Sam Harris On Guns + My Own Thoughts

Anybody interested in the problem of gun violence and America’s unique relationship to firearms (should be all of us), should take the time to listen to this podcast by Sam Harris. It’s probably the most sane and level-headed analysis I’ve heard on the subject in a media landscape dominated by hyperbolic zealots on either side of the spectrum. It’s one-and-a-half hours well spent.

Let me share, briefly, my own feelings on the subject. To set things straight from the get-go, let’s agree to the following: It is indisputable that America has more guns per capita than any other western civilized country we care to compare ourselves to. It’s also indisputable that we have more gun deaths (total and per capita) than any other advanced  nation. It is much easier to get hold of a gun in America than in any other modern, first-world nation. The correlation between the number of guns in our society and the high occurrence of gun violence can hardly be denied. If we cannot agree on these things, don’t bother reading further; you are not a reasonable-minded person.

Still, a few years ago, for whatever reason, I got it into my head that I wanted to own a pistol. The local gun shop in the neighboring town of Monroe informed me that the state of Connecticut requires one to have a gun permit in order to buy a handgun. They kindly offered to provide the training necessary to get the certification. After a six-hour course, including firing a total of twelve shots (the only shots I had ever fired in my life at that point) with a .22-caliber revolver at a shooting range, and passing a 30-question written “test” (open-book, discussion with the other people taking the class allowed, and self-grading of said test), I was given a diploma certifying that I had fulfilled the state-mandated requirements. At the local police station I submitted my application and finger prints for a criminal background check and after about six weeks received notification that I could pick up my pistol permit at the state police facility in Bridgeport. I now had the state’s blessing to own and carry a gun in public.

That very same day I headed off to a gun shop and, on the advice of the store clerk, bought a 9mm Springfield XDM semi-automatic pistol with a total capacity of 19+1 rounds (legislation passed after the Sandy Hook massacre now prohibits me from loading it with more than ten rounds when not on my property, which is rather good news for the 11th person I plan on killing).

Next stop was the shooting range where I had previously “qualified” by shooting a revolver twelve times. The inadequacy of this qualification soon became apparent when I discovered that I didn’t know how to load the magazine of my newly acquired pistol; small wonder as this was the first time I’d ever held a semi-automatic pistol in my hands. Let me repeat this since it’s not insignificant: I was licensed by the state to own and carry any kind of legal firearm, yet I had never operated, and did not know how to load my pistol.

No matter how hard I tried I could only stuff a couple rounds into the magazine before it jammed. I finally sought the help of the range officer on duty, and after he also failed to load up the magazine, he finally discovered the problem: the store clerk had sold me two boxes of .40 caliber ammunition to go with my 9mm pistol.

What I’m trying to say here is that even in Connecticut (and even after Sandy Hook), the requirements to own and carry a pistol, are woefully inadequate. It is absolutely crazy to allow somebody with the training I received to own, buy and carry, openly or concealed (which is the law in CT) any kind of firearm.

I agree with most, if not all, of what Sam Harris said in his podcast, and have become more convinced than ever that what I said in a previous post is true: we need to repeal the second amendment of the US constitution. Or rather, repeal and replace, since I don’t want to ban guns. But the way 2A is worded makes it very difficult to come to any kind of consensus as to what it actually means in practical terms. The gun nuts (the Ted Nugent fan boys) will always point to “the right of the people” and “shall not be infringed”, while the gun grabbers (Bloomberg et al.) will emphasize “a well regulated militia”, and they will both be right. My own vision for a revised 2A might include words to the effect that gun-ownership is indeed an individual right, but not any gun for anybody at any place, and the power to regulate requirements and limitations is given to congress. I believe Sam’s analogy to the requirements to get a pilot’s license is appropriate and sound. I say this knowing full well that any member of Congress who proposes a repeal of the second amendment will have committed political suicide more effectively than declaring an unbelief in Jesus.

 

Gun Control And The Latest Mass Shooting In Oregon

“Here we go again, singing the same old song…” The latest mass shooting in Oregon, The Young Turks’ call for gun control, and my response to The Young Turks.

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Gun control: do we need it, and what form should it take to have any effect?

I watched the TYT video below (I sometimes watch TYT videos when I’m happy and tranquil and feel the need to be miserable and angry) and felt compelled to respond. I like my response so much that I thought I’d share it here.


Other countries have plenty of guns. Granted, not nearly as many as America, but still enough to create way more havoc than they actually do. The problem is easy access to guns coupled with an uninhibited willingness to use them on fellow human beings. Per capita gun-ownership is much higher in America than in any other country we like to compare us to, but per capita use of the guns available to them is much lower in those countries. We have, plainly speaking, a much more murderous culture than other Western, civilized nations.

