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Tuesday: Guns for everyone (and bullets for every gun) edition

As realists we know that here in the United States we aren’t ever going to outlaw private ownership of guns. But, you might (realistically) think that this Tuesday morning — nearly 3 days after the terrible shooting in Tucson — there would be a steady stream of articles calling for more serious regulation of the guns in this country.

There isn’t. Apparently Gun Control is off the table.

With my background in programming and maintaining databases I should have known better … but I didn’t. Even with all my knowledge, I thought there was something almost automatic about that database of people who shouldn’t be able to buy guns.

I was totally wrong:

After Tucson: Why Are the Mentally Ill Still Bearing Arms?

As far back as the Gun Control Act of 1968, there have been federal laws against selling weapons to mentally ill individuals. But the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, in which the shooter Cho Seung-Hui was able to pass two federal gun background checks even after a state court ruled that he was dangerously mentally ill, highlighted the need for better record-keeping and interagency communication to enforce those laws. (More than 30 people died in the incident.) Saying that unstable individuals are disqualified from buying firearms is meaningless if the national background-check system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), has no record of their illness. That’s why the Brady organization was proud to announce on Friday, just a day before the Tucson shootings, that the number of records of mental illness in the NICS database had more than doubled since Virginia Tech, to more than 1 million records.
. . .
But there’s a problem with that: there should be more than 2 million records in that database, if all the states cooperated fully. According to the Brady organization’s records, Arizona was not even the worst offender — at least the state ramped up its reporting somewhat in the wake of Virginia Tech. But still, Arizona’s own estimate is that the state has 121,700 records of disqualifying mental illness that should go into the NICS database. From the beginning of 2008 to October 2010, however, it submitted only 4,465 records. Worse than Arizona were states like Louisiana, which submitted only one record during that time frame, and Nebraska and Pennsylvania, which didn’t submit any.

I just don’t get this.  We’re willing – sometimes eager – to regulate all sorts of things (drugs, speech, activities) but, don’t even think about controlling guns:

Support for Gun Control Has Dropped in Recent Years

In the wake of Saturday’s shooting in Arizona, there are likely to be new polls out this week measuring the public’s support for stricter gun control laws. Until they surface, it is worth noting that support for stricter gun control has significantly dropped over the last couple of decades, and there is little evidence to suggest that major gun crimes change opinions on the issue.
. . .
The number supporting stricter laws has been gradually declining over the last 20 years. When Gallup first asked the question in 1990, 78 percent favored stricter laws. That was down to 60 percent in 1999, 54 percent in 2004 and 44 percent in 2009 and 2010.

The 1999 Columbine shootings and 2007 Virginia Tech shootings appear to have had little, if any, effect on these views.

The scary thing?  Almost half of us don’t support the national ban on assault weapons!!

There is, however, substantially more support for a ban on assault weapons and semiautomatic firearms, like the one used in Saturday’s shootings. In a 2009 Times/CBS News poll, 54 percent of Americans, including about half of respondents who have a gun in their home, said they favored a nationwide assault weapons ban.

A Right to Bear Glocks?

If Loughner had gone to the Safeway carrying a regular pistol, the kind most Americans think of when they think of the right to bear arms, Giffords would probably still have been shot and we would still be having that conversation about whether it was a sane idea to put her Congressional district in the cross hairs of a rifle on the Internet.

But we might not have lost a federal judge, a 76-year-old church volunteer, two elderly women, Giffords’s 30-year-old constituent services director and a 9-year-old girl who had recently been elected to the student council at her school and went to the event because she wanted to see how democracy worked.

Loughner’s gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is “not suited for hunting or personal protection,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. “What it’s good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly.”

Do you ever read news stories and see a little movie as you read it?  Since reading this, I keep imagining the scene where Arizona Legislators debated and passed the legislation allowing guns in bars:

In Tucson, Guns Have a Broad Constituency

Arizona’s gun laws stand out as among the most permissive in the country. Last year, Arizona became only the third state that does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The state also enacted another measure that allowed workers to take their guns to work, even if their workplaces banned firearms, as long as they kept them in their locked vehicles.

In 2009, a law went into effect allowing people with concealed-weapons permits to take their guns into restaurants and bars.

And I’ll close today’s list with these thoughts from Bob Herbert:

A Flood Tide of Murder

Excluding the people killed in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, more than 150,000 Americans have been murdered since the beginning of the 21st century. This endlessly proliferating parade of death, which does not spare women or children, ought to make our knees go weak. But we never even notice most of the killings. Homicide is white noise in this society.

The overwhelming majority of the people who claim to be so outraged by last weekend’s shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others — six of them fatally — will take absolutely no steps, none whatsoever, to prevent a similar tragedy in the future. And similar tragedies are coming as surely as the sun makes its daily appearance over the eastern horizon because this is an American ritual: the mowing down of the innocents.

254 Responses

  1. Gun control is what we should have been talking about since Saturday.

    Instead it’s been Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.

    • We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We need to have both conversations. We can discuss both vitriolic rhetoric and our national fascination with guns. It’s not an either/or.

      • P.S. – Both husband and I own Glocks. We know how to use them. They aren’t for play or target practice. Still, I fully support stronger gun laws. Again, not an either/or.

        • Have you written about that? This seems like a good time to discuss why reasonable people would own one.

          • Gabby Giffords owned one, and was quite proud of her ability to use it. She was for gun rights.

            Had the sheriff filed an appropriate report—when he knew this guy was issuing death threats at the college and around town, Loughner would never have gotten his hands on a Glock.

            There are rules about gun control. But the people involved–parents, college, sheriff, no counselors—never filed reports that would have placed his name in the denial files.

          • I knew that about Giffords, but she’s not exactly in a position to write about it now.

          • Of course you’re right.

            My point, was that if that sheriff had filed the proper paperwork—after knowing Loughner was making death threats around town—Gabby would be here to talk about it, cuz Loughner would never have gotten the Glock.

        • I’m also a gun owner who supports strong gun laws. And both the subject of dehumanizing language and gun regulation are absolutely pertinent to the conversation. We need to stop pretending that there are no contributing factors in these grotesque killing sprees.

        • Thanks Blue!!!!

          I own one. I know how to use one. I see IT and THEM for what they are: Dangerous weapons in the wrong hands.

          I suppose if someone were to go on a rampage with a Hammer, Kitchen knives, baseball bats,Rope,a car, a truck etc… we’d be calling for a ban on them too eh?

          People….there will always be crazies that decide to take out their perceived slights on the rest of humanity.

          Yes, there should be better laws to ensure that people with mental health issues do not get their hands on a firearm. No one is arguing against that but to ask why so-called “reasonable people” would even think of owning a gun and we that do having to “explain” why we do quite frankly smacks of……moral superiority!

          • I had a friend say to me, when she learned I had started to carry a hand gun, “by the time you get your gun out and take the safety off, you’d be dead”. To which I replied, “If I am entering the house by myself and no one is home I have my gun out coming up the road and I carry it in my hand. And what would I have the safety on for? It won’t shoot like that”. She thought I was being funny.

          • I own a shotgun. But being in the South, that’s like owning a toothbrush — everyone has one. It’s not a firearm it’s just a shotgun. LOL I got it back in 2008 & have taken shooting lessons, but I figure if anyone I don’t want comes to my door just the sound of the pump will be enough to scare them off. If it doesn’t, I know how to use it.

            I do support stronger gun laws, but since I’m not mentally ill & I’m not a felon, I feel no qualms about owning one.

          • People down south own toothbrushes?

          • Oh, you’re a bad clown!

      • I don’t think we need to have both conversations. Palin had nothing to do with these murders and neither did vitriolic speech (and I do not find Sarah Palin to be vitriolic) by people like Limbaugh. The guy was crazy. He didn’t like the way the congresswoman answered a question way back in 2007. My sister thinks Palin is dangerous. I think that is nonsense. I think Limbaugh is dangerous, but not for inciting hate. Rather, he is dangerous because he has contributed to the dumbing down of the American people.
        Speech is

        • I agree, and think it’s idiotic that somehow Sarah Palin was made the focus when she had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    • I believe it’s easier to get a gun in Arizona then it is to get claritan-d! There is NO reason why anyone other than police or military should be able to get this type of automatic weapon and ammo ( from walmart) , which can get off 30 shots a clip, regardless of how you roll on the 2nd amendment

      • It’s NOT an automatic weapon!!!!!!!

