Monday, January 21, 2013

Bang Bang Crazy, Part 5

“The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…’’

That was State Representative, Steve Toth, speaking to a crowd of torch and pitchfork waving Texans on Saturday in Austin.

Toth was, of course, referring to President Obama’s push for stricter gun control in the wake of recent gun violence across the United States.

Toth says the president is using children as human shields.

Human shields.

We’ll come back to that.

Toth was speaking at a rally promoted as part of “Guns Across America” and “National Gun Appreciation Day.”

Guns across America.

National gun appreciation day.


I’ll pause for a moment so you can think about how goddamned insane that is.


National Gun Appreciation Day?


I’m a gun owner. I might appreciate the fine engineering or the craftsmanship that goes into making a precision machine, but that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it? Honestly, gun appreciation day? I might allow that given human nature, guns are a necessary evil or even that they are a tool for performing certain actions, but gun appreciation day? Are you kidding me?

Who the hell thinks like this? Outside a mental institution, I mean.

Banners at the Austin rally proclaimed “An Armed Society is a Polite Society,’’ ‘'The Second Amendment Comes from God’’ and ‘‘Hey King O, I'm keeping my guns and my religion.’’

An armed society is a polite society?

Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Provable bullshit.  I can show you armed societies, truly armed societies, we’ll start in Iraq and work our way around to Somalia via the Mexican drug corridors through gangbanger territory in Los Angeles.  Universally armed societies are emphatically not polite. And don’t we Americans make fun of comparatively unarmed societies (compared to us) such as France and Great Britain for their politeness?  Canadians are so polite that it’s damned near a cliché, and yet somehow their easy going nature doesn’t seem to be at the muzzle of a gun. 

If armed societies are polite societies, how do you explain Texas?

An armed society is a polite society?

What’s the logic here? Be polite, say please and thank you while kissing my ass or I’ll blow your brains out?  Politeness at gunpoint is neither politeness nor a society. And let’s be honest here, do you really – and I mean really – want to live in a society where social interaction is enforced by the threat of deadly violence? Really? Welcome to Kuwait.  Welcome to Saudi Arabia.  Welcome to Feudal Japan. What’s next? Do we bring back dueling?

I call Shenanigans.

And the Second Amendment comes from God?

Again, bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. And bullshit

How many damned times do we have to go over this? The Constitution is an agreement between human beings, it is a template for government, a basis for law. God doesn’t get a vote. God has not one damned thing to do with either the Second Amendment or any other part of the Constitution. I don’t care if you don’t like it. Too bad for you, you want to live where God makes the laws? Then move to Iran. In the US, God stays on his side of the room and the Constitution stays on the other.  Anybody who doesn’t understand the difference between supposed natural rights (the so-called “God given” rights of the Declaration of Independence) and the manmade legal rights of the Constitution needs to stop waving their guns and bibles and go back to school – preferably one outside of Texas.  The Second Amendment does not come from God, not your god, not anybody’s god. There’s no basis for this statement, not in the Constitution, not in law, not in the Federalist Papers, not in made up quotes from Thomas Jefferson, not in the bible. It’s bullshit, utter and total bullshit, and serves only to demonstrate a profound and staggering ignorance.

And there’s this: I’m keeping my guns and my religion.

Guns and religion.

It’s just me, right? Guns and religion. It’s getting so that I can’t tell extremist Christians from extremist Muslims. Honestly, from where I sit, all you crazy religious people look pretty much the same. Guns and religion. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that? How in the hell do you get to guns and religion in the same sentence? Guns and religion, throw in a pickup truck, a keg of shitty beer, and an underage pregnant governor’s daughter and you’ve pretty much described the modern GOP, haven’t you? Can you people actually hear the words coming out of your mouths, did you read the banners you’re waving or did somebody else write them for you? Guns and religion?  In that order, no less. 

I’m not a Christian but I was raised in the church and I strongly suspect that Jesus would have bitch slapped the stupid right out of these people.

You know, and I’m just saying here, maybe there’s reason why you haven’t seen him in two thousand years.

Meanwhile, a bit further north, Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign went predictably ape-shit, and fired off a mass mailing like a runaway AR-15 with a filed down sear. The hysteria was almost palpable with dire warnings to Kentuckians that Obama was “coming for your guns!”

"You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom!"

That was McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton.

Oh no! We’re surrounded!

Surrounded by sissy pacifist liberals! Oh My God! What if they hand us flowers and start singing? Praise God and pass the ammunition! To arms! To arms!

Benton went on to say:

"Our Founders fought a revolution to secure our rights. They would have been appalled by what they heard from an American president the other day. President Obama has the left wing media in a frenzy. The gun-grabbers are in full battle mode. And they are serious."

You know, it’s funny. Whenever the President talks about jobs or the economy or the debt, Mitch McConnell immediately accuses him of not “being serious.” How many times have we heard that exact phrase in the last four years from Mitch McConnell? The president is not serious! Guns though, Mitch is willing to take Obama at his word on that, by God.

The president specifically said that he is not trying to infringe on the Second Amendment and that any significant changes to gun laws in the US would require congressional legislation. 

According to Mitch, liberals are in full battle mode. Conservatives, on the other hand, are in a full-on panic. For a bunch of people armed to the teeth, they sure are scared of a bunch of sissy unarmed gay liberals. It must be a hell of a way to go through life, pissing your pants all of the time. Funny thing, I thought Jesus was supposed to give you courage. But I digress.

Conservatives are losing their minds over the idea of executive action on Obama’s part, once again demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the actual Constitution and how our government actually works. 

Executive orders only apply to the Executive Branch of Government. Obama can’t just make laws and issue orders, it doesn’t work that way. All executive action can do is enforce, or not, existing law – i.e. bills already created and passed by Congress, and signed into law by the President.

Now, last week, the president unveiled a legislative package which he urged Congress to pass in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown massacres. It includes a ban on assault weapons and armor piercing bullets and a 10-round limit on magazines.  Note that the president can’t out and out ban assault weapons, armor piercing ammunition, or restrict hi-cap magazines, those things require legislation.  Which is what he asked congress to think about. Obama isn’t acting like a dictator despite conservative hysteria, he’s acting like a president – and polls show that a majority of Americans want some kind of control over these weapons.

That’s the president’s job, to ask congress to look into it.

However, McConnell's message calls the president’s proposals a "thinly-veiled scheme,” and McConnell pledged that he will oppose not only legislation but executive actions as well.

The thing is, Mitch McConnell and other conservative lawmakers can’t legally oppose executive action – not without changing the law.

They’ve already given the president that power – it comes with the Oval Office.

If you don’t want this president to have the power, you shouldn’t have given it to the previous one.

And what, exactly are these executive actions that have Mitch McConnell and the gun-lobby pissing blood?

The Vice President's commission on gun violence recommended twenty-three executive actions.

Let’s look at them, shall we?

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Obama will order federal agencies, i.e. agencies responsible to the Executive, to provide personal data to the background check system. The background check system that is supposed to help keep guns out of the hands of crazy people and criminals, the system that the NRA claims they support. Yes, that background check system.  Why do Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans oppose this? No, really, why? There’s only one answer and it doesn’t include concern for keeping our kids from getting their brains blown out. Socialism! Socialism!

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

Oh, no! Address unnecessary legal barriers? That keep the medical community from reporting mentally disturbed people to the background check system? What’s next? Communism! Communism!

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

Wouldn’t want that, oh no! We all agree that the background check system is woefully incomplete, but we wouldn’t want to make an attempt to fix it, would we? What about state’s rights to allow crazy people to buy guns? What about that? Nazis! Nazis!

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

Talk about executive overreach. Direct the AG to review who currently can and cannot buy a gun? Hitler!

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

Boy, we sure wouldn’t want law enforcement to check the background of those released from arrest before returning their guns. No potential for domestic violence or mayhem there. Marxists!

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

See, that’s what happened in Nazi Germany, sure. First they passed a law, then the government provided help and training in how to implement those laws at the street level. Next thing you know, they were herding gun owners into ovens.  Fascists!

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

You can certainly see why the NRA would be opposed to this. Wouldn’t want safe and responsible gun owners. Totalitarianism!

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

We have the Consumer Product Safety Commission review TV sets and Waffle Irons to make sure they don’t burn our houses down, but why would we want to know if those gun locks and safes actually work or not or are engineered to certain industry standards? Oh that Obama, what a dictator!

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. 10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement. 

I can’t even come up with a snarky response to 9 and 10. Really, why would you be opposed to this? Unless you’re a criminal. Oh, wait. Right. Never mind.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

For the last six years, that’s six years, Congress has refused to confirm an ATF director under either George Bush or Barrack Obama. Six years.  The ATF has fewer agents now than it did in 1970 and takes up to eight years between inspections of gun stores because of a lack of personnel. The agency is prohibited from creating a searchable computer database for gun ownership records and has been leaderless for six years. Six years. Because congressmen beholden to the gun industry won’t allow confirmation of an ATF director. Obama recently nominated B. Todd Jones to head up the agency, but Mitch McConnell has already signaled that republicans will not allow even a debate on his nomination, let alone a vote on his confirmation.  Six years, folks.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

Um, wasn’t this the NRA’s idea? So why is the NRA and Mitch McConnell opposed? I’m just asking here. Obama could say he was anti-abortion, and every one of these pinch-faced conservative assholes would suddenly be hauling their daughters down to Planned Parenthood for a D&C.  Who opposes proper training for first responders and law enforcement?

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

Again, isn’t this a conservative idea? Get tough on crime? Or are they just for it when it’s a member of the Neighborhood Watch gunning down an unarmed black kid?

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, isn’t that what the NRA has been telling us? But, really, we won’t want to know why people kill people, would we? Let’s see, conservatives won’t let us do anything about guns, but they don’t want us to do anything about the people who use guns to commit mass murder. Logically (if that word can be used in this context) it would appear that conservatives are ok with mass slaughter. Honestly, what are conservatives afraid of here? Think about that for a minute, it’ll come to you.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

Boy, sure wouldn’t want the AG to issue a report! Oh no, not a report! Anything but a report.  We wouldn’t want to know about new gun safety technologies, or the challenges to implementing some of these things, or methods for helping the gun industry develop safer guns. We’re all about research that leads to the development of more deadly weapons and ammunition, but not safer guns.  What happens if the government helps gun makers produce safer weapons?  The government did that with cars and look what we ended up with, seat belts and air bags and anti-lock brakes! Communism! Communism! Nazis! Absolutism!

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. 17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

Sure wouldn’t want to know if somebody with murderous tendencies or clinical depression or mental issues has easy access to a gun.  Because, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but people who might kill themselves or kill other people shouldn’t be asked if they have access to guns which don’t kill people.  Conservative logic, conservative tautology. Again, ask yourself what’s the real concern here.  Think about it. If crazy people aren’t allowed to have guns…

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. 19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

Wasn’t hiring armed guards and putting police in schools the NRA’s idea? But now they’re against it? Maybe Obama should propose arming Latinos and black people, see how long it takes for conservatives to start screaming for gun control. And why would Mitch McConnell oppose schools and churches and colleges developing a plan to deal with emergencies?