It’s always amusing to hear the liberal armchair-intelligentsia like Ana Kasparian and the rest of The Young Turds say, “we don’t want to BAN guns, just have ‘common sense’ gun legislation”. Be specific please. Exactly what kind of common sense gun control that doesn’t involve an outright ban or something close to a ban do you think would affect a dramatic reduction in a short amount of time of guns in the hands of people willing to use them on other people?

You’re being disingenuous if you’re not calling for some sort of ban or severe restrictions. And to achieve that, you must get rid of 2A. This is the most important part. Current interpretation of the second amendment to the US constitution (however much you might disagree with SCOTUS, and I agree 2A is shoddily written in the extreme, but the supreme court of the United States has the last word) is that gun-ownership in America is an individual right. I, as an individual, have a personal right to own and carry guns that is protected by the constitution.

I have (at least) two things that Cenk Uygur, Ana and the other turdish sidekicks don’t have. 1) A gun, and 2) a piece of plastic that shows that I have been vetted by the federal government (FBI), the state of Connecticut, and local law enforcement; that I have been fingerprinted and photographed; that searches have been made in all available databases, and found that I have no criminal history and am not a violent person. I am, as far as the government is concerned, a documented good guy. Gun control has been applied to my person and I have been found fit to own and carry guns. Also, I’m not a cuntish, weasel-faced liar.

Go after 2A or SHUT THE FUCK UP! I would respect you for doing so. It’s a (the only) reasonable approach to what you want to achieve. I might even agree with it. Personally I see no reason in a modern society why it should be a constitutionally protected right to own and carry guns. You can come up with all sorts of feel-good laws that make it more difficult for me to enjoy my hobby, but will do exactly zero to address the problem at hand. I am willing to sacrifice some of my rights, but only if the solution proposed has a chance of making a real difference. If you think that stronger, universal background checks would make even a tiny dent in gun violence in this country you’re either stupid, a lying self-serving cunt, or both.

So, to summarize: You need to dramatically reduce the number of guns floating around, and you need to change a culture that fosters and glorifies violence. Whining like little bitches on YouTube doesn’t count.


Connecticut: Lawsuit Filed in U.S. District Court Challenging Constitutionality of New Firearms Law

Not to sound repetitive, but I just want to make sure the word gets out that we’re not taking governmental abuse and overreach lying down. I’m not saying “from my cold, dead hands“, but I strongly oppose the manner in which, as well as the content of, Governor Dannel Malloy et al’s recent attempt to circumvent democratic process and undermine the 2nd Amendment. If you have an agenda, promote it openly, don’t try to sneak shit past the electorate with lies and deception. Just sayin’.

From my in inbox, courtesy of The National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action:

Connecticut: Lawsuit Filed in U.S. District Court Challenging Constitutionality of New Firearms Law

Bridgeport, CT – Yesterday, a widely-anticipated lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, challenging the constitutionality of the new firearms law that was passed hastily by the Connecticut Legislature in response to the tragic shooting in Newtown by a disturbed individual. Despite this new law being called “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety,” Connecticut’s new firearms law makes Connecticut citizens less safe. This lawsuit seeks immediate injunctive relief and a ruling declaring the new law unconstitutional under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It alleges that Connecticut’s new firearms law violates the Second Amendment, and makes both citizens and law enforcement less safe by depriving citizens of modern firearms that are in common use throughout the country for self-defense.

Brought on behalf of individual gun owners, retailers and Second Amendment groups, this lawsuit seeks to vindicate the constitutional rights of citizens who are harmed by the broad prohibitions and unworkable vagueness of the new law. This legal challenge focuses on Connecticut’s ban of more than 100 additional commonly-owned firearms, demonizing design features that provide improved safety, accuracy and ease-of-use features, including magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. This lawsuit also challenges the practical bans imposed by the new law on an even broader array of firearms due to the new law’s vague language and interpretative confusion combined with severe criminal penalties.

Plaintiffs bringing this lawsuit include an elderly widow who lives alone in a rural area where the emergency response time of a lone resident trooper serving the area is 45 minutes, a Rabbi whose synagogue in the Bridgeport area was broken into by intruders, a young professional woman whose efforts to defend herself are made more difficult by the loss of an arm due to cancer, among other individuals. In addition, retailers whose businesses have been severely harmed by the law have joined this lawsuit, which was conceived and organized by fellow plaintiff organizations: the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL) and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen. Both organizational plaintiffs represent large numbers of Connecticut citizens whose rights to own the firearms of their choice for self-defense and other purposes such as sports shooting and hunting has been infringed upon by the new law.

Bob Crook, Executive Director of the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, says, “This law will do nothing to prevent a tragedy or solve the problem of crime committed with guns. Instead of violating constitutional rights, we need to get serious about addressing violence and mental illness.” He continued, “Two recent independent studies by Pew and the federal government have just revealed that gun homicides are down almost 40% and general crime involving guns has dropped a whopping 70% since 1993, which corresponds with the elimination of the federal assault weapons ban. In contrast, the few areas of the country where gun crimes have increased dramatically are the very places where local or state governments have banned or severely restricted gun ownership by law-abiding citizens.”

