Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/15/18: Money, Massacres, Mudd And More

Good morning.

1. Another mass shooting, another explosion of demagoguery. Reading various rants from usually smarter Facebook friends after one of these mass shootings—there is now literally no difference in the reactions or the rhetoric; it’s like a TV show re-run—is just boring and annoying at this point. I wrote to one, a lawyer, who had immediately erupted into furious insults hurled at the NRA, Republicans, and the President, followed by lots of “likes’ and near identical blather, in the wake of the Parkland shooting yesterday:

“Anyone making the anti-NRA argument is obligated to articulate exactly what regulations not already in existence would have stopped the Florida shooting. Banning guns and confiscating guns are not going to happen, can’t happen and shouldn’t happen, and anyone who claims they can is being ignorant or dishonest. The reflex response of anti-gun advocates is to appeal to anger and emotion every time, usually, as in this case, without even knowing all the facts. So they get tuned out, and deserve to get tuned out, as do grandstanding demagogues like Sen. Christopher Murphy. “Do something!” is not a policy, and removing rights from law-abiding citizens because crazies and criminals abuse those rights is neither just nor practical.”

I’ll report if he or any of the “Do something!” and “Think of the children!” hysterics respond with something constructive.

Murphy was, as usual, on his feet and making his time-tested facile argument about how “this happens nowhere else” before the full information regarding what had happened was available. Yes, Senator, this happens more often in the United States because this country values individual liberty more than other nations, and because, so far, at least, we don’t take away individual rights because we know rights will be abused. We also don’t lock up people who act and talk crazy based on mere words because we think they might commit a horrible crime. THAT was a civil libertarian-led reform and a noble one, back when the Left believed in the rights of individuals, unlike now. Once, when people like the Parkland shooter started scaring people, we just committed them, and they could spend decades or a lifetime  loaded-up with Thorazine and locked  away in padded rooms. My great uncle was such a man. After about 50 years, the doctors decided that he had never been crazy after all, but by then he couldn’t function outside the institution, so they let him stay. He never shot anyone, though, so there is that.

I have a suggestion to Murphy and his colleagues, however, as well as to the mainstream news media that is revving into its usual anti-gun act.  The most productive thing they could do might be to reduce the hateful, angry, fear-stoking rhetoric that they have bombarded the nation with for over a year. I believe that the atmosphere of constant conflict and uncertainty, along with non-stop accusations and allegations of dark forces lurking and preparing to pounce may make some unstable people more likely to snap and adopt the Sweeney Todd philosophy, in the words of Stephen Sondheim:

They all deserve to die.
Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why.
Because in all of the whole human race
Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two
There’s the one staying put in his proper place
And the one with his foot in the other one’s face
Look at me, Mrs Lovett, look at you.

No, we all deserve to die
Even you, Mrs. Lovett, Even I.
Because the lives of the wicked should be made brief
For the rest of us death will be a relief
We all deserve to die.

2. Mudd doesn’t deserve to die, just to be fired. CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd broke down on the air sobbing last night while discussing the school shooting on CNN, blubbering,

“I have 10 nieces and nephews. We’re talking about bump stocks, we’re talking about legislation. A child of God is dead. Can not we acknowledge in this country that we cannot accept this?…I can’t do it, Wolf,” he then said to his host, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I’m sorry, we can’t do it.” Blitzer then cut away to a different analyst.

If you can’t do it, you self-indulgent hack, then stop appearing on television. It’s called “professionalism.” Professionals are supposed to be able to do their jobs without being incapacitated by emotion. News professionals are obligated to be able to inform the public about tragedies without falling apart. That wasn’t analysis. That was virtue-signalling and grandstanding.

3. “Fauxcahontas” doubles down! Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke to the National Congress of American Indians yesterday, defending her claims of Native American heritage while pledging to advocate for Native Americans. She did not apologize for her long-time undocumented claims that her mother was descended from Cherokees,  but again insisted, “My mother’s family was part Native American.”

I’m  curious how long Warren thinks she can maintain this narrative without being challenged to take a DNA test, now that home versions are being advertised constantly on TV. Isn’t it obvious to everyone by now that she must have taken a test and it didn’t confirm her claims? Wouldn’t you take such a test if you were Warren? And if it proved you were a Cherokee—not that I trust the tests, especially, but a confirmation would certainly help her—wouldn’t you be shouting it from the rafters?

4. “Your Money Or Your Life” I’ve skimmed this book by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin; I haven’t bought it, because it doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know, not that I have been especially successful following the “9 Steps” it describes to avoid allowing making money to dominate your brief time on earth. It’s pretty obvious that I am not motivated by money, being in equal parts devoted to theater and ethics, and working hours daily on a blog that brings in no monetary income whatsoever. I recommend the book however, and it is a wise gift for your kids.

