Tone Deaf Punditry

Man I have to wonder if people who write articles like this are completely unaware of their own contradictions, or if they’re concern trolls attempting to pull our heart-strings to push a crap agenda:

I started writing this essay last week, about the next mass shooting. It hadn’t happened yet, but we all knew it was going to. We didn’t know then whether it would be in a school or a workplace, a mall or a theater or a military base, in Maryland or Idaho, Chicago or some small town we’d never heard of before, suddenly elevated to infamy. We didn’t know the killer’s name or how many people would die. But we did know some things for certain.

We knew there would be grief: genuine on the part of relatives and friends, professionally simulated by media personalities, journalists, politicians, spokespeople, and pundits. There would be anguished calls to understand how this could have happened. The question “Why?” would be posed. There would be outraged calls for gun control by liberals, and pro forma calls for better monitoring of the mentally ill by gun lobbyists. The Culture of Violence would be decried. The word tragedy would be used, and the word senseless, and, within minutes, politicize, and, after a few days, the phrase come together as a community, and the word healing. Ultimately, nothing at all would be done and we’d forget all about it again, until the next one.

I mean he says it best, he’s writing about a mass shooting BEFORE it happens, and notes that the fallout will be the killer will attain the fame and notoriety they want. He also starts his contradiction by showing that the response from most groups is simple boilerplate. They have their agenda and talking points, and they will shoe-horn it into the situation.

To some extent I’m the same. When reading that first paragraph I noted I’d add that the killer would choose a location where firearms would be restricted or banned so they would only have to worry about police response to stop their spree.

I would say his first true contradiction was that we would FORGET and move on from this next event within time. Except we’ve never talked about Columbine, and that was 15 years ago, and we’re certainly still talking Virginia Tech 7 years later. I could rattle off the names of a bunch of killers in a pop quiz, and I bet all my readers could tie the names to their crimes. Hell how many serial killers of the 1960s through 1980s can you name?

Maybe I’m projecting, but I wonder if this fallacious statement that we forget is nothing more than a temper tantrum. We’ll get into that.

I didn’t write fast enough. The next mass shooting has already happened. Over the holiday weekend, some guy went on a petulant killing spree in California, killing a half dozen people, three by stabbing and three with guns, because girls didn’t like him.

Well it really wasn’t a “Mass Shooting” even by anti-gun standards, it was a mass killing, but given that the per-requisite of four shooting victims wasn’t reached. I’m quibbling but I think it builds on the rest of the article:

A senseless tragedy that will all too soon be politicized. I personally deplore the culture of violence that leads to such acts. We cannot help, at such a time, but wonder Why. But I, like you, have faith that Santa Barbara will soon come together as a community and begin the process of healing.

Ok we’re starting to really go off the rails now. “All Too Soon be politicized” and then in the next breath he talks about a “culture of violence that leads to such acts”. What culture do we have that condones this behavior? This killer, like nearly all spree killers was not part of ANY culture. He was a loner, unable to relate to women, his so-called “Friends”, his family, even the mental health workers who were trying to help him. While his family was very liberal and anti-gun, I don’t even think he could relate to that. So there is no “All too soon” you are not only politicizing this NOW, but you alluded to politicizing this BEFORE it happened.

Also of course Santa Barbara and the people around the nation and around the world will begin the process of healing. What other alternative do they have?

Look, we’ve collectively decided, as a country, that the occasional massacre is okay with us. It’s the price we’re willing to pay for our precious Second Amendment freedoms. We’re content to forfeit the lives of a few dozen schoolkids a year as long as we get to keep our guns. The people have spoken, in a cheering civics-class example of democracy in action.

Ok, now you’re just being a JERK! This is a favorite straw man of people who hate guns, and I suspect hate the people who support the right to keep and bear arms. No this is NOT the price to pay for Second Amendment Freedoms! This happened in CALIFORNIA! Every anti-gun wish list was fulfilled! Further the killer operated within the framework. He didn’t trek out to Nevada or Arizona to buy guns or magazines at a gun show or shop. He didn’t involve a straw buyer. He didn’t attempt to modify his weapons to avoid any laws. This was all by the books.

