Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bang Bang Crazy – Two in the Bush

So, another mass shooting.

How many is that this year? This month? This week?

You know, it sure does seems like…




What’s the problem?

We’re only two lines in and already you’re rolling your eyes? Already you’ve got your hand up? You didn’t even let me get through the introduction.  How could you possibly have an objection already?

What’s that?

You have a problem with the phrasing? “Mass shootings,” you say? That’s the problem? Oh, I see. It’s like sex with Bill Clinton, it depends on how you define the words. Mass shootings.  It’s not as bad as it seems. It’s all media hype. Liberal hysteria. False Flags by the gun grabbers.

It’s really not that bad.

Why in most of the recent shootings only one or two people have died.

One. Maybe two.

Maybe three.

That’s not so bad. Right?

See, for a mass shooting you need four dead people.

That’s right. It’s got to be four dead victims, not three kids and then the gunman shoots himself. Not one dead and a dozen wounded and the cops kill the bad guy, no, Sir. For it to count you’ve got to have a pile of dead people. At least four of them, that’s the deal.

We’re talking penetration here, not oral gratification.

Four dead, minimum. Preferably more. And they’ve got to be Christians, see? Preferably good God-fearin’ white people. A bunch of unarmed black people killed by a rightwing racist in a church? Doesn’t count. A liberal US congresswoman and her staff and constituents? Doesn’t count. Bunch of people watching a Batman movie when they should have been home studying the Bible? Doesn’t count. School full of kindergarteners? Doesn’t count and they were probably all “crisis actors” anyway. When liberals talk about 30,000 dead each year from guns, well, most of those are singletons, one dumb kid shoots another dumb kid, suicides, black people in Chicago shooting other black people, losers, and like that. Accidents. Stuff happens. Those don’t count.

Gun violence, you see, is on the decline. That’s what they tell us – well, except in the giant gun-free death zone known as Chicago where black liberal thugs rape and murder each other on the streets pretty much 24 hours a day. But other than that, if you eliminate all cases that do not involve Radical Muslim Extremists shooting White Conservative Christians, gun violence is on the decline. Hardly ever happens.

And when it does, well, it’s crazy people who are to blame.

Last weekend, Jeb Bush explained during an interview on WHOTV’s The Insiders how mass shootings in the US are caused by mental illness:

“We can lessen it [mass shootings and gun violence]. And we need to look at: What are the common denominators of these very public mass murders where people then commit suicide?”

What are the common denominators?

What is the common denominator in “these very public mass murders?”

What’s the common denominator? Well, let’s do the math: September 1999, Fort Worth, Texas, a gunman killed six people during a prayer service, then he committed suicide. October 2002, it was the Washington DC Sniper, ten dead. August 2003, Chicago, a gunman locked six of his former coworkers in a conference room and shot them dead, then he killed himself.  November 2004, Birchwood, Wisconsin, a hunter got into an argument with a group of sportsmen over a trespassing issue, the hunter ended the argument by killing six and wounding two. March 2005, Brookfield, Wisconsin, a man walked into a church and shot seven people dead, praise the Lord. October 2006, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, a disgruntled truck driver shot five Amish schoolgirls to death and wounded six others before taking his own life. April 2007, Virginia Tech, an angry former student set a record with the deadliest mass shooting in the US in recent years, he killed thirty-two people and wounded fifteen others. Go Team. August 2007, Delaware State University, three students were shot and killed execution style by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys, a fourth student was shot and stabbed. December 2007, Omaha, Nebraska, a 20-year-old man killed nine people and wounded five others in a shopping mall.  A few days later,  on Christmas Eve, a woman and her boyfriend gunned down six members of her family in their house in Carnation, Washington. February 2008, Chicago, a gunman tied up and shot six women at a clothing store, five of them died. February 2008, DeKalb, Illinois, a man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, he killed five students and wounded sixteen others.  September 2008, Alger, Washington, a mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people, six died. December 2008, Covina, California, a man dressed up like Santa Claus killed nine people at a family Christmas party, then he set the house on fire and shot himself. March 2009, Alabama, a 28-year-old drove through several towns randomly shooting people, he managed to kill ten. March 2009, North Carolina, a heavily-armed gunman stormed into a nursing home and killed eight elderly residents and wounded two more before police killed him. March 2009, Santa Clara, California, six people were shot dead in an apartment building.  April 2009, Binghamton, New York, a man shot thirteen people to death in a bloody rampage at the town civic center. July 2009, Houston, Texas, six people were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University. November 2009, Fort Hood, Texas, a U.S. army major opened  fire on his fellows in the middle of a crowded processing center filled with troops preparing for deployment, he killed thirteen and wounded forty-two. January 2011, Tucson, Arizona, a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery store, he killed six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounded twelve more including a US Congresswoman. July 2012, Aurora, Colorado, a gunman dressed up like a comic book villain stormed into a packed movie theater and started shooting, he killed twelve and wounded fifty-eight more. August 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin again, a gunman killed six people at Sikh temple before being shot dead by police. September 2012, Minneapolis, a gunman kills six including himself and wounds five more inside a small sign company. December 2012, Newtown, Connecticut,  a 20-year old gunman killed his mother and then shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty small children, six adults, and himself.  February 2013, a former Navy officer and Los Angeles policeman declared war on the LAPD, over a period of nine days he killed four people including three police officers and wounded three more before eventually committing suicide by cop.  March 2013, Herkimer, upstate New York, a 64-year old man lit his apartment on fire, then coolly walked into a local barber shop and killed two people, then he drove to another business and killed two more, then he killed a police dog and was subsequently gunned down by the canine’s human partners. June 2013, Santa Monica, California, a 23-year old man went on a killing spree that left six people dead and four wounded and ended when he was shot dead by police inside the Santa Monica College Library.  July 2013, Hialeah, Florida, a man living with his mother lit their apartment on fire and then went on a rampage throughout the living complex, he killed seven before police returned the favor. September 16, 2013, twelve more dead at the Washington Navy Yard. April 2, 2014, Fort Hood, Texas, four more dead, including the shooter. June 17, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina, a racist sat quietly for an hour among the congregation of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, then without warning he  murdered nine people during prayer service and wounded a tenth – he was hoping to start a race war. July 20, 2015, Chattanooga, a self-declared Jihadist suffering from depression and drug use, mad at the US government, shot up a military recruiting center in a strip mall then drove to a local Navy operations support center and launched another attack, he killed four Marines and a Sailor and then died in a gunfight with law enforcement. July 23, 2015, Lafayette, Louisiana, a drifter with a gun fired thirteen rounds into a crowded movie theater, he killed two people, wounded nine, and then turned the gun on himself when police closed in (yes, he only killed two, but I give him an A for effort). October 1, 2015, a college campus in Oregon, ten dead, and the shooter killed himself after being wounded by police.

