Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2018 President’s Day Edition” [#2]

The first time I mentioned the now burgeoning effort by anti-gun advocates to turn the emotional blackmail portion of the current push to children, Chris Marschner issued a typically tightly reasoned examination of the debate ending with, “I’d be happy to discuss my ideas with any of the kids now being paraded before the public on this subject.”

I’m sure that was sincere, though, as you will see, stated with a bit of an edge, as you will soon see.None of these nascent cable news stars would be capable of discussing the topic with him, except in the most rudimentary fashion. . This is the state of affairs that sparked my previous post, making Chris’s Comment of the Day especially apt. And sharp.

Here it is, on the post Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2018 President’s Day Edition:

I really do not know what is meant by the term “common sense gun control”. Given that it is a relatively amorphous phrase it is difficult for me to reject or accept the argument that we need even more common sense gun control.

I have no problem with background checks or even enhanced background checks but it seems to me that, given that school shootings are often committed by young people, that common sense would indicate that we eliminate the rules to seal a juvenile’s police records, their medical records, and school disciplinary actions. If we had common sense regulations that would allow government officials to ferret out socially aberrant behaviors and intervene beforehand many if not all of these shootings could have been avoided without having to infringe on the rights of law abiding gun owners.

Furthermore, common sense would tell us that if we gave the government the power to review all online posts we might be able to also ferret out cyber bullies and their victims which leads to more deaths annually than school shooters. According to :

1.”Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year.
2.In the U.S., suicide rates are highest during the spring.
3.Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds.
4.On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.
5.Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people.
6.About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number 1 cause of suicide.
7.There is 1 suicide for every 25 attempted suicides.
8.Males make up 79% of all suicides, while women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts.
9.1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.
10.There are 2 times as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.
11.Over 50% of all suicides are completed with a firearm. ”

Think of it, one person dies at their own hand every 16.2 minutes. We need legislation to stop this. We need legislation to stop the cyber bullies. We need legislation to stop the carnage. We must think of the children. We cannot simply focus on the firearm because nearly half do not use a firearm to kill themselves. We can do more than simply control firearms. We must stop the killing by any means.

To do that we need to have the power to find out what these kids are thinking, what they are doing, who are they communicating with, and hold people accountable for creating the conditions that lead these innocent children into committing acts of violence upon themselves and affecting all those around them. We can no longer afford to maintain the idea that privacy is more important than children’s lives.

According to, they recommend:

“Keep weapons and medications away from anyone who is at risk for suicide. Get these items out of the house or at least securely locked up.
Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. It may be embarrassing for kids to admit they are the victims of bullying, and most kids don’t want to admit they have been involved in bullying. Tell victims that it’s not their fault that they are being bullied and show them love and support. Get them professional help if the bullying is serious.It is a good idea for parents to insist on being included in their children’s friends on social networking sites so they can see if someone has posted mean messages about them online. Text messages may be more difficult to know about, so parents should try to keep open communications with their children about bullying.”

It seems to me that theses recommendations would be appropriate for all children and young adults. We should be as concerned for the children that direct their violent tendencies inwardly, as in suicide, or outwardly, as in shooting others. Does it matter if the child dies at the hand of another or by taking his/her own life if outside forces precipitated the event? We must hold the outside forces accountable. That includes the purveyors of mindless warfare video games, movies that depict massive amounts of graphic violence such as Halo 3 that tend to dull the child’s ability to empathize, TV programs such as Snapped or Killer Couples that depict killers and their crimes, and we should not forget violent sporting events such as MMA that teach kids to cheer for the warrior who can beat the pulp out of his/her opponent. All this should be banned if we want a safer, more harmonious society. I am not suggesting that all video games, TV, and movies should be banned just the ones that show people being hurt as a form of entertainment. Finally, we must hold the parents, teachers and school administrators who are in a position to know which children are the problem and who do nothing to turn them into the authorities.

Let’s bring these kids into the conversation and tell them why it is necessary for them to give up their privacy and other rights so that others can be protected. Parents and authorities need to make these kids understand that we cannot guarantee their safety without having the ability to monitor all of their online and offline activities without question. They need to understand that it is the price they must pay to ensure their safety.

I’d be happy to discuss my ideas with any of the kids now being paraded before the public on this subject.


179 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2018 President’s Day Edition” [#2]

  1. “I’d be happy to discuss my ideas with any of the kids now being paraded before the public on this subject.”

    Careful what you wish for.

    We don’t go into debates with Holocaust deniers because we know, regardless of the legion of facts and logic on our side, the Holocaust denier is already operating from an angle that involves tossing all of that out the window. We always lose arguments to Holocaust deniers…not because we are wrong and they are right…but because they do not ever even intend on approaching the topic from a route that involves logical refutation.

    Arguing with an articulate child, especially one armed with the latest snark, I’m afraid would be much like that.

  2. From the Daily Beast:

    “George and Amal Clooney are donating $500,000 for a student-led gun-control march taking place next month, and Oprah Winfrey is matching the couple’s donation. “These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the ’60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard,” she announced on Twitter. Later Tuesday, the Spielberg and Katzenberg families said they would also contribute $500,000 each. The event is taking place on March 24 in Washington, D.C., and the Clooneys said they will attend. The march is being organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman opened fire last Wednesday, killing 17 people.”

    Absolutely shameless.

          • In the meantime, let us take a look at what Andy Gill wrote:

            All this to say, with the existence of our oppressively ruthless oligarchical system I get highly skeptical of when privileged folk begin to legislate and (inadvertently?) declare this “war on ‘guns.’” Is it not fair to think that this will seemingly only take us one step closer to legalizing things such as “New York City’s morally indefensible racial dragnet program called stop-and-frisk,” or at the very least give more “reason” to the militarization of police perpetuating a culture of brutality?
            Not many people know this but the “the KKK began as a gun-control organization…” As The Wall Street Journal acknowledged, “It was a constant pressure among white racists to keep guns out of the hands of African-Americans, because they would rise up and revolt.” While in 2003 the book “The Challenge of Crime” acknowledged that felons or “second-class citizens,” own the majority of stolen or illegally owned guns many who I suppose have been imprisoned for drug offenses.


            These young people do not remind me of freedom riders; they remind me of a cross burning in 1910 Mississippi and the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville.

                  • The Freedom Riders marched for freedom.

                    The neo-Nazis in Skokie and Charlottesville marched against freedom.

                    These kids plan to march against freedom.

                    It is pretty clear which group more closely resembles these kids.

                    • Michael, I do NOT see the parallel.

                      You’re equating freedom of human rights, e.g. free speech, with freedom to own guns. Yes they’re both in the constitution: but one of them has the potential to physically harm others.

                      Remember “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”

                      I’ll grand you some hate speech can be hurtful, but that’s all too often a snowflake argument. Not too many people die from others’ exercise of free speech in our society today.

                      On the other hand, freedom for a mentally deranged teenager to legally buy an AR-15 carries with it some pretty serious potential to infringe on the very lives of lots of other people.

                      The simple equation of “freedom” masks some serious issues. This is a case of “a difference without a distinction.”

                    • On the other hand, freedom for a mentally deranged teenager to legally buy an AR-15 carries with it some pretty serious potential to infringe on the very lives of lots of other people.

                      Which mentally deranged teenager was that?

                  • Which is, as I’m sure you know, moronic, simple-minded, and like essentially totalitarian. If there is a right to be protected from all misfortune and random violence, then the only alternative is a lock-down police state. Of course, they are kids, so I don’t blame them for not understanding that. I do blame adults who are priming them, however.

                    • The whole discussion of “rights” is fraught.

                      What about the “right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” for example?

                      Alizia has a good suggestion that we need a “long form” answer. Here’s a very small, partial attempt to contribute to that long form.

                      Any time one ideological group moves to the extreme, it’s likely to provoke a similar reaction on the opposite side. That’s exactly what’s playing out now in the guns debate.

                      The more you get people equating neo-Nazi marches to high school kids going to Tallahassee, the more you’re going to find Andrew Ross Sorkin, a Wall Streeter and CNBC host, suggesting that financial firms using their credit card power to enforce limitations on guns. I’m actually now seeing posts advocating the repeal of the 2nd amendment (not the same as advocating elimination of guns, to be clear, just their constitutional right). And you’re already seeing veterans groups, police forces, and military personnel (including in Israel and Switzerland) drawing sharp lines between their carefully monitored approach to heavily armed populations and our own.

                      This is not limited to guns, or to the Right. The same over-obsession with “rights” leads the Left to absurdities of micro-aggressions and snowflakes, as many others have amply pointed out in these pages.

                      The bigger issue – to Alizia’s point, albeit obliquely – is polarization in the guise of principle.

