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October 18
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Artwork for banner adapted from "Mister X," by William P. Marks, Vortex Comics • Blog Title from "Serenity" by Joss Whedon _________________________ A fiber artist making wool felt garments and local wool fleece and yarns on the side, Previously, I have been all these things: • architecture office manager • department store clerk • restaurant: waitress, bartender & barback, cashier, busboy, dishwasher, prep cook, line cook, manager • architecture student • engineering draftsman • graphic designer • advertising art director • magazine publisher • fanzine: publisher, editor, writer, photographer, designer • garage band manager • web designer & programmer • database (FM pro) developer • software trainer • non-profit organization staff member • ad salesman • fiber artist: weaver, spinner, tapestry weaver, dyer, feltmaker • reader • writer • sailor • runner • drinker, toker • big sister • oldest child • wife (2x) • swinging divorcee


JANUARY 10, 2011 11:12AM

Guilty on three counts, Not guilty on the rest

Rate: 13 Flag

 My first FB post on Saturday:

I've decided that I'm a coffeetarian. I just finished worshipping at my coffee shrine (my morning latte) and I am filled with light and love. And lots of nervous energy!

 Then, as the news came in about the shooting in Tucson:

I have to rant here - WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!! Are we moving into sectarian war here, like in Iraq? What political end could possibly justify this shooting? Do we now need to profile for conservative wingnuts, and put them in camps? Are they purposefully creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, to start a culture war? This is abominable!!!! If the GOP and every TP leader doesn't come down hard on this, they are complicit. 

Guilty as charged of over-reaction and blame-throwing. Maybe I should have had a little less coffee. 

 But as we backtrack and re-assess and try to come up with conclusions, there are still a few points I want to make, before all is cleaned up nice and pretty. 

1. The lack of gun laws in Arizona made this possible. Semi-automatic weapons belong in war and law enforcement, not in the hands of any unstable individual who can walk into a store and buy one. If the shooter had to stop to reload, the judge, the child and the community outreach person might still be alive. If both sides in Congress don't realize that this is something that should be done in response to this shooting, then we need to start calling them to insist on it. 

2. It is ONLY on the Right that violent insurrection is being trumpeted, no matter what the trolls and apologists say. I don't know the stats, but I am sure that upwards of 95% of hate-speech, personal threats, gun-waving and actual attacks are made by the right-wing.  Making up shit  is the specialty of Fox and the Tea Party. I don't feel we have anything to apologize for, Olbermann notwithstanding. Liberals are pro-government, pro-policy solutions,  pro-tolerance, pro-diversity and pro-gun regulations, by definition. Not to mention pro- helping people in need. Even if the current crop of legislators are more pro-corporation than the country needs, still, they are not unhinged like Bachmann et al. 

Where are the hate groups on the left, Where are the left-wing militias? If there were any, I'd hear of them. I admit, I loved the Weathermen in college. I admit, Gotta Revolution was my favorite song in the 60s - but that was effing 50 years ago!  And the world was a vastly different place. I admit, I get really angry at the right-wing and their hate speech. But I don't ever act on it and I wouldn't ever exhort someone to act on it. I feel like spitting on Palin's shoes, not threatening her life (not that I would bother to get close enough to do it, or really why expend any bodily fluids on her at all). Sure, that makes me a violent liberal. 

And if I were in public office - a position of extreme responsibility - I would understand that my words would be taken seriously by all. That is where the GOP, Fox, the Tea Party and so-called religious leaders fail. That is how they are complicit, no matter how hard they deny it. 

So, was I guilty of over-reaction? Check. Did I toss blame around and endorse extreme government reprisals when I should have waited to see what was true? Double Check. I only reprint my statement to point out that I am capable of anger and knee-jerk reactions, like anyone. Guilty as charged. I apologize to all of you for that. 

But am I equally to blame for hate speech that proposes taking the law into our own hands? Did I make statements that were threatening to individuals (other than spitting on them)? Did I support government overthrow? Did I propose gun use or bomb use? Did I threaten to stalk or sexually abuse those who disagree with me?  No, I don't think so. Our own OS trolls did that in spades, far, far more threatening and disgusting, far far more reactionary - when it wasn't their representative or their political party that was attacked. So I want to take a stand here for liberals. No matter what the politics of the shooter in Tucson, we didn't whisper in his ear, or give him tacit permission to take matters into his own hands. We are not guilty of that. 