This Connecticut lawsuit, along with similar legal challenges in New York and Colorado are expected to better define the extent of a responsible citizens’ right to own a commonly used firearm of personal choice for self-defense, defense of family and other lawful uses. Each of these states has enacted new firearms laws that, despite law-makers best intentions, make citizens and law enforcement less safe against criminals and the mentally ill who do not obey these laws.

Your NRA will continue to work in Connecticut and in other states across the nation to support and protect our Second Amendment rights.

PS
I realize that I may start to sound like a gun nut to some, and that I will have to diversify the targets of my ire to maintain my cred as a sane member of society. Stay tuned.

Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League Litigation Update 05/22/2013

From my inbox:

Lawsuit Filed in Connecticut U.S. District Court

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, Hiller Sports, MD Shooting along with several individuals have filed as Plaintiffs in a legal complaint that is intended to overturn the recent ban on guns of common use in the State of Connecticut.

Here is the official filed complaint.

Here is the official Press Release.

This is a big day for gun owners across Connecticut!

CCDL Executive committee has been advised to not discuss the case publicly.

We are also asking our members to not discuss or debate any aspect of this legal action on our Facebook page, or any other social media that may be controlled by CCDL. This is for the good of the case

I am cautiously optimistic, but not in the short term. The Machine is growing bigger and more unruly by the day, and is getting closer to acquiring a will of its own, independent from its makers.

How Much Does Newtown Love Their Children?

After the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14th 2012, the entire nation has been up in arms about how this event was the tipping point, that we, as a nation, must take prompt and meaningful action to prevent future tragedies. If twenty dead children and six dead teachers doesn’t move us to take the necessary steps to protect our children, then we are all morally bankrupt. I firmly agree.

Politicians and activists all the way from the President himself down to grassroots activists on a local level, have made the rounds, parading parents of the victims around the country promoting stricter gun legislation, banning this and banning that, making teary-eyed speeches lobbying for “common sense” laws in the name of dead children.

On Tuesday April 23rd voters in Newtown rejected a budget that added $770,000 to the school and town budgets to hire extra police officers and unarmed security guards in all of the town’s private and public schools.

That’s how much Newtown loves their children.

Newtown is a fairly affluent town and the combined total of the school and town budgets were $111,000,000.

Gun Nuts Go Crazy Over Jim Carrey’s Blasphemous Spoof Of Charlton Heston

Gun nuts all over America are getting their knickers in a twist over comedian Jim Carrey’s Charlton Heston spoof and mockery of gun nuts, rednecks and hillbillies. Guys, you need to unclench, pull out the stick and relax. Even shit aimed at you can be funny. And this is. Funny as hell. Life is too short, if you know what I mean. (Click the expand button in the lower right corner to minimize the impact of the annoying iTunes ad.)

Gun Control Myths – Facts Matter

This is the reason why bans on high (aka standard) capacity magazines will not work. Never mind the strong likelihood that a criminal will disregard the ban in any event. Facts matter. Don’t believe everything your elected officials tell you.

No Longer A Democrat

There’s something sinister going on in Hartford, CT, literally, as I write this. The politicians are using a provision called E-Cert (Emergency Certification) to ram through a bill bypassing the normal committee hearings, thereby also bypassing the democratic process. The emergency provision was certainly not meant for situations like the current issue at hand. Both Democrats and Republicans are in on this scheme.

I don’t know how I will vote in future elections, locally, state, or nationally, but I do know I don’t want my name associated with a bad crowd – and I consider the Connecticut legislature to be just that – and I don’t want a D or an R after my name. The minor parties have mostly single-issue platforms and are irrelevant. Voting in America has become an exercise in choosing the lesser of all the repugnant evils put forth.

america in distress

There goes the neighborhood.

So today I went to the registrar of voters in Newtown, CT, and changed my party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated, in effect Independent. Fun fact: As a registered Independent in Connecticut I don’t get to vote in primaries. As if the general election system in America wasn’t poorly designed to begin with and broken further as it was, this is no less than an undemocratic slap in the face. Still better than being associated with people with no backbone and poor ethics at best, and downright criminals at worst.

I Am Trayvon Martin

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. Paraphrasing Edmund Burke: All it takes for the assholes to win is you not giving a shit.

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Trayvon Martin, February 5, 1995 – February 26, 2012

Symptom of the Universe. I see some people are exploiting this opportunity to make a 2nd Amendment argument, both pro and con. But this isn’t about guns or the right to bear arms; it’s about the spirit of Jim Crow still haunting the South, it’s about racism, law enforcement misconduct, if not criminal negligence or even an outright cover-up, as well as class warfare.

George Zimmerman needs to prosecuted, the entire police force of Sanford fired and investigated, and the rest of us should try to salvage what is left of justice in America.

Sign the petition to prosecute Trayvon’s murderer here.