Bill Beck

Bill Beck
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Ohio,
Birthday
December 31

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JANUARY 16, 2013 9:52PM

I Tremble...

Rate: 19 Flag

                            Bailey Close

This is Bailey.  Bailey lived a fast, frenetic life in ten brief years.  He died in my arms just about a year ago.  His kidneys were failing, so we walked across the street, (I walked and carried him), to the vet’s clinic.  There, the vet administered an injection which combined two or three chemicals which brought his brief life to an end.  It was just under ten years.  

 

I’m not ashamed to say that his death changed my life.  I’ve suffered many deaths before.  It does not get easier.  Each person, each loved one, changes your life.  I suppose I should be grateful that I am not numb to it.  

 

Today, as has been the case for the past month, several of the pictures of the child victims of the Sandy Hook shooting were displayed.  Every time I see them, I have to remove my glasses.  I have to lower my head.  Sometimes I see their faces, and I recognize them now, but while in the process of doing something else, I am only mildly distracted.  Then later, during the evening news, I see a child’s face again.  Tonight it was Grace McDonnell and Noah Pozner.  Grace and Noah were only seven years old when their short lives came to a violent end.  

 

While watching the news, I did not have the benefit of being distracted.  I watched with full attention as they discussed these children with the beautiful faces.  Something in a normal person’s mind imagines these images as belonging to a living child, even as you hear that they died a month ago, even as you already know the facts.  It takes a conscious thought process to overcome the denial that switches on immediately, protecting what you believe to be the way the world should be.  Little beautiful faces like this are alive, and will be for a very long time.  This is what I tell myself, right before I have to say, no, they are deceased.  

 

I remove my glasses again.  I lower my head.  I wipe my eyes on my sleeve, and I purse my lips as some sort of spasm hits my face and I feel myself start to cry.  I tremble.

 

As a kid, I think I was 11, some dude stuck me up for my bicycle.  I listened to the instructions that he gave me, and when he went into action, I just calmly told him, “no.”  I didn’t tremble.  

 

As a cop, I was once in a crossfire standoff at about ten feet, maybe less.  I couldn’t shoot him because another officer was behind him, again, it was a crossfire.  The dude had his gun pointed at me, and I had mine pointed at him.  This was a moment of direct existential threat.  Considering the policy, and the tactics that I trusted, I knew I could not shoot unless he shot first.  If the right, (or wrong) thing happened, I was prepared to shoot him...A LOT.  I was running through marksmanship fundamentals in my head.  “Rear sight, front sight, chest.”  “Relax, breathe...squeeze.”  I was extraordinarily calm.  I could hear no sound besides my own breathing.  I did not tremble.  

 

Also tonight, and for the last several days, there is discussion about regulation of guns.  There are those among us, among us in the human population who are not capable of feeling compassion.  For them, life is a tactical situation.  Everything, every...thing is a thing to be used to get what they want.  Everything.  They do not feel another’s pain, and even resent their joy.  Some of those people are gun enthusiasts.  When that cognitive disability is paired with the desire to have any gun that they can conceive of, no beautiful faced child’s murder, or dozens, or thousands of same have an impact on such a person.  Life for them is merely tactical.  

 

They talk about the second amendment, and their rights.  They talk about Stalin, and Hitler and fascism, as if the President is intent on depriving them of something, or everything.  They even talk about civil war.  They don’t tremble.  Not all gun enthusiasts are ill.  Many, almost certainly most, are sane, reasonable, healthy people.  In fact, they are not “they”.  They are us.  They are part of us, and they should be.  Efforts to remove the people would be unethical, even if we can determine who they are.  In most cases in the past, it was not easy, or nearly impossible to determine who the nuts were, because in all other ways, they look just like us.  But in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, there is one way to know to an absolute certainty who the nuts are.  Anyone who is advocating for their rights at the price of a single life like the 28 victims of Sandy Hook, the children, the Mom, and the killer himself, anyone who says that their “right” to own machines of death for political reasons or otherwise, those are the nuts.

 

Bailey was the best friend of a lifetime.  He lived to nearly ten.  I have to lean on the shelf when I look at his urn.  I go weak in my knees.  I tremble.  The children of Sandy Hook were human.  They did not have the pleasure of living as long as my dog.  Their loss to their families, their community, and this world is infinitely greater than my best friend.  I tremble when I see their young, beautiful faces, and have to tell myself that they will never be alive again.  

 

Regulating guns wont be emotional.  It wont be a death, or a loss.  Regulating guns will come as a result of death and loss.  The steps that will be taken in the legislature, at the ballot box, and in the Oval Office will be procedural and tactical.  This time it appears that America is determined to match the exceptional sensibility that exists so many other places in the world.  This time, we will not tremble.   

 

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There will be many posts on this topic, of all sorts. But personalizing this topic is a way for us to better identify the horrors. Those of us who mourn the short lives of our beloved pets can better understand the tragedy of cutting children's lives even shorter, riddled by bullets rather than dying a peaceful death at an old age. Thank you for contributing to the dialogue.
I want to tell you something straight. I write anti-Negro polemics, I'm a 'racialist', not a racist. But I sympathize with your loss of a canine companion. If only the nigger children of the ghettos of Chicago, etc. could have your depth of character we would have a better world...wink
Behold the narcissist. Yagoda, I thank you for your offering of sympathy.

It is interesting how narcissists behave. They model behavior, and at times try to create outrage. They feed off of it. But they never quite get the point of the human experience. Yagoda-Yezhov's comment is a perfect example. This post is not really about a dog. It is certainly not about being a "racialist." And it is not about you. It is about the murder of 20 children, the manner in which it was done, and the remedy. Narcissists dont get it, and they hate themselves for it. So, they project such things outwardly.

Thanks for that exquisite example. Yagoda-Yezhov
You just don't like it when someone uses the word 'nigger'....wink
your perspective [police officer] is what many need to listen to: I doubt trained teachers or school janitors will understand the calm you write of, given the brevity of the proposed training I've read about.
I too mourn the innocents lost in Newtown, living 58 miles northeast of the town and a father of four who witnessed one of his son's illness cut short his potential... it was and is all to real for me: a former mental health counselor and Air Force Security/Law Enforcement officer.
Actually, I dont mind it one bit. There are a number of ways to use it. I tend to find it quite useful. Granted, I do not use it myself, but it is a good word for and from those who do. One example is Notorious B.I.G. "And if ya don't know, now ya know, Nigga." Biggie was an artist. I like his use of it. It is a well crafted phrase, artistically applied in the vernacular. It is authentic.

Then there is your use of it. It is intended to arouse anger, and stems from the desire to draw attention, whoever possible. If you check my comment above, I never even mentioned the use of it. I barely mentioned it. The interesting thing about your comment is exactly what I stated. You lack the authenticity of Christopher Wallace. And you lack his personal courage, although you wish you had it. You are an anonymous troll begging for attention, but lacking the courage to identify yourself and claim it. You are a self loathing narcissist.