He also references school children as if ignoring that we have a culture where they think gun laws, and gun laws alone will protect people. This killer could not legally load his guns and carry them around in Santa Barbara. He did anyway. The Sandy Hook killer could not take those guns, and could not enter a school. He did it anyway.

Those of us who are for removing restrictions on firearms are NOT doing it for the pure love of guns. Yeah, I like guns, and I like shooting, but just because something is fun to do doesn’t justify it. No we’re concerned about public safety. We want less people to get killed. We want LESS of these kinds of attacks, as well as less of the kind of attacks that only make the local news, and people like this don’t feel the need to write articles about.

I really think the reason why they claim that we support the Second Amendment for the pure love of guns, maybe for paranoid reasons, and we consider a few dead kids to be “reasonable collateral damage” to keep us AWAY from debate.

You see anti-gun people press their laws in the name of public safety. Pro-Gun people press their laws in the name of public safety. Gee, those end goals are IDENTICAL! But if we debate the issue on that common ground it really adds up to a poker game where both parties have gone all in. In this analogy the cards are the stats. Can the anti-gun people show that relaxing gun laws, and lifting “gun free zones” increase violent crime? Can the pro-gun people show that relaxing gun laws, and lifting “gun free zones” increase public safety?

Now it’s not as clear as four of a kind beating a pair, it isn’t even as clear as a flush beating a straight. What I think can be said with the data available with high certitude is that guns, gun ownership, and the right to keep and bear them lawfully do NOT make America any more dangerous. We can argue that they make us safer, but that is debatable. Of course now we have a political view, do we restrict things because it makes us FEEL better, even if it doesn’t accomplish the stated goal.

That’s a debate they DON’T want to have, so instead I’m some sexual pervert who loves my guns more than I love my daughter, and if my little girl gets shot, well that’s just how things are.

Pretty offensive stuff there.

It’s hard to imagine what ghastly catastrophe could possibly change America’s minds about guns if the little bloody bookbags of Newtown did not. After that atrocity, it seemed as if we would finally enact some obvious, long-overdue half-measures. But perfectly reasonable, moderate legislation expanding background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was summarily killed in the Senate for no reason other than that a sufficient number of United States senators are owned by the NRA. It made our official position as a nation nakedly explicit: we don’t care about any number of murdered children, no matter how many, or how young. We want our guns.

Look at this guy. Can you read your writing from the other side? “moderate legislation expanding background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines”. First up, why are these laws considered “Moderate”? I would argue they aren’t. Second while the Sandy Hook killer did use a semi-auto rifle (I assume it was a rifle in compliance with Connecticut law as not to be an “Assault Weapon”…but just the pure debate on what an “Assault Weapon” is shows how tone-deaf this guy is in the first place) and the magazines used were greater than 10 round capacity. Still at the time of the killings the guns were STOLEN. No background check would stop this.

Further the Santa Barbara killings did not use even California’s VERY extreme definition of “Assault Weapons”, and the magazines were not only not “High Capacity” but were magazines SPECIFICALLY MADE to comply with California’s laws. One could argue that he only managed to shoot and kill three people…maybe it would have been a dozen if his SIG mags held the standard 15…except the Virginia Tech killer (yeah I haven’t forgotten that horrible event as you claim) used all but two 10-round magazines, and that is to date the worst mass-shooting in the country. Also both of these killers complied with both background check laws, and waiting period laws. Virginia has since removed it’s one-gun-a-month law, and seen no further tragedy. Did removing this bad law PREVENT crime? Probably not, but it sure didn’t make it worse.

As nightmarish as the Sandy Hook killings were, the gun control attempts after that event failed NOT because the political representatives were “owned by the NRA” (BTW I’d like to see a bill of sale on that transaction) but because the laws would not have changed this event, or the events that have happened since.

Essentially a bunch of innocent children died, and a bunch of political fanatics demanded we give up our freedom for no gain in safety! That is crass, and disingenuous. Further anybody writing such bills and arguing for such bills have access to all the data and facts out there. Hell members of the US Government got a chance to read the police reports and see the crime scene photos the public never got to see. The fact that they used these children’s blood to push their personal political hobby-horse that had NOTHING to do with it is EVIL.

