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Musings on a Dancefloor

Russell’s post reminded me of my own nightclub experience. When I was coming out twenty years ago, I remember spending time going to a gay nightclub, Club Metro in St. Paul. It’s been gone for nearly 15 years but in its heyday in the late 90s, this big sprawling complex that was a little less scary for me than other clubs. It was a place where you could hold hands with you boyfriend or even give him a kiss.  Life wasn’t super scary for me, but Club Metro was a place where you could be yourself. So yeah, a gay nightclub is a place of safety and to have it invaded is traumatic.  It can rip away your sense of safety.  My husband Daniel said that he now felt like a target.  I feel the same way.

The names of the victims struck me.  You can’t tell by my name, but I am part Puerto Rican on my mother’s side.  Knowing it was Latin night at Pulse and seeing all those Latino surnames hit me emotionally.  In a moment when the LGBT community is now front and center, we also see LGBT people of color in a way that we haven’t before.  In most issues involving gays, we tend to see white people as if these are the only people who happen to be gay or transgender.  So in a sad way the world now knows in a visceral way that LGBT community is made up of everyone.

I’ve been amazed at the outpouring of compassion coming from people, especially in quarters I would have never expect.  Landmarks in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Oklahoma City were lit up in the colors of LGBT pride. Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, hardly a bastion of LGBT inclusion, wrote the a number of compassionate Twitter posts in the wake of the news including one that said: “Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.”  Jen Hatmaker, an evangelical writer, wrote a caring post about reaching out to LGBT neighbors at this time on Instagram. Indiana governor Mike Pence,who made news a while back for his support for a religious liberty law, offered prayers for the LGBT community. A Seventh-Day-Adventist Church in Orlando offered to do free funerals for the victims. A Chick-fil-A restaurant in Orlando opened on a Sunday to serve free food to the people waiting in line to give blood to the injured. (The chain is known for being closed on Sundays.) I know some will say that this is just show.  But I think it is a turning point in that 20 years ago if something like this happened, we would not see this kind of response.  In fact, something similar to what happened in Orlando took place in New Orleans in 1973 and was largely ignored by the larger society.

This event was multi-faceted. International and domestic terrorism, homophobia and the role of  guns all came together in this one event.  It is this about hatred of gays?  Most definitely. Does it have anything to do with a perverted form of Islam and one of its major practitioners, Islamic State? Yes.  What about domestic terrorism?  Since the culprit was born and raised in America, I would say yeah.  What about the role of guns?  I think so.  Most terror attacks tend to have just one way to look at it.  Orlando is a very different animal.

When I first heard the news of the attack, I felt a sense of apprehension.  I was afraid if the perpetrator was Muslim because of the backlash that would occur, especially from a political candidate that shall not be named.  But I also was concerned if it was domestic, because people would go after more evangelical Christians, many of whom are good people.  I guess I just wish we were more willing to mourn before running to our political corners and trying to tear each other apart.  It seems we really are divided even as we mourn.

My husband and I went to a vigil in Minneapolis last night.  One of the highlights was when two women on the stage came forward holding hands together to the cheers of the audience gathered, the character looked so good thanks to the amazing Peterson Lights they had on the stage.  One woman was a lesbian running for the state House and the other was a Muslim woman who is also running for political office.  It was a reminder that we as a nation can’t not allow this man’s actions to divide us.

One of the politicians who spoke at the Minneapolis vigil choked up talking about how these people died dancing.  In some ways, dancing has always been a way of liberation in the gay community—a way of being who you are.  There is something that is at once infuriating and comforting that people died because they were doing something they enjoyed, something that expressed who they were.

Speaking of which, there is a part of me that is interested in going to nightclub this weekend.  I haven’t been to one in years, and at 46, I’m probably going to look like Grandpa, but I think right now at this time it’s important to be out and proud…

…and dancing.


Staff Writer

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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402 thoughts on “Musings on a Dancefloor

    • Thank you for this post, Dennis.

      “in that 20 years ago if something like this happened, we would not see this kind of response.”

      I have been mulling that over too. Things really are better in some ways. *REALLY*. Even if the awful stuff does keep happening.

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  1. “Most terror attacks tend to have just one way to look at it. Orlando is a very different animal.”

    Really?

    Lot’s of folks have talked about a lot of past shooters being on various meds. Everyone always had brought up guns and gun control. The same arguments/positions are always put forth. The only significant difference I see, other than the target group, if folks are actually calling it terrorism, unlike what the Muslim officer shot up foot hood.

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  2. I find myself increasingly wondering what right is going to do in response to this, because, in a lot of ways, it steps on their toes:

    Trump seems to think the Muslim thing proves something, but the only thing it would seem to prove is that we should somehow invent a time machine and never have allowed any Muslims in this country at all? Or deport all existing Muslim citizens? I mean, at what point do we actually start saying ‘Hitler-esque’?

    In reality, this undercuts the message of ‘Muslim immigrants are dangerous’, by pointing out that Muslims who have been citizens all their lives can be just as dangerous. And I’m not quite sure the *right*, as opposed to Trump-ists, really wants to go there.

    And I’m not sure that message would *even work*, considering there doesn’t actually seem to be a ‘solution’ (It’s simply not even *legal* to ‘deport’ American citizens, and it’s, like, infinitely unconstitutional to try to strip citizenship from people based on religion. It’s probably a violation of three separate amendments!), and is easily rebutted with an ‘Oklahoma City bombing’ and pointing out that *everyone* can be dangerous.

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure what they’re going to do with guns. I mean, the guy was known to be dangerous, but not actually convicted of anything.

    And, in this one particular instance of anti-gun control, they *have a point*: We shouldn’t be taking guns away from specific people without due process. That is not how the law works. We should be *removing* the idiotic and unconstitutional no-fly list, not expanding the use of it.

    WRT guns, we should, instead, be taking certain types of guns away from *all* people…but the NRA likes that idea even less.

    I’m really wondering what the response of the right to gun control proposals is going to be….assuming our cowardly Democrats even propose them.

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    • I’ve been wrestling with the horrid thought that maybe that strain of gun rights activists whose policy response to mass shootings is “do nothing” is the least bad things. We cannot have a massive removal of guns from the populace without violating the Second Amendment. Amending the Second Amendment is a political impossibility; private ownership of firearms is a deep part of our culture and not one likely to change soon at all. Nor can a convincing case be made that widespread ownership of even the specific kind of gun used in Orlando is systematically dangerous: hundreds of thousands of people own AR-15’s who never have and never will kill anyone else. (An AR-15 is pretty much the quintessential “fun-to-shoot” gun, a gun that one would pretty clearly want to have for nothing but the mere pleasure of shooting it at a range.) So much as one might look to a nation like Australia as a nation where weapons were successfully controlled and this yielded a significant reduction in violence, the United States cannot get to a policy like Australia’s from where we are now. We would need generations of cultural change before we could get to a place like that.

      What’s more, we are really really bad at mental health issues. I mean, I assume that for someone to embark upon a mass shooting necessarily implies at least some significant degree of mental illness. Perhaps there’s some sort of twisted ideology at play, whether political or religious, but even so there are thousands and thousands of people who have all sorts of really extreme political and religious beliefs who don’t kill other people, even other people they really really dislike. So something has to happen to override the taboo against killing other human beings, something has to defeat the powerful socialization of that moral norm, something has to make this sort of behavior seem reasonable to the perpetrator. Almost by definition that means there is something wrong with the way this person’s mind is operating. And we value privacy in our culture, so we don’t inquire too much if other people are a bit odd or say eccentric things. And we are right to be cautious about abridging peoples’ civil rights simply because we fear they might do something in the future. We can and should punish people for things they have done in the past, and that punishment can and should include the loss of the right to have a weapon for crimes which demonstrate a propensity for violence or some other willingness to disregard the law. But those things are retroactive and punitive, not prospective and preventative. Our legal system does not and cannot work in any other way.

      So, the horrid conclusion looks very hard for me to avoid: yes, we may simply have to live with something like Orlando happening from time to time.

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      • We cannot have a massive removal of guns from the populace without violating the Second Amendment.

        We cannot have a massive removal of guns from the populace without violating the *very recent and somewhat dubious interpretation of the Second Amendment that it protects an individual right to gun ownership*.

        EDIT: And *all* gun ownership, on top of that…which makes me wonder how we even forbid automatic weapons.

        If we can ban all automatic weapons, we can ban all semi-automatic weapons, or just specific semi-automatic weapons.

        Nor can a convincing case be made that widespread ownership of even the specific kind of gun used in Orlando is systematically dangerous: hundreds of thousands of people own AR-15’s who never have and never will kill anyone else. (An AR-15 is pretty much the quintessential “fun-to-shoot” gun, a gun that one would pretty clearly want to have for nothing but the mere pleasure of shooting it at a range.)

        A convincing case can certainly be made that ownership of an AR-15 serves no self-defense(1), home-defense(2), or hunting(3) purpose.

        A lot of things are ‘fun’ that we do not allow. We don’t allow people to buy as much C4 as they want, despite the fact everyone agrees it’s fun to blow stuff up.

        1) Carrying around a AR-15 for self-defense is insane, vs. carrying around a handgun.

        2) A small-caliber rapid-fire semi-automatic weapon is quite crazy to use as home defense unless you feel like randomly shooting everyone in nearby houses. The best weapon for that is something like the traditional double-barreled shotgun, which looks just as menacing and requires a good deal less accuracy, *and* doesn’t generally go through walls…or just use a goddamn handgun, which does go through walls, but you’ll be shooting a lot less bullets, and you can at least *maneuver* it inside.

        3) A lot of the time, an AR-15 is not even *legal* for hunting…the bullets are too small. And hunters aren’t supposed to kill deer with a spray of ten small bullets, they’re supposed to kill them with a one or two *large* bullet. The sort of things you’re supposed to hunt with rapid-fire guns like AR-15 are predators, the sort of things that might be *attacking* you in response to you shooting them.

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        • We cannot have a massive removal of guns from the populace without violating the *very recent and somewhat dubious interpretation of the Second Amendment that it protects an individual right to gun ownership*.

          Supposing that such a roundup could be accomplished without massive amounts of bloodshed, and supposing that gummint’s actions were taken to court and rose to the level of the Supremes, I’d bet dollars to donuts the decision would be 8-0 against gummint in that case. Which is to say, in my view, there won’t be any confiscation of massive amounts of guns.

          (At least, on the supposition that the term “massive amounts” includes assault rifles, large magazine clips and guns that accept them, sniper rifles, etc etc.)

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          • Last week the Ninth Circuit said you may be able to own a gun, but the state and local governments can regulate the snot out of where and how you are allowed to carry it. In particular, that there’s no Constitutional right to carry a concealed gun in public.

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            • I’m not sure I understand this correctly. Is it that the Ninth denied that the second amendment grants a right to conceal carry, ie., that those rights only pertain to ownership of guns?

              That would certainly be a blow to the constitutional carry movement.

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              • Here’s the money quote from the opinion:

                Based on the overwhelming consensus of historical sources, we conclude that the protection of the Second Amendment — whatever the scope of that protection may be — simply does not extend to the carrying of concealed firearms in public by members of the general public.

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                • I’ll note that Scalia’s opinion in Heller completely ignored the historical consensus, as does just about everyone else that argues an individual right in the Second Amendment.

                  The history is quite fascinating. I co-sign 100% with this, and it conforms to my vision of the original Constitution.

                  Think about it. Am I supposed to believe that the people pushed hardest for the Bill of Rights, the anti-Federalists, were going to entrust the federal government with protecting their private right to own a firearm? That’s about as amusing as the insurrectionist interpretation of the Second Amendment.

                  The individual rights reading of the Bill of Rights is largely a 20th Century construct.

                  The funny thing is that I couldn’t give two s–ts about guns one way or the other.

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            • “Last week the Ninth Circuit said you may be able to own a gun, but the state and local governments can regulate the snot out of where and how you are allowed to carry it.”

              Funny how we suddenly give a shit about the Tenth Amendment when it comes to punishing scary things that scare us.

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                • If you go by what the founders acted like, Gun Ownership was like Voting.

                  Land-owning white men could own guns and had a right to own guns.

                  Chicks and/or Miscellaneous did not have that right.

                  So these people who think that everybody has a 2nd Amendment right to own a gun are being seriously ahistorical.

                  I’m pretty sure we could get 51% to agree to a 1700’s interpretation, if we phrased it correctly.

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                  • I think the argument is more subtle than that. Chicks and Miscellany are accorded those rights by extension from already existing rights, but importantly – and I mean this neutrally, since I know you love yerself some 2A – the court determined that conceal carry isn’t a fundamental 2A right.

                    I imagine this case will create some interest when it reaches the SC.

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                    • “Chicks and Miscellany are accorded those rights by extension from already existing rights…”

                      Ah-heh, “extension” sounds kind of like reinterpretation, and here you are in this thread telling us that Heller was the result of reinterpretation that was so totally bizarrely unconstitutional that only five Supreme Court justices bought into it.

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                      • You do have to admit Heller turned over a century of 2nd Amendment jurisprudence on it’s ear. It was not a small change.

                        Maybe you think SCOTUS has been wrong for a century, maybe not. But you can’t deny it was a massive shift.

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                      • and here you are in this thread telling us that Heller was the result of reinterpretation that was so totally bizarrely unconstitutional that only five Supreme Court justices bought into it.

                        If you got the impression I was implying Heller was unconstitutional (whatever that means) then I wasn’t clear enough. My point was that Heller accorded rights to own a handgun for personal (home!) defense, and that’s it, so a confiscation of those long barrel quick-fire thingies would NOT be constitutional under Heller.

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                        • My point was that Heller accorded rights to own a handgun for personal (home!) defense, and that’s it, so a confiscation of those long barrel quick-fire thingies would NOT be constitutional under Heller.

                          Heller was very clear that a large part of the problem the court had was that DC allowed *literally no functioning weapons* in a house, even for legal purposes, and outright banned the most common kind. (Handguns.)

                          So as long as people still have access to common and easily obtainable methods of self defense, aka, other types of guns, outlawing *specific* sorts of weapons seems entirely constitutional under Heller.

                          As I said elsewhere, there is literally no legal activity where these guns are the *best* choice, much less the only choice. You want to hunt, use a hunting rifle or shotgun. You want portable self defense, use a handgun. You want home defense, use a handgun or a shotgun. There is no legal activity you’re doing better with an AR-15 except shooting things at a gun range…and that notably *isn’t* mentioned under Heller.

                          And the sort of weapons we’re talking about are some of the most expensive guns there are, so it’s not like we’re outlawing the *cheap* stuff.

                          I don’t see any Heller trip-ups at all.

                          Worse case scenario, the court says ‘You cannot take away someone’s self defense’, and the government has to *replace* any weapons it takes away with other weapons that work just as well.

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                          • So as long as people still have access to common and easily obtainable methods of self defense, aka, other types of guns, outlawing *specific* sorts of weapons seems entirely constitutional under Heller.

                            I disagree. Heller gave an affirmative right under the 2A to own handguns for self defense of the home, but was silent on other issues. So an affirmative right to ownership of long stick multifiring doodads was left undecided. IOW, insofar as Heller is concerned (by my NAL understanding) confiscation of those thingamabobs is not within the constitutional authority of the US. Hence my earlier claim: if those weapons WERE confiscated and gummint’s actions made it to the SC, the decision, with nothing more to go on than Heller, would be against gummint.

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                            • Heller gave an affirmative right under the 2A to own handguns for self defense of the home, but was silent on other issues. So an affirmative right to ownership of long stick multifiring doodads was left undecided.

                              Right.

                              Again, we circle back to the fact that Heller, while pretty unclear, seemed to assert there were certain rights people had, aka, self-defense and home defense (And hunting, although not incredibly relevant here, was mentioned. Although no one seems to have a problem with the government regulating different weapons for hunting.), and the government could not *entirely* ban the most common and accessible means of exercising those rights.

                              And thus my point that AR-15s and Sig Sauer MCXs are not, in fact, particularly good guns at exercising *any* of those rights, or in fact doing any legal thing at all, and are some of the least accessible weapons as they’re pretty expensive. Make that argument, even under Heller, and you’ve got a logical argument for the court to hang a decision on.

                              Under Heller, the government can’t infringe your right to possess a gun for self defense, but it surely can can demand you use a handgun for that, which is better for self defense in every possible way, (Including ways the government has a quite obvious interest in, like you not spraying bullets through walls) vs. an AR-15.

                              IOW, insofar as Heller is concerned (by my NAL understanding) confiscation of those thingamabobs is not within the constitutional authority of the US.

                              Huh? When did Heller say anything about confiscation?

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                              • If we pretended that having eliminated all rifles/shotguns would have prevented every single rifle/shotgun murder, how many murders would we have prevented?

                                Same question except for handguns.

                                Let’s say in the last few years, if we want a timeframe.

                                Which ban would have prevented more murders?

                                My thought is the handgun one…

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                                • Oh, the handguns, by far. Handguns kill a lot more people than any other sort of gun.

                                  I was talking hypothetical about Heller and what Congress would do in response to Orlando, not what *should actually exist to stop gun violence*.