        It’s a SEMI-Automatic HAND GUN!
        ALL hand guns that are SEMI-Automatic have a capability of carrying an extended clip.

        And you ARE wrong Ainn. There ARE many reasons why the citizenry should own a gun. Albeit responsibly!

        • I didn’t say they shouldnt own a gun, they shouldnt be able to buy a gun that can kill 30 people at a clip. Unless you are fending off an invading army there is absolutely no reason for that.

        • I sincerely don’t mean this is a negative way…but can you help me understand (e.g., list the reasons) why you need/should own a gun.

          I am one of those who doesn’t understand why you would need a gun – but I am also open to hearing what others who do have one want them.

          • One reason, wildlife that will eat you. Bears, big cats, etc. Often they will stay away, and making noise will help, but sometimes they just want to eat you.

            Another reason, you’re on your own with no civilized type protection of police, etc. When you’re out in the sticks far enough, it’s a bit of the wild west and though crime is low and you’re mostly fine, you sleep better with some protection.

          • Another reason, probably unrelated in this context, is sport. Marksman type sports can be fun. Competitive shooting or archery or whatever.

          • And of course probably the biggest reason, perhaps also not in this context, is hunting. There are people in this country way below the poverty line that probably wouldn’t survive without hunting for much of their food. Some of course also do it for sport. But most I think do it for food.

          • I’m not a huge fan of guns, but I come from farmers. They need guns to protect their livestock. I’ve known hunters who needed guns to bring home food and to sport hunt. And I’d argue that people who work in dangerous jobs where their lives or livelihoods are at stake (like, say, truckers) might do well to have guns on them for their protection.

            I want it to be difficult for people to buy guns, especially if they have mental health issues. But as a therapist, I also know that I can’t just up and hand over a list of my clients to the authorities based on my gut feeling. I’m a mandated reporter, but up until I am told that my client is a danger to themselves or others, I keep my damn mouth shut. Those are the limits of confidentiality.

          • Thanks for that list. I have no problem with any of what was suggested. My SO and I live in the boonies of Arizona (yup!) and have no gun and never will…I imagine more harm by having one than the off chance that having one might have been handy.

            One question….”glocks” sound like overkill in almost all of the situations suggested. I guess I grew up thinking that hunting and protection, etc. probably only need a simple weapon. But again – I truly have no knowledge on this subject.

          • Dandy forgot one — I’m a single, attractive woman who has had a stalker in the past (lunatic finally committed suicide after I caught him in my apartment & thankfully, had just come back from a kayaking trip & had my paddle in my hand & cracked him over the head with it — and you know what, I don’t give a damn that he killed himself — I’m relieved). I feel safe in my home knowing that if any more weirdos show up at my door, I have a shotgun.

          • He didn’t by chance shoot himself with your shotgun, did he?


          • No — he killed himself in police custody. After I wacked him with the paddle board I ran to my neighbor & called the police who came over & arrested him.

      • I used to think like you. But the fact is that law abiding people should not be punished for the behavior of a few. Most of the time when guns are used in crimes they are not legally owned or registered. AZ should have a permit system and people who are felons, children and crazy people (who are dangerous, most are not) should not be able to get their hands on any gun. But if you are law abiding and not nuts you can own any weapon you want just because you want it. You have no more right to judge who should have what gun anymore than someone else should be able to make a judgement about who can have an abortion and why.

        I live on the top of a mountain where my nearest neighbor is half a mile away and if I needed the cops it would take them 20 minutes to get here, if they could even find it. We have 31 acres and about 20 of it is woods. I love it here. However if Al is out of town and I have to enter the house after driving half a mile up my drive way and I enter the house and find 4 or 5 guys emptying the place and they decide to kill me rather than leave a witness, you better believe I want a gun capable of killing as many people as possible in a matter of minutes. It may be my only hope for surviving. I take classes in gun combat and I practice shoot several times a month. I am a real good shot. I shoot better than some men who have been doing it for 30 years. I know that if I decide to use the gun I carry, I am not shooting to piss my attackers off, shooting to kill is the only option.

        We have several incidents every few months of people riding an ATV through the woods, armed, tying people up and robbing them. Several have been caught and most are from out of state, brought here by the gas companies to work the wells. So far they have not killed anyone, I don’t want to be the person who is unlucky enough to be the first murder.
        Do you know why rural people are serious about their gun rights and why you can’t understand it? They know that in most cases, it is them against the intruder.
        Plus, they just like to collect guns and they can.
        This is a house of gun enthusiasts. We have over 100 weapons here. I don’t collect them but my S. O. does and not one of those guns ever killed anyone not even by accident.
        I believe the statistics are that most murders are not done by firearms, but by blunt instruments, knives, poison and strangulation. A person with a knife will kills you quicker than you can shoot him, unless you shoot before he is less than arms length. I will look for those stats. But also remember, it was senior citizens in Chicago who got the anti gun legislation overturned because they were tired or being sitting ducks for the criminals who will always have access to illegal firearms. Now I only hope these same citizens learn to use them correctly. No one should own or carry a gun without knowing how to use it.

      • I thought that the extended clips were illegal.

    • Remember those guys in Texas who beat up some poor African American dude and dragged him behind a truck til he was decapitated? How about matthew sheppherd who was beaten to a bloody pulp and tied to a fence to die.
      No guns were used in either case.
      Yes, it would be great if we made it harder for crazy people to get guns but I am of the opinion that we shouldn’t induce craziness in regular people.
      That’s what’s going on.

      • Agree in general. But here’s what I think is at play. And likely it’s just an opportunity to be pounced upon vs. something planned. We’re about to get our 1st amendment rights reduced. The chorus from both sides for this is getting loud. Well, D’s are pushing hard for speech limits and R’s are pretending they don’t want it and want to protect our speech rights, but they don’t really. You heard it hear first.

        • You’re right. I am very concerned. I wish I had more time this week to follow this aspect of the debate. It worries me a great deal.

          OTOH, just heard a great presentation on protein folding. The revolution in biology is truly awe inspiring. I’m so glad I am able to witness it.

          • And I agree on what’s happening lately in bio. And similarly many areas of nanotech are moving fast. Fricking awesome.

            And you know, that all of those areas will eventually be things you “program”. Oh yea, programmers will rule the earth. 🙂

          • 🙂 That’s wonderful, RD. Can you write anything about some of it?

          • Can you imagine if we had nonofactories? They could make anything. From fully functioning cars to whole houses, to most any material itself. Poof. All from piles of dirt basically. Oh, and of course they could make things to produce energy. Limitless things, limitless energy. And the only thing of value other than the dirt, the ability to program them. Just saying… 🙂

          • DT, I’d love to learn more about that!!

          • OTOH, there are some people at this conference who are working with yersinia pestis. I wonder how he breaks that to his grad students?

          • bubonic plagues?

          • Kbrid: I could but I’m here in learning mode and I’m just trying to get a grip on it myself. But here’s a hint: think back to your high school biology and forget everything you learned except the organelles in the cell. Think endoplasmic reticulum, ribsomes, RNA and dna. Think single cell organisms vs plant cells vs eukaryotic cells.
            Now, start swapping parts around. What biologists are able to do now is play with genetic sequences, reprogram cells to make proteins they wouldn’t necessarily make and then speed up or slow down by tweaking the machinery of the cell.
            Mind blowing.

          • Among other things, the possibilities for both cancer and aging are really exciting.

          • Yep, plague. I’m sure they work under bio safety cabinets when they screw around with it. And probably, everyone has had their shots. The lab is most likely scrupulously compliant with all safety regulations.
            Still, I wouldn’t want to date anyone in that lab.
            Plague is kind of a deal breaker.

