Can Americans Unite In Response To Tragedy Anymore?

National tragedies, whether man-made or natural disasters, used to bring Americans together. Now they just seem to pull Americans apart.

Orlando Pulse Shooting

New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas wonders what happened to the days when a national tragedy like the apparent terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida would bring the nation together rather than sending everyone into their respective political corners to turn tragedy into yet another opportunity to push their political agenda:

The United States, a nation that once prided itself on pulling together when faced with tragedy and crisis, seems increasingly prone to factionalism even in the most somber of moments.

Over the last week, as the country processed the horror of the massacre in Orlando, Fla., it became clear that the dead there would receive no period of mourning before being appropriated by the proponents of identity politics, who all but picked over the bodies to advance their own agendas and viewpoints.

Barely had the shooting stopped when a furious battle to claim the victims began. It was wrong to frame the attack as being on gays. It was wrong to “straightwash” an attack on gays. The “Latinx” identities of the victims were being “diluted.” Trans people were being left out of the picture.

To observe this was to witness what the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has called the temptation of “the single story”: to “show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.”

Some Americans seemed to have their favored one thing of what they wanted the victims to be, and for them the depth of the mourning seemed to depend on the elevation of that one thing above the rest.

It recalled the medieval criminal codes in which the penalty for murder depended on who was killed and who killed them.

To some, it was a situation in which everyone always already knows what they think about everything, and any calamity instantaneously becomes a canvas for those thoughts.

Those who already knew that America had a Muslim problem knew at once that this was a Muslim problem.

Those who already knew that America had a gun problem knew at once that this was a gun problem.

Those who already knew that America had a toxic-masculinity problem knew at once that this was a toxic-masculinity problem.

Those who already knew that America had an immigrant problem knew at once that this was an immigrant problem.

Those who already knew that America had a mental-health problem knew at once that this was a mental-health problem.

Donald J. Trump, who tried to appropriate the moment to advance his argument that national security requires banning Muslims from entering the country and increasing surveillance of those, including citizens, who are already in the United States, has never been shy about promoting factional grievance.

“We don’t have a country anymore,” he once said. With Mr. Trump, the “we” is arguably not American society as a whole but the subset of voters who share his view that the United States has become weak and a captive of identity-obsessed political correctness.

But perhaps not having a country anymore should instead be taken to mean civic bonds so frayed that a death will be fought over for gain.

(…)

The Orlando tragedy brought together some of the most compelling, complex and divisive issues in American society: guns, immigration, national security and gay rights. It is hardly surprising that politics would break out around it, or that strong views would be expressed.

But the ensuing discourse was also a reminder of what’s lost when Americans obscure what binds them together and elevates what sets them apart.

In an earlier piece posted in the immediate aftermath of the attack, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post makes similar observation as does Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

Our nation has shared moments of crisis and tragedy before. Think of Pearl Harbor, when the country rallied around President Roosevelt and toward a common purpose of defeating the Axis Powers. Think of the John F. Kennedy assassination, when the country—even the Kennedy family’s enemies—seemed to grieve together. Think of Sept. 11—before the fracturing of the Iraq War—when the country looked to common cultural expressions, from the service at the National Cathedral to the cold open of Saturday Night Live, for a sense of lament together.

It seems now, though, that there’s rarely a time of grieving together. The time of lament morphs almost immediately into arguments over what the President should have said or whether this validates or annihilates someone’s views on guns or immigration or whatever. Some of that, of course, is just the speed of social media. People are able to discuss, rather publicly, issues much quicker than they could before. But there seems to be more than that.

Our national divisions increasingly make it difficult for us not just to work together, but even to pause and weep together. We become more concerned about protecting ourselves from one another’s political pronouncements than we do with mourning with those who mourn.

In some ways, then, national crises like this one feel less like the 1963 John Kennedy assassination than like the attempted George Wallace assassination of 1972. Reports are that some within the Nixon Administration, arguably even the President himself, contemplated planting George McGovern campaign literature in the would-be-assailant Arthur Bremer’s apartment. The shooting in Laurel, Md., was about, for them, the campaign itself. That sort of cynicism is, ultimately, dehumanizing.

The observations that these three writers make are not new ones, of course. To an increasing degree nation tragedy, whether it happens to be a mass shooting attack that results in the death of 20 children under the age of seven, the attempted assassination of a Member of Congress, or the latest terrorist attack seems to cause everyone to almost immediately take to their respective political corners to see how they can take advantage of it to advance their political agendas as well as to attack whomever happens to be in charge in government at the time. Even completely natural disasters, which obviously can’t be pinned on policy issues such as gun control, foreign policy, or the handling of the War On Terror, don’t seem to have the same unifying impact that they used to. When New Jersey and New York applied for Federal aid in the wake of the Superstorm Sandy, the worst natural disaster to hit the two states in recent history, members of the House and Senate from other parts of the country balked at passing a relief bill to cover the obviously necessary costs of recovery without comparable spending cuts or offsets from somewhere else in the budget, something that had not been required in responding to any other natural disaster on the scale of Sandy. The response to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico quickly turned into a debate over energy policy that threatened to hold back the assistance that states like Louisiana and Mississippi needed. And, of course, the response to Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the United States quickly became as much a partisan battle as it was an opportunity for the nation to work together.

To be sure, there are still times when disasters that ‘bring people together’ but those occasions seem to be the exception rather than the rule at this point. More often than not, within hours if not minutes of something like the Orlando shooting people are taking to social media and releasing press statements claiming that the incident either proves that they were right all along, or that it shows their opponents to be wrong. A terrorist attack, which is the ultimate expression of an outside enemy reaching inside the United States to attack us, leaders Republicans to attack Democrats for not properly recognizing the threat of “radical Islam,” Democrats to attack Republicans for not supporting gun control measures that would have done nothing to prevent, and the news media to spend more time wondering which candidate for President will be “helped” more by the death and carnage unleashed on a dance floor early on a Sunday morning. As Russell Moore put it, compare that to the way the nation responded to the September 11th attacks, or to the Challenger disaster or the assassination of President Kennedy. If an event on that scale happened again, one has to wonder how the nation would respond. Would we come together, or would the arguments once again become so partisan and divided that we’d just be torn apart even further?

To a large degree, of course, this lack of national unity even in the fact of tragedy can be traced to the extent to which our political culture has become more partisan and divided and the extent to which that political culture has leaked into culture as a whole to the point where some people will refuse to listen to music from a once favorite artist or watch a particular television show or movie because the star has expressed a political opinion they disagree with. There’s something decidedly unhealthy about a society that has become that divided, and even though Americans seem to recognize that fact there doesn’t seem to be anyone who knows what to do about it. We better figure it out, though, because one day we could be hit with a tragedy that requires us to stand together and if we don’t the consequences could be far worse than any terrorist would ever be able to inflict upon us.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Loviatar says:

    Can Americans Unite In Response To Tragedy Anymore?

