• It’s the Guns, but It isn’t Just the Guns

    May 28, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    The killings in Isla Vista by one misogynist thug represent a terrible loss of life, most killed with a gun. Of course people can die so many ways, and the Isla Vista murderer managed to stab three people to death and run one down with his car. Still, the focus is and should be on the quickest, easiest way and thus most dangerous way to kill a lot of people: guns.

    Joe the Plumber

    Enter Joe the Plumber. You remember Joe, right? He was a pathetic, semi-employed, non-union plumber from Ohio that pathetic Republican candidate for president John McCain plucked out of a pathetic crowd in 2008 and tried to make a pathetic campaign meme out of. Working man, pull up by his bootstraps, that old garbage. Joe (which isn’t even his real name) had a few minutes of faux-fame alongside the other sideshow to that freakish campaign, Sarah Palin, and both more or less crawled back into the mud from whence they came. Or should have.

    For reasons quite unclear, people still feed and diaper Joe the Plumber, interview him, and perhaps even listen to him. And for a reporter desperate for some new angle on America’s latest mass murder, what better to do than look up ol’ Joe for a comment. Here’s what Joe said:

    I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: [sic] As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights. But the words and images blaming “the proliferation of guns”, lobbyists, politicians, etc.; will be exploited by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left.

    I cannot begin to imagine the pain you are going through, having had your child taken away from you. However, any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those.

    Second Amendment

    Leaving aside the simple insensitivity of speaking that way to grieving parents whose kids were just murdered by a loon allowed to own multiple handguns and carry 400 rounds of ammunition in his car, my hat’s off to Joe for turning a tragedy around and making it all about him. Classy.

    In addition, though Joe likely don’t read no much no more, the Second Amendment is about the only part of our Bill of Rights that hasn’t been gutted post-9/11. Right to privacy? Ask the NSA. Freedom of speech? Check with jailed Occupy people. Right to a fair trial? How’s that going Chelsea Manning? Nope, nobody is grabbing any guns Joe. Repeat after me: It. Is. All. In. Your. Head. Now stop mixing oxy and vodka shots, ‘Kay?

    What Joe missed was the chance to decry how “nothing could have been done about this.” Yeah, sure, the cops checked the shooter out ahead of time, but, well, they didn’t search his house or look at his social media as if he were, you know, a brown Muslim. And those reports about him being mentally ill. Well, sir, that’s no crime either.

    What could have been done? How can we as a nation reconcile this terrible tragedy with what Joe the Plumber had to say?

    America as No. 1

    To start, it is sadly clear America has a lot of mass shootings. 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States. In second place is Finland, with two entries. Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country. It seems to be getting worse: there have been at least 21 during the last six years. School shootings seem an American speciality. The number of such incidents in the U.S. was only one less than in the next highest 36 countries combined. Americans die from violence in general, and gun violence in the specific, at higher rates than pretty much anywhere outside of actual war zones.

    It’s the Guns, but It isn’t Just the Guns

    There are many other countries where guns are abundant. There are also examples of mass murders by the mentally ill around the world. But it seems that the two only collide with, well, such violence, in the United States. For Joe the Plumber, Joe, relax. No one is going to take your guns away. Americans will continue to be able to purchase whatever kinds of firearms they wish, in any quantity, and with any amount and type of ammunition. The nation barely even throws gun control lip service any more, even after (another) mass shooting.

    The Second Amendment long ago swerved so far from the Founder’s intent, “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” that it no longer seems to exist within today’s context of the Bill of Rights. The confluence of huge corporate interests represented by the NRA, carpetbagging politicians owned by the NRA and frightened people protecting their own fears ensures this amendment alone will forever stand untouched. The guns are not going away.

    So that leaves us. Why are we so violent? Why, after a workplace slight or a turn-down by a woman, is the go-to move for too many Americans to pick up a gun and slaughter unrelated and innocent people? I hate to end this way, but I don’t know why. I want some sort of gun control, but I know while it is necessary, it won’t be sufficient. I wish I knew why. I wish I knew.

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  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...


      quote “Nope, nobody is grabbing any guns Joe. Repeat after me: It. Is. All. In. Your. Head. Now stop mixing oxy and vodka shots, ‘Kay?”unquote

      ummmm, I believe you just stuck your foot in your mouth Peter..

      All. In. Your. Head. right.

      Oxy and vodka shots my ass. While I do not want to disrespect the families of Roger’s victims..I’m sorry Peter..but you are just plain wrong.