So? What do they all have in common?

What’s the common denominator? What’s the one thing common to all these mass shootings?

Is it Muslims? Is it males? Is it military targets? Is it children? Is it schools? Is it movie theaters? Malls? What could it be?


Wait, hang on. I think I might know. Is it … guns?

Heh heh, nice try, Jim. Nope.

“And I think the one common denominator that’s pretty clear is, there’s a huge mental health challenge in our country."

Ah, mental health. I should have seen that coming.

Guns don’t kill people, folks, crazy people with guns kill people.

Obviously all of those people up above, all of those mass murderers, were mentally ill. Sure, you don’t just go around murdering people if you’re not nuts. That’s it. Well, thank God we figured that out, right?

We have a huge mental health challenge in our country.

And do you know why? (Hint: it’s not because we don’t provide funding and care)

“And people that live in isolation, they go on the internet, they live their lives there, they get deeply disturbed, and then they get worse, and they commit these atrocious acts. There should be some intervention earlier. If people have deep mental health challenges, they shouldn’t have access to purchase guns.”

It’s the internet!

That’s the problem. The internet makes people crazy. In fact, I’m probably crazy right now from writing this blog on the internet. You’re probably all crazy, mad as hatters, from being here on the internet. Look down, are you drooling yourselves? Show of hands, how many of you are Napoleon? Why, it’s Facebook! It’s Twitter! It’s internet porn! It’s video games! We’re all going bang bang crazy! It’s making us deeply disturbed, that’s what it is!

It’s not guns, hell no.

It’s mental health. It’s the crazy people. They’re the ones! And do you know what? People who have mental health challenges shouldn't be able to purchase guns –  it's okay if they already have guns, but they shouldn't be allowed to buy any more. See?

So, something we can agree on, Jeb Bush and me, crazy people shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns. Common ground, at last. Well, now we’re getting somewhere.

“I don’t know the facts about the case in Oregon, how this young man got his guns, but he clearly had mental health challenges. And the capturing system for mental health in this country is not as wide as it needs to be. And so I think states ought to look at this, to determine how you can protect privacy rights for people, but make sure that we get adequate information, so that people don’t fall through the cracks.”

Um, what?

What did Jeb just say?

Now now, hang on. Let’s for the sake of brevity, leave aside the part where he admits he doesn't actually "know the facts" but he's pretty sure the cause of mass murder is the gun lobby catchall, "mental illness,” – a position apparently based on NRA pamphlets and juju magics since there’s no validated scientific evidence for it and agencies which could produce such studies are forbidden by law and lack of funding from engaging in it.   I mean, he might be right, but how would you know?

I digress.

Let’s just go with Bush on this one: Mental illness causes all mass shootings.

Mental illness causes mass shootings. Crazy people with guns. Okay. I want to hear more about this "capturing system" for mental health, the one good enough to provide "adequate information" on every person in the US, which will presumably be reliable enough to flag everybody with even the most vague of "mental health" issues and then be able to determine which ones will become dangerous gun waving mass murders at some future date. 

I think there was a science fiction movie about that a while back, wasn’t there?

Mental health screening that can tell who will become a gun waving mass murder, and the system can do it to such a degree of accuracy conservatives like Bush would be willing to pass a law, or an amendment to the Constitution, and fully fund it, which would subsequently deny these crazy murderous bastards the right to buy guns.

Yeah, let’s hear more about that, because I find that idea fascinating.

While he’s at it, I’d like Bush to explain who exactly would be gathering this information (since, you know, conservatives have passed laws specifically preventing the medical community from asking any patient – no matter how disturbed – about their access to firearms.