    No.

    Not when hateful Americans sees anyone not like themselves as not truly American. The Republican party has spent the post civil rights era code-wording and dog-whistling in order to demonize Americans who are anything other than of white European descent. They have now moved on to demonizing a religion.

    —–

    Doug writes “To a large degree, of course, this lack of national unity even in the fact of tragedy can be traced to the extent to which our political culture has become more partisan” without stating that this is due to the Republican party and its supporters. This code wording provides cover for the hateful minority within our society while giving Doug the ability to say I’m not with either party, because both sides are equally as bad.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    I could offer some criticism of Democrats/Liberals for balance, but this is essentially a right-wing problem. They’ve moved out of consensual reality into a Fox-Limbaugh bubble where the sky is green and up is down. They are brainwashing victims. They believe in insane conspiracies. They believe Obama is a secret Muslim terrorist. They believe global warming is a massive hoax. They believe Obama caused the recession that occurred before he was elected. They believe rapists dress up as trans women to sneak into bathrooms. They believe we’d have fewer gun deaths if people in bars carried AR-i5s. They believe the earth is 6000 years old.

    They are nuts. Where’s the compromise line between the sane and the insane? How does one find common ground with people who exist in a parallel reality divorced from data and with minds closed and locked?

    I think what we should try to offer is a soft landing for those people. Many of them are old, many of them devoted to primitive religious expression, most of them utterly ignorant of history. Most of them are just wrong IMO, not evil. Life has been changing quickly around them and they lack the means to adjust. We should keep a hand outstretched, and we should offer grudge-free forgiveness when they come around to more human, realistic positions.

    And when we talk to them we should not attempt to obscure our own failings.

    Other than that, I’ll be damned if I see how you can have a rational discussion with people who reject rationality.

  3. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Most of them are just wrong IMO, not evil.

    I disagree. I think at best they are stupid, but willing to be led by evil. In most cases I truly believe they are evil, not on a monstrous level, but evil in a petty demeaning way.

  4. Jc says:
  5. Jc says:

    “Other than that, I’ll be damned if I see how you can have a rational discussion with people who reject rationality.”

    I second this. You can have a rational argument with someone about the 2nd amendment and actually have a discussion, trade opinions, share ideas and agree to disagree on things, but when the person believes the President is a Muslim born outside the USA, I mean, how can you take that person serious at that point? How can anyone take that person serious? Yet, apparently a lot of people do, which is beyond comprehension. And I am not sure it is so much the ignorance, but the lack of anyone having a backbone to point out such ignorance in fear of losing “those votes”, so it just grows until you get what we have now.

  6. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Stupid, but willing to be led by evil.

    2016 Republican primary
    – Donald Trump, 13,896,879 popular votes
    – Ted Cruz, 7,795,727 popular votes

    Over 21 million (79.95%) votes for the two top candidates, one a bigot and a racist and the other a theocrat.

    —–

    For how long do you have to support evil to make you evil yourself?

    How much evil do you have to support to make you evil yourself?

  7. gVOR08 says:

    I happened to see a gay rights activist compare the reaction to Orlando to the reaction to HIV/AIDS 30 years ago. The reaction to AIDS was too often that it was a problem for gays so who cares, let ’em die. Government funding and reaction were very slow in coming. Reaction to Orlando has been pretty universal sympathy and grief with little or no anti-gay feeling in evidence. I don’t know what the darker corners of the right wing blogosphere look like, but they are a fringe. I’ve found the reaction to Orlando to be unified and heartening.

  8. James Pearce says:

    @Loviatar:

    For how long do you have to support evil to make you evil yourself?

    Just throwing this out there, but aren’t we defining evil down quite a bit if Cruz/Trump qualify?

    I mean, I don’t share their politics and I personally dislike both men, but how are they “evil?”

  9. Paul Hooson says:

    I’m absolutely appalled that elected Republicans as opposed to rank and file voter Republicans, are so supportive of the claimed civil liberties of suspected terrorists to be able to quickly purchase weapons to commit terrorist acts. I don’t know of a single case in which a suspected terrorist has ever hired a lawyer and being able to successfully sue in the courts with the argument that their rights to purchase weapons for the purpose of terrorism were somehow violated by being on the “No Fly” list.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: There’s a certain level of stupidity that can rise to the same level of disaster.

    Sort of like how reckless manslaughter is still considered a homicide with a criminal penalty.

  11. James Pearce says:

    @grumpy realist:

    There’s a certain level of stupidity that can rise to the same level of disaster.

    Sure, but if Ted Cruz is “evil” because he supported a government shut-down over Obamacare (or whatever) then what I am for being a pro-choice, dope-smoking atheist who likes football and yells at people in traffic?

  12. Barry says:

    Doug, this is nothing but garbage. It wasn’t ‘Americans’ quibbling over words, it was motherf*cking Republicans. It wasn’t ‘politicians’ f*cking over NYC and NJ after 9/11, it was motherf*cking Republicans.

  13. stonetools says:

    Seems like most of these disasters that “didn’t bring people together” happened after January 20, 2009. Wonder what happened that day, after which people stopped “uniting over tragedy?”
    Wait a bit, it’ll come to me…

  14. Bookdragon says:

    @James Pearce: “Evil” How about being pro torture? We once universally considered that evil. Or maybe advocating nuking an entire region, millions of civilians included, to see if “sand glows”?

  15. Dazedandconfused says:

    We are led by the nose to hate, perhaps because the networks strive for drama. It’s certainly a factor. However, if the po’ folks in the sticks figure out they have a lot in common with the po’ folk in the cities the pitchforks will all turn to face in the same direction. Some powers which be do not want that to happen. I wonder how much of our insanity is accidental sometimes.

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    Thank you guys, for illustrating Doug’s point so perfectly.

    I would disagree, however, that there is no unity. I agree with Conor. There are divisions in our politics. But that’s what we see. The most vocal and obnoxious get all the press. In reality, there was a lot more unity on this than disunity. There might be differences on what exactly to call it or what to do in response. And there might be a few dunderheads playing intersectionality games. But almost everyone was united in being appalled and in expressing their support. The lieutenant governor of Utah talked movingly about gay rights. I saw another story about a bunch of orthodox Jews going to a gay bar to express support. Flag were at half mast everywhere. I know at least three people personally who came out about their sexuality in a very public ways. One of the reasons he targeted gays was because he figured we wouldn’t care. He was wrong.

    What’s happened is that we’ve confused “I disagree with your solution to this problem” with “I don’t care about this problem and don’t want to solve it”. And at the risk of being accused of BothSideDoIItIsm in the First Degrees, the Left can’t absolve themselves from that when newspapers run front pages blaming the NRA and Republicans and seeing anything other than acquiescing on gun control as doing nothing and not caring.

