Morning Ed: Politics {2017.11.05.Su}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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326 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Po6: wait, you mean Jaybird hasn’t been talking nonsense all this time?Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      See below. There is a lot of self-serving interest in Brazile’s account and she is being challenged. Plus this sells books. Here is another challenge to her account:

      So Brazile herself, though she obviously disapproves of the JFA, says the primaries weren’t rigged and there was no internal corruption at the DNC that favored Clinton. In something that suprises me not at all, it appears that even though Clinton had substantial authority and could have rigged things, she instead used this authority to raise lots of money; make sure the DNC hired competent people; and try to get the party apparatus working again.

      In the end, then, this strikes me as almost classic Hillary: she did nothing wrong, but practically went out of her way to make it look like she was doing something slippery. I have never seen another human being do this so frequently. But, in fact, it looks like she really didn’t do anything seriously unscrupulous here, and nearly everyone agrees that, in the end, the primaries weren’t rigged in any serious way.²

      So the more interesting thing about all this is: why did Brazile write this? Her prose is so melodramatic that you’d think she had discovered Hillary was a child molester. Finding the JFA “broke my heart,” she says. She called Bernie Sanders to tell him about all this, but first “I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call.” (In fact, it turned out not to be an emotional call. Apparently Bernie didn’t care much.)


    • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Wrong article.

      My response makes no sense. a\Apologies.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:


    was upset because the world she had known was fading, and she couldn’t mourn it without being labelled a monster.

    There’s something there.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I applaud the writer for being so calm and stoic in the face of white fear and rage.
      And the point about how supressing her voice can only harden it is well taken.


      I guess the reason I am so much less tolerant of people like Chelsea is that I am so similar to her, as was discussed in the other day’s links.
      When I hear white people lamenting bilingual signs or neighborhoods changing ethnicities, I feel like saying, “Cracker, please”.

      That sort of lament is based on the idea that white Christian dominance is the natural order of the universe, and while white people should be tolerant, we should be alarmed over the idea of being in the minority.

      That idea is what cannot be given tolerance or legitimacy.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        What I was getting at was kind of in line with what @leeesq said, that folks are not being allowed to be good.

        The thing that struck me in that exchange is the belief that people have that “white culture” (whatever that means) is dying, a belief that is strongly encouraged by right leaning pundits, and not only is that message not being effectively countered, it’s being fueled by folks on the left not only agreeing, but alsi saying “Good riddance, you all were a bunch of wankers!”.

        So the lie is not only being sold hard by the right, the left sells it too and piles on an extra helping of, “you are bad people for being sad about it, because everything bad in the world is your fault”.

        I mean, if you can’t counter the lie, you can at least avoid heaping on the abuse.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Very true, and as much as I want to heap scorn on the fearful white folk, part of me also knows that I am being invited to a war.

          Like ISIL, white supremacists thrive on the idea of an apocalyptic battle and constantly want to bait the rest of us into reacting with fear and rage.

          So I keep repeating to myself that the first act of resistance is to refuse to be afraid, and decline the invitation to battle.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


          But doesn’t this depend on what people want to feel good about? I’m with you in being against the RAR types from the article on Reed I put in Linky Friday. There is a lot of value in Western Civilization and a lot of it is good.

          However, then you have something like Sarah Huckabee Sanders calling Robert E. Lee one of “our leaders” during a press conference (and mentioning JFK twice) and it is hard to say someone should feel good about pride in the confederacy. Or they get really defensive because their uncles were cops and there are a lot of stories on police brutality in the news.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I guess that depends on a lot of things. It’s a case of picking your battles. Reminds me of a quote from R.A.H.

            This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humoring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.

            I don’t entirely agree with the last part, because I think humoring them too much can lead to things getting enshrined in law that probably shouldn’t, but I also know that being derogatory or dismissive about the same can rile people up such that things get enshrined into law that probably shouldn’t.

            So in the end, it comes down to, “Don’t be a dick to random strangers just because you disagree with them.”Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    The Donna Brazile story is raising challenges. Here is Josh Marshall from TPM:

    As I was writing this post, news broke that Brazile also claims in her book that after Clinton’s fainting episode she seriously considered replacing Clinton on the ticket with Joe Biden and Cory Booker because her campaign was “anemic” and had taken on the “odor of failure”. She chose Biden-Booker because she decided they had the best chance to shore up support from working class voters. But Brazile says she “thought of Hillary, and all the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her. I could not do this to them.”

    This adds an important new detail to the story because this is a ridiculous claim. The chair of the DNC has no power to unilaterally replace a candidate on the ticket. The candidate must resign from the ticket or die – I believe there may be a reference to ‘incapacitation’, candidate on life support after a stroke, etc. But none of those three things happened. If one of those things does happen the decision falls to the entire DNC – a few hundred members from across the country – to meet and decide on a replacement. This is a power Brazile quite clearly did not have. So the whole storyline makes no sense and did not happen.

    More probable is that when Clinton fainted she started brainstorming who should replace her if she turned out to be seriously ill and resigned from the ticket or died. That makes total sense. She had zero power to replace Clinton unilaterally and the choice wouldn’t have been hers regardless. But as interim chair of the DNC she would have been a major player in the decision-making. So it makes sense that she might have started gaming out possible scenarios. But she seems to have taken this plausible interlude and recast it as a moment of decision in which she could see Clinton was flagging among working class voters in the midwest, considered replacing her with Joe Biden but finally could not break the hearts of the women who supported Clinton.

    This is all pure fantasy. She’s married a non-existent power with a highly improbable prescience to create a kind of retrospective, fantasy football version of the nomination in which the momentous and weighty decisions all fell to her. It is highly reminiscent of the agonizing call in which she purportedly informed Bernie Sanders that he’d been right all along and the nomination race had been “rigged”.

    But I expect BernieBros and HRC haters will stick to Brazile’s story because it confirms to all their priors on the Clintons especially HRC but hey, reasoning is hard, Clinton hate is easy.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I expect BernieBros and HRC haters will stick to Brazile’s story because it confirms to all their priors on the Clintons especially HRC but hey, reasoning is hard, Clinton hate is easy.

      You’re operating at the wrong level of abstraction.Report

    • I am entirely with Marshall on this. It wasn’t invented from whole cloth – I’m sure they did look into it and I think people were too quick to inflict contempt on people suggesting that it was being looked into – but the story as she tells it now doesn’t work.

      That’s not the part of the Brazile story the BernieBros and so on care about, though. Does that render her less credible when it comes to the other part? It kind of does, in my view, but mileage varies.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m wondering what the absolute best take in Hillary’s favor would be…

        Donna Brazile has now been at the forefront of both Al Gore’s close-but-no-cigar election and Hillary Clinton’s close-but-no-cigar election and she knows that she’s never going to get a job at anywhere near that level ever again. She might have connections, she might have institutional knowledge, but she was one of the people in charge when everything crashed/burned not once but twice.

        So she has to make a buck now and the best way to make a buck now is to cater to the waxing powers by stabbing the waning powers in the back. (And the best way to do that is to sell something that says “I knew the waxing powers were right, but I couldn’t do anything but watch the waning powers screw up.”)

        Heck, if she makes her pitch attractive enough, she might get a place in the new waxing power structure (if a bit further down the trough).

        Is Donna Brazile particularly skilled at the whole “I know who is going to be in power tomorrow and I know how to cater to them” game?

        If she remains good at it (because it seems that she’s been good at it in the past), this is one hell of an indicator about who is going to be in power of the various structures tomorrow.

        It sure as hell is an indicator about who ISN’T going to be.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

          I agree with you that Clintonism and DLCism is on the wane and Donna Brazile probably knows this.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            It’s inadvertently pulling a trick similar to the one that Trump is really good at.

            Let’s take a particular proposition. The proposition is up to interpretation, but, until now, the argument over the proposition is whether the proposition was true or whether it was false.

            The trick is to say “the proposition has a value of 10!” when, really, even if the proposition was true, the proposition would only have a value of six or seven, tops.

            And so we’ve moved from arguing over whether the proposition is true (the old argument) to whether the value of the proposition is six. Seven tops.

            Six isn’t even that much. I don’t see what the big deal is.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

              Oooh! A new wrinkle as of THIS MORNING!

              Donna Brazile: “I found no evidence” election was rigged

              Donna Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, said she “found no evidence, none whatsoever” that the Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, dialing back an earlier statement in a Politico tell-all that the DNC was “rigging the system” for Clinton. Brazile made the comments in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

              Maybe the Clintons have more power than we thought…Report

        • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

          There is Mark Shield’s take:

          it’s proof, more than anything else, to me of how little Barack Obama cared about the Democratic Party or about politics. He was great at getting elected. He got a national majority twice in a row. Nobody had done that since Eisenhower. He was leaving the party $24 million in debt, therefore, vulnerable to Hillary Clinton’s coterie of big givers


          He was great himself, but not much for — he didn’t like the business. He didn’t like the company of politicians.


    • Tod Kelly in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw @will-truman @ @jaybird

      I’m going to softly push back on all of this just a bit.

      A lot of the problem here seems to rely on the semantics of the word “rigged.” What does “rigged” mean? And what is/isn’t/should/shouldn’t be allowed in a small-D democratic primary?

      I don’t think it’s Clinton Hating to acknowledge that HRC has never been well liked, be that for good or bad reasons. Nor do I think that is Clinton-Hating to acknowledge that the last time she was a “shoe-in” to win the primary, she got beat by a relative neophyte who didn’t even have the good taste to be white. Nor do I think it’s Clinton-Hating to suggest that in a party with approx 100 members, with a candidate that — let’s be honest — there was never overwhelming excitement about even within the party, that the only real challenger was someone who was’t even a party member because she was a perfect candidate is a hard line to swallow.

      So, does that mean Clinton rigged voting booths? Obviously not. Does it mean that Clinton’s people didn’t work damn hard over the past 8 years via political pressure, strategic donations money, and things we probably would prefer to never know about to make sure that she had a clear path to the nomination without any potential Obama 2.0s embarrassing her once again? Well, ymmv on how likely you think that scenario is. But assuming it is likely, would that be rigging the primaries, this ensuring of a decision that was made before those 100 million party members ever got a chance to have a vote on the matter?

      Like I say, the semantics of “rigging” carries a lot of weight here.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Let me clarify: I don’t *CARE* whether it was “rigged”.

        I care *VERY MUCH* that there seems to be a power struggle going on in the Democratic party right now and this power struggle seems to be getting worse rather than settling down and getting better. Let me say again: Elizabeth Warren was asked whether the primary was rigged and she said that it was.

        (New theory! This was Donna Brazile pulling the Crazy Ivan of getting Warren to say that it was rigged and then pulling the rug out from under her!)

        Like I say, the semantics of “rigging” carries a lot of weight here.

        Oh, yeah. Politics ain’t beanbag and I’m sure that the way that sausage is made is pretty unsavory.

        That said: There were quite a few people in this last election who felt that “the establishment” was not listening to them and was, in fact, running roughshod over what “the people” wanted. (A more populist movement, if you will.)

        The best thing for the Democratic party as a whole is to get everybody to take a deep breath and then to agree to work with each other.

        The question is whether there is reason for the more populist of the people in the Democratic party to believe that they will be treated “fairly” by the Democratic party in future primaries.

        The importance of hashing out the semantics of “rigging” is one of those games that would do a good job of communicating (to me, anyway) that the game is rigged and that I am not going to be treated fairly.

        (But, then again, I caucused for Bernie.)Report

        • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          It sure beats paying attention to the the new batch of corruption, potential perjury of the AG, deleted hard drives in GA and lies in the actual admin. The people whose political careers are over and who demonstrate an epic level of poor timing are surely more important then any current or future elections.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            Yes, yes, Trump is bad too.

            I forgot that I needed to point that out.

            Trump is bad.

            You’d think that the Democratic party as a whole would be able to get everybody to take a deep breath and then to agree to work with each other in the face of such an existential threat, though.Report

            • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

              Do you every watch Fox or conservo media? For some reason they don’t spend much time talking about the various scandals, lies, etc in the current actual admin. Hmm i wonder why that is. Talking about D dysfunction and such is a much better topic.

              People selling books, and who have already had significant push back on their facts, might not be the most important focus for the future. Yeah it keeps the old feuds going and keeps the D’s in an uproar and keeps picking at scabs. Public fights and book tours don’t often do much to find the road to the future or actually heal wounds.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                I don’t watch television. (Please imagine I said this with a huge amount of self-satisfaction, as if I were waiting for someone to ask me if I watched something on television.)

                People selling books, and who have already had significant push back on their facts, might not be the most important focus for the future.

                Who do you think would be the most important focus for the future?

                Personally, I suspect that people like Elizabeth Warren are the future of the Democratic party. As such, I see her opinions as part of what is going to be making up the future. (Of the Dems, anyway.)

                Now, of course, if I’m wrong about that (and I could totally be wrong about that!) then I need to know who is the future if Warren isn’t.