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. 21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. 22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. 23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Now according to the gun nuts, it’s not the guns, it’s the crazy people. But they’re opposed to anything that might help keep crazy people from picking up a gun and killing other people.  The only option conservatives will support is the one where they get to carry guns so they can shoot crazy people with guns.

Obama proposed twenty-three executive actions. I’ve listed them all. Go read them again. Show me one, just one, proposed Executive Order that infringes on your Second Amendment rights in any way whatsoever. Just one. Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

James Yeager, mercenary, gun nut, raging conservative hard-on, said that he’d “start killing people” if Obama used executive orders to implement gun control. I guess he has to make good on that promise now, I looked at the news today but I don’t see that he’s gotten started yet. Probably still drinking shots of redneck courage. 

Read those twenty-three items and tell me which ones justify killing people.

In the meantime back at Gun Appreciation Day, five people were wounded in three different incidents at three different guns shows.

At the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, a gun “expert” managed to shoot three people “accidentally” at the show safety check-in booth

Seems he put a shotgun in his gun case, loaded and with a shell in the chamber, and it went off when he was taking it out of the case. What kind of moron puts a loaded gun in a gun case? Not only loaded but in battery?  And then he removes the gun from the case, knowing that it’s loaded (or more correctly assuming that it’s loaded as all properly trained gun handlers would do when picking up a weapon) but failing to maintain muzzle control and a clear line of fire should the weapon accidentally discharge. Who trained this idiot? Dick Cheney?

In Medina, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, another Rambo managed to shoot his business partner using a gun he’d just bought from a customer. 

Yes, that’s correct. This idiot was a gun dealer, he picked up a gun without checking to see if it was loaded, hell, he bought a gun without checking to see if it was loaded, waved it around without regard for where the muzzle was pointed, and shot the guy working next to him.  He was a gun dealer, a supposed genuine NRA expert.

At a gun show on the State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, another gun-toting chucklehead shot himself while reloading his gun in the parking lot.

Five people were wounded by so-called expert gun owners on Gun Appreciation Day.

You want these bleeding fools carrying loaded guns anywhere near you? You’re good with that? Fine, that’s on you, but I don’t want these idiots anywhere near me or mine. Period. I damned sure don’t want them near my kid, or yours.

And then, of course, down in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a fifteen year old teen took an assault rifle, an AR-15, and killed both of his parents and three of his siblings. Five people. Funny thing though, he was headed to Wal-Mart where he intended to continue the slaughter and die via suicide by cop. Instead he called a friend, who put him in contact with a church security guard, who talked the kid out of killing himself or anybody else. I said funny thing, I meant funny odd, see, the situation was resolved without guns, without shooting the kid down.  Some likely won’t see that as a good thing, but I do find it interesting.

One way or the other, it was a heck of Gun Appreciation Day, wasn’t it?

Especially if you appreciate irony.

Why is it that when storms and hurricanes and earthquakes ravage our society, conservatives say it’s a sign from God to change our ways. But when ten people are shot on Gun Appreciation Day, well, you know.  Nazis.

Hey, don’t get all pissy and start pointing your Assault Bible at me. I’m just asking. Guns and religion make my head hurt.

The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…

No, Representative Toth, it doesn’t anger me. What angers me are fear mongers like you. Hateful, paranoid, fearful little rabble rousers like you, that’s what angers me.  Frightened insecure gun nuts who can’t seem to differentiate between their dick and their pistol, that’s what angers me. The fact that when children are slaughtered in a riot of blood, when adults are killed in a hail of bullets, when Americans are gunned down on the streets of the United States every single day, the first thing people like you think of is to run out and buy more fucking guns. That’s what angers me, Congressman Toth.

I’ll tell you what really angers me, that fact that as a gun owner myself, as somebody who has owned and used and taught firearms for most of my adult life, I get lumped in with lunatics like you and the NRA, that’s what pisses me off more than anything else, Representative Toth.

And really human shields?

Human shields?


At least President Obama thinks of children as human.

Unlike Representative Toth and his friends down at the NRA who seem to regard kids as little more than pop-up targets.


The only thing Gun Appreciation Day did for me, was make me appreciate the fact that today America swore in a president and a vice president with the courage to face these idiots head on.

Go get them, Mr. President.



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 sickens me to hear Toth say President Obama was using kids as human shields. What are you implying Representative? The president is in danger? Sounds like a threat to me.

    Thanks, Jim, for another great post. Your posts are filled with logic and common sense.

  2. Long time poster, first time reader. I live here in Pistolvania, where I've been to a few gun shows - never seen a better argument for outlawing guns, period. About the only thing they should be allowed is diapers and a rag for the drool. All I can say to these people (allegedly) is nice gun, sorry about the penis size.

  3. Thank You Mr. Wright.

    “It’s getting so that I can’t tell extremist Christians from extremist Muslims. Honestly, from where I sit, all you crazy religious people look pretty much the same”. Bingo. You hit the nail on the head perfectly. I really do not know why other residents of our society do not see this truth. Sweet Jesus would have stormed their temple and burned it to the ground. Jesus had very little tolerance of lying religious posers and those that worship Craven Images (Guns) instead of God. There is literally no difference between conservative Christian extremists and conservative Muslim extremists.

    I am ashamed I ever supported the NRA. Like you, I am lumped in with the insane idiots (Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent) just because I own firearms. Going to the range is like a drunk sneaking into the local liquor store, you hope that no one you respect sees you going in.

    I always enjoy reading where you explain constitutional issues to the uninformed. Separation of powers – branches of government – separation of church and state – executive orders vs laws passed by congress. Isn’t this civics 101 taught in high school? I guess they must have slept thru that class on their way to a C- barely passing grade and the diploma.


    1. In 20 states there is no longer any civics taught in high school. In response to NCLB, there is now barely any civics taught in the other 30 states.

      Far too Americans cannot even name the 3 branches of government, let alone understand how they might interact, or how the citizen is supposed to have a responsibility to coherently participate in that process.

    2. Social Studies/Civics was never my strong subject back in high school, but I seem to recall pretty clearly the boundaries between the three branches of government. Anyone who can knock two neurons together should be able to deduce that the Executive actions that Obama enacted are just that, *executive* actions. He didn't enact any sort of official gun control law, because he doesn't have the power to do so. He only has the power to propose legislation of the sort.

    3. JimBob, I have a word I've been using for these folks- the Christiban. As a person who was not brought up in a religion, I truly cannot see any difference among any of these hard liners. It's all about being able to control others.

    4. These folks haven't learned anything in Civics class--but surely they were exposed to Schoolhouse Rock?

      Government's a three-ring circus...


    5. I loved Schoolhouse Rock. That's where I learned the Preamble to the Constitution. I still have to sing it, when I recite it. :-)

    6. Gotta love it, Just gotta love it. LOL

  4. You always get a "whoot"" in my book!
    Just wish you didn't have to keep adding installments to Bang Bang Crazy....

    1. I agree. I like seeing a new posting, but having the 5th installment of Bang Bang Crazy is a sad commentary on our culture. Thank goodness that there are articulate, sane people around, even if the crazy ones get more press coverage.

      Thanks, Jim, for your efforts to educate us all.

  5. Thank you. Just thank you, that's all.

  6. I am in total admiration of your ability to nail these issues down! I've been referring your blog to people I know, in hopes that maybe they'll get a clue.
    M from MD

  7. It truly confuses me that so many people seem to misunderstand the way our government works, despite the love that they profess to have for this country. The president does not have the ability to "take ur guns." Even if he could force such a motion past the legislative and judicial branches, I highly doubt that many individuals in the Executive branch's employ would be willing to carry out such orders. I suppose it's simply another case of people who refuse or don't know how to think rationally simply believing whatever they're fed by Faux News.

    1. Exactly WHO is the President sending to take away your guns??? The military? the local police? Michelle Obama and Joe Biden? Their overwhelming paranoia should be enough to get them listed as mentally ill and denied gun ownership. And anyone who buys into this is too stupid to own a gun.

  8. Jim. You need a syndicated column. Or a TV show..."Comprehensive Gun Safety with Jim Wright."

    We're not worthy.

  9. Great post...again, Jesus was anti weapon, not sure I have ever read snippets of the 2nd Amendment in the Bible...and I went to Christian school..

    It is just delusional thinking by a group of people who have watched one too many Rambo movies.

    1. Actually, Jesus told his disciples to buy swords ... so maybe the biblical-literalist sort should insist on giving up guns (the product of godless modern technology) and carrying only swords for self-defense (if it was good enough for Peter, it should be good enough for you...).

  10. Another great post with all our favorite boogiemen - communists, Nazis, fascists, etc., except wait! you forgot the aliens. I'm sure they have a role in this somewhere.

    Seriously, I think this blog should be required reading by every member of Congress.

  11. In awe again Sir. You said it so well there's really nothing much more to add.

  12. Excellent, as usual.

    My ex-husband (who occasionally had some very insightful moments) once told me that there is no such thing as a gun "accident" - short of the thing being defective. That if the gun is ALWAYS handled in the correct manner, there should never be an accidental discharge. I don't know a lot about guns, but that made perfect sense to me then, and makes perfect sense to me now. I'm sure there are extreme exceptions, but I believe that statement is true.

    As for the difference between the extremist Christians and the extremist Muslims? Probably only their clothing choices.

    Thanks again, Jim!

    1. My ex-husband once told me that there is no such thing as a gun "accident"

      You ex-husband was correct. With the exception of a mechanical failure, an inadvertent discharge is no accident, it's operator error.

      And a mechanical failure is damned rare under non-combat conditions if you perform the proper function checks prior to operating the weapon. Most mechanical failures in the civilian world come from improperly reloaded ammunition or ill-advised modifications to the weapon. Which is also a form of operator error.

    2. That's the entire premise behind "behavior based loss prevention" for construction safety. Practically zero accidents of any sort are because of material defects. They are almost entirely because of operator error.

    3. As for the difference between the extremist Christians and the extremist Muslims? Probably only their clothing choices.

      ....Well, there is at least one OTHER important difference. Don't forget bacon.

  13. I too am a gun owner and have been raised around guns my whole life. I also Voted for Obama and would again. I support the Second Amendment because it is law. I like my guns because I love to shoot and hunt. And I enjoy gun smithing and the art of it. I do not worry about the conspiracies and I stay away from bad places in hopes I never need my gun. I would also like to say that, with the amount of guns and ammo selling over the last month, we should be out of this bad economy any time now. And the fact that Ted Nugent is a convicted poacher in Alaska shocks me that he still allowed to speak on behalf of the NRA. But in this case I guess they do not care about the law.