Racism is not the shock that you think it is, Turtle. It is not new, and doesn't turn heads. You're not the first to use the term "nigger", and you wont be the last. Nah, Mark Twain used it effectively and artistically. Christopher Wallace did as well. And you do it revealing your cognitive disability. I rather enjoy it. It shall remain.

"...and if you don't know, now you know, nigga..."
Yeah, Chuck, I think this incident touched a lot of people, except for the obvious, as represented by the guest above you in the thread. We are watching history being made here. All the best to you and those kids. I think we will get this done this time.
This is one fantastic essay! And I'm very sorry that you had to lose your dog.
Thanks O.N.L. I'm sure you have known grief. It's cool. It is the weight of the world at first, if you feel love. It is crushing. That is why this Sandy Hook incident has such an awe inspiring magnitude. This was felt by all of humanity...except for the nuts, of course.
You may have done the best job I've seen done on this issue in this combined community.
Thanks K.S. There is no competition. I think an issue like this locates your soul on the human map. If you can't feel this, you can't feel anything.
Terriers- our little cousins with everything Oz could offer- heart, brains, and all the courage in the world, which they use to protect children without regard to their own safety.

Law Enforcement's opinion on this topic is the one that counts here, the only one. (Thanks for your service) They are given the responsibility for our keiki's safety, the rest of us are required to help, not hinder ... that is part of the social contract.

As to the 2nd Amendment, it's source is the dark vein referenced last weekend by General Powell.

Quoting FOUNDER Patrick Henry:

"If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia."

All are encouraged to learn more about this, which is easy as our early leaders words are all in the Library of Congress.

A noble creature, the terrier, as is the Honu, the sea turtle, and neither should be misrepresented.

Auwe (Alas) these are sad days
"Anyone who is advocating for their rights at the price of a single life like the 28 victims of Sandy Hook, the children, the Mom, and the killer himself, anyone who says that their “right” to own machines of death for political reasons or otherwise, those are the nuts."

I am puzzled by this comment. You appear to be saying that firearms law and policy has to be based on a single incident, the shooting at Sandy Hook, and that no other factor can be taken into account. You also seem to be saying that no one, in the wake of Sandy Hook, has any rights at all with respect to firearms. You don't define what you mean by "machines of death," either by caliber, type of weapon, type of ammunition, or any other characteristic. And you don't specify exactly what changes to firearms law a person would have to support in order to be considered a "non-nut."

Calling someone a "nut" is an insult, and if you want to insult certain people it would be nice to know what exactly you are saying, who is being insulted, and for what.
A righteous, moving post offering both personal and professional perspectives. It's imperative to put human faces on the victims of gun violence as well as those specifically trained to protect us from it.

To all who insist owning a gun is the answer to protecting home and family, I offer this informed reply from a Phila homicide detective, "I challenge anybody to see how many times a gun has been used to stop an intruder versus the number of times a kid has used it to harm themselves or another kid."

Bailey was as lucky to have you in his life as we are.
Bill: A lot has already been said here, including an interesting digression that proves something not even in question, but worth knowing nonetheless. But you, in your article, have cut straight to the bone. I won't try and add to the analyses of why this is what it is, but simply say the word: Magnificent. Thank you. r
Mishma666, I can't help you.
Sally, in the vast majority of times when a gun is used in self-defense the gun is never fired. The mere presence of the gun is sufficient to discourage the criminal.

After Florida passed its concealed handgun law, criminal attacks on people in rental cars increased. This was because most drivers of rental cars were from out of state, and thus could be presumed not to be armed and were easy prey for criminals. So the state of Florida actually had to pass a law prohibiting the obvious marking of rental cars so that out of state drivers could not be targeted. This is an example of the deterrent effect of guns -- in this case not the actual presence of the gun, but just the possibility of the gun served as a deterrent.

The quality guru W. Edwards Deming use to say that the most important numbers are unknown and unknowable. We see the Sandy Hooks and the Virginia Techs and other very tragic shootings. What we don't see are the many thousands of situations in which criminals were deterred and lives were spared because of guns. I'm not making an argument "for" guns. I'm just saying that there is another side to the issue, and that we need to look at all sides in order to get the complete picture.
Mishima666, It is hard to stay calm and answer that argument, which gets disingenuously offered over, and over, and over, and it is precisely the lack of "whole picture viewing" that you decry. Let's take exactly what you said, because I believe it settles your entire complaint, and it does not have to be repeated here forever.

Your words: "in the vast majority of times when a gun is used in self-defense..."

A GUN....right? Nowhere was it said here that you can not use A GUN to defend yourself. I have not said it. This post does not say it. The term "gun control" or "gun regulation" does not say it. Now, pay particular attention to the term "gun regulation." If you gather from that term that this means ALL GUNS SHALL BE PROHIBITED, then no level of explanation can reach you.
This is a moving piece, Bill. Do you know how to use the delete button, by the way? I hate when dirt gets on something beautiful. ~r
Thank you, Joan. I hate it too. Here is the thing ahout that. While I did list at the bottom that I will go by the Robert Crook guidelines, and I will, I also will use that judiciously. Yagoda is a necessary example. Others will claim that this sort of attack does not exist unless they can see it. I would prefer not to give them a platform, but there is a price to be paid for openness and honesty. Those who observe their ugliness can know several things. The attacks are vile. I do not oppose disagreement. And the attackers are cowardly and anonymous in the vast, vast majority of cases. They use one another as justification for their vile conduct. So and so said this, therefore I say that, etc.

Incidentally, this is why Our Salon is not for me. I am subject to this sort of attack more than your average blogger, for obvious reasons. If I try to defend myself, I can be in the wrong. I can't have my hands tied like that. I have to be where I do not need permission to belong. Kim Gamble stated it quite explicitly, "we wont see you on OUR Salon." With that sort of attitude, I dont want to be there. I'll be where anyone can be, and I do not have to depend on defense by a clique that will not come. Yagoda's attack is the sort of thing thaqt happens. That is a reality of my online existence. I'm not a martyr, but IZ am also not a lair, and I do not "censor" disagreement. The vile proof is in this thread.
You handled this topic beautifully - and the impact of tactical decisions having emotional effect is powerful. Your responses above were almost as good. R
I have never understood Yagoda in either this guise or that of Jejeune Podiatrist. He (?) seems to think this is funny.

Mishima,
Perhaps it would help to state that I haven't heard too many stories of assault weapons with large magazines being used to deter crimes. What I hear about is handguns. What I mainly hear about handguns is from people who practice concealed carry.