      05/28/14 12:30 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Point taken Pitch. I’m no fan of the cops, and support the Bill of Rights strongly. There are and have been times when the cops can take away guns on an individual basis. Some make sense (you just murdered someone) and many don’t (pig behavior) I probably should have made it clearer that I am talking the kind of “mass round up” Joe the Dumber ” fears.

      We differ on this, but I don’t that’s happening, at least not anytime soon. The govt does not fear our guns. They know we are mostly sheep, and when someone does pose a threat, well, the govt has much bigger guns and a lot of people acting as stormtroopers to deal with that.

      I think that’s where the Holocaust example falls flat; sure, if the Jews were armed they’d have taken out some Nazis. But the Gestapo would have just turned around and shelled their houses. The Germans set up the camps for “efficiency” but would have done it old school if needed.

      05/28/14 12:49 PM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...


      A few nit pickin’ points.
      It is against the law to be mentally ill ,and to own a firearm.
      Now i get your point about guns and violence, but what about aggressive and distracted drivers?
      Aren’t they much more dangerous? Haven’t 750,000 people been injured since 2011 and plenty of folks killed by texting idiots.?
      What does it matter if a gun or a dummy kills me? Or a dummy with a gun? Either way i’m still dead. What about medical mistakes that kill a minimum of 100,000 a year? Tobacco and sugar,diet sodas,HFCS?
      We live in an arena of death , and i find it hard to focus on guns alone. Why are our autos so powerful? Why do we allow kids to drive 500 horse power cars? Try cruising any high school parking lot and then try to answer this question.Why do adults need 500 plus HP cars? Why do we glorify speed and power?
      Now for the standard screed.
      Gun control does not work. What does work? Well maybe less violence on TV and in our entertainment, to include sporting venues.Does it matter if the shooter had 40/10 round loaded mags,or 25/15 round mags? It’s all eyewash.
      What good does a cooling off waiting period do if a person does long term planning, as did this latest shooter? Didn’t all the recent shooters do long term planning?
      As your essay said yesterday -where was the NSA?
      Well , there’s my thoughts.
      Hope they were ot.
      jim hruska

      05/28/14 12:44 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Even if I choose not to own a gun, I have no problem with most others having one.

      I am clear that gun control, in whatever form and I don’t have a clue how to do it right, is not enough. People also die in many ways, and acknowledge in the blog post that Rogers did stab three people to death. He would have killed people if all he had was a rock. I think the focus on guns still makes sense, given how easy they make larger-scale killing, and how “clean.” It takes more of something, will? commitment? to kill by hand. The “instant gratification” of guns just plays too well into a certain bad mentality.

      I think also it is important to differentiate among purposeful killing (school massacre) and dumb ass accidents like texting and driving, or even accidental discharge. You deal with the two very differently because the psychology of the doer is so different.

      Our govt is very quick to impose limits/control on the other Amendments. It’s just the Second where even serious discussion doesn’t seem to happen.

      05/28/14 12:56 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote” I hate to end this way, but I don’t know why. I want some sort of gun control, but I know while it is necessary, it won’t be sufficient. I wish I knew why. I wish I knew.”unquote

      Look around you Peter. Violent video games that kids play with impunity. Violent movies. Unending wars. Military violence. Gang violence. Corporate violence. And a GOVERNMENT AS ROLE MODEL…ie…OBAMA’s KILL LIST TUESDAY. Of course, NO ONE will say a thing about that..neu neu neu.. an irony that escapes the DCOTP…except Chris Floyd.


      In other words..it’s the violent culture stupid!(no disrespect intended Peter..it’s an axiom thing) In my opinion, taking guns out of this nations culture won’t change a goddamned thing. Crazy people in a violent culture with intent to kill will KILL regardless.

      But don’t take my word for it.


      This is not to say I don’t feel for these families. I do. I feel sick. What I don’t understand..is ..WHERE WERE ROGER’S PARENTS???

      05/28/14 12:54 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      FYI: I am quite proud that we seem to be pulling off one of the first rational discussions of guns in internet history.

      05/28/14 12:57 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Justice Louis Brandeis hit your point Pitch:

      “Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

      05/28/14 1:00 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Gun control does not work.”quote

      DING DING DING! We have a winner. FACT..California has the STRICTIST gun control laws in the nation. Any more and they would have to disarm the citizens..which Constitutionally..they can’t.

      “What does work? Well maybe less violence on TV and in our entertainment, to include sporting venues.”