                                  I think we already had a big discussion about that, but basically my position is that we should register, and then track and background check all transfers for guns, period. All existing owners have a specific amount of time to register.

                                  If you are the last registered owner of a gun used in a crime, and have not already reported it stolen, you are charged as an accomplice. (You can, of course, defend yourself in court.) If the registered owner is a gun store, the store *and* the owner are charged.

                                  And you only get a few gun thefts (The exact number is up for debate, but I think 3 separate instances or 5 guns total might work.) before the government charges you with some sort of misdemeanor negligence with the sole penalty of being forbidden to own a gun. (Or you can just plea to that.) Hell, I’ll even be nice and still let you *use* someone else’s gun, if you want to go to a firing range or hunting, as long as it doesn’t go out of their sight.

                                  Guns, to be in the illegal market, have to exit the legal one. If we focus *there*, at the exit point, with charging the people who do it deliberately, and barring the people who get their guns stolen, the illegal gun market dries up. (And a lot of the former would try to pass as the latter, but that’s *fine*. As long as the chain is broken.)

                                  We won’t actually do that, of course. Keeping *track* of deadly weapons is apparently the first step to fascism.

                                  What we appear to be doing instead is trying to randomly bar people, without any due process, from owning guns. Yeah, that seems entirely reasonable and not fascist at all.

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                                    • Well, yes, there are guns that are just made illegally to start with.

                                      Likewise, for the next decade or so, illegal guns will still be floating around.

                                      My point is to stop the vast majority of the flow, not to try to block every single possible thing. Basically, 99.9999% of illegal guns used in crimes in this country started out as legal guns. We need to have penalties for that…hell, not even ‘penalties’, we just need to say ‘Guns get take from *you* more than a few times, even if honestly it doesn’t seem to be intended…you are not responsible enough to own firearms’.

                                      Super-expensive bespoke weapons that people have to smuggle into the country are sorta irrelevant to the crime rate. Hell, I suspect more people manage to shoot themselves *without* a gun by playing with ammo than people get killed via ‘ghost guns’.

                                      Also, as an aside, that story *doesn’t make any sense*, and I think NG got punked. Who the hell cares if a gun used in an assassination is ‘traceable’? Guns used in assassination *should not end up the hands of the police afterward* (duh), and disposing of the gun is where assassins should spend their time and money, not trying to get some magical untraceable one to start with. Just make sure the thing hasn’t been used in prior crimes so the ballistics can’t be traced, and then afterward throw the thing in the river, or spend some actual money to bribe some guy to melt it. What is this ‘tracing’ nonsense?

                                      Also, having some weird custom job, as opposed to ‘generic gun that was stolen in unsolved robbery of gun shop ten years ago and hasn’t been since’, is literally the *opposite* of untraceable.

                                      ‘I’ll rob a bank and escape in a custom-built car I had someone make. They’ll *never be able to track me*, the car is completely unregistered, it doesn’t even have a VIN!’

                                      This story is the sort of nonsensical criminal gibberish that the media get suckered into all the time.

                                      Now, there really are hand-made weapons. Anyone with a machine shop can supposedly make an AK-47. I’m sure it’s possible to make anything. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense, and really isn’t economically feasible to do that at anywhere near the current scale of guns.

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                    • the version of the 2nd A reviewed by the 9th Circuit had a typo in it — “bare” for “bear”. Of course they ruled against concealed carry.

                      or,

                      “bearing arms” means carrying weaponry as part of an organized militia. Thus open carry, not concealed carry. Spies carry their weapons concealed, not soldiers.

                      Ain’t you a lawyer? Why don’t you read the majority opinion and report back.

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                      • the version of the 2nd A reviewed by the 9th Circuit had a typo in it — “bare” for “bear”.

                        Why didn’t the judge immediately throw the case out as baseless?

                        I’ll tell you why. Activism.

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                  • I thought “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” was clear, but apparently it’s the only bit of the Constitution that’s just there to look pretty.

                    My post-Heller guess is that it was added because, you know, they couldn’t just center-justify that thing. Didn’t want to screw up the margins, so they had someone toss off some fluff to line it up.

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                    • Didn’t want to screw up the margins, so they had someone toss off some fluff to line it up.

                      Scalia may as well have written that because he ignored just about everything else except what was convenient to his argument.

                      Strange as it may seem…I look at Heller the same way I look at Griswold v Connecticut. I think both decisions were correct but the majority opinions leave a lot to be desired.

                      Heller has more appeal to me on privacy grounds given that it involves the acquisition of private property and the possession and (possible) use in one’s own home.

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                  • A prediction — individual carry dies with a whimper. First, the personal injury lawyers figure out how to get juries to decide that “You could have left the gun at home; you could have left it in your car; instead you carried it into Wal-Mart where it went off and wounded my client” into an eight-figure settlement. Second, private insurance companies turn “Oh, you carry a firearm in public places?” into you can’t buy liability or homeowner’s insurance at any price, and simply leave states that try to force them to provide such coverage.

                    Not commenting on whether that’s good or bad, simply making a prediction that that’s how it will shake out. Eventually, insisting on a right as a private citizen to carry a firearm in public, open or concealed, gets you sent to jail.

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        • David I know your trying to make justifications here and I appreciate that position. I do have issue with what you are bringing to the table.

          1. the thing about handguns is they have what is known as a “short sight radius” as compared to a AR-15 or most any iron sighted rifle. Therefore the handgun mechanically/visually is less accurate. If I had to have someone shoot an apple of my head with my family to either side, I would choose the sight radius of a rifle everytime. The only thing that makes the AR-15 an unacceptable self defense weapon is the social constructs that have arisen to make people think of it in a certain symbolic way

          2. pretty much in agreeance here

          3. AR-15 platforms can be built to many different calibers so there is really no claim that they can’t develop all the required parameters to function the same way as typical caliber hunting rifles. Until the remington model 700 type rifles start production of standard ‘thumb hole through the stock’ configurations, the AR-15 will be ergonomically superior to use.

          Rate of fire. AR-15s aren’t fully automatic without special modifications under permit. They are just typically semi-automatic guns.
          Even a built in the backyard, hardware store parts, slam fire gun has rate of fire of about 3 rounds a minute if using the barrel flip technique, so your looking in the neighborhood of about 60 rounds or more in twenty minutes for even a crappy home constructed gun.

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          • the thing about handguns is they have what is known as a “short sight radius” as compared to a AR-15 or most any iron sighted rifle. Therefore the handgun mechanically/visually is less accurate. If I had to have someone shoot an apple of my head with my family to either side, I would choose the sight radius of a rifle everytime. The only thing that makes the AR-15 an unacceptable self defense weapon is the social constructs that have arisen to make people think of it in a certain symbolic way

            Shooting apples off heads is not any sort of activity that we should be worried about when making laws.

            In fact, joking aside,…you seem to be describing, basically, sniping. Which, yes, handguns are…the second dumbest choice for. (Shotguns, I guess, winning the dumbest choice.)

            But that’s not any sort of self-defense. In fact, that’s *hunting*, just some sort of weird hunting without any sort of rules that is happening in the direction of other people you’re trying not to shoot. I’m having a hard time coming up with any sort of *defense* situation this could actually happen in.

            I know ‘criminals take family member hostage with gun to head, skilled person manages to shoot them’ is a common *trope*, but it is not actually any sort of real-life situation.

            3. AR-15 platforms can be built to many different calibers so there is really no claim that they can’t develop all the required parameters to function the same way as typical caliber hunting rifles. Until the remington model 700 type rifles start production of standard ‘thumb hole through the stock’ configurations, the AR-15 will be ergonomically superior to use.

            Yes, you can build an AR-15 that operates as a hunting rifle (Hell, there’s probably a *shotgun* AR-15 out there somewhere.)…or you can can just buy a damn hunting rifle for a third of the cost.

            Rate of fire. AR-15s aren’t fully automatic without special modifications under permit. They are just typically semi-automatic guns.

            Even a built in the backyard, hardware store parts, slam fire gun has rate of fire of about 3 rounds a minute if using the barrel flip technique, so your looking in the neighborhood of about 60 rounds or more in twenty minutes for even a crappy home constructed gun.

            Erm, from what I understand, the AR-15 can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, like all semi-automatics. The rate of the automatic version, the M16, is 800 rounds a minute, aka, 13.3 rounds a second, but no one can possible move their finger that fast. The more realistic rate is probably somewhere between two or three rounds a second, let’s say 120-180 rounds a minute. (There is such a thing as ‘bump fire’ that lets you use the recoil of the gun to pull the trigger, and can result in a fire rate near automatic rate, but that mostly seems to be trick and not something you could actually use in real life where you have to aim the gun, start shooting, aim while shooting, and then stop shooting at will.)

            Note firing 2-3 RPS instead of 13 does not, in fact, make the AR-15 less deadly…firing 13 rounds a second is in fact *way too many* (People do not need a dozen bullets in them to kill them.), and will rapidly and pointlessly deplete your ammo.

            Now, basically all semi-automatic weapons will be ready to fire again faster than you can pull the trigger again, so the limitation is *always* how fast you can pull the trigger…but the AR-15 can be modified to both have a very short distance and a very low effort trigger pull. So it’s basically how fast your index finger can flutter. Other semi-automatics (especially handguns) require more effort and distance.

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              • Yes and no.

                The M-16, as a rifle, was designed specifically for the small unit tactics of the U.S. armed forces..

                The 5.56 NATO cartridge was chosen over the previous default rifleman’s M-1 Garand 7.62 NATO cartridge… not because it was deadlier (it notably isn’t)… but because you can carry significantly more ammunition for the weight (about twice the number of rounds per pound), and the small unit tactics used by the army encouraged advancement under fairly accurate suppressing fire until you could close to effective kill range. A lower recoil with the smaller cartridge (5.56 v. 7.62) enabled you to maintain precision with a high rate of fire, which is what you want in suppression fire. (This is also why I agree with Burt that folks like to use it for a range gun, low recoil matters for fun plinking).

                The gun is designed basically to allow a platoon to dump a hell of a lot of rounds downrange. The cartridge is tied very explicitly to that decision.

                The high velocity nature of the cartridge is decent at punching holes in light cover, and is less affected by wind in outside environments, which were contributing factors as well.

                Now.

                This makes the M-16, its civilian cousin the AR-15, and basically every rifle that uses the 5.56 cartridge suitable *by design* for a group of people who know what they are doing to shoot at another group of people at mid-range, with a decent probability of keeping that second group of people stuck with low tactical mobility due to that suppressing fire, while they advance to the point where they can eliminate that group of people.

                There is less reason to use this cartridge, or this gun, or any gun that uses this cartridge, for any other purpose. Just about any animal you can kill with a 5.56 you can kill with a .22LR or a shotgun shell, and any bigger critter you’d want something in the .308 or above category.

                Rounds that miss their targets can easily cause civilian casualties because they can go through drywall without pausing much. An AR-15 chambered for 5.56 is a terrible damn gun for home defense, if you miss your target you could hit your own kids on the other side of the wall or the neighbor across the street. Folks made fun of Joe Biden for brandishing a shotgun for home defense, but hell yes that’s where it’s at if that’s the reason you’re buying the gun in the first place.

                Civilians should not be using these guns, because they’re ill-suited for civilian purposes. The police should not be using these guns, because they’re ill-suited for law enforcement (they do because the military sells them cheap to law enforcement, we probably should stop that.)

                The 5.56 cartridge should be used for what it was originally designed for: enabling a small group of soldiers to attack another small group of soldiers at mid- to close range.

                While it’s true that you can change the AR-15 out to shoot everything from a .22LR to a larger caliber, that’s not largely relevant; that’s an adaptive behavior to increase market share, which is entirely sensible as a business decision but there’s no reason why you can’t just buy a gun chambered for .22LR if that’s what you’re looking for.

                Really, the whole “guns are designed to kill people” stance isn’t one I buy into much at all. But it’s undoubtedly the case that the 5.56 cartridge was designed explicitly for a purpose, and there’s no alignment between that purpose and what just about anybody really needs a gun *for*.

                Unless you’re planning on getting together with 6-12 of your buddies and going into a small unit engagement.

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                • I think I was unclear (although thanks for the info anyway. I’ve done some reading about the development of the M16, but am clearly not as well informed as a number of other people here). I meant that, in the context of a mass shooting, the chief limiting factor is time required to reload, is it not? At very short range against an unarmed target that likely lacks any kind of cover or concealment, things that matter in a combat setting or when hunting likely are much less significant, are they not?

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                  • There’s a legitimate question when it comes to that.

                    I expect that the two things are coupled. I’ve held a filled 50 round drum magazine for a 5.56 (this one: http://www.brownells.com/magazines/rifle-magazines/magazines/x-15-50rd-magazine-sku100011442-71764-114214.aspx) it’s about 5 lbs loaded, which was over half the weight of the gun it was used with.

                    Loaded weight of a 30 round magazine is closer to about a pound and a half.

                    Honestly, you get into really grim conversations when you’re talking about mass killings, but my guess is that a 20- or 30-round magazine is the operable trade-off between reloading and total weight of the gun. The higher capacity magazines require a drum mechanism which adds significantly to total weight.

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                • Yes, exactly.

                  The problem is that these guns, the AR-15 and the Sig Sauer MCX and other like it are designed to…kill a lot of people. That’s not any sort of hyperbole, it’s not some misunderstanding of guns.

                  There are no circumstances at all where they are the best choices for any *legal* use of weapons in this country. None. Not a single one.

                  They are insane choices for hunters, and even where legal, people using them are laughable derided by hunters as ‘spray and pray’, and frankly hunters would be happy to see those idiots removed from hunting.

                  They are horrible choices for home defense, for the reasons given above. (A shotgun for the barely skilled, an handgun for someone who’s had training it in.)

                  People obviously can’t carry them around for *self* defense, either.

                  Even unlikely hypothetical like having to fight off bears or something…yes, they work for that, but what you actually want there is a high caliber gun.

                  And, yes, you can *mod* those guns to be those things, you can make a varmint shooter or a high calibre lower velocity gun for hunting, or whatever…at which point they will be a slightly crappier version of a *much cheaper gun* you could have bought!

                  People are buying those things based on some sort of fantasy about shooting a lot of people. Sometimes those fantasies are a bunch of criminals breaking into those their house, sometimes those fantasies are fighting off the government trying to take the gun away, sometimes those fantasies are shooting a bunch of gay people.

                  But they are all *fantasies*.

                  Yeah, they’re fun to shoot. Oh, yay. I’m sure that’s a good reason to have them legal.

                  It’s like there’s a car company out there selling cars that can go 200 mph, has a heavy indestructible frame designed to ram though buildings and other cars, and has sawblades mounted on it. And gets 10 mpg when actually driving around. The only ways that that car is ‘better’ than a normal car are *utterly illegal* to actually use. There are no *legal* situations where that car is the best car to be using!

                  And assholes buy it and drive it around, perfectly legally, on the highway, and how *dare* you infringe their rights! I mean, what if a bunch of criminals built a wall across the highway in order to rob people?

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                • Folks made fun of Joe Biden for brandishing a shotgun for home defense

                  Who made fun of him? They sound like the definition of gun fetishists, i.e. people who want a gun that makes them feel powerful, not one that actually protects them.

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        • “which makes me wonder how we even forbid automatic weapons.” Actually, we don’t Automatic weapons after a certain date are forbidden, but if I want a .45 Tommy gun from WW2 I can buy one with the correct paperwork, fees, background check, finger printing, etc.

          “Nor can a convincing case be made that widespread ownership of even the specific kind of gun used in Orlando is systematically dangerous.” My understanding was the the weapon used WAS NOT an AR-15. It was a Sig Sauer MCX carbine.

          ” A small-caliber rapid-fire semi-automatic weapon is quite crazy to use as home defense unless you feel like randomly shooting everyone in nearby houses.” .223 rilfes and variants don’t penetrate the same way many high caliber pistol rounds do. They start tumbling and loosing velocity very quickly when they do. They are also allow a firmer grip having a multiple point connection to the body-better on target performance and less likely to get dropped/knocked away.

          “A lot of the time, an AR-15 is not even *legal* for hunting” Depends upon the type of hunting. Varmint hunting for example.

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          • I’d heard to the contrary as to the exact weapon used, although I’m starting to see reports that confirm that it was actually the MCX. I’m inclined to forgive the early reports as to the kind of weapon; one of the first places I found to describe the Sig Sauer MCX describes the weapon thus: “While the SIG SAUER MCX kinda looks like a standard AR-15, there’s one major difference: it’s gas piston operated.”

            Not that it really matters all that much.

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            • Yes, generally it really doesn’t matter, but I get a burr up my saddle for imprecise terminology. You should hear my rants about “magazine” vs “clip”. Additional, the anti gunners use anything that looks like an ar-15 to demonize the weapon class, which also gets my lather up. :)

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                • For the purposes here, a magazine is a metal/polymer box that holds rounds under spring pressure that will push them into the chamber. A clip holds cartridges in proper position to load into a magazine. Basic rule of thumb: clips feed magazines, magazines feed the firearm.