    Always enjoy your articles Jim

  14. Love your blog. Thanks for the good read(s).

  15. I'm getting rabid on this subject. My own husband, normally a lucid, logical person, has fallen down the rabbit hole and believes that the "President is going to take away his guns". (And he generally supports the Pres in everything else but this subject.) He believes its "necessary" for him to be able to have a clip with more than 10 shots. He said to me tonight, "I want our son to be able to use a large clip if he needs to (when hunting)". And I said, if he can't take down what he is shooting at in less than 10 shots, he doesn't need to be hunting.

    I am a gun owner too. I use my guns for target practice, personal protection and hunting. And I completely agree with you. 110%

    I've forwarded this last post to him. I'm hoping that somewhere his critical thinking skills will kick in and he'll realize (even as a life time member of the NRA) that he needs to wise up and compromise. Because changes ARE going to happen. Regardless how much frothing at the mouth,or how false equivalency arguments are used.

    1. What legitimate non-wartime reason is there to have more than 10 shots in a clip?

    2. Sounds like your husband has been watching "Red Dawn" too often.

    3. Isn't it highly illegal already, everywhere, to hunt with a large clip? A restriction designed of course to protect the game. In order that future hunters, like this crazy man's son, might still have game to hunt.

    4. "What legitimate non-wartime reason is there to have more than 10 shots in a clip?"

      Ever hunt wild boar? They're tough as hell and tend to travel in groups.

      The Virginia Tech killer used 10 round magazines and pistols so the new bans wouldn't have made a bit of difference. And with the tendancy for higher round mags to jam when filled to capacity perhaps we should be advocating they're kept around? (The punk in Aurora had a jam, as did the mall shooter in Oregon.)

    5. Wild boar, that's a thought. Is it legal where wild boar roam to hunt them with hi cap magazines? considering what havoc wild boar are raising with the ecosystems, might be an approach worth taking.
      Other than that, anybody want to hunt deer with hi cap magazines? Or are you working for burger before it hits the ground?

    6. I used to hunt wild boar, a lot. And I'm not the world's best shot, but even I never, ever, needed more than two rounds, and then only very rarely; generally one round correctly placed will bring down even a very large adult male.

    7. LucasM, In the 12 years I lived in FL with boar hunters none used guns like those under scrutiny. They had dogs that they didn't want to take home dead. Grizzlies, maybe. Boar, no.
      As comforting as it is to hear that high round mags jam on occasion, I'm not mollified. There's no reason gun owners can't wean themselves off them.

    8. I had someone defend high capacity magazines by claiming if they had 3 armed attackers break into her house, she would need it.

  16. You should be required reading. For everyone. Period.

  17. Another wonderfully detailed blog entry. I wish that I were half so eloquent as you when speaking with friends and family. The only weird thing is that I know people that I would describe as liberals if it weren't for the way they act whenever they hear the phrase "gun control." I swear these people fall into foaming frenzy, and can't really hear the content of what is being said whenever that phrase rears its head.

  18. Re the gun appreciation day shootings, it all worked out fine.

    Turns out those people actually appreciated getting shot by guns.

  19. As stated at another blog about 'firearm appreciation day', "I'm sure you're proud of it, but grownups don't show off in public." I love how these folks get in a tizzy, as if their ability to fap was going to be taken away once a (D) gets in office. Oh noes, they're commin' for my gun. Yeah, about that little issue they have being unable to distinguish between a weapon and their gun.

  20. Thank you for your logical and clear writing about guns. I, too, felt that the gun owners who forgot (or possibly never learned) the basics of gun safety on "Gun Appreciation Day" and caused injury (thank goodness none of them were serious!) to bystanders brought it on themselves. I hope the gun owners are held financially responsible for any medical treatment needed by their victims.

  21. Wow. Not only do we have an underage pregnant governor, but she also has a daughter!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Good posts; keep it up.

  22. "You know, and I’m just saying here, maybe there’s reason why you haven’t seen him in two thousand years."


    Excellent post as always. Going to send this one to my son-in-law, the Navy Gunner, CHP. Conservative.

  23. Another great rant! Keep up the good work, Jim.

    Two more Ohio cases (two good-ole-boys having fun and a convicted felon) just this past week that support the need for the President's executive orders. Someone has to identify idiots like these and take away their guns. The NRA sure isn't doing it.



    BTW, not to sound like an editor but under Exec. Order #12, do you want to make that "pinch-faced conservative a**holes"?

  24. Thanks for part 5.re-posting earlier 4 parts too..Can you hear me laughing all the way from Illinois..will share with some of my pkp (people kill people)folks...LOL about #12 of the executive decisions...and I am a gun owner too..great target shot...

  25. Here's a thought. With all the mobs buying out all the guns currently I bet you'll soon hear of many more 'accidental shootings'. From what I can tell a lot of these people are new gun owners, buying what they've been thinking of getting but have never gotten up the nerve to actually purchase. Now, they want to get it right away, just in case it's banned (do they all assume that the weapon they are buying now is going to be grandfathered in or are they planning on hiding them?)

    Anyhow back to my point. When all these new gun owners start 'play'ing with their new weapon (intentional choice of words as they won't treat their gun with the respect it ought to be treated with). Guess what's going to happen.

    I can recognize the conservative's argument also. I am the ultimate pariah, I smoke cigarettes and I own guns. Hell, some days I wonder if the government has decided to personally harass me with the laws and taxes over the last few years (not really but I could get there if I tried). But there may actually be a reason for their current actions.

    My thought on the conservatives haranguing their followers is thus: Rumors say that Obama plans on using his grass-roots network to help push the gun legislation he wants passed. Get them all calling their representatives and such. Perhaps the conservatives are attempting to counter that by whipping their followers into enough of a frenzy that they do the same? They obviously couldn't do it the sane way by just asking their followers to contact their representatives, that wouldn't get the response they want

    I'm a registered independent, who is a gun owner and who supports several of the ideas put forth (mental health checks strengthened, background checks on all sales, etc...) and who is vehemently against others (banning so-called "assault weapons" (which I always considered being fully automatic weapons, not semi), max magazine capacity of 10 rounds (sure, ban the high capacity 100 round mags, but 30 rounds is standard capacity for an AK or an AR-15), etc...

    I'll just point out that with a little practice firing 30 rounds from three 10 round mags only takes about 5 seconds more than firing off 30 rounds from a 30 round mag with a semi-auto and the 30 round mag is more likely to jam. Wonder if they'd want to make it illegal to own more than one ten round magazine next when they figured that out?

    1. A six year old can travel a long way in 5 seconds. So can a 47 year old, sedentary elementary school principal.

      'Hide and Seek' should not replace 'Duck and Cover' as survival training.


    2. Among other things in his blog on the gun control issue, James McMurtry talked about that 5-second difference, a difference that could give an officer or trained security guard time to shoot the shooter without worrying about return fire. Five seconds in a situation like these is a long time.


    3. Interesting how the reason for purchasing an item is somehow irrelevant when discussing the possible restriction of the item.
      Why a semi-automatic assault-style weapon? It is purpose-built for destruction of the enemy. Why can't we restrict its use? Because it somehow isn't all that different from a hunting rifle.
      Why a 30-round clip? So you can get more shots off before you have to reload, and you can carry more ammunition at a time on your person. Why can't we restrict its use? Because the time it takes the shooter to swap magazines supposedly won't make any significant difference.
      How does it make all the difference when you want it, but no difference when it might be restricted?


    4. 5 seconds extra per 30 rounds, 20 minute response time by LEO. You do the math. Besides, consider shock. Most people won't run anywhere for more than 5 seconds while their brain assimilates the problem.

      True but there needs to be an officer or trained security guard available or you are back to the 20 minute response time.

      First off, as I said in my post, I consider an assault weapon to be fully automatic. A semi-automatic just doesn't cut it as an assault weapon (unless possibly equipped with bump fire equipment which does a good mimic of a fully automatic)

      Let's see, you can restrict its use. It is your opinion that it needs to be restricted. It is mine that it shouldn't. Does your opinion make the one I stated invalid? If so, then there are some problems there since you're promoting thought police.

      The reasons you SHOULDN'T (not can't) restrict its use is that data shows that gun and magazine bans do NOTHING to reduce murder and armed robbery, they actually increase it. You can find studies that go both ways but if you look at the aggregate totals of the studies the ones that claim it increases murder and armed robbery outnumber those that claim it stays unchanged or is reduced by a factor of 2 to 1. I know I'm not going to change your opinion, but I thought I'd drop the facts out there. Unless of course you are one of those who will yell that the NRA and other pro-gun groups must've funded all those studies (without actually doing the research and finding that it isn't so)

      I pointed out that 30 round magazines make little to no difference in the outcome. That 10 rounders would be more than sufficient to the task. Where you aware that the sandy hook shooter was dropping his mags with 10-15 rounds remaining in them and replacing them with full 30 rounders. No, it isn't only 10 rounds but it demonstrates what he still could've done with 10 round magazines.

      I'm not trying to start an argument, just pointing out that deeply held EMOTIONAL opinions need to be examined in the same light as mental ones. If anything they need to be examined closer.

  26. Clearly the conservative movement is entirely based on the fear/paranoia model. When they are in power it continues to need someone to blame. Out of power, they have more obvious and closer targets.

  27. Thanks for another fine one, Jim. The amount of scrambling going on by the nutty toters is something to behold: "Cars kill people--maybe we should ban cars?" or "good guys will protect everyone from bad guys." Amazing what lengths the go to in an attempt to obscure their loathsome stance.

    1. this one has always baffled me..."good guys will protect everyone from bad guys"...aren't the police supposed to do this? Are the cops still the good guys? Jim has once again brought sanity to the conversation...I still do not want to have to be armed to the teeth to walk our freedom loving streets...
      The stupid...it burns...

    2. "'good guys will protect everyone from bad guys'...aren't the police supposed to do this?"

      Ask any police officer and they'll tell you that their average response time is about 20 minutes. Do you really want to wait that long if someone is trying to kill you? The fact is the police in this country are about collecting evidence to convict folks who have commited a crime, not stopping a crime in progress.

    3. No, I don't want to wait that long for a police officer but I also don't want to have to carry a gun. I've lived abroad for many years and one of the things that I like is the fact that I physically feel much safer in Europe generally and in Italy specifically than I ever felt in the U.S. I get the feeling that the desire to return to the 19th century isn't just a return to the Robber Baron era but also that of the Wild West. I just don't understand why.

    4. I lived in England for 3 yrs and travelled around Europe and I agree about feeling safer. I don't own a gun, never have, and would prefer not to feel compelled to give up that right just because my society is spiralling to the lowest common denominator.