  17. Loviatar says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sure, but if Ted Cruz is “evil” because he supported a government shut-down over Obamacare (or whatever)

    So sayeth a white Christian man.

    What makes you think he would stop with just shutting down the government, the man is a theocrat who craves power. He is not considered dangerous right now because he doesn’t have the power to implement his evil ideas. However, how would you feel about him with the full power of the US presidency behind him and more importantly, a Republican apparatus willing to make excuses and cover for his excesses. We have a recent example of this phenomenon (2001-2009), luckily with someone who was more of an incurious idiot than out and out evil.

    There seems to be a wanting, a need, to bend over backwards, to give the benefit of the doubt to some real evil assholes in this country. Men in power (Ryan, McConnell, Cruz, Sessions) who through lack of interest, not caring about others or actual malignant intentions are out to do you and your loved ones harm. I don’t know what you would call such people, I call them evil. Not in the monstrous Stalin, Pol Pot , Hitler way, but in a petty, grinding, demeaning day-to-day way that impacts every aspect of your existence.

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    Gosh, I just can’t wait to stand together with the people above, who think I’m right up there with Satan and Hitler. Why the hell should they welcome someone who is even worse than any tragedy?

    Snark aside (which means this comment is directed towards Doug alone, and everyone else should not read it), the other day Instapundit linked to an article that brought up a similar point, and offered a theory: the world is too darn safe.

    In brief: we need an existential threat to unite us. And if the world won’t provide us with one, we’ll turn on ourselves and make each other the existential threat that we need to coerce unity. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the passing of the nuclear Sword of Damocles, we haven’t had anything that can scare us into unity. So we have to turn on each other, try to make some group the new Great Satan that a majority of Americans can unite and stand against.

    I’m not ready to buy into this theory, as I don’t particularly care for what it says about us as a nation and as a species, but it is depressingly consistent with known facts. And the comments above just make it that more depressing.

  19. stonetools says:

    @gVOR08:

    Indeed, I thought the response was pretty united. Everyone agreed that it was an 1attack on Americans, and no one stigmatized the club goers as “Others” who deserved to die.
    The response stopped being united when people suggested that in order to prevent such attacks in the future, Americans might have to give up a little bit of their freedom-to which, the response was “hell, No” from the Republicans, on behalf of a minority that opposed what most Americans thought were “common sense measures”.

  20. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Bookdragon: IMO proposing the torture or killing of the families of suspected terrorists is evil.

  21. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: The difference was one side said “go after the tools used,” while the other side “go after the people and the ideology that motivated it.”

    The same beliefs that killed 49 innocents in Florida also used airliners on 9/11 and pressure cookers in Boston. Taking away one set of tools simply means they’ll find other — and it’s simply not possible to take away the tools.

  22. steve s says:

    Doug, this is nothing but garbage. It wasn’t ‘Americans’ quibbling over words, it was motherf*cking Republicans. It wasn’t ‘politicians’ f*cking over NYC and NJ after 9/11, it was motherf*cking Republicans.

    There are signs that Big Bidness, which needs basic government functioning, is slowly coming to grips with who Republicans really are. If Trump fully removes the Plausible Deniability w/r/t the racism, the GOP is done at the national level.

  23. steve s says:

    The same beliefs that killed 49 innocents in Florida also used airliners on 9/11 and pressure cookers in Boston. Taking away one set of tools simply means they’ll find other — and it’s simply not possible to take away the tools.

    It’s time to admit you’re a Poe.

  24. stonetools says:

    @Jc:

    You can have a rational argument with someone about the 2nd amendment and actually have a discussion, trade opinions, share ideas and agree to disagree on things

    Well, actually, I don’t think you can. Even the OP has a position on the Second Amendment that’s not really based on reason, but on libertarian ideology.As to the other gun rights enthusiasts, they clearly hold their beliefs based on faith. When you point them to evidence and studies, they either vanish till next time or say “Na na na, I can’t hear you.” So I don’t think a rational Second Amendment discussion can be had at this point.
    Put another way , I think the position that America’s loose gun laws have nothing to do with 30,000 American gun deaths per year is in its way as crazy as “the President is a Muslim”, and is a result of a similar kind of magical thinking.

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @steve s:It’s time to admit you’re a Poe.

    Not a term with which I’m familiar, and I’m seeing a ton of different definitions.

  26. Loviatar says:

    @James Pearce:

    Lets be clear here, when I say evil, I’m not talking about inconveniences, I’m not talking about tax rates or regulations, I’m talking about evil men who intentionally try to cause harm.

    .
    Example: Obamacare

    Anyone who tracks my comments, knows I’m not a big fan, however I do know it has done tremendous good for the uninsured, the under insured and the uninsurable. Yet these men in power (Ryan, McConnell, Cruz, Sessions) would do away with it, why? Why would they condemn millions of their fellow Americans to poor health and bankruptcy? If that’s not evil I don’t know what is.

    Additionally, those with an Obamacare plan have to live with the day-to-day fear that if by happenstance these Republican men ever got complete control of the federal government they would do away with their healthcare plan. If you think I’m being hyperbolic, I have one word; Kentucky.

    This is the petty, grinding day-to-day evil I’m talking about, why after this amount of time and after you have verifiable results, why are they still (Feb 2, 2016) trying to repeal a healthcare plan that has helped millions.

    That is evil.

  27. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The difference was one side said “go after the tools used,” while the other side “go after the people and the ideology that motivated it.”

    Why not both?

    The same beliefs that killed 49 innocents in Florida also used airliners on 9/11 and pressure cookers in Boston. Taking away one set of tools simply means they’ll find other — and it’s simply not possible to take away the tools.

    Actually, after 9/11, we made it very difficult for terrorists to seize airliners again, so we did go after the tool.
    With the Boston bombers, they resorted to a primitive and largely ineffective homemade bomb,because we made it impossible for them to walk into a Walmart and buy combat grade explosives , despite explosives being “arms”.
    Note that they killed only a few people: the Florida shooter killed or injured 103 , precisely because he could easily and legally buy a powerful, near combat grade firearm. So yes,denying the tool is a good strategy.

  28. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    And at the risk of being accused of BothSideDoIItIsm in the First Degrees, the Left can’t absolve themselves from that when newspapers run front pages blaming the NRA and Republicans and seeing anything other than acquiescing on gun control as doing nothing and not caring.

    What is the evidence that the NRA and the Republicans are at all concerned about the 30, 000 gun deaths per year America has been suffering? Seriously, list all the evidence you know of. I’ll wait.

    I know they’ve offered “thoughts and prayers”. Plenty of those. But actual solutions, based on evidence and research? I’m not seeing anything but a defense of privilege.