121 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

121 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/15/18: Money, Massacres, Mudd And More

  1. Glenn Logan

    I’m curious how long Warren thinks she can maintain this narrative without being challenged to take a DNA test, now that home versions are being advertised constantly on TV. Isn’t it obvious to everyone by now that she must have taken a test and it didn’t confirm her claims? Wouldn’t you take such a test if you were Warren? And if it proved you were a Cherokee—not that I trust the tests, especially, but a confirmation would certainly help her—wouldn’t you be shouting it from the rafters?

    Now, Jack. Your progressive indoctrination is slipping, or perhaps has failed utterly. All Elizabeth Warren has to do is identify as a Native American, and she is one. This is 2018, not the aughts.

    You’re so mean, attacking this kind Senator for embracing a noble heritage. I should probably leave the blog in a huff and demand my account be deleted. I’m just sooo offended by your failure to understand that anyone other than a white man can identify as whatever he/she/xe/ze/vis/hir/eir wants to identify as.

    Get with the program, willya?

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    “Reading various rants from usually smarter Facebook friends after one of these mass shootings—there is now literally no difference in the reactions or the rhetoric; it’s like a TV show re-run—is just boring and annoying at this point.”

    Harsh, but true. The real dirty secret is that no one wants things to get better, they just want to be able to score political points with their constituencies. I for one think that early intervention, where kids talk crazy, act crazy, or get in one too many fights, then treatment, might be a good idea. I don’t know about doping someone up and throwing him into a padded cell, but I think it should be easier to get the budding serial killers before they blossom. I also think that prescriptions for psych drugs and certain psych diagnoses should be forwarded to whoever does the background checks, and no one with an unstable diagnosis or who is on psychotropic medication should be allowed to purchase or possess a firearm. There is no reason some troubled kid should grow up to be an angry, rootless, James Dean-wannabe, and no reason someone like that should be able to acquire an AR-15.

    The only problem with this set-up is that it’s rife for abuse, and who’s going to trust a government that has already shown itself too willing to use people’s tax information against them with more power over their health?

    • Rich in CT

      No way for such a program to possibly work. Some psychotropic medicines, at low doses, work to curb ordinary anxiety and depression. These diseases that affect up to 30% of the population in varying degrees; a mere prescription proves nothing about being neither dangerous nor even clinically delusional, and even dosing is basically trial and error. The psychologist would basically have to ship out the entire file to the background checkers, and the background checkers would have to employ an army of psychologists themselves to decide who is healthy enough to own a gun among the millions of potential gun owners who may have had a prescription at some point in their lives. Even if these logistics were remotely feasible, there is still no constitutional provision for employing a battery of clinicians to decide who can exercise particular constitutional rights.

      • You missed the punchline, which I will restate for all:

        “Who gets to decide what is crazy? Think we trust the government (of Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and IRS scandal fame) to decide this?”

        This is like the Fairness Doctrine: just begging to be abused, no matter who is in power.

  3. “I’m curious how long Warren thinks she can maintain this narrative without being challenged to take a DNA test, now that home versions are being advertised constantly on TV. Isn’t it obvious to everyone by now that she must have taken a test and it didn’t confirm her claims? Wouldn’t you take such a test if you were Warren? And if it proved you were a Cherokee—not that I trust the tests, especially, but a confirmation would certainly help her—wouldn’t you be shouting it from the rafters?”

    Lieawatha is challenged *constantly* to take a DNA test in her Twitter comments, what I’m curious about is how long before she eats at a restaurant where the server is unethical enough to run a DNA kit on her water glass without her knowledge.

    • There’s some evidence that DNA tests are not altogether accurate. According to one article, each test gives different results based on the database of the company. So different database different results. Another issue is that of regional changes. For example my grandma who lived to be 102 always said she was Bohemian, not Czech.

      I don’t know if Gizmodo is a reliable website but this was interesting. https://gizmodo.com/how-dna-testing-botched-my-familys-heritage-and-probab-1820932637

      • Oh, I’m sure they aren’t entirely accurate. The point is that if one supported Warren’s claim in any way at all, she would be waving it in our faces.

      • I also note that many of these file you DNA and can be provided to law enforcement with a warrant. This takes the form of ‘we want to search your database to see if we find a familial match.’

        This is a very dark development, in my opinion. 4th amendment, anyone?

      • Oh, we know they aren’t entirely accurate. Jack did a piece just a little while ago how some sites were inserting a variation of “less than 1% African” on white records to troll white supremacists.

        But, these tests are mostly accurate, especially among ancestries that originated from areas that did not have a history of contact… Like… say… American natives and Europeans. I would pay the $100 processing fee personally for a Lieawatha cheek swab.

  4. Still Spartan

    Well, I cried on my way to work this morning listening to the news coverage — and I am a professional who is paid to be able to keep my shit together. (I had to fix my face in the parking garage before coming up to the office.)
    Unless our news coverage is provided by robots, sometimes human emotions are going to be on display. And, regardless of your stance on guns, I think it is quite natural to be upset when something like this happens.

