Posts Tagged sandy hook

“Let’s Not Demonize a Man’s Tools”

“In the wake of the horrific Orlando shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people and saw countless others injured, “Pink Pistol“, an LGBT self defense and gun rights organization, issued this utterly ridiculous statement:

GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols.

Demonize a man’s tools.

Wow.

Now we are hurting the feelings of guns, it would appear.

This is nothing but the old spiel about how it is not guns that kill people, but people that kill people.  Which is bullshit and a fallacious, not to mention overly simplistic, argument.

While it is true that it was a person who picked up the gun and made the decision to mass murder those people, it is  easy access to guns that is ultimately allowing such mass shootings to take place in the first place.

I have said this before and I will repeat it again: banning guns does not make us a less violent society. It is just that guns allow violence committed to be more brutal, more violent and bloodier. It is much harder to mass murder people with knives and machetes than it is with guns, especially assault rifles.

So while it is true that people carry out the attacks, the tools used to carry out those attacks do matter. If they did not, then we would just not regulate arms or ammunition of any kind at all. Then ordinary citizens could own tanks and grenades and machine guns and missiles and nukes. Because ‘hey, it is people that kill people’, right?  And not missiles/tanks/bombs.

Wrong. They are banned because overall they pose a public health and safety concern and therefore must be regulated. Like food and pharmaceuticals and safe child seats and clean water and air etc. All those things exist becasue of regulation.

Now it was about time that gun follow suit and also got banned. Overall, the cost of public gun ownership is too high and does not justify the rather meager benefits.

At the PBS Newshour last week President Obama assured a concerned audience member that he or Hillary do not “want to take away [our] guns.

That is when I realized just how utterly powerful the gun lobby has been in this country that no matter how horrific the gun violence incidences, including the mass massacre of children,  no one, no one, is willing to stand up to the NRA and even suggest the radical notion that maybe we should consider banning all guns while reexamining the validity and benefit of the  Second Amendment on American society today.

“We dont want to take your guns away” is not the right answer Mr. President. We have to ban guns. That is the only way we will significantly reduce gun violence. It doesn’t matter that people can still get them illegally. Being able to get something legally versus illegally makes a huge difference in terms of the number of guns circulating. Making something illegal just makes it harder to obtain. It is no ‘no big deal’.

And fuck the Second Amendment. Really. It was written for a different time and for different reasons and for a different peoples and a different America and the only reason it is being cited by gun nuts as a right today, is because of gun manufacturers and the  gun lobby leading to the misguided interpretation of the Second Amendment by our equally misguided Supreme Court. 

It seems like we are just going in loops: a shooting happens, some hack steps forward whining about  why “the good guys” like them, who allegedly use guns responsibly, should be “punished” for the mistakes of others, saying trite shit like ‘people kill people, not guns blah blah blah’, just so everyone shuts up like they had a point, just so we can repeat the same discussion next time around. And again. And again. And again…and then we wonder why nothing changes. 

Thing is: there is no such thing as responsible gun ownership. That is a myth. Guns are tools designed to kill. They serve no other purpose. A responsible, decent person doesn’t need guns in their everyday life to begin with. And  I have this suspicion that anyone who thinks they are a decent guy who needs to own guns to get by, is secretly hoping to have to use them one day.

Finally, background checks (and mental illness checks) don’t work: Mental illness reporting and “checks” (whatever that is supposed to entail) are a gross violation of a person’s privacy and with it dignity. And background checks don’t work because a lot of the shooters did not have police records and thus a negative background. The Sandy Hook shooter had a clean background and would have fallen through any kind of radar and so would most of the mass shooters of late. None of them had shady, criminal backgrounds. They were not the “wrong” people to own a gun, until they were.

So background checks don’t really do anything but give people on the other side a false sense of security and that someone is being held accountable here, when in reality these checks are so pointless in reducing gun violence, we may as well save ourselves the money and not bother with them at all.

And mental illness checks will do nothing but add more stigma to mental illness, further demonizing the already vulnerable, stigmatized mentally ill who, by the way, are more likely to be the victims of violence than its perpetrators.

The only way we can and will put an end to this fuckery is by BANNING ALL GUNS. Everything else is just self aggrandizing bullshit while pandering to the stupid masses and the damn gun lobby that’s turned gun ownership into a virtue and necessity via vile propaganda, lies and scapegoating.

If we don’t stop “demonizing” that man’s tool, the gun, as PInk Pistol put it oh so romantically, then nothing will change and we’ll be having the same discussion for another 50 years. 

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater and then just a few months later 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, that the absurd gun laws in this country would change, but nothing has happened.” […] “The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms. […] More guns doesn’t mean less crime, as the NRA repeatedly tries to tell you. It means more gun violence, more death and more profits for the gun manufacturers.”