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                  • A good example is the M1 Garand used in WW2. You can see it in operation in Brothers in Arms. A grouping of cartridges are shoved down into the magazine of the rifle when it’s empty.

                    Contrast that to the common AR-15 where to add ammo, you detach the empty mag and shove another one in.

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                      • Other than a pistol at a firing range for the experience, I don’t believe I’ve ever fired anything that wasn’t single-shot bolt-action. Dad and Grandpa were from the “number of squirrels plus number of remaining rounds had damned well better add up to the number of rounds you started with” school. Later in life I had my chance to try at pronghorns: a four-hour stalk to get one 250-yard shot and you really, really want a sniper weapon and its many B’s — bolt-action, big slug, big scope, bipod.

                        My uncle the Green Beret was blunt about it — auto or semi-auto anything is for shooting vermin or people.

                        OTOH, I have friends who go on at length about weaponry, and insist on the right terminology.

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                        • Oh man am I glad that I didn’t have anybody imposing that level of trigger discipline on me the time I did some target shooting with a .30-06 rifle. It was part of a longer backpacking trek, and I had figured my vision was good enough that it wasn’t worth bringing contacts or glasses on the trail. So yeah, about that. With my unassisted vision, I was confident that the rounds went downrange, but not sure about much else.

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                          • If he had been there and known about your vision, Grandpa would have broken your fingers before he let you touch a gun. His was a generation where machine shops and the local coal mines made life dangerous enough, and he had zero tolerance for people making what he thought were dumb decisions that could get other people hurt. I was somewhere around eight or ten when I put together enough of the coal-mining history in that part of the state and the large percentage of men in that town my Grandpa’s age who were missing fingers, or a hand, or a foot.

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                    • Yes, the m1 uses an en bloc clip. The cartridges are placed in the clip which is then inserted in the weapon’s magizine. Just don’t let it close on your thumb.

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                • The distinction appears to be that “clip” vs. “magazine” pedantry allows for rapid-fire derailing of gun control threads into the weeds of ever more arcane gun-fetish technology until they resemble a Tim Allen routine describing the BinFord X-200a Rangemaster carbine with 3:1 compression ratio and double knurled kung fu grips argh argghhhh ARRGHH.

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                  • If you’re going to comment about a subject, you do yourself and your argument no good by demonstrating ignorance on that very subject. 15 seconds of searching will tell you the difference. And your argument is immediately discounted since “you don’t know what you’re talking about”.

                    I’ll cut “commoners” some slack, but not journalists or politicians.

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                    • Is this true for anything? Or just guns?

                      This seems to be the equivalent of dismissing someone’s entire argument because they use the wrong their/there/they’re.

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                      • I think it depends on what exactly you’re arguing for. If your position is “all guns should be banned” then it doesn’t much matter how familiar you are with the details, but if you’re arguing for specific restrictions (e.g. “assault rifles” or semi-automatic weapons or certain features), then not understanding the details suggests that you haven’t put any careful thought into your opinion. Not that it’s necessarily worthless, but that it’s probably not worth any more than anyone else’s opinion.

                        Have you read this Popehat post? If not, you might take a look.

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                        • A fair point, and one I would agree with. It seems to me that folks are taking a bit of an absolutist approach: in order to weigh in, you must consistently use every term 100% accurately. If I am misunderstanding folks, I apologize.

                          If “clip” and “magazine” are used interchangeable most of the time but become a litmus test when gun control is the topic of conversation, I’d suggest such folks are being disingenuous.

                          I’ll be sure to read that. I generally find myself hard pressed to craft much of an argument against the Popehat folks.

                          For myself, my libertarian streak has tended to emerge with regards to gun rights though at this point, I am seriously questioning this position.

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                          • If “clip” and “magazine” are used interchangeable most of the time but become a litmus test when gun control is the topic of conversation, I’d suggest such folks are being disingenuous.

                            Yes, if that’s the only context in which they care, then that’s suspicious. OTOH I’d guess that some significant fraction of the people who know the difference would be apt to correct anyone who misuses the terms, rather than just their opponents.

                            Re this particular horrible event, I’m not convinced that the gun control debate is that relevant — if this guy couldn’t get guns, he seems like the kind of person who would figure out how to bomb the place instead. In which case people would just be arguing about whether this act implicates Muslims or American culture and not about guns at all.

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                        • Well yeah, if you’re writing legislation or laying out a detailed enough statement on what you think that legislation should be.

                          But if I say “I think we should ban large clips/magazines” — you know what I mean. What I mean by “big” is a far more legitimate response rather than yelling about jargon.

                          And even then, for like 95% of conversations — what I meant by “big” doesn’t even matter because I’m not trying to write legislation, just stating that people can routinely get ones I think are “too big” and thus would like to make them smaller.

                          “Less than now” is sufficient for most conversational purposes.

                          Because even if I don’t define “get rid of big clips/magazines” even if I use the wrong terminology, you understand that I mean “the amount of bullets some legally available guns can fire without reloading is too much. I think there should be a law making it smaller”.

                          How much smaller probably doesn’t matter — either you agree in principal, so it’s down to ‘legislating’ levels — or you don’t, in which you’ll go on to explain why you think limiting size is a bad idea.

                          Honestly, I found the terminology purity pretty ironic — if I did that about, oh, art terms I’d be called an elitist cultural snob….

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                          • I might know what you mean but I might not care if you don’t show me any particular reason to take your opinion seriously.

                            I think the hardest thing for some people to remember is that there are around 300 million people in this country with their own opinions — if you want to convince someone rather than just vent or posture, you need to give them a reason to listen to you.

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                      • [I am speaking for long memory here. Feel free to correct errors of fact.]

                        Well, back in the original assault weapons ban, they of course had to precisely define what an “assault weapon” was. One of the features they listed (among a complex combination of others) was the presence of a “bayonet lug.”

                        Which okay look, sure, if you have a rifle with bayonet lug, it was probably designed for military use. But on the other hand, it might have been designed for military use in 1903. Furthermore, have bayonets been used in any recent mass killings? Why should a freaking bayonet lug matter?

                        The point is, lawmakers were trying to draw this weird, curvy line through the space of possible firearms, just to distinguish the “bad ones” from the “good ones.”

                        This is hard to do. In fact, gun manufacturers found the precise set of loopholes that let them sell (what were effectively) assault weapons that passed the criteria. For example, you began to see AK47 ripoffs that lacked a “pistol grip,” but instead had this goofy grip integrated into the stock, which functioned just the same as a pistol grip, but without meeting the strict definition, since like bayonet lug, a “pistol grip” was one of the features that made something an “assault weapon.”

                        (I think this was the design in question, if I recall correctly.)

                        Anyway, back then they sold tons of those things. I haven’t been on a range in decades, but I assume they are still around.

                        So decades later, this kind of stupidity has entered gun owner lore, and anytime a “librul” talks about guns, but does not seem to have spent much time around them, there is a worry that they’ll advocate for a dumb law.

                        Of course, we can say to the gun rights advocates, “Okay then, help us design a law that effectively blocks weapons optimized for tactical high-volume fire and mass killing.”

                        To which they respond, “It cannot be done!”

                        The thing is, when an expert says a thing cannot be done, sometimes it truly cannot be done, but sometimes they are full of shit and they just don’t want to do it.

                        Let us be honest. The gun rights crowd does not want to ban weapons optimized for tactical high-volume fire and mass killing, cuz they like them.

                        Could such a law be made? Probably. Would it be perfect? Well, to truly block all the weapons you want to block, you are going to end up blocking ownership of (for example) the M1 Garand, which was our main rifle during WWII. Lots of people own those things. They are fun. They got passed down from their grandfathers and shit. My old roommate had one. We fired it all the time.

                        The idea that we might ban a weapon like that rightly frightens gun enthusiasts. However, it’s hard to come up with rules that will block an AR15 but not an M1 Garand, but that the gun makers won’t sidestep with some new design that optimizes tactical high-volume fire and mass killing, just with a dumb grip or no bayonet lug or whatever.

                        So the thing about clips and magazines, when you fired the Garand, you loaded it using a clip, which you shoved down into its internal, non-detachable magazine. When you fired the last round, the clip ejected from the rifle with a satisfying plink sound, after which you shove in another clip. The fun part is, the loading process destroyed your fucking thumb at least once as the bolt slammed shut, until you learn how to do it quickly.

                        If you do not know this, then you’ve never handled a Garand (but perhaps have a healthier thumb). If you do know this, perhaps you have fired one, so perhaps you understand a bit about what responsible gun owners care about, even the ones who do not want to own weapons optimized for tactical high-volume fire and mass killing.

                        On the other hand, some of us would like to talk about weapons optimized for tactical high-volume fire and mass killing. You see, with such a weapon, you can kill a lot of people really quickly, dozens and dozens, which is not something a typical person could do with your grandpa’s lever action Winchester. The difference matters. It mattered a lot in Orlando this weekend.

                        So there it is.

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                        • V, that was a cogent, fact specific post using the correct verbiage, demonstrating knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Well said. I appreciate you post in a sea of ignorance. We may differ in our opinions vis a vis guns/semi auto “aw” etc, but we can at least speak together intelligently and understand each other. Thank you.

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                          • So coming back to the main question. Is there a set of clearly definable characteristics that would classify a weapon as “can easily kill a lot of people”? Looking back at the recent mass killings, is there a feature or class that, if regulated, would have significantly decreased the effectiveness of the attack?

                            Alternatively, if the regulation was based on outcome: “we give this gun to 100 average gun owners in a simulation and see if they can kill more than X/minute” is there a reasonable value of X that would not be too pernicious to those who hunt or want to carry for self-defense?

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                            • Any weapon that is ranged can easily kill a lot of people (barring “this takes hours to reload”). Melee weapons have the disadvantage that they can be run away from (barring flamethrowers, which can set fire to things and are mostly psychological anyway).

                              AFAIK, banning long-weapons (restricting to handguns) would significantly cut the accuracy. Ditto with removing rifling. You could also ban all weapons that you can discharge within X seconds (don’t need to recock, easy to load ammo).

                              As for hunting: it depends on what you’re hunting. Hunt deer or birds, yeah, you should only need one shot. Hunt bear? Well, if you miss, you may have an attacking bear in your face. Probably better we veer on the side of “living human” rather than “living bear.” (If bear seems like “far-fetched” ask the guys from texas to tell you about feral hogs. They don’t stay nicely out of the suburbs, either).

                              Carry for self-defense? You could do that with handguns, easy. But that’s for personal defense in an urban area — where you don’t have good line of sight.

                              MANY people who DESERVE self-defense (because of lack of police) carry to defend their home. And there you can get lines of sight that justify shotgun or rifle.

                              Fixing this problem is going to hurt. Or cost a HELL of a lot of money. Either you say “three hours until the police get there, and you can’t have a decent defense” or you gotta pay for a LOT of police that citizens can’t really afford (or deputize a lot of citizenry)

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                              • Thanks Kim, this is informative. Though I’m still not convinced that this is any more difficult than any other unresolved political issue. There are a lot of vectors that this can be addressed through:

                                (1) the most obvious and commonly debated is regulating specific types of guns, which, as you made clear is probably the most challenging to implement consistently. This is how we regulate street legal cars, by defining what features they must/cannot have.

                                (2) as I mentioned, one can regulate the *capacity* of the gun to kill: how quickly it can unload a certain amount of bullets; how fast it is to reload; how easy it is to carry or conceal, etc. – and then let the gun manufacturers figure out how to satisfy these requirements. This is *also* how we regulate street legal cars. We don’t regulate the specific parameters of the engine or exhaust, but we do specify the appropriate emissions levels and let the manufacturers figure out how to meet them. If they invent some “clean diesel” that meets these requirements (yeah, I know) their car is legal whether we like the idea of diesel or not.

                                (3) we can regulate the ongoing responsibilities of the gun owner: requiring them to belong to a club, for example; be vouched for by other members of the club and regularly participate in club activities; provide proof of training and maintenance on demand; go in for periodic inspections; etc. This is how things are done in Germany, for example. The focus is now more on sociability and competence then it is on killing capacity, but if we’re talking about lone-wolves that may well be their biggest weakness. I live in New England so YMMV but all gun clubs I’ve been to are very disciplined and serious about responsible ownership.

                                Honestly the most disappointing aspect of this discussion is that it never seems to move beyond “let’s ban AR-15s” on the one side and “what part of SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED don’t you understand” on the other. The fact that this keeps happening over and over again doesn’t mean that the solution is to shout louder, it means the solution will be nuanced and multi-faceted.

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                                • We have a problem with the idea of passing national laws. Instead, we should be thinking local laws. Every city, every suburb says “check guns here”. If you chip every gun with an RFID, you can pick ’em all up (dunno how easy this is to hack, be warned). Outside of those, you’ve limited the ease of killing people.

                                  And read what V dire has to say before you go ruling out the target shooters. I’d personally really like to know how much they’d be hurt by a gun ban.Would they care?

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                        • On the other hand, some of us would like to talk about weapons optimized for tactical high-volume fire and mass killing. You see, with such a weapon, you can kill a lot of people really quickly, dozens and dozens, which is not something a typical person could do with your grandpa’s lever action Winchester. The difference matters. It mattered a lot in Orlando this weekend.

                          But we aren’t allowed unto the discussion unless we understand the difference a trebuchet and a ballista,

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                      • If the listener knows the difference, you defeat your purpose of persuasion. If the listener doesn’t know the difference there is no failure to persuade. That’s all I’m saying. So if you’re speaking to a wide audience, it’s best to know your stuff, or admit your ignorance in that specific area.

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                      • I can only apply that rule to stuff I know about. That’s why I don’t point out errors when someone is talking about physics or biological processes. :)

                        I know a bit about guns. I grew up in a rural part of the state and was around them most of my life.

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                        • The errors are only relevant in so far as they undermine the person’s actual position. “You want to ban gun X based on opposition to characteristic Y but gun X doesn’t even have Y on it.” Rightfully pointing out the error.
                          “You wa t a minimum 5 day waiting period on all semi-autos but you said clip instead of magazine which doesn’t really effect your stance.”
                          Not actually engaging the argument put forth.

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                          • That’s true enough, but someone likely wouldn’t say “minimum 5 day waiting period on all semi-autos ” They would say “assault rifles” which would be similar to you first comment.

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                  • The distinction appears to be that “clip” vs. “magazine” pedantry…

                    Yes, god forbid you should actually have to demonstrate any particular knowledge on a subject before asking people to take your opinions seriously.

                    Facts are overrated. The important thing is that your ideology is correct.

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                    • Well, except that for casual conversation, what’s important is everyone understands what you mean.

                      Specific jargon is for technical discussions. If you were writing laws or designing guns, yes.

                      But if I say “magazine” or “clip” size — is there any actual confusion as to what I’m talking about, even if I use the wrong technical term?

                      If not, then derailing to cover that is pedantry at best.

                      (And frankly, I’m sure it’s a logical fallacy to say something like “You used the incorrect technical term, therefore your general point is clearly incorrect” in any case).

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                      • In the past day, I’ve seen the media spin into a collective freak out and condemnation of the AR-15 and then, when it came out that the Orlando shooter’s weapon was not in fact an AR-15, a complete narrative shift to well, it doesn’t matter what gun he actually used, assault weapons are bad.

                        So, you guys can keep telling yourself that getting the facts right is inconsequential and anyone who thinks otherwise is being pedantic. But when you’re trying to figure out why your arguments aren’t convincing anyone who doesn’t already agree, then maybe you’ll want to stop and consider why.

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                        • Getting the facts right, especially in light of the conceptual clusterfuck that was the assault weapons ban, is important. Pulling a red card on someone who confuses mags and clips is pedantic.

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                          • You shouldn’t be allowed an opinion on LBGT matters unless you know the difference between crossdressers and transexuals, and can recite the handkerchief color codes and meanings….

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                            • Oh heck I don’t even know the color codes, except I recall last time I looked at them, all the colors I actually like ended up meaning something that I absolutely don’t want to do. So that was annoying. One would think the gay community would have put more thought into the aesthetics of this. After all, a girl needs to match her outfit!

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                        • Yes, its important to get the facts right with regard to the topic at hand.

                          So if the topic at hand were, say, “The Taxonomy of the Binford x-200 Rangemaster Rifle“., well, buster, you bet your bippy I would be careful to know a knurled grip from a butt stock.

                          But the topic I’m discussing is “What is with the weird sick relationship so many people have with guns?”

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                        • In the past day, I’ve seen the media spin into a collective freak out and condemnation of the AR-15 and then, when it came out that the Orlando shooter’s weapon was not in fact an AR-15, a complete narrative shift to well, it doesn’t matter what gun he actually used, assault weapons are bad.

                          Well, that’s because it doesn’t matter what gun he actually used. I mean, you’re a smart guy. You of course realize that and I can only conclude that you really are trying to derail this debate with pedantic nonsense. The argument is that he used a gun capable of shooting 102 people in a very short amount of time, and bought those guns just days before he opened fire.

                          Adding: Is the phrase “opened fire” the correct Gun Expert term to use, or does that show I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about?