    • A non moose Coward

      I don’t think Jack is saying you can’t cry if you’re a professional. I think he’s saying you shouldn’t let your emotions get in the way of your job if you are one. Did you cry in the middle of trying to do your job in public? That would be embarrassing and unprofessional. Did you cry and then take a moment to collect yourself in the car before or after work? That’s an entirely different thing, no?

      • Exactly. Thanks. Saved me a comment.

      • Still Spartan

        Well, I have never cried in court or in a deposition, but I probably cried once a month or so in the office while practicing Big Law. And I wasn’t alone, there was always at least one male or female lawyer crying every day — usually do to some combination of: asshole partner, stress, demanding clients, and insane hours.

        As long as it is not an everyday occurrence, I would give it a pass because it is natural to be affected once in a blue moon.

        • Other Bill

          The chief owner/main partner of the second firm I worked for reduced me to tears once. What an asshole.

          • Other Bill

            And I was a “partner.” Hah.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            I don’t do tears, but I have come close to getting violent a few times. I’m not sure which is worse, breaking down in tears, or physically going after someone.

            • Glenn Logan

              Yeah. All my tears were shed in high school. Now, an asshole risks at least harsh rhetoric, and at most an invitation to a violent confrontation, boss or no.

              My wife’s boss recently made her cry (and that takes a hell of a lot), and I was resolved to … remonstrate with him. But he apologized so profoundly and sincerely that I took the position “Good enough for you, honey, good enough for me.”

              Maybe we should bring back code duello. 🙂

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          What about yelling? Cursing? Ever told someone in a deposition to zip it or you’d throw him through the window? I’ve seen and done both and seen men and women both do it. Law can be a pretty stressful business, and, although it doesn’t usually come to blows, it can come pretty darn close at times.

          • Other Bill

            I don’t do tears either. I think it was a couple of really difficult clients that finally drove me out. Shot nerves, I’d guess. Somewhat analogous to PTSD, I’ve speculated.

            • Isaac

              Wolf Blitzer should have given him the Godfather “Act like a man!” treatment. Disgraceful.

              In that situation, you have a greater duty to project calm, which assures and encourages others in hard times. This wisp of a man is inspiring nothing but panic and emotionalism; not what we need right now.

              And of course it’s grandstanding. If another factory had collapsed in Burma he wouldn’t be crying on the job. The dozens of kids dying every month from gang violence aren’t moving him to blubbery tears in live TV. This is political theater.

  5. On the topic of the school shooting… It’s something of a tragedy in and of itself that the common response from all corners seems so cookie-cutter and stale. As atrocious as this is… I can’t think of much that hasn’t already been said before.

    I do want to point out the dishonesty of the media, yet again, on this topic, however. They’re saying that this is the 18th school shooting of 2018. That’s true only in the most tenuous of ways. What do you think of when you think “school shooting”? A shooter who kills several other people in a school? A gun that is fired causing injury, even if it’s an accident? A gun that unintentionally discharges (no one pulled the trigger) is a particularly crowded hall? Well, they’re counting all that and more.

    See, you can tell, because of the 18, they’ll only ever talk about four:

    Jan 22, where a 15 year old girl was shot intentionally by a 16 year old classmate.

    Jan 23, where a student opened fire killing two and injuring 17.

    Feb 1st, where a handgun was either fired from or unintentionally discharged in a backpack, hitting a male classmate in the head (the boy is expected to recover).

    And February 5th, when a student was shot in a parking lot following a robbery attempt.

    Those are the four examples you’ll see normally, although ABC also reported the January 31st shooting of a 32 year old man at an after-hours basketball game. If you can find others, I’d love to see the source.

    Now you might think to yourself: “Self, why would the entirety of the media say that there were 17 school shootings other than the one we’re talking about in the first 45 days of the year, but only ever use four as an example, and start at January 22nd?”

    It’s because there were only four, maybe five, that the public would even consider as being legitimate school shootings, the rest will be made up of things like gang violence at 2AM that happened to be on school grounds or reports of shots fired within x blocks of a school. I’m saying this without seeing the list, so there’s a chance I’m wrong and there’s more than these five that fit into the traditional definition of a school shooting, but I’d bet money that not all 12 of the remaining incidents were.

    And that’s indicative of a problem. Five school shootings are all still tragedies. They are all still bad, guys. And I promise you that everyone realizes that, even if their reactions to it are different than yours. I don’t understand this need to deceive, to lie and over-inflate the statistics on a problem, especially when the truth still serves your point.

    • Phlinn

      I found a list at NYDailyNews. Note that no one was injured for several of them.

      • I think injuries and deaths are irrelevant to *attempts*. The results of any attempted mass violence at any location is “moral” luck… The number of attempts to do so IS relevant. And only those attempts that can reasonably meet the criteria of a desire to inflict mass violence should be included in any reporting. I think this would obviously exclude 2AM gang violence on school property and other equally clear non-analogies. I think it would ALSO include specifically targeted individuals where the shooter meant to kill one or two, where the crime is analogous to any attempted murder, just this time the scene is a school.