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There is a law in the Arizona legislation being debated or maybe being passed before this shooting. It would allow college professors and students to carry concealed weapons on campus. Thats the craziest damn thing I've heard about this whole thing. Why would anyone ever think this would be a good thing?
Right! He was full of the illusions of life. Strung out on dreams and hate filled lies. He wanted to show the world that nothing mattered. And he brought out our worst delusions. The reaction to the shooting is what intrigues me. His motives were of a mad man. The reactions were of a mad nation.
Scanner, I read your comment on your post about anyone being able to tape an extra clip onto any gun - which brings me back to why guns are allowed at all. Open Carry terrifies me - which is the intent of the movement. Guns in public parks, guns in college, guns in Starbucks? Why indeed. I just read OESheepdog's post on the difference between rural and urban law enforcement, and I get it - sort of - but at some point, don't we have to say, is the collateral damage worth the right to pack heat everywhere? No answers, but hey, the liberal response to every problem is to pass a law. I'll take that anytime.
Zanelle, the repercussions of the shooting will far exceed the shooter's delusions, I'm afraid.
you nailed it, ardee. if you have a sec, read the nytimes piece this morning that explains how far fewer people would have been wounded or killed in tucson if congress had extended the semiautomatic gun ban in 2004. and just imagine how many dead people there would have been if a few more people in that crowd defending themselves had also had guns and were firing back at loughner. right, more guns, there's the answer.
Really good point, femme. A shoot out in Tucson, our worst nightmare. How would that be blown up in the media?
I'm staying well away of Arizona and their gun laws.
So true. Makes me gnash my teeth when people try to make both sides the same. Like one of our resident trolls, who goes on and on about Ayres....because, like, it's about the only example he can find of left violence & violent rhetoric. Whereas we could go on all day, and not about anarchists on the lam, but 'respectable' people right out their on the tv, radio and bookstores...
sweetfeet, I'm hoping that when Texas secedes, they'll take Arizona with them.

Myriad, you get my point exactly. I don't blame you for decamping to Canada.

rw- Even during the "violent, oppressive, authoritarian regime.." of George the W, liberals were pretty quiet. Indeed, I think we were too quiescent, but we kept to the high ground, in the midst of extreme provocation. I think that's a hallmark of liberalism, as well.
Please don't forget the rest of us here, other Arizonans, who do not do this. Some of whom own guns, legally, not stolen. And please don't forget the brave Arizonans who threw themselves literally in harms way to protect the others there. The 61 year old lady who disarmed him, the college intern who kept her alive from fast action, and the countless others who were fast acting. Several people present had guns, and not a single one needed to use one because the shooter was down. They did get faster medical care and give first aid, saving lives. Ask the people of Virginia Tech or the Polytechnic massacres about why they aren't all insane idiots, please.
Good comments.
Yours was reasoned and not hysterical as was the frightened blogger's #1.
I wonder if these hysterical anti gun nuts have any idea of the number of guns owned by people like me.
I would bet that they have absolutely no idea.

I once had a couple visit in which the woman was one of "those".
I excused myself and went upstairs to get one of my guns.
I brought it downstairs and, I could hear the sharp intake of breath while she almost paniced.
I put the gun, a .22 rifle which was NOT loaded on the floor and said, "Ok, gun. Go out and find someone to kill. We're waiting for you, gun".
When the gun didn't move, I just looked at the woman and didn't say a word.
I don't know if she understoood or not butt, since I do not subscribe to uncontrolled violence, that was ny way of making my point.
Orioki, you and xjs are clearly pro-gun and if you check my words, I am not advocating taking them away. I am for more regulation, the kind that prevents anyone who is mentally ill buying (not stealing) a semi-automatic weapon - and this shooter did have a background of problems that should have been a warning flag. I don't think my words are hysterical. I don't think I maligned any one person in Arizona, but I certainly don't want to live there and I think Arizona and Texas makes the rest of the country look bad. You are projecting YOUR fears on me. That is the very point of my post.
Ardee- the history may have had a presumed history of mental illness, but no known diagnosis there of. The real problem is that in Arizona, and elsewhere, it is extremely difficult to get mental health care for anyone, dangerous or not. No indications that he had hurt anyone before, so he purchased a gun legally because there was no background to check that would have changed that. We do have gun laws, and I agree they are too easy to come by for criminals. He wasn't a criminal until Saturday.
I didn't decamp to Canada - I was lucky enough to be born here. (A relatively gunless country, too, I might add...)
Well, orioki, what measures would you suggest to avoid the shooting on Saturday?

