Is This Who We Are?

Over the weekend the Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, blamed just about everything on the planet for the Santa Fe High School shooting except, you know, guns.

The Republican lieutenant governor also said, “We can’t sit back and say, ‘It’s the gun.’ It’s us as a nation, George … On this Sunday morning, when we all go to church and pray or go to synagogue or the mosque or wherever we go, let’s look inward at ourselves as a nation.”

Stephanopoulos asked, “But when we look inward, sir, aren’t we going to find that guns are more available here in greater numbers, in greater lethality, than any other developed country in the world?”

“They are, George,” Patrick said, “and here’s the reality: They are a part of who we are as a nation. It is our Second Amendment.”

I’m all for looking inward at ourselves as a nation. And when we do, we ought to be honest with ourselves that “we” have a problem with guns. And by “we” I mean our fellow citizens who harbor a toxic mix of aggrieved entitlement, masculinity issues and firearm fetishism.

Josh Marshall wrote a couple of days ago (please read all of this):

School shootings are a contagious phenomenon in American society which virtually always involves boys in late adolescence who have histories of rage and alienation and play that out in mass atrocity attacks at their school, which for them is their social world.

We can all see that they are highly choreographed, often using the same set of strategies to maximize fatalities, sometimes with new innovations which are then folded into the ritual of attack. What we call extremist ideologies are really just the languages these guys glom onto to articulate and understand those impulses. This doesn’t mean extremist groups and extremist ideologies don’t matter. For some, they clearly provide a language and a rationale and even a sense of righteousness to their actions. For some that helps bridge the path between extreme rage and actual violence.

But if that’s absent, it’s no mystery. Because it’s a mistake to see them as the real driver. Again, this happens all the time. The motive is pretty clear: angry and alienated young man, a late adolescent consumed with rage and alienation who lives in the United States and thus has become a devotee of the cult, the ideology of the redemptive school shooting atrocity. The ideology is really the cult of the mass shooting, in which the gun, with all its cultural and political omnipotence, plays a central role. Every school shooter learned from the history of school shootings, mimicked the strategies, was in a sense acting out a ritual which has become deeply rooted in our culture. We know the motive. We know the ideology: rage and alienation transmuted through mass gun violence. [Emphasis added]

And if the boy manages to grow up without killing anybody, he turns into the specimen in the photo above, in which he expresses his identity, his sense of manhood, through guns. We are threatened by a cult of the gun, which has become culturally and politically omnipotent. And supporting this is one big, toxic, twisted, neurotic sickness that has replaced any sense of honor, decency or responsibility in many American men.

Back in 2013 I wrote a post titled “Gun Culties vs. Everybody Else” about a man who had sheltered some children during the Sandy Hook shooting who was being harassed by “truthers.” The die-hard culties are buggier than road kill in August. They get catered to becausee they are single-issue voters backed by a powerful lobbying organization that many legislators fear. See also “Guns as Sacred Objects.”

I agree with Charles Blow, that we must all become single-issue voters where it comes to gun control.

People seeking common sense gun control must become single-issue voters on gun control. Support for more restrictions may not be the only reason to vote for a candidate, but it must be sufficient to vote against one.

We have to stop waiting for politicians to display courage and instead start to instill fear in them.

We must not let these weenies with guns continue to terrorize us and slaughter our children.

I’d like to make one more point. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe shooter, is believed to have gone on his rampage because he wouldn’t take “no” from a girl.

Sadie Rodriguez, a mother of one of the victims, Shana Fisher, said that the shooter approached her daughter in class. Rodriguez told the Los Angeles Times that Fisher “had four months of problems from this boy” and “he kept making advances on her, and she repeatedly told him no.”

She said the the boy became more and more aggressive, according to The Times, which wrote that he “continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class” a week before the shooting.

I haven’t found any details about how Pagourtzis had been “embarassed.” It sounds as if the late Ms. Fisher tried to let him down easy and finally was driven to calling him out. Did she report him to school authorities? If she had, would they have done anything (I am skeptical)?