                          {{Oops. I just realized that I referred to a singular with a plural in that comment. You can obviously disregard the content…}}

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                          • You of course realize that and I can only conclude that you really are trying to derail this debate with pedantic nonsense.

                            It’s funny that you actually think that this is a debate.

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                              • Maybe. Or maybe some folks want to talk about ways to reduce gun violence and some folks want to have an ideological circle jerk.

                                At the end of the day, I am going to be honest and say that none of this matters to me. My opinion is closest to the one expressed by Burt Likko above. I’m a big believer in path dependency. I don’t think that there are any easily-implementable set of “common sense gun laws” that can stop a person intent on killing a lot of people.

                                You guys are the ones who want to see a change in policy, which only tends to happen when you can reliably change people’s minds, particularly the people who don’t already agree with you. I’m only trying to let you know that you are remarkably bad at it. But I guess if you were of a mind to listen to what I’m saying, I wouldn’t need to be saying it in the first place. More path dependency I guess.

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                                • Thanks for the tip. And maybe the gun control lobby would consider hiring you for outreach. Given that you don’t care one way or the other, tho, I imagine the money would have to be right!

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                                • Pot smokers talking about how the government should ban guns.

                                  (I don’t know if Stillwater smokes weed but I think we’ve established that the deeper point is more important than the superficial facts.)

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                                • I’m only trying to let you know that you are remarkably bad at it.

                                  Well, when it comes to changing your mind, sure. But there are lots of minds out there. And they don’t all vote, at the same time, all the time, nor do they always vote their precise preference.

                                  I expect that some time soon there will be a change in America’s gun laws, and it will probably be over-broad and under-effective.

                                  Too bad managing that outcome doesn’t appear to be on the radar of anybody who supports gun ownership at all. Maybe it could be less over-broad and partially effective.

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                                • Ban guns from cities/urban areas (must be put in lockers, ammo kept somewhere safe). Have target shooting places just outside the affected region. Hunters can hunt outside the cities (same as now), and people who really need self-defense can get it using guns.

                                  There, done.

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                    • Yes, god forbid you should actually have to demonstrate any particular knowledge on a subject before asking people to take your opinions seriously.

                      I’m not sure that knowing specific names referring to particular parts of a gun are necessary for making an informed – even knowledgeable – opinion about gun culture and gun violence. By analogy, I don’t know the name of the material they use to sew the seems on a football. Does that render my views on labor disputes or rule violations “unserious”?

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                    • If it were just clip v mag, you all might have a point, but I routinely see advocates of tighter gun control deploying factually incorrect or logically specious arguments. And when someone points that out, the response tends to be something of the why does it matter? variety.

                      Maybe it doesn’t matter, but then recognize that what you are doing is not engaging in productive conversation about gun control, but rather just patting yourself on the back for being on the side of the angels. So great, be as smug as you like and enjoy yourself doing it. I’m many things, but a hater isn’t one of them.

                      If it matters, though, I honestly don’t think you understand how unpersuasive it all is. I’m a relatively middle of the road guy on gun rights and I’m turned off by it. I believe in an individual right to keep and bear arms and I oppose a national assault weapons ban, but I am all for tougher restrictions at the local level and I could even be persuaded to support universal licensing and registration for most guns. So, just imagine what this all sounds like to someone further to the right on this issue.

                      Maybe you don’t care what that guy thinks. Really, there is no reason that you should. Just don’t be surprised when your preferred positions fail to make progress.

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                      • “…but I routinely see advocates of tighter gun control deploying factually incorrect or logically specious arguments. And when someone points that out, the response tends to be something of the why does it matter? variety.”

                        Only that isn’t what any of us are talking about here.

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                        • I’m not really sure how many different ways I can say this, but I’ll try again as I think that you’re the person in his thread most likely to keep an open mind.

                          When you’re talking to people who already agree with you, the details matter less. Or at least, the details can be worked out later, because you’re coming into the conversation with a shared sense of purpose.

                          When you’re talking to people who are inclined to be opposed to what you’re saying or people who don’t know where you stand on an issue, how the conversation unfolds matters. The distinction between a clip and a magazine is, itself, a relatively small matter, but in this context it belies a whole host of other factually incorrect statements and bad faith arguments that someone who does care about gun rights hears on a regular basis. When I see someone writing about “high capacity clips” or “assault rifles” or “machine guns” when they very plainly don’t mean to be referring to any of those things, my immediate reaction is: this person doesn’t know much about how guns work and probably doesn’t want to know either. They have an agenda and getting the facts right isn’t part of it. Sometimes people make small mistakes as part of a larger effort to get the facts right and make a coherent argument; when that happens the small mistakes don’t matter so much.

                          The point of all this is that I constantly hear advocates of tighter gun control saying how badly they want to move policy on this issue but, at the same time, the majority of advocacy I see published in the media and spread online is spectacularly bad at trying to change minds. Instead, it’s almost completely about ingroup virtue signalling.

                          Maybe that doesn’t matter to you or to others. Maybe, in your view, anyone who wants to defend gun ownership has the onus on them to justify their position and not the other way around. And maybe the real way to get more gun control is to whip that side into an activist frenzy and simply steamroll the opposition. If that is the case, then this conversation is irrelevant. Carry on.

                          If, on the other hand, you do care about having a dialogue with people who don’t share your priors on this issue and maybe even changing minds, then investing some time in getting the facts right would be a good idea.

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                          • Will people look for reasons to tune out those who disagree with them? Sure. Practically speaking, if I was preparing a stump speech to a group unlikely to agree with me from the outset, you’re right that I’d cross every T and dot every I and get an expert or two to check for accuracy.

                            But at the same time, if someone is being pedantic, we should ALL criticize tha person. THEY are the one with a closed mind.

                            I work with young kids. They can very quickly get lawyerly and pedantic. And sometimes I just have to say, “Knock it off. You knew what the other person meant and it is wrong to pretend otherwise.” I see noreason not to say this to adults as needed.

                            And, to the extent I possess — and have stated! — my position on gun rights/control, it is confused, uncertain, and constantly challenged (by myself and others). I don’t have a dog in this particular fight right here aside from encouraging honest debate. If the gun rights’ side is insisting on special rules when their topic is up for discussion, frankly I think that’s bullshit. Prudent for gun control advocates to be mindful of, but bullshit all the same.

                            As someone who really WANTS to be able to say, “Responsible gun ownership for most, no gun ownership for lmow bad actors” but increasingly finds that harder to do as bodies pile up, I am somewhat uniquely positioned in that I need the gun rights crowd to convince me with an argument beyond pointing at the 2nd. And maybe they don’t need to because the laws are currwntly in their favor. But just lule the clip/magazine distinction matters, so too does using the phrase “responsible gun owner” in such a way that suggests a definition of responsible never used regarding any other topic. I try to engage both sides because I am of and apart from both. We need to improve how we discuss this issue. The GC side needs to get its facts in order. But the GR side need to stop playing four-corners offense and waiting for the clock to run out.

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                            • “I work with young kids. They can very quickly get lawyerly and pedantic. And sometimes I just have to say, “Knock it off. You knew what the other person meant and it is wrong to pretend otherwise.” I see noreason not to say this to adults as needed.”

                              Yeah, so, I work in a VERY PRECISE WORLD. When an auditor asks me a question, I answer THE QUESTION THEY ASKED. I don’t answer what I think they mean. Since it’s a semi hostile relationship-they are trying to find wrong doing, I’m trying not to give them data that 1) leads them off on an tangent, 2) gives them info that is damaging to the firm or requires a shitload of executive explanation. (Damaging illegal) Being pedantic and lawyerly is how it’s done.

                              You know what? “You knew what the other person meant and it is wrong to pretend otherwise.” That’s YOUR assumption Kazzy, unless you’re actually in that person’s head, you’re assuming. You might be correct in that assumption 98/100 times, but that doesn’t matter in my world. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had to backup and reset when talking to our subcontractors or about our subs, to confirm we were talking in EUROS vs DOLLARS. Not being specific and detailed and precise in what you are discussing can have enormous ramifications.

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                                • There are times when it can be. Fortunately my personality lends itself to it. But my point was that communication is filled with assumptions. A lot of times those assumptions are not correct and lead to misunderstanding. One needs to be wary of that. God, communication among amercians is hard enough. Try doing it the french or even the english.

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                                  • Damon,
                                    The most essential thing about communicating is knowing when the other person is trying to pull a fast one. If you are that cunning, you needn’t know the language at all, really (and at least some disfamiliarity with it will encourage people to drop tells).

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                          • A general comment.

                            If you base your position on the fact that your opponents sometimes say ignorant things, you may win that argument that day with that person, but sooner or later you have to deal within someone who is not ignorant. Will your arguments stand up then?

                            If you base your position on fancy debate skills, cornering your opponents, verbal dueling, the occasional cheap shot, then sooner or later you match up with someone better at this shit than you. What happens then?

                            Does truth — the big truth that we ought to care about — adjust itself according to how skillfully or clumsily we use words? I hope not.

                            In this big meta-discussion, which side are you on? Do you want to be “cheap shot” guy? The “verbal sparring master,” but whose ideas are empty and crumble on close inspection?

                            Your choice.

                            #####

                            I know a fair amount about guns. I’ve owned guns. I’ve fired guns. I loved doing it. This was decades ago, so my knowledge is not super current. I cannot explain the difference between the latest from Armelite and the latest from Sig Sauer, but so what? Put one of either in my hand, and I could probably still shoot the thing reasonably straight.

                            (Which is the only straight thing I’ll ever do.)

                            I’ve also spent plenty of time at guns shops, gun ranges, gun shows. I know what the people are like.

                            The “paramilitary wannabe” guys — I know them well.

                            I avoided them, mostly. I preferred the crunchy black powder folks, or really anyone who seemed to love shooting on its own terms, and not as some hyper-macho bullshit power trip. The difference between these things is maybe fuzzy sometimes, and the hyper-angry-libertarian type can straddle both groups. But still, there is a difference.

                            Let’s go to the range and find some old longbeard with a Ruger Super Blackhawk, trying to tighten up his grouping at a 100 yards. I’ll talk to that guy.

                            I mean, he may or may not want to talk to me, depending on how he comes down on trans folks. But whatever. If he gets past that, I bet we’d get along fine.

                            I don’t want to take away his Super Blackhawk. (I don’t want to fire the damn thing either. Every time I tried to shoot one of those fuckers I would hurt my hand.)

                            (My roommate had one. The guy ate nails for breakfast.)

                            (And yes, it is a .44 mag handgun that will group tight at 100 yards, which is pretty awesome if you think about it.)

                            (Well, it would group tight for him. For me it only produced failure and grief.)

                            Anyway, we’re at the shooting range, talking to the cool old guy about his Super Blackhawk. Across the range is some fucker with a bad buzzcut getting a hard cock with his Armelite. And he’s fucking George Zimmerman or whatever, or worse, and dreaming of real-life Grand Theft Auto. This guy ain’t gonna build a bomb — well maybe. But that’s difficult. Buying some hyper-optimized tricked-out killing stick and going on a shooting rampage? — easy peasy. Any fuckhead can do that.

                            Well, assuming they are completely morally bankrupt, but we seem to produce plenty of those.

                            Can we “ban” those weapons, by which I mean, make them really hard to get? Maybe. It would be politically difficult, to say the least. But even past that, it is logically difficult, because we really don’t want to ban the old longbeard with his Super Blackhawk. No! You really don’t. Trust me. Nor do we don’t want to take away some cool M1 Garand.

                            I’m talking to you, my fellow liberals. We don’t want to stop that guy. He’s fine. He’s probably totes cool and tells great stories and can drink like a fish. You’d like him, if you talked to him.

                            Or maybe not. Maybe he’s a racist shithead or something, as if you don’t run into that in the suburbs.

                            (In fact, the “paramilitary wannabe” types were usually not “just plain folks.” The ones I saw were mostly bored suburban guys trying to compensate for their empty, frustrated lives.)

                            (Think about it. How many mass killing have been performed by an actual “redneck”? Take a look. You’ll notice a pattern.)

                            (No, it’s not race. It’s boredom.)

                            (It’s more complicated than boredom. But there is a thing, I’m not sure how to talk about it. It’s a certain kind of frustrated masculinity, which festers, and then in rare cases turns into unchecked anger. Let that continue, and sooner or later the shooting starts.)

                            (People want to call it “mental illness,” but that misses the point. “Mental illness” is a broad category, and “crazy to the point of delusion” rarely describes mass shooters. It’s something else.)

                            So anyway, instead of going after guns, can we fix this “certain kind of frustrated masculinity”?

                            Well, I dunno. Can we? Can we even precisely define it? I’m not sure.

                            It’s out there, though. You all see it, right?

                            “Get your man card reissued.”

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                            • Think about it. How many mass killing have been performed by an actual “redneck”? Take a look. You’ll notice a pattern.

                              As someone who lives in ‘redneck-ville'(1), I often confess I have very little idea of what people think rednecks even *are*.

                              People, currently, seem to want to ascribe the ‘redneck’ tag to the *bad* parts of Southern culture. But that’s not what that is. People driving around with Confederate flags aren’t ‘rednecks’…they’re just assholes or ignorant, or ignorant assholes.

                              A true ‘Redneck’ is, or rather was, someone who lived a super-rural way of life, where ‘town’ (By which I mean the tiny intersection with the grocery store and gas station.) is this far distant land that you put on nice clothes to visit twice a month. You know how people in small towns think about the big cities? Well, rednecks thought the same way about *small towns*.

                              It’s a way of life that has totally disappeared, as in, no one is actually growing up in it anymore, or even was growing up in it 40 years ago! Although a lot of older people still think like they’re part of it…even if you’ll find them complaining about their internet speed more often than not. Better roads, truancy laws, rural phone service, hell, rural *electrification*, have sorta render their isolation…less isolating.

                              There are still a lot of very…’country’ people walking around, for lack of a better term, but they aren’t *actually* that isolated. If you think of ‘redneck’ as a country, we don’t have any redneck visitors anymore…we have third generation Americans with a redneck accent and some cultural trappings.

                              Most of the people who seem the most ‘redneck’ are, at this point, basically just conservative-sounding hippies. (Aka, ‘Long Haired Country Boys’.) They don’t hang out at shooting ranges, hell, we don’t even *have* shooting ranges out here…they want a shooting range, they set up some cans down by the creek. They don’t buy frickin Sig Sauer MCXs or AR-15s, they use their dad’s rifle, or, maybe, they went to a big guns show in Atlanta a couple of years ago (And felt a bit out of place.) and bought a older (But newer than they had) Remington with money they saved up.

                              They go hunting every once in a while, which is really just an excuse to hike and camp.

                              They’re not angry about *anything*. They’ve got shit figured out. Yeah, they’re probably a bit homophobic, hell, probably a bit racist too…but a) they’re older southerners so it’s not like they have a monopoly on that here, and b) they don’t actually *care* what anyone else does, as long as it doesn’t affect them…and nothing *does* affect them. ‘Gay marriage is now legal? Well, damn.’

                              They’re not going to shoot *up* anywhere, although they might start shooting *at* those kids that keep driving those dirtbikes past and tearing up the road.

                              1) Technically, where I live is the intersection between hicks and rednecks, which are almost the same species of people, except hicks live in unreachable mountain areas and rednecks don’t. (Rednecks traditionally live on distant farms, hence the name.)

                              It’s more complicated than boredom. But there is a thing, I’m not sure how to talk about it. It’s a certain kind of frustrated masculinity, which festers, and then in rare cases turns into unchecked anger. Let that continue, and sooner or later the shooting starts.

                              I think the best way to describe it is ‘lack of a place in the world’.

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                              • — Right. I basically meant the common suburban understanding of “redneck,” which is a person who has a southern accent, can fix their own truck, and has been bass fishing more than three times.

                                So yeah, basically what you said. Those folks are fine. If you don’t bug them, they won’t bug you.

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                              • So, um, whatcha call the rural NW folks who think arson is a fun game? If they ain’t rednecks (not farmers) and they ain’t hicks (not Appalachian…)

                                Or the people living in the National Forests (grandfathered in), who really are a full hour from the nearest town that ain’t a village (again, a certain number of people were grandfathered in).

                                20 years ago, I was in the intersection of hicks and rednecks for a little while. Half hour to the nearest minimart, on a horsefarm in WV.

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                            • If you base your position on fancy debate skills, cornering your opponents, verbal dueling, the occasional cheap shot, then sooner or later you match up with someone better at this shit than you. What happens then?

                              Not sure why you directed that comment at me. If I’ve something that specifically implies this is what I mean, then I’d be happy to either respond or correct that statement.

                              I think that I realize where the disconnect in this conversation lies. You, and I think others, are talking about how to have an argument or a debate. I’m not. I am talking about trying to have a discussion. The difference being that no one really stands a chance of arguing another person out of their beliefs on this issue, because these beliefs tend to be firmly rooted in each person’s biography. Someone who grow up in a rural area and hunting shooting for sport is going to have a different outlook on guns than someone raised in a safe inner ring suburb surrounded by people who are repulsed by guns, who is going to have a different outlook than someone raised in an inner city environment where guns are simultaneously a plague and a means of personal protection, who is going to have a different outlook than a person who emigrated from Europe… you get the picture.

