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Why Are These Gun Owners’ Panties In A Bunch?

I was flummoxed by this story on cnn.com this morning. Apparently, a bunch of gun owners in Westchester and Rockland Counties have their panties in a bunch because a local newspaper (The Journal News) published an interactive map that contained the names and addresses of all gun owners in the area. One commenter actually wrote, 

“So should we start wearing yellow Stars of David so the general public can be aware of who we are??”

Whoa! Let’s back up for a second. Nazi references are completely uncalled for, unless we’re talking about a situation where there is a mass genocide of a race or culture, so shut the fuck up with the hyperbole already. Sheesh!

More importantly, I don’t see the problem here. Your address is easily found on the internet, complete with pictures of your house, so the only information being disclosed by this map, is the fact that you own a gun. Shouldn’t this make the gun owner happy, since it amplifies that whole “self defense” purpose? Isn’t someone less likely to break into your house if they know that you’re packing? Don’t you want the robbers to be deterred by the knowledge that you’re a gun toting badass that shouldn’t be messed with, and that they should instead break into your pacifist neighbor’s house? Don’t these people want to head off potential shooting situations off before any shooting has to happen? 

Also, if I were a parent in the neighborhood, I would want to know if you have a gun in the house before I decide if I want my kid hanging out at your house. I don’t mean that in a punitive way. I mean that I would want to make an informed decision on whether I feel comfortable with my child being in your house with a gun. Statistically speaking, if you own a gun, members of your household are 4.5 times more likely to get shot. I would want to know if my child is 4.5 more times likely to get shot, while in your house. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s math.  I wouldn’t want this, this, thisthis, this, thisthis, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this,or this happening to my kid. By the way, did you happen to notice how many of these accidental shootings happened in the homes of police officers?

I’m sorry gun owners, but you’re not the only ones with rights in this country. I should have the right to all of the information I need before deciding if it’s safe for me or any member of my household to enter your home. I have no desire to stop you from having your (okay, certain types) gun, but I have the fucking right to my information.

And if you don’t like being known as a gun owner, maybe you should rethink the gun. You don’t get to hide by denying me information that I feel I need. And the fact that you want to hide makes me suspicious of you. You get to protect yourself your way, but I get to protect myself my way too. If you don’t like that, you can suck it.

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A Culture Of Violence

We (Americans) live in a culture of violence. This is the last argument from gun nuts that don’t want to pass any legislation to stop the killing fields that our country has become. The first argument is (of course) that banning certain types of weapons won’t do any good, since criminals will always be able to get them. This argument is easily debunked by looking at Australia, Japan, and a number of countries that have managed to bring down their death tolls by tightening legislation around fire arms.

Once all of the empirical facts are presented, the gun nut invariable changes their tactic to make hypothetical arguments that are less easy to disprove. Arguments like, “we are a much more violent culture so you can’t compare us to other countries”. To this, I say bullshit! The idea that other countries don’t play violent video games, or watch violent movies is absurd. I’ve got some news for you, Rockstar Games has enjoyed huge sales numbers all around the world for Manhunt, which consistently tops the list of most violent games. And if you don’t think that the Japanese (one of the most technocentric cultures in the world) aren’t playing Mortal Kombat en masse, you’re not paying attention. They’re building and embracing companion robots, for god’s sake! I promise you, that Django Unchained is going to be the #1 box office blockbuster in every country that plays it. You’re batshit crazy, not to mention intellectually lazy, if you think that we’re just inherently more violent than the rest of the world.

But I do agree that we have a cultural problem. We used to be a culture that believed we could do anything. We used to be a culture that saw our bankers robbing the country so blind that they caused the great depression. We believed we could stop it, and we did. We passed legislation that worked very well for 45 years before those laws started to be systematically  repealed by both democratic and republican legislatures.

We used to be a country that decided that having parents working side by side with their kids for twelve hours a day, six days a week was wrong, and that we could change it. And guess what? We changed it by passing legislation. In fact, we changed it so effectively that it was possible for a family to thrive on a single income. That changed when we slowly let our wages flatten or decline, and accepted that two incomes were necessary to feed, clothe, and house a family.

We used to be a country that cheered when the president said that we will put a man on the moon within 10 years. We’ve become a country that would laugh with cynicism at such a statement today.

We used to be the country that cured polio and small pox. Now we’re a country that accepts a lifetime of “treating” illness with pharmaceuticals.

We used to believe that we could accomplish anything we decided to accomplish. We, as a society, don’t believe that anymore. We don’t believe that government can accomplish anything good. Worse than that, we don’t believe that we can push our government into doing anything good.