                Who is?Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Who is the future of the D’s? I don’t know, neither does anyone. That will be determined by who is successful in the next couple of cycles. Brazile, for one, seems focused on settling old scores and polishing her rep. If there is anything that isn’t useful for the future, it’s that. Heck she seems to be, from a few tweets, having a good stir at the VA Gov election. So i don’t know who the future is, but Brazile is the past and needs to move on.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Well, here’s some evidence that backs up what you’re saying.

                Tom Perez was on Meet the Press today and was asked if Donna Brazile fell for Russian Propaganda. He answered “I don’t know what Donna Brazile fell for.”

                Did Donna Brazile fall for Russian propaganda? DNC Chair Tom Perez says: "I don't know what Donna Brazile fell for"— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 5, 2017

                So maybe all this stuff will go away and we can get back and focus on the real issues, like Trump.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to greginak says:

                The other day the NYTimes ran a piece discussing whether Washington would be a trifecta state — ie, control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office — after the special elections on Tuesday. It is reasonably likely that western Dems will add three more trifectas in 2018 — Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

                There’s all this stuff happening with the national party and/or the NE urban corridor Dems, and a different thing happening in the West.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

                A Western Democratic future?

                I suppose if there are enough NE urban corridor losses, there will be no choice but to have one.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

              We’re all clear at least on Brazille’s accussations being based on demonstratively untrue things, right?


            • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

              If you’ve been paying attention to, say, Reddit or Twitter — for some reason, this story is being massively bot-supported.

              I haven’t seen such blatant botting in quite awhile, and I don’t think Donna Brazile paid for such a social media blitz.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          I agree with pretty much all of this.

          Where I may (emphasis on ‘may’) split with you is this: Until the non-Bernies can admit that everything HRC did was The Best Thing Ever, there can neither be growth nor mending, and there certainly can’t be a righting of the ship.

          This isn’t because it’s HRC per se. It’s because if the person in the drivers seat didn’t win, you need to be able to acknowledge that first and foremost. Nothing can happen until that steps has been taken. (Well, nothing good anyway.)Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Until the non-Bernies can admit that everything HRC did was The Best Thing Ever, there can neither be growth nor mending, and there certainly can’t be a righting of the ship.

            This isn’t parsing in my brain.

            Could you elaborate?Report

            • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:


              I have yet to have a conversation about the election w/ a non-Bernie Dem that does not ultimately end in my being told that either:

              A). If you look at the numbers you will see that HRC actually had the most resounding win in POTUS election history,

              B). HRC was the candidate because everyone who wasn’t a Fox News talking head LOVED her and desperately wanted her to be POTUS,

              C). HRC would have cruised to victory of historic proportions if only the Russians, the FBI, CNN, and the New York Times had not conspired against her, or

              D), some combination of all the above.

              No one in the above-mentioned demographics I have talked to seems at all interested in considering the possibility that maybe she wasn’t the greatest, most popular, and/or most qualified candidate ever. And looking at the possibility that some or all of those things aren’t correct — by people who aren’t Bernie supporters — needs to happen before the party can right itself.

              Because otherwise, I honestly think she’s going to end up being the candidate again.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                Okay, I understand now.

                This goes back to the whole “Trust/Collaboration” thing.

                If you want high collaboration, you’re going to need high trust.

                And if there is a significant group that doesn’t feel like they can or should invest in a high trust relationship, they freakin’ won’t. Even if you do prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you can’t believe we’re still talking about this old news instead of talking about things that are actually important.

                Because otherwise, I honestly think she’s going to end up being the candidate again.

                Brazile doing a U-turn is one of those things that actually surprised me (like, for real) today. Clinton being the nominee again is something that I would have said was freakin’ impossible yesterday.

                Today? Well, it’s not *LIKELY*.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                You haven’t been talking to folks here, it seems @tod-kelly .Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

                Not in the recent past, as I’ve been absent in the past couple of months. But I don’t think I’ve ever written anything about Clinton having weaknesses on the site ever, pre or post election, than wasn’t responded to be a chorus of “Well, actually…” by the site’s libs.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                “Well actually” is at least a wee bit different than the behavior described above.

                You also obviously weren’t around during that brief period wherein failing to say “Hillary is terrible” was a disqualifier.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                There really is a problem with this program, which is that C is very much a colorable argument, given the narrowness of the Trump victory and the unprecedented FBI meddling in the election at the last minute.

                Would that have been a “victory of historical proportions”? Unlikely. Many states that had been solid Blue last time would still have been uncomfortably close.

                So now your plan involves convincing someone that something they may well have actual good reasons to believe is true is false, and doing so in a way that, unless done very delicately, appears to excuse or defend genuine wrongdoing and institutional failure.

                That doesn’t sound very easy.

                Maybe you should start by agreeing that, in fact, C is largely true, instead of dismissing people’s entirely justifiable anger at the conduct and competence of institutions that absolutely should have performed better.Report

          • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Where I may (emphasis on ‘may’) split with you is this: Until the non-Bernies can admit that everything HRC did was [not -ed] The Best Thing Ever, there can neither be growth nor mending, and there certainly can’t be a righting of the ship.

            Yeah, basically you’re in a weird spot where the more sectarian libs have no problem hanging you out to dry.

            You’re in a situation where you’d like to be a more or less conventional lib as far as policy goes, with a sprinkle of centrism here and here. So you’ll never be a full Bernie. But you’re also skeptical of movers and shakers of the Democratic Party, and suspect that there’s far more corruption there than you’d like to support. And their answer back to you is just to suck it up and deal. And really, who are you to anything else, after all it’s not like they ever lost a Presidential Election or anything.

            In this situation, personally I’d just vote Republican and be done with it. But YMMV.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


            I don’t think HRC was the best thing ever. I think she made mistakes. I don’t think she ever got the “poetry” part of campaigning even if she was pretty good at the prose part of governing. But that is my critique of wonks in general. To be fair, I’m somewhat sympathetic because I recoil at impassioned and inflamed rhetoric but people really seem to like it in politicians or they want soaring hopeful rhetoric because we aren’t Vulcans.

            But I still can’t get over the “Bernie is great. Bernie will solve everything” aspect of the BernieBros. I remain adamant in my anti-Messiahism.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Yeah, the people who thought that Bernie would be able to usher in single-payer were really stupid. I can’t believe how stupid the college students were who thought that Bernie would make college free and forgive college loan debt. Remember that kid who donated some of his student loan money to Bernie? What an idiot!

              Those kids should have straightened up, put the bong down, and kept their stick on the ice and voted for Clinton.

              I honestly don’t know why they were not only stupid then, but they’re stupid now. Stupid, stupid, stupid. They should have appreciated Clinton more! The fact that they didn’t shows that they were stupid.

              Now they just need to stop being stupid and get in line with the Democrats. The real ones. Not the pie in the sky ones.

              (I think it’s because they were all straight and white and they found Bernie less sexually threatening than Clinton was.)Report

              • gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

                Your Uber BernieBro performance art is indeed impressive.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

                Wanna see my impression of someone who gets upset when Hillary Clinton is criticized?Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Have fun with whatever stereotypes and strawmen you want to have at.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Greg, we’ve talked about this before: If people are actually saying the things that you’re pointing at? It’s not a strawman anymore. It’s a manman. You might want to say “Hey, that person isn’t representative of Bernie supporters!” in that case but you can no longer say “That’s a strawman of Bernie supporters!”

                Of course, if you read an attack on Bernie supporters that strikes you as relying rather heavily on some of the more extreme non-representative samples of Bernie supporters as if the non-representatives were examples of all of them, you might want to push back against that sort of thing… but you wouldn’t call it a “strawman”.

                Of course you might instead find yourself attacking the people pushing back against the above.

                I don’t know what you’d call that, though.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Except when it’s finding an anti-immigration person who’s racist as hell, right?

                Then it’s, “Oh keep insisting on pointing that out and you’ll be the reason Trump wins again.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                You’re scratching on one of the dynamics that I think is pretty unhealthy.

                Is it possible for a racist statement to also be a true statement?

                (Not “are racist statements and true statements co-extensive?”… that’s not what I’m asking.)

                (And if you want to swap out other words for “racist”, like “sexist” or whatever, that’s okay too.)

                So the question comes: Is it possible for a racist statement to also be a true statement?

                If not, no problem. We know that racism correlates with falsity. That’d be a relief, actually.

                If so, though, we’re then stuck in a place where we have to figure out whether the whole “true” thing is more important than the “racist” (or “sexist” or whatever) thing.

                And there’s a bunch of real jerks out there who think that “true” is going to be more important than conforming to social norms.

                I mean, assuming that it’s possible for a racist proposition to be true. It’d be really easy if such a thing wasn’t possible at all.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I dunno, man. Do you think it’s “true” to compare immigrants to pus?

                That doesn’t seem like a statement that can be determined to be true or false, except in the sense that as a metaphor, it isn’t literally true.

                But it certainly violates a norm, and I happen to think that norm is important. So fuck me, right?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I think that violation of norms is serious business.

                I mean, unless the norms are toxic. Then they ought to be violated.

                But if they’re not toxic, we should keep them and people who violate them should be, at a minimum, shamed.

                But that didn’t answer my question and veered toward the whole issue of “here’s a racist statement that is false, are you saying it’s true?” thing that I was hoping to avoid.

                Maybe we should just agree that propositions that are racist cannot, by definition, be true and maintain some amount of social cohesion for a bit. And we should shame people who disagree.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh, right, you’re the guy who scolded me for being close-minded for dismissing the proposition that I deserve to me murdered along with my family without adequate consideration.Report

              • pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

                Maybe, just maybe, you could stop treating Nazis like they’re decent people who are your buddies and part of your in-group, unlike Jews and Hillary supporters and the rest of us who are beneath your contempt.

                Unlike, you know, Nazis. Who are decent folks who raise some good points.Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy You’re going to need a pointer for that because I’m fairly certainly you either misunderstood Jay or you’re conflating him with someone.

                I could be wrong, but like I said, you need a pointer.

                Or to stop attacking him for giving harbor to Nazis.Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy So I went back and read that entire thread (which happened, ftr, during the time in which I felt that you were almost all so consistently on tilt that I was completely ignoring the comments because it wasn’t worth the energy to wade through them as a reader).

                I would conclude that you definitely weren’t conflating him and you definitely were misunderstanding him – then as well as now.

                So that’s helpful to me. Thank you.

                I can see why what he was saying back then, felt to you like that’s what he was doing, scolding you for not giving adequate consideration to people who literally would like to murder you. He and I actually had some knock-down drag out fights about several of his perspectives around the same time, mostly around the topic of him conflating “adhering to social norms” with “not being a jerk to individual people by being oblivious about how they feel when you say things to them,” and I get how incredibly frustrating it can be to try to figure out what he’s trying to say vs what he sure as hell seems to be saying.

                That said, there’s absolutely no way to have a civil discourse if you go to “OH YEAH YOU THINK” about stuff someone said a year ago that isn’t actually what they said.

                So if you can’t parse him/forgive him, I recommend you ignore him. Because I really don’t want to suspend you for calling someone a pal of Nazis because you honestly (though mistakenly) feel attacked and belittled and looked down on compared to Nazis, by that person … I really don’t. That would be shitty.

                But you’re on tilt right now and you’re making accusations that aren’t actually fair or justified. That’s not what he was doing or saying, then or now. He was doing a very crappy job of explaining himself back then, I will concede – not such a crappy one now.

                And I will suspend you if you don’t stop.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                OK, maybe I’ll just have to ignore him because frankly it looks like he’s still treating Hillary supporters with contempt—we’re completely irrational—while insisting that we consider that maybe racists are saying true things and we should be nicer to them because they might be telling the truth.

                The two on their own are kind of obnoxious. Taken together….Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:


                Yes, you should definitely ignore him then, and stop restating that he’s doing the thing I’ve already said you’re misunderstanding him and being uncivil by claiming he’s doing, which I do not agree that he is doing. (To be clear, I do not agree that he is doing *either* of those two things.)

                So quit.


              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                Then what is he doing?

                If even asking the question merits a suspension, so be it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to pillsy says:

                Asking the question doesn’t merit a suspension.

                Expecting me to explain him, when it’s transparent to me that what he’s doing is complex, obtuse, not necessarily accurate, and NOT what you’re saying he’s doing, is asking for more than I have capacity for, right now, though.

                FWIW if it was someone other than my husband you were responding to in this way, I would’ve suspended you a ways upthread.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou says:

                FWIW if it was someone other than my husband you were responding to in this way, I would’ve suspended you a ways upthread.

                I will endeavor to be (much) more charitable to him in the future, then, since I didn’t realize that you were giving me more slack with him in particular.

                Apologies to the both of you.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m not remembering this interaction but okay.Report

              • KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

                I forget, was the Against Murderism SSC post ever discussed here?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to KenB says:

                I don’t think that we have.

                It touches on a lot of things that we get hung up on over and over and over and ovReport

              • KenB in reply to Jaybird says:

                I showed it to my (liberal) wife and daughter a while back, and it made for an interesting discussion. But I guess this forum may not have a high enough “shared trust & respect” factor to really be productive.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:


                Thanks for putting words in my mouth, Mr. Dada.