There's one thing that people I talk to on the anti-regulation side of life don't say about concealed carry in this context:

Concealed carry entails a ton of obligatory safety training. That training is heavily regulated. You do not get to practice concealed carry without it any more than you get to drive legally without a license. And yet I notice that the NRA's leadership et al are extremely anti-regulatory, in spite of the fact that the biggest success story in firearm prevention of crime is the most heavily regulated aspect of Firearms World.
Also, Kosh, if you see a discussion of a murder of 27 people, and a suicide, and policy surrounding it as an insult to you, then you are gripping the mirror to closely. The post says, I said, the "vast majority of gun enthusiasts are not nuts." Beyond that, if you go searching the world for insult, you will find it. That on top of the disingenuous premise that talk of any gun regulation is the same as gun confiscation is just dishonest from the start. It is beneath the dignity of the subject.
Here is an analogous situation. The situation is obviously different, but the Trade-offs are analogous.

In ocean travel, when a ship goes down, the social convention is to place children and women in the available space in lifeboats first. Time and space are obviously limitied, so even if there is a place on every lifeboat for every passenger on the ship, time may be short, so priority is given to women and children. A ship going down at sea is an existential threat, like an armed assailant. The ship going down is a threat to the women and children, as statistics show, are the presence of guns. Competing with the child for the spot on a lifeboat would be seen as unacceptable. Would it not? You see to that child's safety first. Likewise, if the presence of certain types of guns, high numbers of guns, ubiquity of guns, etc, is an existential threat to children, and you arrange things so that your safety is arranged at the price of a child's life, is that not the conduct of a "nut?"
Outstanding, Bill. (And let me say ... I know how tough it is to lose a beloved companion like Bailey.)

I grew up around weapons -- handguns, shotguns and long guns -- and in fact, spent so much time on ranges that I have permanent hearing damage, especially in my right ear. Yes, I was very good at it.

That all ended when I was about 20. I've never owned, or wanted to own, a gun of any sort, and I do not understand the paranoia that drives some people to assemble an arsenal.

If I'm remembering right, last year, there were slightly fewer than 600 murders in this country, between a quarter and a third of which were gun-related. Since we are about one-tenth your population, that would extrapolate to 6,000 murders, maybe 1,900 by firearms (and that's too many).

Yes, we have tough regulations, but they work, most of the time. Not gun confiscation ... but control.
Thanks Boanerges1. And yes, I have observed over many years that the conversation on the subject is like speaking across a chasm. Some on the other side pretend not to hear. For a while I thought it was not being communicated properly. That's not the case. They get it, they just pretend not to. Mishima666 gave a weak, "I don't get it" stance earlier. Others do it on some other blog posts eslewhere. They get it. They are just liars. Narcissists are liars first and foremost. They dont get other people's pain, and they never will. To them, this is about what THEY are allowed to own. It is insanity, quite literally.
Mr. Beck, thank you for this. Also, Bailey was a very handsome fellow :)

-rated-
Eloquent, Bill. I must take my glasses off now, too...
Sure.

I'd like to see the argument made cleanly. It never is.

Let's say I play Devil's Advocate here and make the real gun case, as if I were an articulate guy on NRA's board:

1. Not too many people are killed every year by this kind of weapon.

2. The choice here is not childrens' lives vs. not childrens' lives. The point behind these guns is really that if the Federal Government ever becomes actively tyrannical, we'll need them to keep these very children free.

3. It isn't the guns, it's the nuts on the handle.

4. We have plenty of regulations already, we just aren't enforcing them.

I'll start with 4, just because I watched Jon Stewart last night, where I discovered that the guys who are claiming we aren't enforcing enough are the very guys who are preventing that enforcement, partially by limiting the staffing of ATF and partially by regulating them out of being able to enforce these laws sensibly, with the NRA having a hand in crafting or at least approving the ATF conduct regulations. So that one is ultimately crap, even though it's made.

Number 1 is valid, but the few we have are worth preventing. Number 2 is a huge argument we won't be able to settle here, so let's fous on number 3, which is where I think the action really is.

In order for us to deal with the difficulties presented by the Nuts on the Handle objection, we have to deal with two issues:

1. Sufficient mental health resources for that population. Unfortunately, most of those against gun control happen to be those against sufficient funding for mental health resources. You can't have it both ways.

2. A way of denying access of these kind of firearms to that population.

The first objection you'll get here is that people who really want to get bad firearms will find a way. The assumption here is that making that process inconvenient is worthless. This is the biggest argument I find among thinking people online and it's the main argument that shows they aren't actually thinking. This is like saying that murder should be legal because making it illegal hasn't stopped all murders. We don't get to prevent all crimes in a given area, what we get to do is reduce them. Not everyone who commits crimes like these is going to surmount every hurdle, at least before they change their minds.

So, on that basis, I will state that limited the access of those with criminal records and the mentally unstable to firearms is a good idea. Many who don't advocate more active gun control will actually agree with this.

So, how can we limit their access?

Two ways:

First is the one that may have actually had something to do with Newtown. If you have firearms, you should be required, yes, required, to go through some safety training to own or use them. Given that the NRA provides such training, you wouldn't think they'd object to this, but they apparently do, because of "required." Guns should be stored in locked cabinets separate from their ammunition so the kid you have in the house who's so mentally unstable that you're about to have him committed can't easily access them. His mother knew he was unstable and she knew she had those weapons in the house. It should have been drilled into her that you figure out how to keep him the Hell away from those weapons. That may not have been negligence on her part but it probably was a lack of indoctrination.

Second is background checks. If private individuals are not legally obligated to perform background checks before selling firearms (which is erroneously referred to as the "gun show loophole"), all the mental health screening in the world won't help because the screening is not realistically attached to a significant result in firearms access. That is the most important single thing we have to change.

NONE of this has anything to do with firearms confiscation. None of this has to do with a withdrawal of Concealed Carry, which is where most of the deterrence I hear about is actually taking place, not in assault weapons at all. I like Concealed Carry because it involves a lot of training and regulation so that people who carry aren't likely to get careless and stupid. This may actually prevent more crimes than it contributes to. That's possible; I haven't heard a lot of evidence as of yet countering this.

If we can't limit access of the mentally ill to assault weapons, banning them is absolutely what will make the most sense. However, if anyone really wants to keep assault weapons in private hands, they'll have to come up with a way to keep them out of the hands of the mentally unstable, even if that way doesn't work 100% of the time.

The answer they've come up with so far is as follows, and it is ridiculously beyond inadequate:

Let's just shoot them.
Thank you for sharing this very thoughtful and moving post, Bill Beck. I am sorry for the many losses in your life.

I think all gun use should be regulated similar to the way car use is...with a state-issued photo ID, written and practical testing to demonstrate competence, and insurance to help those injured.