          • Just imagining the conversations during early dating. “Soooo, what do you do?” “Oh, I work with bubonic plague in the lab. Care for a bit of what I’m eating?”

          • Weird, there are a lot fewer Asian names on the acknowledgment slides.

          • The only high school biology I remember involved the back seat of a car and swapping bodily fluids.

        • How can that be done without a constitutional amendment?

      • You are right and you are wrong.

        Of course you can kill people without using guns. And mentally ill people use all sorts of weapons when in the grip of whatever is driving them to mayhem. I used to work with a man whose daughter stabbed her mother (his wife) over 20 times then called him at work & asked him to call an ambulance.

        Horrible things can happen without guns.

        But, it would be pretty difficult to kill and wound multiple people (by yourself) without a gun.

        Serious conversations about gun control have been suppressed for years. A conversation about it absolutely belongs on this blog today.

        • HONK, HONK, HONK!!!

        • Oh, by all means. Have this conversation. It’s much needed.

        • I agree with you Katie.

        • clips that can shoot off 30 rounds should not be available to anyone other than military/police. No one “needs” to shoot off 30 rounds at a clip, other than a mass murderer.

        • Well said.

          I am slightly pro-gun, but approve restrictions put in after the attempted assassination of President Reagan. Few people need to get off 30 shots or more without re-loading. That’s why such extensions and assault weapons were illegal until GW Bush became President. Now they are exported to drug lords in Mexico who use them to kill children.

          I understand though situations like those of Teresainpa and angienc. I have had relatives who had to defend themselves in rural areas. Stalkers can be dangerous. (Good work with the paddle, angienc! Way to go!)


    • Forget GUN control. I want BULLET control. Maybe gun insurance?

  2. With regards to the first article, while I agree, in this case, Loughner had not been declared by any doctor or state agency to be mentally unstable. His record, had been one of disruption and his only conviction was for possessing drug paraphenalia. He would have gotten through any background check.

    • I agree – the headline is misleading.

      Also, we’ve got to do a lot more to identify and help those who are mentally ill … and their families.

    • I heard he was declared dangerously mentally disturbed by the state and the information was not shared with the agency that responds to back ground checks.

  3. The way to prevent tragedies like this in the future is to strengthen mental health care. Schizophrenia has an onset in the late teens and early twenties. There is no reason there could not be routine screening in the last year of high school, with referral. The prodromal period is typically 6 months during which symptoms increase. People clearly knew this person was in trouble but did nothing except leave it up to him to seek treatment, something he did not do because his illness involves disordered thought. THAT is the problem that needs to be addressed, whether those suffering from mental illness shoot people or not.

    • The thing is, the gun lobby has wads of money, while the mentally ill lobby — is there even a mentally ill lobby?

      The only way to fix any of this is to get money out of politics.

    • See, I’m not convinced he is schizophrenic. My bet is paranoid personality disorder.
      Of course, i am not a doctor.

      • I read some of his written stuff, and it sure looked like disordered thoughts and psychosis to me.

      • I have been told that the whole “words have no meaning” is a philosophical theory. When I say someone had a “house fire,” different pictures might pop into different people’s minds. (My argument to friends with this view is “Yes, misunderstandings may happen but words usually enable us to understand each other well enough.”)

        It may be that this murderer was deep into this form of thought. He may be disturbed but may be legally rational and culpable.

        More telling is his “Die bitch” note. Sounds like misogyny to me. And we know that has gotten worse.


    • I understand what you’re getting at, and it’s wonderful. But can we Please stop using the term schizophrenia? Because while I’m privately fairly certain that this man is psychotic, the vast majority of schizophrenics are not violent people. Other disorder have MUCH higher rates of violent crime comission.

    • Debbie, I have a loved one who is schizophrenic. It is not just that her thoughts are disordered, but the medication was so life killing (all creativity and energy sapped until she was only a ghost of herself) that every time she started feeling that the hallucinations were gone she stopped taking her meds. It took years and years for her to stop doing that and it went well past the age of 22 or whatever age this young man is.

  4. Missing from Arizona shooting debate: Guns

    In the wake of the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, politicians on both sides of the aisle are passionately debating the role of incendiary rhetoric.

    Very few of them are talking about guns.

    • Apparently it’s not guns that kill people, but words. Who knew?

    • This is the greater tragedy in this. So many are calling for a censorship of speech, when in my opinion speech is not the issue. The issue is the ease of gun ownership and the diagnosis and care of mental disorders. That is what should be discussed.

      The trashing of the term liberal or progressive rests mostly with the incompetence with which those who call themselves liberal or progressive, put forth their arguments. They are weak representatives of our beliefs. Too many think themselves elite and that interactions with those much less “enlightened” are beneath them, so they prefer to look at these people as stupid instead of engaging all constructively.

      I also agree with Angie that the rush to place blame on someone, or something is an attempt to make ourselves feel better that we have or can have some semblance of control of our lives, while Blaming mental disorders would represent one more way in which we lack control.

      Political speech may be brutal in this day and age, but how will making this speech nicer, more civilized help? I’m not saying that in its current form its helping, but prior to its current form was it helping?

      We need to be discussing gun control and mental health.

  5. I’m going to take a closer look at that press release from the Brady group.

    I just saw this story at the Washington Post:

    Arizona’s gun laws stand out as among the most permissive in the country. Last year, Arizona became only the third state that does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The state also enacted another measure that allowed workers to take their guns to work, even if their workplaces banned firearms, as long as they kept them in their locked vehicles.

    In 2009, a law went into effect allowing people with concealed-weapons permits to take their guns into restaurants and bars.

    Which is bizarrely similar to the story I quoted in my post.

  6. How much of people like Loughner slipping through the cracks is due to no funding and a lack of staffing at the agencies responsible?
    This year will be the tenth anniversary of 911 and we still don’t have communications between LEA’s?

    Last week before this happened, I was listening to something about the Obama administration putting off legislation regulating the bulk purchase of firearms. The argument was unscrupulous gun dealers were making large buys and selling them to the drug cartels infesting Mexico. Obama not wanting to incur the wrath of the NRA before the elections sat on the legislation. Granted this just might be the fever dream of the person making this accusation but the NRA does have a lot of influence with congress.

    As to what motivated Loungher have you ever listened to Michael Savage?
    Did you know he is banned from entering the U K because they consider his words hate speech?

    • Mr. Mike, Savage may be a tool, but this is pure fantasy:

      as to what motivated Loughner..

      Really? On what basis do you assume that this guy ever, even once in his life, listened to Savage? Or even knew who Savage is?

      • Blogging Rule #2: Jumping to conclusions is good exercise

      • So, the AM part of his AM/FM radio is broke?

        That what you are saying?

        • No, I am saying that there are tons and tons of people in this country, believe it or not, who do not really follow politics like we do, and do not listen to talk radio. Ever. They rarely watch the news.

          And there is no evidence whatsoever that this guy was either a RW radio listener, or an aficionado of the spittle-flecked rantings of Ed Schultz (you know, the guy who said on air that he wanted to rip out Dick Cheney’s heart and kick it around?). None. There is no connection between him and any right or left wing group of any kind.

          And your answer to that lack of evidence is, in essence, “but..but..but..he must’ve!”?? Gimme a break.

          • My favorite is “he must be a wingnut because he is paranoid of government.”

            Leaving aside the fact that he is a PARANOID schizophrenic, fringe lefties are paranoid of government too.

          • Just because you’re a paranoid nut doesn’t mean the government isn’t out to get you. 🙂

          • some non fringe liberals are paranoid of government too. I think you have to be crazy NOT to distrust government. That doesn’t mean I don’t think we should have a big damn cumbersome one, just that I verify before I trust.

          • Yeah, Lougnher grew up in a vacuum and it pure concidence his ranting is similar to that of AM radio conservatives.

            Diseased minds think alike.

          • His rantings are nothing like AM radio conservatives. If you want to claim they are, give some examples.

          • Government, specially one run by a Democrat, is the enemy.

          • That’s not an example. The far right and far left are both anti-government.

            Show me some quotes of AM radio conservatives that match Loughner’s rants.