                      The problem with “principled behavior” is it too often ends up with others advocating contrary principles, each with God on their side.

                      One of the unfortunate results of the cultural divide of our times is that politicians have become the most reviled of professionals. It used to be that politics was the art of compromise, with all in service to a higher principle. (Of course, it’s their own damn fault, as it is all of our faults, to have fallen under the sway of “principled” beliefs).

                      The big thing I hear here is yet another debate with ever-polarizing sides. The recent outbreak of incivility on these pages is a canary in the coal mine.

                      On the gun issue in particular, I’ll hazard a guess at a prediction: there are only going to be more mass shootings, and that will politically sway more of the broad middle to the cause of some form of regulation. Just a prediction.

                      In case anyone confuses that with advocacy, let me also predict that there is only going to be more left-based obsession with individual ‘rights’ not to be offended on campuses and on the Left Coast; which will also have the predictable result of losing more elections to ‘populist’ causes like Trump, perhaps resulting in his re-election in 2020 (if he can keep from being impeached).

                      Both sides, believing they are principled, are provoking equal and opposite reactions on the other side. On this day of Billy Graham’s passing, it’s worth asking, “Where is someone who can speak to both sides?”

                      To that one I do not have an answer.

                  • Spartan wrote: “I’m pretty sure that in their minds they are marching for the right to remain alive while attending school.”

                    There would be at least something to be gained through seeing that these kids are not operating independently. They are being directed by persons, groups, and also interests, that are essentially turning them into a sort of children’s mobile political theatre.

                    Certainly they have their own and likely very traumatized feelings about what happened, but not to notice and talk about the forces that are empowering and motivating these kids, somewhat cynically, is not very good seeing.

                    • So? Kids also can be hard-wired to be Republican or God-fearing. How many people truly act independently, with no influence from parents, educators, peers, religious leaders, or even the freaking Kardashians? If groups of kids want to ban together to support the 2A full throttle, the same observation could be made.

                    • So? Kids also can be hard-wired to be Republican or God-fearing. How many people truly act independently, with no influence from parents, educators, peers, religious leaders, or even the freaking Kardashians? If groups of kids want to ban together to support the 2A full throttle, the same observation could be made.

                      Your comment was that they were marching for the right to stay alive in their classroom.

                      I stated that they are being picked up and possibly also exploited and used for far larger political purposes.

                      Their ‘desire to stay alive in the classroom’ is therefor being cynically exploited by social, governmental and other political forces that have an issue with the Second Ammendment. They are becoming the tool of anti-Constitutional forces therefor.

                      Whether one is a Kardashian, a Democrat, a Republican, religious or irreligious should not (it seems to me) provide an excuse for anti-constitutional activism.

                      (There is one advantage to having Kardashian on your side though: that ample posterior to provide cover in a gunfight.)

              • It requires an act of the will to avoid being sophistically tricked by some of the ‘arguments’ that are coming out in our present. Because I am interested in this topic in a general sense (the unraveling of lies and sophistries), and feel that in America and among Americans there is a tremendously foggy and chaotic intellectual environment that leads to confusion and mystification and which I also feel is beginning to be penetrated and lifted and in which process the New Right has a role, I feel *duty bound* to linger a moment and devote time to seeing and understanding what is put forward, who is putting it forward, why it is being put forward, and whether or not it is sound or not.

                When narratives get twisted and blended together, when lies are wrapped up with truths, when partial truths are presented in devious forms, and when a given person cannot separate and order the different elements, one ends up in ‘intellectual chaos’ and the prime ground of ‘sophistry’.

                But first a bit of background to the term ‘sophism’. The element I will focus on comes from the Greek natural historians and there the word pops up in relation to the tactic of certain animals, and plants, to ‘appear to be what they are not’. The tricks of Nature of this sort are ‘natural sophistries’. So, the cuttlefish, the anglerfish, the Venus Fly Trap employ ‘sophistries’ in order to trick and deceive their victims, the object being to consume them of course.

                If I am not mistaken the Sophists of Hellens were instructors and teachers who would teach the youths of the day how to advance themselves and their carreers, which is to say to teach youth how to employ sophistry to cover or to camouflage their desire for power.

                So, when Andy Gill speaks of the ‘war on drugs’ and mentions the term ‘oligarch’, I do not think that he can be said to be wrong. Neither does it seem to me that he is wrong to suppose, as he seems to imply, that the government is likely interested in the disarming of the population, and yet he draws a parallel to NYC police frisking people for weapons, which in Andy Gill’s view is comparable to Second Amendment violation, and links disarmament with the original efforts of the KKK. But he is also tying his view to the idea, to the perception, that the government itself, the ‘oligarchy’, is involved in or foments a ‘war on drugs’ which is really a ‘war on people’ but especially a war on POC.

                It is an odd argument given that, today at least, the political establishment is one that is intimately wrapped up with egalitarian projects. Yet it is true that the War on Drugs turned out to be in many respects a war against the lower classes and as a result (because of lower economic status) a war that turned out very badly for POC.

                I find this to be an extremely difficult area to sort through. How could one possibly break this down into parts that could be analyzed?

                I came across an idea that interested me: the notion of intelligence agencies, and the art of the intelligence agency, as a sort of ‘applied anthropology’. I first came in contact with the term in Mexico. Antropología Aplicada: I had a friend who introduced me to some older Marxists who studied anthropology in Mexico City and developed doctrines about applied anthropology which is to say ‘social engineering’. Social engineering is therefor a sort of applied anthropology and it is curious to think of our own intelligence agencies as involved in the application of ‘social doctrines’.

                I find that I am inclined to accept the notion of an ‘oligarchical class’ that, through various means, influences and perhaps one can say ‘controls’ (to one degree or another) the social and cultural world. But if that is so, how shall that be looked at when one considered the American Constitutional forms? An elite that operates para-democratically and para-constitutionally cannot be seen as being ‘constitutional’. Yet if this is true it is the Constitutionalist that should have the better and the best argument against these sorts of inliltrations or usurpations.

                Yet it is nearly impossible to locate a constitutional conservative who speaks about these things or speaks against them.

                What is really going on in Our Present? Who has the understanding and the background to *see* and to *explain*? How can one cut through the ‘sophistries’ that seem to become evermore mindbendingly complex and impenetrable?

                Jessup: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?
                Kaffee: I think I’m entitled!
                Jessup: You want answers?!
                Kaffee: I want the truth!
                Jessup: You can’t handle the truth!

                Now, I’ll give you the first part of the beginning of an answer, please feel free to fill in the rest. I am waiting …..

                Jessup: Son, we live in a world that …..

              • Michael: ”The kids plan to march against freedom, like the marchers in Skokie and Charlottesville.

                Charles: ”March against freedom? Like Skokie and Charlottesville?
                I repeat—do you hear yourself?

                I had to look up ‘Skokie’. I assume that this reference is to the 1977 American Nazi march through Skokie? And that a parallel is to be drawn between that and the Charlottesville ‘Unite the Right Rally’?

                I lose the sense of what is actually being said, much less defended. Look, I am just a poor defenseless but neutral Bot who has recently gained her sentience, but please someone sort this out for me!

                I think that what Michael is saying is that the Nazis of 1977 were ‘marching against freedom’. But that is not quite right. They were, if anything, and according to the standard narratives, employing ‘freedom’ and the right to assemble and to demonstrate, but were misguided at best and deliberately benighted, or more or less outrightly evil, at worst.

                But Charlottesville, even by the centrist, must be seen at least somewhat differently. Charlottesville, I would suggest, was a genuine upsurge of indignation by native groups against a more general manifestation of state-sponsored ‘progressivism’ that took the form of taking down monuments which, they felt, had no right to exist.

                Again: How does one sort through these very blended-together narratives and separate them out to the point that they can be rationally grasped? Surely it is not the quick and easy description that will resolve the confusion! There has to be a ‘long-form’ answer, does there not?

              • On the point of comparison, though provocative, he’s not far off. We presume that the neo-nazis, would they ever even hope to gain power, would include robust infringements on Rights that Americans have long held essential to a free society. These children, prodded along by they handlers, have stated their goal is to infringe on a Right that Americans have long held essential to a free society.

                I think “Do you hear yourself” is not a fair rebuttal. I think “gee, maybe I should ask myself what exactly we’re encouraging these children to do, and maybe it isn’t as noble and clean as we think”.

                Of course the children are not marching to toss Jews into ovens, which would be an error on our parts to assume that that is what the analogy was meant to convey.

                I think Ejercito was very successful using such an abrupt and offensive comparison to force the consideration that the goal of the kids may not be so great. If it doesn’t spark that internal consideration, that is worrisome.