Myriad, would you like to adopt me?
You make excellent points, and it has seemed to me that the NRA has been willing to accept deaths of innocent people as collateral damage in exchange for absolutely no limits to the kinds of weapons they carry and where. Open Carry is terrifying, and I agree it's meant to be. I don't think you overreacted, not after all the gun tragedies we've seen in the past 20 years and more. It does seem to be a kind of war going on here, and it does seem like it's in some people's best interest to keep that going. Divide and conquer. Make one segment of the population the "other." It's working, as Sarah Palin told some tea partiers, "you're winning." Winning what is the question.
Fortunately, I don't watch cable, but I catch dribs and drabs of it, enough to make me sick. The far right in this country lacks a conscience; they will say and do anything to end up on top. That is the scary thing. Some on the left have some crazy ideas but that doesn't mean they are going to go out and shoot somebody down in cold blood...The problem of hate and lies and demonization is 99% on the far right. Anyone honest person who can think straight can see that.
like zanelle's comments. Especially the last two sentences. Thanks for this.
Ardee- there is no way to 100% prevent gun violence, and there is no way to 100% cover all mental illness. However, I do think that lack of adequate access to health care, earlier childhood diagnosis, and support for parents- as well as channels for faster action- would have kept this individual off the street. He was an adult, his parents legally couldn't do anything, nor the school, nor anyone. AZ has very few places for us to manage this- even for a non violent population of mentally ill. While we can agree there is too much access to high powered guns, he could have taken a samurai sword and done comparable damage to a few. This happens because people needing to be institutionalized are undermedicated and their families cannot literally do anything.
The reason we don't see this more in other countries is because of less guns, to be sure, but they have high violence rates with knives. A knife makes you have to get up close and personal, is harder to use, and people can get away from you faster. That doesn't stop the violence, that just changes the crime.
No, I don't think there is an easy answer, and no, I am not pro gun. I just happen to know plenty of people who do own guns who would never consider killing anyone other than self defense. Had the shooter not been taken down, another bystander with a gun likely would have shot him. Is that good or bad? It's reality.
Even though my major point in this post was on the false equivalency of hate speech on the right vs left, gun control has come up more frequently in the comments. Here is an excerpt from a Fresh Air segment on Arizona's gun laws:
Arizona's gun laws, among the most lenient in the country, allowed Loughner to conceal and carry his firearm without a permit, explains Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi. Grimaldi, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, wrote a piece on Sunday about Arizona's gun laws.

"Essentially, there is very little obstacle to purchasing a weapon in the state of Arizona," Grimaldi tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "There are laws that require you, federally, to be at least 21 years old to purchase a handgun. But basically state law permits anyone 21 and older to own a firearm and also, to carry it concealed in the state. That's different than many other states, many of which have stricter gun laws."

In January 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill which repealed an Arizona state law that required gun owners to have permits to carry concealed weapons. Arizona's previous governor Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary, had vetoed previous attempts from the gun lobby to scrap the permit requirement.

Arizona also allows gun owners to carry their weapons almost everywhere in the state, including government buildings and inside the state Capitol. Exceptions exist for private businesses and doctor's offices.
People here are talking about some clip of Obama saying he'd bring a gun to a fight. The narrative that the left is as bad as the right will become the accepted wisdom among most moderate Americans, who don't regularly follow this stuff. It's much more comfortable to murmur "It's all those politicized people - left and right - they're nuts" than to put blame on the folks who not only bring us Faux News but also Hulu and American Idol...
Ardee- that is true, but that didn't make this person do the shooting. He wasn't drunk, that we know of, and starting a fight in a public place where the presence of guns made a bad choice. Anyone intent on committing violence, gun violence, is not planning to obey any laws, much less concealment laws. Anyone intent on, obsessed with assassination will get ahold of any gun they can, and show up and shoot.
Murder (regular homicide, not mass murder like saturday) has a very low recidivism rate, and is usually triggered by the heat of the moment when the gun is present, and the person lacks inhibition due to rage, drugs, alcohol. That didn't happen here. Most people who do that, not all, are not criminals before that moment. That means prevention must also come in different ways. Whether or not he was registered or licensed to carry, he was intent on murder with a high powered weapon. Many of our soldiers return home and have their weapons, and other issues, and we see them hurting themselves and their families at alarming rates. With treatment, which comes with financial support and recognition before the violence escalates, we can prevent.
I do believe people should be properly trained and licensed and checked and registered for each and every gun. In the US, that isn't likely going to happen, especially with the federal and state funds going down instead of up. It costs a lot of money. That doesn't keep dishonest people away from crime, but over time it might slow down the rate of availability. There are few deterrents to crime, actually, that work. Other than police supervision and early prevention. Which we'd also have to pay for, more taxes.
OK, I'm back after shoveling my driveway.