Yep I said that, they are EVIL. Want an analogy? Let’s say after Jerry Sandusky was arrested for raping young boys a bunch of religious right-wingers pushed forward a bill to federally ban gay marriage. I mean Sandusky was raping BOYS not GIRLS, so in their crude sense he was a Homosexual, and well….yeah I can’t go any further with that, but the “Gay people = Child Molesters” crap has been around for generations. We’ve mostly killed that shit, but the “Gun Owners = Spree Killers” crap is no different. That is all simply evil.

I realize we are not all equally complicit in this indifference; there’s a spectrum of culpability. I don’t even bother to hold the NRA or the politicians they own accountable for the deaths they allow, any more than I blame deer ticks or herpes for doing their jobs. Gun lobbyists are just engines of greed, businesslike and efficient as HIV. Politicians will do whatever will get them re-elected. And gun owners are simply frightened; anyone who buys a handgun is, self-evidently, afraid of something. Plenty of them are decent, fun, likable, kindhearted people, but fear can make normal people behave vilely. And as an electoral bloc they’ve made the calculation that placating their own imaginary terrors is more important than the lives of what will probably, after all, be some stranger’s kids. And luckily kids don’t get to vote.

WOW you’re REALLY winning hearts and minds there, asshole! Yep the NRA is like herpes and HIV. WOW, we’re really going down that road. Yep and all gun owners by his accord are vile people. Note he just compared the NRA to the virus that causes AIDS, and now he’s claiming because I own a gun I’m so afraid that I’ll probably murder somebody. Also not only am I going to murder somebody, but that somebody is going to be children! You SHOULD be ashamed to have written that. The question is, why aren’t you?

The coalition of Greed and Fear seems invincible. No appeals to reason or decency can affect either of those factions; it’s like arguing with addicts or bacilli. They will never modify their position because their position isn’t rational — it’s driven by deep feelings of impotence and fear they can’t even admit to, and funded by cemeteries full of money. If gun laws are ever going to change in this country, it’ll have to be because people like me, people who care except not quite enough, quit their bitter impotent griping and actually do something about it. We care in the way that carnivores care about the screaming in slaughterhouses or that pro-war voters care about families accidentally blown apart in Iraq. Which is to say, sorta — just not enough to change our minds or habits or do anything hard or inconvenient.

Who are we talking about now? You’re likening gun owners to murders of children, the NRA to a horrible virus, and stated that people who don’t support your agenda just don’t “care enough”, and you’re implying you are NOT acting on greed, fear, and irrational feelings?

Again there is a reason why there needs to be straw men for them to make their points. All he’s got is irrational feelings and fear. Your lack of reasoning is NOT a reason for me to give up my rights, any more than the gay-haters fear and hatred is a reason to persecute homosexuals, or for hate groups like the KKK to burn crosses on the property of black families.

An annoying thing about living in a republic is that you can’t feel completely blameless for the ruinous state of your nation.

Ok now we REALLY have the peddling of irrational fear. Have you looked at violent crime statistics? They’re GOING DOWN! We live in a safer nation than before many of us were born. To get back in time enough where violence was so low we’re talking the 1960s, which I might add was when the modern gun-control movement really started gaining ground.

My own contribution toward ending gun violence so far has been to feel sick with rage and loathing toward the NRA. Occasionally I’ll draw a mean cartoon about it. It’s easy and fun to mock gun fanatics, because they’re so selfish and scared and weak and mean. It’s also pointless, an exercise in frustration and helplessness. Seeing the NRA repeatedly defeat any gun legislation, brutally effective as the Soviets crushing an uprising, has incrementally demoralized me and given me an excuse to give up. As William Greider wrote: “powerlessness also corrupts.”

Can you read that paragraph as anything but pure hatred for other people? Note these are other people he is making NO attempt to relate to. I read an article recently that had this kind of disconnected hatred for other people. The author murdered six people in Santa Barbara. Now I might be being a bit mean there, I’m not implying this guy is going to go on a spree killing. There’s a reason why 6 people killed in California is national news, while 12 people dead in Chicago is a page-three filler piece. Spree killers are very rare beasts, but it’s so easy to start finger pointing if you want to “Just do Something” without invoking reason. By the author’s own logic, we should lock him up in a medical institution and sedate him indefinitely….I mean if it “Saves just one life!!!!”