I will admit that I am among those who don’t believe that our current system of governance can’t produce good results for its people. It doesn’t much matter if you’re on team democrat or team republican. Neither work for you. They work for the corporations and billionaires that feed the system with their money. The only difference between the two parties, is the speed with which they will get us to the inevitable endgame. Republicans want to put the pedal to the metal and turn us into wage slaves as soon as possible, so that their corporate benefactors can exploit our labor. Democrats are okay with this plan, they just want to go slower and throw us a few crumbs along the way so that we go along willingly.

But I differ from the defeatists in that, I believe we can change the system. I don’t believe that we’re doomed to live with this corrupt government whose only objective is to serve it’s multinational corporate masters, at the expense of is country. I understand that we’re pretty screwed right now, but I don’t believe that we’re completely fucked. We do have one (and I mean only one) option available to us.

I’m going to go more into what I think we can do in the next blog post (and most of the blog posts next year). For now, you can check out Wolf Pac for a preview.

This post is about identifying where we’re going wrong in our thinking. We have a cultural problem, but not the one that most people think we have. We’re not more violent than anyone else. We just have a defeatist attitude that is fucking crippling. It’s crippling us from stopping the killing epidemic, and it’s stopping us from having the equality of opportunity that we once had. It’s time to stop defeating ourselves. We need to see where our country has been, and we need to realize that we can do good things.

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Gun Uncontrol

I’ve seen a lot of “debate”about gun control since Friday, and I must say that my usual state of bitchiness has been elevated to level of pure rage. I put debate in quotes because we’re not actually having a debate. Comments I’ve read from pro gun nuts do not constitute serious discussion. The discussions being had are not two sides of a coin, much like the evolution vs creation discussion are not two sides of a coin. One side of that debate is based on science and discovery like archeology and carbon dating, while the other side consists simply of blind faith.

I’ve seen the same dichotomy in discussions about what to do about the gun violence in America. One side (my side) offers several solutions to the mass shooting epidemic in America. solutions like;

  • More thorough background checks. TSA applicants must fill out a 17 page background check form called the SF – 86 in order to apply. I want gun buyers to go through the same process, including fingerprinting. If you can’t wait a month for your background check to clear, I don’t want you to have a gun.
  • No more semiautomatic or automatic weapons. There’s no reason on the fucking planet for anyone to be able to fire rapid rounds, other than to kill lots of people quickly. This is not an unreasonable restriction on the second amendment, so shut the fuck up about your constitutional rights. The more you want an automatic weapon, the more evident it is that you shouldn’t have one.
  • No more clips that hold more than six bullets. If you need more than six bullets before having to reload, you’re either doing something very bad, or you’re an extremely shitty shot. Either way, I don’t want for you to be able to fire more than six shots before reloading.
  • I want you to attend annual, mandatory training classes if you own a gun. If I have to renew my driver’s license every few years, you should have to demonstrate that you can responsibly handle a firearm every year.
  • I want you to apply for a permit in order to be able to carry a concealed weapon. I want a record kept of who you are, and which gun you’re carrying. If you’re not planning on doing anything wrong, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.
  • I don’t want you to have a gun if you have one iota of violent behavior, or mental isstability on your criminal record.

I don’t feel that any of these requirements are unreasonable. I also don’t feel that any of these requirements infringe on your right to own a gun. And guess who agrees with me? The vast majority of NRA members. 

So that’s my side. What is the other side saying? Well, they’re mostly mischaracterizing my side with hyperbole about taking away everyone’s guns. The fact of the matter is that no one has talked about taking away everyone’s guns in decades. That’s a fact. And I defy anyone to come up with any evidence of single legislator putting forward any bills to take away people’s guns. I defy anyone to come up with a single example of a political analyst or reporter in any main stream media outlet that has espoused taking away everyone’s guns. That’s just not happening in America. And yet, if you listen to Wayne LaPierre, you would think that there was a widespread movement to everyone’s guns away. There isn’t even a movement to limit the number of guns that a person can own.

To the extent that the pro gun nuts have a solution to the problem, it’s this; arm more people. To be clear, this “solution” is to stop a maniac after they’ve got a gun in their hands and have begun shooting. I’m sorry but if your “solution” doesn’t start before the shooting does, then you don’t give two shits about the victims present or future. You care more about whatever crazy ass John Wayne fantasy than you do about saving lives. And you should go fuck yourself. I’m not going to take you seriously because you’re not serious about solving the problem.

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