  29. James Pearce says:

    @Loviatar:

    So sayeth a white Christian man.

    Close. Raised Christian, was never really devout, though, and left the faith entirely, and for good, shortly after puberty.

    However, how would you feel about him with the full power of the US presidency behind him and more importantly, a Republican apparatus willing to make excuses and cover for his excesses.

    I would not like that at all, but I would also stop short of calling that “evil.” One can be wrong without being evil. One can be woefully misguided without being evil.

    I guess I just don’t see much of a difference between the Church Lady saying rock and roll and homosexual butt sex is evil and the rock-ribbed liberal saying right-wing politics is evil. If there is a difference, it’s only in direction. To each his own, I say.

    And really…this is a bit much, don’t you think?

    Men in power (Ryan, McConnell, Cruz, Sessions) who through lack of interest, not caring about others or actual malignant intentions are out to do you and your loved ones harm.

    How the hell can a difference of opinion on the priorities of the Federal budget be considered a “malignant intention?”

    Do the folks who want to increase the minimum wage have “malignant intentions” too? Let’s ask the commenters over at Breitbart.

    And don’t worry. I come to bury the right wing, not to praise it. I only ask that you acknowledge the “evil” stuff is, well, hyperbole, and maybe it’s not the EVIL RIGHT WING, but hyperbole itself that keeps setting us apart.

    That’s why Michael is right when he says “this is essentially a right-wing problem.” The Bush administration ushered in a new era of right wing hyperbole that hasn’t let up in a good 15 years. WMD. The Swift Boat Vets for “Truth.” Sarah Palin’s “real Americans.” Romney’s “47%.” And now Trump…who is not evil, per se. He’s just stupid.

    It’s ridiculous. And yet, at the same time, it appears to be infectious.

  30. Gavrilo says:

    New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas wonders what happened to the days when a national tragedy like the apparent terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida would bring the nation together rather than sending everyone into their respective political corners to turn tragedy into yet another opportunity to push their political agenda:

    Jesus F’ing Christ!! The man called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS. He called a TV news station and pledged allegiance to ISIS. He went on Facebook and pledged allegiance to ISIS. What did the New York Times do? They ran an editorial that said “While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear…” And, proceeded to blame Republicans. What did the Attorney General do? She tried to excise the Islamic terrorist’s abundantly clear motive.

    And, you wonder why the country can’t come together? This would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

  31. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @stonetools:

    But actual solutions, based on evidence and research?

    Wasn’t the NRA responsible for the shut down all government (CDC) research on gun violence ???
    (Maybe they feared that research and collection of evidence might show that more guns are a problem— just sayin)

  32. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    which means this comment is directed towards Doug alone, and everyone else should not read it

    Then why post it here?

    Anyway, you did. I read it. I disagree with Instapundit’s theory.

    Human beings don’t need an existential threat to unite a culture. Sports, literature, or music will do.

  33. James Pearce says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The man called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS. He called a TV news station and pledged allegiance to ISIS. He went on Facebook and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

    Man, sure seems he wanted people to think he was associated with ISIS, dunnit?

  34. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    But actual solutions, based on evidence and research? I’m not seeing anything but a defense of privilege.

    Oh, are we doing the “all the research says gun control works” thing today? I thought it was “the GOP has blocked any real research” day.

    In any case, many GOPers would argue that the 50% reduction in gun deaths over the last two decades is evidence that more police and more prison helps. I don’t agree necessarily. But there’s just as much evidence to support that as there is to support the idea that gun control works.

    My personal preferred policy positions would be:

    1) End the War on Drugs and shift policing to more community involvement.

    2) Increase mental health services and reduce the stigma associated (to address suicides, which are 2/3 of gun deaths).

    3) I would not oppose expanded background checks but I suspect the impact would be very minor. As my wife pointed out — and as this case showed — background checks just give you a snapshot of a person. If they join ISIS a year later, the background check didn’t help.

  35. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Okay, I see we got opinions from 3 people–some foreign guy, a sheeny, and a religious nut. How am I supposed to take this issue seriously?

  36. Matt says:

    @Paul Hooson: The no fly list a ridiculous mess that catches innocent people all too often. Even infants are caught up in the list and not allowed to fly. Good luck getting off the list..

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/until-no-fly-list-fixed-it-shouldnt-be-used-restrict-peoples-freedoms

    Fix the no fly list and then I believe you’d see a lot more support on that front.

  37. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Gavrilo:
    And also supported other, sometimes competing, organizations. He knew, that in today’s media, profession to ISIS would create the greatest concern and exposure. Don’t you think that’s what he was after?

    IMO, he has something in common with the Boston bombers, the 9/11 attackers, Dylan Roff, Holmes, and a whole bunch of others….. they are all sociopaths. They use ideology as an excuse/reason.

    Would any of the 2nd amendment advocates object to confiscating firearms from sociopaths? My guess that they would support that ONLY if a judge adjudicates “that person is a sociopath” – until such time he can buy and possess all the weapons he can afford.

  38. Matt says:

    @stonetools: The biggest thing 9/11 did was teach people that keeping their head down and obeying the kidnappers was no longer the safe option. See the spree of foiled plots (underwear bomber etc) that were foiled by passengers taking action against threats. People started paying attention to their surroundings while flying. That has done more than the security kabuki we put in place post 9/11.

    Also something like 9/11 takes a lot of time money and good people. It’s hard to find people who are good at that stuff who also have a suicide wish.

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I first read this theory after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fracturing of the Soviet Union. At that time, that particular author posited the idea that Americans need an enemy. In the absence of an external enemy, we look for them among our own people. Thank you for your continued commitment to validating this theory over the years I’ve been reading reading your drivel.

  40. Matt says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I think that’s just human nature. We need and desire an outsider to demonize. Something to unite us against so we forget our petty differences.

  41. Modulo Myself says:

    The reaction on the right has been that it’s just as wrong to blame guns for a massacre committed by a gun as it is Muslims for a massacre committed by a Muslim. Guns are inanimate objects. Muslims are not; they are human beings. I have no problem being unfair to guns–it’s like being unfair to a sports team or a dead writer. Should we create policy based on my being unfair about them? Probably not. But when somebody shoots up a nightclub, we are basically being told that it’s wrong to question the right of this person to have an AR-15 in the same way we are told it’s wrong to question whether Muslim-Americans should be part of this country.

    Is it evil? Maybe–it’s pretty clear the mania for unlimited gun pleasure followed the civil rights movement. The NRA loved gun control when it was black dudes in berets threatening Ronald Reagan. Maybe people who elevate guns to the level of human beings are doing so in reaction to groups of people who they wish, consciously or unconsciously, to eliminate.