          • Far left?
            Air America is still in business?

          • That definition could fit anyone from Manson and Assange to Jim Jones who ordered the murder of our last assassinated congress person. Or maybe Lougher was driven to his kililng spree by a completely broken mind like the V Tech or Fort Hood shooters. I don’t know…no one does. The evidence will come out. What’s the point of speculating.

          • Bill Ayers has a syndicated program on the SDS network?

            Has there been any studies on external stimuli (talk radio) triggering a person with a mental disorder to act out his delusions?

          • We do know he believed the US government flew planes into buildings on 9/11. I don’t know any right wing truthers.

          • I’ve never heard of a right-winger burning an American flag.

            That is anathema to them

        • There is no evidence that the shooter listened to right wing bluster any more than he listened to left wing bluster. It’s also not always the case that disturbed political assassins come from the opposite party. Oswald was (probably) a lefty. Bremer was a lefty when he shot Wallace. Lougher was an anti government truther anarchist. He was obsessed with Giffords. He lost his mind and shot twenty strangers. There is no indication so far that his meltdown was motivated by politics.

      • I think Mr Mike was saying that speech such as Michael Savages IS incendiary. I don’t think he was saying that the AZ shooter was necessarily listening to Savage.

    • Um, from the accounts that are coming out about him (besides the stuff you can watch for yourself on Mr. Grammar/Mind Control/Dream Consciousness/New Currency’s youtube channel), he was a LEFT WINGER who lists, among his favorite books, Mein Kampf, who didn’t even vote in the 2008 elections & who has been obsessed with Gillifords since 2007.

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: psychotics listen to the voices inside their head, not to external stimuli. Trying to find out “what motivated him” is an exercise in futility.

  7. Thanks for this post, katiebird.
    I think you’re right on-dare I say it-target.
    All this talk about party affiliation and influence is a smokescreen to keep us from demanding laws that keep horrible weapons out of the hands of criminals and lunatics.

  8. Very good. Interesting only rhetoric is discussed, when we have a crazy guy who got his hands on a semi-automatic weapon.
    Also, the “Arrest Sarah Palin” edition of the DUdies

  9. It’s against the law for anyone who has ever been in a mental hospital to own a handgun in this country, whether or not they have any violent history or propensities. However, if a violent individual has never been in the system, there is no record of him and he can get a gun just like any other citizen.

  10. Maybe the US should look towards Australia which baned fire arms after the massacre of Port Arthur in 1996 when 35 people were killed.


  11. Thanks for that last link (to ‘A Flood Tide of Murder’). It’s quite good. I used to start my day with a trip to the NYTimes website, but only go there now when blogs link to an article.


    p.s.: That columnist’s first name is Bob.

  12. Regarding the decline in public support for gun control, basically the firearms industry has pulled it off. “It” was the bankrolling of the gun lobby, which blocked gun control measures long enough to produce an atmosphere of fear and insecurity which in turn stimulated more gun purchases.
    Accordingly, the number of firearms in private hands increased, the probability of firearms-related crimes rose, and public confidence in the law enforcement capabilities of the the government declined. So, what do you do when you feel that the public authorities can no longer protect you? And so on and so forth, usw.
    A positive feedback loop, a captive market, and big sales. Eat your heart out, tobacco industry!
    As for the long-term social impact? Well, society (assuming there is such a thing) can take care of itself.

  13. Great post by Somerby. It’s short so instead of quoting some bits, just read it.

    • Mostly he’s spanking Krugman and others for linking or even hinting at linking this event to any vitriol, etc., etc. since we don’t know that, and in fact it’s rather unlikely. Sure talk about it separately, but don’t link. He also points out some tired lies that keep coming back around.

      • Could it be that all the obsessing over vitriol, etc.., is a way of avoiding a debate over gun control?

        • I think it’s a premise to move to limit free speech.

          • Who wants to do to that, to whom, and how?

            Jest askin’…

          • Current D’s are pushing for speech limits, but I think both sides would love that. And if so, they’d be doing it simply as a mechanism for more power and control. Nothing fancy or tinfoil hat, just yummy power.

          • If they limit free speech, maybe we won’t be able to complain that they are robbing us blind to pay Wall St. while sending our jobs to God knows where and taking our houses without having to show they are entitled to do so and requiring us to buy crap health insurance.

            Hmmm… I’m sure they are sick of hearing us complain.

          • I’m for getting the blowhards at Fox and MSNBC to STFU, though not necessarily by legal means. Interesting how both those stations as well as the larger partisan blogs will spew all day at each other, but they rarely direct their vitriol at Wall Street anymore.

      • Disagree. The level of intimidation has gotten so serious that in some parts of the country it’s dangerous to admit you are a liberal. while the the intimidation and shootings may not be linked in this particular instance, they are symptomatic of a very real problem. I think the Pima county sheriff, who has been witnessing the frenzy in arizona knows what he’s talking about. That doesnt mean I advocate for a crackdown on free speech. I would rather that pressure was applied to the media personalities to dial it back.

        • it’s definitely dangerous to admit you’re liberal in some areas. It’s downright suicidal to admit your an atheist in many areas. The latter being true for longer of course, but the former seems to be a progression from the 60’s counter-revolution, and perhaps lessons learned by GOP from watergate.

          Those are things to continue to battle over. But I don’t think either party wants to help find a solution to that. I think they want to use this to do something else entirely.

          • Yeah, they will keep the little people busy in pissing contests and won’t have to deliver jobs. Of course, those pissing contests might have to get a lot more civil.

          • The state has decided the sky is purple. If you disagree with that, you’re using hate speech that could incite to violence. Why do you hate your fellow Americans so much?

          • The problem with deciding that “hateful” and “inflammatory” speech is illegal is that eventually someone you don’t like one bit, and who doesn’t like you one bit, will be in possession of the power to define that.

            Let’s see, anyone here would have been all in favor of anti-inflammatory-speech laws being on the books when GW was in power, the R’s had congress, and Code Pink and Sheehan were doing their thing? Ya know, calling him Chimpy McFlightsuit was dehumanizing and might encourage the unstable to take a shot. Or Darth Vader Cheney. Some wacko might decide that he was genuinely evil, and see himself as Luke Skywalker….

            My rule of thumb when it comes to limiting individual liberties is to imagine the ideologues you HATE MOST in possession of that kind of power. If it chills your soul, then it’s a bad idea.

          • Who said anything about making it illegal? I don’t want to make it illegal. I want to make it socially unacceptable. Big difference.

          • You may not be, RD, but there are already politicos proposing legislation.

          • Word. word. Word, WMCB.

            Who decides? The government, which changes hands regularly?

            Sounds like Henry 8th England–burn the Protestants. No, burn the Catholics. No, burn the Protestants. All depended on who was King or Queen at the time.

            And very much why so many went to America.
            AND why they made it the FIRST amendment.

          • I live in a pretty conservative part of PA and I have never felt it was dangerous to admit to being liberal. I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes me because I am a liberal and certainly have not ever felt threatened.
            Where are these places and what proof do you have.
            I am only asking because I think the left likes to take on a sense of victim hood and fear. It is so useful in keeping walls between them and those people they neither like nor bother to understand.

        • while the the intimidation and shootings may not be linked in this particular instance, they are symptomatic of a very real problem.

          If they are not linked then they are not symptomatic of anything.

          The level of intimidation has gotten so serious that in some parts of the country it’s dangerous to admit you are a liberal

          I live in an area filled with gun-toting rednecks. I never felt the least bit threatened expressing my liberal political views around here. If it’s dangerous, where are the statistics to prove it?

          • There are areas of the country where it’s dangerous to admit you’re a conservative, as well. Try being a gay conservative. Or a black conservative. In Chicago.

          • I’m curious about this also. I’ve lived in Kansas for over 40 years and I’ve never been afraid to tell people I’m a Liberal. I’ve leafted for Democratic candidates in nearly every election during that period.

            I never gave a thought to my safety.

            (I know that doesn’t mean anything statistically but, I AM curious about where Liberals are afraid to speak up)

          • I don’t think I’ve ever been in a heated argument with a conservative over policy – they are politely curious about my views and vice-versa.