                              My point in this thread is that if people are going to come to some accommodation with each other’s positions, then it helps to know how to effectively communicate on this issue.

                              I can imagine two different hypothetical conversations that start as such:

                              #1 “I really believe that we need to ban high-capacity clips. With a semi-automatic weapon, a shooter can fire rounds as fast as he can squeeze the trigger. The only way to effectively regulate the rate of fire for these types of weapons is to limit clip size. Hunter and sports shooters won’t be meaningfully disadvantaged by having to make do with ten-round clips.”

                              #2 “I really believe that we need to ban high-capacity clips. It’s just crazy that someone can get a machine gun and just spray bullets like that. As if assault rifles have any real purpose other than to kill human beings! Why should I have to put my children’s life in danger so these guys can make up for their inadequacies by playing with military-style weaponry?”

                              Yes, I kind of get that #2 means pretty much the same thing as #1, but I’m not looking for a debate so the strength of argument thing isn’t a consideration at all. Rather, I’m thinking about with whom I can have a constructive conversation.

                              I can have the conversation that begins with #1 and the clip thing wouldn’t bother me at all. I might mention is as an FYI, but that person seems like he is interesting in having a substantive conversation that might be mutually beneficial. With #2, I might not walk away immediately, but at the very least I go into the conversation expecting the worst.

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                              • But then the clip-magazine conflation isn’t really the issue, it’s an easy out (and maybe one rightfully sought). As I read this thread, I saw folks arguing that anyone who confuses clips with magazines immediately has their opinion invalidated. Those folks aren’t interested in a discussion.

                                Read what little I’ve written on guns here and yo’ll see a genuine quest for understanding, a desire largely informed by spending time with friends and others who are deeply immersed in gun culture. I want a discussion. Telling me I can’t participate in that until I lnow every detail there is to know about guns is ridiculous. And that is what folks — here and elsewhere — arearguing. THAT is what I’m pushing back against.

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                                • Telling me I can’t participate in that until I lnow every detail there is to know about guns is ridiculous.

                                  Is that really what you got from my last comment?

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                                  • Guess what. I’ve had this “conversation” for years. I live in a liberal, very liberal state filled with very liberal folks. Anytime guns come up in the media, I’ve been listening to it in social circles. The amount of ignorance is astounding. And I’m not a gun nut up to date with all the terminology. (I grew up hunting and fishing. I know the difference between semi auto, auto, rifles, pistols, and shotties. I know a fair amount of the terminology because I needed to. Dad didn’t say “you gotta clean that thing a ma jig”, he used specific words like “barrel”, “magazine”, “main spring”, and “breach”.) If someone is discussing something outside my understanding I ask questions and learn the terminology. To no do so 1) polite to the other person and 2) allows us to converse on the subject more clearly and with more understanding. Take 30 minutes and get up to speed with the terminology if you want to have a meaningful dialogue.

                                    Note, I’ve already said I’m a bit pedantic and that one of my pet peeves is clip/mag. Another one happens to be moat/bailey if you recall. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m trying to divert the conversation. Do you really think i’d waste my time with that?

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          • Actually, we don’t Automatic weapons after a certain date are forbidden, but if I want a .45 Tommy gun from WW2 I can buy one with the correct paperwork, fees, background check, finger printing, etc.

            I’m not sure that’s any sort of distinction at all. Surely if it’s constitutional to bar ownership of something manufactured after a certain date, it’s constitutional to bar ownership of those things manufactured at any time.

            Although after a certain date has nice advantage of not requiring any confiscation or court arguments if the government has to reimburse people for their existing weapons.

            My understanding was the the weapon used WAS NOT an AR-15. It was a Sig Sauer MCX carbine.

            Oh, great. Now we’re going to have a rash of uninformed nonsense about ‘silenced’ weapons.

            But in reality, there’s not really much of a difference. It’s the same sort of design, including the very sort of modular systems that make AR-15s so popular. (If anything, it’s more modular.) There’s almost nothing you can say about an AR-15 that *doesn’t* apply to a Sig Sauer MCX. It’s like mistaking a Ford F-150 for a Chevy Silverado.

            I’m sure, however, the fact it was misidentified will rapidly become sort of conspiracy theory *and* an indication that the left has no idea what it is talking about WRT guns.

            .223 rilfes and variants don’t penetrate the same way many high caliber pistol rounds do.

            I think I was perhaps confusing when I said ‘small caliber’.

            I was talking about the AR-15 rounds, which are *supposed* to be 5.56, although that can be changed. And I was talking more about ‘high velocity’ than ‘small caliber’. To have the same stopping power, a smaller caliber bullet, of course, has to have higher velocity, so they do. (Or, to put it another way, the same amount of momentum is put in them…I mean, not literally exactly the same, but generally. But, being lighter, they go faster.)

            But, two bullets with identical momentum, one larger and slower, one smaller and faster…the smaller one has, as I understand it, less surface area, so it penetrates better, including walls. (And toss a bowling ball with the momentum of a bullet, it’s not even getting through the drywall.)

            Obviously, there are small caliber weapons that *do not* have high velocity, on purpose. 22s, for example. (And there are large caliber guns with high velocities, too. You can tell because they break your shoulder when you hold them wrong. ;) )

            Admittedly, with the revelation this is a Sig Sauer MCX…that apparently *comes* in different calibers standard. (Unlike the AR-15, which *generally* is 5.56, and modded out…although you can probably buy some different versions.) But, from what I can tell, it’s yet another semi-automatic version of an automatic weapon, right? So it’s going to be small caliber and high velocity, regardless.

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            • Automatic weapons: I was simply pointing out that automatic weapons per say are not banned/illegal. Some of them area from the NFA, but not all, and it’s date related. I doubt the law has been tested, but don’t know.

              “My understanding was the the weapon used WAS NOT an AR-15. It was a Sig Sauer MCX carbine.”

              Oh, great. Now we’re going to have a rash of uninformed nonsense about ‘silenced’ weapons.” I was pointing out, again, that the weapon wasn’t an AR-15. Like clip / magazine above. I have no idea where you get that the weapon was “suppressed’. I’ll avoid getting pedantic relative to suppressors/silencers.

              “So it’s going to be small caliber and high velocity, regardless.” Yes, I think the sig comes in 5.56 nato, 7.62 X 39 and 300 Blackout, some achieved via swapping barrels.

              My comment re this was some may choose to use a .223 round in a rifle vs a 357 or other higher velocity pistol because of the likelihood of the pistol round over penetrating (walls, the crook, etc.) where that is less likely with the .223 round-as I understand it. That and the fact that a hand gun has one to 2 points of body contact and a rifle has 3.

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              • I was pointing out, again, that the weapon wasn’t an AR-15. Like clip / magazine above. I have no idea where you get that the weapon was “suppressed’. I’ll avoid getting pedantic relative to suppressors/silencers.

                I wasn’t saying anything about what you said, I was complaining about what other people are going to say. The Sig Sauer MCX is designed to be a quiet gun. That’s one of the selling point. As such, online, there will now be a lot of idiots start yammering about how it has the ‘silencer’ built in, and how silencers are some super-dangerous thing, or whatever. (As opposed to the actual reason it’s quieter, in that loud guns are, in fact, a pretty common cause of hearing damage for gun enthusiasts.)

                I know there’s actually no such thing as a ‘silencer’. Lots of uninformed people don’t know that.

                My comment re this was some may choose to use a .223 round in a rifle vs a 357 or other higher velocity pistol because of the likelihood of the pistol round over penetrating (walls, the crook, etc.) where that is less likely with the .223 round-as I understand it.

                Well, yeah.

                But let’s face facts here: If someone is buying a low-velocity rifle to keep by their bed for home-defense…they’re not buying a Sig Sauer MCX modded to do that. That’s….a little crazy. In fact, there are much saner *Sig* weapons for home defense…it’s their handguns they’re actually famous for. But, hell, any random cheapo shotgun will do for home defense.

                The Sig Sauer MCX, exactly like the AR-15, is the expensive moddable toy that people trick out and take to the rifle range. It’s not in your nightstand for home defense.

                However, you’re right in that a Sig Sauer MCX *is* so customizable it is probably entirely possible to put in low caliber, low velocity receivers. For all I know it can be setup to shoot BBs. (Well, no, obviously it can’t, those are not cartridges, but whatever.)

                That and the fact that a hand gun has one to 2 points of body contact and a rifle has 3.

                Admittedly, I’ve never tried to operate a rifle inside a house, but I suspect that range of motion is much more important than long-range accuracy in those circumstances. And if people really want a steadier weapon to hold, they should look into a shot-filled shotgun, which are cheaper, require almost no aiming skill to injure people with, and won’t go through walls regardless of what you do.

                Long rifles are just…goofy for home defense. You’ll never see law enforcement securing the inside of a building with fricking long rifles. They use exactly what I said…handguns 90% of the time, shotguns for more dangerous or a few specific situations, or some combinations thereof.

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                • If you’re serious about home defense, “over-penetration” should be your first thought.

                  Your family lives there, the last thing any reasonable person wants is for misses (and god help you, you will miss. Because you’re not trained and you’re scared to death, for one. You’re not going to put them all in the center ring in those circumstances, is what I’m saying.) to go through walls and into your boy Jimmy.

                  Frankly I’d prefer shotguns myself if I actually worried about anyone breaking in, for the simple reason that I’m likely to hit them with the spread regardless of how terrified I am.

                  Although an aluminum bat or extendable baton would be my real choice. I’m a crap shot, but I actually DO know how to break important things with a metal stick. Seriously, those batons are nasty.

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                • David,
                  “Long rifles are just…goofy for home defense. ”
                  says a fucking citydweller.

                  You ain’t been three hours from the nearest policeman ever, have you? Ain’t had a bear crash through your windshield for a gum wrapper you left in the back seat?

                  Long Rifles work perfectly fine for home defense, if you’ve got a long line of sight and plenty of hearing. So if your problem is: “It’s 8pm on a Saturday night and someone’s pulling up my 5 mile driveway without calling ahead” — then yeah, you want a rifle. Or a shotgun.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppressor
                  I’ll note (not from wiki) that the good ones are generally single-use (and probably designed more for assassination than anything else).

                  Have you ever been to a place where justice comes at the hands of your beloved neighbors, cause they don’t hire any police? I’ve been there. (can cite the place, if ya need me to)

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                  • says a fucking citydweller.

                    Actually, I live in a small town of about 6000 people. And grew up not even in that, in a house surrounded by woods on three sides.

                    You ain’t been three hours from the nearest policeman ever, have you?

                    I would bet a good deal of money there is nowhere in America three hours *due to distance* from the nearest policeman except Alaska. (I’m sure there places that are more than three hours due to the fact they are completely inaccessible, but, uh, people don’t live there.)

                    Ain’t had a bear crash through your windshield for a gum wrapper you left in the back seat?

                    We have a goddamn festival in my small town called ‘Bear on the Square’, based on the time a decade ago where a black bear and two cubs literally wandered around the center of town for a few hours.

                    Long Rifles work perfectly fine for home defense, if you’ve got a long line of sight and plenty of hearing.

                    And if you are the sort of insane sociopathic bastard that shoots people *outside* your house. From a distance.

                    Even dumbass ‘Stand Your Ground’ locales wouldn’t be stupid enough to let people get away with shooting someone on ‘a long line of sight’. There’s no such thing as *sniping* in self defense.

                    Have you ever been to a place where justice comes at the hands of your beloved neighbors, cause they don’t hire any police? I’ve been there. (can cite the place, if ya need me to)

                    I do not think you know what justice is. Hint: It does not normally comes at the hands of the police.

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                    • David,
                      “I would bet a good deal of money there is nowhere in America three hours *due to distance* from the nearest policeman except Alaska. ”
                      Oh, man, you make that easy on me. There’s a stop or two on AMTRAK that doesn’t have a road to it. You try getting there without a train. People do live there, and I’ve seen ’em. Not enough people to justify police, I don’t figure.

                      “Bear on the square” sounds insufferably cute. I live in Pittsburgh PA, and we actually had a bear in our neighborhood park a year back or so. But a black bear ain’t nearly as dangerous as a grizzly sitting in the only car that you can use to get off the damn trail.

                      Ya don’t need to shoot to “defend your home” — just present a credible threat. [I do know someone who nearly shot some kids with a handgun for setting off fireworks on his lawn. He thought they sounded like something a bit stronger, if you catch my drift. Not the type of person to panic, that guy.]

                      I know people who have been shot at, on a “long line of sight” He was in his damn car, moving away — and had the shell in the backseat, believe it or not, for their grandmother to bloody find the next day. I do not condone such behavior, of course.

                      Tell your version of justice to the next kid who kills a police dog. Except he’ll already be executed, by the fucking police.

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        • When left-wingers become religious zealots, it’s always Taoism or Jainism or some other airy-fairy non-violent crap. They probably become less likely to commit mass murder while under the influence rather than more.

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          • Does what Obama is doing in the Middle East as “Mass Murder”?

            What religious category do we put him in?

            “Post-Christian Universalism”?

            If we’re allowed to include “Post-Christian Universalism” as a religion, we suddenly find ourselves with a pile of bodies to meditate upon that, seriously, were not there a minute ago.

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          • Left wingers are the social constructors. Stuff like religious social constructs, that is left wing. Islamic law, that’s a left wing social construct. That someone would invest their authority into becoming judge, jury and executioner for that social construct, that’s a deeply authoritarian left winger.

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            • If we’re using terms in this way, are left and right the most salient or useful labels? You have to go far, far, far out if the mainstream to find people in favor of replacing the secular law with Sharia in the US. Does it really matter who wins the argument over whether you had to go very far left or very far right to do so?

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              • I don’t really care about arguments won or lost or stuff. Mass violence typically has two things involved, one being social constructs, the second authority. Those things and how they are used/deployed do matter. As in how many people die per conflict.

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                • Mass violence typically has two things involved, one being social constructs, the second authority.

                  What’s the alternative? By that I mean, if we abstract away the entirety of social constructs what remains? Without offering a positive view it’s impossible to make sense of what you’re criticizing or what you think the solution is.

                  For example, there is a more primal theory that might makes right, which isn’t based on a social construct (unless responding to a threat of violence is a social construct…) but rather the application of pure power to achieve an individual’s, or even a group’s!, goals. By pure force. So that’s one way I can see to make sense of your claims here. But of course, the “social construct” of the rule of law emerged from the rational and practical rejection of “might makes right”.

                  So, I think I need to hear more about this….

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                      • I’ve discovered over time that Joe Sal speaks his own private moon language. Trying to untangle his meaning is perhaps possible — maybe. But then, maybe not.

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                        • I think I can make a stab at it. Joe Sal isn’t really arguing anything other than bog standard right libertarianism that Damon argues for. He just uses more confusing language and is less misanthropic.

                          What Joe seems to suggest is that the only way to avoid mass violence is to have a society based on extreme individualism and autonomy in a sort of pioneer way. Every person would be responsible for seeing to his or her own needs and not responsible for anybody else except, maybe, minor dependents. Groups are inherently violent prone because tribal tendencies will place group against group. They are also more prone to coming under the control of malicious but charismatic authority figures. A hyper-individualistic society is less prone to that because no groups mean no tribalism and its much more difficult for malicious authority figures to exert control over hyper-individuals than tribal groups with shared characteristics.

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                          • Your getting closer Lee and I appreciate that. The pioneer reference, why did you feel compelled to use that, do you feel some need to put my position in the past for some reason?

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                            • did you feel compelled to use that, do you feel some need to put my position in the past for some reason?

                              Dude, no one knows what your position is! And Lee – bless him! – actually did the work to try to articulate it. You’re acting like we’re all being deliberately obtuse about what you only hint at. Personally, I’d just thank him for taking a good stab in the dark and move on to actually saying what your position is.

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                    • Joe, I’m asking you to do more than merely criticize social arrangements using words that you haven’t defined. You’re ether just bitching (which is possible) or offering an analysis of current social dynamics. And if it’s the latter, it only makes sense by offering an alternative view – one that’s better – by providing an equally compelling analysis of THAT social structure.

                      You haven’t really done either of those last two at this point, so I’m (reluctantly) inclined to go with option one: that you’re just bitching.

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                        • Joe, we can hurl insults all day. It’s the internet after all! But I’ve made my position clear: I have no idea what you’re talking about. You say the words “social construct” and claim that’s a leftist concept (or whatever) and that it’s the reason why we (or you anyway) can’t have nice things, but I have no idea what any of that means. In all seriousness, I have no idea what that means.

                          Adding: for example, an ash tray is a social construct. It’s a piece of glass (say) but its function is socially constructed. Are you saying that ash trays are a leftist concept?

                          I mean, I could go on (and on) but I hope you understand that the meaning of the terms you use don’t really work the way you’re using them. So some clarification seems required.

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            • Left wingers are the social constructors.

              Dude, what do you think the term ‘social construct’ means?

              Seriously. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.