      I have a dear friend who has become very angry over this issue. He is a democrat, voted for Obama, would do do again; but he feels punished for the bad eggs. His argument goes, why should I have to give up my guns, or live with onerous regulations, because others break the law and act like jackasses. He too feels he is being stigmatized and stereotyped as a lunatic just for owning a weapon. Do any of the rational gun owners on here feel similarly? If so how do view the potential for legislation? Do you feel you own weapons that you will have to give up? Either because they are higher capacity or because they more automatic? I would like to find a way to reasonably discuss the issue with my friend because right now its the elephant in the room.

  28. If ever there was a post that deserves "you are my god!" - this is it

    The response to Toth, that the President is just too polite to make
    "children are people too my friends"

  29. David Waldman did a not-particularly exhaustive search on Google news, and found for gun "Appreciation" day, there were a total of 91 separate incidents, in 34 states. Killed were 34 people, wounded another 65. A few only resulted in property damage.

    To make his list, a weapon had to actually be discharged. (so all the armed robberies where the thing just got waved around didn't make the total) - he did make one exception to the must-have-discharged rule, for the incident where an elected state representative in Nevada hauled out a pistol, and threatened to shoot the speaker-elect. (don't know if they were on the floor, or just in an office or hallway).

    The really depressing thing about the list, was that Saturday's "harvest" was below average by a noticeable amount - at ~30k deaths/year that's an average of 80/day.

    There is a definite semi-rational bit of fear in their attitude - ex: I have one friend who has bothered to go thru the Mass concealed carry licensing. He is about 6'5 and is in pretty fair shape. There were 3 of us (me 5'8 and like my own cooking too much, the third had about 2 inches on me), and the proposal was to hit Boston's chinatown for dinner. He wouldn't go, as he wasn't carrying. I tried to suggest that the average predator goes for the slowest/weakest, they wouldn't risk an evenly matched opponent... (and the funniest thing, the middle sized guy lived in the neighborhood, and his big worry was that the building inspector would turn him out of his illegal loft..)

    As to the "god" connection - I just think of them as "fundies" or just "idjuts". And the only difference between our home-grown variety, and the ones they are afraid of is even less than clothing - it is which set would consider the others barbeque to be food or not... (pork and shine vs sheep's head and hot tea)

    1. Sorry if someone has said this already but, if that estimate of gun casualties per day is right, then (by a very rough calculation: 211,454 casualties divided by 10 years) the USA is losing more casualties a day to domestic gunfire than it did per day to the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. 80 dead a day is the figure given above; my calculation for Vietnam comes out as 57 killed or wounded per day.

    2. Another thing in the Vietnam War's favor in this comparison; at least it eventually ended. Assuming that Columbine was the starting point for the whole mass shootings thing, we're looking at around 13 years of Vietnam-level casualties, with no end in sight.

  30. The only good news in all this is that the crazy people have now stopped trying even a little bit to act llike they are still even mildly sane. Yeah, they are going to wind themselves tighter and tighter, but they are also going to drive away the part-sane and until now somnambulant. Without fail their power in the country will subside as a result.

    They are all just like that slightly bug-eyed guy down the end of the bar who spends the first part of the night trying to talk sports like everybody else, but at some point he doesn't give a shit anymore and can't hold back starts saying what's really on his mind, and it's aliens and radios in his breakfast cereal and the Tri-lateral commission and fluoride in his bodily fluids allllllllll the way down.

  31. Mr. Wright, first time reader and poster here. Great awesome well thought out and incredible story. I am hopeful that people will learn from your knowledge and perhaps learn something. Thank you for showing me that amid chaos clear visions of truth can be seen and shared.

    Retired US Sergeant.

  32. I have had some interesting conversations lately with local folks who "want my take" on the posturing that is going on with elected Sheriffs in Oregon and their statements about "we won't enforce laws we believe to be illegal" (so far, Linn, Douglas, Grant and I think Wheeler counties...Linn and Douglas boarder my county, Lane...named for the first governor of Oregon who was a rabid racist but I digress) and my own Sheriff's letter which said, and I paraphrase, 'I have sworn an oath for 31 years to defend the constitution, and will continue to do so. I do not have the authorization nor the intention to selectively enforce laws with which I do not agree. My main concern is managing an ever-shrinking budget and keeping the citizens of Lane County safe'.

    I am: a Deputy Sheriff, a democrat (who would not vote for Obama again because he can't and shouldn't have a third term but voted for him twice, I own guns, and have been involved in a mass school shooting and the murder of a police officer (and the senseless death of a good friend who was killed by an unintentional discharge of a rifle that he had transported to a local range for firearms practice). About the only one of the 23 executive orders with which I disagree is the limit of high capacity mags, but I am with the fellow above, 30 yes, 100 no.

    I cannot say to a rural Lane County resident that they shouldn't have the ability to have the same AR-15 that I have for a patrol rifle, (or 17 round Glock 9mm) since from 0100-0900 there is no one on duty, and if the bad man is there and I am tucked in bed sleeping when I get the call, I am at BEST 25 minutes out, and most likely an hour or more out.

    I did say to a fellow that the government is not coming for your guns. There is no way that will ever happen. I was asked if I "trusted" my Sheriff. I have served under 5 men, and could honestly say of this one, "I trust him with my life". Yes, his was a measured response, but the mature one as well, and not a grandstanding attempt to appease the wackos.

    Jim, thanks as always for your insight and your wordsmithing.

    1. And please, assume an end parenthesis at the end of the word "twice". Gaaagh.

    2. Do you have a link for the rational sheriff's response?

    3. Lane County Sherriff

      read the comments and weep.

  33. Thanks as always for your terrific work.

  34. You see, the little children act as human shields to absorb the articles of impeachment being fired from the glowing eyes of some members of Congress. That way the tyrannical usurper can continue to subvert the US by doing what he is legally allowed- and in some instances required- to do. The horror!

    I am also amused by the thought that gun ownership is a "God-given" right. If the Creator were seriousabout that, wouldn't he have invented guns right along with the first humans? Think of the generations that were deprived of that right through no fault of their own.

    Likewise, if God felt that people had even the most basic of inherent rights - the right to life - why did He make the world so ready, willing & able to take that right away? Wouldn't we be made faster than a cheetah, stronger than a crocodile, more powerful than a tiny one-celled organism (or the proteins in a fucking peanut)?

    If creation itself does not give a damn about "natural" rights, then it's pretty obvious to me that they are the product of a social contract - at least in places where they exist at all.

    And please note that I am not advocating here the abrogation of any right we currently hold, it's just that seeing unfounded and illogical beliefs presented as facts makes the philosophy student in me get all huge, green and ragey.


    1. Apparently I read way too many comics as a child.


    2. I count that as a good thing.

      My favorite was always The Phantom - purple tight fitting clothes, a big white horse and a wolf dog!

  35. Attorney General Greg Abbott, Toth, Gohmert, etc., will continue to make sane Texans appear idiotic as long as post such as Jim's are kept out of Texas newspapers and magazines.
    We, sane Texans, need national help in showing our poor uneducated masses how utterly stupid they are.

  36. Mr. Wright, thanks for another excellent post. Right on the money.

    A question: Wouldn't you prefer your commentors to read both the post and the other comments prior to commenting? The way your system works, clicking on the "## comments" thingie takes the reader directly to the comment box at the end, making it very easy to comment without reading. Or is that just a function of the browser I'm using? (Firefox) Trivial, I suppose, but you know, just saying.

    Oh, and another triviality: I think you meant "sear", rather than "sere".
    Craig in Utah

    1. I believe it's the Blogger system set-up, not your browser. At least, when this has been discussed at previous times by some, I think that's what was said.

  37. Hillarious, intelligent and right on target. You hit the bull's eye

  38. See, I'm a gun owner. I actually own several guns. None of the big scary semi-auto rifles that look like assault rifles.. Few handguns, couple rifles, and some shotguns. First, I'd like to point out that of all the firearms I own, I purchased exactly 1 of them. I am a responsible, law-abiding, gun owner. I have been raised around guns, I have been taught the 4 simple rules for safe gun handling.

    1.)Every gun is loaded. None of this "Treat every gun as if it's loaded."
    Assume every firearm is loaded, always. which leads us to rule two.
    2.)Never let your muzzle cover anything that you aren't willing to destroy.
    In other words, watch where in the hell you point your loaded weapon. (see rule #1) I have been to gun shows. They can be a scary place for those of us that follow these rules. Its not just "rednecks" that sweep the crowd when looking at a gun. I've watched LEO's do it. Perhaps it's ignorance, perhaps it's forgetfulness, or just downright indifference, but that kind of thing just give a bad name to the rest of us responsible gun owners.
    3.)Never place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire. That one should be self-explanatory. I watched in horror as a "gun owner" was interviewed by a local news team and he never removed his finger from the trigger the entire interview.
    4.)Always be sure of your target...and what's BEHIND your target.
    Again, self explanatory.

    If you can't or won't follow these simple rules, you should own a gun. Period.
    With all of that said, sorry, I was fired up and kinda on a roll there, I am actually okay with most of the suggestions made by the "task force." Smaller magazines? Sure. No complaints from me. Universal background checks. Yup! Fine by me. (in fact, I'd like to see the ability for people that don't have an FFL have access to the NICS) Change the HIPAA laws.. Hold up. We've got a problem. That information is between myself and my health provider. there's that whole doctor/patient confidentiality thing. You see it come up all the time on Law & Order all the time. You know, where they have to beg the judge to unseal the documents, and usually get denied? See, doctors already have an out on that one. If they feel that you're a danger to yourself or others, they're allowed to call the cops.. in fact, they're supposed to. The government has no reason to know if, when i was a teenager, I was on anti-depressants. I wasn't, but you get the picture.

    Most of those EAs are no-brainers. I mean, come on. A government agency should have a director. Duh! Number 6 already happened. In fact, it happened THAT DAY. I've seen copies of the letters sent to FFL holders.. run background checks.. blah blah.. call us if you need help.. blah blah.. yeah. They went out. Call this whatever you want. I call it placation of a public that was whipped into a frenzy by mass media bombarding them with the pictures of 20 dead children. The shooting was horrible, I don't think you'll find anyone that will disagree with you. But, like 9/11, after a week of showing me the planes hitting the towers, I tuned out. It's how they sell newspapers, magazines, and get you to watch their channels. OOH!! we've gleaned some obscure data about the shooters breakfast that morning!! GASP!! we've discovered that the shooter had a friend who had an uncle that was distantly related to Lee Harvey Oswald!! I'm over all of it. Do what you have to to calm the public down. Most of it is harmless, and will do very little to stop gun violence.

    okay.. this post kinda went sideways on me. Sry for the wall of text and the rant. but i'm still gonna click the little "Publish" button.

    Great posts Jim, seriously, keep em goin... I love getting the newsfeed on facebook about another Stonekettle post.

    1. wow, mind the typos.. I hate when my brain runs faster than my fingers..

    2. It's okay, we're typo friendly here.

  39. You make so much sense, even when you're ranting and raving. Wish you would run for office. We need people like you as leaders, instead of the current lunatics.