  42. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Interesting theory. It’s kind of a sociological equivalent to the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ theory for why allergies seem to increasing.

    I think it’s more likely to do with our mass communication abilities. Gone are the days when I wrote an angry letter to the newspaper editor that might or might not be published in a few days. Now I can post my angry letter in a hundred different formats to a thousand different places instantly.

  43. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    Man, sure seems he wanted people to think he was associated with ISIS, dunnit?

    I think commenter Loviatar hit it pretty accurately by calling Mateen “a self-hating gay man who used ISIS as a beard.”

  44. An Interested Party says:

    All of this lamenting about Americans seemingly not being able to unite in the face of tragedy misses the fact that all that uniting after 9/11 played a part in allowing the Iraq debacle (which created the ISIS mess) to happen…perhaps it’s not such a good idea to defer to the powers that be after a tragedy as those in power may use that deference to pursue idiotic goals…

  45. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    Why is it so far-fetched that a messed-up violent and angry American would gravitate to his parents’ past and wish to defend Muslims or just Afghans? I’ve known second or third generation Irish guys who can recite the history of the Troubles and snarl at the British even though they grew up in Yonkers. Then they try to start a fight with the bartender who cut them off.

  46. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself: Maybe it was both. Unfortunately, we can’t ask him. Maybe whatever was going on with him reached a breaking point and he just latched on to the most convenient association he knew.

    Or maybe you’re right and he did gravitate. It’s not far-fetched at all. I mean, the guys who shot up Paris were all French or Belgian.

  47. Andre Kenji says:

    Some years ago, a loser went to a public school in Rio de Janeiro. He killed 12 children with a revolver. No one from his family took his body from the morgue(He stayed there, unwanted, for fifteen days). Local media treated him like a weirdo and a complete loser.

    There are lots of massacres in Rio de Janeiro. But these massacres are being perpetrated by professionals, because local losers know that they can´t get notoriety by killing innocent people.

    Treating this stupid loser like if he was a powerful terrorist from the powerful ISIS is giving him the notoriety that he does not deserve.

  48. An Interested Party says:

    Treating this stupid loser like if he was a powerful terrorist from the powerful ISIS is giving him the notoriety that he does not deserve.

    Not to mention giving ISIS power it doesn’t have…

  49. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    , are we doing the “all the research says gun control works” thing today?

    A lot of the research does say gun control works.

    I thought it was “the GOP has blocked any real research” day.

    Well, it’s undisputed that they blocked and are blocking the CDC from doing research (They did this again recently). We can also draw a rational inference as to why they are blocking research.

    But there’s just as much evidence to support that as there is to support the idea that gun control works.

    Wrong, as I will show.

    1) End the War on Drugs and shift policing to more community involvement.

    2) Increase mental health services and reduce the stigma associated (to address suicides, which are 2/3 of gun deaths).

    Both of these would be helpful, I guess, but insufficient. Your pardon if I am bit skeptical about #2. Republicans and the NRA always pull this out whenever there’s a mass shooting, then forget about it the moment the pressure to do something eases. I note that these are YOUR ideas. The Republicans are totally gung ho on the WOD , and IMO don’t really give a sh!t about mental health. (They generally cut public spending on Mental health whenever they can).Sop you haven’t provided evidence that the Republicans and NRA actually care about the America’s gun violence epidemic.But thanks for the ideas. (Also note they don’t address the problem of terrorists having easy access to guns).

    3) I would not oppose expanded background checks but I suspect the impact would be very minor.

    Libertarian talking points. Here’s some evidence.Here’s some more. Here’s still more. And before you direct me to Reason. org, be advised that I don’t take the analysis of un-credentialed ideologues over people who do social science for a living.

  50. stonetools says:

    @Matt:

    I agree with a lot of what you say, but as a matter of policy they really have made it difficult for terrorists to bomb an airliner or use an airliner as a bomb.
    I do note that since 9/11, the NRA has quietly given up on the idea that people have a right to carry guns unto a plane. That used to be a thing. Even as of last year, though, the TSA is still taking guns off prospective passengers.

    Also significant, 2,653 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than seven firearms per day. Of those, 2,198 (83 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at a total of 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year. There was a 20 percent increase in firearm discoveries from 2014’s total of 2,212. Pictured are just some of the firearms discovered in 2015.

    It’s not all kabuki.

  51. Pch101 says:

    Tragedy has become modern conservative doublespeak to justify some combination of apathy, denial, xenophobia and racism.

    Americans are allegedly a results-oriented people. Aside from blaming minorities, Muslims and crazy people (whose mental healthcare said conservatives don’t want to fund) for our ills, what practical solutions do the right have to offer?

  52. DrDaveT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    All of this lamenting about Americans seemingly not being able to unite in the face of tragedy misses the fact that all that uniting after 9/11 played a part in allowing the Iraq debacle

    Not to mention the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and a bunch of other self-inflicted wounds that will continue to fester long after ISIS is a vague memory.

    We could have used a bit less unity in 2002.

  53. Matt says:

    @stonetools: They’ve made it a little bit more difficult to sneak a bomb on board a passenger. The TSA’s own security audits show a 95% failure to detect rate from bombs to guns. It’s almost a complete joke how bad the new security setups work. That’s not even getting into the whole problem of people getting access to areas they aren’t supposed to be in.

  54. Matt says:

    @stonetools: I’m willing to admit it’s only 95% kabuki…

    BTW those gun detection rates you posted are in line with the detection rate prior to the creation of the whole TSA thing post 9/11.

  55. Guarneri says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Thanks for the laugh. The guy making his hackneyed list of bizarre straw man arguments invoking rationality.

  56. Guarneri says:

    What we need is a good beer summit and everything will be ok.

  57. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Matt: THAT seems to be working well.

  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Guarneri: As we used to say when I was a child, smooth move exlax. But I do like the cognitive dissonance of inviting Muslims to a beer summit. That was a step up for you.

  59. ltmcdies says:

    @Hal_10000: wow…inwarding thinking much…NRA hasn’t blocked every country from doing gun research. So there is some but not much from an American perspective.

    America has the highest gun death rate in the industrialized world.

    other countries have hunters, sport shooters and gun collectors (Canada..per capita has almost equal the number as the US)…but they don’t have your death by firearm rate.

    But the NRA doesn’t want to know why that is? Gun manufacturers sure don’t

    LIke Phillip Morris didn’t want know why all those smokers coughed so much.

  60. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    Libertarian talking points. Here’s some evidence.Here’s some more. Here’s still more. And before you direct me to Reason. org, be advised that I don’t take the analysis of un-credentialed ideologues over people who do social science for a living.

    Must we go another round on this? Must you keep citing the same BS studies and I must keep smacking them down? Good grief, you’re worse than the global warming deniers.

