A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall

Trump Maladministration

I created this meme this morning.

This is what it comes down to, as far as I’m concerned: We can either continue to put up with gun nuts and cater to gun fetish culture, or we can stop mass shootings at schools. But we can’t do both. So what’s it gonna be?

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the FBI is investigating the NRA for allegedly funneling money from Russia into Donald Trump’s campaign. The NRA needs to go.

I have written a lot in the past about what I think needs to be done. Needless to say, the NRA wouldn’t like it. See especially:

Know Your Gunz

Why an Assault Weapons Ban Is Not Going to Help

Back to the Old Mental Illness Dodge

See also What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer at the New York Times.

Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz belonged to a white supremacist group. Of course he did.  It’s a syndrome.

There’s a guy on the teevee right now talking about “mental health issue.” It’s not a “mental health issue.”  Most mass shooters have no definable mental illness. Mass shooters tend to be hotheads, but they aren’t hearing voices. Yes they may be “troubled,” but there are plenty of “troubled” people running around loose in other countries. The difference is that in those other countries it is much more difficult for them to get their hands on semiautomatic weapons. And that’s the only difference.

Now the guy on the teevee is saying we need to monitor social media. So are we going to investigate every hotheaded jerk who posts violent images on Instagram? Seriously?

No, people we need to make it a lot harder for people to get their hands on semiautomatic guns. And we need to start shaming gun nuts at every opportunity. They are pathetic excuses for human beings; their proclivities are not to be tolerated.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Doug  •  Feb 15, 2018 @4:56 pm

    If you want to drive a motorcycle it requires a driving test and endorsement.  Even more if you want to drive an 18 wheeler. Why can't that be applied to obtaining a weapon.

  2. grannyeagle  •  Feb 15, 2018 @6:10 pm

    Those who want to make this a mental health issue need to rethink their position.  All mental health diagnoses are not people who hear voices.  One diagnosis is major depression.  For this people are prescribed anti-depressants.  So let's say a law is passed that says if you have a diagnosis of mental illness you can't have a gun.  That is a lot of people.  I know people who are responsible gun owners yet take anti-depressants.  This latest shooter obviously had social adjustment and anger issues.  But that does not make him mentally ill.  Whether he had a mental health issue that would qualify for a DSM diagnosis, I don't know but I do know if he did not have access to an AR-15, he would not have been able to do so much damage.

  3. uncledad  •  Feb 15, 2018 @7:39 pm

    "Why can't that be applied to obtaining a weapon"

    It should be and more, I'm for banning assault rifles outright (I'll gladly turn mine in), I'm for a federal gun registry (I'll gladly register all my firearms), I'm for extensive training and licensing (I already have had extensive training and have a conceal carry), I'm for all gun owners being required to carry insurance. I own guns but I'm not a nut, they are not that important to me.

  4. Doug  •  Feb 15, 2018 @9:11 pm

    uncledad – you said it. There are sane solutions that don't prevent gun ownership but set a reasonable standard for proven competence as a prerequisite for ownership. 

    You hint at the difference between an owner and a nut. Your identity as a person isn't driven by the weapon(s) you own and carry. If you feel incomplete anytime you aren't carrying steel, you may have a problem. IF a gun is a tool external to your ego, a tool you understand but not a crutch, you might be a candidate for responsible ownership.

    Ha! And I'll never be able to legally own.

  5. aj  •  Feb 15, 2018 @9:31 pm

    There is a male identity problem in this country. It is not an accident that some young black and hispanic men gravitate to gangs, and young white men who don't get ahead and fit in, gravitate to wanting to shoot up their schools. We are what we do. We don't have the familial identity and ethnic identity or ties to place that other societies have. When we don't do well , the only role model is the video game shooter. Needing to feel power and control in a powerless control-less state, guns are the instant control method. And  if you think we have opioid and violence problems just wait until AI takes over work and there is nothing for people to channel their lives into.

  6. Swami  •  Feb 16, 2018 @1:29 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhIdNeyTzrY

    Take the time to view(if you can stomach it) the segment between 5:36 and  9:36 where Trump sells out the welfare of our country to the NRA. The sad part is that Trump isn't a soulless person who revels in the slaughter of our children and loved ones. It's that he's an intellectual bottom feeder who knows not what he does. He believes the patriotic beguilement that the NRA espouses to further their political agenda. He can't see outside of himself. He's a big bag of shit!