With our murder rate, our population has demonstrated very clearly that we can't use guns responsibly enough, overall, to leave it up to the individual to self-regulate. This must have happened with cars at some point, too. It is an issue a public health, not an individual matter anymore.
In case there was any ambiguity in my last comment, I support Bill's position.
I meant to take on your Devil's Advocate, but I am working, and will have to get to it a bit later. No one will question your ethical character, Kosh. Just like the gun nuts know that they are wrong. They just dont give a flip. Their brains are wired differently. They wont even ever change. They are lacking the capacity for empathy and compassion. This is not an exaggeration. As I understand it, it is quite literal.
It's a shame this heartfelt post attracted YY and, as you know, I have (and not for the first time) publicly and by message asked the editor of this site to do something about this person.

I think the anti-gun-control position was neatly illustrated by the two female gun nuts ("YES, IT'S MY RIGHT TO HAVE ANY WEAPON I WANT, YES, INCLUDING A TANK") that Piers Morgan had on his show last night. Limits and regulation are anathema to these people, tho they necessarily accept them in other aspects of life that are far less dangerous. Yeah, and so much for the idea that the world would be a kinder gentler place with more womanly influence (I say with deep regret, and that also not for the first time)...
"Bill writes: "Now, pay particular attention to the term 'gun regulation.' If you gather from that term that this means ALL GUNS SHALL BE PROHIBITED, then no level of explanation can reach you."

Ok, so what do YOU mean by "gun regulation?" Between the federal, state, and local governments, we already have thousands of laws related to firearms. So I assume that you support additional regulation beyond what we already have. It would be nice to know specifically what additional gun regulation you support.

It is true that your post never says "you can not use a gun to defend yourself." But your post does use the phrase "Anyone who is advocating for their rights . . . for political reasons or otherwise . . . ". "Otherwise" potentially covers quite a bit of territory. So I'm glad to hear that it doesn't cover self-defense. So what DOES it cover?

I'm a rather simple-minded fellow, so when someone talks about gun control or gun regulation, I find it helpful if the writer lists specific measures that he or she supports. If you don't have specific regulations in mind, then perhaps you mean something like this: "The Sandy Hook shooting was so tragic that it is now clear that we need additional gun regulation of some kind, and anyone who supports the status quo is a gun nut."

It's your post. I'm just trying to figure out what you mean, and who is a "gun nut."
A poignant piece. The sensible regulation of guns shouldn't be emotional. It should be a reasoned approach. But after seeing the most recent advertisement by the NRA, I doubt that will happen.
Mishima,
I'll take a stab at it, just because I'm here at the moment:

My guess is, in this context,

A gun nut is someone who thinks that the murder of twenty little children is insufficient justification to further firearms regulation with the prevention of future events like this one in mind.

So then the question becomes: What kind of regulation would do any good?

I don't know Bill's take on this. Mine would be that I'd suggest two things:

Licensing of shooters so we know they're really safety-trained before they get to own and shoot (because, in this case, gun and ammo storage may have made a difference) and

Universal background checks when selling or reselling firearms, including by private citizens.

There's going to be an argument about assault weapons because of what they're ostensibly for. Those who want to ban them will say: You don't need them for anything but killing people. You don't fill anything you'd hunt with that many bullets. Those who want to keep them will say: It's not about hunting, it's about protecting ourselves in the event that the Federal Government goes nuts, in which case it's absolutely about the ability to kill people. (They don't say the last part, but it just follows.)

However, we agree that we want all users to be safe users and we don't want the mentally ill to be able to procure firearms. What I've suggested addresses both criteria if we can't reach agreement on the weapons themselves. What I'll say further is that if we can't reach agreement on the issues I suggest, politics will be such that prohibiting certain classes of weapons altogether will be shoved down your throat. To avoid that, assuming that avoiding it is something you consider to be a positive outcome, I'd push the idea that there is an alternative that contributes to public safety, other than "If someone approaches a school with an assault rifle, we'll shoot them, and that's the only extra safety measure we need." As it stands, that one is already being implimented in many places, including where I live, as we speak.
p.s. I forgot to mention, there should also be laws against holding, transporting, or using a firearm; or having an unlocked firearm at home when drinking, similar to drunk driving laws. The lethal mix of firearms and alcohol is often a factor in people shooting a friend, family member, or loved one.

1 out of 5 alcohol-related accident/injury deaths are the result of firearm injuries (1 out of 4 alcohol-related accident/injury deaths are due to motor vehicle accidents)
Mishima666, there are several aspects to the discussion about gun regulation that I think are important here. First is that there be a discussion. The opponents of sensible gun regulations use a variety of means to shut the discussion down, or twist it to such a degree that it has no meaning. Frequently the laws which come from the pressure of the nuts make the legal code absurd. For example, when I was a cop in the state of California, brandishing (taking out and waving around) a gun was a misdemeanor. At the same time in that state, brandishing a knife, in the same manner, was a felony. Discrepancies like that exist for years without being questioned. They are idiotic. It is the result of pressure from the nuts, and the bargaining by government with them that results in whopper-jawed legal code like this. SO...first, the discussion needs to be clean, clear, and substantive.
(Mishima's special attention continued #2)

One of the main ways that the gun nuts distort the discussion of gun regulation conversation is through whack-assed theories like "the slippery slope." That theory suggests that if one measure of control or regulation is allowed, the regulations will eventually increase to the point where confiscation ensues. Your comment had that presumption built into it. It is so commonly used that it tends to be part of the way the conversation is viewed. I actually had to explain to you that regulation, a word chosen deliberately, did not mean confiscation. Or, a gun, does not mean all manner of guns. The flawed reasoning has so poisoned the conversation, that it channels the conversation like a train on tracks. It runs over the same path, and achieves the same lack of results.

The conversation needs to have clear, genuine thought, and be devoid of the typical bullshit.
(Remedial class for Mishima666 on how to be a human #3)

Another aspect of the question of gun control which has achieved unchallanged canard status is the notion that the second amendment is needed to defend against our own government. This gets repeated like it is a gift from the pantheon of gods that the nuts worship, aka "the founding fathers." The Constitution is not a religious article. It is not religious doctrine. It is designed to be changed, and not worshipped for its "original intent." It is designed to fit society's needs as needed. It has that flexiblity built into it. Normally, the discussion of subjects like this one, which touch upon rights derived from the first ten ammendments, require a battle over whether or not they can even be discussed. That is not appropriate. They should be discussed.

Like I said earlier, and like many have said over the years, the "right to bear arms" to defend against a tyrannical government is absolute nonsense. The notion almost certainly never meant that. The law does not have a means within it designed for breaking it. That is an absurdity. The law has a prescribed way to change it, within it. It does not say break it to defend it. As ridiculous as that sounds, that is what the "second amendment solutions" bullshit amounts to, as stated by Sharon Angle, and lots of other nuts on the subject, when the discussion arises. That shit has to go.
(Mishima's training wheels #4)

In a discussion, one party should not always only ask questions, and then ignore the questions asked of him. There should be give and take. I presented to you a hypothetical about lifeboats on ships. The point was to show that there is a cultural more which values the protection of children. The post addresses it. The subsequent comment addresses it. It answered your question about why one would seem like a "nut" in this context if they circumvented it. Yet you never acknowledged it.