I’d like to hear Bush explain who exactly would be reviewing such information should it somehow magically be acquired. There are a lot of guns purchased in America every day, thousands, we’re going to need a lot more government. Or would this be contracted out? Outsource to India maybe? How much is this going to cost? Who’s going to pay for it? Perhaps we could find a bunch of psychologists to conduct the exams and review the records on a voluntary basis, for the good of the community – or is that too socialist?

And what is the criteria we’ll be using to determine future murderous intent? Is mild depression grounds for denial of gun ownership? Or do you have to show up for the interview in a camouflage tutu wearing a mask made from the flensed face-skin of your grandma while laughing maniacally muwahahahahahHAha! Will your mental health status be reviewed by an actual panel of doctors trained in such behavior? Will Tom Cruise receive a magic red ball etched with the details of your future crime by a pre-cognitive mutant kept in a vat? Or will it be somebody experienced and educated in sane and rational firearms use, like, say Ted Nugent?


Oh, now I’m just being silly, am I?

Look, Bush started it, you got a beef, you take it up with him.

“Had there been intervention in this guy’s case, he was in the military, he was, I think he got, he was discharged dishonorably, I believe, I don’t know what the exact circumstance, but he left within months of his enlisting, there should be some way to identify these things."

I believe.

I don’t know.

I’m not sure, but….

But there should be some way to identify these things.

Like fully funding veteran’s healthcare? Like spending as much on what happens after the war as waging it? Like funding Veterans mental health services as if it was an F-35 Strike Fighter assembly line in a Red State. Like throw money at it as if it was an oil subsidy? Like that? Is that what we’re talking about?

No? No, I suppose not.

So, anyway, we should have some kind of mental health screening for gun ownership.

Mental health, that’s the common denominator, that’s the problem. We need better mental healthcare in this country.

Everybody got that?

Better mental healthcare. Mental screening before allowing a gun purchase.

Anybody want to argue? No?

All right then. So, exactly how would President Bush (you have no idea how much it hurts me to type that) address the situation as he's outlined it? How would President Jeb Bush keep crazy people from buying guns?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Today, Jeb Bush unveiled his plan to repeal and "replace" the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare.

Bush's plan in a nutshell:

- Repeal the individual mandate and make health insurance a benefit voluntarily provided by your employer. Like it was in the Old Republic, before the dark times, before Obama.

- Remove federal subsidies designed to help people buy health insurance and return control of healthcare plans to employers. Because if you believe in capitalism, well, then you know the free market is best suited to decide your healthcare needs. The free market and your boss. 

- “Encourage” people to create "healthcare savings plans,” apparently with all the extra money that will be trickling down from the benevolent largess of Wall Street. Because healthcare savings plans worked so very well in the past, just like those retirement saving plans Wall Street used to fuel their last harebrained scheme – you know, that one where they exploded the global economy with bad mortgages and rich people got even more unbelievably rich and everybody else got fucked right in the ass and lost their houses, jobs and healthcare? Like that.

- "Allow" employers to use "financial incentives" to "encourage" wellness. Your employers will encourage “wellness.” Your employer. Will encourage wellness. Be well, everybody!

I guess if you're unemployed you're on your own, wellness wise.

- Gets rid of the ACA's emphasis on preventative care, such as maternity coverage (remember, folks, in Republican Utopia life begins at conception and ends at birth, so once the kid is born, fuck you), annual screenings (such as cancer screening, gynecological exams, diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on), emergency services, those aforementioned wellness programs, and ...


Wait for it.

Waaaaaaait for it.




So, in summary:

Mass shootings are caused by mental illness.

And the cunning plan for addressing this supposed rash of Crazy People With Guns is to give them more guns and less mental health coverage.

It’s just me, isn’t it?

Does anybody else see a problem with this?

Does this seem … crazy to you?

Well, maybe you have to be a Republican.

Then again, it does make it easy to determine at a glance who should be allowed to have guns and who shouldn’t.

Crazy wise, I mean.

Addendum 1:  Every time I write one of these, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always.
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence
The Bang Bang Crazy Series:
Part 1, What we need, see, are more guns, big fucking guns
Part 2, Gun violence isn't the exception in America, it's who we are
Part 3, Sandy Hook, the NRA, and a gun in every school
Part 4, More dead kids and why we have laws
Part 5, Gun control and a polite society
Part 6, The Christopher Donner rampage, they needed killin'
Part 7, Still more dead kids and let's print our own guns!
Part 8, Let's try blaming the victim, shall we?
Part 9, Armed soldiers on post, sure, nothing to go wrong there.
Part 10, Big Damned Heroes!
Part 11, Two in the Bush
What do we do about it? How do we change our culture of gun violence? Bang Bang Sanity

Addendum 2: As noted elsewhere, I’ve  been around guns my entire life. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid – in fact the very first gun I ever fired was my dad’s prized black powder .75 caliber smooth bore Civil War trench piece when I was about four years old. I still own my very first gun, bought from Meyer’s Thrifty Acres in Jenison, Michigan, for me by my dad when I was fourteen years old – a lever action Winchester 30-30. I got my first deer with that gun.  I grew up shooting, at home, in the Boy Scouts, hunting, target shooting, plinking, with friends and with family.  Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve attended pretty much every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between. I can still field strip a Colt .45 M-1911 pistol and put it back together in under a minute, blindfolded – I happen to own several of them, along with numerous other semi-auto pistols and a number of revolvers. I used to shoot professionally and in competition. I helped to design, test, field, and fire in combat US Military weapons systems. I’ve spent my entire life in places where gun usage is extremely, extremely, common. I have a Concealed Carry Permit. I’m an Alaskan and I typically carry a gun in the wilds of Alaska on a regular basis. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, a gun is a tool, nothing more. If you feel that I’m ignorant of guns, or that I’m anti-gun, or unAmerican, well, you’re welcome to speak your piece – just so long as you can live with what comes after.