For a subset of our citizens, guns have become the totem through which their cartoonish notions of “manhood” are actualized. And as long as that’s the case, we’re all in danger. Our message to them has to be, No, this is not who we are.

11 thoughts on “Is This Who We Are?

  1. Between gun nuts and “incels”, maybe we should establish a fund to send them all “companionship” dolls.

  2. "In response to school shooting in Texas, Hugh Hewitt proposes a ban on trench coats."

  3. Since the good Old (or is that sacred?) Second Amendment says "militia" how about all persons who want to own guns must complete a tour of military service.  USAF boot camp is about as easy as it gets and I bet even that would weed out most of these loons.

    I understand, there are some who fail to internalize the lessons of military training (cf: Greitens, Eric) but the vast majority come through with a real appreciation for the fragility and sanctity of life.  It's those who never served and see them only from afar that aggrandize weapons as some panacea.

    Oh and since it is that time of year:

    Memorial Day is for those that served and gave their life.

    Veterans Day is for those that served and returned.

    Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving.

  4. The guns belonged to the shooter's father, who obtained them legally. Unless the shooter had to go to extraordinary lengths to obtain access, (power tools to open a gun safe) daddy needs to be charged because if you're a responsible gun owner, and your weapon is used in a crime, you're responsible.

    It needs to be the new standard – if you choose to own a weapon, you must make a significant effort to restrict access. If you fail, and something bad happens with that gun, you're going to stand trial.


  5. IMHO – Their guns are their tickets to (for lack of a better term – "Southern") "manhood."

    One inbred generaton after another, all male children were bred with a gun and a sense of petulant and ignorant resentment and hatred for anyone who's not like them. 

    THEY, are the ugliest Americans.






  6. That picture at the top cracks me up! I love the III percent flag, if that fat slob is part of the "three percent" god help the rest of us! Doug is right that kids Father should stand trial for murder, the fact that his guns were not secured and the kid had access to them is no different that if he put the guns in the kids car and saw him off to the shooting! He's an accessory at best.

  7. Gun situation is like other aspects of right-wing hegemony.  All about gaming the system so a corporate group can make money and wield power.

    I am struck by the TV  soundbite government we have now

    No policy just phrases. No thought processes just emotional reaction.

    People in trump administration are picked for tv. Kudlow ,giuliani, bolton great at making commentary, not good at policy,planning, actual doing work. Good for blowing things up not building things up

     Lousy at governance

    Meanwhile we are so distracted we miss that yesterday a huge bomb dropped from Gorsuch court to blow up u or rights of redress via courts. The individual is made more powerless.

  8. Sure thing ,Sarge. I'll man the barricade as soon as I finish eating my jelly donut!

    We're in big trouble if lard buckets like the guy in the photo above are going to be our first line of defense. He's only kidding himself if he thinks he's some sort of a minuteman..Maybe in the sack, but not on the battlefield.

     Over hill, over dale, he should hit the sit-up trail!

  9. "some sort of a minuteman..Maybe in the sack, but not on the battlefield"

    Too funny Swami! I can't stop laughing at that picture, what a chump, he has his AR-15 flag but that pea shooter he is hugging like his first teddy bear probably wouldn't fire 30 yards. How is he going to take down the deep state with that bb gun?

  10. aj, 

    Conservatives don't want to govern.

    They want to rule.




    His significant other probably looks at 1 minute with this full pantload  as a marathon torture session.

  11. I've gotta laugh at old porky in the picture. What's with the alpine hat and the Mosin-Nagant carbine? I remember back in basic training when we went through the obstacle course. At the completion of the course the last obstacle we encountered was having to run and dive through a tire suspended and secured in a wooden frame about 3 feet off the ground, and land on rock hard dirt. I think Porky would get stuck in the tire because the diameter, if I remember correctly, didn't allow for lard buckets to make it through. He'd be sorta like a cork in a wine bottle.

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