latethink - I agree and thanks for the point that we are being set against each other while others profit off our conflict. i really long for conservatives to come up with solutions and not attacks. I don't think we are going to see that happen, though. Somehow, liberals are still being slated as the enemy.

Thanks, Patrick, it is sickening and tiring and I have kept away from cable news as well. And, I am still waiting for those honest people on the right to confirm your statement. There was an Arizonan legislator who did say that the vitriol had to stop, but he didn't specify whose vitriol and he wouldn't allow his identity to be known. That means the terrorism is working.

Thanks for coming by, Mime.

Blue - I suspect that anyone who listens to Fox News doesn't bother to listen to MSNBC or in fact anyone else to make a factual comparison. And Obama has so many false statements made about him, it's ridiculous.

Oryoki, you are right about the mental health issues and Stellaa and Dr. Spud had great posts about that. I would have much preferred that the attack was made by a knife, don't you? Far fewer victims probably, and Giffords would not have needed brain surgery. I just read you follow-up comment with many valid points, and you have hit on an issue that has had hardly any coverage - taxes. Because of the economy, police staffing, procedures and equipment has suffered. However, the pressure, especially from the right, has been to cut income and property taxes way, way down to nothing, so deterrents will become non-existent. Does the right to carry a gun by just anyone make up for that lack? At least the police have training and specific methods that reduce collateral damage. I personally would prefer to pay higher taxes to get better police coverage. And that is generally the case in blue states.
Ardee, you are more than reasonable in your replies. I would like to add that most people in this country, Democrats and Republicans alike, have commonsense views when it comes to guns, meaning they would like some regulation, that there not be an "anything goes" philosophy when it comes to guns.

Of course Oryoki is correct in advocating available healthcare, mental and otherwise, but seems to also be advocating the status quo--just keep things as they are or they will get worse. I respectfully disagree. We need more brave people in office like Sheriff Dupnik who are willing to speak out and legislate against special interest. And it seems now you would have to be braver than ever to do such a thing.
Don't bring a shovel to a snowblower
I am not an NRA member. I don't agree with a lot of their BS.
I don't think everyone ought to own a gun and, I know some people who I don't think ought to be allowed to own a hammer.
I'm not one of those people who think there ought not be any sorts of gun laws.
I do think the ones on the books are not properly enforced.
I do believe that there ought to be safety courses for EVERYONE who would own a gun.
Not all of us who own guns are unreasonable about said ownership.
So many who poster here think that that is the way we think when we debate their hysteria about guns as being irrational if one hasn't had an actual negative EXPERIENCE invovling a gun.
I also find it backward that it may be easier to buy a gun in AZ than get mental healthcare if that is so.
So, there is irrationality from gun owners and the anti's.
This is an unwinnable debate and heated argument serves no true purpose.
xjs, actually, I used a push-broom. It's alot less work if the snow is still fluffy.

I learned alot more about you from your comments on other posts, I have no beef with you personally, or gun owners in general. I just question your erroneous assumption that I think all guns are bad, that all gun owners are irresponsible, or that any criticism of the laxity of gun laws in Arizona means criticism of the way that you handle your weaponry. An 8 year old boy died last week at a gun show handling an Uzi. A nine year old girl died on Saturday, shot by a semi-automatic pistol. Is that OK with you? Just taking those two incidents, can we really afford to revert to knee-jerk responses? You, as a gun owner, could be leaping forward with ideas. You certainly know more about that world than I do, so why aren't you posting suggestions about how an event like Saturday's shooting could be avoided? That's the discussion I'd like to hear.