  40. Jim, thanks again for your insights.

    As a Columbine parent (two in school that day, one critically injured, one trapped in the science wing over 4 hours before evacuation) and a Platte Canyon High School family (two kids graduated there prior to the tragedy there), I just want to say how much your "Bang Bang Crazy" series means to me, personally.

    I do not personally advocate for or against what so many call "gun control". To me, control of any kind is an illusion. So, rather than focus solely on the issue of guns and how their use may take innocent lives in schools, we've embarked on a "mission" of sorts to try to help enhance safer schools by promoting full spectrum emergency management programs in schools.

    A discussion of guns are an integral part of the planning process, but not the only one. I know there are other instances of mass shootings besides those in schools. So our efforts, while being designed specifically toward safer schools, also have cross applicability to virtually any scenario, multi-hazard.

    It's taken me a very long time to be able to bring myself to even work again in this area, but am now in full swing. Your posts are so insightful and helpful in spreading awareness. Please keep them coming.

  41. Jim, apparently James Yeager had his gun carry permit suspended after his ranting, threatening, stupid video comments. BUT - doesn't he own or run a gun store or range? So he still has access to guns.

    Plus - he posted an 'apology' video sitting beside his lawyer. It was nice and grovelling to an extent, although I did not find it credible, especially the part where I think he said "It is not time" for any violent action, which sounds like he thinks there WILL be a time. (I'm sure he's hoping.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD5kuOMIVts&feature=youtu.be

    In addition, I found an article where he was being sued as responsible for some contractor deaths in Iraq. The article was from 2006, said you could search and find out both sides, since the writer was a friend of James Yeager and did not want to write about it. (The article is at the bottom of the collection of articles, and is titled "What Happened on the Bridge in Iraq?") http://legallyarmed.com/tnnews&events.htm

    1. Not only was his CCW suspended (Not cancelled outright but just suspended, and he was allowed to keep his weapons after making death threats, WTF?), but it's come out that all the credentials he claims in his gun training business are outright lies.

      He was fired as the chief of police of a VERY small Tennessee town (Population 500 or so), with a a police force of TWO, because he wanted to start a full on SWAT team. Yeah. He was fired Lammas an officer from another agency for as yet undisclosed reasons. And yeah, he got some of his team killed in Iraq because of his incompetence.

      This guy is a true wannabe and has no reason to own a gun.

    2. Please excuse typos.

  42. I want a T-shirt with the sentiment about Presidents not being able to make (or repeal) laws, because a truckload of citizens seem to have missed that day in American history class, including one who recently ran for president.

  43. As always, an intelligent, informative and entertaining read.

  44. Jim,

    I love this so much that I might knit you a pair of socks.

    1. What color I could knit him a hat to match. Loll

    2. I can add a nice lace shawl.


    3. Do you meant these?



    4. I'm never going to be able to remove those images from my head! Just too weird and disturbing.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. When I was young I proudly wore my NRA marksmanship pins on my scout uniform. Now the NRA is full of batshit crazies and the Boy Scouts are better known for their views on gay rights than for helping boys become men.

    The idea that opposition to gun control is about Second Amendment rights is just as crazy as James Yeager.

    1. just as crazy that the belief that the 2A is the only reason for opposition.

  47. Just as I was finishing this article a news item buzzed on my phone. there has been a shooting at Lone Star College in Texas.

    Bang bang crazy indeed...

  48. I spent six weeks twice in the US on a coast to coast bicycle holiday.

    Your essay shows how "innocent" - as in the original Latin meaning of "ignorant" - I was of the dangers around me.

    Glad I only saw "Easy Rider" after I completed both trips - safely.

    I am glad someone with your experience on firearms can explain this "gun culture" to us Europeans ... I would never have been able to grasp it.

  49. I think this is the one that is highest on the NRA's list of things to object to -- "14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence." Through their puppets, they have previously had this study expressly forbidden. If the results of a study like that got out, it might hurt sales.

  50. I quit. I'm just gonna quit posting things to Facebook because then Jim Wright does a piece and it's sooooo much better than anything I write. You nailed EVERY item, from what EA really are (NOT laws/legislation) to the differences between extremist Christians and extremist Muslims. Thank you again.
    Oh, did you see Jon Stewart's take on this?
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-january-16-2013-jessica-chastain, first 12 minutes. worth a watch.

  51. I am not good at nagivating your archives, could you point me to the piece you did on the child being killed at a gun show because father and seller let the child shoot an automatic weapon? Thanks. maybe should repost that one also.

  52. A little off topic, but I have repeatedly been seeing/hearing people say "An armed society is a polite society" as if they were quoting the founding fathers. Well, no, this is actually part of the plot of "Beyond This Horizon", by Robert Heinlein written in 1942. His armed society is NOT a bunch of gun-toting wanna-be tough guys, but has a very strict code duello to keep it in check. And it is only part of the total plot. This idea was picked up by various libertarian fiction writers such as L. Neil Smith, but as much as some people would like to believe, was NOT a quote from the founders.


    1. Yeah, I had someone lay that on me a couple of days ago. My comment was basically, "What, you'd shoot someone who cursed you out? Or cut you off and gave you the finger? Is that where you want to live?" He had no answer, so he swore at me.

    2. Polite my ass -- All an armed society will do is shoot each other or anyone they perceive as "dissing" them..

    3. We are an armed society, yet while gun ownership has dramatically increased since 2007, murders for both the shotgun and rifle categories have seen declines faster than the rate of personal weapons related crime.
      You are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than by a rifle or shotgun.(FBI stats)
      The rates of decline for the shotgun and rifle categories are 22.1% and 28.7% respectively. In 2011 there were 356 shotgun murders and 323 rifle murders for a total of 679 murders. The semi-auto Bushmaster is just a scary looking rifle, not an assault rifle. Now handguns are where the numbers remain high. So, take a concealed carry class and get to know how to use a handgun, and you'll be among the vast majority who will never use one to hurt or kill anyone, but it sure is the great equalizer.

    4. ..cutting and pasting nonsense statistics from freerepublic isn't going to lend any respectability or credibility to your argument.

    5. FBI--Expanded Homicide Data:

    6. Raw data doesn't prove the false premise put forth in the cut and paste found on freerepublic.

      One thing the raw data would do is allow one to see that if you bother to compile all the data, instead of cherry picking distinct and particular parts of the data set, the data can be shown to disprove the premise put forth on freerepublic.

      If you really want to try to make a point, get ahold of the rest of the data set, begin here and expand your search from there.

      ""Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) Master File. The SHR Master File contains details about the murders for which supplemental data were provided to the FBI: situation type (e.g., single victim/single offender); the age, sex, and race of the victim and the offender; the weapon used in the homicide; the relationship of the victim to offender; and the circumstance surrounding the offense. (1980–current)""

      Don't forget to read and understand the FBI's own disclaimers about their data, they make no claims that it's truly complete or without error.

      Good luck, and stay polite...

    7. It's funny you keep mentioning freerepublic. They banned me a long time ago for challenging the odious neo-con agenda under Bush that Obama seems to be continuing. Thanks for being polite. I'll continue to be as well.

    8. I also wouldn't consider the FBI raw statistics nonsense, but I'll look into the SHR. I'm not sure that would change the final statistics they cite though. If you have statistics that are without error, I'd like to see them. I'm just saying that handgun violence is responsible for much more mayhem than rifles.

    9. I mention freerepublic because if you put quotes around your assertion and google it, you get word for word the same exact quote on freerepublic. Of course, that same exact quote then repeats ad infinitum through countless other wingnut sites.

      That only works like that if people are lifting the same quotes and then reposting them.

      Funny thing about posting quotes in an attempt to support a premise. Often the original premise was erroneous, faulty and/or incomplete. The original quote was not reliable. The original quote advances premises that aren't actually described in the data.

      In this case, the premise is again flawed because the raw data, even if more appropriately analyzed, is flawed from the start. It's voluntarily reported, admittedly incomplete and not consistent from place to place or date to date. As the FBI says in it's own disclaimer you shouldn't try to read too much into the data, and you shouldn't attempt to make comparison. The FBI simply is not supporting the premise you've put forth and the data doesn't actually provide any kind of empirical proof either. Those averages teased out don't account for the entire data set, the equation is lacking all the modifiers.

      Now beyond that, if you actually look at the data, that mention of declining homicides by rifle or shotgun is partial data and not even actually compiled from the years claimed in the original premise. It's not inclusive of all 2011 data, and doesn't cover actual or even projected 2012 data. Further, the premise doesn't account for unspecific reported homicides where they didn't even bother to say if the gun crime was committed with which type of weapon.

      If your point was that handguns are used in many many homicides, ... well duh. That point by itself isn't likely to negate or condition reasoned debate in any manner.

      If you're trying to say in spite of more and more guns, we're becoming 'safer' or more 'polite', that's just not credible nor is it supported by what is being cited.

      But to make the assertion that any one person is more likely to be killed in one manner or the other is also too too tenuous for that premise to be credible given the circumstance and especially given the data cited for the promotion of the premise.

      While the entirety of the whole of the raw data in itself is possibly not nonsense, (possibly, see FBI disclaimers), it's undeniable that nonsensical statistical premises are far too often advanced using incomplete or partial bits of that same data set. All too often, a very shallow observation reveals how problematic those statistical 'proofs' are. Many times, and I find more often than not, tending to disprove the premise.

    10. So nothing can be gained from examining the statistics but potentially flawed assumptions that tend to be the opposite of what the data seem to show. I see! You are brilliant.

    11. You forgot to deny lifting the quote.

    12. And I didn't say nothing could be gained, I said the particular flawed assumption you cut and pasted was worthless, and I showed you how and why it was worthless.

      In the end, you appear to also have forgotten to remain politic.

    13. Yes teacher you caught me cutting and pasting Mike Piccione's figuring in his own words from his article in the Daily Caller. Lucky for me I'm not in school anymore and am too old and lazy to "put it in my own words." I needed to give credit. My apologies to Piccione, whose work I admire. The statistics are there. If you do some adding, subtracting, division, and multiplying you'll come up with the same resulting percentages, however flawed may be the conclusions one derives from the numbers.

      You might want to read "More Guns, Less Crime" by John Lott. It's full of statistics you could ignore that reach conclusions you'll either accept or reject based on your bias. Unfortunately research in this and any other arena of debate is imperfect. "Figures never lie, but liars often figure.""Figures lie and liars figure." I don't know who said those axioms, but the latter is probably closer to reality, but certainly not absolute. So much for any arguments yea or nay.

      I prefer freedom to tyranny. I think the progressive rise of authoritarian rule is slowed by an armed people. History shows this. And I also believe that many liberals today are authoritarian and statist by nature who associate with the raw power of our violent and corrupt government that is sucking this nation dry.