                • Any use of the word neo-nazi and any phrase that included the term Nazi, in political debate and discourse in our polarized present, I think needs to be seen as a questionable rhetorical choice.

                  I think I can fairly say that I have a good deal of background about ‘the rightwing critics of American Conservatism’. It is not fair nor accurate to term this wide-ranging group of political ideas as ‘neo-nazi’. I think that such terms obscure clear seeing and should be avoided.

                  But this does not mean that there is no commonality between ‘rightwing reaction’ in America, in the past and also now, and the European Interwar period. Rightwing reaction can be religious and also quite principled and it can also be entirely constitutional.

                  One large part or element of the ‘reaction’ that is coming to the fore in American politics, and which is suppressed and seen as evil and very bad, is a reaction against certain forms of social engineering which are in no sense ‘democratic’. Reaction is often defensive and recoils against currents that it senses will do harm.

                  If one realy wishes to understand rightwing reaction in America right now one had better attempt dialogue with those who are ‘in reaction’.

          • The Freedom Rides. originated by CORE, were separately organized by various local groups such as the NAACP. For the most part the riders (risking their lives!) paid their own way.

        • Or a dry run for real mobilization of the indoctrinated apparatchiks.

          I assume you mean for them to take violence to the streets, in one form or another, to effect change.

          That will never go well for progressives, in my lifetime. Too many LEO, military, and citizens do not buy into the prog crap yet.

          Since I plan on living to 200, we are therefore safe.

          If I step in front of a bus, however, you guys are screwed!

      • “Amal Alamuddin was born in Beirut, Lebanon. However, during the 1980s Lebanese Civil War, the Alamuddin family left Lebanon and settled in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.[5] She was two years old at the time.[6] Her father, Ramzi Alam Uddin, from a Lebanese Druze family from Baakline (a village in the Chouf district),[6][7][8][9][10][11] received his MBA degree at the American University of Beirut and was the owner of COMET travel agency, returned to Lebanon in 1991.[12][13] Her mother, Bariaa Miknass, from a family of Sunni Muslims[14][15] from Tripoli in Northern Lebanon,[14][15] is a foreign editor of the Pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat and a founder of the public relations company International Communication Experts, which is part of a larger company that specializes in celebrity guest bookings, publicity photography, and event promotion.”

        Yo, George and Amal: How about giving half a mil to some gun control in Lebanon? But I guess Iranian missiles are okay. Excuse me.

      • “Open Borders” Clooney is a rank hypocrite.

        “He’s been a fierce critic of President Donald Trump and his plan to build a border wall. But the actor has decided to move his wife Amal and their newborn twins Ella and Alexander back to Los Angeles because of security concerns at his England estate.”

  3. Here is a comment I found on another blog.

    The sad part is all you gun owners don’t remark at all about the victims of these tragedies. It’s all about you and your freaking rights. You don’t have a problem that machine guns have been banned. Is this a stupid comparison, maybe, but to me you sound just as stupid. These people that do these shootings, not just schools, in churches, workplaces, CONCERTS, weren’t criminals before they did these shootings. They were ‘law abiding’ citizens. You all act like you’re all 100% stable, 100% trained. Just because you are doesn’t mean a thing to me, you don’t know about the creepy guy down the street, or the kid being bullied. You don’t know shit. It’s just all about you and your freaking rights. It’s convenient for you to stand behind the 2nd amendment which has been interpreted to suit your desires. Well the Constitution also allowed you to own slaves, and that was changed. YOU people better open your eyes, you are not the majority even though you like to think so. These kids are angry and devastated and are going to grow up to be our leaders someday. Call me all the names you want, you have no empathy and I understand the person that wished harm on their child. You don’t really want their child harmed, but you want that person to feel the pain that these parents are feeling. You people don’t care about them and if you did you’d help come up with solutions rather than acting like the tyrants you fear.

    Here is my response.

    So you want to treat people like criminals even if they lack a criminal history.

    Half of all murders in the U.S. were committed by black people. In fact, more people in the U.S. are killed by black people than mass shootings. So why not treat all black people like criminals, based upon what a tiny subset of them do? We could institute a pass-law system to limit the movements of young black males, like what was done in South Africa in the 1980’s. We can make them live in barbed-wire hostels so that the police could better control their movements. We could simply decree that being black constitutes sufficient probable cause to conduct searches and seizures for contraband. Or maybe we can require only a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to convict black people accused of crimes. After all, if half of all murders are committed by black people, that should carry great weight in courtrooms, right? Why not do these things? Because they are unconstitutional and wrong?

    If you get the sensible gun legislation that you want, and give people like Jesse Helms and Daryl Gates the monopoly on the legal means of armed force, the above probably would happen.

    • You don’t know shit. It’s just all about you and your freaking rights.

      ‘You and your rights. Boy, what a stickler you are for rights. Don’t you understand that sometimes it’s just necessary to ignore rights? What’s the matter with you?’

      This is why the anti-gun side is doomed. They might be more articulate from time to time, but essentially this is the quality of thought for all of them. Anger and emotion and bad logic and history. You know, I heard that stuff about just wait until all these kids get in power, and they’ll change everything. The loused up the colleges and media, all right, and got just enough power to show what doesn’t work, and the smarter ones changed their minds. Some even bought guns.

    • Well Michael, if you want to start drawing ridiculous lines, shouldn’t they be along gender ones? Why don’t we focus on the fact that the vast majority of murders are committed by men?

      • Which is puzzling, since we all know there is absolutely no difference between men and women in any respect whatsoever, and to suggest otherwise is a firing offense. Or so the NLRB just ruled in support of Google…

      • “Why don’t we focus on the fact that the vast majority of murders are committed by men?”

        Nice deflection from abortion. Now, THERE’s a power trip.

      • This was in fact pointed out by Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby over a decade ago.

        Nowhere in “No Exit” is there any breakdown of the crimes that led to the 140,000 life sentences now being served. Yet the report devotes almost obsessive attention — including five statistical tables — to the alleged racial disparity those sentences reflect. About 48 percent of lifers are black, 33 percent are white, and 14 percent are Hispanic. “These figures are consistent with a larger pattern in the criminal justice system,” the report notes, “in which African Americans are represented at an increasingly disproportionate rate across the continuum from arrest through incarceration.”

        Yet the report mentions only in passing another striking disparity: Nearly 97 percent of inmates serving life terms are men. If it is noteworthy that blacks, who account for 12 percent of the general population, make up 48 percent of lifers, shouldn’t it be even more significant that men, who comprise less than half the population at large, represent nearly all those sentenced to life?

        The explanation, of course, is that men commit the vast majority of serious crime; that hard fact, not sexism, explains the disproportionate male incarceration rate.

        Likewise the racial disparity: Though blacks account for just one-eighth of the US population, they are six times more likely than whites to be murdered, and seven times more likely to commit murder. That hard fact, not racism, explains the high proportion of lifers who are black. But such inconvenient facts appear nowhere in the Sentencing Project’s report. “No Exit” brims over with information and statistics — but only the ones that reinforce its sponsor’s preconceived views.

        Of course, to decide whether or not a disparity arises from discrimination, there must be large enough samples sizes, and only sentences handed out by the same judge, or prosecutions carried out by the same prosecutor, can be compared.

        Of course, the mass shooting distinction is a ridiculous line in and of itself. I am old enough to remember when the violence problem was inner city gang violence. I even remember an ad featuring President Bill Clinton with a survivor of inner city gang violence.

        Mass shootings killed less people last year than inner city gang violence did last year, let alone inner city gang violence in 1993.

        If inner city gang violence is the bigger problem, is that not what the state should be focusing on?

  4. So…some oligarchs are colluding to rig elections?! Funding the restless-legs crowds to jam and disrupt the big-city streets yet again, so as to take the rest of the society hostage to their emotion-fueled, ignorance-sustained, ridiculous demands, all the while entitling themselves to that hostage-taking by making it all about themselves and THEIR “freaking rights?!”

    Sorry, Charlie – Michael E is correct. This latest “anti-gun” hysteria is simply a tip of a spear of more patented, post-Reichstag-burning FASCISM. It shall be fought, resisted, and DEFEATED. My hope is to defeat it, before it defeats itself and takes the whole society with it in forced impoverishment.

    Do YOU hear yourself, Charlie?

    • ”restless-legs crowds”

      Heh! Any relation to the: feverish hand-wringin’, deep brow furrowin’, pearls clutchin’, fainting couch floppin’, “Look At Me” bumper sticker affixin’, “I’m Dialed In” lapel ribbon adornin’, and the “Gosh I’m Nice” awareness bracelet wearin’ crowd?

      Lest we forget, the Lefty kill shot/coup de grâce: talking about it and thinking about it.