        The problems, again, are not guns, and are only partially “access to guns”. No, what in our culture is convincing kids that going out in a blaze of fame (well, infamy) is a better option than growing up and accepting that life isn’t easy? What essential institutions did American’s rely on to produce citizens in the past, and how are these institutions broken?

        • “I think it would ALSO include specifically targeted individuals where the shooter meant to kill one or two”

          EXCLUDE.

          Not include.

          Batting a thousand here.

          • What essential institutions did American’s rely on to produce citizens in the past…

            …it was imperfect, problematic, and somewhat inflexible. It was called ‘conservatism’ with a dash of pervasive religion, public expectations, and consequesnces for actions (a.k.a. ‘Rule of Law’)

            You know, all those things lefties have freed us from.

            …and how are these institutions broken?

            See above

      • The fact that some of these shootings didn’t involve injury is a matter of moral luck, I’m talking about the dishonesty of considering things like:

        “A 31-year-old man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the former school’s parking lot.” or

        “A third-grader pulled the trigger on a cop’s gun, firing a shot at the Harmony Learning Center. No one was injured.”

        a ‘school shooting’. And explicitly a school shooting that we need gun control to combat.

        • Beckie

          “A third-grader pulled the trigger on a cop’s gun, firing a shot at the Harmony Learning Center. No one was injured.”

          I read that over a few times and keep wondering 1) Why a third grader had access to a cop’s gun and 2) Why the cop would let the kid close enough to their gun to be able to fire it? Even if it were some kind of career day or something of the like, the kid shouldn’t be touching the gun.

          • I don’t think there is an inherent issue with a child handling a gun as long as a responsible adult is guiding them through its handling. A responsible adult however, would unload the gun before permitting a novice to handle it.

            There are much bigger issues here if the child was handling the firearm without the police officer’s consent or knowledge— like of the officer hadn’t secured it properly or was not paying attention.

    • Otto

      Humble Talent, I had the same suspicion, and looked up all of the cases this morning. You are correct. While all of them involved a gun near a school, only one was what I typically have in mind when I think “school shooting” (January 23, 2018, Benton, Kentucky, a fifteen-year-old boy killed two students and injured fourteen others). After you get past their misleading headline, you can read a list by the Huffington Post. See: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/school-shootings-2018_us_5a84a68ee4b0058d55659ae9.

  6. Other Bill

    Certainly the greatest Jack Benny bit. Perhaps one of the great bits of all time. I’ve known and worked with any number of people whose reaction, upon hearing the bit, would most likely be, “I don’t get it. What’s so funny about that?”

  7. Son of Maimonides

    Jack,

    “1. Another mass shooting, another explosion of demagoguery. Reading various rants from usually smarter Facebook friends after one of these mass shootings—there is now literally no difference in the reactions or the rhetoric; it’s like a TV show re-run—is just boring and annoying at this point. I wrote to one, a lawyer, who had immediately erupted into furious insults hurled at the NRA, Republicans, and the President, followed by lots of “likes’ and near identical blather, in the wake of the Parkland shooting yesterday:”

    You’re right on the issue of guns, but your arguments are no less boring and rehashed. The whole debate, including those who rush to the to defense weapons, is annoying at this point.

  8. 1. I agree it is old, from both sides. Small point: this happens everywhere, Mr. Murphy. Ever heard of Norway’s ’22 Juli’ attacks? 77 dead, over 100 injured.

    2. Plu-eeeze. Another progressive with faux tears ala’ Shaumer. That too cynical? Sorry, got too much experience with the cynical left and their emotional appeals.

    3. Warren is a fraud. How did she get in from of an Indian organization? Must have been something in it for the Indians, huh?

    4. Live life in balance. Too much emphasis on ‘things’ and you miss out on family, friends, and true happiness.

  9. Regarding number 1.

    – These people claim that we “do nothing” regarding murder. How then, are murderers in prison? Is it just sheer coincidence that they are serving life sentences or on death row? If not, why is punishing murderers not considered “doing something”?

    – “This happens nowhere else”. Does “nowhere else” include Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, and South Africa?

    – These people claim that no one is talking about banning guns. How then, did guns get banned in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.? How did guns get banned in South Carolina in 1902 if no one ever talked about banning guns?

    – These people claim to want “sensible” gun legislation. Why did none of them call for repealing the handgun bans in Chicago and Washington? Or for laws authorizing police to arbitrarily deny permits to carry firearms, even if the applicant meets all objective statutory criteria?

    – Washington, D.C. had a handgun ban in 1982. Were the shootings of Ronald Reagan and James Brady hoaxes? How would such a thing be possible if it was as difficult for John Hinckley to obtain a firearm as it was for Marion Barry to obtain cocaine?

    – These people say that state-level bans do not work because people simply smuggle guns from outside the jurisdiction, and we need national laws. We have national laws on marijuana, and marijuana is smuggled from outside the United States. In order for gun control laws to work, must the United States conquer the whole world? How many servicemen would be willing to fight in a war of conquest for the purpose of disarming Americans at home? How many foreign children would have to be killed to accomplish that objective?