    14. To Anonymous at 9:29AM,
      When you start with the conclusions and try to find data to fit them, then of course you are going to find what you want. You will also find data which does not match your conclusions. Did you pay attention to those as well?
      I say this because your conclusion seems to be "Tyranny" and "More Guns", but your data do not match. Crime rates are low in the USA, but they are also low in many other industrialized countries which do not have as many or even any civilian guns.
      We do not have a tyrannical corrupt government -not compared with other democracies or real corrupt tyrannies. We have a democratic republic with a government with which you do not happen to agree. Other people, the majority, made choices you do not like. You can be a patriot and say "I don't agree, here is how we can compromise". (That's what I did under Bush43. I despised his policies and called him an idiot, but never Hitler or tyrant, unlike the truthers and Tea Baggers.) You can be treasonous and say "I need my gun(s) to overthrow you". Choose, Anonymous, patriotism or treason. I'll be on the side of the patriots, and I won't pick up a gun... until you do.

    15. I don't recall saying anything about overthrowing the government. Patriotism is about honoring the rule of law, the Constitution. An armed populace is to keep government in check should it become tyrannical. That's why we have the second amendment. I've never heard any conservatives say we need to overthrow the government. You compare people that believe in the rule of law to those that want to overthrow the government and make the strange case that changing our constitution through compromise is somehow patriotic.

    16. Anon at 9:29,

      ...you clearly admit to exactly what you at first attempted to deny.

      That says it all.

      Bu Bye

    17. An armed populace is to keep government in check should it become tyrannical. That's why we have the second amendment.

      I call Shenanigans.

      Because that's total and complete bullshit. It's a myth. That's not what the Second Amendment says. You do not have a right, natural or legal, to overthrow the government or bypass our political system by force of arms. Period. That particular issue was settled. We called it the Civil War.

      Now, you may prove me wrong. Cite the legal precedent in American Jurisprudence or the appropriate Article of the Constitution that defines the purpose of the Second Amendment as you have described it. You may also provide a summary judgement from any sitting Supreme Court Justice that validates your position.

      I will not, however, accept opinion or a quote from a founding father. Opinions and quotes hold no legal weight. Provide legal justification for your statement.

      Do not attempt to move the goal posts or evade. You made a specific statement. Either prove your statement, Anonymous, or shut the fuck up.

    18. I'm not that Anonymous and really hate to hand any more kindling to the "gun appreciation day" types, but I am a researcher at heart, and a little digging turned up a possibly relevant statement from the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit:

      "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
      protects an individual right to keep and bear arms ... premised on the private use of arms for
      activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
      understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
      depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
      abroad). ..."
      (Shelly Parker, et al. vs. D.C., p. 46; http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/E23F1D1340E39A99852574400045380B/$file/04-7041a.pdf )

      Now, that wasn't actually the final word in that particular case; it went to the SCOTUS, and *that's* the ruling that is now the law of the land. (It became the (in)famous "DC vs. Heller" case, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf ) In that ruling is this statement: "There are many reasons why the militia was thought to be “necessary to the security of a free state.” ... Third, when the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny." (p. 24-25), as well as this one: "If, as they believe, the Second Amendment right is no more than the right to keep and use weapons as a member of an organized militia, ... it does not assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny." (p. 26-27)

      Despite the obvious difference regarding defense vs. offense and a wee bit of taking courts' statements out of their full context, one man's "resistance against tyranny" is another man's "treasonous rebellion", depending on who ends up writing the history books.

      Also, to provide a tiny bit of context, the SCOTUS opinion specifically allows for a *few* types of gun control laws (p. 54-56) and leaves open the possibility for debate that the 2nd Amendment *may* be no longer relevant in modern society, but then goes on to say that even if that's debatable, unless the 2nd Amendment is repealed, it's still the law of the land. (p. 64)

      But from here, it looks like the courts have given the gun fundamentalists at least *some* justification for that particular statement.


    19. Here's a little exercise you might want to try for yourself. The self-declared 'researcher' has provided a quote. It looks like this:

      "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
      protects an individual right to keep and bear arms ... premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
      understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
      depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
      abroad). ..."

      Google will return hits on actual quotes.

      Cut the quote above including the quotation marks and paste it into the search bar in order to Google the quote.

      See what you get for a reply. Google returns the reply thusly:

      ~Your search - "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to ... - did not match any documents.

      Now, cut and paste beginning at the quotation mark and ending just after the link provided. That will look like this:

      "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
      protects an individual right to keep and bear arms ... premised on the private use of arms for
      activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
      understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
      depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
      abroad). ..."
      (Shelly Parker, et al. vs. D.C., p. 46; http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/E23F1D1340E39A99852574400045380B/$file/04-7041a.pdf

      See that return? Now you can call yourself a 'researcher' too.

      The quote won't magically become an actual quote, but if you're like the self-declared researcher, that won't be too much bother. The 'elipses' within the quotation marks skew the actual quote, and that also modifies the suggested 'meaning' the 'researcher' is attempting to pass off.

      Not to mention that part of the alleged 'ruling' isn't anything the Supreme Court took up when it did decide to review that particular case.

      Your point wouldn't have been to provide actual quotes anyway, your point would have been to attempt to practice a little deception and hope to deceive in much the same manner as John Lott earned his reputation doing.

      John Lott has been debunked and discredited, repeatedly and thoroughly. Debunking the 'researcher' won't' last as long as John Lott's disgraced performances.

    20.  Goodbye Jim, your civility is charming, but I'll get back to my real job painting pictures for people and taking care of my family. I'll leave you to your and your worshipers' support of the burgeoning police state and the tax feeders who run it.

      Here's Jefferson:

      “if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

    21. Oh look, another quote from some random founder, not an actual constitutional article or valid law the justifies your statement. Color me surprised.

      Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    22. You really assume that anyone who thinks that the original intent of 2nd amendment was to resist tyranny wants to overthrow the government? That's quite a stretch and a great way to find an excuse to hate and harm people you don't agree with. That is the mindset of the government you represent, not the government that is supposed to represent the people. Sorry, no more visits to your blog. You have the last word.

    23. Christ, you're like a fucking child. You want to leave? Then leave. You don't need to announce it. Flounce out already and quit wasting my time.

      And I notice that you still haven't cited proof of your assertion - or who decides when the elected government is a tyranny as opposed to just a government you don't happen to like. Or how your armed population manages to resist said tyranny without armed overthrow.

      What are you going to do with your gun? Wave it in the air and hope everybody votes the way you want? Or that the government you don't like just steps aside? What then is the point of the gun?

      When you talk about using your guns to stop a tyrannical government, if you're not talking about forcing the government out at gunpoint, then what exactly do you think you are talking about?

      Saying that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to resist tyranny of the United States government directly implies that you expect to use those guns against said government. Now, are you telling me that after you rise up in armed insurrection against tyranny you intend to leave the same government in place, just somehow chastised and no longer tyrannical? Is that it? No? Well then you're talking about overthrowing the government at gunpoint. That's exactly what you're talking about and nothing less. So, don't get pissy with me because you didn't think your statement through or deliberately blinded yourself to the implication of your bullshit position.

      I spent over twenty years sworn to the defense of this country, my military commission is hanging on the wall directly over the desk I'm sitting at right now, I followed the orders of Reagan, Bush the first, Clinton, Bush the Lessor, and Obama with equal fidelity. If you think that I'm going to sit here and let people like you babble on about shooting down my government, you're are sadly mistaken.

      You have no right to armed overthrow of the government. Period. You want to avoid tyranny? Then make use of the legal and constitutional system put in place by our ancestors, but if you pick up a gun to take down the government, you'll be facing me.

      Now, fuck off. Don't comment here again. Any further bullshit from you will be added to reject pile next to the spammers and the trolls.

    24. To Anonymous @1:19 AM, from that "self-declared 'researcher'"

      You probably won't believe me, but I really did do my own homework, looking up the actual court opinions from the Court of Appeals' and the Supreme Court's websites and citing them at least semi-properly so that anyone who wanted to know more could go read the originals in their full and proper context.

      If you were to click through the Google result you refer to, you'd find that the version of the quotation on that site isn't exactly what I posted--it leaves out the entire clause about tyrannical governments and instead jumps ahead to a later point, related to militia. So no, I didn't blindly copy from that site.

      >>> "The quote won't magically become an actual quote, but if you're like the self-declared researcher, that won't be too much bother. The 'elipses' within the quotation marks skew the actual quote, and that also modifies the suggested 'meaning' the 'researcher' is attempting to pass off." <<<

      I merely tried to take a somewhat long quotation and boil it down to the parts most relevant to the discussion at hand in order to provide a possible "legal precedent in American Jurisprudence" to be discussed without boring everyone with all of the additional clauses that are in the original. For comparison, here's the entire quotation:

      "To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad)."

      How did I skew that? I'm seriously asking, not being facetious, so that I can do a better job next time.

      Also, as you should have been able to tell from my original post (and if not, the fault is mine for trying to be coherent after a very long day), I agree with Jim on this point--the 2nd Amendment is NOT carte blanche to overthrow the government via an armed insurrection, and without an objective measure of tyranny, any argument in favor of a right to use guns to defend oneself against government tyranny is actually an argument in favor of starting an armed rebellion to overthrow the government. I also don't believe either of these court rulings is some sort of proof that citizens really do have a right to take up arms against the U.S. government, but I do believe that these statements by the courts regarding armed self-defense from government tyranny, might be part of what the people with the "right to armed revolt" mindset think supports their position. I also believe that it's possible (though by no means certain) that the justices who wrote these particular opinions may have gone just a smidge too far in the way they wrote those opinions, and thereby may have helped feed the trolls. If I did a poor job of making the case that such comments by the courts perhaps are being used in that way, then perhaps that's because I don't agree with it and thus subconsciously self-sabotaged my efforts, or because it was late for me and my brain wasn't firing on all cylinders, or because a proper case can't be made in the first place.

  53. Another great post, Jim. Perhaps you have addressed this question before (in which case, please point me to the post), but I would like to hear why YOU have chosen to be a gun owner. I don't own a firearm and can articulate my reasons for not doing so, and I suspect you have your reasons for making a different choice.

    1. At the end of Bang Bang Crazy part 1, Jim has info about his experience with guns, I believe, including extensive military specialty training. And I think he goes into the 'wild/wilds' in Alaska and likes to carry a gun there.

      Don't know if that will help answer your question somewhat in case JW doesn't see this for a while.

    2. Debtee is essentially correct. I've owned firearms for number of reasons over the years. At the moment I own certain weapons because they are an essential tool here in Alaska, like a 4x4, ATV, or a chainsaw.

      I own weapons for a variety of reasons, however none of those reasons include overthrowing the government or shooting my neighbors (unless they get bitten during the Zombie apocalypse, then all bets are off).