Piers Morgan, on his last day at CNN, where he was bullied and fired from his job thanks to the NRA and gun lobbyists who did not like the all too sane message about the terrible gun industry and gun culture that he was delivering.

Great America. Now go hire some conformist, gun aficionado in collaboration with the NRA so that we may have more Sandy Hooks and Aurora, Colorado mass shootings.  Twenty children were brutally massacred because guns have become ubiquitous symbols of our landscape but that was not enough of a wake-up call for our cowardly politicians and so-called leaders as clearly there are more children and innocent bystanders to be massacred so that some greedy jingoists with a nervous trigger-finger and paranoia about some government take-over and end-of-times scenario can distribute and carry more guns.

Women cannot get abortions because aborting a fetus is murder and life is scared blah blah blah but the same people who make the argument about valuing life have no problem seeing guns distributed to every man, woman and child so they may take lives at any time under the auspices of  “self defense” of course, while those who die innocently, such as the children in the Sandy Hook shooting are brushed off and pitied as unfortunate victims of everything, but guns.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Nothing Has Changed

What is it called when you go through the motions of decorum and supposed action and assert that you care about something – be it a person, a cause, a terrible act of violence committed against someone – say how sad you are about it, urge everyone how badly and direly things need to change, even hold speeches and make announcements but without any real intention of actually changing things?

This is how I feel on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre of 26 people – most of whom were children.

Here we are, a year later, and basically nothing has changed in terms of gun laws in this country. Wal-mart still offers two-for-one deals, you can still buy all the arsenal you want online or in person and no one will as much as care to think twice why you need it. Nothing. Guns are still available galore and even our President, who seems to have shed his last piece of backbone at the door, only had this half-assed, dispassionate thing to say in his radio address today:

We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.

Obama also observed a moment of silence and lit candles at the White House in honor of the victims.

How swell of him.

The gun lobby in this country is so strong and our legislators so beholden to them and the gun manufacturers that line their pockets, that even the brutal massacre of children did not present the breaking point prompting our lawmakers to enact true, meaningful gun-regulation legislation. Obama cares about and supports making communities safer but is clearly not able and/or willing to do what it takes to make them safer because I can promise you that half-assed, generic speeches about how the children are our future and how we need to teach them well and help lead them way mean diddly if those half heart-warming speeches are not backed up by meaningful legislation aimed at addressing the root cause.

Those children are dead because the NRA has made obtaining guns in this country easier than obtaining a checking account.

The only reform that did come out of this was background checks which means absolutely nothing because both the Sandy Hook assailant and the Colorado one  – and in fact most of the shooting assaialtns – did not have criminal backgrounds that would have alerted anyone in the first place. In fact, the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza took his mother’s guns – rendering the whole background check as a condition for gun ownership quite frankly a useless piece of legislation seemingly more intent at keeping the critics quiet by giving them the illusion of victory and that something was done – even if that something was as meaningless as Obama’s first term.

Money Speaks Louder Than The Lives of Children Lost

As long as money is worshiped more than the lives of kids, you can have the entire nation stay silent for a month in memory of children lost to gun violence and still there would be no legislation coming from our leaders – Republicans and Democrats alike – in support of controlling this out-of-control society’s love affair with guns. Let’s face it, the NRA is just a tool of gun manufacturers, and those foolish enough to back the NRA in it’s war against America’s kids and therefore this country’s future, are used like so much spent shells in a shotgun.

That money, coupled with support of ignorant sheeple is the backbone that breaks the back of all common sense and decency is nothing new. See climate change, for example. The evidence of it happening is right before us, just as the evidence of gun violence is right before us in widescreen, in all it’s bright and gory and vivid technicolor 3D, but our leaders just don’t want to touch an issue when profits come before life, and this from the party that claims to be pro-life.

The GOP speaks of focusing on the mentally ill (a vulnerable and already marginalized segment of our society, the majority of whom are not violent) rather than guns, at the same time Republicans play the paranoid card and use it get their constituents “crazy” with a buzzing in their heads about black helicopters hovering over their constituents homes ready to jump out and take everyone’s guns away. It’s money however that the NRA uses to back these republicans and money gun manufacturers uses to load the guns that the NRA uses to help shoot down legislation the NRA even once supported–universal background checks.

Gun Lobby At a Glance

According to Opensecrets.org,  the National Rifle Association accounts for about 60 percent of what gun rights interest groups spent on lobbying in 2011 and the first three quarters of 2012. The other gun rights advocates include the Gun Owners of America; the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; The National Shooting Sports FoundationSafari Club International;Boone & Crockett Club, a group that aims to preserve a “hunting heritage”; and The Ohio Gun Collectors Association.

