan," he assured me, "they're either lying or they just don't know yet."

He was right, I think. One thing I've noticed over the years: like many survivors of war, those vets never volunteer to talk about what they've seen. Nor do their fellow students show much curiosity about it, and I don't ask directly. But some, like the young man who'd served five years as a sniper in Iraq and Afghanistan, are clearly in pain. He'd suffered a broken back and brain trauma when an improvised explosive device blew up his Humvee. He was bitter about the war and his own role in it, certain that he'd been lied to by his government. Since leaving the military he had learned a lot of history. Now, he sat in the last row of the classroom, back to the wall, one leg bouncing uncontrollably up and down. Usually he left early. The anxiety of being in a room with that many people, he explained to me, was more than he could endure.

Such veterans, however, are classroom oddities, rare exceptions to the general rule that the U.S. can fight an endless war on terror without pain, sacrifice, or even, in recent years, much attention at all. These days, my students live in a country that has been at war almost since they were born, and yet, as is true with most of their fellow citizens, the fighting could be happening on Mars for all the impact it has on them. Most of them no longer know people directly affected. Their friends and family, of course, aren't among the tens of millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, or Yemenis made refugees by those American wars and their consequences.

Most of them haven't yet realized that, if their government hadn't spent $5.6 trillion and counting on those very wars, there might have been federal money available to relieve them of the school debt they will carry for decades.

Those Who Fail to Learn...

It's not an accident that my students arrive at college with little understanding of U.S. history or, for that matter, knowledge of how their government works. Nor is it their fault. Education is crucial to citizenship in a democracy and, for many years, those on the right in this country have done their best to defund and dismantle public education. Under President Trump we have a secretary of education who makes no secret of her belief that, like other public goods, education is best left in the tender hands of the market.

The other day I asked my "Ethics: War, Torture, and Terrorism" class to name the countries where the United States is currently involved in some military action. They were able to come up with Iraq and Afghanistan. A veteran then added Djibouti, where U.S. Africa Command has a key base. "Syria?" someone wondered. A ROTC member mentioned Yemen. No one even thought of Somalia or Libya. No one had heard of the West African country of Niger, where Sergeant LaDavid Johnson died in an ambush set by an ISIS affiliate. (If asked, some might have remembered that when Donald Trump called Johnson's widow, he made news by struggling to remember her husband's name and suggesting that Johnson had known "what he signed up for.")

Nor could they name any of the other countries, 76 in all, affected in some fashion by their country's undeclared, never-ending "generational" war on terror.

The good news is that they want to learn.

The bad news: nowadays, they tend to think that the men who flew those planes on 9/11 were from Iran.



Someday, if you wander northeastern hills in early summer, you may discover what a strawberry tastes like. And one of these days, if you’re curious and persistent enough, you may know what really brought down those World Trade center buildings as so many of their occupants, while the buildings burned and collapsed, jumped to their deaths.

But, you know...

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