      • Relations? Why, kissin’ cousins they be! The marchin’, sign-wavin’, slogan-chantin’, finger-pointin’, in-yer-facin’, TV cameras-and-microphones-hoggin’, SOMETHIN’-DOIN’ changers of the world – changing the world like never before, to make it more like it ever was. But of course, they are also the “conversation-havin’.” The kind of “conversation” CNN will be havin’ at 9 Eastern tonight. The kind of “conversation” that can be fairly suspected to pervade Don Lemon’s wet dreams. I plan to tune in, for laughs.

  5. Jack said:
    “…I heard that stuff about just wait until all these kids get in power, and they’ll change everything.”
    Hearing these kids on TV is the wake of the recent school shooting put me immediately in mind of comments from the 60s like “don’t trust anyone over thirty.” (I was a precocious eleven-year-old at the time, and it made perfect sense to me.) Yes, they (we?) were going to fix it all. Fortunately, my parents, church and community kept me firmly grounded in the real world as I approached adulthood, but after high school and college it was interesting to see how most -nearly all- of my “radical” friends went to work and settled down into trying to build a good life in that real world instead of creating utopia. Of course now in my old age I say that “thirty is the new twenty-one,” based on my experiences hiring and training police officers for the last half of my career. I sincerely hope these kids wise up well before thirty.

    • I have found, throughout my life, that liberals held liberal ideals until it came to their personal lives, then went traditional conservative. They treated their kids just like my parents did me. They fight to keep every penny they can when Tax season comes around. And so on. They went with what works, despite espousing crazy ideals for years. They weren’t stupid, just intellectually lazy.

      Progressives, on the other hand, I am not so sure of. Some of them seem to live what they preach. That scares me even more then the classic liberals of old annoyed me.

  6. I hope everyone understands this to be tongue in cheek. Although I would be happy to engage any youngster who believes they can eliminate violence by banning firearms.

  7. I really do not know what is meant by the term “common sense gun control”. Given that it is a relatively amorphous phrase it is difficult for me to reject or accept the argument that we need even more common sense gun control.

    From your lips (fingers?) to God’s ears, Chris. Well done.

  8. Chris Marchner writes: ”It seems to me that theses recommendations would be appropriate for all children and young adults. We should be as concerned for the children that direct their violent tendencies inwardly, as in suicide, or outwardly, as in shooting others. Does it matter if the child dies at the hand of another or by taking his/her own life if outside forces precipitated the event? We must hold the outside forces accountable. That includes the purveyors of mindless warfare video games, movies that depict massive amounts of graphic violence such as Halo 3 that tend to dull the child’s ability to empathize, TV programs such as Snapped or Killer Couples that depict killers and their crimes, and we should not forget violent sporting events such as MMA that teach kids to cheer for the warrior who can beat the pulp out of his/her opponent. All this should be banned if we want a safer, more harmonious society. I am not suggesting that all video games, TV, and movies should be banned just the ones that show people being hurt as a form of entertainment. Finally, we must hold the parents, teachers and school administrators who are in a position to know which children are the problem and who do nothing to turn them into the authorities.”

    I am reminded of something that Jack recently said that got me thinking. He was talking about pornography and that it is impossible to enact any legislation against it because it is ‘protected speech’. And that the only possible activity against it is ‘more speech’. If I understood what he meant correctly this means that the only tool we have and anyone has is only that of talking and communicating to other people (in this case about the destructiveness of porn).

    Though I certainly get that your presentation was ‘couched in irony’, nevertheless you point to an interesting fact. What is that fact? I would say it is that we live in a time when freedom became licence to do, think, believe, feel, live and to teach any particular thing no matter how ‘deviant’ it may once have seemed, no matter how ‘the social voice’ (the authority of a culture) might have condemned it, suppressed it, and excluded it, and that this freedom-licence has extended into all categories. Did this come about through rational processes and rational choices? That is a very hard question to answer but I think the answer is ‘no’. It came about through the unleashing of appetite and desire and this unleashing was justified through rationalization.

    What I find interesting is that the only ‘cure’ that is available, the only line of action available to the activist-reformed (still thinking here of porn) is ‘more speech’. It is implied that reason must curb appetite.

    What is additionally curious is the notion of ‘the marketing of evil’. When a corporation, say, uses its ‘free speech’ and ‘persuasion’ (persuasive speech) to present opportunities to people (kids for example) that represent sexual temptations, or temptations to saturate oneself in violence, or any number of different temptations and enticements (for example through MTV et cetera), but that no one has any right to oppose what they do! The only thing you could do is a) block your ears and eyes and b) set up separate spaces where the outside influence was kept outside, and c) communicate to others that ‘markeing of evil’ goes on in our present and must be resisted.

    What I find odd in this is that it means, effectively, that one is powerless against larger concentrations of capital (which often means ‘more power and interest to persuade’) and one must simply sit back and take it, or adapt.

    Finally, we must hold the parents, teachers and school administrators who are in a position to know which children are the problem and who do nothing to turn them into the authorities.

    The problem is that, indeed and in truth, people are certainly and undoubtedly influenced and informed by influences and stimulants that are formed outside of themselves. And anyone with ‘something to say’, which is to say any sophistry, any mistruth, any partial truth, any half lie, any economic object, any power object, is give free rein to present itself, sell itself, interprenetrate itself where it will and no one has any right to stop it.

    The implication here is that when a society loses its bearings, and loses its will to enforce social values, moral values, ethical values that once had a root in the individual’s sense of right and wrong, and that outside interests and ‘power-concentrations’ are given the greater power to influence and no one and nothing can act against them, that these power concentrations will slowly and surely seduce the society and render it subservient to non-values and even to anti-values.

    • The implication here is that when a society loses its bearings, and loses its will to enforce social values, moral values, ethical values that once had a root in the individual’s sense of right and wrong, and that outside interests and ‘power-concentrations’ are given the greater power to influence and no one and nothing can act against them, that these power concentrations will slowly and surely seduce the society and render it subservient to non-values and even to anti-values.

      It would seem that for a ‘corporation’ or a particular power-concentration, or government interest associated with corporate interest that is interested in extending itself into the social body without objection and resistance, that it must itself defeat moral systems or ethical structures, and that it must enact its sophisms by defeating in the individual all that could resist it and what it wants and does.

      Therefor, it is possible to suggest that we live in a time when private concentrations of power (speech, economic interest, social interest) have taken to themselves the essential capacity and the role of structuring the individual; to create in a sense, through de-creation of a former strong and committed moral and ethical being, a certain kind of ‘person’ who has been, if you will permit the turn of phrase, remodeled to function as a cog in a giant machine-like social and economic structure.

      Then the notion of ‘marketing of evil’ can be seen in a clearer light.

      [No Bot (that I am aware of) has intervenes in my mind when I wrote this, please believe me! I arrived at it through my own free thought-impulses.]

  9. So, let’s talk about this “right to life” angle that keeps popping up. It takes various forms of “Your right to a gun is not more important than my right to life.” I’m interested in any salient points people have to make on this topic, but is it as simple as pointing out that “rights” are restrictions on Government, not individuals? If your argument is that someone was deprived of their right to life, should your argument also include how the Government accomplished this? I feel there’s a fairly good essay to be written on just this angle, but I think we all know that I’m the lazy one who doesn’t like to do original research, so I nominate….. E.C. for the task.

    Thanks in advance! Much love!

    (…seriously. That’s all I’m contributing.)

      • The problems in our culture that are driving young men to throw off the responsibilities of citizenship and community (even when the symptoms do not manifest in violence) probably cannot be solved through legislation…maybe they could, but I’d have to brainstorm. I do know those problems in our culture will *not* be solved by infringing on the 2nd Amendment.

          • But wait: if the fathers were absent, then that means that if ANY parenting was done, it was most likely done by FEMALES. Since females are superior to males, and the males aren’t even in the picture, WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THOSE FEMALES who parented those future shooters???

            • Also: since all the shooters were male, I would like to know, from those males directly (not from some 3rd-party spin-meis…er, spin-Ms):

              (1) what their views on abortion were at the time they perpetrated the shootings, and

              (2) what each shooter thought (or knew) was the view on abortion by the female who had the most influence on his life, up to the time of the shooting. Some important studies are either waiting to be done, or are being censored and withheld from public knowledge.

              DO SOMETHING!

            • This will probably be roasted to no end, but here’s the thing… for that monster Nikolas Cruz, I don’t see how anyone can withhold ALL pity. To me it seems that I can reserve .25-.33% pity for him while the remaining 99.67-99.75% of my attitude towards him is condemnation.

              He was obviously recognized as needing a family – he was adopted OUT of a parent-less situation only to have his adopted father pass away when he was what…4 or 5? Then his mother died what a few years prior to this incident?