  1. It can't possibly be guns as a common denominator because freedom or Benghazi or Whitewater or something like that.

    I long for the days when there were sane national Republicans. I almost certainly wouldn't vote for 'em, but they weren't off on Bizarro World

  2. I wish I didn't have to sit reading another one of your posts and shaking my head sadly - in total agreement.

  3. I see you used critical thinking skills here Jim. I believe those skills are on the decline in 'merica". Nailed it again, as usual.

  4. Dynamite essay. Again.

    I hate to make this comment and it certainly does not need publishing:

    "criteria" is a plural word, so it's either what are the criteria that we use or what is the criterion?


    Hope I'll be a friend some day,

    Don Clay

    1. Repeating my facebook comment on this very subject:

      Criteria: A basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated. Plural of criterion.

      The phrase in question: "And what is the criteria we’ll be using to determine future murderous intent?"

      You're saying I should have either said "What is the criterion?" or "What are the criteria?"

      Technically, you are correct.

      However, from the Grammarist: "Traditionally, criteria is plural, and criterion is singular. These reflect the Latin forms. Although most dictionaries and usage authorities still make this distinction, criterion is likely to go the way of datum and agendum (which are only used by small groups of English speakers). That is, criterion will become rarer and rarer, while criteria will become the singular form (with criterias perhaps emerging as the plural)."

      "Already this is happening. In current news publications and popular blogs, for instance, the phrases that criteria and criteria is are far more common than that criterion and criterion is. Criterion still prevails as the singular in searchable books, but this is because books tend to lag behind popular usage by a few years or more, and also because Google’s book-search tool includes lots of scientific and scholarly writing, where Latin forms are conventionally preserved."

      "Using criteria as a singular noun might still be unsafe when you’re writing for school or in any other formal context, but English almost always eventually imposes its own rules on words derived from other languages, and this appears to be happening as we speak with criteria."

      So, in conclusion, you are correct from a TRADITIONAL CONSERVATIVE STANDPOINT. However, since this is a progressive blog I choose the living language future-looking LIBERAL usage of the word.

      (You may, if you like, imagine me sticking my tongue out at you right now, you filthy conservative). So there.

    2. Jim, that reply is why I love this blog. Wit and intelligence are to be expected in the comments as well as the main post.

      -Paul Cooper (former QM3/SS)

  5. Of course the common denominator is guns or more precisely, the number of guns resulting from a culture of fear and needing weapons to ensure personal safety. It is very sad really and hard to envision how it will change for the better. I believe the President is correct when he says basically ... it won't change until the majority of citizens want it to change and are willing to push or it. But .. my goodness .. that doesn't seem imminent.

  6. in that thing at deleware state, i was paying attention, one of those people was shot AND stabbed. your arguement is therefore void.

  7. I need to send you money again. Won't someone clever with grapics make a nice photo meme of JEB!'s idiocy?

    1. There! Sent $. Thanks for doing PayPal

    2. Thanks! I appreciate it. // Jim

  8. Yup. I'm a 6th generation Texan and I'm fairly sure 99.9% of my relatives own one or more guns. I'm maybe the .01% who doesn't. As far as I know none have been hospitalized for mental illness nor have they been arrested for inappropriate use of a gun. And here is the HOWEVER -- one relative was deeply depressed and had access to (owned) guns. Fortunately he got medical help and didn't kill himself or anyone else. Another worked for TSA at an airport and got pissed at a supervisor and (jokingly, he said) threatened to go home and come back with a gun. He was fired and banned from the airport. They all own multiple guns -- for hunting, for sport shooting, and for "protecting" themselves and their families from home invasions, illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, etc. etc. Several have worked in law enforcement and as prison guards. Our good ole U S of A is screwed up! You, Mr. Wright, make sense, and I wish you all the best in getting the message across. Thank you!!!!

  9. Psychiatrists and psychologists are already unable to determine who should be let out of prison or psychiatric care based on their potential for future dangerous potential. Makes sense to put them in charge.

    1. That's not really a failing on the part of mental health professionals - it's about the unpredictability of humans.

  10. Sad to say, but we've become inured to shootings so much that it's going to take something that exceeds everything else so far before anything changes. And wow I hope Jeb doesn't get even close to the Whitehouse. That'd be embarrassing.

  11. Everyone is crazy but me and thee. I have my doubts about thee!

    Good one Jim! Keep preaching the truth!

    Mrs G

  12. I think you could go back farther than 2000. Here's a database that goes back to 1982. If you want to view it you'll have to copy paste. Seems links aren't allowed in the blog comments. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data

    We certainly are a crazy bloody lot aren't we?