    The Missouri and Connecticut studies are both cherry-picked. In both cases, they single out one state and ignore many many others that contradict their opinion. The Connecticut study, for example, says that if you take a very specific set of years and compare to a very specific other state (mostly Rhode Island), you can find a reduction in gun violence. But this was actually a slight increase in gun violence in Rhode Island, not a reduction in Connecticut. If you compare Connecticut to national or regional trends, or expand or shrink the years of the study, the effect vanishes. If you look at other states, like Massachusetts, that passed similar laws, the effect vanishes.

    Ideologues? Both of those studies are from the Bloomberg Center, who job is not to investigate violence but to put out studies that claim gun control works. You can criticize Reason all you want. A flawed study is a flawed study. Cherry-picking is cherry-picking. If you’re shooting the messenger, it’s because you have no answer to the message.

    While I support background checks, that they denied hundreds of thousands of purchases does not necessarily mean they prevents a similar number of crimes. Because it’s not like people can’t get guns elsewhere. The DOJ’s own study showed that most guns used in crimes are obtained from a friend or illegally.

  61. Todd says:

    @stonetools:

    happened after January 20, 2009

    I don’t think it’s as simple as saying it’s only about Barack Obama. If Al Gore had been President on September 11th 2001, I seriously doubt that we’d have seen the type of national unity that we did.

    Of course the flip side of that is, with a public divided along partisan lines, it might have been less likely that we’d have been so agreeable to disastrous ideas like invading Iraq.

  62. Jenos Idanian says:

    Has there ever been a mass shooting where the shooter explained, “I had these guns lying around, and just had to do something with them?” If that was a thing, then we’d have a hell of a lot more mass shootings, because we have a LOT of people with guns lying around.

    No. How follows what, and what is driven by why. Motive leads to intent, and method is just details.

    In Boston, in San Bernardino, at Fort Hood, and in Orlando, people saw the warning signs. And they chose to say nothing, because they feared being labeled Islamophobic. Because, in our society, it’s easier to live with saying nothing and letting the worst happen than saying something and being labeled a hater and a bigot.

    Why did Manatee (yes, I know that’s not his name, but I refuse to use it) shoot all those people? The prevailing wisdom here is because he was a self-hating gay man — a theory based on pretty much nothing. On the other hand, we have his own words, where he explicitly said that he did it in the name of Allah, and in solidarity and in support of Islamist militants, and in accordance with Islamic law and doctrine.

    Note that homosexuality is a criminal offense in Muslim nations. Here’s a handy chart showing the penalty for homosexuality in several Muslim nations (along with how much money they’ve donated to the Clinton Foundation, for extra fun). And note that these are actual laws that are actually enforced.

  63. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: I think it’s the difference between idealists and those who aren’t. Idealists are perfectly happy to allow horrible things to happen to actual physical people for the sake of an ideal, while the other side jumps up and down and screams “look what you’re doing to real humans, you zit-heads!”

    What’s changed in our society has been the drifting of so much of our human interactions on-line, which means idealists can immerse themselves in a daily bath of psychic reinforcement for their beliefs. Which means it makes it so much easier to a) find excuses why they should ignore evidence showing their ideas are crap, and b) avoid all evidence showing that their ideas are crap.

  64. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Must you keep citing the same BS studies and I must keep smacking them down? Good grief, you’re worse than the global warming deniers.

    Mate, you haven’t smacked down anything.

    I cited two peer reviewed scientific studies. Let me tell you what “peer review” is.

    a process by which a scholarly work (such as a paper or a research proposal) is checked by a group of experts in the same field to make sure it meets the necessary standards before it is published or accepted

    IOW, other scientists in the field of public health have checked these studies and found that they were correctly done. Now, you criticized the methodology,but with all due respect, who the h3ll are you? You’re Random Internet Guy. RIGS believe all sorts of things (X diet can cure cancer! evolution is a hoax! faster than light travel is possible!). RIGS, however can’t authoritatively judge the methodologies of scientific studies they aren’t expert in. They may think they can, but that’s their self delusion.

    Tell you what, mate. Link to a scientist in the field of public health who says these studies are flawed. Then I’ll entertain your conceit that these studies are flawed. Until then, I will continue to cite these studies as authoritative, just as I cite as authoritative the opinions of oncologists on cancer, biologists on evolution, and physicists on FTL travel.

    While I support background checks

    Well, good for you! At least you aren’t denying science you don’t like (BTW, love your projection re climate science denial. Climate science denialists tend to be non-scientist RIGs who are sure the scientific studies showing that climate change is happening are fatally flawed.)

  65. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    I cited two peer reviewed scientific studies. Let me tell you what “peer review” is

    Dude, I’m a scientist. I know what peer review is. I also know that is an imperfect process. There’s a whole blog devoted to social science studies that have been withdrawn. For example, here is a study that claimed conservative views were linked to psychotic personality traits. It was peer-reviewed. It was cited endlessly. Except, OOPS!, the social scientists coded their data backward. The conclusions were the exact opposite of what they touted. When you’re talking about papers touting liberal positions being reviewed by liberal professors, the process is notorious for breaking down. Go through Retraction Watch and you’ll find dozens of peer-reviewed papers being withdrawn.

    Always remember: Andrew Wakefield’s BS vaccines cause autism was peer-reviewed and published in one of the most prestigious journals in the world.

    I have identified specific flaws in these studies. I have pointed out specific things they did wrong. I have pointed out specific pieces of data they ignored. Your response is to fall back on the authority of “peer review”.

  66. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    On the other hand, we have his own words, where he explicitly said that he did it in the name of Allah, and in solidarity and in support of Islamist militants, and in accordance with Islamic law and doctrine.

    You take the words of a nutcase as gospel, trusting that there’s no last attempt to make things worse? Should we not then take Robert Dear fully at his word that he’s a warrior for the babies and Colorado was deliberately anti-PP? Dylan Roof and James Holmes seem to benefit from doubt as well despite professions of their motives. If actions and words are taken at face value, can you explain him being on Grindr as that is most certainly not DEASH approved?

    It’s a myth that men about to die tell no lies. Maybe he truly threw in with DEASH and went full fundie. Maybe he wanted the notoriety the name would bring. Maybe he needed an excuse to do something he wanted, lash out at those who were comfortable in their skin when his faith wouldn’t let him be. Maybe he was a raging troll and sh^tposted all that to drive Republicans nuts and punish those like his father, his people and his faith in the backlash to take them all with him.

    When someone’s words contradict known facts and behaviors, it means the words must be taken with a grain of salt. Personally, I think all he was was a sad, sick, self-hater who latched onto any reason to justify his hate. I can’t give him any more credit then that.

  67. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Dude, I’m a scientist. I know what peer review is.