            It is other liberals I have the strongest disagreements with – strangely enough.

          • Where I live, it’s a lot more dangerous to admit to being a conservative. I’ve stood up for Palin at school, and there was serious social fall-out. Some of that was probably because it was feminism in action, but most of it was because you just DON’T defend conservatism in Seattle academia.

          • That is exactly what I mean – we shout each other down on the left over things like defending Palin or Hillary Clinton (for that matter) against sexist language but for whatever reason that erupts into the game of accusation of being closet republicans or where conservative women don’t deserve to be defended against sexist memes.

            I don’t hang out in RW circles where they discuss or share information, so I don’t know if they suffer from the same issues of shouting each other down when they talk about obama taxing them to death for his super socialist agenda.

        • I think the Pima sheriff spoke too soon. If this is his jurisdiction, he has no business making broad political proclamations about the crime before the evidence is in.

  14. Loughner’s gun, a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip. It is “not suited for hunting or personal protection,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign. “What it’s good for is killing and injuring a lot of people quickly.”

    This is misleading!

    ALL Semi-Automatic hand guns have the capability to carry large clips.

    I understand many people are trying to find someone or something to blame for this tragedy but let’s remember who is to blame here……

    A young man with mental issues!!!!!

    • A Glock is indeed suited for personal protection. That’s why we got ours. We live in the country, miles and miles from the nearest sheriff’s office. So, yeah, we’ve got’em, just in case an intruder gets past our dogs. Prolly not gonna happen, but, just in case.

    • there is absolutely no reason to manufacture and sell large clips to anyone other than the military or police.

  15. Thank you for this post, Katiebird!

    I’ve been watching with disgust, horror, frustration as the public conversation and media digs into a partisan blame game rather than broaching a discussion of mental health and gun control.

    Our health care, mental or otherwise, obviously needs serious attention.

    I am not against gun ownership but no average citizen needs to be walking around a Safeway parking lot with a semi-automatic weapon.

  16. OT:

    New CBS poll shows 57% of Americans do NOT believe politics had anything to do with the shooting. Oly 42% of Dems thought it was political.

    Independents: 56% NOT political; 33% political.

    And that’s a CBS poll—-not Fox.

    It appears the 48 hour spin didn’t work, and Americans have separated the spin from the actual facts.

    WMCB—you were right. The backlash begins now.

    • Wow, I’m surprised so many noticed this particular event was not about politics per se. Let’s see how they react to the drumbeat of it was all about politics from some quarters.

      I predict if both sides back off from the blame game, people will just let it slide. We’ll see. My worry though is that the new noise will all be about, well sure, not in this case, but we really need to limit speech to insure this, er, I mean, nothing politically motivated like this happens, again, er, I mean for the first time.

      • FWIW, I think there were two components of this incident. One was unique to Loughner who was on a mission of his own, even as his mind was inundated and soaked in reactionary and irrational political rhetoric in Arizona that had been ratcheted up to extremely high levels since their silly “show me your papers” law last year.
        The other is that the irrational and confusing political rhetoric is out there and society’s ability to check it is no longer functioning because of the ubiquity of right wing political propaganda.
        While I don’t want any curbs in free speech, it is way past time to reinstitute the fairness doctrine. Like, immediately and without delay.

        • Word. Two issues. We can discuss both.

          • Two issues- that are related. I’m sorry, but they are. That doesn’t mean that one caused the other. We need to get more data on that. But I wouldn’t rule it out especially considering that it is Arizona

        • Oh, and yes on a fairness doctrine.

          • OK……and this is not sarcasm. Really.

            Would that mean Olberman has to have conservatives on his show?

          • Not necessarily. It means that the broadcast company would have to provide time to different political voices as condition of being granted a broadcast license, or that’s how it used to work.
            I don’t think it should mean having several loud mouths shouting down someone from the opposite side. It should mean that the opponents get to be heard without interference. Of course, that could mean that the opposition gets scheduled at 3 in the morning but that’s what DVRs are for.

          • So, MSNBC would have to have the same amount of conservative shows as liberal shows?

            Might be fun to guess who’ll get fired to make room, huh?

          • Mary, I don’t watch Olbermann. I don’t like him any more than I like Glenn beck. Olbermann showed me that he was just as capable of pandering to his audience as any right wing idiot. And yes, I think all of the conservatives on tv right now are idiots or think that their audience is. So, what’s your point exactly? That MSNBC is so chock full of liberal voices that you can’t get your conservative fix from any other source?
            Please don’t pull that crap here. This blog was not created to accommodate the perpetually injured feelings and paranoia of conservative readers.
            I don’t have to sooth your injured feelings.

          • They’re idiots on every channel

          • The Fairness Doctrine is bad because it still sets up one group (like the FCC) to decide what’s equal time, what is non-political and how much weight is given to the politics of a show.

            Let’s say for the sake of argument that RW shows get twice the ratings of LW shows. Can a radio station adopt equal time by airing the liberal shows from 9pm to 9am? Does a liberal show have to be on in the same “drive time” period as the right wing show, even if the ad revenues are lower? What happens if local radio stations go out of busienss? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

          • It’s interesting because there is also this business-political ethos out there that commercial media works like a democracy…you vote for your content preference with your eyeballs. Public broadcasting is not big enough to make up for any partisan differential, and the blogosphere is the wild west. Fairness doctrine is a solution in principle, but how to implement without giving partisan advantage to the sitting administration or congress is a challenge. The BBC is probably a useful reference, but then the British pay a hefty tax on their TVs for their public broadcasting.

        • RD – the “professional left” continues to be silent on the problems facing the middle class. The RW political propaganda and TP are the only things providing anything like a public voice/forum for people to complain.

          The liberals are not able to push any messages out to the mainstream – only conservatives are doing that. We have purveyors of BS speaking on our “behalf” that include the likes of KO. NOW is silent, unions are silent, environmentalists are silent…

          Plus, we eat our own or take our ball and go home when we can’t agree on I/P policy or who gets to be a feminist or why Christians suck or how EVIL Hillary Clinton/Bill Clinton are – name your poison here. We on the left seem to splinter into a thousand little groups whenever anything we have absolutely no influence over comes up but we don’t absolutely agree. Arg!

          • Sad isn’t it. We’ve even seen that played out in our little corner several times. You’d think people would hold together for a louder voice.

          • ITA jjmtacoma

          • Yes, Dandy, it’s sad.

            In some liberal blogs, it’s “dangerous” to be a Christian, even if you’ve never tried to impose that on anybody. 🙂

          • Yes, it is like herding cats. Cats with gigantic egos who flatter themselves into thinking that they are much more relevant than they actually are.
            Yes, it is time for Democrats to get their shit together. We need a solid leader to coalesce behind. Unfortunately, when one emerges on the left, she or he has some issue that the left simply cannot tolerate in any wY, shape or form. The left would rather sacrifice its base and undermine its ability to be heard than give even one little iota. That is why we don’t have Hillary. She voted for the IWR. Well, so did Edwards but they held Hillary culpable and Edwards not. Forget that edwards’ personal life was so fucked up that he couldn’t have possibly won, most democrats preferred him to Hillary, whose background was clean as a whistle. Go figure.
            As Nucky Thompson said on Boardwalk Empire, “We all have to decide how much sin we can live with”. Democrats decided for us that the IWR was simply unforgivable for this one individual.
            But yes, if the left ever wants to make a comeback, it has to decide to not sweat the small stuff and it has to impose discipline on itself.
            As long as there are Chris hedges and will bunch types with the megaphones, I am not terribly hopeful.

          • Mary, that is true, but it is also true that on some blogs you have to be an obama worshiper. The point has to do with the intolerance. “We” can’t tolerate people having differing opinions from our own and “we” lose out by not having numbers behind our common ideas.

            Why would anyone care if I am a Christian or why would I care if they are Athiest or Jewish or Buddist? I don’t but I can point to plenty of examples where others do care and it means we can’t work together for the beliefs we share.