So how about let’s actually do something for once? Write your senators or congressman, your state representatives, your governor. Become a single-issue voter. I’m sorry to say it, but the most effective thing you can do is probably to send a check to a gun-control lobby group, since it should be clear by now that the only voice that matters in American governance is that of money. We need to buy up and bully some senators of our own. Why not do it right now?

This is how the pro-gun movement pushed back the horrible laws we have. Of course sick people like this author, like the spree killers, is alone, and has no ability to relate to others, hence the last paragraph.

If we’re not going to do anything again, I’d just like to make one request: given that we’ve all agreed, if only by our passive acquiescence, not to keep this from happening, can we please quit pretending to care? Let’s just skip the histrionics this time: no pro forma shock, condolence photo ops, somber speeches, flags at half-mast, meaningless noises from liberals about legislation, meaningless counter-noises from the NRA about armed guards in elementary schools. Why bother going through the motions of soul-searching when we know very well there’s nothing to search? If we can’t be brave we might at least be honest: when we see the familiar helicopter shots of ambulances outside a school, the clusters of classmates hugging, the sobbing parents being led away, the makeshift shrines of candles and plush toys, instead of looking stricken or covering our mouths or saying “Oh my God” or “How horrible,” let’s just all look each other in the eye and say: “Shit happens.”

Yep, this is the crux of why the gun control movement is dying, and will indeed die off to the level of the American Temperance Movement, and the KKK. They’re irrational, hateful, and illogical.

Of course they won’t “Do Nothing”, new bills are being pressed to add restrictions that would NOT have stopped any of these tragic events all in the name of people who died under the umbrella of strict gun control, so as he said, call your representative, become a single-issue voter, and donate to groups like the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation, as well as your local groups like GOAL here in Massachusetts. We ARE pushing them back, and we can push back harder and with greater efficiency. Eventually we will win, and maybe I won’t need to read horrible articles like this anymore, found on the twitter feeds or horrible people. I would like that.

Do you want people like this to dictate how you live your lives?

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4 Responses to Tone Deaf Punditry

  1. Jack/OH says:

    People as viruses, bacilli? We’ve heard those characterizations before, right? Occupied Europe, circa 1942, is a pretty fair guess, issued by some in the virulently anti-Semitic faction of the Nazi Party.

    The writer may have inadvertently adopted the collective bargaining mode of rhetoric. Heap abuse, insults, and all sorts of vitriol atop your adversary, then lighten the tone to coax him into accepting your purportedly modest proposals.

    BTW-about 15 years ago, the murder rate in the city where I work was something like 50 per 100,000. Nowadays, if the current calendar year trend holds up, it’ll be about 10 per 100,000.

  2. Cargosquid says:

    I submit that if the killer had been a black male and this had happened in Chicago, he would STILL be waiting to publish it.

  3. Maxwell says:

    Heh. Well, ironically, he DOES actually propose something, in his last paragraph, that MIGHT actually be useful. Cruel as it seems, if people STOPPED CARING enough, this shit MIGHT stop being reported 24/7 for three weeks following the incident, which would deprive these sick little bastards the infamy and name recognition they so crave.
    Of course that is unthinkable, for two reasons: For the liberal tools (or pawns, or special snowflakes, whatever), CARING is their stock-in-trade; it is the thing that defines their very lives. ‘I care more than you, we will have a better, kinder world if you listen and do what I say’. For the tool-turners, the politicians, well, we now have documented evidence that they NEED these tragedies (and the resulting anguish and grief), they depend on them to push disarmament.
    The NRA makes a great scapegoat, even though it’s had less-than-nothing to do with the latest bloodshed. Logic will fail against the mass of anguished, emotional hand-wringers, nothing substantial will be done, more useless ‘action’ will be taken.

    And, of course, it’ll all happen again.

  4. Gary Causer says:

    Only thing I can tell these people is it’s people like you who force us to join the NRA and vote Republican…..self defense.

    Molon labe

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