    – Regarding universal background checks, how do they expect the police to to catch a crack dealer selling firearms without running background checks if the police can not catch him for selling crack?

    – Kamala Harris, who at the time was the California Attorney General, said “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” If so, why should not county clerks like Kim Davis be able to use their discretion to determine who can marry?

    – The United States of America already has the highest prison population in the world. How many more prisons would have to be built to accommodate a new population of prisoners who had not even been accused of hurting anyone?

    – The Second Amendment is not the only constitutional provision with adverse public safety implication. While no murder conviction was ever thrown out on Second Amendment grounds, murder convictions have been thrown out on Fourth and Fifth and Sixth Amendment grounds. If these amendments were repealed (or ignored), it would be easier to punish criminals. How many lives would be saved? What would be the price for those lives?

    – More people are killed by black violence than mass shootings. What must be done about blacks? Are the anti-gun violence people willing to abrogate Constitutional protections to go after blacks? If not, what would stop a state that had already abrogated the Constitution regarding the right to keep and bear arms, from doing the same regarding black people?

    • This is a great blend of snarky satire and sublime salience.

    • Comment of the Day. Very well argued.

    • Michael Ejercito,
      Well done Sir, well done!

    • Still Spartan

      Handgun bans in isolated cities or states are meaningless because a person could just go to another state to buy his/her gun. The question is whether a nationwide ban would be effective.

      • There’s no question about that at all. It would require Waco times thousands, ten of thousands. Impossible, and insane.

        • Still Spartan

          I’m not engaging in debate on this. My point is simple — in a nation of 50 states (48 that are contiguous), it’s ridiculous to even point out stats about “gun free zones,” because just about anyone who wants a gun can purchase one legally somewhere else. So let’s just keep the debate focused about things that are actually debatable.

          • If the essential argument about gun-free zones is that the law prohibits law-abiding individuals from having on their persons the ability to defend themselves from law-breakers, then the argument IS a valid one.

            But yes, if the essential argument about gun-free zones is that they don’t stop law-breakers from getting weapons, then yes, it isn’t valid.

            Luckily, I very rarely hear the 2nd argument and more often hear the 1st.

            • texagg04 wrote, “if the essential argument about gun-free zones is that they don’t stop law-breakers from getting weapons…”

              I have never heard that argument until I read your comment. The argument I’ve heard most about gun-free zones is that gun-free zones do not actually prevent persons with guns from entering the zone.

              As with most laws, they are more like honor systems that have consequences if caught violating the law.

              • It’s a rewording of the same invalid argument.

                Again, the valid argument against gun-free zones is that they only prevent law-followers from having the means to defend themselves from law-breakers. The invalid argument against gun-free zones is that they don’t work to prevent law-breakers from having guns in the gun free-zone…because as Spartan says, the guns can be easily obtained from non-gun-free-zones.

                • Yes, but even assuming that guns could be obtained from non-gun-free zones, how do people with guns get inside gun-free zones with guns?

                • I wrote, “…gun-free zones do not actually prevent persons with guns from entering the zone.”

                  texagg04 wrote, “It’s a rewording of the same invalid argument.”

                  Did I misunderstand you? If not; please explain how “gun-free zones do not actually prevent persons with guns from entering the zone” is an invalid argument.

                  • Because Spartan’s response “criminals can get guns elsewhere” IS a valid response. See, she’s able to use scale and recognize that the “gun-free zone” laws that supposedly protect schools and hospitals are miniature versions of “hand gun bans” inside of cities or other firearms limitations that some entire states maintain…that all a bad person has to do is go to the next jurisdiction over and get a gun and bring it in.

                    Now, you use scale and recognize this.

                    It’s true, gun-free zones are voided by the fact the right next door there are not gun-free zones…

                    Therefore the only *valid* argument against “gun free zones” is that the law abiding are dispossessed of any means of defending themselves from those who will break the law. In the imaginary situation where a school is not a gun-free zone, the would be shooter can still come in with a gun. The difference is that now, those who feel empowered to carry in self-defense now will be able to do so because they are law-abiding.

                  • You see, the burden on you is to explain *why* it’s a problem that gun-free zones do not stop would be criminals. And the argument is that “well they are going to do it anyway” doesn’t explain why it’s a problem.

                    It does explain why it’s a problem once include the *valid* argument: that no law abiding individual in a gun free zone has the capability to stop a would-be shooter.

                    • Thanks for trying to explain.

                      I’ll wade through and ponder your explanation.

                    • And to be clear, I don’t think Spartans argument is valid once it is taken to it’s logical conclusion: Nation-wide gun Ban. For all the reasons, you and Ejercito list and for all the reasons we’ve discussed here ad nauseum – gun ownership is a subsidiary component of an essential American value: empowerment of individuals against nefarious actors (criminal or governmental) and the American value of checks and balances within the Federal framework. That claiming the ‘success’ of other nations who do ban guns ignores their other cultural attributes that go along with suppression of the individual and disempowerment of the people…qualities that lead to results I’m frankly not impressed with.