    "The tree of liberty needs to be refreshed with the blood of innocents from time to time"?

  7. Strigiforms  •  Feb 16, 2018 @9:44 am

    I confess to being both very tired and very angry.  We are so past the point where we should have made forward progress on this. And I still get told that we can't even talk about it, or if we do talk about it, guns aren't going to be part of the discussion.  Or worse, there's no point in talking, so let's not even try.  Talking about it is just the first tiny step toward actually doing something. We can't even get off the ground on this, and we need to be so far up in the air already.  

  8. csm  •  Feb 16, 2018 @11:09 am

    Apathy, ignorance and Trump made the choice for us; its hate, bigotry and senseless violence.  

    I'm tempted to say the response in Florida feels different, but we said that after Sandy hook, Vegas, and too many others to specifically recall.

    For this change its got to start with making it unacceptable for republicans to buy time with "wait for all the facts," and using the mental illness and the nothing will work any way so let's do nothing dodges.  We need to expose and shame those on both sides who accept millions in blood money from the NRA.  And we need to talk plainly and unapologetically about what's really going on here:  this isn't about the constitution; it's about making billions off selling guns, and making the resulting death and destruction accepted.

  9. Ed  •  Feb 16, 2018 @1:38 pm

    Something is missing from our information base: pictures.

    The war in Vietnam had become increasingly unpopular before the Tet Offensive, but images from that time, especially the iconic photo of the South Vietnamese official shooting a captured VC in the head, contributed to the electoral non-viability of LBJ. The photos of dead VC on the grounds of the US embassy shocked people into realizing that William Westmoreland’s optimism about the progress of the war was an illusion in his head, not a reality on the ground. The New Hampshire primary came about three weeks later, and Johnson was a political dead duck.

     

    In 1969, the story of My Lai broke in the media, and the full page photographs in Life magazine of corpses in the ditch awoke millions of citizens to the horror of what was happening in their name. Ditto for the picture of the naked girl in 1972 running and screaming after napalm had been dropped on her in her village. These images had a major influence on the consensus which emerged from their publication: an American public that said: Enough!

    When the Sandy Hook massacre took place, we had to rely on the written and spoken word to communicate the slaughter of innocents. We saw pictures of the adorable little ones when alive, but never of the room full of dead ones (which Obama did see and which moved him to tears and to call that day the worst of his presidency). The same was true of other domestic mass shootings; we hear and read the words, but never see the images. And so we send thoughts and prayers and stage candlelight vigils and sometimes pile stacks of flowers and teddy bears at the fence outside the site of the carnage. Then we move on and the gun lobby keeps its power over out political process.

    Imagine what would have happened to the public debate over gun control at the time of Sandy Hook if there had been pictures of the dead children in their classrooms as vivid as those of My Lai in 1969. Would Paul Ryan and the NRA have seen a reversal of their political fortunes had they gone ahead and acted as they did?

    We hear words, but see no pictures. And the cycle goes on until the next time a mass shooting dominates the news cycle for a day of two.

    Have any pundits commented on this phenomenon? I have not heard or read anything in the media that I consume.

  10. grannyeagle  •  Feb 16, 2018 @3:16 pm

    aj makes a good point.  According to Joseph Campbell, our country (or culture) has no beginning myth and no rite of passage for males in puberty to make the transition to adulthood.  Native Americans had the vision quest.  He also said that females did not need a rite of  passage because nature took care of that by the onset of menstruation, preparing them for childbearing and motherhood. Women are more in tune with the earth energy because both are yin.  Men are yang so they find it  harder to be in the earth plane.  This is a simplistic explanation because nothing is truly all yang or all yin.  So the result is that males do not have any guidance on how to be men and what their role should be.  They are lost.  I guess gangs, drugs and guns are the result of that condition.  Plus a total lack of respect for women.  Women are seen as prey.  I recognize that not all men have this problem but enough do that it is causing a big problem.  Will evolution take care of this or is the human species destined for extinction?

  11. Swami  •  Feb 16, 2018 @4:08 pm

    If they really wanted they could throw up obstacles to reduce the momentum that the NRA has gained in pushing their unrestricted access to military style assault weapons. If they were to employ the same blocking techniques that they have used in hindering women their rights of reproductive freedom.

     When there are enough hoops to have to jump through in order to get a civilian version of a weapon of war that is designed specifically to kill human beings it would reduce the access in securing those types of weapons to those most susceptible to use them in the manner for which they were designed.