                Yeah they kind of are dumb and lacking in historical thought considering how hard it was to pass the ACA and that was with a largely clear Democratic majority. You still had right-leaning Democrats going against the more “Medicare for All” aspects. And this was how many decades after the initial passing of Medicaid and Medicare. Universal Healthcare has been a progressive goal since the Truman administration if not before. The forces opposed to it in the United States are total and epic.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                It’s hard to believe that they’re so slow when it comes to shutting up and getting in line.

                Why don’t they trust the only grown-ups in the room?Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        This is where I ultimately land on it:

        The “rigging” that occurred, was not Clinton over Bernie. It was how Clinton vs Bernie became the main two choices in the first place. In that sense, it has a fair amount in common with the 2000 GOP primary. Except at least in 2000, there were more choices at the outset. (The fix was also in for Gore that year, of course. But at least Gore beat his opponent like a drum. Bush and especially H Clinton struggled more than they should have.)Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Po6: Trust is hard but the issue here is that all the burdens seem to be on the left and no one gives the “older, less educated” generations any sense of agency. They are almost absolved of all agency in their own beliefs.Report

    • It’s not on “the left”, it’s on “the establishment.” Prior to election day -when it was seen as a Republican problem – it was all about what the GOP should have done. Meanwhile, a pretty easy case could be made that Corbyn’s rise had a similar dynamic and the trust failure was made by those to his right. Or the rise of Syryza and the European economic establishment. The article focuses on rightward populism, which is a mistake, but the lessons are more general.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        Fairish but there are some interesting contradictions and/or tensions with the first link. Jeffrey Freidman’s essay expresses a belief that a lot of voters/citizens have very naive and unnuanced views of what government can and should do. Also why politicians vote the way they do. Note this in his take-down of voters who claim politicians are in the pockets of “special interests.”

        The world is a complicated place and lots of people seem to have knight-in-shining armor views of politicians. I called this Messiahism on Linky Friday.

        The problem with number 1 is that even in a more homogeneous society is that something might or might not be a “problem” that needs “solving” based on ideology. We are relatively homogeneous at OT but have lots of disagreements on what or what is not a “problem” that needs “solving.” PO6 seems to indicate that the populist backlashes are defacto legitimate in their grievances and resentments. I am not sure that is true.Report

        • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          To give you a response that probably validates just about all of that comment (not least about the community here) I think it might depend on how broadly we define ‘legitimate.’Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      One can argue that the burden is on the Left because the Left represents Outsiders and Outsiders that want welcome and acceptance from the Insiders are generally the ones who have to do the hard work convincing Insiders to let them in. Thats how it works socially and I’m not sure why politically is different. LGBT rights took a giant leap forward when it moved from destroy heteronormative patriarchy to can we join your gang. The Civil Rights movement and feminism also had elements of convincing White America or men of letting them into the Insider’s club in addition to fighting for change.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    Po1: There is a legitimacy crisis but in the United States a big part of that legitimacy crisis was caused by decades of cultivating the idea that government is always the problem and has no role in providing solutions to the challenges a country faces. The hope was that it would lead to minimal government free market utopia. The actual result is that people still look to government to solve common solutions but don’t trust it either.

    Po3: Both of them seem to be dubious people unfit for political office or really anything else.

    Po4: There is actually a decently long tradition of the more aggressively masculine gay men being active in Far Right politics because of the sheer masculinity involved in a lot of Far Right politics. Some of the early Nazis, who ended up dead during the Night of the Long Knives, were gay. Gay men were also prominent in founding the modern Far Right parties in Continental Europe. The idea that all LGBT people are liberal or leftist is an Anglophone one and has to do more with how the Right in Anglophone countries was more hostile to LGBT rights than the Right in other developed nations.

    Po5: Be more cynical. She is trying to sell something.

    Po2 and Po6 seem to be in conflict. Po2 clearly shows that having a target to hate has some good political effects when it comes to clear heading thinking. Po6 shows that hating your political enemies isn’t really that effective in getting them to change. I do agree with Po6 though. One big problem with current liberal or leftist politics is that it doesn’t really afford anybody or any group not deemed oppressed an opportunity to be good but only less evil. If you tell people that even if they do the right thing or the right reasons that they are going to be evil, most are going to choose to do something that makes themselves better off.

    Po9: This is true but people like the idea of sovereignty. If you want them to give up that sovereignty in favor of free trade and free movement of peoples then your going to have to offer something tangible in return. You have to convince people that free trade and free movements of peoples is a good thing rather than impose it from above.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Po1 – This would carry more weight if the legitimacy crisis were strictly an American phenomenon.

      Po5 – Yeah, I agree with this. I wrote that before subsequent revelations that cast some doubt on the original story. I’m still really surprised Brazile would burn that bridge. She has no future in a Sandersian party, and has alienated her own tribe.Report

  6. Will Truman says:


  7. Jaybird says:

    So there’s an election in Virginia on Tuesday, apparently.

    The campaign itself was rancorous. There was an ad from the Democrat running that had a truck with a Confederate flag trying to run over non-white children (including a presumably Muslim girl in Hijab). (This ad got taken down after the (PLEASE NOTE USE OF THE PASSIVE VOICE) truck attack in New York.)

    Anyway, there’s an Upshot poll that is worth looking at.There are two ways to spin it:

    1. Hey! The Democrat is winning in the poll! 43% to 40%! They should be able to ride a three point lead to victory!
    2. What in the hell do you mean that there’s 17% undecided? There is never 17% undecided. There’s, like, 3% undecided. That means that 14% were lying to the pollsters. Why in the hell would 14% of people lie to pollsters?Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      Also, look at the history of the race… Northam started +12 on a referendum on Trump and Trump has Trumped all the live long day to a dead heat.

      What really strikes me is that neither candidate gives a rat’s ass about anyone on the other side… it’s pure: vote for me because you must. I suppose all the analysts driving the strategies are looking a data that mirrors the Po0 graphic above and doing what seems logical… but if Northam loses whoever is running the Democratic Big Data initiative needs to be eased out because they aren’t asking the right questions.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Hold your breath.

        Looks like Tuesday is going to be the most important election of our lifetimes.Report

        • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

          Living in the media market where this is going on has been quite interesting. Most brutal and cynical advertisements I can recall seeing. The big one right now ties Northams votes on restoration of rights to felons to a guy who got caught with a huge amount of kiddie porn.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            What’s your feel of the election from just walking around and talking to people?Report

            • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

              Honestly? Utter desperation by team blue activists and a weird ambivalence elsewhere. House money is probably right to favor Northam but you get the feeling even a rainy day or something could give Gillespie the upset. Northam had to see off a primary challenger to his left that resulted in him seeming a little… off to me. There was a widely circulated one where he said ‘Donald Trump is a narcissistic maniac!’ that maybe played well with the base but I think seemed patronizing to everyone else.

              Caveat is I’m north of the Potomac and my contact with Virginians is primarily with the very blue DC suburbs. This will be decided a bit further out and probably in the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

            And immigration via Sanctuary Cities… which struck me as exactly the sort of nonsense that could be safely ignored by Northam (given Gillespie’s over the top MI-13 Ads)… until Northam flipped his position.

            I guess the polling is showing that position A is better than position B… but that’s sort of my point… he’s already voted to prevent legislation banning SancCities… so who or what is he appealing to by saying that he’s now not opposed to a ban. [Theres a double negative because there are no sancutary cities in VA – so he’s not coming out in favor of something, he’s coming out in favor of not being against something] Just to be clear, what’s weird is that he’s getting nothing for flipping his opinion… opprobrium from his team and indifference from the other team.

            Neither side has put forward any “plan” for VA, it’s pure signalling and tribalism. Oh how I long for the days of CarTax repeal.Report

            • InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

              It makes an outrageously cynical sense when you consider that the Democratic party has completely lost its bearings on the immigration issue. The primary forced national issues into the conversation and Northam wasn’t ready. The fact that they let that LVF ad get on the air is baffling to me.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    Rand Paul wanted to be so prepared for the end of Daylight Savings Time, he got his clock cleaned.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Kolohe says:

      Do we know yet if it was about mowing the neighbor’s flowers or politics?

      I hope it’s about petunias.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        “Oh my god! I didn’t know he was a senator! RIP my mentions!”Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          I give it 2-1 odds that there is a dalliance at the bottom of it all.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Bail for the attacker was set at $5k.

            That strikes me as exceptionally low for attacking a senator but in the right ballpark for attacking a guy who has been involved in a dalliance.

            But what do I know?Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

              It also seems right for when a well off white guy is a defendant.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                Well, the attacker’s lawyer has released a statement.

                “It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”

                Given that wording… well, it might be a dalliance. It might be petunias.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m betting petunias; I’m hoping petunias because if we’re downgrading dalliance with another man’s wife to petunias, then that’s worse.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                If it actually were a dalliance and everybody involved wished the public story to be petunias, I would support them in that.

                (But we’d know what really happened, wouldn’t we?)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I’m hoping petunias because if we’re downgrading dalliance with another man’s wife…

                A downgraded dalliance doesn’t have to be between a man and woman, acourse. Just sayin.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:


                Seriously, ten to one says it was over something like “not shutting your barking dog up” or “your tree limbs are over my property” or something else of the “Good fences make good neighbors” variety.

                Whatever it was, it was a long standing grudge over something. A tree straddles the property line, someone’s fence is two inches too far out, someone had ugly siding….

                If Paul had boned the dude’s wife, they’d admit that. It’s not like the guy’s going to get off on his assault charge, so the last FU he could give to Paul would be to point out that the respected Congressman can’t keep it in his pants. (Plus, generates sympathy for a guy suddenly stuck in the news because the guy boning his wife is in Congress).Report

              • pillsy in reply to Morat20 says:

                My guess is it’s something petty and disreputable [1] enough that it would be embarrassing for both of them if it came out.

                “I kicked seven shades of shit out of him because he kept stealing my newspaper,” is a story that paints neither assailant nor victim in a flattering light.

                [1] Though of course many people would be aghast at the thought of publicizing a spouse’s infidelity, for a range of reasons.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, if the attacker’s lawyer says it’s minor…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

                So I wondered if Paul’s lawyer said something similar in response. So I got on the google and looked.

                Found this in the NYT:

                Doug Stafford, a senior strategist to Mr. Paul, declined to answer questions about the dispute on Monday. He said only that it was “a pending, serious criminal matter involving state and federal authorities.”

                So there does not seem to be accord.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s funny. If a victim’s and a suspect’s lawyers give different statements, I’d think that one of them is true. But if they both said the same thing, I’d assume it was a lie.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

                This is a good comment.

                I just screenshotted this and tweeted it.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Given he broke 5 of Paul’s ribs, it was either an affair or some long-standing property grudge. (You know, someone doesn’t mow their lawn enough, or their tree limbs are on the wrong side of the property line, etc. Seriously, I’ve seen years of quiet resentment turn into a fight over a freaking shrub.).

            You don’t tackle your neighbor without either some serious immediate beef, or a long standing problem.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20 says:

              It was a dispute over the uncompensated externalities of an unpruned tree, versus strong property rights and sovereignty of a rational agent.


              • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Apparently my snark-fu was overtaken by reality:

                “They just couldn’t get along. I think it had very little to do with Democrat or Republican politics,” said Jim Skaggs, who developed the gated community and who lives nearby. “I think it was a neighbor-to-neighbor thing. They just both had strong opinions, and a little different ones about what property rights mean.”

                Asked about long-leveled allegations that Mr. Paul had disregarded neighborhood regulations, Mr. Skaggs, who is also a former leader of the county Republican Party, said that the senator “certainly believes in stronger property rights than exist in America.”…


  9. Jaybird says:

    Apparently there was either a plane or a helicopter carrying 8 Saudi officials (including Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin) that crashed earlier today.

    Given the coup going on in Saudi (including the arrest of the biggest investor of Twitter), there’s a lot of weird stuff happening over there. Like, we’re getting ready for a new balance of power in the Middle East kinda “weird stuff happening”.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Don’t forget the Yemen missile shot down near Riyadh. Or the timing of Kushner’s “secret” meeting in SA last week.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

        Hmmn, can’t shake the feeling that we’re grooming a more dedicated proxy against Iran; I doubt this ends well.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

          imo, that gets the casuality backwards. The Saudis and the Iranians have never been friends, but now the Saudis now have someone in the White House that will back them up even when they (the Saudis) are the ones looking to pick a fight.

          (which is saying something given the state of Saudi – US and Iranian – US relations over the past 35 plus years)Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Kolohe says:

            I don’t think so; I’m tying it to Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) evolution; my uninitiated guess is that he’s buying what we’re selling in ways that the elder Saud clan didn’t.