              Fundamentally, almost everything anyone talks about or thinks about is a ‘social construct’, as in, it is only a ‘thing’ because we have declared it a ‘thing’.

              I gets inside my ‘car’ (That is, a specific shape of metal and other parts we all agree is a car.) and ‘drive’ (A method of operating the levers inside my car to cause small explosions to move pieces of metal that ultimately move my car.) to my ‘job’ (Which is a standing arrangement that I have with a fictional entity whereupon I do an agreed upon set of ‘tasks’ (Each task being a somewhat discrete set of motions that causes other things to be changed.) in return for ‘money’. (A symbolic representation of ‘value’ (And, *wow, *value* is hard to explain, but I think I made my point.)))

              All of *everything* is a construct. Like, everything. Everything we think of as things is just us inventing groups. Now, granted some stuff is a *genetic* construct, instead of a social construct. Our brains group some things together, automatically, sure.

              But every part of society is a ‘social construct’. Every part of everything that isn’t ‘a person’ or ‘a rock’ or ‘gravity’ is a social construct. Everything we’re talking about here is a social construct. The concept of *guns* is a social construct. The concept of *families* is…like half a genetic construct and half social.

              Without constructs, we’re just a bunch of globby groups of molecules that move around some. Without social constructs, we’re just a bunch of bald apes that don’t really like to climb trees anymore.

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          • The left has no unique gift of virtue. I say this as a lefty.

            Today in the US, the more left of the 2 major political parties is more reality-based and less prone to do harm to our nation than the other, I think. But there’s no reason that can’t change over time.

            We’ve always got to be vigilant.

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            • If you thought that’s what I was saying, I apologize. I have been thinking about religious extremism in this country quite a bit over the primary season, and my comment was a quick riff on the different forms it seems to take. The only reason secular politics even came into it is that it was in reference to the NRA, which has unambiguously hitched its star to the political right.

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      • Depressingly, I think you’re probably right. For a gun control measure to be aggressive enough to make a difference on this issue means that it will be far outside of the politically plausible, and probably also carry real constitutional problems and costs for gun owners.

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      • We are bad at mental health issues because we are bad at health issues period. I’m one of those people that thinks that leaving the treatment of health issues to the market is a bad idea. You can’t make somebody seek medical treatment if they don’t want it but a big reason why people don’t seek medical help when they need is that they can’t afford it even if they have a job that pays decently and health insurance. Many people might be afraid of the consequences of missing work to take a day off or see a doctor. Unless healthcare is affordable and can be pursued without penalty, people are going to avoid it.

        Mental health issues are even less suitable to a market solution than physical health issues because they can take a lot longer and more time to treat. Even pure psychology without any medication is expensive. Psychologists and psychiatrists can’t see everybody after working hours or on the weekend. Much of the treatment might have to be with working hours and not even at lunch time. A lot of the payment is going to have to come from taxation and government than people’s own pockets. Having an everybody for themselves social system isn’t helpful for mental or physical health issues.

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          • Science is better on physical health issues but we are a lot better know at mental health issues than we were even in the recent past in terms of knowledge. The delivery system still sucks though.

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      • A big problem that the pro-gun control people have is the amount of firearms out there. Most of their owners are not going to give up them up in an Australian style voluntary confiscation scheme. Government action will be required and that it will involve the Takings Clause, the 5th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and the 14th Amendment if the states and local government gets involved at least. It will likely also involve the 4th Amendment depending on how government decides to carry out the confiscation. This is not going to happen for practicality reasons at least.

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        • >>This is not going to happen for practicality reasons at least.

          This framing assumes the NRA caricature of the typical gun owner, yelling “from my cold dead hands” at swarming BATF agents. Most gun owners are ordinary people with the same cost benefit algorithm you and I have. If you crafted a set of gun restrictions that were well-defined and consistent then most of these folks would not decide that keeping their AR-15. around (which they would no longer be able to use openly at ranges or preserves) is worth the risk. Especially if you did some – you know – advocacy and demonstrated how this regulation is meant to address spree killings.

          But what’s really important is the fact that most of the attacks in the US are by lone wolves, and I believe this is the case for *all* of the attacks by Islamic extremists. In contrast to the Paris attacks, these are not large-scale operations that are able to procure illicit weapons and explosives. The American Muslim community is actually quite well integrated into society, so these guys are typically on the margins without a deep terrorist cell to rely on for resources. They are getting their weapons from Wal Mart a few weeks before the attack. If the government regulates what Wal Mart can offer them, they will have very few options left. They can clumsily try to find the black market, or hook up with an actual terrorist cell and get the connections – which is something the FBI actually knows how to monitor. They can find a friend who stowed away a pre-ban gun, which means (a) having friends and (b) implicating them in a serious crime (where “let me borrow your legal gun for the weekend” isn’t). They could have stowed away a pre-ban gun themselves, which takes the kind of foresight these guys typically do not have.

          In other words, even a soft ban where the shops stop carrying them and the folks grandfathered in are vigilant about lending them out would put a lot of roadblocks for these kinds of attacks. It wouldn’t prevent actual terrorist cells from acting. Nor would it prevent legacy terrorist groups like white supremacists / neo-nazis who presumably *would* stock up in the even of a ban. But I think it’s short-sighted to say this wouldn’t do anything.

          PS: This is all academic, while I think a high capacity weapons ban could have a positive effect, I don’t think it’s the best use of political capital.

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          • But what’s really important is the fact that most of the attacks in the US are by lone wolves, and I believe this is the case for *all* of the attacks by Islamic extremists. In contrast to the Paris attacks, these are not large-scale operations that are able to procure illicit weapons and explosives.

            This, but moreso.

            As I said in some other article recently…most of our terrorism *isn’t* even terrorism. Terrorism is when an entity causes terror, and promises to continue to cause terror until something, usually a political thing, changes. It’s terrorizing a bunch of people into *doing something*.

            Did we *get* any demands from this attacker? Nope. Can someone who ends up dead, with no organization support, even *make* demands for the future? Obviously not. Suicidal attacks are a lot of things, but ‘repeatable’ is not one of them.

            And even if you treat all these lone wolfs as some sort of series…what do we we do to satisfy these people in the future? We have no idea, and are just sorta guessing it would be something like ‘Stop gay people from existing?’ ‘Stop America from existing?’ ‘Stop foreign wars?’

            We don’t know. And thus, it’s not technically terrorism to start with. It’s just a violent rampage.

            They can clumsily try to find the black market,

            …which wants nothing to do with terrorists or other nutjobs. Selling two or three guns is not even *slightly* worth the amount of hurt that a mass shooting going to bring down on an illegal arms dealers.

            Not to mention, if you don’t know the black market…the black market ain’t selling shit to you, even if you do find it. Maybe a handgun, but that’s about it. They’re not selling you a damn semi-automatic.

            or hook up with an actual terrorist cell and get the connections – which is something the FBI actually knows how to monitor.

            In fact, if you make any noise about wanting to hook up with a terrorist cell, the government will *provide* you with an expert in terrorism, entirely free of charge, *and* he’ll give you a budget you can spend on buying weapons, *and* he’ll take careful note of any suggestions you might have!

            They can find a friend who stowed away a pre-ban gun, which means (a) having friends and (b) implicating them in a serious crime (where “let me borrow your legal gun for the weekend” isn’t).

            Yeah, if they can’t actually use the thing anywhere in public…why the hell would anyone ‘loan’ it to them?

            Also, uh, loaning people illegal things is a good way to never see those things again. Can’t exactly file a police report. (What’s worse, you just made it harder to get it back by force! If you’d loaned them your cocaine, you could have used your illegal gun to get it back, but no, you had to stupidly loan them your illegal gun instead! Even if you have more guns, you just armed them better!)

            In other words, even a soft ban where the shops stop carrying them and the folks grandfathered in are vigilant about lending them out would put a lot of roadblocks for these kinds of attacks.

            BAFTE has actually cracked down on explosives so much they are almost untenable as a terrorist weapons. Notice the Boston Marathon bombings had to use fricking pressure cookers, whereas two decades ago people were blowing up *buildings*.

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            • This was awesome . I also generally agree with you on the importance of distinguishing between organized terrorism and distributed, lone-wolf attacks. Still, I think you could argue that a lone-wolf ISIS adherent is signing on to the ISIS manifesto, and the ISIS manifesto is that they’ll stop encouraging adherents when some vague anti-imperialist demands are met. So the threat/demand calculus is still there in a distributed form. It is, of course, entirely opportunistic: there’s always going to be an ISIS to pledge allegiance to and lone nuts to stage attacks that ISIS can take credit for.

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              • Still, I think you could argue that a lone-wolf ISIS adherent is signing on to the ISIS manifesto, and the ISIS manifesto is that they’ll stop encouraging adherents when some vague anti-imperialist demands are met.

                While I have not googled the ISIS manifesto and am unaware of what it says (And do not feel like being on an NSA watchlist), I seriously doubt it has *anything* about gay Americans in it. I suspect all of America, if mentioned at all, is tarred with the same brush.

                Likewise, I doubt that, if tomorrow American completely renounced all gay rights and locked all gay Americans up….that ISIS’s behavior would change in the *slightest*.

                Moreover, I don’t think this is me just guessing things. I think that’s pretty much what all Americans believe. I don’t think anyone is going ‘Man, if we had just not allowed gay nightclubs, this guy supporting ISIS wouldn’t have attacked us!’

                Note how ISIS would *actually* behave is kinda a moot point here, but speculation we haven’t guessed right about ISIS’s behavior is getting a bit silly. Yes, in theory, we could be in some sort of Dr. Strangelove situation where ISIS is dedicated to destroying us until, and unless, we do some specific thing like getting rid of gay nightclubs, at which point they will be happy and cease all attacks…and they’ve completely forgotten to *tell us* what that thing is. I kinda doubt it, though.

                So the threat/demand calculus is still there in a distributed form.

                Not really.

                The problem with terrorism is that terrorists have to be able to back up their stick *and* their carrot. They have to be able to say ‘If you do not do X, there will be another attack soon-ish.’, and then do an attack if there is, and not do one if there isn’t. And, moreover, they need to make sure people *believe* they can do that. (It’s okay if the attack is sometimes *foiled*, as long as they actually did plan one. The issue is one of credibility more than ability.)

                Absolutely no one thinks that about what’s going on here. What are the negotiating points with ISIS? If we remove civil rights for gays but keep it legal, do we get less attacks? Does this even actually *have* anything to do with gay people, or is the demand we reduce support for anti-ISIS forces? How often do these attack generally come if we *don’t* do that?

                There are no rules at all. There are no goals at all. Hell, there’s no *communication* at all.

                And it’s pretty clear this guy did it *without any permission*, so what guarantee do we have that even if we *do* what ISIS (hypothetically) demands, that ‘other people’ won’t keep up the attacks? (Go ask the IRA about the problems with *that*. Or Palestine, for that matter.)

                What is going on is…literally not terrorism. It’s just not. It cannot be dealt with in the framework of terrorism. It’s lunatics mass murdering people.

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      • There are powerful taboos against killing other humans in most cultures and religions but there are also powerful forces that encourage violence in many cultures. Men who are genuinely gentle and non-violent tend to get dismissed in most cultures as being soft and not real men at best even if the majority religion praises pacifism to any degree like Christianity and Buddhism. Many cultures have a strong implication that a real man is a man of action even if that includes what is seen as necessary violence at times.The warrior ethos is a common one. How many movies feature somebody saving the day agains the outside force through diplomatic skill or something similar? I think these cultural tendencies towards the man of action is more than enough to help overcome the taboo against killing.

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      • I’m deeply troubled by this comment, for two reasons.

        1. The idea that Americans are incapable of bringing the law to bear on violence within our own society is, to me, corrosively cynical. We can do better. We must do better.

        2. “We may … have to live”? Who’s we in this sentence? You and I, brother Burt, are extremely unlikely to face gun violence personally. What about people living in Compton? Or abortion doctors? Or black churchgoers? Or dancing gay kids? I’m not ready to say that those communities must absorb the violence that well-off white lawyers in California don’t face.

        Much like climate change, gun violence has become a totem. People who aren’t at much risk of adverse consequences have divided themselves by political tribe and ascribe the worst (WORST!) possible motives to their political opponents. Compromise is anathema and meanwhile the bodies are / will be piling up.

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        • Two problems with your comment:

          1. When you say “we can do better,” you are completely glossing over the fact that your “better” and my “better” are simply not the same. You are doing the same thing that you accuse Burt of doing in your second point.

          2. Speaking of “we,” there are lots of poor/brown/marginalized people who would absolutely love to be able to legally own a gun to protect themselves, but who live in jurisdictions with heavy gun control restrictions that make gun ownership out of reach for all but the wealthy and politically connected. You shouldn’t presume to speak for all those people, just because you happen to be on the progressive side of an argument.

          Also, just because you really want something to happen doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. Hope is great, but the efficacy is limited.

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          • I said not a word about ownership or licensing or taxation or anything else that gun rights advocates appear to be concerned about.

            My “better” is only reducing the rate of gun violence. Yours isn’t? 49 dead in a nightclub is just part of life, like car accidents?

            (poor analogy. The automobile industry, under great pressure from the federal government, has made enormous strides in making cars safer.)

            (but I confess I struggle to find a comparable analogy. Is there any part of American life that is comparable to the damage done by the use of guns with so little effective government intervention? Tobacco use doesn’t compare, nor does nutrition.)

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    • Imagine, if you will, a guy in a Trump hat shooting up a place. We can make him a white guy, if you want. Straight? Sure. Cis? Oh mais oui!

      Are there any conclusions we might be willing to reach?

      Okay. Use those conclusions as a place holder.

      Let’s say that there’s another attack of some sort. An active shooter somewhere and this active shooter turns out to be, coincidentally, Muslim.

      Is there number of these examples we could look at where you feel you will cease to have firm footing arguing against those who come to mirror images of our placeheld conclusions about the Trump shooter? (Or, at least, as firm footing as you have right now at this very moment?)

      You may wish to start exploring answers to those questions that don’t rely heavily on incredulity of other people actually having these opinions.

      Because I’m not certain that a “We need to change the Constitution into something that actually works!” discussion will end up in a place where the 2nd Amendment is the top of the agenda.

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      • — If the shooter had been a white, visible Trump supporter, then indeed this conversation would be very different. On the other hand, the circumstances of Muslims in America is not symmetrical to the circumstances of white men. So I wonder what your point is? Telling us to “start exploring answers to those questions” does little, for two reason. First, I’ve already explored it, obviously, quite a lot. I’ve seen many people ask that very question, with a variety of responses. Second, you are not Socrates. We don’t need you to guide us to wisdom through “dialog” where you ask questions, but make no claims. That is a bogus rhetorical ploy.

        State your case. What if it had been a white guy?

        To me the answer seems painfully obvious, but not particularly illuminating. After all, angry men are angry men. Hate is hate. Murder is murder. I don’t really care what sort of robes the clerics wear.

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        • I’m not really trying to pull a Socratic dialog trick and get people to admit that they don’t know what they thought they knew. I’m more suspecting that there are things that are going to happen and these questions are more in the vein of trying to explore the unpleasant things that I think we’re going to have to eventually deal with.

          So it’s more of an Aeneidian Laocoön thing that I’m trying to work with, here.

          As for “what if it had been a white guy?”

          We’d have been more than happy and willing to come to conclusions about the toxic cultural stew he had been marinating in for the last however many years and more than happy enough to talk about whether our vision for our future together should have such dishes available.

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          • — People are saying those very things. Quite a few on my feeds have pointed out that you cannot divorce this from commonplace America homophobia, which of course is associated with both the American right wing and certain American notions of masculinity. The fact this man was the child of immigrants, and that he had brown skin, does not erase the fact he was raised here.

            No doubt his ethnicity shapes him in many ways, but nothing he said or did seems out of character for an “angry white man” — which is to say, “angry sexist dude into guns who wants to be a cop but settles for security guard,” is a pretty standard template. Except of course, he was a brown man.

            Granted, had he been wearing a Trump hat, this argument would be easier to make, but I think the argument is true all the same.

            There are videos of American Muslim clerics calling for the death of gay people. However, there are videos of white Christian preachers calling for the death of gay people. Which should I fear more?

            (Elements of) the right want me to fear the Muslims more, but I do not. I fear the Christians more. They have far more power. This killer was not specifically a member of their tribe. No, we was a member of an adjacent tribe that differs very little in its capacity for violence and hate.

            (To be clear, I am not talking about Christianity-in-general. Nor am I talking about Islam-in-general. I’m talking about the hateful elements of each, between which I see little difference except who has more power.)

            That’s the big takeaway. Notice how much the “angry whites” rallying around Trump sound exactly like this killer. Notice how the Republican “second place” guy, Cruz, is alarmingly cozy with the dominionists, who want to kill me as dead as any radical Muslim cleric does, but who are far closer to the centers of American power.

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                • I mean, I cannot think of any examples of a Unitarian on a rampage!, so I won’t say religion plays no role. On the other hand, I certain type of person chooses to remain active in the Unitarian faith. A different kind of person will gravitate to extremist ideologies. For example, as noted, an angry white person can find plenty of hate fuel among the “Army of God” or the various white identity movements. A person of Afghan descent can of course find militant strains of Islam, if he chooses to seek them out. But then, a different person of Afghan descent can find a very different flavor of Islam, if that is what they want to find.