    3. Hmmm. Hadn't considered the Zombie Apocalypse scenario. . . I'd better gun up!

  54. You nail it as always, Jim, Bravo!
    While we have one gun strictly for home defense, I have to say that the idea of all these thousands of moronic whackjobs wandering the streets, the malls, the bars, the theaters, grocery stores, petshops, schools & anywhere else packing sidearms and waving AR-15s fills me with horror. I don't want to go out anymore. Who wants to be in the cross fire created by idiots? My husband was in the local petshop a couple of weeks ago, and one of these freaks wandered in with a 9mm pistol on his hip! In a PETSHOP! WTF????
    Can anybody say "circular firing squad"? I dont want to live in Dodge City, and I'm sick of their BS about it.

    The solution to gun violence is not more imbeciles carrying more guns.

  55. Hi Jim,
    Started reading your blog last December and I have enjoyed reading your salty common sense take on things since then. Thanks. Would like to add one thought to the current thread--If banning assault rifles so incenses the NRA/ gun lobby crowd, as a violation of the 2nd Amendment...then why haven't they been marching in the streets since 1934 when machine guns were banned by the National Firearms Act...you know, in response to their criminal use by guys like "Machine Gun Kelly, Dillinger, Baby face Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde...well Clyde was a guy. I'm just curious. Oh, one more thing. Since its obvious that President Obama is ruining this world for our children by taking our guns and our liberty...does that mean that pansies like Republican Presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, GHW Bush, and GW Bush are accomplices in this since they didn't lift a finger to deregulate machine guns?

    1. I have never been a fan of Ronald Reagan or Gerald Ford, but you are wrong.
      Both were signatories of a letter supporting the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

  56. "At least President Obama thinks of children as human." Only if they aren't collateral damage from from one of those killer drones they have flying day and night terrorizing the hell out of Pakistani families who have no idea if they'll be next door to someone on a presidential kill list. The government is comfortable with killing innocents abroad whereas gun violence is actually going down in the U.S. among all us crazy folk. Gun violence is relative after all.

    1. I saw you wander in, I wondered what you'd lead with this time, drones or abortion.

      You'd have been better off going with abortion, drones are a false comparison and you're talking out your ass about something you know nothing about. But, hey, at least the rightwing extremists and the bleeding heart liberals have something to bring them together.

    2. I was just reading this. They, I guess, are talking out of their asses. Just a bunch of bleeding heart liberals:


    3. While the killing of any persons is horrible, even comparing the number of civilians ikilled with the numbers of people killed by guns in the US is small. Children in our US schools are now fearful of being attacked by deranged people. I now refuse to go to movie theaters for fear of being in the dark with strangers, and I am not a paranoid person.
      Yes, the US needs to continually evaluate the need for using drones, but I much more trust that Obama is carefully evaluating the need as opposed to Mr. Bush.

    4. What is the alternative to drones--- squads of American solders marching in to take them on????

      There were few (if any) opposition to American and British sending waves of bombers across the channel to drop hundreds of bombs on the cities below. Or bombing the he!! out of Normandy when the Allies came ashore. There were thousands of civilians living in those cities and towns.

      I don't recall much out cry on use of drones when George II ruled.

    5. A good alternative to drones is for the U.S. to stop making other countries that have never attacked us into terrorism factories by blowing apart innocent men, women in children in the vicinity of a drone attack, then coming back to bomb whoever tries to render aid to the victims.

      Very few Pakistanis want to live under the drones and they sure don't wish us well when we kill far more innocents than the so-called enemy. What if innocent Americans were being killed in repeated drone attacks carried out by some foreign force who was trying to fix our problems for us?

      We create far more terrorists than we could ever kill in a war the will last, as Cheney put it, one-hundred years. You want to live in perpetual warfare, you got it with Obama , who is nothing but Bush on steroids. Same torture, same Orwellian named patriot act, same illegal detention, same lack of transparency, same perpetual war for perpetual peace.

    6. Enough. This post is about gun control and the Second Amendment. I don't appreciate the continued attempts to redirect the topic. You want to talk about drones and Pakistan, then either go start your own blog, Anonymous, or write to John Cusack.

    7. Sorry Jim. I was trying to point out the hypocrisy of a president who's killed more children by dispatching CIA drones in Pakistan than Adam Lanza when he murdered those children in a public school. Where, if someone had been armed maybe no child would be dead. I'll restrict my comments to the subject at hand in the future.

      Love the woodwork by the way. That's from one artist to another.

    8. I get it. But you're vastly over simplifying the comparison, you're comparing war to domestic gun violence. Worse, you're comparing an entire war to one incidence of gun violence. You also manage to pull out the "if somebody had been armed" bit but deliberately ignore how many American and Pakistani military lives have been saved by use of drones. As I said in my first comment, the accusation of hypocrisy in this case is a fallacy of false comparison. If you're determined to paint Obama as a hypocrite on this issue, you'd have been better off leading with abortion or even the latest NRA claptrap about his daughters having armed guards at their schools (a false accusation as it turns out, but you might have managed to make a case and stay on topic).

      Bottom line, with 20K readers a day, and topics like gun control, if I don't enforce strict commenting policy, the blog immediately disintegrates into a monkey house shitfest. I've seen it happen over and over on blogs and forums I enjoy, ruined by people determined to air out their pet bagaboos on every topic. That's not going to happen here. Period.

    9. I agree! It's your blog. Thanks for letting me comment. I don't mean to piss you off. War, given your experience, is something I'm sure you hate as much as anyone could. It just seems the wrong people keep getting killed in every war we wage for reasons never explained. Maybe you could write someday, if you've not done so already, about exactly why we fight wars where no one seems to have won by the time we decide to pull the troops out but the military industrial complex and the politicians who invest in it.

  57. "I’ll tell you what really angers me, that fact that as a gun owner myself, as somebody who has owned and used and taught firearms for most of my adult life, I get lumped in with lunatics like you and the NRA, that’s what pisses me off more than anything else, Representative Toth."

    Just wanted to say I feel the same way about being Texan these days.
    We are not all gun-totin' rednecks without a proper education :-) I appreciate your posts!

  58. We have descended into the great "Fuck You Society" of American exceptionalism. This is the direct effect of decades of fraudulently mandated liberalism, equality, desegregation and forced abortion of white babies resulting from US Grant's head fake to beat Lee to the hoop, and Lincoln cheating America out of having a quality, English speaking, genteel expat retirement location to the South of the North. If we all just settle down, step away from the keyboards and see the light we would accept that White Crackers are the best type of folk. Negros will return to the fields, women will get busy in the kitchen and the birthin room and old people will die like they are meant to. FPS games will drop away in favor of Parcheesi. And the national soundtrack will return to the sanity and soothing message of Lawrence Welk, Jim Nabors, Mantovani, Percy Faith, Perry Como and certain ballads by Mr. Frank Sinatra.

    Fewer people will shoot fewer people when we return to the balance of the natural ascendancy of the minority White male as Paternal Father Figure (PFF). Guns don't kill people; incompatibility with our societal trajectory manifesting friction within tortured minds reaching to a kinder world pulls the trigger. Tommy D

    1. I guess that's snark. It certainly covers all the bases in just a few sentences.

      (A different Anonymous)

    2. I apologize. I didn't realize it was a quote from the illustrious Tommy 'Marfkin' D.

      (A different Anonymous)

  59. Then there's "lil Ricky defending AP ammo and now Teddy N. is willing to lead the militia .......... Why is it that most of these people are the ones least capable of responsible gun ownership ??

    Jim - - this topic threatens to engulf your excellent blog.

  60. I grew up in Wyoming and guns were just part of the landscape. My dad taught me to shoot as soon as I was big enough to hold the gun without tipping over, and I was GOOD at it. He also taught me to be safe, including the aforementioned "there's no such thing as a gun ACCIDENT."

    We didn't have a gun safe - my dad's guns were actually stored in cases under my bed. They would have been under my parents' bed but they had a waterbed (hey, it was the 70's...don't judge). It was never said out loud, but I understood full well that those cases were off-limits unless my dad pulled them out.

    People shot people back then. Sometimes they shot a lot of people. People also poisoned people and stabbed people and burned people and beat people to death. Want a history of violent death? Go back to Cain and Abel...they started it.

    Still, way back when I was a kid some idiot suggested that school children in Wyoming NEEDED to be armed so they weren't defenseless against armed biker gangs when they walked to school. (Again, it was the 70's...) Even my dad, who really loved his guns back then, knew that was just crazy. Crazy isn't new either, but it does seem to be growing in popularity.

  61. Another Georgia Sheriff has joined the band wagon of refusing to enforce what HE sees as "unconstitutional Laws" pertaining to gun control.

    It is like watching a bunch of henny pennies running amuck over the sky is falling. I wish the local paper would run a front page article on Civics - like who passes laws.....

  62. Alaska's Speaker of the House has introduced legislation calling for nullification.

    He acknowledged that it's most assuredly unConstitutional, but that wasn't any deterrent for his actions, and the best part was he was wearing his American flag lapel pin while he was defending his treasonous actions.

    We got 'teh crazy' here. Can't one-up Alaskans when it comes to 'teh crazy'.

  63. Boy, howdy, you nailed it. I wish I'd said all that, and half as well. I have actually said most of it, but in rambling, disconnected murmurs leading to raucous laughter in most corners of Utah. (And we have 6 of those!) Thank you!

  64. Best debunking of the "polite society" line EVER! Just FYI, the "guns and religion" line came from a quote by Obama during the 2008 campaign; he said rural folks who had been run over by the bus of global capitalism became "bitter" and "cling to their guns and their religion" as a defense mechanism. The thing a lot of people miss is that he wasn't just sneering at economically marginalized parts of America; he was saying that they had reason to be bitter and that the government shouldn't be rewarding business for impoverishing them.

  65. Hi Jim,

    I wonder if you'd like to host a discussion on President Obama's 23 Executive Actions proposal (aside from the push to renew the 1994 assault weapons bill). There's a lot to work with there, and quite a lot of it makes sense. What I'd like to discuss are the potential ways to implement some of those actions, and to explore the implications.

    I certainly have opinions and views, but I'm always up for examining those views. If you're interested, I would enjoy the opportunity to open a conversation with you.


    1. I'm not exactly sure what you're asking here, Scott.

      You're welcome to open a discussion of the topic here in the comments section, if you like.

    2. The format of such a discussion can go many ways, and initially I thought to ask if you'd engage in a direct email conversation about a few select points. Unfortunately, doing it in a comments thread may get cumbersome. ||

      Combining a few of the points, we can suitably discuss the idea of registration and background checks. While those are indeed reasonable on their face, the privacy implications can run into the truly frightening very quickly. I guess what I'd like to talk about is checks and balances. ||

      Picking background checks, I agree that they should be employed. But this database should be available, free of charge, for private sale as well. Rather than going through an FFL, allow for a private seller and buyer to get online, register themselves, and have a Yes or No decision come back reasonably quickly (within minutes). This can be made as an opt-in system - if you register and provide the relevant information, a seller can get a Yes/No decision quickly, or a buyer can run a serial trace on the spot, again with only Yes/No. Not opting in means your check can't be run, and you can't legally buy until you do. Fair?||

      No record should be kept about how often a check is run on a person or a trace on a serial number. And everyone should be able to see a full detail of their own report, like a credit score, to allow for dispute of errors. ||

      This is just a starting point... if you're interested in further dialog, perhaps pick a couple of specific Executive Actions and post your thoughts about implementing them.