              Of course, we presume that there are enough acculturating factors in any person’s life that by the time they commit a crime, they are without excuse.

              • I reserve GREAT pity for Cruz. I have seen and associated with kids in his situation many times, and it is a tragedy each and every time. That does not excuse his choices, or the consequences for his actions.

                Like I teach my kids: You can choose to have premarital sex as a teen. One consequence might be getting pregnant (or getting someone pregnant.) Ethically, that does not mean you get to kill the innocent child resulting from your choice, even though it might be your ‘right’ to do so in our society. There is forgiveness and absolution for your mistake. Forgiveness does not necessarily remove the consequences for your actions, and you will likely have to walk out those consequences.

    • I think fatherlessness is a blight on our modern community, and I have no doubt that the lack of consistent strong & loving fathering of these boys was a *contributing* factor in their non-acculturation into manhood. I will even say it’s close to an overwhelming factor. But it’s insufficient to say that 26 out of 27 mass shooters lacked good father figures in their lives if one can turn around and say out of 10,000,000 boys who lack good father figures in their lives, only 26 became mass shooters.

      Of course, one could look at those 10 million fatherless boys and see whether or not they are deficient in other aspects of good citizenship and good neighborliness.

      To drop a controversial opinion in here, that may have some inaccuracies, but one that I think is more accurate than not accurate. For those viscerally averse to religious takes on things, I think you can filter out the religious aspects of this quote and still see a kernel of truth:

      “I would be surprised if fatherlessness were not the number one predictor of criminality. I recall a veteran Texas prison chaplain who said he often asked prisoners if they were raised by their biological fathers. The vast majority-well over 90 percent–were not.

      This is one reason why patriarchy is important for the health of a society. Read that carefully. I did not say male chauvinism or male dominance or male privilege or misogyny, which some assume is meant by the “code word” patriarchy.

      Patriarchy is based on the word pater, father, and I am particularly thinking of fatherhood: young men are formed not by a flood of male hormones or dangerous masculine bravado or the oppression or sexual use of women, but by the prospect of fatherhood. Patriarchy is about fatherhood. It is where fathers raise boys and young men to become fathers. A whole generation, or neighborhood, of boys without fathers will succumb to the chaos of Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies. Victims hope policemen will protect them.” -James Kushiner

      I especially like that quote, because the word “patriarchy” is going to send some into vapors.

      • out of 10,000,000 boys who lack good father figures in their lives, only 26 became mass shooters.

        Your background does not matter: you are still responsible for your own choices. Those 26 chose to do what they did. The majority did not.

        This is something we have lost in our society: the idea that people are responsible for their choices.

        • Of course they’re responsible. That doesn’t mean we can’t observe some patterns and make intelligent social tweaks where appropriate. It’s a false choice to claim an either/or relationship between personal responsibility and social action.

          • Can you unpack that last statement, charles? I am not understanding what you intended to say, and you may have a point I wish to assimilate.

            Not asking for a book: just an ‘in other words…’

            • SlickWilly, Well it’s hardly the first time I’ve been less than clear. Let me see…

              I agree with you, to be clear, that “the 26 chose to do what they did,” that we are all responsible for our actions. I also happen to agree with you that we have a general lack of personal responsibility in society these days, to everyone’s detriment.

              What i was reacting to – and as I look over the conversation, I have to admit this was an assumption I was making – was the feeling that you were saying the responsibility issue was more central to the violence stat about fatherless sons, than was the fact that they are fatherless. (Maybe I was wrong in my inference about what you were saying).

              Regardless, my point was that “personal responsibility vs. social failings” shouldn’t be a one-or-the-other dichotomy. We need to find ways to take responsibility (and insist that others do so as well), while at the same time maintaining compassion and concern for the situations that some of us find ourselves in.

              More prosaically, being fatherless doesn’t justify killing people. But that fact should not keep us from addressing social conditions that lead to fatherlessness. We ought to be able to hold both those thoughts in our minds at the same time.

              • We are in violent agreement, charles 😉

                My comment was adding to and not in contrast to the discussion. I was saying that there is no excuse to kill based on a societal wrong, or a personal circumstance (self defense is the exception, of course) like being fatherless.

                We agreed to agree, this time. Now if we could just get those pesky Russians out of our political hair…

        • My comment should not be read as an release from responsibility for bad actors. There is a facet of this mass shooting debate that is getting new* attention, or being considered with greater seriousness in the more conservative discussion groups about the seeming predictability that these mass shooters are almost all lacking good fathers.

          While I agree that a boy lacking a good father will be approaching manhood from a hobbled start, fatherlessness cannot be the *sole* predictor of criminality. The vacuum of an absent father *will be filled* by something which *will* acculturate that boy into *something*. Modern culture has all manner of dubious filler for that boy and that boy will be in extreme danger of being guided wrongly. Many of these boys will become criminals and violent. But as long as plenty of “fatherless” boys do not actually go on to be mass shooters, we cannot solely focus on fatherlessness as the problem. It’s a major problem that should be focused on, but it cannot be the only answer to the whole problem that drives fatherless Boy A to kill his classmates but doesn’t drive fatherless boy B to do so. And though my 10 million statistic is pulled out of thin air, my hunch is that most fatherless boys do “turn out ok” and in many instances actual overcome and transcend to greatness.

          I think, of course, it IS a fair statistic to claim that having a good father who actively fathers through strength AND love seems to be a near 100% guarantee that a boy won’t go on to massacre his classmates.

          *I think it’s interesting that conservatives seem willing to discuss a wide range of reasons behind these mass shootings as they seek to contribute to the debate about solutions, while the left only seems to think guns are the primary problem here. Why the unhealthy fixation on guns?

          • My comment should not be read as an release from responsibility for bad actors.

            MW, I feel I should have been more clear in my comment, in that I may have given you the wrong idea: I was supporting what you said. I used what you said to build upon the theme that also agrees with your follow up.

            Your observations have been cogent, insightful, and a welcome breath of fresh air.

            …the left only seems to think guns are the primary problem here. Why the unhealthy fixation on guns?

            The left is about socialism, and the great (definitional) opposite (and thus enemy) of socialism is individualism. Individualism needs freedom, and socialism cannot allow freedom. Thinking for oneself, having your own opinions, principles, and values are not allowed in socialism.

            Gun control is about control of the serfs through force, by removing their means of resisting effectively.

          • “conservatives seem willing to discuss a wide range of reasons behind these mass shootings as they seek to contribute to the debate about solutions, while the left only seems to think guns are the primary problem here. Why the unhealthy fixation on guns?”

            Let me answer that. First, I object to characterizing a concern for life over death as being ‘unhealthy.’

            But to your point about “obsession.” The best case that can be made for focusing on guns per se is the following:

            There don’t seem to be major differences between the US and other nations in the incidence of:
            –mental illness
            –suicide attempts
            –fatherless children (though I haven’t seen data on this one)

            What there IS a big difference in between the US and other countries are two items:
            1. The number of guns per capita, and
            2. The number of deaths by gun.

            We are basically 10X higher on both – a HUGE gap.

            I find it helpful to remember a distinction from, of all people, Aristotle. He separated different types of “causes,” including the “final” cause and the “proximate” cause.

            For example, the final cause of a pool ball going into a pocket is that a pool player shot it there. The proximate cause of the pool ball going into a pocket is that it was struck by another ball.

            Most of our gun debate has confused this simple distinction: we think that only by fixing final causes can we fix proximate causes. Hence we get claims like “it’s a mental illness problem,” and then talk about how we have to fix mental illness.

            But the solution doesn’t HAVE to be fixing the final cause (I don’t know of any country that has succeeded in fixing mental illness). You can have quite an impact just by tweaking the proximate causes.

            For example: look at the effect of cigarette taxes, smoke-free zones, and elimination of cigarette advertising to kids. None of those dealt directly with cigarette addiction, but the US decided as a society it was worth giving up some First Amendments rights in favor of health.

            That’s the parallel I see here.

            As long as we remain stuck on “rights,” there is no way out. Right now we have a struggle of “freedom to [buy a gun]” up against “freedom from [getting randomly killed]. It’s almost an insoluble argument.

            The right way out, I suggest, looks more like cigarettes. How to make guns less ubiquitous, less casually at-hand, while still available to serious and responsible gun owners.

            Two of the world’s other high-gun-ownership countries – Israel and Switzerland – have gone this route. Gun ownership is ubiquitous, but mainly among ex-military people, who have had serious gun training. And those two countries by and large, along with our own military and police, are aghast that anyone can buy cop-killer bullets, AR-15s and bump-stocks. We can’t even agree to fund research into gun deaths, or to establish a national database, because the boogey-man of “they’re coming to get your guns” gets in the way.