            We could speak out against the RW violent rhetoric collectively if we wouldn’t trip over some of our ranks who believe guns should all be outlawed period and others who believe we should fund agencies that would be able to regulate how people are allowed to buy them.

          • Oh, I agree, jjm. I think we all got the silly–“If you don’t agree with Obama completely, we don’t want ya” stuff.

            It just seems so silly. But it is what it is.


          • Yes, it is what it is. But it keeps us from influencing the dialog on the whole and has allowed the only united voices heard to be those on the extreme right.

            We don’t have a running game.

        • Right wing political propaganda was the cause? I respectfully disagree we can know that about the shooter at this stage. If it turns out that he was motivated by what he delusionally considered to be propaganda coming out of Giffords’ own office, I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised. We don’t know yet if it was political at all.

      • Oh, I completely agree that the new noise will all be about curtailing free speech. It’s a tad scary to even think about it.

        The point about the poll, though, is that the public, by a large margin, did NOT accept the going meme (within 30 minutes after the event) that Limbaugh and the right CAUSED his actions. That was the attempt all over the left media—-poll shows that narrative didn’t work. The frenzy failed.

        I’m hearing more Dems push limiting free speech now than Repubs. Whether the public sees that as overreacting and rejects those Dems calling for same, we’ll have to wait and see. Poll seems to imply they’re rejecting the partisan blame game.

        Thanks for the Somerby link upstairs. Much appreciated.

    • The right wingers were right on it with their “politicizing” buzzword. It sort of proves the point. The minute this happened, they were all over it, the meme became ubiquitous and the poisonous political environment will continue because it is Ok to bash liberals. You’re not being eliminationist if you pack heat when you go to a representatives rally and get in their face and carry signs that threaten and intimidate. That’s not political at all. Clearly, Giffords was delusional when she reported acts of harassment and vandalism. It was all in her head.
      Which now has holes in it.

      • There you go with those facts again.

        • Correlation is not causation

          • Of course it’s not. ERGO, the poll results.

            Peoria gets it.

          • There you go with that logic again.

          • Peoria doesn’t know which way is up, which is not entirely peoria’s fault.
            That’s the point.

          • Mebbe, mebbe not. We will have to wait for more data. But I would caution people to not use wishful thinking to rule it out.
            the sheriff said Arizona is pretty nuts right now. It would be very difficult to resist contamination. But we shall see,

          • But RD, YOU are part of Peoria.

          • Yeah, that poor 57% of the country not so enlightened as us. They have no minds of their own. They are not capable of forming a logical thought that actually *disagrees* with me, for their own reasons, and having thought it through for themselves.

            No, they are all poor intellectually sub-par rubes in Peoria, wandering aimlessly til some mouthpiece tells them what to think. Not trying to overload the snark, RD, but come on. Is it so difficult to believe that perfectly capable and intelligent people can assess the facts and come to a different conclusion than yourself? Arguing that you think they are wrong is one thing. Arguing that they don’t even know their own minds, or have any control over their own minds, or critical discernment of the the voices they allow to influence them, poor dears, is something else entirely.

            It’s dismissive and insulting.

          • Hey, I have family members who are peoria. Perfectly intelligent people, well read, smart, who tell me that Obama is both a socialist and a fascist. Never mind he can’t be both unless he’s Hitler. Yes, they say, he is just like Hitler. And the Antichrist. And they don’t like Muslims because Muslims are going to murder us in our beds when one of their imams issued the global fatwa. And 2012 is coming, thank god they have their survivalist stash in the basement and their gold coins and the meet up plan. And liberals are going to make us pay all of our inheritance when we die, which makes me think my mom has been holding out on me. Oh and the unemployed are parasites but they deserve unemployment checks because they are virtuous and have never offended god. And Medicare is socialized medicine, except that it isn’t, and Obamacare is communism cubed, except that it isn’t even close. And young people probably won’t get social security but don’t take it away from me and my senior friends because that wouldn’t be fair. It’s un-American. We’ve always had social security and everyone loves it but the government doesnt do anything right.
            Do you see where I’m going with this? If you listened to my mother, brother and sister, you’d think you were taking to a schizophrenic. It’s a complete word salad. They have no idea which way is up. They love liberal programs but they are so confused that they will vote against them because they have have heard that government doesn’t work on an almost non stop basis all the time.
            My family is not stupid. They are very smart and used to be wise to this crap. But it is so ubiquitous, it’s in every doctors waiting room, on every rednecks bumpersticker, that they never hear an opposing viewpoint that doesn’t sound strange and out of tune with their reality.
            BTW, you are really starting to get on my nerves. I won’t have this blog taken over by right wing talking points. So, if that is what you want to spew, consider taking your song and dance elsewhere for the day.
            That goes for Mary too.

          • Peoria is not just your family. It’s a big country. Are there confused idiots out there that just parrot whatever, and jump on whatever bandwagon stirs them up emotionally? Yup. They exist on both the right and the left. Then there are thoughtful people who can articulate why they believe what they believe, and do it logically. They, also, exist in large numbers on both the conservative and liberal ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in-between.

            I don’t assume that all liberals are liberals merely because they sit around mindlessly reading HuffPo and Kos and drooling while pronouncing it gospel. Neither do all conservatives take that approach to Limbaugh.

            Sorry I’m annoying you. Sorry that you seem to think that asserting that 57% of the country might have a brain of their own is a right-wing talking point. But I see you’d prefer that I bow out for a bit, so I will. I have to figure out dinner, anyway.

          • Back in the 14th century, the majority of people thought jews had poisoned wells and caused plague. Back in 2003, 70% of americans were absolutely sure that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction. (note: i wasnt one of them) And back in the 30s, the majority of Germans thought the Nazis were hot spit because they controlled inflation.
            With enough propaganda from trusted individuals, the majority of people can be made to believe just about anything. That doesn’t mean they are right and it doesn’t mean I have to provide them with a platform to continue to propagate their talking points.

          • Wow, RD. I’m with WMCB on this one. I don’t think it’s a RW talking point to suggest that people might have come to their conclusions for good reasons.

          • I was commenting that people were jumping the gun on “politicizing” the shooting on day zero, and I’m no wingnut or conservative. I don’t support Palin’s candidacy. I’m a lifelong Democrat, now disenfranchised. This is purely for me about letting the crime be investigated accurately and not prematurely passing judgements on politicians or the media of any political persuasion…all of whom I have pretty low regard for these days anyway.

      • That’s not quite what the poll was about.

        But I certainly respect your own right to think so.

        Not a prob.

      • actually, that isn’t true and simply stating it as a fact doesn’t make it so. I was online and changing channels like crazy trying to get info on the shootings and from all venues. daily kos, huffingtonpost, super fast statements from people like gary hart, all immediately focused on not only political rhetoric but sarah palin and republican political rhetoric.
        Now, yes the right is on the anti political rhetoric bus, both sides cannot even wait until the bodies are buried.
        Focusing on mental health issues, gun control issues, all seem relevant since its pretty obvious the shooter was disturbed and had a gun capable of killing a lot more than he did.

        • WORD.

        • Here’s the difference between you and me: I NEVER watch TV news if I can help it. The propaganda that permeates every broadcast made my ears bleed. I couldn’t stand it anymore. So, I’m stuck with reading reports very carefully and noting the words used and the connotations of those words. It makes a huge difference in how I perceive current events. Try it. Turn off your tv for a couple weeks and don’t flip from one channel to another. Confine yourself to reading the news. Then, after your quarantine, flip on the news someday.
          Come back after you stop wretching and tell us what you heard. If you aren’t disgusted, I’ll eat this blog.

          • RD–I avoid the Corporate Media as well, for the same reasons you do.

            As a result of this, I miss hearing about some events. Do you know some news sources that are free, or at least relatively free, of right-wing propaganda?

          • I was online reading and watching cable and network news channels at the same time. Most of the stories I read within minutes of the report mentioned violent speech, sarah palin and linked this somehow or other to our uncivil political discourse.