            On the one hand, we agree that it’s US blood and materiel he’s banking on and surely the Trump foolhardiness is in full display… but the Saudi’s were always more realistic about what war with Iran would entail. {edit, just noticed there is no other hand… let that be a lesson}

            Possibly MBS is thinking he’ll take care of Yemen and Qatar and then prevaricate over Iran and leave his US handlers with no actual benefits for the US – just like the past 50 years.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

              MBS has been MoD for over 2 years – the Saudi incursion into Yemen started on his watch (while Obama was still Potus) and has been a quagmire when it hasn’t been a s**t show.

              Nontheless MBS has not only not been fired (which tbf it’s hard to fire your kid) but, has been promoted to heir apparent – and the big leadership shakeup happened after Trump took office (and after The Orb)

              Also, MBS is a millenial, and you know how they are. (But really, I do kinda expect the 30 something year old dude to *not* be ‘realistic’ as most of his predecessors)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                Abdul Aziz is confirmed dead. He was 44 years old. Earlier, Mansour son of the former crown prince Muqrin was also declared dead.— Ali H. Soufan (@Ali_H_Soufan) November 5, 2017

                They don’t mess around.

                Someone online said that this reminded them of all of the various princes who happened to die in automobile accidents in the months following 9/11.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Declared dead, and then he was. Effect and cause.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                “You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden — you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that? Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible.”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I’m keeping an eye on r/Qatar and r/SaudiArabia.

          The former has nothing really, but the latter has a couple of interesting threads.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        About that missile

        “Iran’s role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally. Therefore, the coalition’s command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    There was a shooting at a church in Texas this morning, but they haven’t released information about the gunman yet.

    The shooting appears to be in the process of being politicized, for what that’s worth.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Not sure if you’re being snarky yet but what I’ve seen (all via CNN), there’s been no politicization.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Oh, there is on twitter. Thoughts, prayers, and assorted criticisms of them.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m not on Twitter.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Reading the CNN timeline, it seems possible (and police are investigating) if the shooter was killed by a local resident who pursued him when he fled.

          This may be a “good guy with a gun”. But chasing someone fleeing — even a mass murderer — will make for an interesting situation. If that’s indeed what happened.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy says:

            This may be a “good guy with a gun”.

            In the smaller shooting incident in Thornton, CO this week (three killed), police said that it took them much longer to identify the shooting suspect from the security camera footage because of the number of people at the Walmart who were carrying and drew their guns.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

              That sounds like a load of crap. It may have taken them a while to rule out a second shooter, but eyewitness reports should have told them which camera to look at to ID the shooter.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

            From what I heard this morning, by the time the police arrived to catch the shooter, he was quite dead, so it appears that the local resident had good aim.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


              I’m now seeing it reported that the local resident did shoot him, but he ultimately died of a self-inflicted wound.

              It just brings up lots of questions…

              To me, it is one thing for an armed individual to respond to an ongoing threat. It feels like another for them to pursue someone they believe to be disarmed* and continue engaging them with firearms. Do we want non-LEOs engaging in pursuit of people — even monstrous people — and shooting at them? My hunch is that we don’t for a host of reasons. So what do we do now? And what if the fatal shot was indeed fired by the local guy and not the suspect himself.

              And how certain are we that we’ll get the truth? If killing the guy would put the local resident at any sort of legal risk, would we put it past the cops to say, “Nope, self-inflicted,” to protect the guy… an understandable urge?

              * The local resident somehow caused him to drop his weapon, though more were found in the car according to reports.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Was he shooting at the suspect from the car, or following at a distance while talking to 911? One is reasonable, the other, not so much (unless he was being fired upon, but shooting from a moving car is hard, and doing it while driving is even harder).

                Also, getting shot with a rifle is traumatic, most folks will drop what is in their hands. This is why the military uses retention slings.

                Finally, this is TX, it would have to be a very strange set of circumstances that would put the citizen at legal risk such that the police would be willing to cover for him. And you’ll have the FBI all over this, which will make the kind of covering that you suggest even harder (medical examiners won’t lie on an official report just because).Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Wouldn’t you consider him an ongoing threat?

                If he left the scene drove one town over and shot-up a mall would we be pleased no one gave chase?

                Presumably the civilian pursuer would stand-down at the earliest possible moment that authorities arrived (if only out of fear of being shot in a hot situation)… but I wouldn’t fault the principle of giving chase.

                Possibly I’m foolishly out in front of some details about the civilian interfering with the police on the scene, but CNN is reporting that the police don’t arrive until 5 min after the shooter lost control and crashed.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

                @marchmaine and @oscar-gordon

                First, let me be clear and say that I am not criticizing this fellow at all.

                What I’m wondering is…

                A) What the laws are. Could this guy face any criminal penalties for pursuing a fleeing suspect/criminal (I’m not trying to mince words here… I really don’t know what the appropriate term is) and shooting at him?

                B) What we want the laws to be. I imagine the potential for situations to be made gravely worse by non-LEOs pursuing fleeing suspects/criminals and shooting at him. I’m not saying that happened here. But I would venture to guess it is a behavior we want to discourage. Which may mean instituting penalties… even if things don’t get worse. But maybe only if they do? That isn’t necessarily how deterrents and incentives work though.

                So, I recognize that there is much we don’t know about this situation so I’m reserving any judgement. Rather, I’m speculating how we might want to respond if certain hypotheticals were true, included among them if the local resident shot this guy after an extended chase and when the guy no longer posed any threat. Where is the line between self-defense and murder? This would seem to take us in the direction of “castle doctrines” and SYG laws.

                And it is made all the more complicated by the heinous nature of the crimes committed by the suspect/criminal.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                I gotcha… I don’t know the legal answers… I’d assume that if they killed 3 other civilians chasing this guy like a modern day Yosemite Sam they wouldn’t be immune.

                This CNN interview with the (unarmed) driver of the truck is kinda interesting… unless there are some new details that come out, I’m actually a little surprised at the restraint.

                {And how lucky is that to have Walton Goggins on hand for the chase}Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine says:

                So reading the CNN link, no shooting happened during the chase, only prior to it. So that is a moot point. Citizens pursue people suspected of a crime all the time while talking to police.

                As for shooting the suspect prior to the car chase, it might depend somewhat on circumstances, but unless there is clear and convincing proof that the citizen could not have known the shooter just shot up a church, and then the citizen shot the suspect without warning or provocation, chances are he is on solid ground.

                If he had shot the guy after he had wrecked, without some kind of provocation (like he pulled out another gun and began shooting at the two men in the truck), then we’d be in different territory and his use of force at that point would be very questionable.

                Whether or not a Texas Grand Jury would return a True Bill against him, however, is a whole other question.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The situation as you describe it does not put this in the questionable territory for me. He witnessed the shooting, engaged (and disarmed) the shooter, and trailed him without further engagement. If that is indeed the case, fit him for a medal.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                If our hero went into the church, and it was a gun-free zone, then wasn’t he breaking gun law(s)?

                Does anyone know if there are exceptions for this sort of situation?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Churches are not gun free by regulation. So at best it would be trespassing, if the pastor decided to press the issue.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I haven’t seen any reports he entered the church.Report

        • fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

          yeah, I had to go through another round of muting. Just RTs in some cases, in other cases, wholesale muting of the person.

          I swear we’re about two more of these away from me saying “fish Twitter” and deleting my account even though I have several close friends I stay in contact with on there. Or maybe unfollow everyone but my friends, and even then mute their RTs. I don’t know.

          People have lost their ever-loving minds.Report

        • Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird says:

          I think we just need some ground rules on when it’s OK to politicize a mass shooting. I propose that once the next mass shooting happens, you can politicize the previous one, provided the next mass shooting happens a minimum of one week later.

          Votes in favor?Report

          • Personally, I think that the whole “if you had only listened to me!” response to any given tragedy is a fairly predictable response to any given tragedy that is covered by one’s preferred political policies and the whole “How Dare You?” response from people whose preferred political policies might not cover any given tragedy is a way to change the subject to more favorable ground.

            Whether it be a discussion of a gun attack or a truck attack.

            Discussing what would be necessary to prevent tragedies is important.

            “We need Policy X!”

            At this point we can ask things like “What would Policy X cost?” and “Who would have the greatest negative non-monetary costs to Policy X?” and maybe even “Would Policy X even work?”

            And then, once we have those answers, we can play the fun game of deciding if we’d rather suck it up and keep putting up with the status quo or suck it up and pay the price of Policy X (easier when other people have the greatest negative non-monetary costs).

            Or, I suppose, implement someone else’s Policy Y. (But we need to ask those questions about Policy Y too!)

            I think that politicizing tragedies is part of addressing tragedies. The problem comes when someone looks at yet another tragedy and then fails to deal with the questions like “would my policy work?” but jumping immediately to “if you’d prefer the status quo to paying the price for my policy, you’re Evil-with-a-Capital-E!”Report

            • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

              But only when those people are liberals who want to ban guns.

              If it’s Trump wanting to ban immigrants, it’s totally great, right?Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              Since it’s pertinent, I’ll relink this post from Allauhpundit re: conservative support of gun regulation: Poll: Strong Majorities Of Republicans Support Various Gun-Control Measures, Including Banning Bump Stocks

              I think it supports the hypothesis that the NRA drives the agenda here, certainly not liberals, even in conjunction with those 50% or so of conservative voters. Note the last sentence:

              The NRA’s willing to have the ATF reclassify bump stocks as automatic weapons, effectively banning them, but it doesn’t want a Republican Congress to get comfortable with passing new gun-control regulations. I guess that’s that.


            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’ve noticed a strange effect I hadn’t anticipated, with mass shootings and terror attacks merging together in the public mind.

              That is, I don’t see a lot of non-political type of people separating a truck attack by a Muslim fanatic from a gun attack by a white man, and demanding different policy responses.

              Instead, what it looks like from my perspective is that America is becoming more like Israel, or Britain during the Troubles, where occasional attacks are just accepted as part of the world we live in.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I anticipated that it would eventually get lumped together. When both the left and right escalate into authoritarianism, ‘terror’ stuff isn’t parsed in a fine granular manner.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                As compromises go…

                I wonder if there would be a trade possible with Even More Extreeeeeeme! Vetting applied to both immigration and weapon purchases.

                “But we already do enough background checking!”
                “Okay. No trade then.”
                “But I want my preferred policy preference!”
                “Okay, would you accept even more extreme vetting?”
                “You’re just communicating ignorance of how much vetting happens already!”
                “Okay. No trade then.”
                (And continue forever.)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Your political calculus based on a Two Sides Horse Trade logic doesn’t conform the policy commitments Each Side holds, tho. Look at the Allahpundit link again: 80% of conservatives support universal background checks. That constituency already *wants* more extreme vetting of gun purchasers.

                Your basically saying that the horse trade, for conservatives, is “We’ll give you what we already want if you give us what you don’t want”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Your basically saying that the horse trade, for conservatives, is “We’ll give you what we already want if you give us what you don’t want”.

                The trade only works if it hurts?

                I don’t know how to deal with that, then.

                Maybe the Democrats can win the house in 2018 and pass the Bump Stock law, get it through the Senate (that they’d have to also win) and get someone in the White House in 2020 to sign it?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird Dial down the snark.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                No, I’m saying you’ve misdescribed the politics because you’re misdescribing the underlying policy commitments each side holds. Maribou is exactly right below regarding the disproportionate degree of vetting in each case. But regarding the politics, conservatives *already want* the thing you’re saying they don’t want. Which means you’re not describing the problem correctly, hence your solution (horse-trade politics!) is also incorrect.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                If this is something that a representative could vote for without getting primaried, then I’d agree that it counts as something that conservatives want.

                Could a conservative vote for the Gun Stock Ban Law without getting primaried?

                If so… well, this seems like a law that would be easy to introduce, easy to vote for, and easy to sign.

                So easy that I’m surprised we haven’t done it.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Politics is hard, Jaybird. That’s true. Is that what you’re saying? I think everyone agrees. But divorcing politics from policy – as you’re doing now – makes it even harder.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird The problem is that the amount of vetting is already extremely disproportionate.

                As the spouse of an immigrant I’d think you’d be quite aware of that disproportion.

                I personally, as an immigrant, am already at my tolerable limit of vetting, and I say that even as I am aware of how much less vetting I get than people from some other places / skin colors than mine.

                I’d be ok with gun purchases and immigration receiving the SAME vetting… but I doubt that would fly with anybody other than hippy pinkos like myself, and open-border libertarians, because immigrants would get much less vetting than they do now and gun owners much more.

                Then again if the polls are reliable, maybe everybody would be pretty happy with that solution except for certain powerful lobby groups. Paging Lawrence Lessig…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Dude, and you got vetted *BEFORE* 9/11.

                That said, we’re in a place where we (as a society!) are suffering increasing amounts of attacks that “the other side” sees as an acceptable tradeoff for living in their idea of a better society.

                So then what?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird I still get vetted regularly, dear. The vetting didn’t stop with my green card getting issued. I don’t think you fully let yourself understand the level of intrusion I am willing to endure for the sake of being married to you and not having to leave all our friends/family here.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:


                Wait… are attacks increasing? If so, which? By what metric?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Wait… are attacks increasing? If so, which? By what metric?

                Feelings, media exposure.