                      I just think though, that we should stick to strong-side arguments, which is why I think the only valid argument against gun-free zones is that they disempower the law-abiding.

                    • Still Spartan

                      Thanks Tex. While I don’t agree with your ultimate conclusion, at least we are on the same page. Arguments are pointless unless we agree on the essential points to be discussed.

      • Given our experience with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and illegal immigration, the answer must be no.

      • Still Spartan wrote, “Handgun bans in isolated cities or states are meaningless because a person could just go to another state to buy his/her gun. The question is whether a nationwide ban would be effective.”

        We have vast experience in banning things that people want, or making them illegal, it hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work in the future.

        We need to learn from our own banning mistakes and address the individuals that choose to murder others regardless of the tool they use to perform the murder. The tool does not force the murderer to murder, it’s the person that makes the choice to murder.

        P.S. I think attempting a nation wide federal ban on handguns would be insane, unconstitutional, and would likely start a civil war overnight.

  10. An update.

    I know you debunked this, and yet, the anti-gun cult continues.

    They are almost as dishonest as Holocaust deniers!

    • Anti-gun cult propaganda in its “finest” form. Even after it’s been debunked many times, they lay it on thick as if it’s fact and it swallows up more ignorant people in it’s wake.

  11. #1 We do have a serious problem. Have we learned nothing about soft targets over the years? Most schools are relatively easy accessible soft targets and there are many of them in every city and town all across this country. Gun free school zones don’t work to stop these kind of incidents and neither will banning look alike firearms. Shouldn’t we be actively addressing this serious soft target problem?

    Queue the argument saying something like, “what will it teach our children if we lock them up in armed encampment schools?”

    Okay, discuss.

    • Weelllll… here in Texas, they might not be so soft as that. My local school district (a dozen locations) has armored glass lobbies which function as man traps. You have to show your Driver’s License (which is checked in the computer) and wear a badge while on the premises… and if they don’t know you, with an existing background check on file, you are escorted to and from your destination. Exterior doors are locked, and tall, tastful fences protect most avenues of approach. Lockdown procedures practiced regularly. Cameras everywhere. Armed local police officer on campus during school day.

      And so far (knock on wood) we have had no incidences that caused injuries. We HAVE caught potential bad actors who might have had massacre ideas before they could act… but none have confessed to that intention (of course not)

      My wife is a teacher, so I hear ‘inside poop’ often.

      We are very protective of our kids, in a physical way. We have other issues (drugs, grade inflation and cheating, etc…) but this one was gotten on after Sandy Hook.

      The kids don’t see it as an armed camp, either.

      • Still Spartan

        Does any of this prevent a kid from bringing a gun to school?

        • Aha! Good point, as most of this is aimed at the external threat, the shooter who is not a student.

          Our High School Principal came out with a letter this morning, showing the ongoing policy for the student shooter angle. This was sent to teachers and staff, and I got it courtesy of my wife, a teacher. (bold is mine)

          As I look back on this week, I think about all the positive things taking place here. We have kids competing at State competitions, teams in playoffs, in addition to all the great things taking place in the classroom. Our hospitality committee provided a great lunch on Valentine’s Day, and the list goes on and on. When I hear about the events that took place in Florida this week. I think about how blessed we are that we have not had to face a situation like that, and pray we never do. I wonder, if there is one thing we could do to prevent it from happening, what would it be? I keep coming back to relationships. I know many of you work hard to build great relationships with kids, and I know some are hard to reach. I asked at our last faculty meeting, could we all choose one student a week to send a positive email home about. If we all had a student in mind, about 120 parents a week would be hearing from us. We may never know what that could mean in that students life or ours. I hope you all have a great Friday. Thank you for all you do.

          This policy of establishing relationships with students has stopped several potential students shootings in the past couple of years.

          It would not have stopped Florida, but in that case, the flags were missed from so many angles. Did the teachers know what the students are now saying was ‘common knowledge?’ In Texas, my area anyway, the kid would have been in front of police the first time a teacher was told about the potential threat. His social media alone would have gotten him in court, and on the radar years ago. Such as Nick Cruz simply do not go to school, if those flags are discovered by ANY school employee.

          No system is perfect. We protect where we can.

    • I live in Broward County, in a very similar city to Parkland (Weston). A lot of the schools do have an armed deputy assigned to it, including that school. It’s a big school though, and even with only one official way in and out, the person was an ex-student and knew the layout. Likely hopped a fence and had a way in. The armed guard apparently never encountered the shooter (who likely just went where the guard wouldn’t be, shot up the area and left). Even if there were, their first act would likely be to shoot the guard then.

    • Not an issue locally… wife is a teacher, and news (gossip) travels fast. If anything, we react too quickly, when someone acts strange. Teachers are encouraged to tell suspicions, even if it breaks a confidence from a student. Texas law also demands this, in certain circumstances.

      I can see this in the Snowflake States, however.