    Years ago when I lived in New York and was an avid gun enthusiast/ collector ( with anger issues) I had access to all manner of legal firearms. The one thing I didn't have access to was a handgun. You needed a permit to own a handgun. If you went to a sporting goods store or a gun shop you weren't even allowed to touch, or fondle, or stroke a handgun without a permit. You could only salivate while looking through a glass barrier at the handgun that stirred your desire. 

    I decided that to fulfill my desire I would go through the permitting process. When I got the application it turned out to be 17 pages long (no exaggeration). The same requirements to meet for securing a profession licence minus the educational portion. They asked that I provide three references who knew me and my character for at least 10 years. It required writing an explanation on my need to have a handgun. There was so much information that I needed to provide that it just discouraged me from even attempting to get a handgun ( at least in New York). I wasn't in Florida six months before I had the handgun of my dreams in my possession. I even got one to ship up to New York to my brother who had the same obstacle to overcome I did in getting a handgun.

    My point being.. by throwing up legitimate hindrances to obtaining civilian versions of military assault rifles they can reduce the danger of putting such a vicious weapon in the hands of somebody who hasn't really explored the depths of their desire to own one.

  12. John M from Ct  •  Feb 16, 2018 @4:38 pm

    Ed, I've been having the same thoughts, about how the lack of slaughter imagery enables the gun lobby and its supporters to keep the debate as one of words and numbers and symbols.
    And no, I don't recall ever reading a debate about this. The NY Times regularly runs cover photos of corpses, at times with a discreet amount of blood, which I find appalling. The outcry about a posting of photos of mass death by a shooter would be immense. But maybe it would change a few voters' minds, maybe electing a Congress to do something about lessening the odds of future photos being published.

  13. Ed  •  Feb 16, 2018 @5:31 pm

    JohnM, there would be an outcry about photos of mass death, and the posting should be done with the consent of the family. Recall that in 1955  Emmett Till's mother made the choice to have his funeral with an open casket which was photographed and pictures of her son's corpse were widely disseminated, and this was an early catalyst for the civil rights movement. It was painful for his mom but her decision made a difference in the way that northerners thought about Jim Crow. 

  14. zoomar2  •  Feb 16, 2018 @6:45 pm

    Ed, I was fortunate enough some years ago during my art director days, to spend a morning over coffee with Eddie Adams talking about that very photo. Besides some frightful technical details about muzzle velocity and shutter speed that Army engineer nerds shared with him, Adams expressed genuine sympathy for the South Vietnamese officer who fired that shot, having known him personally.

     

  15. Ed  •  Feb 16, 2018 @9:55 pm

    zoomzr2: I had read that Adams regretted the day he took the photo, so your confirmation is helpful. That was good fortune indeed. I had also understood that the VC had killed a family member of the SV officer a few minutes previously. Was that what Adams told you?

  16. Procopius  •  Feb 17, 2018 @2:46 am

    Minor quibble: harder to get their hands on a gun is not the only difference with other countries. In most other countries, including some which the U.S. considers shithole countries, troubled people are more likely to get help outside of prison. In America, since Reagan was governor of California, mental health care for the uninsured is largely provided by the Bureau of Prisons. Of course the private for-profit prisons take care to not let that responsibility be included in their contracts, just as they insist the State must pay a penalty if they don't send enough prisoners to maintain full occupancy.

  17. zoomar2  •  Feb 17, 2018 @12:06 pm

    Ed, I can't confirm that from the conversation (over 20 yrs ago), but other interviews confirm that the prisoner had just killed SV Army soldiers. We did get into the photo's unique impact on American perspective of that war and by extension all war. How civilians, protected from the horror might have been shocked by that image and others. He seemed quite bemused at the level of investigation the army did on the mechanics involved in making the image itself. By their calculations of muzzle velocity, camera model, lens, shutter speed, film speed, aperture, etc they informed him that although the image shows the instant before the shot, when the shutter clicked, the bullet was already in the exact center of the prisoner's head. A staggering thing for Adams to contemplate for years. The social ripple effect from a split second reflex, juxtaposed to the detached fascination of Army bureaucrats with that same reflex.

  18. Swami  •  Feb 18, 2018 @5:11 pm

    “You are such a psychopath that you have to make even the death of 17 children about you. America will regret the day you were ever born,” tweeted Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego.