I'm a political junkie, which keeps me in a constant state of agitation. This would make me a masochist if it weren't for the fact that I was born bitchy. Following politics just allows me to share my natural gift with the public in a more focused way than would otherwise be possible.
For every ten US citizens there are nine guns, making the US the most heavily armed nation in the world.
40 – 50% of all US households own a firearm.
There were 13,636 murders in America in 2009. 68% of those murders were committed using firearms.
I couldn’t find statistics on how many crimes are stopped annually by armed citizens, but I can tell you that after two hours of searching, I found a whopping six examples over the past two years. That was after combing every whackadodle pro-gun site I could find. They celebrate those six miracles in perpetuity and hold them up as examples of why America needs to be more heavily armed.
I refer to those cases as miracles because they’re so fucking rare, relative to the gun statistics above, that they may as well be immaculate conceptions. And I’m fairly certain that I now have more tangible examples of an armed citizen mitigating a gun crime than any asshat that makes that claim.
I actually found more examples of shootings being stopped by an unarmed civilian, as we saw in the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.
In a state where a permit is not required to carry a concealed weapon, a 61 year old unarmed woman went after the shooter. Where were all of the gun toting tough guys? Why do they never seem to be around when you need them? This shooting happened at a fucking Safeway, so you can’t say that the place was exclusively filled with democratic pussies. Where were the John Waynes?
The heroes in this shooting were a 61 year old unarmed woman and a gay Latino. Suck on that, Trent Franks.
It always feels to me like NRA members have batshit crazy opinions about guns in America. Probably because the NRA draws batshit crazy lines in the sand. It turns out that Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA) is a minority nutjob, representing people that aren’t so nutty.
Frank Luntz was commissioned by Mike Bloomberg to do a poll of NRA members last year. He got some fascinating results.
82% of NRA members and 86% of non-NRA gun owners support prohibiting suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns.
69% of NRA members and 85% of all non-NRA gun owners support background checks at gun shows.
Here’s the one where they lost me, but the numbers aren’t as bad as I would have thought them to be;
58% of all NRA members and 36% of non-NRA gun owners oppose a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
That one is a little nutty since the only use for an automatic or semi-automatic weapon, is to kill a lot of people very quickly. But the good news is that the NRA only has four million members so most gun owners in America are not NRA members and they’re not crazy.
Most Americans are for banning semi-automatic and automatic weapons. If Clinton’s ban were still in place, Loughner would not have been able to walk into Walmart and buy a clip with 33 rounds in it. He would have had to follow Sarah Palin’s advice and reload after firing off 10 shots. Does anyone besides Wayne LaPierre actually think that the ban wouldn’t have saved lives in this situation?
Sadly, I suspect that this will be another situation where most Americans overwhelmingly agree on something, but a lone asshole like Wayne LaPierre will override the will of the American people.
Someone needs to start an organization to represent non-extremist gun owners and non-gun owners alike.
Contrary to popular opinion, Sarah Palin isn’t illiterate. She’s just not fluent in English, but she’s extremely fluent in crazy. We all remember the “pals around with terrorists” and other vitriolic comments she made during the campaign. She’s gotten worse with her “reload” crap, complete with visuals of crosshairs on congressional districts (most notably, Gabrielle Gifford’s district). I’m not going to rehash and relink all of her violent rhetoric. I’m sure you’ve gotten an earful over the past few days.
I am of the opinion that words matter. And when you’re in a prominent position, you need to understand that you’re talking to a wide range of people from the sane to the batshit crazy. Sarah Palin doesn’t realize this. And what’s worse, she’s actually the whackjob whisperer. She speaks to, and resonates with crazy people in a way that few do. Not just crazies, but also the stupid. She’s the stupid and whackjob whisperer.
This gift is rooted in the fact that she’s crazy and stupid herself. This stupid bitch actually believes that God has chosen her for greatness, and she therefore doesn’t need to learn anything before she can be president. That’s why she’s not any less stupid today than she was two long years ago. Guess what Sarah, God didn’t pick you for shit. Bill Kristol used his penis as a divining rod and since you were the hottest republican woman he found, he picked you. There was divine intervention involved in elevating your status, Sarah. It just isn’t the kind you think it is. That belief that God “chose” her speaks to her crazy.