                  This guy was a security guard at (what was once called) Wackenhut. That’s a job that attracts a certain “type.” And indeed, even among that crowd, he stood out as being an angry fuck.

                  (I once interviewed for a job at Wackenhut — which, they wouldn’t even tell me the name of the company until I arrived at their totally-unmarked building for the interview. It was very odd.)

                  Anyway, do you believe there are there no angry, unhinged white dudes? I mean, are you literally clueless? Are you even trying to be part of consensus reality?

                  There have been many senseless mass shootings, by people with a variety of profiles. There is no single unifying factor. Nothing about this is simple. But all the same, there are certain common threads that show up.

                  For example, they are pretty much always men. Why do you think that is?

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                  • v,
                    “I once interviewed for a job at Wackenhut — which, they wouldn’t even tell me the name of the company until I arrived at their totally-unmarked building for the interview. It was very odd.”
                    still better than blindfolds and black helicopters (granted, that was for a contractor… but I assure you the whole thing was actually commercial not military).

                    psst. you may have missed the linguistic joke I slipped into my comment to notme.

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                • First you would actually make a substantive point. There was a psychologist on tv this morning, gma, I think talking about the repressed homosexuality in Afghan culture and it’s tension with their religion.

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      • Is there number of these examples we could look at where you feel you will cease to have firm footing arguing against those who come to mirror images of our placeheld conclusions about the Trump shooter?

        …you seem to operating a process that is designed to result in me going ‘Why, my beliefs about this *were* a bit hypocritical!’ or something

        But, uh, they aren’t. I feel the same way around this as I feel about all mass shootings: That we need stronger gun control.

        I’ve pretty much said that every time we had a mass shooting.

        You may wish to start exploring answers to those questions that don’t rely heavily on incredulity of other people actually having these opinions.

        *I* don’t need to explore answers to anything. I already have a perfectly good answer.

        Pointing out the right is basically in trouble now that it’s been clearly demonstrated at their supposed mortal enemy, ‘Muslim extremists’, can use these gun they demand everyone have access to. Especially since every part of what happened up to the shooting appears legal, and there’s not any way the guy could have been kept out of the US.

        I.e., if ‘Muslim extremism’ *is* the huge problem they make it out to be, well, what’s their solution to this? They, and in fact everyone, have exactly three possible solutions: a) Deport all current Muslims citizens (Which is complete insane and illegal.), b) having some sort of gun control (Which they seem unable to do), or c) leave us *wide open to Muslim extremism*, which is asserted to be the most *terrifying thing ever* that we need to do whatever protects us from it…except if it has anything to do with guns, I guess.

        Pick one, Republicans. Your choice. A, B, or C. (And A cannot actually happen, so pick one of the others.)

        Me pointing out that the Republicans have painted themselves into a corner is not *me* failing to explore answers. *I* have an answer. The answer is ‘gun control’. They won’t let me use it.

        Because I’m not certain that a “We need to change the Constitution into something that actually works!” discussion will end up in a place where the 2nd Amendment is the top of the agenda.

        You have fallen for the constant right-wing propoganda that the 2nd amendment includes a right to individual firearm ownership, which is in fact a *very recent* interpretation and not very settled, and there’s absolutely no reason that it couldn’t be narrowed to certain *kinds* of firearms…considering it actually *already has*. (Can’t own fully automatics.)

        Even if we *keep* DC v. Heller (Which we shouldn’t.), that decision had all sorts of hedging in it that allow all sorts of gun restrictions. All that really seemed to do is create a right to *self defense* with a gun, with the court seem mostly upset at a *total ban* of functioning weapons (No handgun, all other guns disassembled) in a house, and said you cannot ban the most common form of self-defense. (And you can’t absurdly expect people to assemble long guns for self-defense.)

        As long as people still have some ‘common’ way of self-defense (and hunting), as long as people can still own handguns, a ban on AR-15s would seem to be *fine* under Heller. Likewise, a ban on magazines bigger than 10 or 5 or even *2* would seem fine. No one has to ‘change the Constitution’.

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        • “I.e., if ‘Muslim extremism’ *is* the huge problem they make it out to be, well, what’s their solution to this? They, and in fact everyone, have exactly three possible solutions: ”

          Actually, I believe the idea was to cease all muslim immigration. MAYBE round up illegal muslims and deport them. But rounding up muslim citizens? Not heard that.

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          • A plan that has the virtue of still being wildly unconstitutional, but also being totally ineffective even if you operate under the premise that Muslims are the problem since we already have plenty of Muslim citizens.

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          • Actually, I believe the idea was to cease all muslim immigration. MAYBE round up illegal muslims and deport them. But rounding up muslim citizens? Not heard that.

            I wasn’t trying to say option A was the actual plan. What you have said is Donald’s plan, apparently.

            My point is…this guy was not only here legally, he was, in fact, a natural born US citizen. He’s just demonstrated (Within their dumb framing) that American citizen Muslims are as big a problem, if not a bigger problem, than immigrant Muslims.

            So my point is asking the right…the plan is…what, exactly? If ‘Muslims’ are a danger…what do we do about the millions here that are citizens?

            Donald seems to be taking the position that this proves we should have blocked Muslims *decades* ago. I don’t know how this is supposed to square with his claim that he just wants to *temporarily* block Muslims, but it has even bigger problems then that, specifically: The NSA will not allow us to use their time machine to go back in time and retroactively keep Muslims out.

            It doesn’t actually matter what dumbass thing we ‘should have’ done decades ago…the fact is, we have *millions* of Muslims in this country. Right now. In the actual universe everyone but Donald Trump lives in.

            Within the framing of the right, any of those people could be ‘Muslim extremists’ who are going to legally buy an semi-automatic and shoot up anywhere they want.(1)

            And thus I ask Republicans: The solution to that is…?

            1) In reality, of course, any of *anyone* could be *any* sort of extremist, or just a general purpose wackjob, and shoot up anywhere, but the right seems to ascribe much much *much* more danger to Muslim threats, so that is what I am asking about.

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            • Yah, understood. Not sure muslim citizens offer any add’l risk than standard wackjobs, maybe marginal, but not sure. Not sure how you “fix” that. Doubt you can.

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              • Members of the military actually are more dangerous than Muslims, on a person by person basis. (Logic on this is basically that Type A, mildly authoritarian people at 20ish tend to score highly on Type A Hostility later in life, which tracks with a whole host of things, including joining cults and other crazy sideshows like Isis).

                Muslim is just a label, and one that a lot of people take on because their parents had it. The military is a free choice.

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        • Pointing out the right is basically in trouble now that it’s been clearly demonstrated at their supposed mortal enemy, ‘Muslim extremists’, can use these gun they demand everyone have access to. Especially since every part of what happened up to the shooting appears legal, and there’s not any way the guy could have been kept out of the US.

          Jumping to the conclusion that the right is exactly where you want them because now they’ll *HAVE* to accept gun control now that they see that Muslim extremists can get them is…

          Well. It’s optimistic.

          I think that there are options that might occur to them that don’t happen to agree with the answers you’ve already reached.

          You have fallen for the constant right-wing propoganda that the 2nd amendment includes a right to individual firearm ownership, which is in fact a *very recent* interpretation and not very settled, and there’s absolutely no reason that it couldn’t be narrowed to certain *kinds* of firearms…considering it actually *already has*. (Can’t own fully automatics.)

          Well, find myself constantly falling for propaganda so I guess I can’t argue with that.

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          • I think that there are options that might occur to them that don’t happen to agree with the answers you’ve already reached.

            …man, this isn’t literally a multiple choice quiz. If Republicans have some other logical response they are welcome to step forward with them. I’m not standing here with a buzzer if the answer anything other than A, B, or C.

            Although, as I just said in another response, Trump seems to be taking some sort of *retroactive* approach to this, that this just proves we should (temporarily?) been banning Muslims this entire time, showing that Trump, perhaps, does not understand how time functions. Ergo, Trump does not seem to have any sort of logical response to this, and is trying to handwave.

            OTOH, *Donald Trump* failing to come up with a logical response to anything is, well…

            Maybe some other Republicans have come up with something. I’d like to know it…which is half the reason I’m *asking*.

            Well, find myself constantly falling for propaganda so I guess I can’t argue with that.

            Pretending the whole ‘individual right to guns and thus all gun control is unconstitutional in the same way that all speech restrictions are’ is settled is pretty common. Even Burt seems to have fallen for it in some extent.

            But in reality, none of that was settled at all before Heller, and Heller was pretty tightly scoped, and it’s really unlikely it will ever be broadened. I can live with a right to self-defense and hunting, and so can a lot of gun control laws.

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      • It’s been a white guy, and not that long ago. It’s also been a black guy. In each case, there were people who said “The problem is how much damage a single violent miscreant can do with readily available weapons before he can be stopped.” That did no good. I expect this will be the case next time too, no matter what color the next guy is.

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        • Well that’s just it: people politicize this stuff in various ways but the core argument remains the same irrespective of politically expedient surface features.

          And I gotta say I find the (continued, on this site) attempts to reduce every social issue to partisan or identity politics slow-burn infuriating.

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      • I dunno, I did the mental exercise and other than some trivial political thoughts (Trump would probably be turfed at the convention) the paper out the feed in the back of my brain read basically the same.

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      • The article cites four instances of the children of Muslim immigrants engaging in mass murders.

        Four.

        Since 2009.

        Four. In six years.

        Four awful, atrocious heinous acts of hate that destroyed innocent lives.

        But four.

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        • What should be investigated but most likely won’t the connection to the CIA. Both this shooter and the Tsarnaevs have family members who are likely CIA assets. If nothing else why are families of CIA assets mote likely to go rouge? To be clear I don’t think this is a false flag or anything but CIA connection will be overlooked.

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  3. Dennis,
    They are getting better at turning poor man against poor man, not worse.
    This is part of their general agenda — a key component — distract the sons
    o’ bitches that might have a bit of a problem with our real agenda. If we ever do band
    together, well, that might just interfere with the “rich getting richer” ballgame.

    Time was they turned black man against white man, then it was straight versus gay.
    There’s a new division, and the religious are lapping it up just as easily as they lapped up the last one.
    Can’t hate gays no more, but hatin’ on trannies works just fine.

    Preview Of Coming Attractions: Reparations on National Stage
    you heard it here first.

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  4. I don’t see how we can possibly be “undivided” as we mourn.

    I’ve been to two vigils. The first was Sunday night, hastily organized by our local chapter of the sisters, held without permit in front of one of our historic churches. It attracted quite a large crowd. (The church of course welcomed us.)

    It was a political event. The people gathered, we outright rejected hatred or blame toward the Muslim community. That is a political statement. LGBTQ Muslims were invited to speak. That is a political statement.

    Of course, there is a vast segment of people who were decidedly not invited to speak, and who I am quite sure the crowd would have booed roundly off the steps of the church, had such a person opened their mouth.

    Because what is the value in simple mourning? Just sadness without action? To wallow in it?

    No, our mourning was combined with commitment, expressions of anger, calls to action, sound rejections of division and hate. These are political things. They are not “neutral.” There is a broad class of our “fellow citizens” who in fact are not mourning with us. They are doing something else.

    It is a paradox, but to reject division will inexorably divide us from others. That is just the way it is.

    The second vigil I attended was Monday night. I was organized by Mayor Walsh, in front of city hall. It was huge. It overflowed Boston City Hall Square, out into the street.

    It was lovely. The speakers were better prepared. The event was well-lit. The big Pride flag hanging from city hall was beautiful. But the event itself — it felt so watered down compared to the event the sisters held.

    There is something about by us and for us.

    #####

    I was already in my 40’s by the time I started to go out dancing — at least, before I went out properly dancing. I had been to clubs before. I had tried dancing before, but I could not, not then. Now I can.

    There is a connection between mind and body, and to dance — to really dance — requires that connection be strong. Old me shambled. New me glides.

    Anyway, you’re not too young to go to a club. You’ll notice, however, that things get started pretty darn late, and you’ll want to go home not long after everyone else has started warming up. So it goes.

    But go, dance, smile. You gotta.

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    • I don’t dance and I don’t drink (and I don’t enjoy being around the drinking) so clubs have never been a haven for me.

      I certainly understand how important they are, though. For so many and for so long, gay bars have not only been a place to be yourself but also a place not to be outnumbered all the time. Even though society has grown more accepting, we queer people are still a tiny fragment of the overall population. We all live in a very heterosexual and cisgendered world. Sometimes it’s nice to be where you don’t have to work so hard all the time.

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  5. In some ways, dancing has always been a way of liberation in the gay community—a way of being who you are.

    This, right here, is why gay clubs, and consequently the events of this weekend, feel so weird and even alienating. To me, dancing is something that other people tell me to do that I don’t actually want to do.

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    • This reminds me of a story…

      I used to live in a very small mountain town here in Colorado. I was a raft guide, but the town was mostly comprised of folks in the trades and in particular miners and ex-miners. It wasn’t a particularly rough town, but pretty rough around the edges. And of course there was the local watering hole which had a steady base of regular day-time drinkers, bikers, ex-miners and some raft guides. On a Saturday night, when we were not-very-enthusiastically amusing ourselves playing darts and pool, a group of four gay men strolled into the bar, bought some drinks, and started playing dance music on the juke box. Not too long after the women at the bar started dancing with these men, and not too long after that the roughnecks – all of us – were on the dance floor shaking it out. It was amazing to see.

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    • I always wondered what it was life for LGBT people who couldn’t really get into the general culture for LGBT community for reasons of taste or temperament or anything else.

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  6. A friend shared a Tweet on Facebook that said something to the effect that all of us need to reach out to our LGBTQ loved ones and remind them that we care. Attending vigils, hashtags, FB memes, and the like help, but I assume moments like these require a personal touch. So to , , , Russel, Daniel, and I’m sure the many others I’m forgetting here… I — and so many of us — care for you and about you. So, please, dance, cry, shout, write, sing, remain silent, or do whatever you need to make peace with this tragedy and know that you have allies… In both the ongoing march for equality but also as fellow humans struck by hate, hurt, and loss.

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    • There is something different for me about this attack. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, as someone who distrusts tribalism and whose friends are mostly straight. But this time my people were specifically targeted. I feel more shaken. I’m glad to know that some people understand that response. It means a lot, Kazzy.

      I cried when I saw the photo of the Eiffel Tower lit in rainbow colors, done in solidarity. I thought, “Of course, they understand.”

      I’m infuriated that most conservative leaders in the US are unwilling to acknowledge that queer people were targeted. The “America was the target” crowd.

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      • I’ve had an enormous problem with this as well.

        There’s this tiny, burning, angry voice deep in my psyche that wants to say, “If you’ve been telling us all how dangerous these people are for the past decade, you don’t get to get to just suddenly be orientation-blind for a week just to make your soundbites look better.”

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      • I’ll confess that the gravity of the attacks didn’t immediately hit me. Maybe it is because I’ve wandered into gay bars without knowing they are gay bars or because the news only slowly trickled out to me, but I didn’t immediately say, “This was an attack of hatred on gay people.” It took Russell’s piece and Dennis’s piece and the many comments by LGBTQ friends in which I realized that there were victims well beyond Orlando that night.

        I also realized that this is something that is simply really, really hard for me to empathize with. I’m a straight, cis white guy with a Christian/Catholic background and middle-class upbringing who grew up outside a mid-Atlantic city. I simply don’t know what it is like to be hated for who I am, to be a target of violence as the result of that hate, and to genuinely fear for my safety because of who I am.

        So there is a part of me that simply doesn’t understand what you and others are experiencing, try as I might. It is now that I am reminded it is time to listen, time to care, time to do what you and others need. So, please, feel free to lean on me — to lean on us — however you may need.

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      • America was the target, these folks were Americans. I know that liberals have been preaching identity politics for some but come on. When the San Bernardino shooter killed his victims you didn’t see folks talking about whites folks being the targets, did you? No, they were killed b/c they were americans.

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  7. Dennis, this was a lovely essay.

    My feeling about bars is similar to that of Alan Scott’s so my immediate thoughts went to “there should be gay video game arcades”.

    I hope that an evening of dancing works.

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  8. Pingback: A Religious Test for Immigration? – Common Law

  9. And so now I will leave my Facebook post here since I’m sure you are all waiting for a sermon.:

    I have a conservative disposition. Meaning when I think about things, I often ask, “How did people used to handle these issues, and what can we learn from the past?”

    So with guns, I think, “How would my parents have thought about guns?
    Well, my parents gave us boys .22 rifles when we were 12 or so, and sent us up into the hills, unsupervised, to play.

    With loaded rifles.
    At the ages of 12 to 15.
    Unsupervised.

    So yeah, they had an um, *relaxed* attitude towards firearms.

    But see, suppose my mom saw me walking through a grocery store with an assault rifle and talking about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of government agents, or going to church with a pistol in my belt “for self-defense”?