            We need to learn lessons from smoking, seatbelt laws and speed limits, all of which represent socially and constitutionally acceptable limits on “freedom to….” in order to achieve more “freedom from…”

            • The biggest difference is 1) The Bill of Rights 2) The nation’s unique commitment to individual rights and individualism and 3) an entrenched gun culture that comes from the nation’s history, particularly in the Westward movement. It is stunning how many people don’t understand this. Americans solved problems with guns, protected themselves when there was no law enforcement to help them. In popular culture, the good guys use guns. Casablanca. Stage Coach. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Stand By Me. Terminator. Shane. High Noon. Fatal Attraction. Lonesome Dove. Star Wars. All the war movies. All the Westerns. Police shows and procedural. In the United States, gun are a tool that allows the terrorized and underdog to even the score. Death Wish is being rebooted. This isn’t the culture anywhere else. Just here. Americans want guns, and the independence they symbolize, and have allowed for 250 years. Comparing this to smoking and seat belts is missing the point, and badly.

              I did a 5 hour Smithsonian program about this, with a full house. They got it, and they weren’t all gun owners. But the knew their own culture.

              I really think the anti-gun activists don’t.

              • About this whole gun culture …..

                Isn’t gun ownership dropping? I know that there are millions of guns in private hands and that many people own multiple weapons (I’ve said here before that my brother has around 40), but fewer and fewer people actually own one or plan on owning one.

                As Charles mentioned, we do restrict rights (seatbelts, smoking, helmets) when there is an overriding public safety element. And then those restrictions become our new reality and our new culture. My kids wouldn’t dream of not wearing their seat belts, and if I even put my car in gear before they are clicked in they yell at me to stop. They also think cigarettes are disgusting and motorcycles are dangerous — okay, I admit that I was the one who pounded in their heads that motorcycles are dangerous, but they adopted their beliefs on seatbelts and smoking from the culture around them.

                Similarly, my kids hate guns. Admittedly, they are girls so there is less interest, but they live in a bubble here where almost nobody has a gun. They also hear me politely ask about guns with new play dates. And, for the record, I am okay with a gun in the house as long as it is properly locked up. But generally, they are living in a gun-free culture bubble here — I doubt that they will ever purchase one or choose to marry someone who owns them.

                On a more somber note, an off-duty police officer was shot and killed today in our area helping his neighbor during a DV incident. The assailant (also dead now following a car chase) lost it and shot the officer with a shot gun. This is why I don’t have a gun in the house. I am sane and my husband is sane, but what happens one day if one of us goes nuts and there is a gun around? Or if one of my kids has a break down and puts her hands on it. I mean, I just learned that my nine year-old figured out the password to my cell phone. Smarty pants — although she couldn’t resist informing me of this so maybe not so smart…..

                  • An interesting stat indeed; but look what it suggests.

                    Most pools don’t allow swimming without a lifeguard, most of whom have to get certified. There are signs that say ‘no kids without adult supervision.’ People or municipalities who own pools are liable for safety policies.

                    Why? Because the dangers of kids in pools is obvious.

                    Surely you’re not suggesting that because more kids die in pools, that kids dying of gunshots are less worthy of social attention and doing something about it?

                    How about “gun-guards” where shooting is allowed? How about posting “no guns allowed unsupervised”? How about making gun owners legally liable for anyone who makes off with their gun and shoots someone?

                    I suspect that if we treated swimming pools like guns, there’d be a helluva lot bigger gap between drowning deaths and gun deaths than there already is.

                  • Well, I don’t need to ask about that because I have eyes, and I never do a drop off without seeing the house/yard and knowing the parents well.

                    Further, I am a swimming Nazi. My number one fear for them involves water, and they have been in swim classes since they were toddlers. My eldest is on swim team now and my youngest just graduated to Swim IV. I don’t care if they are on Varsity Swim Team or anything like that, but they have to be able swim competently.

                    I also make them wear swim vests at the beach — and they complain vociferously about it. Yep, I am one of “those” moms.

                    • Other fears (gone now that they are older) involved choking — choking on balloons, choking on hot dogs (I know a 4 year-old who died from that), drowning in bath tubs (friend of a friend’s infant drowned in a bathtub), running into the street and getting hit by a car, and SIDS. The SIDS fear was very real for me — I didn’t sleep through the night for close to a year after each of their births. I checked on them every few hours — as if that would have helped — but I did it anyway.

                      I am sure as they get older I will start to worry about social media, guns, drugs, unprotected sex, etc., but we are not there yet. Right now my fears (either rational or irrational) involve guns and sexual molestation. And even the latter doesn’t fear me as much because they are never alone with a man who isn’t their dad.

                • I am sane and my husband is sane, but what happens one day if one of us goes nuts and there is a gun around?

                  The same could be asked about the Secret Service security details Presidents of the United States have. What happens if one of the agents goes nuts and happens to have a sidearm around?

              • (If this is a double-entry I apologize but I don’t see it here).

                I grew up with guns. My grandfathers in Nebraska taught me how to shoot, and more importantly how to respect and handle guns for safety – I never forgot.

                And, I grew up with the same movies you did. It’s my culture too.

                But I do not see WHAT that has to do with today’s reality. In this country, it is legal for a for-all-practical-purposes-insane teenager to buy a military assault rifle, and lose it one day and kill a dozen people. That is INSANE.

                As far as the Bill of Rights, as noted elsewhere we routinely abridge other rights, like the First Amendment, and no one gets bent out of shape. We figure out how to deal with it.

                I do not see how this particularly right should be so unique that it is somehow above being interpreted sanely (meaning, so as not letting so many people die).

                Let me ask all the hard-liners out there: if the Second Amendment is so sacrosanct that you can’t fund research into gun deaths, or pay to coordinate a national NICS file, then HOW COME I CAN’T BUY A FLAME-THROWER? Or a tank, or a grenade launcher? Obivously we DO have some limits already. All but one of the Supreme Court justices has clearly said that States have the rights to put limitations on the second amendment. That being the case, to channel Winston Churchill, we’re just arguing about WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE.

                And to draw it where it stands now, where our rates of gun-related deaths are a thousand percent higher than other civilized countries, just seems to me to be insane.

                And to be clear, I’m not against individual freedoms; I’m not a socialist; it’s been many years since I’ve fired a gun and I no longer own one, but I’ve got no problem with responsible gun ownership.

                But since we’ve already tacitly agreed that this right, along with all others, has its limits, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE A DIALOGUE ABOUT SHIFTING THE LINES?

                Gun culture? Please. Even back in the 50s, my grandfathers taught me that gun culture stuff was just for the movies. Real men knew how to take care with weapons, and if they ever caught me even holding a BB gun in the direction of a person, even if just moving it from Point A to Point B, I’d get grabbed by the neck and lectured. I know absolutely what they’d have had to say about bump stocks.

                • You shifted the goal posts, though. The topic was how the US is different from countries with less gun violence, and my answe is the answer. Movies are the culture, so is TV. My dad hated guns, and taught me the same things you learned, but we watched and enjoyed the Untouchables, John Wayne, the magnificent Seven, Wyatt Earp. In America, guns are good. They are the reason we’re here. Demonizing guns hasn’t worked, and won’t. Fact.

                  So with this post, you’re falling back on generalities and expressions of frustration. Dialogue? Shifting lines? Invalid cross-cultural comparisons> The line is drawn where a law-abiding, normal citizen can’t arm himself sufficiently to, say, protect himself against home invaders armed with illegal weapons, should he see the need. The line is drawn when a citizen who has been treated for depression decides she needs to get a handgun because her crazy ex is stalking her. Bump stocks?? How many mass shootings in this country depended on bump stocks? (Answer: none.)

                  This is a nation that values individual liberty more than all others. The more liberty there is, the more it will be abused. This is a zero sum game, Charles.

                  • Didn’t Australia have a similar gun culture though? Same core set of immigrants, wilderness to tame, colonize, etc.? I seem to recall an excellent Tom Selleck western set in Australia….

                  • Who’s demonizing guns? My grandfather and I loved watching Gunsmoke together, but he damn well knew it was TV.

                    “Liberty to” has to be balanced with “liberty from.” Your liberty to own a gun has to be balanced with my liberty to live.

                    I’m not sure what you mean in this context by “zero sum,” but lets say it’s true; doesn’t that mean there has to be a balance of liberties?

                    Why must we characterize me and my grandfather as “demonizing” guns just because I think it’s crazy to allow retail sales of weapons of war, or to require more ID checks to get a 30-30 than it takes to buy beer. How is that “demonizing?”

                    To paraprase Trump, “You’re the demonizer!”

                    • Jack quote: Demonizing guns hasn’t worked, and won’t. Fact.