    • It’s always been like that, this isn’t some recent PC thing. Don’t be a snitch. No one likes a tattle-tale. I have heard those from when I was a little kid. And, generally, the person who tells is shunned by others (or as a whistleblower you can kiss your job, and likely a lot of future ones, good-bye if you do so).

  12. Isaac

    I was listening to the updates on the radio in the car as the story broke. Some of the bodies were literally not yet warm (there were still people dying in the hospital) when a Democrat from Florida got on a microphone and began harping on the gun control issue, directly attacking Republicans.

    I don’t remember who he was (a House member I believe) but the gist of it was, “We tried. The Republicans wouldn’t even allow us to make it illegal for people on a terrorist watch list to buy guns. They won’t given an inch. We haven’t been able to do anything as long as they’re in power.”

    Now, to any of you NOT among the “stupid American voters” upon which politicians of this stripe can faithfully rely, this was a maddeningly sleazy statement. Both dishonest, and malicious, in every despicable way.

    The bill he was referring to was introduced by Dianne Feinstein, in 2015. It was a complete nonstarter that would have more or less officially made the USA a totalitarian state. Nevertheless, almost every single Democrat supported it.

    The arguments explaining to them why such a law was unconstitutional were made very clear to the entire Senate, and frankly, if the Democrats had any scruples, they would have scrapped the bill and apologized for wasting everyone’s time. The reason for this was simple. Terrorist watch-lists do not involve any due process, and people on such lists are NOT actually terrorists, merely suspects. They have committed no crime.

    To deny an American citizen of a legal right just because they’ve been placed on a secret government watch list (the same list that has blocked celebrities, little kids, and grandmas from getting on airplanes for various stupid reasons) is unacceptable in a free country. Feinstein knew it when she proposed the Constitution-shredding bill in the first place. It was stupid and destined to fail, even if you assume that it was proposed with good intentions.

    NBC’s take on the failed bill was, “GOP blocks bill to stop terrorists from buying guns.” Because of course it was.

    Three years later, and this brain fart of a Democratic failure is recycled into effective propaganda. Grownups just can’t win.

  13. My observation:

    My FB friends on the left are running unchecked
    My FB friends on the right are letting them and staying completely silent
    This is resulting in a leftist echo chamber with no perspective or gauge of our country and society
    Result will be the same culminating in everyone befuddled as to how Republicans were able to keep control of the House and the Senate in November.

    • Lemme guess, they are primarily leading with commentary from the victims on site as though their emotionally compromised condition makes them experts on a complex issue?

      • God no. That, appeals to emotionalism, would be refreshing at this point. It’s literally the same crap from 1999
        1) NRA is Evil
        2) Do Something

        • Well apparently the narrative now is that the NRA is just a Russian-stooge.

          I never knew the Left-wing sitcom had so many episodes involving shark jumps this season…

          • While I’ve enjoyed the “buddy-cop” show that my Senators have put on lately to show bipartisanship (Michael Bennet [D], Cory Gardner [R]) particularly on finding solutions to immigration etc, I have to pick on Bennet here for this tweet where he literally says “Do Something.”

    • Then there are those that are not letting them run unchecked by challenging the echo chamber with facts and logic and their comments are intentionally being deleted thus maintaining the leftist echo chamber.

      • I don’t get the sense that is happening, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. I’m cherry picking low hanging fruit that won’t get me blocked…unlike my counterparts, I don’t want to live in an echo chamber and if all I get to do is read the illogical rants of the left, I’ll take it.

        • Tim,
          I’m seeing that some Progressives, not all, will actively delete things that have the potential to infect their echo chamber. Something as simple as stating the simple fact that the firearm that the shooter just used in Florida is not actually an automatic rifle or an assault rifle is subject to deletion and public ridicule.

          I’ve been unfriended by four Progressives in the last couple of days just because I’ve posted some facts that directly contradict their echo chamber. How dare I say that they can pass any gun law they want as long as it doesn’t violate the United States Constitution; that one was deleted from absolutely every conversation I was part of on every Progressive’s Facebook profile page calling for more gun laws.

  14. Sue Dunim

    Routine, regular massacres of children at schools are an integral part of US society and culture.

    No one sane thinks this is desirable, but apparently they can’t be prevented without consequences deemed even worse.

    • “Integral Part” is wild hyperbole.
      Otherwise, correct.

    • Routine, regular massacres of children at schools are an integral part of US society and culture.

      Let’s look at this, using simple math.

      How many kids attend school each day in the US? Say 50 million, from NCES. Okay, how many hours a day are they in school? Say 6 hours. Could be more, but take the minimum case. This is about 300 million man hours per day. How many kids die in school from shooting each year? Let’s go with 100, a nice round number. This is about 8 kids a month, if they attended school 12 months a year. That changes to 10 per month for the 10 month school year.

      How many automobiles are in the US? Say 300 million private vehicles, each on the road for an average of 1 hours a day for the sake of our example. Again, about 300 million man hours, as in ‘manned vehicles being driven’ each day.