    She would have been ashamed, and embarrassed for me. Because that relationship toward guns is not the relationship of a free and sober citizen, it is the relationship of a very disturbed and frightened soul, something dark and dangerous.

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    • Chip

      I hate to tell you but the main thing that’s changed about the relationship to gun is liberals being determined to ban them. Pro gun groups didn’t have to be so strident bc liberals weren’t so determined to ban them.

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  10. was talking about this above, as was , but I think it’s worth starting back up at the top level for:

    All too often, the default assumption seems to be ‘the left will make another stupid law like the assault weapon ban because they know nothing about weapons’. But as Veronica D pointed out, the right is sorta deliberately refusing to help with a *less* stupid law.

    So, let’s see if this is even possible. Here’s the million dollar question:

    Assuming that the weapons objected to are the Sig Sauer MCX and AR-15 and other weapons like them, what characteristics, *exactly*, are the objectionable parts?

    Note: Do not list anything about how it looks. Do not list anything about scary-looking bits like bayonet mounts that serve no purpose. Do not list how its held. All those things are complete nonsense that can trivially be changed, accomplishing nothing. List things that are *how the gun functions and what it does*.

    Here’s my list:

    The deliberate attempts to increase the rate of fire as high as possible. (By which I mean the *ease* of pulling the trigger multiple times. I know it’s a semi-automatic and doesn’t really have a ‘rate of fire’ per se.)

    The ability to put in very large magazines, and the rapid switching *of* magazines. (Note there are always going to be ways to *hack* larger magazines.)

    I also dislike the whole ‘mod your gun’ *framework*, but I’m unsure how to phrase that. All guns are, to some extent, changeable. But the guns we’re talking about here are deliberately designed that way and have a modding culture that goes along with them.

    Any other things? Any idea how to actually turn what I listed into a law?

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    • Have you seen this article? http://thoughtcatalog.com/daniel-hayes/2016/06/i-am-an-ar-15-owner-and-ive-had-enough/

      It’s worth reading- he is a gun owner, and against many forms of gun control as either unethical or unworkable, and has one suggestion: Ban clips or magazines that hold more than 10 rounds for semi-automatic weapons.

      Period.

      I think that’s a good idea because 1) it seems enactable, 2) it seems minimalist, 3) it would make a positive difference. thus passing my three main tests for laws.

      I think making a list of all the things we SHOULD ban and trying to pass that law would be a mistake, because we can’t even get a damn debate on the floor right now – the more complex the law is, the less likely it is to ever pass.

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      • This idea has come up before. Depending upon your proficiency and the firearms design, there isn’t much of a difference in fire rate. Firing off 30 rounds from one mag or from 3 ten round mags is going to result in similar rates of fire. I can swap a 10 round pistol mag in less than 3 seconds. I’m not in a rush and am chatting with my friend at the same time.

        Hell, any number of people with modest experience with firearms could go into a place like the Pulse with a semi auto shotgun, several pistols and a dozen mags and get the same results. Some random dude who doesn’t know how to use a weapon is the only type of person that would be really effected by mag capacity.

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        • “in less than 3 seconds.”

          If needed, there’s a lot I can get done in less than 3 seconds. (As a musician, I know this to my bones – but you know it too because you just said you can get a whole mag swapped out in that time.)

          Someone trying to stop a shooter can get a lot more done in almost 3 seconds than they can in a fraction of a second.

          It’s not the reduction in the fire rate per minute, it’s the gap in the firing. The Marine who was focused on getting people out because he knew how fucked they were given the gun being used might have (successfully!) switched his efforts to taking down the shooter if he *knew* there’d be a gap.

          And if you don’t think that’s good enough, come up with something better.

          I think the meta-point of this article – at least the takeaway I got – is that *gun owners* and gun rights activists should be fighting with each other to come up with the best way to guarantee their rights and improve other people’s safety. Pro-gun activists should be working with legislators to fix the problem with guns that is far worse in this country than in others, not fighting to discredit and attack gun control folks.

          And I’m not saying this as someone who is anti-gun. I grew up with guns. I’m fine with guns. Honestly, I outright LIKE a lot of guns – they remind me of my grandfather – and if we lived in rural Canada, we’d probably have not only the guns we have in our house, but also some ammo to shoot them with.

          I have no problems with guns as a category.

          I have MAJOR problems with people who think it’s ok to own fireable guns (if you want to own heirlooms that you don’t use, I don’t really have any problem with whatever you do or don’t do), and do NOT take an interest in figuring out how to fix the problems associated with the proliferation of gun murders in this country. Actively. Not just by pointing out the holes in everyone else’s plans.

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          • The number of people who are going to charge a guy swapping mags vs running away is probably, after they’ve seen several people killed right in from of them, is likely in the single percentages. I really don’t view this a deterrent.

            Getting a lot done in 3 seconds depends upon the distance, the state of mind, hell, it may even depend upon the amount of blood on the floor.

            “Not just by pointing out the holes in everyone else’s plans.” Meh.

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            • Hey, I say that as an inveterate hole-pointer-outer. But it’s of limited use.

              It might be in the single percentages (or might not) but there were people in that club who made heroic sacrifices. There are people in most such situations who make heroic sacrifices.

              And all the “depends upon” applies equally well to the shooter as to someone who might stop them.

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            • There are dozens of known examples where a would-be spree shooter was tackled while reloading, a 30 second Google search would inform you of this (including ample, educated discussions on CCW forums). This now very much sounds like you’ve made up your mind a priori and are treating each proposal as an exercise in finding points of order to disqualify it on. It may be an effective short-term strategy, but in the long term removing yourself from the negotiation table will only mean the deal gets decided without you.

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              • “removing yourself from the negotiation table will only mean the deal gets decided without you.”

                First, you’re assuming I’m willing to give something up in negotiations. For the record, I’m not saying I’m not willing, but I’m saying I am either. Second, I fail to see the utility of serious negotiations with those very people who have said time and time again, and made clear by their actions, that they view all guns as being undesirable. While there may be “reasonable” people on this site in which we can debate a possible solution, they aren’t in the legislature. FYI I live in a nice liberal anti gun state where evil “assault weapons” are hard to get, many are illegal, and the burdens of purchase of rifles, pistols, and shotties is difficult. Concealed carry is impossible without political contacts. It’s a wonderful gun violence free state…..except for those big cities where all the gangs are killing each other.

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                  • They aren’t scare quotes. Those are around the words “assault weapons”. The quotes around reasonable are there because I’m not convinced that there ARE reasonable folks here on the anti gun side.

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                • I fail to see the utility of serious negotiations with those very people who have said time and time again, and made clear by their actions, that they view all guns as being undesirable.

                  So how many of those are on this thread?

                  I understand the whole, “My ideological opponents are exhausting and thus I’m disinterested in communicating with them any more” in the general sense, but that doesn’t seem to be a good reason to back out of a conversation in the specific case of folks around who are not in line with you ideologically but don’t seem to match the folks you find exhausting.

                  I don’t know who on the thread would support a repeal of the second amendment, but I doubt they outnumber the ones who really don’t.

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                  • I am out and proud about my desire for a full scale repeal of the 2nd Amendment.

                    Which is completely in harmony with my purchase of a rifle for my son when he was 18, and my enjoyment of skeet shooting.

                    You all are aware that there are people in other countries who enjoy these pastimes, right? That it isn’t just Americans who are blessed with the sport of hunting and shooting, but even people who lack a 2nd Amendment do this all the time.

                    Its not the guns I don’t like. Its the gun nuts I hold in contempt. They are the reason I stopped enjoying the trips to the range.

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                    • Its not the guns I don’t like. Its the gun nuts I hold in contempt. They are the reason I stopped enjoying the trips to the range.

                      Thank you for admitting it, when i suggested as much the other day people told me I was crazy. I’m going to bookmark this post so I can site it next time.

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                        • I grew up in a working class redneck area of So Cal. My very best friend as a teenager was a gun nut, and I hung out with gun nuts- the guys who read Soldier of Fortune spent rent money on guns and I was there when one of them got arrested for firing his prized AK-47 full auto machine gun. (With an extended clip!)

                          Look, in the same way that Chris Rock doesn’t feel the need to patronize black folks who act like assholes, I don’t feel the need to pull punches with the gun nuts, I don’t feel the need to clear my throat with a preamble about how much I respect hunters.

                          My question for everyone else is, why do you?

                          When guys talk about “watering the tree of liberty” do you all think they are using it metaphorically?

                          When guys insist upon carrying a deadly weapon to Starbucks, isn’t it madness to nod and pretend we aren’t silently looking for a way to escape when he snaps?

                          When somebody talks like that, yeah, they are a nut, and deserve contempt and ridicule.

                          Gun nuts bring out my latent conservative, in that there are norms of behavior, lines that should not be crossed, and deviancy that should not be defined downward.

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                        • Fuck NO!
                          The gun nuts are the people who bought ammo from the commercial that said that Obama was gonna send jackbooted thugs to take your guns.

                          That commercial was an excellent way to get the mailing addresses of a ton of gun nuts. Just In Case.

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                      • He wasn’t snobbish to lower ses whites or anything, just to guys who take liking guns in a creepy, asholish direction. Does not support your therom.

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                  • “So how many of those are on this thread?” My comment wasn’t necessarily solely directed at this thread. However, while no one has come out directly, that I’ve seen so far, I could come up with several names who I suspect wouldn’t mind eliminating all of them.

                    “but don’t seem to match the folks you find exhausting.”
                    I find several folks on this exhausting, or at least generally consistent in their disdain for my political / economic beliefs.

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            • I do actually know someone who has disarmed a weapon wielding person when it wasn’t his job (basically done on instinct alone — had he thought, he’d have called security). 3 seconds is enough time to grab a fire extinguisher and obscure the shooter’s vision. 3 seconds is enough time to cut the lights in a room. I don’t think it’s a good idea to encourage people to rush the shooter unless that’s the absolute, dead-cold last resort.

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      • — Great article. That’s what I want to see more of. The raging “anti-gun in ever way crowd” isn’t going to win this debate. But as weapons keep advancing in killing capacity, we need at some point to draw a line, and the gun owners have a role to play in that.

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        • Randomly, I think he’s wrong on the insurance angle. (I’m pretty sure it’d past Constitutional muster. I mean poor people can’t actually afford to buy a gun, but the Feds aren’t obligated to give them one. Requiring insurance on your firearms is narrowly tailored and serves a legitimate government interest.)

          I also think he’d be a bit surprised at how many gun owners don’t feel like having a shoot-out with the government if their guns became illegal. Or at least wouldn’t when rubber met road.

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        • What do mean by “advancing in killing capacity?” The M16 is no more deadly than the 1940’s era M1 carbine that can use a 15 or 30 round detachable magizine. As for gun owners joining in, I refuse to help liberals by playing a role in limiting my civil rights.

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          • So why did they switch to the M16? Why has the M16 design evolved? It is not the same gun as Vietnam.

            Maybe because .223 is superior at tearing human flesh over .30, because the bullet tumbles and does not do a “clean through”? Perhaps they can be fired faster, with less recoil. Perhaps because the weapons are lighter, easier to deploy and reload?

            And yes, a large magazine is a large magazine. But we do not use the same weapons we did 20 years ago, and they did not use the same weapons as 20 years before. Things change. There are reasons.

            But yeah, a BAR could kill a lot of people fast. But I bet if you asked an NRA member in 1948 if average people should be toting their BAR into the local soda shop as a display of their liberty (or whatever), they would wonder what Moon Colony you just escaped from. Soldiers coming home sometimes got their hands on an M1 Garand. They weren’t toting .30 cal LMGs around.

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            • The tumbling effect has nothing to do with the .223 round itself and everything to do with the twist rate of the rifling in the barrel and the length of the barrel. Over the years the Army has changed the barrel twist rate and shortened the barrel length to the point (20 inchs down to 14.5) to the point that the bullet is very stable, slower and is essentially a high velocity .22lr with little fragmentation or tumbling. The army’s new M855A1 round was developed in part to address these concerns at lack of incapacitation.

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            • “why did they switch to the M16? ”

              ahhahahahahahhah you have no idea the can of worms invoked by this question

              (that question has been the subject of more debate than the nature of quantum physics. If you want to watch a good flamewar, go to any military- or military-buff forum and ask it.)

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      • Maribou,

        Thanks for the linky. I just want to point out that just because THIS guy can use all the werdz correctly doesn’t mean other folks with the same view who DON’T know the werdz aren’t still fucking idiots.

        OK. A cheap shot. Granted….

        Here’s where I’m at on this issue and I’ve expressed this before: my frustration is with folks who reflexively and vehemently oppose any suggestion to limit access to or availability of weapons used for and designed for a single purpose: to maximize human deaths per second. And in particular when expressed by people who claim to have nothing at stake in the debate!

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        • It’s also kinda frustrating when people are trying to shift the discussion AWAY from cheap shots and someone decides they need to lay one down anyway.

          Makes it hard to get past the cheap shot phase.

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            • Even were I to agree with you about shaming “those folks” (which, for the record, I don’t), do you really think cheap shots are an effective shaming tactic? When I try them on at home, I feel great for … let’s say less than 3 seconds, but once I’ve had time to think about it, I usually just end up embarrassed by how petty I’m being.

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              • What else would shake the intransigence of several folks’ views here at this site other than demonstrating how stupid those views are? Certainly not an appeal to middle ground, since that’s the direction they’re reflexively, irrationally, intransigent about moving in.

                I think it’s better to point out the irrationality and the mechanisms by which it’s propped up as opposed to making to that person an appeal to reason. I mean, they’ve already demonstrated a commitment to the irrational, yes? First things first.

                Of course, you might be intending to have a discussion with different people than I’ve been having a discussion with… :)

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                • And let’s be honest here: no one is going to change their mind in the time it takes to read your linky. At best, over time, someone might – MIGHT! – consider that person’s views as evidence informing their own. Maybe.

                  Really, I just go back to the basics: reflexive intransigence.

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                  • Really I’m just sick of people using the deaths of QUILTBAG people of color as an excuse to be mean to each other. Or death in general as an excuse to be mean to each other. And I was attempting to provide a distraction, for my own quite selfish reasons, from something that didn’t seem very useful into something that might be a little bit more so.

                    That link did, in the time I took to read it, remind me that there were more, and more interesting voices, in the argument, than the dichotomy I’d mostly been seeing, and it was a welcome reminder. It shifted my thought process. Thought others could appreciate it as well. I should have realized it would also provide more fodder for the yelling.

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                    • Maribou, I said it was a good link. I approve! You can construct your own dialogue with whoever you choose. I’m gonna have a dialogue with people who think knowing the names of particular gun parts is necessary for having an informed opinion about gun violence.

                      The two concepts are only related because it serves the interest of folks who want to exclude certain views.

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                      • “I’m gonna have a dialogue with people who think knowing knowing the names of particular gun parts is necessary for having an informed opinion about gun violence.”

                        But you weren’t talking to them. You were pretending to talk to me – or maybe you were talking to me and then you just didn’t think keeping talking to me was worthwhile enough to keep doing it, keep talking about what *I* was saying, instead of turning your attention to the people you are supposedly “having a dialogue” with in the very same comment you addressed to me. I don’t know where you learned about having a dialogue but it doesn’t seem to have been the same place I did, man. Seriously. “Great comment but really I’m just going to try and turn your new interjection right back to the dialogue you were really not interested in having”? Jeez.

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                        • But you weren’t talking to them. You were pretending to talk to me

                          No, I was talking to them. And I wasn’t pretending to talk to you. Just because I’m not talking to you on your terms doesn’t mean I’m not talking to you.

                          See! I’m doing that right now!

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                          • Yeah, not talking to me on my terms means you’re continuing to use talking to me as a platform for the points you want to make to other people more than for anything to do with me. I’m familiar with the tactic; as a bisexual more-or-less female person it’s an experience I’ve had plenty of times before.

                            You keep doing that if you want, and I’ll remember not to try to engage you directly and ask you to change next time. Or engage you directly at all.

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                            • I’m familiar with the tactic;

                              Really? You’re going try to account for my behavior as an instance of persecution along the lines of what LGBT folks experience?

                              I don’t know how to tell you this, Maribou, but your gender/sexual identity just isn’t all that important to me. Especially in this context. Other contexts? Sure. The semantics of gun parts as they relate to views on gun violence generally? No.

                              Look, here’s one thing I apologize for: not being the interlocutor you would have valued. Sorry about that.

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                              • Dude, I PROMISE I will shut it after this, but would you just LISTEN to yourself???

                                “your gender/sexual identity just isn’t all that important to me. Especially in this context. ”

                                THE CONTEXT IS NOT YOUR HOBBYHORSE OF SEMANTICS AND GUN VIOLENCE. IT’S A BUNCH OF LGBT PEOPLE GETTING KILLED AND HOW WE ARE ALL DEALING WITH THE IMPACT OF THAT WHICH WAS THE TOPIC OF THE POST YOU ARE SUPPOSEDLY COMMENTING ON.

                                If my gender and sexual identity just aren’t that important to you in this context, your context is a FREAKING PINHOLE in a canvas 50 feet wide.

                                Come on.

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