    Well, great. Are you a scientist in the relevant field? Because it’s only then that you can speak authoritatively on the methodology of the study. Duane Gish was a scientist. But his opinions on the validity of evolutionary biology weren’t worth much.

    Now I never said that peer review was infallible. However, peer review is a strong indicator that the study is reliable. Again, can you cite someone in the field of public health who has challenged these studies? Because in the cases you mention, it was other scientists in the field who challenged and successfully debunked those studies.

    I have identified specific flaws in these studies. I have pointed out specific things they did wrong. I have pointed out specific pieces of data they ignored. Your response is to fall back on the authority of “peer review”

    Curiously, your criticism mirrors the criticism offered by John Lott’s outfit Crime Research Prevention Center-a research institution with credibility problems of its own. I checked their masthead and surprise, none of their scientists have expertise in the relevant fields.

    With all due respect, I am going to accept their studies as authoritative until scientists in the field challenge their findings.

  68. Blue Galangal says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I grew up on a farm and the farmers around us hunted deer both with guns and with bows and arrows (pretty cool, actually). I have no problem with guns or hunting, per se. But as a mom, did I keep a handgun in the house with two kids? No. No, I did not. Nor can I think of any reason on this green earth why I would keep an AR-15 in a house with an unstable, angry teenager.

    While I support background checks, that they denied hundreds of thousands of purchases does not necessarily mean they prevents a similar number of crimes. Because it’s not like people can’t get guns elsewhere. The DOJ’s own study showed that most guns used in crimes are obtained from a friend or illegally.

    There are a couple logical conclusions to be drawn from this line of thinking. First of all, why is the NRA so against *any* restriction on gun ownership? To the point that a man who has been arrested for domestic violence in the past can’t have his right to own a gun taken away (cf. Robert Dear)? Second: Sandyhook. Certainly the shooter there took advantage of legally owned guns that were – for all intents and purposes – “lying around.” Third: if the number of guns “lying around” is contributing, statistically significantly, to gun deaths (cf. any random toddler shooting in the past 6 months), having fewer guns should have an impact on those shootings/deaths.

    No, we can’t know that expanded background checks prevented the same number of crimes. There are 300 million guns in the US and “only” 30,000 gun deaths, after all. It seems that a practical approach to this problem is to lessen the number of guns “lying around.” Period. But because this is a Second Amendment issue, allegedly, any restriction on any types of guns, ammunition, and how they’re sold, kept, or stored, is an infringement on this right. Which is not a practical approach. It’s solely an ideological one and there is no practical approach that can ever be successful in the face of this mindset.

    Abortion is – according to the Supreme Court – a constitutionally protected right as well. But that doesn’t stop the same people who vote to allow people on the no-fly list to buy guns to vote to ban abortion, under the argument that if banning abortions prevents “even one death,” then it is worth it to abrogate a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Why does the same not hold true for protecting 6 year olds from AR-15s? If banning AR-15s prevents “even one death,” why not? To quote Churchill, now they’re just haggling over the price.

  69. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Matt: Well before W launched the Global War on Terror with the words, “You’re either for us or against us,” Newt Gingrich (in particular) brought the concept into latter-day domestic politics.

  70. bill says:

    @Loviatar: yeah, the party that actually gave the vote to women and blacks…..that’s special.
    but wouldn’t you think that lbj’s plan just didn’t work? i mean really, the left’s chronic low expectations/no accountability of blacks has essentially created 3 generations of failure in the black community.
    thinking that you’re helping someone by throwing them a bone and telling them that failure is not their fault is borderline criminal. hence…….”racists”
    seriously, we all learned this in school- do they not teach it anymore?

    but back to the topic- i didn’t see many christians dancing in the street after that crazy muslim killed 49 in a gay bar. come to think of it i can’t remember the last time a christian shot up a gay bar in the name of christ…..but hey, maybe i don’t watch enough tv.
    but speaking of “uniting”, the blood on the dance floor wasn’t even dry when the usual suspects decided it “was the gun, not islam” that was responsible for this. and the msm just loves a good “gun fight” so they too had to pile on and make up stories that weren’t factual….but hey, it sells commercials and goes along with the narrative.
    i like how they decided to release the transcripts of the killer/cop chats during the ordeal- and removing any mention of “religion”, to appease those who find it hard to believe that a member of the “religion of peace” would do something like this……..sure they had to back track but the lack of any uproar from the msm was deafening.
    but hey, sheep need to be taken care of and told what to believe.

  71. DrDaveT says:

    @stonetools:

    Well, great. Are you a scientist in the relevant field? Because it’s only then that you can speak authoritatively on the methodology of the study.

    Bzzt. Have to jump in here. Methodological validity is not topic-dependent. I don’t know which of you is right about the effectiveness of various gun laws, but HAL is right that the problems he cites would be disqualifying, and that there is a current crisis in the reproducibility of published social science research. You don’t have to be a nutritionist to spot crap science published in nutrition journals. You don’t have to be an epidemiologist to know that you should adjust confidence thresholds for multiple hypotheses, even though many published epidemiology papers do not.

    HAL has every right to point out flaws in the methodology of the paper, which would need to be refuted on substantive grounds specific to those methodologies — not by a general appeal to the infallibility of peer review.

  72. Jenos Idanian says:

    @KM: When someone’s words contradict known facts and behaviors, it means the words must be taken with a grain of salt. Personally, I think all he was was a sad, sick, self-hater who latched onto any reason to justify his hate. I can’t give him any more credit then that.

    He was the son of Muslims, married twice (with a son), and loudly and frequently proclaimed his devotion to Islam — in fact, a form of Islam that is all too common. His actions were entirely consistent with his stated beliefs, and entirely consistent with the actions of the Boston bombers, the San Bernardino shooters, the Fort Hood shooters, and countless other Muslim terrorists.

  73. Jenos Idanian says:

    But back to the move to ban guns (which is at the core of things here, if we’re honest). Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

    Let me give you a little insight into the mind of gun owners (a group with which I am familiar, but will not confirm or deny at this point to which I belong). The message they are hearing is that, because someone they loathe and detest and would cheerfully have shot themselves did something bad, they must be deprived of their property and their rights. They see themselves as having done absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, they have gone out of their way to abide by all the laws and restrictions to own their guns, and are now being told that’s not good enough — because some people are scared that they might, at some vague point in the future, do something bad. They see that as a gross insult.

    Further, what will it achieve? Right after Sandy Hook, Connecticut passed a law targeting so-called “assault weapons” for special attention. Gun owners took that as a gross insult on them (the shooter had killed the gun’s owner and stolen it — he was not allowed to legally possess the gun), and told the state “FU.” Less than 1 in 6 guns was registered with the state. Many police officials openly said that they would not enforce the law (or, at least, make it their lowest priority). The state essentially converted anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 — or more — law-abiding citizens into felons.