Everything else we’ve seen from her demonstrates the stupid. Her comical use of language, her ignorance that there’s a world outside of Alaska, and her general lack of knowledge about anything shows us that she’s an idiot. So when her spokespeople say (when speaking about he crosshairs map) that they “were never meant to evoke guns or violence”, I believe there’s some underlying truth there. Not that they didn’t mean to evoke violence, they obviously did, especially since the word “reload” was little Sarah’s mantra when she unveiled the map. But I think that the kernel of truth lies in the fact that Palin can’t understand that she’s inciting real violence with her language. She doesn’t get that she’s talking to a whole world of people that range from sane to batshit crazy. Am I being overly generous when I attribute her reckless behavior to stupidity more than to malice? I don’t think so. After all, this is the same stupid bitch that continues to preach “abstinence only”, despite the fact that this belief led her and her daughter into premarital pregnancy situations. This woman is utterly incapable of learning and understanding anything. And I really believe that in the rare instances where she does understand something, as she obviously did when she decided to take down the map, that knowledge will fall out of her dumbass head in short order. She will unlearn what she now knows. You can’t have lived on this planet for nearly fifty years and still be as fucking stupid as she is without having the proclivity to unlearn almost everything.
Moving onto Glenn Beck. He’s only slightly less stupid than little Sarah Barracuda. But what he lacks in stupid, he makes up for in hateful. Check out these little gems from pastor Beck:
He’s done his fair share to debase political discourse in America far beyond the point of merely being “impolite”. What kind of person listens to this bullshit every day? The kind that are so full of hate that they’re choking on it, or the kind that are just fucking crazy. Glenn Beck is among the most prolific whackjob whisperers in the world.
I can’t imagine why anyone would ever interpret this as an incitement toward violence. Can you?
I can post video for years, but you get the idea. Every time someone speaks this way, they whisper to the whackos, “Hey, come in from the cold. There’s a home for you here”. Can each individual violent act by a nutjob be directly attributed to one of these assholes? No. Can you dismiss this speech as being irrelevant each time a nutbag shoots up the place? No, that would be inane. These people tug at the heartstrings of crazy. You can’t listen Bill O’Reilly (with a viewership of of over one million people) say the phrase “Tiller the baby killer” in perpetuity and conclude that he definitively didn’t contribute to the murder of Doctor Tiller. That would be fucking crazy.
These people don’t get to walk away blameless for Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting. And these people don’t get to diffuse their responsibility by claiming that the problem is equally prevalent on both the democratic and the republican sides. Here’s a lovely little compilation of hate from the right. This nutbag shot a democratic politician. It’s not hard to tell that he’s no liberal especially since Arizona has no shortage of douchebag republican representatives. In fact, most of Arizona’s douchebag politicians are republicans. The claim that he’s a far left wing nutbag is asinine.
You wanna know who else shares the blame in this shooting? Most of the residents in the state of Arizona. You guys love it when your politicians let their freak flags fly. When an extremist (and criminal) whacko like JD Hayworth forces his opponent to turn up the crazy in order to compete in an election, it’s your fault Arizona. It’s your fault for responding favorably to the crazy. That kind of nutbaggery doesn’t fly in New York or California. Just ask Carl Paladino, who had his ass handed to him in the last election. Or ask Meg Whitman and crazy Carly Fiorina, who had to run relatively moderate campaigns just to stay in the race in California. Crazy extremism in either direction doesn’t play in some states the way it does in Arizona. When the marijuana legalization bill was on the ballot on California, there were no politicians that were willing to support it for fear of being too left wing to be viable. You guys don’t insist on a moderate range that politicians must abide by in order to have a shot at getting your vote. And when the gap between someone that should be institutionalized and someone that is viably competing for a US senate seat in your state is as narrow as it is in Arizona, it’s your fucking fault Arizonans. Don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise. When you keep electing people like Jan Brewer and Jon Kyl, and you keep pushing John McCain into the arms of crazy, and you keep promoting conceal and carry laws in fucking bars, you can’t claim that there’s nothing wrong with Arizona.
I refuse to offer any absolution to the whackjob whisperers among us. And I refuse to accept false equivocations where there are none. Left wing whackjobs exist, but they’re seldom in a position of power or influence. Sure, I can find a dozen left wing crazies posting diaries on Daily Kos but I don’t know any of their names because they’re nobodies. Keith Olbermann is the most bombastic voice on the left. But make no mistake, he doesn’t even come close to the vitriol of the whackjob whisperers.
We’re never going to make strides toward minimizing these violent occurrences if we obfuscate or dismiss the people precipitating them.