The NRA alone has spent more than ten times as much as gun control interest groups on lobbying in 2011 and the first three quarters of 2012.

Gin control

For gun rights groups, 2012 was the most active election cyclesince 2000. They contributed a total of $3 million to candidates, 96 percent of them Republicans, through mid-October. That also makes 2012 its most Republican election cycle, with 2000 and 2002 close behind with 93 percent of contributions going to Republicans.

Even after Newtown, when a flush of new money was injected into lobbying efforts on both sides, the anti-reform effort was spending $12.2 million to gun safety’s $1.6 million — or about seven times more. As Gallup data shows public support for gun safety correlating broadly to years where reform efforts were well funded, the necessity for gun reform of competing, dollar for dollar, with its opponents has never been more urgent.

When it comes to financing their lobbying efforts, anti-reform forces have a much better system in place. First of all, the NRA and other groups that spend directly on federal lobbying themselves receive massive financial support from the gun manufacturing industry. In other words, the anti-reform movement benefits from having a large, lucrative industry — one with a financial stake in opposing new safety regulations. If there were a single industry that were docked dollars and cents every time someone was shot in America, then maybe the reform movement would have a similar sponsor. But there isn’t, and this might be one advantage the NRA always keeps.

However, industry backing is just the icing on the cake. The NRA already has a national, grassroots fundraising operates that alone can sustain millions of dollars in annual lobbying. It received $100 million (approximately half of its budget) in 2010 from voluntary contributions alone. The NRA also has agreements with many gun manufacturers and retailers where they receive a contribution with every gun sale. Additionally, the NRA Foundation gives out thousands of community grants every year, benefiting everything from gun safety programming to the Boy Scouts and no doubt contributing to the loyalty they enjoy from their base. The NRA doesn’t have to rely on current events or outrage to finance their federal lobbying efforts; they have a financing machine that allows them to have an institutional presence in Washington.

* * *

But you know, children are our future and we need to make communities safe in America blah blah yawn – let’s pick up a candle, light it and stay silent for 15 minutes and then our legislators can all go back and collect blood money from the NRA and the gun manufacturers pretending that the blood spilled in Sandy Hook or Colorado or during any of the gun violence incidences wasn’t on their hands since they did hold a vigil and talk about the importance of keeping our communities safe and even went after the mentally ill as clearly those suffering from mental illness are the problem as opposed to gun manufactures, their lobbying arms, the NRA, and the corrupt politicians  – including Obama  – who are beholden to them.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

The NRA Blames Everyone But Guns: Sandy Hook Press Conference

National Rifle Association Holds News Conference In Wake Of Newtown School Shooting

The NRA’s response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary – and any other mass shooting in the country for that matter – has been one of massive scapegoating: women, teachers, video games, the entertainment industry, hurricanes, terrorists, the doorman at the school, and the mentally ill. Everyone and everything but guns, gun owners and gun lobbyists who have spent years easing gun regulationsmor across the country making it possible to obtain guns easier than a car — were responsible.

More specifically, The National Rifle Association, which is the nation’s largest gun advocates lobby, attributed the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to “school free zones,” arguing that “genuine monsters” (other than the proponents of gun ownership galore that is) are attracted to schools because its administrators and teachers are not armed.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA low life and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.  He urged Congress to “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.” La Pierre shoveled out blame far and wide, going after reporters for glorifying killers like Adam Lanza, violent movies, video games, and music videos. He tore into gun safety advocates for exploiting the tragedy for “political gain,” targeted President Obama for underfunding police initiatives in schools, and said that the media demonized “local gun owners” and spread “misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next violence is a new cycle away.” “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack, or some other natural of man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization,” he said.

Now it is the fault of law abiding citizens who don’t sleep with assault rifles under their pillows that this happened?  Clearly, according  to the NRA,  they asked for it since not owning a gun is an invitation to being gunned down and shot in places you ought to feel safe. This is the same garbage rhetoric used in rape culture where the victims become the  accused and are told that having behaved or dressed in certain ways provoked and justified,  or at the least made it “understandable”,  why they were assaulted and raped. That is a very disconcerting position to take as it is incredibly manipulative, twisting the victim/perpetrator position around, thus indirectly assign blame to victims for the atrocities committed against them rather than trying to find ways to minimize such atrocities and violence and thus really change anything about the status quo.

Scapegoat and Round up the Mentally Ill While We’re At It 

La Pierre also called for the nation to create an “active national database of the mentally ill”, a brilliant idea that not only will not violate any privacy laws (HIPAA), it will also most definitely not lead to further stigmatization and marginalization of  people with psychological disabilities  – whom he apparently lumps in together with violent criminals – and discourage care-seeking, diagnosis, and treatment.