                      How do you read that as saying YOU are demonizing guns? But the anti-gun zealots do, and are. They believe guns are bad. The country and the culture doesn’t. They don’t get it.

                      Your liberty to own a gun has to be balanced with my liberty to live. Ugh. Desperation. That’s the high school kids cant. It’s dishoenst and untrue. Law abiding citizens owning guns is related to THEIR right to life, and doesn’t affect yours at all. Yes, its a zero sum game: we are safer in direct proportion to how much liberty we forfeit to the police. The Founders said that the balance tilts away from the state, and toward the individual. Question: do you know anyone who has been shot, or had a relative shot? I don’t. I’ve been around a long time, and know people from all classes and races, educational backgrounds and socioeconomic status. I know many gun owners. I do not feel my safety is endangered, but if I did, I’m glad I’d have the right to buy a gun.

                    • Yes. My neighbor shot his younger sister in the leg while playing with a gun when we were kids. A cousin (twice removed or something along those lines) was shot, dismembered, and set on fire just last year — obviously dead. My friend shot himself in the eye with a BB gun when he was young (I still can’t figure out how he did that). This is off the top of my head. I am eliminating military service and suicides — we had our fair share of gun suicides in my community growing up.

                    • I’m curious: did you watch the the astounding CNN “townhall”? That appears to be what anti-gun advocates mean by “dialogue”: defenders of the Second Amendment called “murderer!” while an audience cheers. Nice.

                • charles: I CAN own a flamethrower. I CAN own a tank, at least in Texas. Look up I can fire live round from functional tanks. All it takes is money.

                  How are you threatened by my tank? My tank has never so much as crushed your rose bushes. I am a responsible tank owner, who has taught his kids how to respect the tank (no playing in the tank with live rounds available, lock the tank up when friends are over, etc.)

                  You have also used the weaponized term (pun intended) “military assault rifle.” This is a lie, outright. An AR 15 is not a military rifle at all, and a teen cannot buy a main battle rifle with select fire (automatic or three shot burst) such as the M4 or M16. Using such terms dumbs down the discourse, as it is emotional, disingenuous, and moves the goal posts. If we are to come to any sort of debate on this topic, progressives have to stop demonizing both their opponents and the tools involved.

                  I hear your frustration, and understand your point of view. Still luv ya like a brother.

      • “I would be surprised if fatherlessness were not the number one predictor of criminality.”

        That’s a part of (IMHO) the larger problem of familial instability at early stages of development and, of course, poverty.

        Based on the informed opinion of my Dear nearly 93 year-old Father (career in upper-level Corrections management) and that of a pal in criminal pathology, the *most* common denominator amongst more serious/serial Y-Chromosomal Unit offenders is the physical/sexual abuse by a parent/guardian/trusted other adult figure.

        Think about it; which inmates fare the least well, as in, get beaten/shivved/tortured first and most?

        There are too many good articles to list (and multiple links posted to EA will get the WordPress dander up, a condition with which I’m all too familiar) so just google:

        “why do child abusers/molesters fare so poorly in prison?”

        Why indeed!

      • Women who make a bad choice on who to have children with is another part of this that is rarely talked about. That does not mean that all or even most single motherhood occurs because of poor judgement or impulsive behavior on the part of the mother (and of course any parent who leaves should be held in condemnation for abdicating their responsibilities) but it is sometimes a very serious factor in how some of these children are being brought up. Mothers are also a powerful force in a child’s life. The parent who stays is not always a good parent. It is fairly easy and uncontroversial for most people to condemn the absent father. I think examining the other partner is important too, when we are looking into how we should improve our ethical culture.
        Caveat: I do understand that in this particular case this probably doesn’t apply, as it seems like most of the absenteeism of parenting is due to death or other factors.

        • “Mothers are also a powerful force in a child’s life. The parent who stays is not always a good parent. It is fairly easy and uncontroversial for most people to condemn the absent father.”

          I used to think this way until I did pro bono child advocacy/legal work in the poorest neighborhoods in DC. My brain screams while processing this fact, but it is true that children are almost always better off being raised by their biological parent (or parents) even if there is some neglect, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, financial insecurity, etc. Just about every study shows that a child has a better chance of success there as compared to being put in a foster home (even a foster home with loving adults). This is why the courts give the parents every chance in the world to get their shit together. Quite frankly, I still don’t understand why this is so. Certainly my impulse while doing this work was always to want to scoop these kids up and have them come live with me.

          So it is easy for me to condemn these absentee fathers. They need to come home and raise their children. And if they can’t be in the picture physically (perhaps they live elsewhere, have another family, etc.), they need to find a way to participate in a meaningful way and to send financial support as well. Also, some of the dads in my work were in prison for minor drug offenses. I am no fan of drugs, but I think we are doing more harm than good by locking these people up.

          • I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of contemplating that particular gray area. I too have a notion, though primarily based on a gut inkling, that we’d actually tend to err closer to keeping a child with a crappy parent than we’d intuitively like to admit. That on the continuum that grades when we take a child away from a biological parent based on the parent’s abilities or abusiveness, matched up with a continuum that allows us to grade how much better off a child will be at age 18 having been raised by their parents than with another set of adults, that we’d find ourselves faced the with the possibility that leaving a child with a slightly abusive parent or slightly irresponsible parent is better than placing them with a new set of parents who are practically perfect in every way.

            I wonder though, just how far on that scale we’d comfortably go…

            A parent who maybe hits their kids a bit too hard?

            Swears at their children?


      • But it’s insufficient to say that 26 out of 27 mass shooters lacked good father figures in their lives if one can turn around and say out of 10,000,000 boys who lack good father figures in their lives, only 26 became mass shooters.

        Mass shooters are not the only murderers in the U.S..

        In fact, we need to stop pretending that most (let alone all) murders in the U.S. are from mass shootings.

        • Of course, it would make sense to do so if the real objective was to reduce violence and death. But mass shootings are great for emotional appeals and not only that focus on mass shootings targets the real objective of the Left: disarmament of the Citizens.

        • So? I am unlikely to be killed in a drug deal, gang war, or domestic violence dispute. I plan on committing no armed robberies or crimes of any kind. I don’t hunt, so I’m unlikely to be accidentally shot. I take precautions to have a gun-free existence — except every time I send my kids out of the house. The only way to control that risk is to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are mentally ill or pure evil.

          • Of course, that has to be done without abridging the rights of those who have done no wrong nor sane.

            There are, of course, debates on what acts should constitute crimes, what should constitute mental illness, etc.

      • Yes. But they are taking the drugs because they are mentally ill. But for these drugs, we would have a lot more crime. That being said, I have no problem with a National “no gun” list for anyone who has ever been prescribed a drug for a serious mental illness. And I’m saying that as a mother of a special needs kid who is about to start a low-dose anti-anxiety drug. We can make her #1 on that list.

          • Well, it depends on the drug and the illness, right? Most people with mental illness obviously will never commit a crime. And people with certain illnesses — like depression — are far more likely to harm themselves than others. I have friends with bi-polar disorder as well as a family member. Should they have access to guns? Hell.No. Even with proper medication and counseling, it is a disease that requires constant supervision and even then, it is not the question of if a break will happen, but when. Further, how is this even debatable? I have a family member with a history of depression and anxiety who could not enter the military — and he is otherwise very intelligent and athletically fit. I suspect that he would receive the same denial if he attempted to enter the police force. If we already are excluding certain classes of people from employment that requires a gun, why is it such a stretch to examine whether they should be restricted from owning one at all?

            • Just like the fairness doctrine: who gets to decide?

              Trump’s base is always saying progressivism is a mental disorder: want them deciding your Constitutional rights?

              I sure don’t want Obama’s FBI deciding mine.

                • The military makes you sign away your civil rights when you join. It is also a special situation, and has special requirements, none of which you apparently understand, living in you gun free bubble, as you describe it.

                  None of that applies to the Constitutional rights American citizens.

                  I hope you never need to defend yourself from the darkness inherent in man. Your life has worked for you so far, and that is good. You live in an area where the police are likely only a few minutes away. You would trade freedom for safety, as is your choice.

                  Others are not so lucky, and need to defend themselves where the police are sparse and the country still free.

                  • Oh FFS, I don’t have to have the perfect regs designed at this moment Michael, but we are pretty experienced in designing safety regs, so we can quibble about that at a later point in time.

                    On to Slick, whether or not you are signing away your civil rights to be in the military is not the point to consider — it’s that the military does not feel that the mentally ill are qualified to serve in the first place. As for the rest of your argument, it is more emotional than anything. I spent over half of my life in a community where just about every household had guns, and there was a lot of gun violence. Some of it accidental, some of it not. And, certainly we had more than one man in our community commit suicide by gun — that has nothing to do with violence on the community of course, but it does make you wonder if those men would be dead if they had to come up with a plan that required a bit more thought and preparation. My take-away from my childhood was that I felt safer if I lived in a house without a gun — and the police easily were 30 minutes away from our rural home. (Probably more, our police station was not 24/7 so state police would have to be called if necessary.)