      Indeed. Sports. If football isn’t a metaphor for violent team confrontation..I don’t know what is.
      Modern football is the equivalent of Roman gladiators. And the entire nation LOVES IT. What’s even more bizarre is equating it to SOLDIERS. Can’t find the link but I saw FOOTBALL and BASEBALL players wearing ‘”camouflage” uniforms on Memorial day. God. Unbelievable.

      All I know is..the PTB COULD pass an Amendment to the Constitution outlawing guns. Of course though, they’d have a bloody civil war on their hands before it happens. You know it. I know it. And so do the PTB. Ain’t gonna happen. What they’ll TRY to do though, is incrementally remove access to ammo, types of guns..and when that doesn’t work..CONFISCATE THEM AT THE POINT OF..you got it..A GUN. Either way..gun owners in this country are NOT GOING TO LET IT HAPPEN. Period.

      05/28/14 1:24 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Even if I choose not to own a gun, I have no problem with most others having one.”quote

      I said it before..and I’ll say it again. If ONE SINGLE VICTIM had been carrying a weapon..they might still be alive, not to mention others who were killed down the road. And that is the irony. Sad to say, but self defense is your ONLY chance should you be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Police will NEVER be there first. This woman found out…

      In that light, is it any wonder this happens too…

      Bottom line. In OUR VIOLENT CULTURE, your best bet for surviving an attack is self defense. That’s why this man carried a weapon to the movies. He and thousands of other people know it only takes one bad encounter..and you might be dead.

      05/28/14 1:44 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..Peter..I don’t own a weapon. Not because I choose not to. I can’t afford one. Otherwise I would, and a concealed carry license. My only saving grace.. I never go to big cities. In fact, the town I live in is the Land that Time Forgot..:)

      However, violent people exist anywhere. Like my neighbor who threatened to beat the shit out of me last winter. And he would have done it had it not been for his brother. Long story. Nevermind. But he scared me. Had I been carrying an EXPOSED weapon..he wouldn’t have dared.

      05/28/14 1:49 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      The only point about people using personal weapons in these situations is that unless they really know what they’re doing, simply throwing more rounds into the air may hurt more than it helps. I know that the first time I picked up a handgun I had no idea how to hit a target. And that was standing still, the target still and close, daylight, not nervous, not under fire and worried about cover, etc. Hitting a live target amid chaos isn’t your average shooter, who in fact may have never even fired the weapon he bought.

      Soldiers, cops (for better or worse) spend a lot of time learning and practicing shooting, with professional coaches. Most handgun owners are way down from that scale and might follow “tips” from the movies more than anything.

      Yes, yes, there are always exception circumstances, but I am just not clear in these mass scenarios amateurs blasting away will help.

      05/28/14 6:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      We expect shit to roll out of Joe the Plumber–that’s all he knows. But I expected more from this shithead:


      05/28/14 4:35 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Kerry. Man up. Face justice.


      Goddamn was that funny.

      Secretary Shithead can go fuck himself.

      05/29/14 12:56 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Rich, that bait was just too much to ignore. Kerry’s idiotic ramblings will be tomorrow’s blog post even if I have to put off a few beers to stay clear headed enough to write it.

      05/29/14 12:57 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Yes, yes, there are always exception circumstances, but I am just not clear in these mass scenarios amateurs blasting away will help.”unquote

      Well then. By all means..the next time someone is facing life or death..they should stand there and contemplate the ramifications of being an amateur.

      C’maan Peter. Spare me.

      05/29/14 1:06 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Rich, that bait was just too much to ignore. Kerry’s idiotic ramblings will be tomorrow’s blog post even if I have to put off a few beers to stay clear headed enough to write it.”quote

      Please do Peter.

      05/29/14 1:09 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Background music video for your coming post about Kerry, “Do the Lurch!”:


      05/29/14 3:05 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      re “I think that’s where the Holocaust example falls flat; sure, if the Jews were armed they’d have taken out some Nazis. But the Gestapo would have just turned around and shelled their houses.”

      But you’re making the typical American mistake of confusing the Holocaust – which began after 1941 – with the Nazis’ gradual suppression of liberties within Germany. WITHIN Germany the oppression of Jews was a sideshow, and most of the Holocausts’ victims were from OUTSIDE of Germany.

      The mass extermination of Jews began during WW II and didn’t hit full speed until 1942. And most European Jews lived outside of Germany; the vast majority of Holocaust victims were from countries invaded and occupied by Germany in the war. Therefore the main defense of European Jews against the Holocaust would have been simply for the Poles and French and Russians etc to have fought more successfully than they did. (And Russia did, later, but not until the Germans had already invaded and started rounding up Jews.)