      How many deaths each year in cars? Wikipedia says about 40,000 die each year, or about . This is about 110 per day, so round to 100 each day. This is 3,000 car crash deaths per month, in the general population.

      How many of them are kids? ASIRT.org thinks there are 1,600 under age 15 each year, and estimate another 8,000 for drivers age 16-20. For the sake of argument, say 5,000 school age deaths per year, or about 400 per month.

      I think you see where this is going. A child is far more safe in school than in a car. 40 times more safe, using my very conservative rule of thumb numbers.

      That makes your assertion wild hyperbole based on logical numbers.

  15. I just ran across this on Facebook…

    A) 1967 – Jayne Mansfield is killed when her car runs under the rear end of a tractor trailer. Since then, all trailers have a DOT bar at the rear to keep cars from going under them.

    B) 1982 – Seven people die when Tylenol packaging was tampered with. Since then, it takes a PhD, channel locks, and a sharp object to get into a bottle of pills.

    C) 1995 – A bombing using a certain kind of fertilizer, solution grade ammonium nitrate, killed 168 people, so the government imposed severe restrictions on the purchase of that fertilizer.

    D) 2001 – One person attempts to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb. Since then, all air travelers have to take off their shoes for scanning before being allowed to board.

    E) Since 1968 – 1,516,863 people have died from guns on American soil. Gun violence kills an average of 168 people every two days! Now, the problem apparently can’t be solved except with thoughts and prayers.

    That was the whole argument. I didn’t bother to check their data.

    Interesting but irrelevant comparisons; how about I add this one just for fun…

    F) Since 1968 – 2,129,606 people have died from vehicle crashes on American roads. Vehicle crashes kill and average of 236 people every two days! People are being killed on American roads at an average rate that’s 40% higher than gun deaths but yet the focus of anti-gun activists trying to “save lives” is on the lesser of two problems.

    • Isaac

      1920: Alcohol kills thousands of people yearly by drunkenness leading to violent crime, domestic abuse, and alcohol issues. So Congress passed prohibition. Now you cannot legally buy alcohol.

    • Sue Dunim

      Seat belts. Air bags. Crumple zones. Rates of death have drastically decreased as the result of such measures, despite significant pushback regarding infringement of civil liberties, and cost to car makers.

      In my lifetime, the rate has decreased by a factor of 6. Is there still a way to go? Yes. Is it being worked on? Yes. Is there still a pushback against laws mandating seatbelts because American Freedom? Oh yes. Are there still arguments that seatbelts aren’t effective, that they actually take lives? Yes. Many proven effective measures such as nationwide random breath testing are not acceptable in the US. Others, such as confiscation of the vehicle if the owner/driver is radically intoxicated are also unacceptable. So are long sentences for negligent homicide.

  16. Joshua Black hit one out of the park!

  17. Some people simply refuse to even try to understand what the 2nd Amendment is all about.

    • I’m hearing rumbles again from far left Progressives about modifying the 2nd Amendment so citizens can’t own firearms. One complete imbecile actually said, I’m paraphrasing, the military should go door-to-door confiscating everyone’s firearms and ammo and anyone that hides their firearms should be thrown in prison.

      • Did you ask him why crack dealers are still selling crack to kids on the playground even though the military did that with respect to illegal drugs?

        Also, please provide a link to that site where you saw that comment./

        • Michael Ejercito wrote, “Did you ask him why crack dealers are still selling crack to kids on the playground even though the military did that with respect to illegal drugs?”

          Nope, I didn’t ask her that. That’s not how I deal with this kind of thing, I deal with what they actually said.

          Michael Ejercito wrote, “Also, please provide a link to that site where you saw that comment.”

          It’s pretty hard to provide a link to a personal conversation that’s verbal. I did mention that such an action would violate the constitution in multiple ways, the response from that particular person was, and I quote, “well the constitution is wrong!” – stupid people don’t know they’re stupid.

          • The increasing burden placed on those of us who would protect our Rights from statist encroachment is that we can no longer rely on saying “Because the Constitution says so”…as the progressive indoctrination camps public school system no longer teaches appreciation of or respect for the Constitution…nor can we even rely on saying “Because it is our right”…because the same nefarious forces no longer teach what the basis of actual rights are.

            No, our increasing burden when arguing against those whose worldview has been primarily sculpted by Left-leaning education, is before we even get to say things like “we have the right to bear arms and such-and-such a policy infringes on that” or “we have freedom of speech and such-and-such attitude encroaches on that” or “we are protected by Due Process and such-and-such bill will undermine that” is that we have to go back to the drawing board and explain why those base rights are even considered rights and what rights actually are.

      • Door to door confiscation, where the homeowner knows they are coming sometime, will result in so many deaths for the confiscators (and the citizens) that no one will continue it past the first month.

        Other methods might save lives, but if they are going door to door, there will be no guns to find in the first place. You gonna dig up the entire state of Texas?

        We are in a hot shooting Civil War far before that.

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