    3. heh... forgive the || spacers - I somehow thought the commenting system would remove line breaks, despite quite a lot of evidence to the contrary (read: brain fart)

    4. I was recently talking to a person in the psychiatric field. This is his take as well, because of our medical privacy laws, there is a real "slippery slope" (his phrase), with mandating background mental health checks. One of the examples he used is the person who goes through a period of depression but is well now. Also, it is currently on the books, but impossible to actually enforce, that if a mental health provider perceives that the patient may be a harm to himself or others, then the Dr. is supposed to alert LE. We can see how well that worked out with the past two cases of mass murders.

  66. Your blog post is interesting and, ironically, idiotic. Along with swearing like an adolescent, you are apparently ignorant of the most basic facts of ethics. Any student of philosophy 101 should know that “natural law” and “inalienable rights” can exist only if grounded in God. Otherwise, all that you have is positive law. In positive law, there is no room for inalienable rights. Consequently, the “inalienable rights” that Jefferson speaks of in The Declaration of Independence are, in fact, necessarily predicated on the existence of a Deity in whom morality is grounded. This may not necessarily be Yahweh, but at the least it is Aristotle’s prime mover, who is “good”. Having said that, I agree that the way that some fundamentalists marry Americana (including love of guns) and Christianity is ignorant and perverse. One does have an inalienable right to defend oneself from harm. However, in the United States this generally does not require armor piercing bullets loaded into a high capacity magazine loaded into an automatic rifle. The problem, as you suggest, is deep in the American psyche. Unfortunately, your inflammatory tone isn’t going to convince anyone or do anything whatsoever to heal the divisions in our nation. (You yourself come off as just another fundamentalist nut job.) Right-wing fundamentalist nut jobs or not, they are our countrymen and neighbors. Maybe you could spend a little more time figuring out how to win them over and less time spewing venom. Any moron can spew venom, and only a great diplomat can bring people together. Do you want to be a run-of-the-mill moron or a great diplomat?

    1. Thank you for demonstrating the proper use of non inflammatory diplomacy, your input has been noted.

    2. Dear Anonymous - so, what's YOUR better way to do the job? I believe you've confined yourself to shooting at the messenger, rather than responding to the message (I think you're a really bad shot, but that's another story). Given that you've taken all those words to do it, I really expect your next post to at least be a series of real suggestions as to how to solve the problem.

      After all, if you're so sure Jim is wrong, you must have a solid basis for comparison, and it follows that you know exactly what should be done and what tone the answer should take. You really need to lead by example, rather than simply playing critic. I'm waiting.... but I won't hold my breath.

      Ann C.

    3. How interesting, Anonymous that isn't "Ann C". I do NOT see JW as a "fundamentalist nut job". I do appreciate your input regarding the assumption of "inalienable rights" as being grounded in God. I am neither a religious scholar nor very articulate (JW kicks my ass **profanity intentional here** all to hell in the articulate department)but I ask: Why is morality grounded in a deity? I do not see this as venom (see: religious right) but rather a plain spoken response to said venom.

      Yes, America is, at it's roots, a nation forged in revolution. I think that is more at issue here than god...or God.

    4. Actually, Anon @8:03, there are a number of messes in what you said.
      And I'll probably make some of my own here too.

      In Logic 101, the false dilemma, either-or, false choice fallacy is one of the basics.
      While it may be true that the Deist natural rights/inalienable rights routine Mr Jefferson included in the Declaration was based on a relatively common understanding in his time of Aquinas, Locke, and the like , it does not necessarily follow that such rights "can exist only if grounded in God. Otherwise, all that you have is positive law. In positive law, there is no room for inalienable rights."
      (If you have no God you have no inalienable rights, if you have God you have inalienable rights? We say we have inalienable rights, therefore we have God? Is that what you mean/are saying? I'm oversimplifying, I know. but that is how this came across )

      Asserting " Consequently , the “inalienable rights” that Jefferson speaks of in The Declaration of Independence are, in fact, necessarily predicated on the existence of a Deity in whom morality is grounded." assumes that there can be no other basis for so-called inalienable rights as well as declares yet again that a necessary condition for having rights which cannot be taken away is that God gave them to us.
      Personally, I think what the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does in its preamble using "inherent" and "inalienable" is a much more sensible, usable, and workable way to get at rights-which-can't-be-taken-away.

      Asserting that one has an inalienable right to defend oneself from harm?
      Well. Yes, no, maybe, mostly , depending on whether you are including the 2nd amendment to the Constitution as an inalienable right, because, well it is not. 2A is in the arena of civil rights which really isn't quite the same thing as your inalienable stuff, though they may be in aid of the ones-you-can't-take-away.
      Please consider the discussion about
      Status-Based Rights here :
      where "natural rights " are discussed. Pros and cons, it is a more objective view of rights theory than our public discourse usually manages. Also, 7.1 and 7.2 sections there are useful to think about.

      And lastly- I laughed my head off at the scolding you gave Mr Wright as his non-diplomatic self has done a great deal to open up discussions about gun control policy amongst well more than than the handful of folks here . Am seeing it in comments about his stuff away from his blog as well as here. Pretty damn snappy for an everyday person toodling away on his blog really.

      And I felt badly that you pretty much seem to have missed everything what Mr Wright, beautifully, profanely, and stunningly nails in this essay.
      Alaska Pi

    5. Actually, the notion of "inalienable" or natural rights is itself logically suspect. Rights are what we grant each other within the society we live. Living in Africa or India or the far east gives a very different take on rights. The endless attempts of philosphy to define what rights we get naturally and how we get them is fascinating, but fruitless, as you can always reduce the arguments to "because I believe that this underlying principle is true."
      If you accept that all rights are functionally agreements on how to treat each other, a lot of the conflict can be resolved.

    6. Assume there is an omnipotent unseen entity. Assume said entity created the universe. Assume said entity cared about a small portion of just one semi-sentient species on just one planet out of millions. Assume said entity was so emotionally needy that it desired worship from comparatively insignificant corporeal beings. Assume said entity contacted just one tribe of illiterate bronze age goat herders, imparted true knowledge(tm), but has since stopped contacting humanity by scientifically provable means. Assume said true knowledge has been recorded without error, despite numerous internal inconsistencies. Assume said entity is the single "God", despite the true knowledge(tm) stating otherwise, i.e. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." presupposes other omnipotent entities before whom the worshipers must place this particular "God". There is no point in making a rule about being first in line if you are alone. Assume that contradictory interpretations and speculations about said true knowledge(tm) are all accurate. Assume that "inalienable rights" means the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, despite the fact that societies and individuals have taken away all of those inalienable rights from many classes of human beings in the history of the world, as well as the history of the United States. Then, maybe Anonymous at 8:03AM might possibly have a point. Personally, I think Anonymous is making too many assumptions.

  67. My husband turned me on to your writing and this post was brilliant. As a Christian, I appreciate that you don't assume all Christians are fundamentalists. Some Christians actually just believe in a God of love and compassion, not one of angry judgement brought down in the form of hurricanes and plagues. It is eye-opening for me to read the blog of gun owning ex-Navy officer who actually supports gun control. Similar to the challenges of being Christian in this society, I'm sure you are tired of being defined by the NRA and the likes of James Yeager. Despite your anger, you are not an angry person, a small but profound distinction. You have shifted my world a little today and I like that.

  68. Thanks! I needed that. Posted it on Facebook in hopes that my nephew will read it. He's a Gulf War vet living in Texas and gets too wound up over all the political nonsense. There are lots of people in the south who think they're victims of the Civil War and were taught to expect 'northern aggression'. (Early indoctrination is so important.) What would these people do if the manufacturers just stopped making assault weapons. Storm the factory?

    I'm so sorry that the crazy gun guys are making it so much harder than it ought to be. YOU certainly don't deserve the bad rap they're giving gun owners. It's great to stop here for big dose of logic. Cheers!

  69. Aaaand. YOU STILL ROCK!!!!!

  70. Every time I read this, I get pissed off at these idiots all over again. But then you close with, "The only thing Gun Appreciation Day did for me, was make me appreciate the fact that today America swore in a president and a vice president with the courage to face these idiots head on. Go get them, Mr. President." You said it! Thank God we have someone strong enough to stand up to these fools.

  71. Jim- I just read your comments concerning the "mock" mass shooting being held on a university campus to "end gun-free zones." Just one problem I can see with this type of demonstration - it demonstrates nothing. Everyone involved knows exactly what role they will play.

    My thought is that a demonstration of a mass shooting where the average citizen is also armed would be much more realistic, and telling, if the participants carried paintball weapons. One color for the murderer(s) and one for the citizens carrying. The time and place of the shooting would be a surprise, within the parameter of the demonstration. For example, the demonstration is known to be happening in "X" Building on this day, but no one knows the time or who the shooter(s) will be. (Ideally it would be even more random, but I suppose you can only go so far doing something like this without an actual incident happening because someone doesn't know it's not real.)

    When the incident is over, check your 'victims' against the paint color they were shot by. Seeing the number of shooter colors and who was shot, and the number of citizen colors and whether they actually are able to hit the killers or hit other citizens in the cross-fire would, I think, give a more real-world display of how this scenario would play out than the choreographed demo UT is planning.

  72. Jim, I come here periodically to reread your Bang Bang Crazy series. Gun Appreciation Day reminded me of a story in the news about a church in Kentucky that held a Bring Your Gun to Church day one Sunday.

    It happened about the same time that you wrote this and I remember wondering, "What are they thinking? Bless your Beretta? Your Browning? Buy absolution for your BAR."

    My next thought was that the collection plates must have been overflowing that day. I mean, the revenues must have been off the hook. I know for damn sure that I would have emptied my pockets if I thought the Deacon handing me the collection plate was packing heat.

    Anyway, it's a couple of days following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and I feel a huge shift is about to happen in the discussion of gun control because of the lead many of the survivors are taking in calling out Congress and the NRA. We need these kids and their engagement at the polls.

    I just wanted to share this blog on my Facebook page because your list of the 23 executive actions President Obama wanted to take five years ago is still valid. I know this article is dated but it still serves to bring to light the corruption and evil of those who think "Thoughts and Prayers to be a good enough band-aid to keep the masses quiet.

    So I wrote all this to ask your permission to share and...oh, I just found the share button. Never mind and thank you.


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