                I don’t know what the hard numbers are, of course. I don’t think it matters what the hard numbers are.

                From what I understand, crime is going down down down down across the board. But coverage of the crimes that remain allows for a level of granularity and immediacy that higher levels don’t allow for.

                I suppose that there are a handful of solutions to that particular problem that involve changing how things are covered by the media… but, at this point, that sort of thing is crazy talk.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m not the one who said… “That said, we’re in a place where we (as a society!) are suffering increasing amounts of attacks…”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, let’s find some data.

                Here’s the wikipedia page for “Mass Shootings in the United States by Year“.

                So let’s look at the number of pages for the last dozen years.

                2006: 5
                2007: 6
                2008: 7
                2009: 8
                2010: 5
                2011: 8
                2012: 12
                2013: 6
                2014: 5
                2015: 10
                2016: 16
                2017: 16

                That chart seems to have an upward curve, at least it seems to me that it does. Do we have any data people who can take the numbers and turn them into something meaningful? (Of interest might be that 2000-2005 are all numbers of 3 or less. Fewer? Numbers that get no larger than 3.)

                As for terrorist attacks on American soil, here’s wikipedia’s page for that.

                Just eyeballing that page, it looks like things didn’t really start rolling until the 70’s.

                But, and I’m just eyeballing here, here are the numbers from the last dozen years:

                2006: 3
                2007: 1
                2008: 4
                2009: 7
                2010: 9
                2011: 1
                2012: 1
                2013: 5
                2014: 9
                2015: 7
                2016: 8
                2017: 4

                I don’t know if yesterday’s shooting moves 2017 from 4 to 5, yet.

                Do we have any data people who can say whether that line is going up or down?Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

                It could be a trend, it could be contagious:

                But according to a 2015 paper out of Arizona State University, “Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings,” there is some data that mass shootings often occur in bunches, suggesting that they “infect” new potential murderers, not unlike a disease. “We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past,” the authors wrote. Suicide and terrorism, too, have been found to be similarly contagious. (Interestingly, the authors found “no significant association” between the rate of school and mass shootings and the state’s prevalence of mental illness.)

                Of course some terrorists engage the demonstration hoping to inspire imitators.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                We must also account for which of those lend themselves to which side’s preferred policy proposals.

                I venture to guess that gun control advocates who would hold up each and any of those shootings and say, “This… this is why we need gun control.”

                Looking at the terrorist attacks… let’s focus on 2017… I see one that would lend itself to discussion of immigration policy (the NY attack). Quick perusing of other years leads me to say, “Some not all…” And that is without controlling for the attackers who weren’t actually immigrants but can conveniently be looked at as… unAmerican.

                Which means we have a definite uptick in the types of attacks that at least justify the calls for “VET THE GUN PEOPLE!” and… maybe an uptick, maybe not in the types of attacks that at least justify the calls for “VET THE IMMIGRANTS!”

                Then we can look at how those vetting processes already look.

                But, sure, keep BSDIing it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m sure you remember London mayor Sadiq Khan saying that the threat of terror attacks are part and parcel of living in a great global city and how you’ve got to be prepared for such thing and you have to support the police.

                This, of course, was twisted out of context into how he must have been saying “hey, terror attacks are part and parcel of living in a big city” and he wasn’t saying that.

                But one does wonder if there is an acceptable level of violence.

                And whether we can say that the level of violence caused by “radical” extremists is below this acceptable level and the level caused by “well, let’s not call them *RADICAL*” extremists is way above.

                Can we?Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird I don’t mean this as anything other than a flat statement, but a) *at this point* (not previously), I am personally having trouble following an argument that you are making other than trying to irritate people even though I am certain that you are making one. and b) if you are late picking me up because of your efforts at continuing the argument referred to in a), I will be Very Grumpy.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Leaving now, Sweetie.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                That isn’t the calculus.

                On one hand, you have the tension between a looser immigration policy and the potential that those who immigrate here may cause harm. Some will argue, “ANY HARM IS TOO MUCH HARM! KEEP THEM OUT!” Others will say, “The harm is unfortunate but a greater harm would be keeping them out.

                On the other, you have the tension between looser gun control and the potential of harm caused by guns. Some will argue, “ANY HARM IS TOO MUCH HARM! NO GUNS!” Others will say, “The harm is unfortunate but a greater harm would be banning guns.”

                The problem is… the harm caused by guns seems demonstrably higher AND we already have stricter immigration controls than we have gun control.

                So your proposal is that we take immigration vetting from, let’s say a 7 to a 9 so we can take the number of immigrant-caused terrorist deaths down from 6 to 0 in exchange for taking gun control from, say, a 3 to a 5 to make a dent in the 30K+ gun deaths every year.

                Surely you can see why that proposal is not what you claim it to be.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

              The issue isn’t the policy specifics.

              It is that attempts to discuss guns after a shooting draw, “TOO SOON!” and “YOU’RE POLITICIZING A TRAGEDY!”

              Discussing immigration after a truck attack do not draw nearly as strong, loud, or widespread opposition in that form.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Is this one of those things where I could post links to CBS, Salon, Newsweek, and CNN but it wouldn’t matter because demonstrating equal opposition to politicization following a (note the use of the passive voice) truck attack is something that isn’t possible even in theory?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Sorry, which of those authors took a “TOO SOON! HOW DARE YOU!?!?!?!” approach?

                Also, why [do you keep – rephrased by Maribou for unnecessary inflammatory language directed at another commenter] pointing out you are using the passive voice when I’m actually not even sure that you are…?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Oh, I’m sorry. I see now that you were asking for “TOO SOON!” and “YOU’RE POLITICIZING A TRAGEDY!” and not “TOO SOON!” or “YOU’RE POLITICIZING A TRAGEDY!”

                You’re right. I was only able to find “YOU’RE POLITICIZING A TRAGEDY!”

                So I guess you’re right. I couldn’t find any examples of what you were asking for.

                Also, why this repeated silliness by pointing out you are using the passive voice when I’m actually not even sure that you are…?

                I’m saying that it was a “truck” attack and not an “ISIS-affiliated attack”. Blaming the truck is passive. Implying a motive on the part of the driver is active.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you read those articles, you’ll see that they’re pointing out the hypocricisy of the claims of politicizing, not necessarily decrying politicizing.

                And, yes, I see I was right to call it silliness.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy says:

                I have a better idea.
                Lets discuss the next mass shooting, the one that hasn’t happened yet but surely will.

                We know it will be a man, almost certainly white. He will be a troubled loner with a history of broken relationships and abuse both given and taken.

                But he will pass through society unnoticed and unremarked upon, like a phantom leaving nothing behind but the eerie sense of chill reported by his neighbors and acquaintances.

                Although a loner, he will have flirted with radical politics or religion or ideas, drawn to them like they were his own Carole Ann from Poltergeist, but ultimately he will spurn them all for reasons of his own.

                So what can America do about this legion of walking wounded?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                For what it’s worth, Slate did an article where they looked at the numbers and they found out that mass shooters aren’t disproportionately white.

                They will be overwhelmingly likely to be male, though.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

            Let the market decide – in this case, the marketplace of ideas. The immediate politicization of shootings has consistently resulted in so much backlash that new gun regulations are impossible.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

              Note the poll I linked to above. Given that conservative voters support several types of gun regulation I don’t know where this idea of “politicization” comes from *other than* as a product of the NRA and dead-end 2Aers who oppose any regulation whatsoever.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                Wouldn’t count on a continuing relation between the NRA and die-hard 2Aers. Eventually their self interests will part ways.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                On that issue, the Castile case seems important.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:


              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                That poll and similar ones suggest that something is keeping the country from implementing gun control policies. You suspect it’s the oversized influence of pro-gun lobbyists, but I’m suggesting that it’s the backlash against anti-gun politicization. As for where the idea of politicization comes from, I think if you look around at reactions to mass shootings, you’ll see it.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Pinky says:

                I think those two things are basically two sides of the same coin. The thing that makes the gun lobby so powerful is that it has probably the largest number of single-issue voters. Guns and abortion are the only two topics that I can think of that have a big critical mass of people who would vote for a guy who promised immediate nuclear war with Russia as long as he promised to go their way on one of those issues.

                And while the abortion issue has a good balance of single issue voters on both sides, the pro-gun single issue voters hugely outnumber the anti-gun ones, so the issue isn’t likely to move.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Given that conservative voters support several types of gun regulation I don’t know where this idea of “politicization” comes from *other than* as a product of the NRA and dead-end 2Aers who oppose any regulation whatsoever.

                Not so much “any regulation whatsoever” as much “why Russia needs land”.

                It’s reasonably clear these regulations are NOT going to stop the mass murders, and occasionally the NRA will need to give ground. So they need ground they can reasonably give without losing the entire game.

                Because if they allow all the “reasonable” regulations to be passed, then sooner or later they’ll have to give ground on the unreasonable regulations.Report

            • Troublesome Frog in reply to Pinky says:

              Well, I suppose the good news for the NRA is that the rate of mass shootings has reached an “escape velocity” that guarantees that there will always be one in the news fresh enough to make discussion inappropriate.

              It would be good if there was a way to say, “No, I’m just politicizing the ones from six months ago. The current one–well that one’s totally special and unique and we just don’t have enough information / haven’t had enough time to process our shock. Let’s just talk about the ones from six months ago.”Report

              • pillsy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                All my policy preferences aside [1], at a certain point acting as if we should all be shocked into politically circumspect silence by each occurrence of something that happens every month or so is bizarre.

                [1] To be clear, even though I fucking loathe the NRA, I agree with them about gun control a lot more than I agree with most of my fellows on the Left.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to pillsy says:

                I’m pretty much with you. My own position is that it’s clear that deep and aggressive firearms regulation would reduce gun deaths substantially, but that type of regulation is deeper and more aggressive than Americans will accept. The types of regulations we could realistically pass seem mostly red tape for its own sake (or worse, just designed to piss off gun owners because of culture wars BS), so here we are, and here we will be for the foreseeable future.

                I even think the Democrats should just drop the issue, given that it’s a political loser and a stupid hill to die on given that they’ll have minimal practical effect. They should spend their political capital doing something more likely to yield results and take away the Republicans’ monopoly on the rabid single-issue voters.

                I’m just deeply annoyed at the idea that something that happens every few weeks should shock us so deeply that we couldn’t possibly talk about it without disrespecting the dead or the troops or some nonsense. We should be numb enough to this issue that we’re discussing it like deaths from smoking or nudging the speed limit up on a highway somewhere. It’s just part of the background noise of policy making.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                My own position is that it’s clear that deep and aggressive firearms regulation would reduce gun deaths substantially, but that type of regulation is deeper and more aggressive than Americans will accept.

                Realistically, after such a change, I think suicides find a way to do their thing without a gun, ditto mass murderers, and the big winners would be drug dealers and inner city youth who copy them.

                It’s asking a lot of me to give up my rights for that segment of society. I can reasonably think I’d be a lot less safe in that setup than I am now.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This indicates you haven’t read much of the research on suicide and the impact of guns.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy Don’t say stuff like that, please. Like, say, “what about the following research on suicide and the impact of guns?” or even “what about the considerable literature that proves yadayadayada about suicide and the impact of guns?”

                Or even “It’s hard for me to believe you can hold a position like that given the incredible amount of research on suicide and the impact of guns.”

                But telling people they hold the position that they do because they haven’t read something is just… unnecessarily inflamed. And that’s more of a problem on incredibly inflaming topics, not less of one.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

                I didn’t say he holds it because of that. I said his position *indicates* he hasn’t read much of it.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy There’s no material difference between those two things in this instance.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                This indicates you haven’t read much of the research on suicide and the impact of guns.

                When I look at the suicide rates around the world, the US is about average and there are countries with MUCH higher suicide rates which also have no guns.



                I think in suicide we deeply enter the world of symbols and the gun works really well as a symbol of death… which is going to explain the various research you could source. But at best the suicide rate would drop for a while, but we’d get a different symbol and everyone would move on.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Exactly my point.

                Many, many, many people who attempt suicide but survive never attempt it again. These aren’t “cry for help” folks but folks who made sincere attempts on their life and were fortunate to survive. And they never tried again.

                The effectiveness rate for suicide by gun is very high. If these folks couldn’t get guns into their hand, they’d likely try through other means. Less effective means. Some of them would survive the attempt and never try again. They’d be alive.

                So, yes, if you think that the suicide rate wouldn’t be impacted by gun control, you haven’t read this research.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                The effectiveness rate for suicide by gun is very high. If these folks couldn’t get guns into their hand, they’d likely try through other means. Less effective means. Some of them would survive the attempt and never try again. They’d be alive. So, yes, if you think that the suicide rate wouldn’t be impacted by gun control, you haven’t read this research.

                The gun works. Jumping from high places also works. I can think of a few others which are pretty darn effective… enough such that the number of “survivors” would presumably be small. We have roughly 21k gun suicides but we have roughly 44k total suicides.

                Hmm… assuming the number of attempts stays constant, replacing gun with something only 90% as effective would save 2k people a year. Not nothing, but not a lot… and I can think of methods which are more than 90% effective.

