lots of guns, lots of news

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TruthDig discusses a federal court ruling that the Second Amendment doesn't protect assault weapons:

Assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment, a federal judge said in a ruling Friday upholding Massachusetts' ban on the weapons.

U.S. District Judge William Young dismissed a lawsuit challenging the 20-year-old ban, saying assault weapons are military firearms that fall beyond the reach of the constitutional right to "bear arms."

The piece quotes Massachusetts AG Maura Healey saying that the decision "vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war," and reminds us that SCOTUS denied a challenge to Maryland's assault-weapons ban. On the other end of the reasonableness spectrum, some South Carolinians are threatening to secede over guns, reports Angela Helm at The Root:

The first time South Carolina left the union, it was because the scions of that state wanted the brutal practice of chattel slavery to continue, sparking the U.S. Civil War. This time, a group of House Republicans is proposing the very same action over so-called gun rights. To which I say, "See ya!"

On Thursday, Reps. Mike Pitts, Jonathon Hill, and Ashley Trathman introduced legislation that would allow the state to consider secession should the federal government violate the Second Amendment.

"The black people of S.C. had better beware if it happens," Helm warns ominously.

On a smaller scale, but also in South Carolina, Cristiano Lima writes about legislator who pulled out a loaded handgun during a meeting:

Rep. Ralph Norman pulled out a loaded pistol while discussing gun-violence prevention during a meeting with constituents in South Carolina on Friday, according to several advocacy group members in attendance.

The episode was brought to light by volunteers for the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, who said in a news release that the lawmaker laid out a loaded firearm while discussing gun safety at an event in Rock Hill.

According to the group, the pistol was left out for "several minutes" while Norman "kept telling his constituents that the presence of the gun made them safer."

Norman said that he brandished the weapon to show that "guns don't shoot people, people shoot guns," but that's a ridiculous rationale. Since people can only shoot the guns that they have, a loaded gun on the table makes everyone less safe, not more.

He added a claim that "Mental health, and more importantly, a lack of morality is the driving force behind this epidemic. [I assume that Norman is in favor of rigorous background checks, then?] Guns are not the problem." We can quibble about the real "driving force," but an over-abundance of firearms clearly does not help.

Norman cited the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was seriously wounded during a 2011 constituent meeting, in explaining his decision.

"I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," Norman told the newspaper. "I don't mind dying, but whoever shoots me better shoot well or I'm shooting back."

Over at TNR, Jason Christian penned "Confessions of a Former Left-Wing Gun Nut." He begins his tale this way:

When I was just five years old, before I had even started kindergarten, I received a tiny rifle for Christmas, a .22-caliber bolt-action rod called a Chipmunk, built for and marketed to small children. By the time I was twelve I owned a small arsenal of five guns, and proudly possessed a lifetime hunting and fishing license for the state of Oklahoma.

"We were going deeper and deeper into gun culture," he continues:

From time to time we drove out to my family's land in the country and fired off a few boxes of rounds at beer cans and bottles and little paper targets. We had a gun-cleaning movie night where we watched First Blood; on another night it was the documentary about the Weather Underground. We dreamed of a revolutionary situation that would allow us--if not obligate us--to act bravely in defense of freedom. [...]

Later, I went to another gun show and sold my AK to a complete stranger. To this day it haunts me that I didn't destroy the gun. It is still out there, unregistered, anonymously owned, its only trace the serial number attached to my name as its buyer, if that record even exists.

"Thank God I came to my senses and left this world behind," he observes. He worries, though, about "recent armed activism on the left, such as the John Brown Gun Club, a nationwide network comprised mostly of activists rooted in the ultra-left and anarchist subcultures, founded by some of those same radicals from Kansas I once knew:"

In June 2016, the John Brown Gun Club gave its network a name: Redneck Revolt. There are 32 chapters across the U.S. and counting. The group describes itself on its website as an "anti-racist, anti-fascist community defense formation." On the internet you'll find dozens of images of Redneck Revolt members wearing flannels and Army-issued fatigues and tactical vests, brandishing tricked-out AR-15's, side arms, walky-talkies, and other gear. Some of them showed up with their weapons at Charlottesville last year, ostensibly to take an oppositional stand or to keep the peace. Mostly it was to just tell the world, "Hey, we exist."