    1. You have to draw the line somewhere. This century seemed a reasonable cutoff point to me.

      Links: You can include hotlinks. You'll need to use the HTML A HREF command in the standard formet

  13. It is utterly unrealistic to throw this issue on the mental health field and then tie their hands. Just like it makes no sense not to tweak the laws a bit to limit access to weapons by those who aren't legally allowed to own them. And yes, that means registering your fricking gun. Waaa-fricking-waaaa. And being responsible for what happens with your gun. Note the word responsible there? As in being a 'responsible' gun owner? Yeah, like that. And insurance, because that helps in the responsibility realm if things go wrong. Right? I mean, we all want responsibility, right? Works for me.

    1. Jeb Bush and the Republicans have no intention of doing anything which is why they are pushing this contrived and NRA approved diversion. As for insurance, where does the "personal responsibility" party stand? No way! They want their guns with no responsibility whatsoever.

  14. I still thoroughly maintain that if nothing was done after 20 small children were gunned down in cold blood, nothing will EVER be done. It's a maddeningly sad testament to the state of our country when it comes to our seemingly insane need for guns. I am truly ashamed of and embarrassed by our gun junkie culture.
    Pam in PA

    1. I'm thinking that there will need to be a mass shooting at the NRA headquarters, AND/or Congress. It gives me no pleasure to think so.

  15. Jim, you have a clever, entertaining way with words. I'm SO glad you are not a Republican! Do you know of any conservatives who write with such thoughtfulness and humor? And good sense.

  16. So here's a thought, crazy shmazy. Who gives a flying fuck about crazy people?

    Think about it.

    "I'm not sure but" of the US population, 325,869,470 last time I looked, let's say 0.1% are "crazy" - tap, tap, tap, that would, umm be roughly 325,869.

    Furthermore, "I'm not sure but" lets say 0.1% of THEM -- tap, tap, tap yeah, ok, yeah that's 326 -- would be "crazy enough" to get their "cray" on, buy enough firepower to invade Luxemburg single-handedly, and commit mass murder.

    Hey! It's only 326 people, folks!! We have them outnumbered DEAD to rights, if only...

    So here's what we do, we take some percentage of the defense budget (because we're really talking about actual homeland defense here) and just BUY EVERYONE GUNS.

    Everyone. Every man, woman and child (er, well, let's be reasonable, only the children who have the physical capacity to actually load the weapon, ok? That's the demarcation point).

    All the "sane" good guys hear a shot fired in crazy, THEY ALL COME RUNNING.

    (Police?!? Police?!? We don need no stinkin Police! Save money, right? Buy MORE guns!)

    All the good guys arriving on scene know EXACTLY who the "crazy" shooter is immediately.

    Because the "Crazy" people wear shirts with horizontal stripes (it's in the "Crazy" People Union handbook).

    The other, more benign "crazy" people we collaterally armed who happened to be in the area will be wearing polkadots (again, handbook!)

    Easy peasy!!

    With that plan, we got y'all covered.

    So to speak.

    1. No, it's not the t-shirts. It's the bad haircuts.

      Didn't you notice that almost all the gunmen have bad haircuts?


  17. Of course it's a mental health issue - the politicians who refuse to admit to and address the problem all need psychiatric help!

  18. Need to know who needs observation for mental illness or special mental healthcare? People who would vote for Jeb Bush, of course.

    1. Considering he is one of the mildest of the Republican field, what does that say about ALL Republican voters?

      (Sure would be nice if Disqus were allowed here...)

    2. Disqus requires commenters sign up for an account. I don't feel it's acceptable to force people to sign up for a 3rd party agency in order to comment on my blog.

  19. Nothing will be done if nobody does anything, which means we need to keep the pressure on. We need to keep commenting even when we meeting with the batshit crazy talking points of the NRA over and over again. I've seen signs lately that more people are beginning go recognize that the NRA is an evil front man for the gun industry, so maybe over time, with constant pressure (and unfortunately more innocent dead) change can happen. This country did not get it right from the beginning, despite some inspired rhetoric and progressive ideas, but over the course of history we have slowly gotten closer to the real meaning of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's been a bloody (literally) long process, and we still have a ways to go, but nobody gets anywhere without believing that change can happen. When people say, it will never change because of the NRA's stranglehold on politicians, or because of the entrenched gun culture that has a wide variety of delusions to cling to and to trot out at every hint that something might get done... But everything is capable of changing, no matter how utterly impossible it seems at the time. We've done it before as a nation, and I hope we can keep on moving on the arc toward freedom and peace. Admittedly, it looks pretty bleak right now, but giving up isn't an option. Once again, thank you Jim, for keeping the pressure on so eloquently.

  20. Good grief. I hate typos. Too tired to do a good job of proofreading. Oh well.

  21. We all try to come up with an answer to aggressive behavior whether with guns or machetes. At one time we thought is was those horror grisly comic books. Well, we do love our mayhem and our vicarious pleasure in slaughter. Worship of guns you say, plausible. Next time you look at a movie poster or an add in a paper, look for the ones with the guns in the hands of the protagonist. I did one day and it was revealing. We got rid of the cigarette ads, could we not eliminate the portrayal of the sexy come on for movies about gun toters. Sorry James Bond, you have to get rid of your Beretta with the silencer. Ok, pop culture is only a side bar. But one small step for victomhood, Nay?