I don’t even know where to begin. Twenty families are burying their children in this holiday season, children who will never experience life and all its wonders, not to mention the psychological trauma the parents and families of those children will experience for the rest of their lives because of the actions of a criminal with easy access to weapons of mass murder, and all the NRA can come up with is basically blaming the victims and their parents for the outcome? Citing hurricanes and  the media and Hollywood and the lack of tools of murder?

La Pierre and his supporters are nothing but disgusting, contemptible, frightened, small-minded fear mongers who are placing the alleged rights of a bunch of people to own tools of murder and mass murder above the life and safety of people.

There is just something indescribably vile about a proponent of unregulated access to guns. This was an opportunity for the NRA to grow, to advocate responsbile gun ownership and regulations like, for example, creating a national database of gun owners and requiring gun registration and other institutional controls similar to car ownership and operation. Instead, all they could come up with was shameless scapegoating, deflecting of responsibility and advocating the discrimination of vulnerable populations, such as the mentally ill, who are, frankly, more likely to be victimized by violence than to perpetrate it.

Mental Illness Does NOT Equal Violent Behavior

The final straw, of course, was calling for a national database of the mentally ill. Not a national database of gun owners, but of the mentally ill.

Ok Heinrich Himmler.

What will be next? Round them all up into so called sanctuary districts, for their own protection of course, or make them wear some kind of a plaque on their garments so they can be easily identified?

What is outrageous is that not only mental illness is being equated with violent, criminal behavior but that all people with mental illnesses – which covers a broad spectrum of disabilities, most of which are not violent – are being lumped together as this one entity society must be aware and scared of.  The reality is that there are millions of people suffering from mental illness who would never engage in such a vile, inhumane act of mass murdering children.

Someone who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, after, hmmm.., let’s say having been a victim of violence with guns, or a school shooting, is technically considered as suffering from a mental illness. Someone suffering from depression and anxiety taking medication is considered an individual suffering from a mental disability; a person suffering from severe anxiety is considered mentally ill. To lump these people together with violent criminals – who may or may not be mentally ill, – becasue remember, not all people with mental illness are dangerous, and not all killers are mentally ill, meeting standards of psychiatric diagnosis – is as low as it can get and the height of irresponsibility and inhumanity.

NRA poll

La Pierre played quite expertedly into the irrational fears and scapegoating mentality of the minuscule minded gun wielding,  Jesus and cross hugging citizens of this nation by making references to those evil “killers, robbers, rapists, gang members” who have  “spread like cancer in every community across our nation” and from whom we need to protect ourselves by owning an arsenal of assault weapons and other tools for mass murder.  

The truth, of course, is that the only cancer having spread through society is the policies the likes of La Pierre and his organization of unregulated gun ownership advocates and the mindless tools that follow them advocate, believing that the answer to the problems of crime – or any problem for that matter in society – is arming every man, woman and child with all sorts of weaponry and sending them off into the world, as if guns – instruments aimed to kill – make us safer.

Imagine the principal of Sandy Hook had been armed with an assault rifle and after the first shot was fired and people were running around in panic  she had jetted out of her office with an AR 15 shooting into a crowd of children running in panic. According to the NRA, that would have been the solution, which, of course, is another comforting lie.

Living in a society with ordinary citizens armed to the teeth like guerrilla fighters, taking justice into their own hands, like George Zimmerman, and shooting into a crowd with moving targets, does not make us safer. This Dirty Harry and John Wayne mentality is only good for when the zombie apocalypse or another end-of-world scenario – mostly to be found in science fiction – is upon us. It is not the route rational people in a civilized society held together by the rule of law and the Constitution they allegedly trust in,  ought to embark on. We do not want to send our kids to school with the likes of George Zimmerman prowling the halls.

NRA’s Response to the Carnage at Sandy Hook At a Glance: 

1) Create a police state – TSA style security at every corner. A George Zimmerman in every neighborhood. I mean, we are all totally grateful that he protected us from the evils of a 17 year old child holding candy and we clearly need more of that.

2) Arm every man, woman and child with assault rifles like they were Snake Plissken. The more guns and tools of mass murder lie around, the safer we all will be since human beings are totally not prone to irrationality and rage over something like someone cutting them off on the freeway or giving them the wrong look at the grocery store etc.

3) Scapegoat everyone and everything for this: Women, pacifists, the mentally ill, video games and movies, entertainment industry, the doorman at the school…everyone but gun owners and the gun – a tool solely designed to take lives, nothing else. Apparently the gun is a very misunderstood tool for murder.

Great America. Moving towards a plutocratic police state one gun wielding,  Jesus chest-thumping, fear mongering, bigoted patriot at a time.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment