“Thoughts And Prayers” Again

The numbers are mind-numbing: More than 430 people have been shot in 273 school attacks since the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history occurred in the last five months.

Most sickening is the faux sympathy expressed by politicians who are wholly owned by the NRA–among them, Indiana’s Todd Young, and Florida’s Marco Rubio.

A friend’s post on Facebook was a far more honest reaction than the obligatory “thoughts and prayers” of politicians corrupted by campaign dollars : he professed surprise that parents who have lost children in these mass shootings haven’t taken violent action against politicians who– with NRA support– allowed their children to be murdered, and he warned that “Some day, unfortunately a distressed parent will decide that ‘since I lost a child perhaps politician X should lose a child or a spouse.’ These tragedies will only stop when there is meaningful gun control.”

Given the Administration’s daily assault on the rule of law and the norms of civilized behavior, reflected in elevated instances of racism, homophobia, anti-semitism and general hatefulness, that day may not be too far off.

Articles on gun ownership rarely point out that–despite the enormous number of guns in the U.S.–a majority of us do not possess them; America’s estimated 300 million firearms are largely concentrated among people who stockpile them. A significant number of those owners have an unreasoning, hysterical, and evidently all-consuming fear of being disarmed, which makes them a formidable part of the GOP’s increasingly rabid and unreasoning base.(Interestingly, gun sales–which had spiked due to fears that the scary black man in the White House was going to confiscate them–have declined significantly since Agent Orange was elected. Make of that what you will.)

I know of no one who advocates confiscation of guns. Not only would it be ridiculously impractical, but no one seriously advocates coming after the hunters, the people with legitimate security fears, or even collectors . There are plenty of steps that rational legislators could take to limit gun violence far short of confiscation, or even erosion of those precious (and exaggerated) Second Amendment rights.

Nicholas Kristof suggests an eminently reasonable approach:

Gun enthusiasts often protest: Cars kill about as many people as guns, and we don’t ban them! No, but automobiles are actually a model for the public health approach I’m suggesting.

We don’t ban cars, but we work hard to regulate them – and limit access to them – so as to reduce the death toll they cause. This has been spectacularly successful, reducing the death rate per 100 million miles driven by 95 percent since 1921.

Kristof says we should abandon the “gun control” terminology–which has a Pavlovian effect on fringe gun owners–and opt instead for “gun safety” or “reducing gun violence,”  using auto safety as a model. That model would include constant efforts to make the products safer and to limit access to them by people who are most likely to misuse them.

He lists a number of steps that already have broad public support: keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people on the terrorist no-fly list, tightening background checks, ending immunity for gun manufactures–I strongly suggest that you click through and read all of his recommendations.

This one really resonated with me:

If someone steals my iPhone, it’s useless, and the same should be true of guns. Gun manufacturers made child-proof guns back in the 19th century (before dropping them), and it’s time to advance that technology today. Some combination of smart guns and safe storage would also reduce the number of firearms stolen in the U.S. each year, now about 200,000, and available to criminals.

And by the way– the next time I hear about a “good guy” with a gun, I’m going to puke.

As Kristof notes, there is overwhelming evidence that more guns and more relaxed gun laws lead to more violent deaths and injuries, no matter who owns the firearm. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a gun in the house was associated with a significantly  increased risk of a gun death, particularly by suicide but also by homicide.

Our inability to act like adults when it comes to weapons is just one element of a frightening and dispiriting collapse of responsible government. When is the last time any of us used the word “statesman”? Instead, I’ve been hearing a different word–kakistocracy. It translates into “rule by the worst among us”?

41 thoughts on ““Thoughts And Prayers” Again

  1. There’s not going to be any legislative effort as long as the Republican Party is controlled by the Tea Party. Let’s get real. Did anyone ever hear of an attempted coup d’ etat without arms and ammunition?

    I’m reminded of the lyrics of a song during W.W. II….”Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”

  2. Military-style rifles only belong in the military and police. They serve no useful purpose in hunting or target-shooting. Scott Keller, Certified Instructor in Shotgun, Pistol and Rifle, by the N.R.A.

  3. Marv; we are on the same wave length this morning, including remembering the same song.

    “I know of no one who advocates confiscation of guns.”