I’ve had something on my mind for a while, and a conversation I recently had with a republican brought it to the forefront. But before I get to the republican, I need to go back a few months to add some context.
A few months ago, the French went on strike because the government was threatening to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. I was stunned by the reaction to that story on Facebook by my friends, who are (as you can imagine) mostly of the liberal persuasion. Most (okay, all) of the people that posted the story, posted it with a snarky comment against the French people. What the fuck? Seriously, what the fuck? People that have it better than you are not your enemy, and hating them for having it better than you is a special kind of stupid. The French are not whiny, self entitled or spoiled because they get to retire at 60. They fought for that privilege, and they’re fighting to keep it.
I can understand a certain amount of resentment, but I’m completely confounded when that resentment manifests itself in the form of disdain. Here’s a crazy thought; how about we support the French, instead of rooting for them to end up in the same shitty boat we’re in? How about we manifest our resentment in a more productive way, by fighting for the same rights they have? I know, my way is inane because it may lead to everyone being better off.
I brought that up so that I wasn’t unfairly beating up on republicans, when I go into my conversation with the republican. This special kind of stupid apparently doesn’t have a party affiliation.
My conversation with the republican started off by my explaining that republicans in the house are likely to try and get legislation through that would allow states to go bankrupt (which they currently aren’t legally allowed to do). Let’s be clear, being bankrupt is a legal state in which you’re broke and therefore allowed to default on some of your debt obligations. You can be broke without being “bankrupt”.
The very first debt obligation that states will absolve themselves of will be pension obligations to state workers. The republican I was talking to thought this was great. In fact, most republicans think that pensions suck and that people shouldn’t have them. One of the more ugly aspects of Reagan’s legacy (yes, there are many), will be his proactive union busting policies. He hated pensions and the unions that make them possible, never mind the fact that when he was a b-movie actor, he enjoyed the benefits that came along with his union membership. I understand why rich republicans feel this way, but what about the other 98% of registered republicans? Why would anyone that works for a living be happy when another gets crapped on? Doesn’t it make more sense to fight to get a pension for yourself, than to rejoice when someone else is fucked out of theirs?
Pensions are deferred compensation. The deal is essentially this; I will take less money every year, in exchange for my company putting X% away for my retirement. This should be a great arrangement for all involved since the employee has some security for their retirement, and the employer gets to use some of that capital for the thirty some odd years while the employee works toward retirement. It would be great for everyone if the company didn’t at some point feel entitled to keep the money that they have been allowed to play with in the interim. They’re the ones with the sense of entitlement. The worker who is demanding what they were promised as part of their employment agreement is not the whiny, self entitled asshole. It takes a special kind of stupid to see it the other way around.
Let me get back to the French for a moment. I can’t find the words to adequately describe the level of respect I have for them and for the rights they have managed to secure for themselves. America is a country in which very few people fight for anything. We generally just sit back and watch our life, liberty, and right to pursue happiness, taken away from us piece by piece.
We didn’t fight for corporations to give us pensions. Thirty years ago, 27% of US workers had pension plans. Today, less than 8% have them. And those 8% are hard working blue collar Americans. They’re not billionaire hedge fund managers and yet, we hate them for wanting what was promised to them.
We didn’t fight back when our government seized the right to monitor our communications without a demonstrable reason, or a paper trail. We just quietly sat back and let them do it, and deluded ourselves into thinking that we were safer for it.
We sit back and allow the corporations that we helped build with our hard work, lay us off while they sit on 1.8 trillion dollars in cash reserves. And we’ll be happy when they hire us back for 15% less than they were paying us before they laid us off.
And we’re going to sit back and take it, when our social security benefits are taken away from us. Sure, we’ll whine because as you can see here, no one wants that to happen. But we won’t fight to stop it from happening because we hate the French for having fought.
We don’t fight because we suffer from a special kind of stupid here in America.
I can’t figure out why we don’t fight for ourselves. Is it because we’re such a young country that has never actually suffered through the misery that comes with having no social safety nets? Is it because we’re arrogant, what with having achieved that whole “world superpower” thing in 200 short years? Or is it because it’s easier to sit around and crap on other people with rights than it is to fight to secure our own.
I’m not sure I’m ever going to get to the bottom of why we’re the way we are. But I do mourn the days when America was filled with people fighting for their right to vote, right to sit at any lunch counter they pleased, and right to earn a fair wage.