      And about the idea of the Gestapo shelling defiant German Jews’ houses: Um, no, they wouldn’t, first of all because the Gestapo was a very small organisation which relied mostly on voluntary cooperation of citizens denouncing each other. But the main reason why they wouldn’t bomb Jews’ houses would be because that would be bombing Germany’s own cities. You can’t just shell one house on a Berlin street without f-cking up the whole street and pissing off your own (non-Jewish) citizens.

      In sum, yes the Holocaust is not the right example, but not for the reasons you think. It’s the wrong example because the Holocaust was a very late consequence of Germany’s overall surrender of civil liberties.

      05/29/14 10:36 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Soldiers, cops (for better or worse) spend a lot of time learning and practicing shooting, with professional coaches.”unquote

      Who needs a gun to kill when all you have to do is stomp on the victims neck and head with your jackboots…


      I don’t think delayed appointments at the VA hospitals is what I’d be worried about. As usual, these jello brained police thugs will KILL you over nothing. And, I wouldn’t worry about criminals until you see a badge. THAT’s when you need to start worrying.

      05/29/14 10:59 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..”As usual, these jello brained police thugs will KILL you over nothing” and then lie through their teeth to cover up murder. There ..fixed it.

      05/29/14 11:01 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote “if the Jews were armed they’d have taken out some Nazis.”
      They didn’t have a chance…


      quote”The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. LAW ABIDING PERSONS COMPLIED WITH THE LAW, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence DID NOT.”

      Sound familiar?

      quote”In 1931, Weimar authorities discovered plans for a Nazi takeover in which Jews would be denied food and persons refusing to surrender their guns within 24 hours would be EXECUTED. They were written by Werner Best, a future Gestapo official. In reaction to such threats, the government authorized the REGISTRATION of all firearms and the CONFISCATION thereof, if required for “public safety.” The interior minister warned that the records must not fall into the hands of any extremist group.

      In 1933, the ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler, seized power and used the records to identify, disarm, and attack political opponents and Jews. Constitutional rights were suspended, and mass searches for and seizures of guns and dissident publications ensued. Police revoked gun licenses of Social Democrats and others who were not “politically reliable.”unquote

      And there you have it in stark, irrefutable truth. Just as Senator Church warned us about the NSA..IF a DICTATOR ever took over…”. In reality.. the first thing they would do is LOOK AT GUN REGISTRATION RECORDS. The rest is just icing on their Totalitarianism cake. This is why the Jews AND dissidents didn’t HAVE ANY WEAPONS to fight back in the first place. The Nazi’s KNEW where to find them. Now do you understand WHY most gun owners refute the idea of BACKGROUND CHECKS and or REGISTRATION. It’s just another way of creating a list of gun owners.

      Anybody who thinks it can’t happen here is living in a parallel lala land. It’s already happening. However, some people still believe what SHALL NOT INFRINGE really means..thank god.


      05/29/14 11:34 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Cliff Schecter: If lax guns laws and more guns overall made people safer, the United States would be the safest place in the world. Instead, that designation goes to countries like Japan and England, which have actually taken on this problem with the seriousness it deserves. And then there is the special case of Australia, which was heading down the same path as us until 1996, when they had their own Newtown, known a the Port Arthur Massacre. They passed not weak-tea gun laws, but a comprehensive package (passed by their Conservative Party). The results have been stunning, as not only has there not been a mass shooting since then (there were 11 in the 10 years before they passed this legislation), but their suicides and gun-related deaths have gone way down too.

      In Santa Barbara, we had a young man who had been detained or interviewed three times by the police recently, including once for domestic assault. Both a social worker and his parents warned the authorities about his fraying mental state. But all of that led to no red flags popping up to stop him from buying three semi-automatic guns and enough bullets to take on the police department.

      In England, Japan, Canada and Australia, that would have been enough to stop him cold. In these places, as is common sense, requirements exist such as third-party references from family and/or friends, rigorous psychological exams and background checks. Any blemish on one’s record pointing to violence would have been a red flag during these tests. Additionally, there are waiting periods before one can receive a gun after initial purchase, making it more likely someone mentally unstable would be caught doing something else in the meantime, or perhaps even get the help he so desperately needed before obtaining a firearm.

      05/29/14 9:13 PM | Comment Link

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