  22. It took me several weeks to get a license to own a pistol. My family doctor was informed before I was licensed. I had to carry the unloaded cased weapon to police HQ to have the serial number recorded. I also had to complete a significant course by a qualified range instructor. Sports Authority no longer carries handguns. We have a carry permit on the books but I have never heard of one being permitted. You can still by a mean tactical knife at a Honolulu Sports Authority. Not so hard to live with our laws. They are accepted by most of us. Many folks have akitas and big dogs. But they must be leashed. Probably safer than a weapon come down to it.

  23. Be assured that "president Bush" was as painful to read as it was to type.

  24. Common Denominator in Mass Shootings:

    1. A Gun.

    2. A White Male.

    Case closed.

    1. Or possibly a child, a baby, a woman adjusting her bra holster, a dog . . . etc.

  25. I just wanted to say this: after Terry Schiavo, Jeb! has absolutely no business saying fuck-all about anything having to do with the health, mental or otherwise, of ANY living human being.

    The "smart" Bush is turning out to be worse than both his father and his idiot brother combined.

  26. Wait! Did you just call Jeb crazy? Wonder if a mental health screening would check out for him not being able to buy a gun, if such a thing crazily would appear, the screening that is :)

  27. Great observation Jim, but look on the bright side; at least we don't have car-bombs, eh ? (or are these events the American equivilent?)
    Imagine AAA being out there defending our right to own a car like the NRA is with guns.

  28. I truly believe that somewhere under all this, what it all boils down to for so much of the Republican base is that 'Merica needs God. After these many years of being lied to by the leaders of the Moral Majority and their descendants perfectly normal people have been brainwashed into believing the crap they've been fed. "We need God! Our leaders need God! We don't have a gun problem, we have a heart problem! God will punish America if we don't turn back to him!"

    And no matter how wrong they are and how many things they are wrong about and how many people they stomp on while they're being wrong, and how incredibly evil, thoughtless, selfish and vindictive their god ends up looking it's extremely difficult to change the mind of someone who truly believes he is doing what his god would have him do.

    I do not mean to defend the slippery, slimy scumbags in any way, but the Republican candidates are forced to pander to these self-righteous, godly nut-jobs or risk bringing the nut-job wrath down upon their own little heads. It's a difficult position to be in.

    1. It's been said many times, but the concept of God in the US arose in the 1950s; I was in grammar school when the "under God" line was inserted in the Pledge. In the mid-50s, "In God We Trust" was added to our currency. Also in the 50s, Billy Graham became a national figure.
      I recently read an article (can't remember where) that this was both a reaction to the threat of "Godless Commies", and a determined effort to counter the wild success of the New Deal by presenting a sort of Corporate Christianity by inserting a God who encouraged wealth.
      When we hear all of the talk about God, and how the US is a "Christian Nation", it would be helpful to add "...since 1950" under our breath.

  29. To quote you Jim, These Fucking People!!!!!

  30. Jim, you forgot to address one of my favorite questions on this. If (and that is one big f'ing IF) we could somehow identify everyone with mental health issues how exactly do we prevent them from purchasing a gun? Are we suddenly going to require background checks for all purchases? No? Maybe require them to wear a big C (crazy) on their chest so we can all identify them on sight? No?

    I’m still waiting on to figure that one out.

  31. OK, it's your blog, so I'll give you "criteria" as a singular like "media"; at least you've thought about it. But if you write "this phenomena," I'll kick up a fuss.

  32. Other than the guns (obviously) there is no real common denominator. Some batshit crazy, some lonesome losers, some religious fanatics, some just consumed with hatred of their (pick one): ex-boss, ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, co- workers, school mates, black people, white people or purple people. Whatever. One thing I do notice gun fanatics (and conservatives, not coincidentally) have in common is FEAR. The Oregon shooter's mom collected quite an arsenal because she was consumed with fear - of home invasions, rape, robbery, carjackers, brown people stealin' her stuff, and invading Mexican Muslims I presume. Ditto for the Newtown, CT killer's mom. Ditto George Zimmerman (sorry - does that one count? I forget)


  33. OMG, this asshat cannot become POTUS. No one from the clown car can EVER become POTUS. The very idea gives me cramps. There's no better coming from any of the others - Mr. Personality Trump, Jesus Satan Cruz, and Doc Sleepy - migraines with skin.

    The debates from last night at least solidified in my mind that there is far better out there than any Republican. Bernie shown like a beacon and Hillary, well if she is the nominee, I will certainly vote for her. I would much rather Hillary be the first woman president rather than that lying SOS from the clown car.

    The fact that the RWNs can't see their hypocrisy is just appalling. "We need mental health services but don't want to fund them in any way." "More guns will solve all the problems." Etc. Etc. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.

    Thanks, Jim, for all you do to try to keep us sane. I always look forward to your next post.

    1. And regarding your FB post about the genius who killed himself when he dropped his loaded weapon - sounds like a Darwin award nomination, but it's more likely that there's so many like this, it wouldn't even be in the running.

  34. If you need to have a drink in order to deal with the every day problems in life, then you have a problem and you need to get help.