"It's sometimes difficult," he notes, "to tell them apart from the neo-Nazis they oppose:"

However, they do call for the "total liberation of all working people, regardless of skin color, religious background, sexual orientation, gender, country of birth." There are a number of women among them, and even a few people of color. And I suspect that not a few of them come from upper-class, urban-liberal homes themselves.

Still, the logic behind arming the left is confused. Do the people advocating for armed self-defense against tyranny actually think a toe-to-toe battle with the government will occur? Do they imagine a scenario where left-wing militias will rove around the Midwest or the South or upstate New York defending "the weak" against enemy militias? Do they think anyone will join them?

Christian points out that Vox's Ezra Klein interviewed sociologist Jennifer Carlson, author of Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline. "Klein tries to understand what carrying a gun does to our minds," he writes:

Klein goes on to speculate that carrying a gun in public "seems like it makes the world into much more of a drama, in which they're the hero and they may be called to do these extraordinary, dangerous, heroic things at any moment, [which seems] like a really addictive, interesting way to approach the world, to enliven your day, particularly if other parts of your life at this point offer less opportunity of that kind of narrative and status and feeling of essentialness."

This "feeling of essentialness" is key to understanding why gun possession is an existential issue for so many people. It's not only part of their identity, like skin color or religious faith, but it's an identity that presupposes importance and a kind of indispensability to others. Gun owners are fighting both for their very existence and for the benefit of greater society. Without their guns they're just another office worker or truck driver or clerk.

"Just how much traction the armed left will get," he notes, "remains to be seen:"

I suspect another tragedy will happen before it's all over. I hope I'm wrong, but recent history has shown that nothing much good comes from guns.

Speaking of "nothing much good," Paul Blest discusses conservative media hatred of the Parkland survivors, noting their "obsession with [David] Hogg:"

An analysis of [the Daily Wire] and four other right-wing sites--Breitbart, the Daily Caller, Gateway Pundit, and Infowars--shows that the five sites combined have published at least 145 posts about the high schooler-turned-gun control activist since February 19 (five days after the shooting), when Gateway Pundit White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich alleged that Hogg was coached on media appearances by his retired FBI agent father. Similarly, at least a dozen posts were published between the five sites about fellow Parkland students Cameron Kasky (20 in total) and Emma Gonzalez (14).

"Our count does not include posts about the pro-gun control students as a whole," observes Blest, "or about other students who haven't found themselves in the spotlight as much as Hogg, Gonzalez, and Kasky:"

The amount of personal coverage that Hogg and his classmates have received represents a new phase in the conservative media's ongoing war against perceived threats to personal freedom--even when those perceived threats are teenage survivors of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

This screenshot shows that InfoWars is, not surprisingly, the worst of the lot:


Breitbart editor Joel Pollak served up some hyperbole to go with the hate:

In abusing their newfound power, Hogg and company are tugging at the threads of our civilization, unraveling the social fabric that holds us together, exacerbating our common, but divided, pain.

Way to denigrate people who have just suffered a tragedy, and are trying to prevent future massacres.

Tug this, you tool.

update (9:18pm):
Ann Werner points out that http://samuel-warde.com/2018/04/ted-nugent-calls-for-killing-democrats-video/ we can always count on Ted Nugent to make things even worse:

"NRA board member Ted Nugent is at it again. On Good Friday, he attacked the Parkland student survivors and proclaimed, 'They have no soul.'"

Of course, he had more to say:

"Just know that evil, dishonesty, and scam artists have always been around and that right now they're liberal, they're Democrat, they're RINOs, they're Hollywood, they're fake news, they're media, they're academia, and they're half our government, at least. So come to that realization. There are rabid coyotes running around. You don't wait 'til you see one to go get your gun. Keep your gun handy and every time you see one, you shoot one."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 8, 2018 3:32 PM.

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