In the post, I stepped up from the death of a family member who was not human, to the deaths of humans that I do know, but are obviously human. I acknowledged the higher value placed on human life as opposed to animals. When you entered the discussion, your comment focused on rights, being insulted, and asked about various aspects of the hardware, with no mention whatsoever of the human toll, either in the Sandy Hook incident, or the scores of incidents which have preceded it. No acknowledgement whatsoever. The post says, anyone who does that is nuts. I believe that to be so. The post references compasion and empathy for specific reasons. Your question did not address that one iota. You asked about your rights, as I see them, and guns and ammunition. As one friend who read this in the room with me said, "that person just self identified." If you need empathy explained to you, and at the same time demonstrate that you do not have it, you probably will be confused by the concept.

(Chew on those for a while. If you still insist on special attention rather than coming to this with some reasonable self information, then we can continue. But the foundation of a decent conversation goes well beneath calibre of weapon, ammunition, etc. We can get there, but other tactics need to be avoided first. I have pointed out several that you have tried already. If you don't get it, re-read it until you do, then ask another.)
Ok Kosh, I finally have some time to address your devil's advocate. You did it in ways that I agree with for the most part. There are a couple that I would add.

I do not think number 2 is unsolvable. I think it is a completely false presumption, and I wont concede that point. I dont think it was ever for the purpose of preserving freedom from a tyrannical government. And if it was in the late 18th century, it is completely meaningless by now.

Here's the thing. We have a military which is accountable ultimately to civilian authority. That authority is elected by the people. It functions on the orders of the executive and the legislature. If the military is acting on behalf of the legitimately elected authority, then the armed rebellion by the people with their privately owned weapons would be an illegal act, or multiple illegal acts. The Constitution does not provide for that with the second amendment. No law says, do this specific thing, unless you decide that you do not want to, in which case you have the right to not do that specific thing. The interpretation is fraudulent.

On the other hand, if the military is acting on its own behalf, and attempting some kind of coup d'etat, then no privately owned weapons will be of any use, and it is not in the effort of fighting a tyrannical government. That would essentially be like a foreign invasion, only done from within, by Americans.

The way to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government, and to protect those children is to use the government. The government is one based upon laws. Using the laws, and respecting the procedures is how to protect those children, and how to protect ourselves from tyranny. Facts, laws, and open, just procedures derived from committees and legislatures assembled in an inclusive manner are the underpinnings, and also the shields of justice. Reality is important because it cannot be molded to suit anyones agenda. Time, and the laws of physics, and nature, that sort of reality must be accounted for at all times. Injustice is the goal when some seek to distort the truth, and misinform and manipulate. Yes, anyone can be mistaken, and over time, everyone will be, but justice depends on allowing the default setting to be truth as close as it can be perceived, communicated, and agreed. That is what will protect everyone, and if the people of any society can not agree to defer to truth and reality, no sidearm can protect anyone. We have to agree not to tear ourselves apart, or blow one another away. It takes conscious agreement and deliberate action. It will not happen automatically. It takes communities, committees, and legislatures. It takes laws, teaties, and standards. Short of that we return to the original nature of life, the competition for the necessary resources of life with no restrictions. Kill or be killed.
Mishima666, you're repeating a mistake that I have addressed for you. I will one more time.

You can't just continue to ask, and not answer what has been asked of you. You are not reading, but you are dropping question after question. I said that this discussion starts at a level beneath the hardware details, among other things. Read that and answer them, or stop there.
Bill, first of all, if you want to discuss, I'm happy to discuss. But I don't need remedial classes, training wheels, or any other correction or rehabilitation.

Here are some responses to your points, more or less in the order in which you raised them:

"Frequently the laws which come from the pressure of the nuts make the legal code absurd." --- You mention a law from California. I don't live there and cannot comment on it. From what I've read, between federal, state, and local governments, there are around 20,000 firearms-related laws. Given the number of laws, the variety of firearms, the popularity of firearms, the competing viewpoints, the number of jurisdictions, and the gun culture in the country, I am not surprised that there are occasional inconsistencies and imbalances in the laws.

"One of the main ways that the gun nuts distort the discussion of gun regulation conversation is through whack-assed theories like "the slippery slope."" --- There is a slippery slope. Look at the new New York gun laws. We start out with legal ownership of high-capacity magazines. During the Clinton administration those were banned, except for magazines manufactured prior to 1994. This had no positive effect at all -- no lives saved, no tragedies prevented. Those laws eventually expired. Now in New York it will be illegal to own a high-capacity magazine; all of those will have to be sold out of state or surrendered to the state. This is basically confiscation in all but name. And now, ten-round magazines in NY can be loaded with only seven rounds, even in the owner's home.

So we've gone from high-capacity mags to ten-round mags to mags loaded with only seven rounds. This is a slippery slope, and this has already happened in New York.

"I actually had to explain to you that regulation, a word chosen deliberately, did not mean confiscation." --- Not true. I just looked through my comments, and I never used the word "confiscation" prior to this comment. I did not talk about confiscation prior to this comment. I have no idea where you are getting this or why you think you "had to explain" anything.

"Likewise, if the presence of certain types of guns, high numbers of guns, ubiquity of guns, etc, is an existential threat to children, and you arrange things so that your safety is arranged at the price of a child's life, is that not the conduct of a "nut?"" --- I'm all in favor of making children safer. The question is how best to do that. So I would be interested in whatever specific changes you have in mind.

"Another aspect of the question of gun control which has achieved unchallanged canard status is the notion that the second amendment is needed to defend against our own government." --- In my view that's not the meaning or intention of the Second Amendment.

"When you entered the discussion, your comment focused on rights, being insulted, and asked about various aspects of the hardware, with no mention whatsoever of the human toll, either in the Sandy Hook incident, or the scores of incidents which have preceded it. No acknowledgement whatsoever. The post says, anyone who does that is nuts. I believe that to be so." --- The tragedies that you mentioned are well-known. I don't doubt that they happened. But the issue is what policies should follow from those tragedies.

Perhaps I missed something, but throughout your entire post and all of your comments, you don't recommend any specific policies or laws that you think should be changed. Not one. You talk about "regulation" but say nothing about how firearms should be regulated. You say that children and their safety have to be the priority, but say nothing specific about how that should happen. You talk about "the ship going down," but say nothing about how you think the ship should be saved. Again, if you come up with any specific recommendations I'm happy to discuss those.
What am I, chopped liver?
Kosher writes: "Licensing of shooters . . . Universal background checks . . . "

Those are both good ideas. Some might find this extreme, but I think that whenever someone buys a firearm, he or she should have to get some training on the proper operation and maintenance of THAT particular weapon. There are far too many situations in which people have done really dumb things that could likely have been prevented with just a little training on the weapon. Just because someone knows how to handle one firearm doesn't mean that he or she will know how to handle a different one. For example, some semi-autos have magazine safeties; others don't. How many unintentional discharges have happened because a guy removed the magazine from a Glock, didn't know that there was a round in the chamber, and didn't know that the gun wasn't on safe without a mag? I don't have any numbers, but you hear about things like this all the time, and there's no excuse for it. In addition, every firearm should go home with a DVD demonstrating the proper operation and maintenance.