          • I don’t watch cable news these days. I haven’t watched one second of reporting on the Tucson shooting on television. Everything I’ve seen on the shooting has been on news sites, blogs, facebook, twitter…probably in that order and with an 80% liberal skew. The Palin bashing and condemnation for the shootings has been out of control since Saturday mid afternoon. Constant and hard.

      • The right wingers were right on it with their “politicizing” buzzword. It sort of proves the point.

        So, no one in the media had said anything political at all about the shooting? No accusations of culpability whatsoever had been made? But the wingers just started decrying the “politicizing” of the incident completely out of the blue, for no reason at all? There was nothing that precipitated those complaints of “politicizing”?

        • (Coffee spew….)

        • Yep. I was gonna mention that, WMCB. Glad you did first.

          This reminds me of the Dan Rather letter fiasco, running with something that sounds so true that it must be true only to find out that you have played the fool. Will the “professional left” never learn?

          Ah, well, let the backlash begin!

        • There is a political component of this incident and it is not acceptable for anyone to tell us to not discuss it. No one has the right to tell me to shut uo about the political aspects of this vicious crime. Not TV mouth pieces, not politicians. Not you either.
          That is exactly what the right wing would like. They want us to move along, nothing to see here, it’s only a crazy person. And I’m saying, not so fast. It is time to stop treating liberals and democrats like they were vermin and fair game. The harassment of Giffords started before this shooting.
          We need to discuss it and I won’t have you or anyone else tell me that I am exploiting a tragedy for political gain. That is gross mischaracterization and I won’t have it. Seriously.

          • I think what’s getting in the way is the context of this incident, the D’s going batshit over Palin, and the reality of a crazy guy doing a crazy thing. Getting lost in the noise is the bigger picture issue of the history of Giffords threats, etc.

          • Whoa. I never said you were exploiting anything at all. I never said it shouldn’t be discussed. I haven’t told anyone to shut up. I disagree with your take re: the linkage between the shooter and political speech, but I’m finding the overall discussion stimulating.

            I was just pointing out that the “blame the republicans” drumbeat had already started prior to any complaints about politicizing. Much as I dislike them, they do have every right to publicly defend themselves when they are pretty much being held culpable for a murder.

          • While they may not be culpable for this murder, they do have a lot to answer for and I am not going to let republicans off the hook until I can say I’m a liberal in Phoenix without having to look over my shoulder.
            That goes for Democrats as well. I’ll vote for them again when they apologize for calling me a racist and a stupid, uneducated, politically naive woman.
            But in this current political environment, republicans are definitely more at fault because they hold most of, and the loudest, megaphones.
            So, back off.

          • Show me a post—and quote it exactly—where ANYBODY told you to shut up.


          • It has been suggested thar it is inappropriate to bring up politics in the context of this murder. It has been suggested thar to do otherwise is exploiting a tragic incident. That is tantamount to telling those of us who are legitimately concerned with political vitriol to shut up or get shouted down. I’m not the only liberal blogger who has noticed this. Peter dauo noticed it the other day and he wasn’t having it either.
            Do not challenge me, Mary.

          • Nobody is trying to shout you down

          • Sorry, myiq, but this blog was created to give liberals who were clintonistas a place to speak their mind when there wasn’t any other place where we were welcomed. I understand why you want to defend palin from the ongoing dehumanization from the left. But I will not be party to spreading this politicizing meme and I don’t want to hear it here on this blog. You are free to do what you want in your posts but I would like to exclude it anywhere else on this blog.
            This is not the first time that WMCB and Mary have pushed the envelope with me. I will ask them to leave permanently if they insist on bringing right wing talking points here again.

          • I will ask them to leave permanently if they insist on bringing right wing talking points here again.

            Don’t bother, RD. I’m still puzzled as to what I’ve said that is particularly rightwing, but whatever. I sincerely have no wish to make you uncomfortable, as it’s your blog and your space. No big deal – I’ll go.

            I’ll likely still read TC, as it’s some of the best discussion around. But I assure you there will not be any comments. You have the right to make this place whatever you want. Best of luck to you in all your endeavors.

          • RE: RD @ 2:58pm.

            “The most and loudest megaphones”

            Exactly–THAT is the most important difference between the RW haters and what haters can be found on the Left. The Leftist haters don’t have the most awesome propaganda network in history generating and reinforcing their madness 24/7.

            History may record that the beginning of the end of the USA was the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine.

          • Again, from what I’ve seen since noon Saturday, the right wing voices have been fairly subdued. The left wing voices have been very very loud on blaming Palin in particular. Normally and outside of this shooting, maybe the right wing noise is usually louder…not sure how that breaks out online. But since the shooting, the Palin blaming for the shooting from the left has been loud and unprecedented. As loud if not louder than during fall of 2008.

          • RD, just to be clear, when I am speaking against the PDS contingent, I am not including you. I actually agree with you that it would be better for everyone if our political discourse got a little saner. RL has a great video up with Jon Stewart making the spot on observation that it’s impossible to distinguish the ramblings of crazy people because our political rhetoric sounds so similar.

            That said, the PDS crew threw the first punch and pretty much cleaned their own clock. Unfortunately the right wing hate machine has more experience and IMO more skill at this game. It still amazes me how easily ObamaNation gets played by them.

        • WMCB, I think you’re doing a great job with the blog comments today. It’s nice to have you around.

          • Ditto.

          • I think WMCB is also doing a great job, and no disrespect to the blog hostess, but I am not reading her posts as right wing talking points.

            There is a simple misunderstanding going, which is easy on the internet without the context clues of facial expression and intonation.

            WMCB is left leaning centrist, a Hillary Dem, and I have read nothing but a pragmatic approach to topics from her.

            Geez, the whole board is pragmatic when approaching topics and probably why most of us come back.

          • I agree, and have always appreciated WMCB’s comments.

          • Me, too. I don’t think WMCB is inflammatory or pushing right wing memes, and I really enjoy her comments and find them intellectually stimulating.

            What happened to all the appreciation about “agreeing to disagree” that everyone was so high on a couple of days ago??

  17. A bit OT, but on-topic on “discourse”, I posted my insomniac musing about Anger vs Hate on corrente


  18. In parts of the world where guns are hard to get, violent people just resort to bombs or machetes. Heck, 911 allegedly was accomplished with box cutters. If you read a lot of history, we’re a flippin brutal and violently resourceful species that has managed to commit mass slaughter many, many, times without the use of guns.

    Rather than focusing on the weapon this guy used, we should be asking why red flags and warning signs for the mentally ill are always ignored. The students this shooter went to college with were writing diaries on the very first day of class about how he was mentally deranged and they hoped he didn’t come to class and kill them all. This guy had numerous run ins with the law because of his behavior. So do many other people. Long before they shoot up a school, there are red flags showing us that this person is a danger to himself and others. How come we never heed those warnings? What can we do better to intervene?

    • We will never be able to find them all, I would imagine lots of potential tragedies have been averted but there is no way to ever know. Yes, people will always be violent and some wackadoodles will always kill for no apparent reason. The harder it is for them to get their hands on weapons, particularly those that can harm and kill many, and the harder society tries to help to detect and cure mental illnesses, the better.

    • And THAT is the discussion we should be having, instead of neener-neener.

      It appears by that poll that the public is sick of neener-neener, and wants to address real issues like “What can we do better to intervene?”

      Damn good question, yttik. All the rest is noise.

  19. Great piece Katiebird, and also RD’s below. RD, Katie, I had no idea about the “right wing” backstory until reading RD’s post below? It is the new segment RD refers to and the vitriol plus the guns you have documented here, Katie. This is very problematic.

    I see these times as very divisive for the country as a whole. Also, I do not appreciate rhetoric or maps that show “targets” such as the one Palin had up?

    Very interesting that she pulled that, afterwards. All the talk in facebook is about that?

    Good thing.

    Democrats in the tail end baby boom have been for gun control. Katiebird thank you for posting this piece?

    The DSM has a new category called “implosive disorder” — am doing research into that.

    hugs Conf & Co.
    from me.

    ps: RD there were so many comments on yours I felt it best to say thank you here for writing that. It really helped me to understand the backstory.