    Prior to the law, Connecticut estimated there were about 375,000 “assault weapons” in the state. The law got about 50,000 registered. What happened to the rest? Sold out of state? Moved out of state?

    It ain’t gonna work. Worse, it’ll only piss off people who currently have very strong incentives to behave themselves, and take away their incentives to behave themselves. At that point you’re depending on their individual consciences and states of mind — and we already know what you think about their consciences and mental states.

  74. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Let me give you a little insight into the mind of gun owners (a group with which I am familiar, but will not confirm or deny at this point to which I belong).

    You’ve already said you’re not a gun owner.

    Let me give you a little insight into the mind of gun owners

    Every gun massacre provides opportunity to get “a little insight into the mind of gun owners.” But go ahead, reiterate it.

    Would you a little insight into the majority of people who don’t own guns and just want to cut down on the number of people dying from gun crimes? Nah, didn’t think so.

  75. An Interested Party says:

    yeah, the party that actually gave the vote to women and blacks…..that’s special.

    Uh huh, many decades ago…now that same party is trying to make it harder for blacks to vote…charming…

    i mean really, the left’s chronic low expectations/no accountability of blacks has essentially created 3 generations of failure in the black community.

    Yeah, racism has nothing to do with the state of the black community…sure…

    i can’t remember the last time a christian shot up a gay bar in the name of christ…..

    Of course not…such people would much rather shot up abortion clinics…

    …the blood on the dance floor wasn’t even dry when the usual suspects decided it “was the gun, not islam” was “radical Islamic terrorism” that was responsible for this.

    Happy to be of help…

    His actions were entirely consistent with…the actions of the Boston bombers, the San Bernardino shooters, the Fort Hood shooters…

    As well as the Colorado Springs killer, the Roseburg, Ore. killer, the Charleston killer, the Newton killer, and the Aurora killer…but if we want to talk about the common link of “radical Islamic terrorism” let us also talk about the common link of the AR-15…

    Meanwhile, if we are going talk about the poor gun owners and how unfairly they are treated let us also talk about Muslims and how they are unfairly smeared due to the actions of an extremely small minority…

  76. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: You’ve already said you’re not a gun owner.

    In the past, I’ve said I am not, and did not foresee that changing.

    Things change. For example, we just had an attempt to assassinate a presidential candidate by an illegal alien, and it’s being studiously ignored. Certain people aren’t safe any more.

    At this point, I don’t feel like continuing that assertion.

    And if you know the mindset of gun owners so well, why the hell would you pass a law that would not only piss them off, but take away one of the restraints on them to use their guns?

    You say they’re crazy and dangerous, but you act as if they can be trusted to not go postal when you try to confiscate their guns.

    I’ll choose to believe your actions, not your words.

  77. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Things change. For example, we just had an attempt to assassinate a presidential candidate by an illegal alien, and it’s being studiously ignored.

    1) What does that have to do with you? and 2) Ignored by whom?

    And if you know the mindset of gun owners so well, why the hell would you pass a law that would not only piss them off, but take away one of the restraints on them to use their guns?

    Because it’s the right thing to do.

    The emotional states of right wing gun owners is an individual’s personal problem, not a national concern. Seriously.

  78. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You say they’re crazy and dangerous, but you act as if they can be trusted to not go postal when you try to confiscate their guns.

    Also….

    Hollow threats like this are rather unconvincing. If some maximal gun-grabbing policy, through some unpredictable legislative miracle, gets passed, I do not think there will be very many “law-abiding gun-owners” going postal. But a few nuts might.

    In other words, you are hardly making your case. Sorry, bud.

  79. grumpy realist says:
  80. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I would think that Not Shooting Other People simply because you’re a decent human being would be enough incentive. If you’re the sort of person who would take sensible licensing (make sure you know what you’re doing, demonstrate you aren’t someone who flies off the handle, demonstrate that you know how to handle guns safely and you aren’t going to let your toddler get his hands on it) as the reason to “I gotta go against the gummint!” then maybe you aren’t in control of yourself to be allowed to carry a gun around in populated areas.

    Sheesh. I figure we’re either going to have to go back to a totally rural country with 1% the population we presently have, or get rid of the Second Amendment. Guns and people who don’t bother to control them properly shouldn’t go together.

  81. Matt says:

    @Blue Galangal: The majority of those 30k gun deaths you list were suicides. Only about 8,000 are actual murder related of which 80% are connected with gang violence. Adding on suicides just pads the number to make it look much worse than it really is.

    I had a friend who shot herself with a shotgun a few years out of high school. If she hadn’t had a shotgun it would of been something else. While I do miss her I understand why she did it. She was a very internally tortured person that had no real luck with therapy. A friend of the family intentionally ODed on pills and now is slightly this side of a vegetable (really bad schizophrenia and she just wanted it over). I have no issue with allowing those that want to end their life the chance to do so with as little pain and suffering as possible. They’ve already suffered enough.

  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: I would think that Not Shooting Other People simply because you’re a decent human being would be enough incentive.

    It is. It has been.

    Do you know why you (and so many others) can so readily cite examples of these mass shootings? It’s because they are so rare. If there was a real problem, then we’d have so many mass shootings they’d start blurring together and we could just cite the ones in the last six months.

    If “guns” were the problem, then we’d have more gun crimes in places where gun laws were lax, and fewer where gun laws are strict. We’d have mass shootings at places where guns are common — gun shows, shooting ranges, gun stores, military bases.

    But it’s just the opposite. Gun crimes are highest where the gun control laws are the strictest. Mass shootings almost always happen in “gun-free zones.”

    Most gun crimes are committed with handguns; long guns are an extreme minority of gun crimes, far out of proportion to the percentages of handguns vs. long guns. But the big push on now is for the long guns that are more expensive, harder to conceal, harder to handle — all attributes that are unappealing to most criminals. (The Orlando shooter had a Sig Sauer MCX rifle and a Glock 17 pistol, both semi-automatics. The Sig has a standard magazine capacity of 30 rounds, and the Glock has, as you might guess, 17.)

    That’s the point here. The push is against the guns that are used in an incredibly small percentage of gun crimes, but are still very popular. So the effect is to take action against a whole group of people (long gun owners) for the actions of a very small group (criminals using long guns) in a very small sample of events.

    Meanwhile, what is being proposed about the majority of gun crimes (handguns, often in the possession of people who have no legal right to possess them)? Virtually nothing.

    So, going by the actions being demanded, it’s pretty easy to conclude that there’s some serious dishonesty going on from the gun control side. And if the gun control advocates are lying about this much, why the hell should they believed when they say that they’re after just “common sense” solutions? Their “common sense” answers have had just the opposite effect they claim to want so far, so why the hell should we keep trying them?

  83. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Wow. A kindred spirit for Superdestroyer and the Donald.