Kosher: "There's going to be an argument about assault weapons because of what they're ostensibly for. Those who want to ban them will say: You don't need them for anything but killing people. You don't fill anything you'd hunt with that many bullets. Those who want to keep them will say: It's not about hunting, it's about protecting ourselves in the event that the Federal Government goes nuts . . . "

The problem is that there is no such thing as an "assault rifle." When people talk about assault rifles, they usually mean an evil-looking semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. But there are "friendly-looking" rifles with every bit as much firepower as "assault rifles." There are "assault rifles" chambered for the low-powered .22 cartridge -- not exactly the thing you'd want to have for killing the zombie hoards during the apocalypse. There are rifles with high-capacity non-detachable magazines.

A lot of people use the so-called assault rifles for target practice. Some use them for varmint hunting, the .223/5.56 cartridge being unsuitable for hunting large game. While I don't expect to have to participate in an armed insurrection against the U.S. government any time soon, rifles with high-capacity magazines are useful when civil order breaks down, as it can do during certain disasters. Someone once said that at any particular time we are only nine meals away from chaos, and I think that's true.

One problem with the "assault rifles" is that the horse is already out of the barn. Such rifles can be assembled from used parts, and some parts can be manufactured at home. A lot of magazines are basically a metal box with a spring, and anyone with some basic metalworking equipment could make his own magazines. And I recently read about some guys who made a magazine with one of those 3D printers: "During the weekend of January 11, a group calling itself Defense Distributed "printed" a 30-round magazine out of plastic and successfully fired at least 86 rounds through it." My guess is that before long the 3D printers will work with polymers strong enough to produce durable magazines.

The bottom line is that, if someone wants an assault rifle, or a high-capacity magazine, he can get it or make it or have someone else make it. We all know how well prohibition and "the war against drugs" worked, and the same thing will happen when and if firearms are banned.
Mishima666, you dont read well. I dont like saying that. When I gave the example of a ship going down, it was not a metaphor. I was talking about a literal ship, and how actions are taken to preserve the lives of children first.

Originally you asked a bunch of questions and pretended not to know the meaning of something which you stated yourself later. One example, you quoted me saying, "...Anyone who is advocating for their rights at the price of a single life like the 28 victims of Sandy Hook, the children, the Mom, and the killer himself, anyone who says that their “right” to own machines of death for political reasons or otherwise, those are the nuts..."

Then you played stupid by asking, "

I am puzzled by this comment. You appear to be saying that firearms law and policy has to be based on a single incident, the shooting at Sandy Hook, and that no other factor can be taken into account. You also seem to be saying that no one, in the wake of Sandy Hook, has any rights at all with respect to firearms. You don't define what you mean by "machines of death," either by caliber, type of weapon, type of ammunition, or any other characteristic. And you don't specify exactly what changes to firearms law a person would have to support in order to be considered a "non-nut." "

This is an example of why I do not want to discuss with you. You knew full well what I was referring to by listing the following:

"A lot of people use the so-called assault rifles for target practice. Some use them for varmint hunting, the .223/5.56 cartridge being unsuitable for hunting large game. While I don't expect to have to participate in an armed insurrection against the U.S. government any time soon, rifles with high-capacity magazines are useful when civil order breaks down, as it can do during certain disasters. Someone once said that at any particular time we are only nine meals away from chaos, and I think that's true."

The above is precisely what I was referring to. You play a game as if you dont know, and intentionally try to mischaracterize my statement. This is precisely what I mean by gun nuts hijacking the general conversation about sensible gun regulation and supplying old canards in response. The plinking and plunking of varmints, and the hunting of big game are not reasonable excuses for the need of such weapons, and frankly neither is the, "While I don't expect to have to participate in an armed insurrection against the U.S. government any time soon, rifles with high-capacity magazines are useful when civil order breaks down..."

That one is bullshit too, and not worth the instability and cost that it builds into everyday life.

You list several other bits of crap like the presumption that this has to do primarily because of Sandy Hook. It doesn't. I never said that it did. I said the incident seems to have made the public's will stiffen. Understand the difference. The reason for the need has existed for years.

Reasons for include not only shootings like the Aurora Colorado theater about 6 months prior to Sandy Hook, but also the fact that other countries, like Australia, have previously suffered waves of mass spree killings, and succeeded in stopping them by taking action with the legislature.

The next canard is already mentioned in one of your last comments. It's not going to work...the horse is already out of the barn...etc. Pure bullshit. First of all, the measure of success is not preventing all mass shootings. It would be a desirable goal, but the fact that it is not likely to achieve does not mean that we would not accept a reduction in the frequency and severity of the incidents when they do occur.

Next gun nut canard says, they are making magazines out of plastics, polymers, and printers, and this will make this as unsuccessful as the drug war, etc.

Bullshit. While all of those are true, it still would not allow the current state of affairs to remain with the legitimate manufacture and importation of guns in the manner in which it is now done. Are there way too many guns now? Absolutely. Does that mean that the spigot must remain on full forever? No, that is absurd. We may not have the success of Australia, or England, or Canada, but we can start moving in that direction. And while those countries across the oceans may inspire you with some magical excuse about why it could nt work, Canada is just over the border without even a fence between us, and their rates of gun vilence are considerably less than ours. They are all crap, Mishima666.
Mishima666, "the ship going down" as you referecned it would be metaphorical, referring to society, or whatever. I did not use it as a metaphor. I was referring to literal ships going down on the oceans world wide. It was an analogy, as previously stated, referring to the general social more of protecting the lives of children as a priority over personal hobbies like shooting rats or deer with assault rifles, or pretending to be law enforcement in the case of natural disasters...also previously stated.

Yes, this is remediation for you specifically because they were covered, and you did not read through carefully. This is a training wheel because ...as previously stated...you seem incapable of understanding ow society makes its priorities. You seem incapable of understanding, by making no mention of it...as previously stated, that weighing mass shootings on one hand (this time hand is a metaphor and not an analogy) against the ready availability of assault rifles or large magazines or drums, the society will choose safety and stability first.