    Those of us who have been paying attention over the years know of no one advocating confiscation of guns but…we DO know of the repeated threats by the Republican party, their supporters and NRA that the government intends to do just that. I received numerous messages and claims that Barack Obama was planning to come get our guns…and deny the right to purchase ammunition if he was elected. That gun confiscation war-cry hasn’t started yet over this latest mass shooting and it is ten years since President Obama was elected and no one has had the government pounding on their door demanding their weapons. Do any of them wonder what the holdup (no pun intended) is after all these years?

    I am former handgun owner; I support the 2nd Amendment, but I am aware there are too many people in this country running around heavily armed, looking for a reason to use their weapons, the only reason they bought them was with the hope of using them.

    There is NO WAY to end these mass shootings or individual murders but…common sense background checks can cut down on some of them by denying criminals and mentally unstable people from purchasing them. There is also the idiotic problem of it being illegal to convert weapons to semi or full automatic but is fully legal to sell “bump stocks” and conversion kits to all buyers. Scalisi still supports maintaining those laws after being shot multiple times by an illegally converted rifle and hovering near death for weeks through multiple surgeries. I didn’t see his name on the published list of those in government receiving money directly from the NRA; is his reasoning based in the Republican Biblical support of the 2nd Amendment? Or does he hope for NRA money to maintain his position?

  4. As long as our government and media are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Donor Class, nothing will change.

    Just imagine how exceptional our country would truly be if large amounts of money didn’t block our progress at every corner…

    We wouldn’t need the world’s largest public relations staff telling everybody how great we are with carefully crafted propaganda. Our reality would truly be the envy of the world.

  5. Todd,

    “As long as our government and media are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Donor Class, nothing will change.”

    Things are changing. Unfortunately, when capitalism is under pressure it, just about always, turns to Fascism in order to control the masses. Charles Koch is no fool. He understands history and is using it for all its worth.

  6. I advocate the confiscation of all guns. See, now you know one.

    And it’s obvious what the American fixation with guns is, who the 3% who own the majority of guns are: wannabe fascists who favor a stratification of society and feel an instinctive need to own the means to enforce it, or to be more specific, authoritarian racist sexists. In other words, sexually inadequate, physically weak white men who fear being exposed as the hollow bullies they are.

  7. Scott is absolutely right. No one outside of the military needs to own a gun whose sole purpose is to kill a lot of people as quickly as possible. End the sale of automatic and semi automatic weapons. Put limits on magazine capacity. Then encourage the use of smart guns. The NRA is opposed to all of these ideas, even the smart guns. because they are in bed with the firearms manufacturers.

  8. The Great Orange One signed an executive order making guns more accessible to the mentally ill, slashed millions in his budget from educational programs designed to prevent crime in schools, and never mentioned guns in his “condolences” statement. “Thoughts and Prayers” indeed.

  9. I too would support confiscation of guns, at least certain ones. I have a few relatives who still deer hunt, but with CWD, I’d be reluctant to eat the meat. And I don’t support the Second Amendment. Its purpose was to put down rebellions, whether slave or Whiskey. If there’s a good side, it’s that the gun manufacturers are gong backrupt one after another.

  10. As with automobiles, let’s encourage gun owners to buy insurance. If your gun is used to kill/maim another people, you can be held responsible for damages

  11. Yes, cars kill many thousands every year, but why aren’t guns treated like cars? A car owner is required to have liability insurance. The purchase of a car requires the legal transfer between parties and a notarized document of title. Anyone who wants to drive a car must renew that privilege at intervals which vary by state but are required in ALL states. Those who break the laws governing vehicle operation and ownership have their privileges revoked or suspended. AND … in our highly mobile society, there are few people for whom a car is not more or less a basic necessity. Why should guns be any less regulated than cars and drivers????

  12. I find the statistics on how many people own guns unbelievable. Most people do not volunteer that information since they think it makes them a target of some kind. And over the years there has been little real research done on this because the NRA paid off elected officials to block such research. From personal experience, at least half of the people I know have guns, and most of them have no valid reason for such ownership. It is paranoia, encouraged by the far right, directed at the “other”.
    God! We are a sick society!

  13. WHEN AMENDMENTS CONFLICT
    It seems to me that the majority of cases the Supreme Court hears are cases in which two or more amendments to the Constitution are in conflict. The Justices then are required to decide which amendment prevails within the circumstances of that particular case and to what wider extent that decision shall apply in the future.

    Except in the case of the Second Amendment.

    The “people” who hold the Second Amendment dear, like a pervert’s dildo or blow-up doll, demand that everyone else, including the Justices, accept the Second Amendment as superior to every other amendment in every case.

    I hope Sheila will elaborate on this predicament soon.