                IMHO the big winners would still be in the inner city.

                …And I greatly like the idea that I could be armed with a month’s notice.Report

              • greginak in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It’s not true that if people don’t have guns they will find another method of suicide. There is research on this. Guns, given their symbolic value, ease of use, ubiquity, relative certainty over other methods and instant effect act as a multiplier for suicide. Suicidal people very often have one chosen method they want to use. If they don’t’ have that method they won’t try to suicide. It is suicide prevention 101 for mental health workers to get guns out of the home of a suicidal person and/or get rid of the method they say they will use.Report

              • Maribou in reply to greginak says:

                @greginak I’m curious and I think you might know. Also I tried googling and was awash in stats that were… shall we say poorly sourced, whereas I trust your knowledge on its face.

                Roughly what percentage of completed suicides (not attempts) are preceded by communicating that the person is considering suicide, previous known suicidal thoughts and/or related mental health diagnoses, etc? Vs being “out of the blue”?

                My personal experiences have seemed to indicate it’s about 50:50 known risk vs out of the blue (which is much lower than claimed by the various orgs I’ve come into contact with *other* than the Samaritans & associated …) but I’m realizing I don’t know what the stats are in any real sense.

                Do you know?Report

              • greginak in reply to Maribou says:

                @maribou Hmmm I don’t remember the specific numbers however from my work/personal experience there are always warning signs like a mental health diagnosis or talking about morbid subjects, death etc.

                The thing about “out of the blue” suicides is that in retrospect most people recognize some serious changes in the person and often signs of mental illness. I’ve only seen a completed suicide where the person didn’t give any warning where there wasn’t an established mental illness once. The partner of a friend of my walked of into the woods years ago and hung himself without leaving any note or information. There was a search for weeks until they found him. He didn’t appear to have any recognized mental illness however he had just received a major diagnosis of a permanently life limiting heart problem. He was not going to be able to do all the things he had previously loved. Was that technically a warning sign? Not exactly but I think it at least raised a yellow flag if not a red flag. This may be the truest example of something no one saw coming but there a pivot around which his life changed we can see.

                A problem of course is that some people keep their plans to suicide to themselves for weeks or months even though they may appear to be doing well. I believe this happened to the wife of a buddy of mine. His wife had a serious MI that involved some psychotic features. We’ll never know how much she wasn’t sharing our reality in her last weeks.

                As an aside it’s often a scary time when someone comes out of deep depression with seeming energy and appearing to feel better. Sometimes that means they have decided to suicide which has given then purpose.

                So none of the above examples were unexplained, didn’t have underlying MI or have explanations afterwards. Cold comfort, of course, for the survivors.

                Where an “out of the blue” suicide seems to be a good descriptor is in a highly impulsive act. Even then those are more common in people with various mental illnesses like PTSD, Borderline PD or drug problems. There are cases i’ve read about where the suicide attempt seemed to erupt in days after a long period of good functioning. So even there we have some warning signs. That is where something like a gun is a real risk. A lot of people who have suicidal ideation have a preferred method they think about. If they don’t have access to their method they are safe. I once assessed a women with suicidal ideation. Her preferred method was to jump off of the Sears Tower in Chicago. We were in NJ. She had no plans to travel so she was safe. She came in for therapy and meds for quite a while. I’m sure she kept her method in mind but she did well.

                So to make a long answer longer, true “out of the blue” suicides are rare. The last good numbers i remember bare this out. One confound is trying to tell the difference between “serious” attempts and attention seeking attempts such as taking 10 Tylenol then calling 911. Quick, high lethality methods like guns likely lead to more deaths from impulsive attempts then things like drinking anti freeze or pills. It’s also quite likely that some people are really trying to kill themselves but choose a low lethality method which then people interpret as a less “serious” attempt.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak says:

                There is a link on my Tech Tuesday that is quite relevant to this discussion. Y’all should check it out.

                (/post plug)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

                “There is research on this.”


              • Maribou in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy See, what Greg said was a factual statement that didn’t make claims about what Dark did or didn’t read.

                So it didn’t bother me at all.

                You may not be aware of it, and thus not doing it consciously, but making claims about what other people did or didn’t read is a really, really common way to position oneself as dominant in an argument by asserting something about the other person rather than by addressing the argument itself. It’s a form of ad hominem.

                That’s why I offered you 3 or 4 less inflammatory ways to say essentially the same thing.

                I forgot the obvious one, which Greg used.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                This seems like one of those cases where a thought experiment is in conflict with real experiments. The United States would not be pioneering the “deeply curtail gun ownership” family of policies. It would be following the lead of other places that did so without any of that happening.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                It would be following the lead of other places that did so without any of that happening.

                Why? Even assuming you’re right (and those world pictures highlighting the high suicide countries strongly suggests otherwise), I am still personally better off in the current situation… possible MUCH better off.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If it’s true? You’re suggesting that the rate of shootings in general is roughly the same regardless of gun policy?

                I am still personally better off in the current situation… possible MUCH better off.

                Well, if you’re better off, then I don’t understand why we might even consider changing things.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                To be a little less flippant, a big part of this hinges on the definition of “much better off” IMO. If you mean “Much safer from random acts of violence,” I’d say that’s statistically not really an accurate statement. I’d bet fairly heavily that you’ll never use a gun in self defense. It’s like worrying about winning the lottery.

                If you mean that you really, really enjoy gun ownership, then yeah, you’re much better off. And that’s valid. Part of my reason for being so lukewarm on gun control is that ignoring any social/criminal metrics, half the country gets a lot of joy out of gun ownership and curtailing that comes at a cost to those citizens. That’s not worth zero just because it doesn’t factor into the crime/death calculus.

                I just think we’d all be better off if we dropped the notion that broad availability of firearms is somehow contributing to our safety as citizens and just acknowledge that there are some good things about private gun ownership and that’s the reason why we want to keep it, even if it comes with costs.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                If you mean that you really, really enjoy gun ownership, then yeah, you’re much better off.

                To be clear, I don’t own a gun. I’ve used one once(?) in boy scouts.

                Ergo I’ve skipped most of the negative side effects of gun ownership (similarly I don’t have a pool for the same reason).Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                If it’s true? You’re suggesting that the rate of shootings in general is roughly the same regardless of gun policy?

                Shootings Suicide.

                There is a ton of research linking suicide to firearms. Problem is, when we look at other countries we see their suicide rate is pretty much independent of whether or not they have guns around.

                Certainly “no guns” means “no suicide by gun”, but apparently they just do the job differently, sometimes at much higher rates. For example Poland has no guns, their suicide rate is 50% higher than ours.

                Well, if you’re better off, then I don’t understand why we might even consider changing things.

                It’s worth thinking about the failures are of various setups so that we don’t exchange an imperfect system for one that’s worse.

                The likely outcome of strict gun control is law disregarding members of society continue to disregard the law. There was a point in time when I needed to worry about a lunatic showing up on my doorstep and trying to kill my family. If you can guarantee that she’d follow the law and be unarmed, then I’m certainly better off… but absent that, a right to armed self defense is a good thing.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The system removed the “not equals” symbol I put in there between “Shootings” and “Suicide”.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It’s very true that shootings and suicide are different, so I don’t understand why you’re focusing on suicide. You’re right that there are other drivers of the suicide rate which makes it hard to compare countries, which is why I wouldn’t recommend looking at the data that way and concluding that there’s no link.

                Looking at the research within the US that correlates successful suicides with the availability of firearms produces a much clearer picture, and it’s not one that supports your contention as far as I can tell. You’re looking at a much fuzzier dataset with more confounding variables and they’re obscuring a very real variable that shows up when you look at a cleaner dataset.

                As for non-suicide shootings, the country-by-country comparison is pretty darned stark. That’s why I’m saying that we shouldn’t be doing thought experiments here. There’s data. Other countries have done this and we can look at their outcomes. Your hunches about what will happen only go so far without an explanation as to why the US would be unique in finding no correlation between the availability of guns and gun violence.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                It’s very true that shootings and suicide are different, so I don’t understand why you’re focusing on suicide.

                Because if reducing shootings doesn’t reduce deaths then there’s not much point, and 60% of shootings is suicide.

                You’re looking at a much fuzzier dataset with more confounding variables and they’re obscuring a very real variable that shows up when you look at a cleaner dataset.

                “Clearer dataset” can also mean “cherry picking” when you’re trying to focus on something less than the totality.

                In the US, guns are a massive symbol of death and suicide, so yes, getting rid of them prevents suicide at an individual level, or even at any level we could test because guns are a symbol for the society. This is the whole “don’t let a suicide have access to the building she wants to jump from thing”. So sure, removing guns from the home of a would-be suicide leads to good things.

                But you’re arguing that removing the gun as a symbol of death in our society would also lead to good things, AND ALSO that we should ignore every society which has already done so.

                As for non-suicide shootings, the country-by-country comparison is pretty darned stark.

                Which brings us to inner city culture dominating the numbers. Presumably post-total-gun-control, we still have inner city culture as a problem.

                So how well does gun control work at reducing shootings in South American countries which are having problems with the drug culture? There’s data for that too, and it’s probably more relevant than implicitly assuming gun control changes inner city culture.

                we shouldn’t be doing thought experiments here. There’s data. Other countries have done this and we can look at their outcomes.

                Other multicultural countries which are rich and awash with guns have a history of successful disarming? Do tell.

                My expectation is that, given there isn’t even enough popular support to pass mild versions of these laws, that we’d see prohibition fail rather epically once again. That the wonderful happy intentions with which we fired up the war on [whatever] result in government overreach and seriously nasty unintended consequences.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “Clearer dataset” can also mean “cherry picking” when you’re trying to focus on something less than the totality

                No. This is basic social science methodology stuff. You’ve chosen the noisiest possible comparison because it’s full of confounding variables that make the variable you don’t like go away. If you isolate the variable by doing comparisons across comparable data sets that differ mainly in that one variable, you get an actual handle on what that variable is doing.

                The state by state data is pretty compelling. States with more guns are states with more suicides, and the component that differs is suicides by gun. Non-gun suicide rates are about the same. This is why I’m pushing back against speculation when there’s real data available.

                But you’re arguing that removing the gun as a symbol of death in our society would also lead to good things

                No, I’m arguing that removing the gun as a tool of death will result in fewer gun deaths. Symbolism has nothing to do with it.

                Which brings us to inner city culture dominating the numbers. Presumably post-total-gun-control, we still have inner city culture as a problem.

                Presumably. But all else held equal, including “inner city culture” fewer weapons should be correlated with a lower homicide rate. But you’re right, there are a lot of devils in the details about who has access to whatever few weapons remain. The data here is a lot harder to work with–you don’t get nearly as clear a picture from coarse measures like “gun ownership rate” as you do with suicides because suicide is more uniformly distributed across cultures than homicide is.

                My expectation is that, given there isn’t even enough popular support to pass mild versions of these laws, that we’d see prohibition fail rather epically once again.

                That’s why I’m not interested in trying. There isn’t enough support for major gun elimination efforts, and nibbling around the edges seems unlikely to have much of an effect on crime.

                I just don’t think that living in a world of pure thought experiments and just-so stories about heroes with guns stopping crime is how we should make decisions. We should just be able to admit that guns are ingrained in our culture and we’re going to live with the consequences of having lots of them.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                IBB. Still crunching numbers.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                You’ve chosen the noisiest possible comparison because it’s full of confounding variables that make the variable you don’t like go away.

                My background certainly isn’t social science (although I do have a fair amount of experience with big data), so it’s possible my instincts are backwards. It’s also possible we’re seeing cherry picking and/or people are complex.

                It’s a red flag that firearm ownership is one of the strongest variables influencing suicide at a local/state level… but when we go to international, there’s so much “noise” it disappears?

                The state by state data is pretty compelling.

                Thank you… ok, things which stand out.

                First, the firearm suicide rate in our 15 gun owning states is really high, even proportionally. 0.47 is roughly triple 0.15, but the gun fatality rate is way more than triple.

                2nd, we’re comparing the top 15 states to the bottom 6, presumably because we want to compare roughly 40 million people to 39. That’s a really arbitrary choice for data presentation. Why 40 million as opposed to 50 or 20? Or why not just the top and bottom 10 states?

                Better yet, why not graph ALL the data as opposed to just presenting two data points as summation? Graphs illuminate, picked points hide. Whenever someone picks two points on what should be a graph or table and excludes everything else I automatically think “cherry picked”.

                I went to websites for state level data, I’m not sure they cover the same period of time but whatever, we’ll assume it’s relatively constant from year to year (I’ll post links and raw data replying to myself, I’m not sure I can format this so it will work here).

                First, there’s a correlation… but I’m not sure this is best viewed as a “gun” thing as opposed to culture/region/something else. All 9 of the best states from a suicide perspective are rich Blue coastal states. There are 6 states whose ranking suicide wise is 20+ different from their gun ranking. So for example Mississippi is the 9th most gun filled state but only the 30th most suicidal, and Arizona is the 38th most gun filled state but the 12th most suicidal.