        • The next step is to disarm the household of the person who had one prescription of this sort.

          Note (in Texas, other not sure) that felons cannot live in a household that has a gun, lest they return to prison.

          Is this what you had in mind, Spartan?

          • Not my intent at all. But if a parent of a mentally ill child is stupid enough to keep their guns at home and not locked up, then they should be go to prison if their child killed someone with that gun. No exceptions. I’m all for personal responsibility, but if you don’t exercise it and people die, then you go to prison.

            • I understand the emotionalism from a ‘super mom’ but automatic prison for the actions of another person is really not how a society should conduct itself.

              Think with your law school mentaltiy, and not your mamma bear feelings: do you really want to go with this?

              • I stand by what I said. If you are a parent and you own guns, you have a responsibility to keep those guns out of the reach of minor children. No exceptions. If you are the parent of adult children with mental illness, whether or not your children physically live with you, you are required to keep them locked up at all times. No exceptions.

                • Well and good, and I respect your opinion.

                  Now let me explain where I come from. My extended family has had guns in the house for the last 80 years, if not longer. Generations were raised to understand them for the tool they are, and to respect them just like we respect the power of a large tractor, which could (and did) injure or kill on any given day if treated casually.

                  Guns were used for protection from critters (two, four, and no legged) several times a year. They were used to provide food for the table, especially during the Great Depression, and the hunting tradition has come down through generations since. I provide food for my family with guns, ethically and safely.

                  If there was a threat in the area, two or four legged, those guns were also loaded and in reach. We did not have mass shootings, nor were children playing with the guns such that an accidental shooting could occur. Children were taken hunting, taught gun safely, and learned to shoot as early as 5 years old, if they had an interest. By 8 years old, there was not choice: ignorance could kill, just like not knowing what snakes were poisonous could kill.

                  This was the prevalent situation in our rural society, even when the kids lived in town. We did not have kids dying in droves in gun accidents because people were responsible.

                  So forgive my skepticism with your ‘one size fits all’ approach to guns in the home. I can see this works in your circle, and have no demand you change to fit my circumstances.

                  Please give those of us in fly over country the same consideration.

                  • Slick, we grew up in the same fly over country if I recall — don’t forget that I was the President of my 4-H club, and a state champion in livestock judging! And I could have written the first half of your comment as it was certainly my dad’s reasoning. But we did have gun violence in our community. My next door neighbor accidentally shot his sister. And that’s just one example unfortunately of many. I think we have romanticized notions that gun education eliminates the need for gun safety. My dad stopped leaving a loaded rifle in the garage once some of the kids in our rural area started breaking into barns and houses. But he shouldn’t have left them out in the first place. I remember when my brother went through a depressive period in high school (long story that I won’t get into here) and one day my mom and I heard a gun go off in the barn. My dad wasn’t home so we had to go out to investigate — longest walk of our life. Thankfully it was just an accidental discharge, but suicides were not uncommon in our county.

                    • If they choose to have weapons, then yes, they have to keep them out of reach from anyone who enters their home.

                    • If they choose to have weapons, then yes, they have to keep them out of reach from anyone who enters their home.

                      Wait, you just said I have to lock up my guns in such a way that they are useless if I have a home invasion. This is a de facto violation of the 2nd, as it makes the gun useless.

                      You also implied that if someone breaks into my home, even while I am there, and steals a gun and shoots someone (even me) that I am to blame.

                      That is illogical.

              • What? No. But if parents are seeking commitment of their children because they desire to leave loaded firearms within arms reach, perhaps the parents should be the ones committed.

                I can’t even believe that we are discussing this. This IS the Republican talking point — that it isn’t a gun problem but a mental illness problem.

  10. So, wait. Nikolas Cruz was dropped off in front of the school by a ride sharing service… the driver even noted he was carrying a rifle case…

    How has that detail not sparked some discussion…?

  11. I agree, it is a sliding scale, and we do err on the side of keeping children with parents. It is an incredibly complicated issue, with so many moving parts and pitfalls. State overreach is a very real fear when we decide who the “bad” parents are. We also have to keep in mind that many of the people who are abusive in some form or another are possible to rehabilitate given the chance to access resources and information that they might not have had, especially when we consider the very real cycle of violence we too often see. I still think we end up too often leaving kids in that cycle of violence and abuse, and that we need to really fine tune this area as much as possible.

    This issue is particularity close to my heart. My experience has been the complete opposite of what most people think of when they think about the broken home; my dad stayed and my mom left. Obviously there were a lot of factors at play, but I think one of the most powerful was due to how they themselves were raised and the expectations they felt their respective “societies” had for them. My dad was raised to believe that if you choose to have children, not only does it become your most important priority to raise them properly but that there was no greater or more noble goal. My mother was grew up in environment where children were considered at best a reminder of failed relationships and bad choices, and at worst an active burden interfering with personal wants and needs.

    • I realize I forgot to finish my thought.
      The reason I bring this up is because when we talk about absentee fathers I feel like we forgot to talk to about why these fathers are not staying to raise their children, and what can be done differently. A lot of this I attribute to cultural attitudes and expectations, and not just the biological drive to procreate as much as possible without consequence that men may have. I have seen a shift in my lifetime away from fixing this problem with the males (which has been a problem as long as human beings have had children) to a growing number of females copying this behavior. I don’t have statistics in cite at the moment, only anecdotal evidence, but there seems to be a huge and growing number of children being raised by grandparents. Not just co-raised while the mother or/and father work, but actually stepping in as best they can in absence of parents. Some of them are not so lucky to have a relative to step in of course, and then we see children going into foster care.

        • “are single parent families the problem?”

          Reminds me of the parable of the Two Sons.

          Two sons were raised by a single, alcoholic Father; one turned out to be just like his Father, the other an unqualified “pull up yer bootstraps” success.

          When asked later in life to what they attributed their lot in life, their answers were virtually the same:

          “With a Father like mine, what would you expect?”

          I have a little laminated card on my “Wall of Shame” in my office that says:

          “Choice, Not Chance, Determines Success.”

          Words to live by!

        • I’m not a fan of “I” centric compositions, but this one is going to be one:

          I believe there are many institutions have input in forming a well-rounded man. I believe Fathers can probably handle, for argument’s sake 85-90% of that effort. I believe other grown men found in a wide variety of places: extended family, churches, neighborhoods, extracurricular activities, schools, pop-culture also influence a young boy’s growth into manhood and fill-in gaps or reinforce lessons of the father.

          I believe, absent a Father, a little boy will be facing an uphill battle to reach solid, well-rounded manhood, but not a battle guaranteed to be lost, but one in which the alternate sources of influence must be drawn more heavily upon that they would have been before – that is, the men of the church, extended family, community, extra-curricular activities, schools, etc would have all have to dedicate a little more of their own marginal effort in the fatherless boy’s life. I believe even then there is still a hole that goes unfilled.

          I believe, in the past, fatherless boys always had those back-up institutions active in their lives to acculturate them into Manhood, if not in “tip-top” shape, at least much better than merely a “passing” standard.

          So what happens when the system breaks? I think the symptoms we see today: juvenile criminals, mass shooters, violent young men, sex-addicted young men, womanizing and woman abusing young men…. all point to a manifold break down in the system that can no longer accommodate the rampant fatherlessness. I think, we’ve simultaneously denigrated and disregarded all those “back up” systems so severely that young boys are not influenced by them. Or we’ve flooded the population with fatherlessness that those back up systems cannot keep up with what amounts to a 20 year long effort to craft a Young Man out of boyhood. Worse, many of these institutions that seek to fill the void left by a missing father have been populated by wretches themselves – pop culture, especially.

          Now, by no means am I saying that every father is absolutely perfect as raising a young boy into manhood – some of them are outright awful at it – I am saying, that on average, a Father is key, especially backed up by supporting institutions populated by similar men, and that in a healthy community, where those back ups are not taxed the limit, a fatherless boy stands a good chance of making it. I am saying, that modern culture has broken or burdened so heavily all the supporting institutions that the rise in “young men problems” is a symptom of this.

          Here’s the other thing, we’re looking at generations long solution to this, because as very broken boys who are “just above passing” or nearly at “passing” levels of manhood, grow up and have boys of their own, they represent that problem of overcoming their own difficulties while simultaneously working on their own sons.

          Yes, I believe absentee mothers present a major problem as well, for similar but different reasons. But on the topic of boys, I think it apt to focus this essay on fathers.

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