  20. OT, but on this grey cloudy morning, my 4-year-old granddaughter bounds outside, then stands looking around the soggy yard in a rather desultory fashion. She sighs. “Neena, I can’t find my imagination.” Me too, sweetie. Me, too.

    I don’t do cold and wet.

  21. Dominant binding node is primarily hydrophobic interactions in addition to electrostatic interactions.

  22. Just got a call from some guy from a group ccalled the 21st century Democrats. I have never heard of them but since I was until 2008 a democrat I guess my name is still on a few lists. He goes into his spiel about they are a progressive wing of the democratic party who help fight for the working families and “support and help elect other progressive democrats like Rep. Gabby GIffords” …I immediately cut him off and said “are you really trying to raise money for a political organization by using a woman who is lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life?: then hung up.
    If there is such a group as 21st century democrats, and I have my doubts that this could possibly be a real or at least a serious organization to use such a horrific act to raise money, they are also pretty dim as Gabby GIffords is, as far as I know, a bluedog democrat and I truly doubt the progressives were out helping her get relected.

  23. I have to say, fantastic discussion!! A little heat here and there. But great issues throughout. Probably a good time to cool the engines. Some distraction from this horrible topic. Drinks, drugs, hobbies, or whatever. 🙂

  24. I know I’m gonna get hit for this, but I own a Glock 19. It is one of the guns selected most by women because it is compact. I want to point out that the clip the shooter used is not the standard clip. I can’t even imagine needing that many bullets in on clip. That clip is for somebody who is wanting a LOT of bullets.

    Now why do I own a gun? Well, I got my first gun when I was forced to be in the vicinity of a schitzophrenic whom nobody could do a thing about. They had to wait till he “did something”. He did kill a couple of neigbhorhood dogs–with a hunting knife. He had a “hti list”. He told people he could read their minds. I am not kididing you here. And a few times he got carted off for 72 hours, which is the longest they could keep him without his permission. He had meds but he often decided he didn’t want to take them. In short he was crazy and everyone near him was terrified. His family protected him, and as time went on, they reisgned themselves to terror too. A lot of guns got bought that year. The root of this problem is, people are afraid when psychos get to decide if they should be forced into treatment and forced to take their meds. Pedophiles get released from prison after serving pittances. Ditto for rapists and stalkers. The story is always the same. Our countryside is riddled with dead people who are victims of people like this.

    The root cause of this problem is our laws are woefully inadequate when dealing with seriously unstable people like the guy who shot Gabrielle and the others. The signs were there but the intervention wasn’t. People were unsafe because the laws protected him more than they protected them.

    I can guarantee you that you won’t see my face on the front page because I own a gun. I own it because I feel the need to protect myself because the law doesn’t care about me if I’m a victim, only if I’m the poor poor sick person who victimized me.

    That’s how I feel and that’s why I own a gun. I would love not to feel like I need to own one. i’m not crazy about the thought, trust me. But the truth is, when it comes to laws addressing some very unsavory people, I feel like I’m my own. In fact, I’m sure of it.

    I just wanted to let you know that most people who own guns feel like I do. Not all of them are into looking for something to shoot, most of them are not crazed anarchists either. They don’t even enjoy the thought that they feel the need for a gun, but there you have it.

    I’m not even sure I’m telling you this, but I somehow felt the need, because sometimes I see our laws protecting criminals and giving them freedoms
    that stifle the freedoms and safety of the rest of us.

    ….ducking and running…

    • I’m not sure I agree with you about our laws favoring criminals, but I don’t see any problem with women owning guns in any case. I do–my dad was a WWII vet and a hunter and taught me to shoot when I was a kid.

      As a matter of fact, sometimes I think only women should be allowed to own guns, since we’re more likely to need them for self-defense–and far, far more likely ONLY to use them for that purpose.

  25. The parents of Jared Loughner have made a statement and the neighbors are talking. The parents are of course devastated and so very sorry about the victims. The neighbors and the people who knew him from school said he had a big drug problem.

    Some people can smoke weed and take hallucinogens and live normally, go to work etc… some people can not handle it and for those people who have a propensity for “crazy”, drugs like Marijuana and LSD or hallucinogenic Mushrooms (which one young man said was what J.L. was using, along with lots of pot smoking) are contributing factors which can drive them over the edge. I have seen it among people in my own life. Sad

    • A lot of people with mental illness self-medicate with drugs too.

    • I never saw Marijuana as a drug that would induce violence. I spent half of my time smoking it and hashish in college and, if anything, it makes you so damned lazy you can barely bring yoruself to get to the fridge to eat what’s left in there.

      • True, but many schizophrenics, for example, smoke pot to self-medicate. That doesn’t mean the pot makes them do anything, it probably helps to “calm” the major f’ed up shit that is going on in their heads. I’m saying this not only on research I’ve done on schizophrenics, but as someone who has an aunt (my dad’s sister) who is what is termed a “disorganized schizophrenic” — thought disorder (seriously, a conversation with her pre-meds was utter nonsense — stringing words together that had no rhyme or reason outside her own brain in what is called “word salad,” flat affect (sometimes to the point of almost a semi-catatonic state), disorganized behavior (improper dressing, make up in a clown-like manner — and not ala Tammy Faye Baker — I’m talking red lipstick all around her mouth/chin, etc). When she was high, though, she actually made more sense when she spoke & I imagine it calmed the rambling that was going on inside her brain. She’s on meds now and I don’t think she is getting high any longer and even though she makes A LOT more sense when you talk to her, if you spent more than 5 minutes with her you could tell something is wrong with her. That meds aren’t a miracle cure, but she can, for example, dress herself, walk to the store to do grocery shopping, etc. She can’t hold a job, but my parents (with money left to them by her parents plus contributions from my mom & dad) bought her a nice little one bedroom condo near her doctor’s office, a grocery store & the church she likes (walking distance, she can’t be trusted drive), she can wash & dress herself (in a “normal” manner), she has a cat she cares for & they check in with her daily (via phone calls) and visit once a week (minimum) to pay the bills, clean up the house (she can do dishes and does, but is pretty disorganized with other stuff like laundry) and drive her to the mall to buy clothes (if needed), take her out to eat, etc. It is hard & it is sad, but she has as normal a life a possible. They pick her up to come to our house for holidays/birthdays/etc. If is kind of off-putting for a lot of people to be around her, but we figure — eff them if they can’t stand being around her, she’s my dad’s sister & if they don’t like it, they don’t have to share in our holiday plans. She was never violent toward others, but before her meds (my poor grandmother, bless her departed soul was in denial a lot with her & put off treatment for longer than she should have) she was definitely a danger to herself. Now, with the meds, she doesn’t seem to be, except for the fact that she is a chain smoker, which is pretty common with schizophrenics.
        Now, amphetimines, otoh, can actually lead to psychosis, which is why those morons who take Ritalin to lose weight are playing Russian Roulette with their life. My aunt never did speed (to my knowledge) — her schizophrenia was probably genetic. The signs started when she was about 18 (she is only 12 years older than I am so I remember when it first started). For many years I was afraid of her & wouldn’t even go around her until I was older & educated myself on what was going on. And I admit it — when I do see her (at holidays, I’m not as good as my mom & dad with their daily contact & weekly visits), it still breaks my heart.

        • And I will tell you, before she started manifesting her schizophrenia, I adored her. She was tall, beautiful, long thick blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes and she loved me! My mom will tell you (and there are pictures to prove it) — she always had me on her hip when I was a baby, and even as I started to get to big to carry, I always wanted to hold her hand or be in my beautiful, sweet aunt’s lap. She honestly looked like Cybil Shepard in The Last Picture Show. Beautiful girl. It is heartbreakingly sad.

          • I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that would be.

          • thanks jjmtacoma. It is.

            By the way, I meant people taking “Adderall” to lose weight (not Ritalin) are the ones courting ampethamine psychosis.

    • I’ve been close with some who had strong propensity for personality disorders. Different drugs, even the milder recreational ones, can have strong less familiar effects from what I recall.

  26. Drug abuse is certainly a psychiatric disease.

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