When someone says something like "the straw that broke the camels back", it does not mean that the camel's back broke because of one straw. It broke because of the load that the back was already bearing. Most people get that. That is what it means. That is analogous to your misunderstanding as you state that, "You appear to be saying that firearms law and policy has to be based on a single incident..." No. Most people get that this is not about a single incident. I think you know that too. Most understand that this is about the weight that the camel's back is already bearing. (metaphorical this time.) You misunderstanding is analogous. The camel is a metaphor. It would take a nut to think otherwise.
Mishima666 writes:

"The bottom line is that, if someone wants an assault rifle, or a high-capacity magazine, he can get it or make it or have someone else make it. We all know how well prohibition and "the war against drugs" worked, and the same thing will happen when and if firearms are banned."

Two pieces of extraordinarily shitty bullshit here. First you have said, " Not true. I just looked through my comments, and I never used the word "confiscation" prior to this comment. I did not talk about confiscation prior to this comment. I have no idea where you are getting this or why you think you "had to explain" anything."

What do you think a "ban" is in that context? The analogy you used is the "war on drugs." The war on drugs made certain controlled substances illegal to possess. In your own analogy you are talking about a ban which means confiscation. You slither back and forth between the two presumably not knowing what you are saying. In your "war on drugs" analogy, if someone has a brick of hash, that would be illegal. The government would not merely say, ok, you can have it, but you can't smoke it or sell it or buy it. No. You can't OWN it either. That is one use of "ban." So you were talking about confiscation.

The second crappy presumption there is that this sort of ban can't work because it is currently working. As previously stated, it works in England, Australia, and Canada.
Bill writes: "Then you played stupid by asking . . . "

I didn't play stupid. I was trying to find out WHAT you specifically are recommending. I'm still trying to find out.

I'm sure it's great fun picking apart everything I say. But so far you have not made one single concrete recommendation. You want "regulation." You want children to be safe. You seem to like the idea of "taking action with the legislature." You say there are "too many" guns. You want to "move in the direction" of Australia, England, and Canada.

But what regulation? How to make children safe? What legislative action? How many guns would be enough rather than "too many?" What specifically do we do to "move in the direction" of other countries? You never say. You never give a specific recommendation.

Bill: "What do you think a "ban" is in that context? The analogy you used is the "war on drugs." The war on drugs made certain controlled substances illegal to possess. In your own analogy you are talking about a ban which means confiscation."

First, when I talked about the possibility of a "ban," that was in response to Kosher, not to you. Second, my comment about a "ban" came AFTER you said I had brought up confiscation.

Bill: "The second crappy presumption there is that this sort of ban can't work because it is currently working. As previously stated, it works in England, Australia, and Canada."

Those countries do not have the gun culture that we have, nor do they have a Second Amendment, however you might want to interpret that amendment. Yes, Canada is next door, but they do not have our culture, and the entire population of Canada is less than that of California. Canada is a very different situation.
Mishima666,

I am not a legislator, and I am not in law enforcement. I don't need to make a recommendation, and that is not what this piece is about.

As for who is picking what apart, that's you, pal. My general thesis is this, upon seeing the faces of the child victims of Sandy Hook, and gauging the zeitgeist over the past 34 days or so, this time it will be different.

Aurora shocked the nation, but it was before a general election. It is impossible to make real legislation in an area like this one, so full of sacred cows. (Those are metaphorical, don't get confused. There are no real cows here.) Newtown happened after a general election. The special factors in this case are the shocking nature of the event, the fact that the politics of the executive parallel the actions which need to happen, (as opposed to a gun nut executive in the wake of such an election), and the legislature made gains in the same direction.

I am not in the business of making recommendations. I don't need to make recommendations. I never said I was going to make recommendations. Whether I make them or not will not drive what wil happen. What I am saying is, the discussion needs to happen on a level BENEATH the recommendations...as previously stated, and that this is going to happen. What I said was, the old canards will fail this time. This is an observation that this society is re-examining the previous dominant perspective on this issue. That is generally almost always what I write about when I am writing seriously. Things are presumed to be a certain way, and that they will never change. I say that that is false, and in this specific case, these are the several reasons why. Specific recommendations will be made by those who will write the laws. I am on the outside. I will recommend that when someone says something like "quality guru blah, blah, blah, says this can't be known, therefore it wont work...", I'm here to say that is wrong. Watch it happen.
England doesn't have the gun culture that the U.S. does. Australia does. The gun ratio per person in Australia is nearly what it is in the U.S. And as for Canada, it is adjacent to the U.S. Society in Canada is not different enough in any way to make such a comparison inappropriate. What Canada lacks is an irrational magical belief in a nonsensical constitutional provision such as our second amendment. Canada is a strong example of why it will work, and not why it wont. Let me put it another way, there are more places like Canada in the U.S. than there are places like Florida in the U.S. In other words, Canada is more similar to the average here than Florida. Florida is a tropical former slave state. Canada is not, and most of the U.S. is not. One excellent contribution that Oahu Surfer made was a quote from Patrick Henry from 1791. Henry basically explained that the "well regulated militia" is not to fight the military because the military can't be used domestically anyway. The Constituion does not allow it. You can't use one provision of the Constitution to combat another provision that you are fighting with arms....get it? If it is in effect, it is in effect IN FULL. If it is ignored, we are in civil war, and you face the full military like in....THE CIVIL WAR. Henry basically stated that the "well regulated militia" was to put down slave revolts. It has no other practical purpose. Canada sees no need for putting down slave revolts. Neither does Ohio. Kentucky will get it. So will Tennessee. Even Florida will get it. But I say you're wrong again, Canada is more like the rest of us than Florida.
"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." George Wallace, January 14th, 1963

The above quote is analogous (not a metaphor), to the intransigence that you state. No, I am not making this about race, but to some degree it is about the South, and yes, obviously it is not entirely about the South. It is about change. At this time, maybe a little time before it, some thought the South would never change. As things became more desperate, the opponents of change bombed churches, and other attrocities. We know this sort of thing will happen. There will always be some nuts out there who will fight change, but change happens eventually. It even happens when people say it will never work.

A week or so ago, University of Alabama won a second consecutive national championship with a rather large number of black players on their football team. The "segregation" that Gov. Wallace was talking about in this quote was specifically at the University of Alabama. He used the "forever." He was wrong. You are wrong about the change too.
Bill, I would not be surprised to see more firearms regulation in the aftermath of Sandy Hook and whatever other shootings one might want to include in the list. My concern is whether the additional regulation will actually do anything to make anyone safer as opposed to creating the appearance of safety.

Security measures implemented after a tragedy are often ineffective. Consider the TSA after 9/11. According to security expert Bruce Schneier, in the midst of all the searches and scans and new equipment and air marshals, etc., etc., only three things actually improved security: reinforcing cockpit doors, matching luggage to passengers, and teaching passengers to fight back in the event of an attempted takeover. The rest of it and the many billions of dollars spent on it has been a waste, what Schneier calls "security theater."

The worst attack on a school happened in 1927. Largely forgotten today, a disgruntled fellow blew up a wing of the Bath Township elementary school, killing 38 students.

In the Oklahoma City bombing 19 children were killed by a bomb made from fertilizer and fuel. The bomb also killed 168 adults and injured 680 others.