    If you need to ingest some substance in order to function in your day, then you have a problem and you need to get help.

    If you need to carry a firearm in broad daylight on a public street, or keep one in the safety of your own home in order to feel "safe", then you have a problem, and you need to get help.

    See? It really is a mental health issue.

    1. Either you need help (in the situation you have described), or you've been convinced that you need those things to "feel safe". You don't. I often hear this from gun owners "I need a Glock (or AR-15 or whatever) to keep me and my family safe from intruders" or some such. Having those things around is statistically much more likely to CAUSE THEM HARM. Get some bear spray; comes with a free mulligan if you get it wrong.

    2. I myself agree with you--I don't need a gun in my home to feel safe. However, I live in a densely populated suburb within easy reach of a responsive police department. I'm not totally certain that I'd feel the same way if I lived 20+ minutes away, at best, from neighbors and/or police support as people in some areas of our country still do. We haven't any chance of bringing about sensible attitudes/laws regarding firearms until we are willing to admit that this is a huge country, and peoples' life circumstances can be very different. Now when it comes to idiots who openly carry firearms in a suburban shopping center, I'm with you--they need help.

    3. ebrke: You missed my point, I think. The odds of you being in a situation where you need a gun to defend yourself in modern society are about equivalent to being overcome by an avalanch of bowling balls in a swimming pool. This scenario has been agressively promoted to the point where it's taken as fact. It simply isn't the case. I live in a rural area and there are many, many people around here who would think it perfectly reasonable to break a window, force entry and make off with things they don't own. (Thanks, meth!). Unemployment is fairly high and the local law enforcement recently took down a small group of idiots doing chemistry and engaging in free market sales about 3000' from my back door. I am not of an opinion that even if I do find someone trying to get into my house that killing them would be a suitable solution. Sure, they're probably not very good people, but there are plenty of non-lethal ways to fend them off. I'll chose those each and every time. My stuff is simply not worth another's life. Period. I do, however have a shotgun and a very loud pistol but those are to defend my opinions from those who are armed with big claws and weigh five hundred pounds or more. That's because I sometimes find myself in THEIR house. (out in the sticks).

  35. The problem with America is not crazy people, but STOOPID people. Stoopid people can be very competent and very intelligent -- in a limited field. They can be good and nice. Unfortunately, they're willfully blind when it comes to sociological issues. They're led by their emotions rather than by the rational parts of their brains, and they're appallingly selfish. They don't look at other people as independent, DIFFERENT, rights-owning individuals, but as props and extras in the stage-plays that are their lives. Even the nicest of them.

    Last night, this was clearly brought home to me: a friend, whom i would trust with my life, posted a FB meme postulating that an unlikely string of events WOULD result in someone coming for their guns. I sat with jaw dropped for minutes, debating with myself whether i should point out the illogic in it, or hold my peace; being too tired at that point to undertake such a discussion, i let it go.

    We can never win such people over, because they come from a POV of sentiment over reason. They live too much in a mythical world dominated by bibles and television-shows and the maunderings of the calculating hypocrites at Faux News. Issues in the REAL world are significantly more complex than the one they're comfortable in.

    1. Stoopid is a terminal disease. If your stoopid long enough, you'll die. Bob

  36. Yes, guns are the common denominator in your list. Either they killed themselves with their own gun, or the police killed them with a gun, or someone with a gun arrested them. Missing from your list is the mass killings that never happened because someone with a gun shot back or, better yet, shot first, which I'm quite sure you would do yourself with your conceal/carry should the need arise.

    What I find most appalling is that those nearest to many of these individuals know they are disturbed but have nowhere to turn. The mental health system, as you pointed out, is under-resourced and these individuals "slip through the cracks." They might get meds which they often stop taking.

    I'm not sure what stricter gun laws will do in many of these cases. The Oregon shooter had 13 guns he had acquired over time. He had no record, so background checks wouldn't have mattered. He apparently stated to his victims that he had wanted to carry out such a massacre for years, so waiting periods would have only caused a short delay. He had six guns with him, so smaller magazines wouldn't have mattered either.

    Sadly, I can't offer another alternative, though I wish someone would have started shooting back sooner.

    1. Because the incidence of a 'Good Guy with a gun' are vanishingly small. And if GGWG did stop mass shootings, and you can't keep guns out the hands of those determined to kill, then Europe would be suffering far more gun violence than the US.

  37. So far in the US there have been least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.
    13 Killed self
    18 Injured self
    2 Killed other person
    10 injured other person

    In 42 weeks.

    That doesn't include all those cases we don't know about. The gun went off but no one was hurt or the parent stopped the child first.

    In the most recent incident, a two-year-old South Carolina boy riding in the back seat of a car found a .357 revolver safely tucked away in the storage pouch behind the passenger seat and fired a single shot through the seat, hitting his grandmother in the back. Grandma’s sister, who was driving, says she keeps the gun in her car for “protection”:

    [WaPo via HuffPo / Guardian / WCNC-TV]

    1. How wise of the sister. When an emergency happens I'm positive she would have time to stop the car, get out and rummage through to find the fully loaded gun in time to protect herself. Have a friend who has several guns but stresses they are locked in one location and ammunition in another cabinet and keys worn around her neck -- I didn't ask but wanted to: if you truly need to get at those guns I hope you have the time to fight through your panic and fear, remember which keys are which and arm yourself in time. I'd call 911 then pick up one of the baseball bats I have in several locations within my home and hope to get in a whack or two before trying to get to safety. Marlene

  38. And yet, in all of this, I never see anyone (sadly, not even in rebuttal to the Rethuglican "arguments" that it is "teh Crazies!!!") note that it was beloved Saint Reagan who, first as governor of California and then as President, pretty much single-handedly dismantled all government mental health programs in his campaign to destroy the liberal reforms of the mid-20th century.