                Although it’s not one of the six, Hawaii is amazing. It’s basically gun free (one third of the ownership rate of New York which is the least suicidal at 50th), but you wouldn’t know that from it’s suicide ranking which is 35th. North Carolina (right above it) has proportionally 6 times as many guns with basically the same rate.

                …all else held equal, including “inner city culture” fewer weapons should be correlated with a lower homicide rate.

                Seriously unwarranted assumption. Taking guns away from law abiding suburbanites is unlikely to reduce the murder rate for the inner city. The later’s crimes are mostly committed by those for whom gun possession is already illegal.

                One of the lessons of history is prohibition makes crime go up, not down, as we create/empower a criminal class.

                We should just be able to admit that guns are ingrained in our culture and we’re going to live with the consequences of having lots of them.


                And some of that State level raw data is really good news. Figuring out what Mississippi is doing right and Arizona is doing wrong would help a lot of people, and presumably wouldn’t require the politically impossible.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Gun ownership raw data source:

                Suicide Rate link:,000%20Individuals%22,%22sort%22:%22desc%22%7D

                Combined Data, probably best viewed in excel using data extraction based on tab separation.
                Gun Rate Su Rate G Rank S Rank S – G
                New York 18% 7.8 45 50 -5
                New Jersey 12.30% 8.3 49 49 0
                Maryland 21.30% 8.8 42 48 -6
                Massachusetts 12.60% 8.9 48 47 1
                Connecticut 16.70% 9.8 46 46 0
                California 21.30% 10.2 43 45 -2
                Illinois 20.20% 10.3 44 44 0
                Rhode Island 12.80% 11.2 47 43 4
                Nebraska 38.60% 11.6 28 42 -14
                Texas 35.90% 12.4 30 41 -11
                Delaware 25.50% 12.5 40 40 0
                Virginia 35.10% 12.7 31 39 -8
                Georgia 40.30% 12.7 25 38 -13
                Minnesota 41.70% 13.2 22 37 -15
                North Carolina 41.30% 13.4 23 36 -13
                Hawaii 6.70% 13.5 50 35 15
                Michigan 38.40% 13.7 29 34 -5
                Ohio 32.40% 13.9 37 33 4
                Pennsylvania 34.70% 13.9 33 32 1
                Iowa 42.90% 14 17 31 -14
                Mississippi 55.30% 14 9 30 -21
                Florida 24.50% 14.4 41 29 12
                Indiana 39.10% 14.4 27 28 -1
                Wisconsin  44.40% 14.6 12 27 -15
                Vermont 42.00% 14.8 20 26 -6
                South Carolina 42.30% 14.8 18 25 -7
                Alabama 51.70% 14.9 7 24 -17
                Louisiana 44.10% 15.3 13 23 -10
                Washington 33.10% 15.4 36 22 14
                Tennessee 43.90% 15.6 15 21 -6
                Maine 40.50% 16.1 24 20 4
                Kansas 42.10% 16.2 19 19 0
                New Hampshire 30.00% 16.6 39 18 21
                Missouri 41.70% 17 21 17 4
                Kentucky 47.70% 17.1 11 16 -5
                North Dakota 50.70% 17.4 10 15 -5
                West Virginia 55.40% 17.5 5 14 -9
                Oregon 39.80% 17.8 26 13 13
                Arizona 31.10% 18.2 38 12 26
                Nevada 33.80% 18.4 35 11 24
                Arkansas 55.30% 19.1 8 10 -2
                Colorado 34.70% 19.5 34 9 25
                Oklahoma 42.90% 20.4 16 8 8
                South Dakota 56.60% 20.6 4 7 -3
                Idaho 55.30% 22.2 6 6 0
                Utah 43.90% 22.4 14 5 9
                New Mexico 34.80% 23.5 32 4 28
                Montana 57.70% 25.3 3 3 0
                Alaska 57.80% 26.8 2 2 0
                Wyoming 59.70% 28.2 1 1 0Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Don’t worry… Trump has us covered: mental illness, not guns.


  11. pillsy says:

    “Hey, Nazis are just ordinary people like the rest of us, and they should be given a free broadcast platform so they can convince us that maybe whites are the superior race we can convince them to turn their back on hate.

    “But you know who’re really nuts? Yeah, people who thought Hillary Clinton should be President! You can’t reason with those people at all, can you?”Report

  12. Oscar Gordon says:

    So I’m reading a bit about this guy, and he was court martialed for domestic abuse and spent 12 months in confinement. A sentence for any crime, felony or misdemeanor, that can put you in jail for a year or more will cause you to fail a NICS check, and any domestic abuse conviction will do it as well.

    Does the military not share it’s criminal records with the FBI?Report

    • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      @oscar-gordon That was my reaction as well – “wait, how did this not show up on his background check?”Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

        Exactly. The only thing I can think of is that the military isn’t passing on that kind of info to the FBI, which strikes me as a pretty serious gap in the information. I mean, I hear about small departments occasionally failing to pass info along, or tribal governments, because the various systems don’t communicate so well (another area where things should be fixed, and not just because of gun violence), but there is no way that guy should have been able to walk in and buy a gun, not with 2 big marks against him.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          @oscar-gordon That, or there was some serious human error going on with the background check itself.

          Either way it makes me curious.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Maribou says:

            CNN headline said no flags arose during purchase.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

              DOh! New headline says he was denied a license.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                A carry permit, you mean?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                “The gunman was denied a license to carry a gun in Texas, governor says”

                All I can find.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                That’s a handgun carry permit then.

                This adds to the curiosity, because it means his previous military convictions probably did pop-up during the carry permit background check, so now I really want to know why they didn’t pop in the NICS check.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Idle speculation: different interpretations? If the domestic violence bad conduct discharge thing was all misdemeanor level stuff, could you have the purchase check saying “None of the hard triggers are met, so he passes”, but a local sheriff saying “I don’t like the feel of this, so no concealed carry”?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

                Domestic violence is a hard trigger, not the type of discharge.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The hard trigger is a conviction “in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” The ambiguity might be the word “court,” since military courts are not Article III courts and as I understand it, military courts don’t formally use the concept of “misdemeanor” either.

                EDIT: I don’t know if this is a correct interpretation, but its not hard to see how the military may not report something that is not specifically framed in military terms (like dishonorable discharge).Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Which would strike me as a pretty big hole in the data, something that you would hope two big federal agencies would have hashed out a long time ago.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I’m skeptical of how frequently misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are going to be in the database. That’s generally not the name of the offense, and the offenses that might be charged like disorderly conduct or assault may provide no clue to whether it was domestic violence. Apparently, the FBI has this flyer with information about how to enforce the firearms prohibition in misdemeanor domestic violence situations:


              • Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain Except that per the PDF from the ATF that Joe Sal linked, DV specifically is supposed to be a hard trigger. Perhaps it was missing from the records and the sheriff still got a gut feeling of no?

                Definitely looking like someone (or even more likely, more worrisome, more in need of addressing – some algorithm) glitched up somewhere.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

            Oh, so very curious. Way more curious than the Vegas shooter.Report

          • Troublesome Frog in reply to Maribou says:

            Do we know that the weapon was procured through somebody who would do a background check, or did he just pick one of the privately owned guns that’s easily available without any paperwork?

            My father has quite a few guns and only a bare minority of them were purchased through dealers, so I’m generally more surprised when I find that a shooter tried to go through the red tape at all.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

              From what I read, he got it through an FFL.

              If the FFL botched the background check, he’d best be on a flight out of the country, because the FBI is going to have some hard questions for the person.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                What penalties can the FFL face for botching the check?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                At a minimum, fines, hefty ones. If they think he botched the check intentionally, loss of the FFL, and/or criminal charges.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                This is what begins to get my goat. So much talk — especially from the gun rights side — is about responsibility. Well, if this guy botched the FFL, that was pretty damn irresponsible. “You had one job!” Etc. And do we think this was the only botched one?

                If he botched the FFL, he has demonstrated himself to be irresponsible and should lose the ability to be an FFL. There is no right to being an FFL. You fucked up. You’re out of the game. Why isn’t that the norm?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                You ever bought a gun, @kazzy ? It’s a 3 page form, with another 3 pages of instructions. It’s easy to miss something or put information in wrong. Still, even minor errors on the form can result in hefty fines.

                When I’m talking about botching the check, I mean the FFL ignoring obvious red flags, or intentionally giving the person at NICS information that differs materially from what was on the form so the check would clear. In other words, he wanted the sale more than he wanted to follow the rules. If the BATFE has any reason to believe that is the case, the guy will lose his FFL very quickly, and there won’t be any getting it back.

                PS the FFL is a Federal Firearm License, it’s the license needed to be able to be in the business of selling firearms. The ATF Form 4473 is the background check form the buyer has to fill out so the FFL can run the check through NICS. NICS is the criminal background check system. He didn’t botch the FFL, the FFL may have botched the 4473, or he botched the call to NICS. Or he did nothing wrong at all, and the NICS system had a gap in it’s data.

                We don’t know yet, so take a deep breath.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                Yes, I’m talking somewhat in the general.

                If the guy didn’t do anything wrong, then he ought to suffer no consequences.

                But if he did something wrong unintentionally, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that he loses the opportunity to make that error again, given the stakes of such errors.

                And if he did something wrong intentionally, there should definitely be criminal penalties.

                This is where you start to lose me. It is all the talk of “RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERS!” and then when someone behaves irresponsibly, we suddenly get a lot of, “You have to understand…”

                Sure, the process is complicated. But it is important. And if you can’t properly exercise an important but complicated process, you shouldn’t be in position to do so.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Are you demanding perfection in a government process? Seriously? Joe linked the form down-thread, go read it, see how many parts of it strike you as a bit unclear, or possibly vague, or ambiguous. People make mistakes. 99% of the time, the mistakes are simple or stupid (writing down an abbreviation instead of the full word, or misspelling a name). There is no malice intended, just simple human error. It happens. This has nothing to do with “responsible gun owners” and everything to do with “bureaucracy is what it is”.

                So the question is not, was an error made on the part of the FFL; the question is was that error, if there was one, material to the case at hand? If it is, then perhaps a penalty is called for, especially given the situation. But, given that there is an equally likely chance that somehow this guys criminal history failed to get entered into the database, will you be so eager to have whatever government clerk or clerks fired and banned from government employment for making that mistake?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                FYI The guy bought 4 guns over 4 years since his discharge. Sounds like this is a problem with the system having a hole in the data.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Yeah, I think that he wasn’t in the system is the most likely explanation at this point.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                We could always audit his previous sales to see if there’s a clear pattern of negligence.

                I mean that seems pretty simple, yeah? “Oh hey, you sold a gun to a guy who shouldn’t have been able to buy one. We’ll need to see the paperwork on this sale, and all other sales in the last five years to see if this was an honest mistake or whether you’re the guy everyone knows turns a blind eye to some of the legalities”.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                From what I hear, that happens to every FFL who sells a gun to someone who is involved in a high profile shooting. They can expect an ATF audit sometime in the next year at the very least, sooner if they have reason to suspect shenanigans.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                IF FFLs new a single error would cost them there license, how would the error rate change?

                Same for others in the chain.

                If we want to respect the rights of responsible gun owners, we need a responsible way of identifying the demonstrated irresponsible ones. That means holding people accountable. Will it be annoying? Yes. Tough. Guns are serious and should be treated as such.

                It’s no skin of owners’ nose unless they fail the check.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Kazzy says:

                Would you be willing to raise the taxes in NYC by 50% to make the process perfect?

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                Again, depends on the error. The FFL is not allowed to fill out the form, the customer does (unless the customer needs help because of a disability). This is not FFLs being lazy, it’s in the instructions, because it’s effectively an affidavit. The forms are filled out by hand (because apparently the ATF can’t seem to produce a PDF version that can be filled out on a computer), so you have bad handwriting to consider, especially on a form with limited space in some fields. So again, the errors in question, if we are to treat them seriously, need to result in serious mistakes. You can not demand perfection from a human system, not gonna happen.

                Also, you didn’t answer the other half of the question, if you demand perfection from the FFL side, are you making the same demand on the LE side? Dylan Roof got a gun because his info got entered in a non standard way (IIRC) and it needed a phone call to clear up, which didn’t happen before the 3 days were up. Should we have the FBI examiner, who took 2 days to open his case, fired for taking too long? Or the clerks who entered his information in a way that failed to trigger the system, thus necessitating the 3 day hold in the first place?

                You don’t get to demand perfection from citizens and then blow it off for government employees.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


                Obviously it’s help if I knew what I was taking about… but I want the system top to bottom cleaned up and all involved held accountable. That includes the gov… especially the gov.

                WHY BY HAND?!Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

                No idea why. Perhaps it’s improved since I last bought a gun (been a few years now), but I’ve not heard of the ATF doing anything to widely adopt an electronic format. This could just be the ATF being the ATF (not the best run federal agency, by far), or perhaps there is some bit of federal law that makes it a paper only thing.

