Annie Oakley, American sharpshooter, 1885. pic.twitter.com
— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) January 7, 2019
Background checks alone don’t significantly reduce gun violence. [German Lopez] www.vox.com
Suicide is an impulsive act. Half of suicide survivors report planning their deaths for less than ten minutes. States like Connecticut that have passed background check laws for handguns have seen precipitous drops in firearm suicides, and states with more lax gun laws experience higher gun mortality of all types. States that have repealed background checks for handguns saw increases in firearm suicides.
The most gun-suicidal populations are older white men and veterans. Guns are only used in a small minority of suicide attempts, but half of all successful suicides are firearm suicides.
By Cory Doctorow at boingboing.net
Mass shooters often go on credit card spending sprees just before their murders, but that doesn’t mean banks and credit card companies should flag everybody who spends a lot at gun shops. [Cory Doctorow] boingboing.net
We’re a nation of people that gets violent at the prospect of free cheesecake. Explain to me again why it’s a good idea to make it easier for these people to get guns?
Disabled and unable to work, Cooley carries a gun everywhere. – Terrence McCoy, The Washington Post
Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg Politics:
Donald Trump’s latest controversial comments did more than make it harder for him to win over undecided voters concerned about his temperament—it resurrected an ugly history of U.S. violence at the presidential level.
An impromptu comment Tuesday about “Second Amendment people” stopping a President Hillary Clinton from appointing judges was described as a dog-whistle call to violence by critics even after Trump dismissed those interpretations, saying, “Give me a break.”
Accusing her of trying to undermine the Second Amendment, Trump said at a rally in North Carolina, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day.”
A wave of condemnations—including from the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., a U.S. congresswoman who retired after surviving an assassination attempt, and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency—delivered yet another worrisome example to voters concerned about Trump’s temperament.
The Trump campaign’s defense is that the candidate was simply referring to the famous organizational abilities of gun rights advocates. This is bullshit. Not even Trump’s supporters believe that, based on conversations I’ve seen on social media. They are ready to kill anybody who comes for their guns, and they believe Clinton is ready to do just that.
Trump knew or should have known how his statements would be interpreted.
I spotted these bumper stickers on a truck parked outside Lake Murray.
Wilde Built Tactical is a local San Diego gun store.
Joshua Berlinger, Nick Valencia, and Steve Almasy report for CNN:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (CNN) – A homeless man made the 911 call that brought police to the convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot dead, a senior law enforcement official told CNN on Thursday.
Sterling was selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart early Tuesday in Baton Rouge, the official said, when the homeless man approached him and asked for money.
The man was persistent, and Sterling showed him his gun, the official said.
“I told you to leave me alone,” Sterling told the man, according to the official.
The homeless man then used his cell phone to call 911, the official said.
The NRA is an extremist organization that represents corporate interests of gun and ammo manufacturers, rather than its own membership, who are overwhelmingly sportsmen, not vigilantes.
A thought experiment: Is the NRA a terrorist organization? That question sounds outrageous at first. But the NRA’s public statements certainly sound like incitements to violence, waiting only for some homicidal lunatic to do the work of self-radicalizing.
[Sarah Ellison/Vanity Fair]
Science fiction writer Steven Brust lays out the problems and contradictions inherent in trying to discuss the problems of US gun violence, much less solve them. Gun violence is tied with most of the other major problems with society: “desperation, anger, inadequate mental health care, living in a country where the government and the police see human life as without value, along with backwardness, intolerance, religious fanaticism, and other signs of a decaying society. … When we see supposed liberals, who up until a month ago railed against the ‘terrorist watch’ no-fly list as racist, arbitrary, and undemocratic (all of which is true) now cheering wildly to increase the powers of the list, we can get a hint of how inter-related gun issues are with everything else.”
Brust’s post is short, worth reading and thinking about.
Hypothesis: the problem isn’t guns, it’s the saturation of guns. We’d be better off if more people chose not to exercise their Second Amendment rights. When people talk about buying guns for self-defense, it’s other people with guns they’re primarily interested in defending themselves from. It’s a vicious cycle — and the gun companies and NRA gets rich off of every turn of the wheel.
The AR-15 isn’t so much a kind of gun as it is a modular, open source, highly modifiable spec that can be adapted to a wide variety of tasks.
I love seeing government remembering it’s supposed to represent the people, rather than whoever has the bigger checkbook.
I got to meet Congressman John Lewis a year ago at Comic-Con, of all places, and shake his hand. It was surprisingly inspirational to be in the presence of greatness like that. My work and hobbies have put me in contact with millionaires and billionaires, I’ve talked with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, Congresspeople and state governors, and a few celebrities. That kind of thing literally becomes no big deal very quickly. But meeting Lewis was different. I was literally awestruck.
I can’t side with the Democrats on this one. The Second Amendment is a bad idea. But the terrorist watch list has many false positives — people on the list who aren’t terrorists. Rights should not be denied to American citizens or visitors without due process, even if those are rights people shouldn’t have in the first place.
Some mechanism to set up an expedited court order would be a better way to go.
[Dana Milbank/The Washington Post]
The Republican National Committee wants to ban anything that could be used as a weapon from the national convention, where they will continue to try to convince the American people that gun-free zones are dangerous.
Do citizens (not police officers) with guns ever stop mass shootings? [Eugene Volokh/The Washington Post]
Volokh describes 10 cases in which citizens with guns almost certainly prevented bloodshed.
The victim, T.J. Antell, was a former Marine. Tragic.
The most well-known images of Harriet Tubman shows her looking like a gentle grandmother. Which she was not. Tubman was a guerrilla fighter against slavery, notes Phillip Kennicott at the Washington Post:
… when the National Portrait Gallery featured an image of Tubman in a 2013 exhibition devoted to African Americans and the Civil War, they used another reproduction of a Tubman image, showing her dressed not for a Victorian photography studio, but in her outdoors garb, holding a gun.
Taken from a book about Tubman, this was a shockingly confrontational image. Although Tubman served in the U.S. Army during the war, and even led an armed raid that freed hundreds of slaves, the inclusion of a gun in a 19th-century image of an African American woman was startling. It also reminded readers that the acts for which Tubman is most celebrated—missions into Southern states to rescue slaves from bondage—were illegal, though obviously not immoral. After the infamous 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, even her own rescued relatives ran the risk of being returned to slavery. Tubman wasn’t working within the system; she saw clearly that the system couldn’t be reformed or repaired, only broken and replaced.
Use the armed picture. There was nothing nice about slavery, and we do Tubman and slavery’s other antagonists and victims a disservice when we try to soften it up.