    Jeb! can't seriously propose new Big Gummint programs such as this, no Rethuglican candidate can, as only a dirty commie nazi liberal fascist RINO would ever do such a thing.

  39. Just once, after a long litany about how a particular person grew up with guns, states clearly and why they understand guns thoroughly, describes their experience in the military and so on, finishes by saying, "I'm against them. After thinking about it a long time, that's the only reasonable perspective."

    Instead, Jim, your answer is the very well understood, "Well, most people know very little about guns, but I am well-versed and therefore I have a very positive perspective. I will do with guns as I feel appropriate."

    This may be a problem of too much perspective - of all the wrong type.

    1. For this type of tool more perspective is much better than ignorance. While guns are tools, they are designed to propel a projectile from a distance with the velocity that enables that projectile to inflict massive trauma to whatever is in it's path. These are specialized tools that should require special training in use, care and strict safety standards for storage and transporting. It is the people who either do not fully understand the capabilities of their weapons or are dependent on those capabilities to fill the gaps that their lack of training created that seem to be convinced that their guns are magical tools that will solve every problem that they fear..even though those problems, outside of the Zombie Apocalypse are as likely as me riding a gryphon through my hometown later today. Zombies may still happen....my kids are convinced of that.

    2. I'm quite sure that every mass shooter who picks up a weapon, or several weapons, feels very certain they understand the use of said weapon. We don't need more people who are aware of a weapon's use. We need more who understand it's need to never be used.

  40. To your list of mass shootings, I want to add the July, 2008 church shooting in Knoxville, TN. 2 dead, many more wounded. A self-proclaimed right-winger planned a mass killing in the Unitarian Universalist church because UU members are liberals, and he thought all liberals should die. In his manifesto, he wrote that he planned to keep shooting until the cops came & shot him. Instead, a hero named Greg McKendry stood in front of the shooter to shield others. He was shot at close range with a shotgun. His actions gave other church members the chance to subdue the gunman until the police arrived. The gunman wasn't mentally ill. He was full of rage and hatred (in part, ironically, because his government benefits were cut).

    1. And for the record, in July of 2008, I don't think it was the liberals that cut off his government benefits. We didn't even know yet that that our next POTUS would be African American.

  41. I wholeheartedly agree with your point that bringing mental health professionals into the question of who should have guns is the wrong way to go. The general idea people have of crazy doesn't match mental health diagnosis. I read about a study recently that said that past violence is a better predictor. If you take that to mean past convictions, restraining orders, and involuntary commitment that is a much better defined and less intrusive. I would like to see people start replacing the idea of background checks with the idea of licensing. People with the kind of knowledge you have would need to define what appropriate training and testing would be. The license could be suspended if there were convictions for violent crimes or gun negligence. Gun dealers would need to check for a current license.

    In another one of your gun essays you said gun owners need to be held criminally responsible for damage caused by their guns. I think this an excellent point that has a chance of changing behavior, especially if it is accompanied by informational ads on gun safety.

    In another one of your essays you called guns "force multipliers". That's obvious in retrospect, but I didn't think of it. So, I passed that on to my children as what to say we people say "guns don't kill people; people kill people".

  42. It's always bad routines and casual people thaty cause things go mad. http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/gunfail-at-the-ok-corral-vigilante-shoots-bystander-and-fellow-actor-during-shootout-stunt-for-tourists/
    and it's always a response like " Officials insisted the shootings were an isolated incident and assured visitors that all safety protocols would be enforced before gunfight re-enactments on Allen Street." we ahve a good saftety, this is one off incicent. But if it is a good safty, this would not happen, at all.

  43. I have a brother who is an Obama-hating, "libtard"-bashing, gun-hugging right winger. After his last visit he sent me an article by Sean Davis in The Federalist on "7 Gun Control Myths That Just Won’t Die". I've been looking for THE article to send him. I can't think of anything more appropriate than your Bang Bang series. Thank you for all the work you do.

  44. School attack in Sweden this morning. Where it can be rather complicated to buy and keep a gun. Attacker used a sword. One dead, four injured, police came and killed the attacker, two shots fired. It's horrible, it's of a piece with the school attacks in other places, no doubt, but... one dead, four injured, two shots (professionally) fired.

    1. Now one of the stabbed victims has died, so that makes two dead. And the killer was killed, by the two shots fired. So two victims dead, two badly injured. And the killer taken down with two professionally fired bullets from rapid response police.

  45. Another middle aged white terrorist shooting up Planned Parenthood staff, patients and cops in Co Springs. And a citizen told to stop smoking in a Waffle House shoots waitress in the head in MS. Thanksgiving weekend. America Fuck Yeah!!!


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