The Columbine massacre is typically thought to be a shooting, but it was actually a bombing gone wrong. Harris and Klebold planted two 20 pound propane bombs next to support beams in the school cafeteria. The bombs failed to detonate as planned, but if they had, the Jefferson County sheriff's office said that most of the 488 students in the cafeteria would have been killed or seriously injured, and it is likely that the school library and its students would have collapsed into the burning cafeteria.

Another fairly recent massacre of children happened in Norway. Disguised in a police uniform, Anders Breivik shot and killed 69 people, most of them teenagers. Another 8 adults were killed and 242 injured by a car bomb he built. Norway has very restrictive gun laws that cover all firearms and all aspects of firearms ownership. Norway has a tiny fraction of the firearms in the U.S., around one-half of one percent of what we have. For a supporter of very restrictive firearms laws, Norway must be something of a paradise. And yet Breivik had no problem obtaining weapons and ammunition.

So I'm happy to talk about the safety of school children and how best to protect them from violent attacks. But I think that discussion has to include much more than how to make guns and ammunition somewhat harder to get -- which may or may not be something you would support, but others certainly do support. And I suggest to you that turning gun owners into criminals if they put more than 7 rounds into a 10-round magazine -- the latest New York gun law -- is yet another example of "security theater."
Mishima666, the incident in Norway was tragic, no doubt. And any plan to prevent every single future incident is futile, no question. If you really think about it, I mean really give it some thought, the attempt to prevent every single future negative occurance is not possible. That is why no one ever suggests that. It is an insane proposal.

However, making the incidents fewer and farther between is a sensible goal. And yes, on some level, and at some point, someone will have to discuss specific policy provisions regarding what specific changes to which weapons, etc. The fact is, this ain't that.

Earlier you said something like, "sure if you just want to pick apart...", etc. Actually, that is all you have done, and all you want to do. That has been the nature of the gun regulation talk in the past. I don't find that particularly interesting at all as a prospective conversation.

What I find interesting is this particular moment in history. This is different. You can have a discussion about weaponry anytime. It is the same no matter when you have it. What is different about now is watching the NRA destroy its once monstrous influence. Every crisis or challenge is an opportunity. You can watch them shoot themselves in the foot, if you will (metaphor, not analogy), and make their situation worse, and continue in the same direction. That is compelling. Just like I told you that you're wrong, lacking empathy, and trying to be controlling. And yet, you insist on trying to be controlling. It would be as fascinating except from you, it is just a dude, and pointless to continue. But with the GOP and the NRA, the results will be a shift in the tectonic plates of politics of the past several decades. That is compelling. You trying to force my discussion, on my post, to be your context is just boring.

A discussion of caliber or muzzle velocity, or type of stock, or number of rounds per magazine, or whatever granular interest you have is not entirely inappropriate. It is just not part of this discussion. You are free to write about that. I'm just not interested in it. That will happen on its own on another level. I am more interested in how people think about what is real, and whether the facts align with that, or are opposed to it. As I said before, many of the old canards do not hold water. I'm interested in the discussion where the general public learns that the Earth is not flat (metaphor). I am not interested in discussing the topography of a particular acre. Telling you that over and over is remediation. That is why I said it.
I gotta say though, you say some stuff that is such BS, it is unreal. First of all, most will notice ( realize now that you wont) that I never mentioned Columbine. Columbine is different for a variety of reasons. For once, in Columbine they used Tek 9's and sawed off shotguns. That incident had a lot of causes, but I see them as different from Aurora and Newtown in various ways. But the thing that gets me about your statement is saying that it is "not a shooting, but a bombing gone wrong." That is the sort of delusional, nihilistic bullshit that only confuses the issue.

The fact that is a bombing gone wrong is not disputed. But that does not make it "not a shooting." They are not mutually exclusive. I don't know what sort of defensive mental gymnastics you need to believe that delusion, but it is a delusion. People were killed with guns. That makes it a shooting. I dont care if a circus was operating in the basement, and a mime made balloon animals in the auditorium. It was still a shooting. It was a shooting and a failed bombing.

Guns and the nuts who cling to their notion of their rights to them cause this sort of distorted reality by playing mind games on themselves and others. Wayne LaPierre: "in order to stop a bad guy with a gun, you need a good guy with a gun." That sort of idiocy, reductio ad absurdum, just compounds the stupidity. It is simplistic, delusional, and practically useless. It influences more problems than it does solutions. There is a lot of unexplored magical thinking regarding guns and gun use in America, even to the extent that it denies evidence from around the world. Brevik shot nearly 80 people in one day. Maybe the worst event of its kind in history. Even if you include that, even all of Norway wont have the gun murders in a year, what a medium sized city in the U.S. will have in a year. That event is a statistical outlier. Gun nuts will tell you it means something. It doesn't.
Bill writes: "A discussion of caliber or muzzle velocity, or type of stock, or number of rounds per magazine, or whatever granular interest you have is not entirely inappropriate. It is just not part of this discussion."

I bring up these "granular" things, because when people are doing the "regulating," "legislating," and "moving" about guns that you speak of, those granular things are EXACTLY the things that make up the content and details of the law. They ARE the law to the extent the law is about guns. And those details determine whether the law really does make people safer.

Bill: "But the thing that gets me about your statement is saying that it is "not a shooting, but a bombing gone wrong." That is the sort of delusional, nihilistic bullshit that only confuses the issue."

Columbine is just as important as any other tragedy and deserves to be mentioned as much as any other. I call it a bombing gone wrong, because many people many people know little about that aspect of it. And I can guarantee you that, had the bombs detonated as planned, with 500 students killed or injured, the shooting would have been little more than a footnote. And I call it a bombing gone wrong, because the killers themselves saw themselves as bombers. As Dave Cullen (OS member and author of _Columbine_) notes on his web site "The killers didn't even see themselves as school shooters: their primary focus was the bombs." Cullen also notes that "Eric Harris didn't see Columbine as a school shooting. He had contempt for the earlier shooters. He envisioned a bombing, and his goal was to top Oklahoma City as the worst U.S. terror attack in his life. If he had wired the big bombs correctly, he would have dwarfed that tragedy."

So no, it's not delusional, nihilistic, bullshit, or confusing. It's accurate and true, and anyone who sees Columbine as primarily a shooting does not understand what happened and why.

We learn from Columbine that the perpetrators of these massacres often exhibit troubling behavior prior to the attack. Unfortunately, it is only after the attack that we connect the dots and understand that the warning signs were there, but we didn't understand their significance. Or the warning signs were there, but we didn't bother to discover them. And we see this over and over again in so many mass killings.

So one of the things I'm interested in is the extent to which potentially murderous behavior and thinking can be identified and dealt with beforehand, such that the attack never happens. But so far most of the attention is on regulating the hardware. I think that's a mistake.