                All I know is it could be done a lot better, and it isn’t.Report

              • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon This exchange you and @kazzy had interested me enough I called a relative of mine who is an FFL and asked if he had any idea why the 4473 is in paper only. He said that the ATF did in the last few years introduce an e form but for whatever reason has done a bad job of keeping the software and versioning correct. Wikipedia seems to confirm this. The result has been essentially zero adoption.

                Not a real investigation but it sounds like the answer is government incompetence. The transaction and NICS system is ridiculously outdated and there’s no good reason not to bring it into the 21st century.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:


                Sounds about right. As I said, the BATFE is not the shining pillar on the hill when it comes to well run federal agencies.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                As an aside, it’s weird that we appear to know more about the Sutherland shooter less 24 hours after the event than we do about the Las Vegas shooter after a month.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Vegas shooter seemed pretty intent on being obscure.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Okay, here’s something that *REALLY* bugs me about the Las Vegas shooting.

                Las Vegas has cameras freaking *EVERYWHERE*. That’s one of the things it does really, really well. Remember that football guy (Michael Bennett) who got tackled by the cops and he claimed it was racism and, like, less than a week later the cops were able to assemble a timeline of footage that went from right before the shots were fired to the altercation itself and they claimed that this footage gave enough context to exonerate them?

                They had tons of videos from tons of angles.

                This was, like, September. It wasn’t *THAT* long ago.

                And we still don’t know anything about the Mandalay Bay shooting? We haven’t seen footage of the hallways before or after or anything like that?

                What the hell?Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Jaybird says:


                I wouldn’t believe a damn thing that shows up in Texas media or probably CNN. That Curtis Culwell Center shooting where ‘the lone security guy’ won a gun battle with two AK47 wielding terrorist was pretty much crap news.

                It was more like a government sniper already in position informed from the FBI playing inside baseball.

                If we haven’t reached soviet era propaganda non-sense, it’s getting close.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          A dishonorable discharge is supposed to disqualify you. A quick Google check is inconclusive about whether court martial results are forwarded to the FBI. OTOH, there are gun sales not subject to a NICS check (private parties, gun shows). And even in the event of a NICS check, if the FBI doesn’t finish in three days the sale may be allowed to go through.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

            He was given a bad conduct discharge, which is one step short of a dishonorable.

            His purchases did go through an FFL (and for the last damn time, gun shows are not excepted from background checks, only private parties are; I’ve been to gun shows, every single one has a huge bank of phones that the FFLs dealing at the show use to call in for a background check).

            And yes, there is the 3 day rule, but given his record, his should not have been a questionable case that required more than 3 days to investigate (not like Dylan Roof – who was one of those cases where the inconsistencies in the various local systems reared it’s ugly head). I mean, the DOD should be very dialed into how to report something to the FBI database.

            About the only thing I could see that might have tripped the system up is that he bought the gun in TX, but listed a CO address (Colorado Springs). Since it was a long gun, this is technically legal, but the mismatched info might have let something slip by.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              @oscar-gordon This is a bit off topic but I suspect you might know and also that Googling will not give me an answer I find satisfying:

              Why would a judgment that led to a year of confinement, on charges of domestic abuse, not equate to a dishonorable discharge? Like, what is the difference in gradation beween dishonorable and bad conduct?

              (I realize this has nothing to do with gun control, background checks, etc., I just don’t understand and see you as one of the people I know who “knows about this military stuff”.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

                See my comment to Joe here.

                To be a bit more granular, there are 4 types of discharge from military service.

                1) Honorable – You have fully fulfilled your obligation to the service with honor, and if you’re separated before your obligation was complete, it was through no fault of your own. I believe Hardship discharges are still considered honorable.

                2) Other than honorable – You’ve been a PITA, but not criminally so (basically you are not well acquainted with the contents of the UCMJ, and don’t appear to be interested to become so). You will have some access to veterans benefits, but don’t try to show your face on a base again.

                3) Bad conduct – You’ve been a criminal PITA, but only at the misdemeanor level (and/or you are well acquainted with the contents of the UCMJ, and apparently are happy to flaunt large parts of it). You are gone, and don’t try to claim any benefits.

                4) Dishonorable – you’re a felon, or you have violated one of the few parts of the UCMJ that everyone takes deadly serious. Chances are you spent more than a year in a military prison (or your last name is Bergdahl). We’d have probably shot you, but they don’t let us do that anymore.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon That helps, I reckon.

                I guess I don’t get why a year of confinement on domestic violence charges doesn’t make a person a felon, but I still don’t really understand the interface between the US criminal code and the UCMJ so I’ll just leave it at “understand better than I did yesterday, further learning indicated.”Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Maribou says:

                There are some districts in the US where certain misdemeanors can result in over a year of confinement, so the rule is either a felony conviction, or sufficient misdemeanor convictions such that you were sentenced to over a year in jail.

                The 1 year rule is a growing concern in some circles because of the growing sense of criminalization of everything, but it still holds.

                The interface between US Code and the UCMJ isn’t that hard to parse. If you are active duty and you violate the UCMJ, you are subject to the UCMJ. If you break a local law while active duty, you not only are subjected to the local CJ system, but the UCMJ will get’s it’s pound of flesh as well (i.e. double jeopardy isn’t a thing in this case).

                If a guy beats his wife/kid while living in base housing, local laws don’t apply, only the UCMJ does, which is why he was only court martialed, and not brought up on local charges.

                But it’s still a domestic violence conviction, Lautenberg should still apply.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon All of that helps, thank you.

                Canada works quite differently than the States does (not always for the better) and, because of my upbringing, I basically had a huge avoidance radius around all matters of domestic violence law until quite recently, so a lot of things that should be obvious/common knowledge, I’m still working to parse and/or actually retain in working memory as opposed to splitting off somewhere.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Out of curiosity (and laziness), if it’s a TX seller and a CO buyer, which background check system gets invoked? CO is one of the states that conducts the NICS check on its own, rather than having the FBI do it.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

                For a handgun, both do. You can not buy a handgun in TX if you are from CO and take possession of it in TX. It will have to be shipped from the TX FFL to a CO FFL of your choosing, and the CO FFL will run a second check in CO before turning the handgun over to you.

                Long guns are different. In that case, only TX applies, so you can take possession in TX.Report

        • Joe Sal in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I haven’t been picking through the details, was it considered dishonorable conditions (ATF form part 11g or 11i for that matter)?

          Sure sounds that way, not that I support the background check, just that I have seen it enough to know there is a checkbox there.

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Joe Sal says:

            Legally, no. A bad conduct discharge is how the military get’s rid of someone who has done gone and right pissed off the brass, but not actually committed an offense that is worthy of a dishonorable discharge. It allows one to maintain their rights, but does a real good job of stripping away any veterans benefits.

            So the discharge itself isn’t an issue.

            But note 11c and 11i. Both of those should have been answered yes, and caused him to fail the check.Report

            • Joe Sal in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Thanks for the clarity.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              In this instance, it looks like the bad conduct that got the guy his discharge included beating a baby.


              • Joe Sal in reply to pillsy says:


              • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

                I read somewhere that he accepted a plea deal, which is probably how he avoided the dishonorable discharge and only did a year in prison, instead of 5.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                From Stars & Stripes

                Devin P. Kelley’s convictions for child and spousal assault while in the Air Force should have prevented him from owning the assault rifle that authorities said he used in Sunday’s massacre at a Texas church.

                Kelley’s 2012 convictions were both felonies and domestic violence. Either preclude gun possession by federal law — and are supposed to be relayed to databases used by the FBI for background checks required when people buy firearms from licensed gun sellers.

                Kelley reportedly bought the rifle in 2016 from a San Antonio gun store.

                “Somebody blew it,” said Don Christensen, who was the Air Force’s top prosecutor when Kelley was prosecuted. “It’s just a question of who.”


              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Who? Let me just speculate as to what probably happened. Christen or whomever actually prosecuted the case, charged Kelley with two counts of assault under Sec. 928. Art. 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which does not care whether the assault is against a family member or not. When the case was resolved, the order simply shows “assault.” Lawyers move on.

                Clerical staff is assigned responsibility to report convictions under various federal laws, but they get this order and it simply says “assault” or “two counts of assault.” Is it domestic battery? Maybe she can pull the file and find out, but maybe the file isn’t clear, particularly if the matter resolved in a plea in which some charges were dropped. How does she know if its a felony? The link above does not describe “assault” as a felony or a misdemeanor, just that it’s a crime that may be “punished as a court-martial may direct.”

                OTOH, when the clerk gets a file that has dishonorable discharge stamped on the front cover; it’s no problem at all.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:


                That makes a (depressingly) large amount of sense.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                On TV, local police authorities just said that they checked three databases for gun purchasing purposes and none contained anything that would block a purchase.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Assuming your speculation up above is close to the mark, that suggests that there is probably a disturbing number of vets running around with BCDs for some variation of DV who can pass NICS.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Though I wonder how many of those vets who won the big chicken dinner wound up commiting another crime in civilian life that got them back on the naughty list.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

                Probably non-zero, one does have to make an effort to get the BCD. Still…Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                My speculation would also apply to state reporting quality as well. Civilian courts would probably also treat this as an assault, with no distinction made btw/ whether the baby was kin or not. Someone would have to do an after-the-fact analysis of the conviction to determine whether the assault met the federal definition of “domestic violence.” I bet the quality and thoroughness of this varies.

                And maybe lawmakers understood this when they passed this law. Targeting a specific class of misdemeanor offender might have been understood to be optimistic, but if it saves one child’s life it would be worth it. And now here we are.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to PD Shaw says:

                And here it is:

                While submission of records regarding convicted misdemeanant domestic abusers to the FBI’s NICS Index has increased 132 percent over the past five-and-a-half years, only three states appear to be submitting reasonably complete records—Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. Records from these three states account for 79 percent of the total records submitted to the FBI.

                Women Under the GunReport

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Ya know when gun owners say stuff like “enforce the laws already on the books”…Report

              • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Bingo. This fool should’ve never been allowed to purchase a firearm and was prohibited from doing so under existing law. Its an enforcement/bureacratic failure. If fingers must be pointed the US Air Force and probably to a slightly lesser degree the FBI seem much more blameworthy than the NRA.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                NPR reporting he accepted a plea but also

                An official at the Pentagon tells NPR’s Tom Bowman that a mistake resulted in neither the arrest nor the conviction being listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the database that would have flagged him as ineligible to purchase a firearm.


  13. Jaybird says:

    #BREAKING: Saudi Arabia says Lebanon has declared war on it— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) November 6, 2017

    2018 is going to make 2017 look like 2016.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

      Totally unrelated, I’m sure, to the recent changes in power in Saudi Arabia.

      Although tin-foil time, I know a certain President who needs a distraction, and whose son-in-law, I believe, just took a trip over there a week or two back.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Holy cow.

      Dozens of hard-line clerics have been detained, while others were designated to speak publicly about respect for other religions, a topic once anathema to the kingdom’s religious apparatus.

      This is almost something to feel optimistic about.

      I mean, before it goes all pear-shaped.Report

  14. Oscar Gordon says:

    Oh, Lordy, Roy Moore was getting around.

    What’s the over/under on this hurting his Senate run?Report

    • Maribou in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Thanks for the link, that’s interesting information. I’d like to believe it’ll hurt his Senate run but I’ll believe that if I see it. Cults of personality are hard to dismantle.

      Incidentally, I’m not sure I’d characterize alleged creeping-on-teenage-girls-in-your-30s as “getting around”, which I mention not as a rebuke (I can see why you put it that way), but only so that someone else doesn’t click on it thinking they’ll see, like, a story about a mistress or some hookers, rather than a then-14-year-old girl.Report

    • gregiank in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I’ll bet that he stays as the senate candidate and wins the election. I think the conservative press, especially the bannon wing will circle around him. If Trump dumps on him that might sway things since it signals the RW press has decided to ditch him.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Trump already demonstrated that being accused of sexual harassment/assault isn’t fatal to getting elected, and I don’t think he’ll drop out since doing so is effectively an admission of guilt. Personally, I think this will hurt him but maybe not enough to lose. But what do I know about Alabama?

      The secondary issue is whether the GOP should revoke the nomination based on a purely electoral calculus in light of the allegations. Keeping him on the ticket sends a pretty odious message to conservatives and independents in places where sitting state prosecutors propositioning 14 year olds is frowned upon. The long term cost would very likely be worse than the short term gain were he to win. I don’t think they’ll do that tho I’d very much like to be proven wrong.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Re: revoking the nomination, this is interesting.

        After a long pause, Alabama Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow tells me he’d vote for Roy Moore even if Moore did commit a sex crime against a girl.

        “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for Doug,” he says. “I’m not saying I support what he did.”

        GOP is in a not good, very bad place right now.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

          You know, I can’t imagine why they have such a huge voting gap among millennials, or why they saw such a huge swing in the suburbs.

          Sarcasm aside, I mean it — Roy Moore, should he not be shamed from the race, will win on the back of strong support from evangelical Christians and law-and-order conservatives.Report