    Until that is resolved, I say, GUNS SHOULD NOT HAVE PEOPLE.

  14. Let us not take guns away from people. Let’s take people away from guns.

    This week, 17 innocent people were killed by one gun. Let’s jail the 17 top people at the NRA. They’re the ones who are promoting the product and making the money. And let’s jail the top person at the gun’s manufacturer.

    And let’s jail the U.S. President and Vice President, even if they have nothing to do with the shootings. They also have nothing to do with coming up with a workable plan to put a stop to this mayhem.

  15. Churches have abandoned their moral leadership on gun control. They are so afraid of alienating the few who still attend that they will not point out that Jesus would not own a gun. To own a gun is to understand their is some intent to use it. Guns are primarily for killing. Target shooting is a fringe sport at most. Dull to watch and not what interests most people that own guns. Go to a shooting range what shape is the target?

    Look at the vitriol of NRA gun freaks if there is even a remote suggestion they may loose their automatic weapons?

    Once upon a time we were a flawed country that strove to go to the moon. Or honor our constitution by making sure that women and minorities could vote. That race not be a barrier to achievement. We entered into world wars to fight tyranny, and then hosted a United Nations to try and prevent another catastrophic war. And we made progress toward those goals. Along the way we became a technological powerhouse and gave the world art and music. Now we seek to make excuses so citizens can arm themselves and not afford health care.

    Now we are hamstrung to take automatic weapons out of the hands of citizens. So seventeen young humans are slaughtered in a seat of learning and we are again upset. And that gets a lot of attention for a time. And endless heartache for those directly effected. BUT how many other citizens and children or police officers were also killed on Feb 14, 2018? Or die every day because it is so so easy to have a gun? Didn’t their lives matter too?

    Sandyhook parents tried to change laws and were attacked. So light candles and be sad but without real action it is Just another pointless, pubic, display of grief…

  16. As I understand it, the Second Amendment was crafted with such language as to assuage the soon-to-be southern states to sign on to the Constitution. Reason? They wanted to be able to arm themselves (Whites only) to put down slave rebellions and to maintain a militia that hunted down runaway slaves. The same mentality still exists, to wit: “…(Interestingly, gun sales–which had spiked due to fears that the scary black man in the White House was going to confiscate them–have declined significantly since Agent Orange was elected. Make of that what you will.)

    Now, there are two ways to get real gun control legislation going:

    1. Have every black male in the country buy a gun.
    2. A white, Republican politician has a blood relative murdered in a mass shooting by a military rifle.

  17. Owning a gun is a constitutional right. Owning a car is not. A key distinction in the struggle to regulate gun ownership. Not that something can’t be and should be done. Difficulty is not an excuse or a reason for inaction.

  18. As a (retired) lawyer, and much as I detest the NRA and those in the Congress who are doing nothing to stem these repeated killings, I must be opposed to violence against them since we would only be engaging in conduct for which we blame them in bringing about (much as we kill people for killing people). I think that is not the way to go and would only bring about more violence (to the delight of Putin while watching our democracy crumble).

    I live here in Florida in a county contiguous to Broward County, the site of the latest child massacre. Passions are running high here and some are wondering if the whole country is becoming unraveled what with the just-reported numbers of 40,000 traffic deaths, 33,000 gun deaths, who knows how many opie and booze deaths, a fruitcake president and a Congress interested only in coddling their donor class, a class including not just the Kochs and Mercers but also such terrorist-inducing organizations as the NRA.

    It seems we have lots of money and resolve to enrich the already rich and dispossess the poor but cannot find the resolve or the resources to do away with military style weaponry that is unnecessary for hunting, home defense or the like. Military weaponry is designed for one purpose: to kill as many people as possible in the shortest possible time. It should be in the hands of the military only and not in the hands of even sane much less insane people since sane people can go insane, the gun can fall into wrong hands etc.

    I have been voting since Truman, have accepted good choices when the perfect were not available, and have never been a single-issue voter, unlike one of my classmates who told me (over my protests) that she was voting for Trump for one reason: abortion. I am considering the idea of becoming a single-issue voter myself after the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of Children over in Broward County and am mulling over the idea of voting against any candidate of any party who takes a penny from the NRA, the front group for gun and ammunition manufacturers and only one step removed from definition as a terrorist organization.

    No, the NRA doesn’t shoot anybody, but their sponsors, the gun and ammunition manufacturers, like the getaway drivers in bank heists who facilitate the robbery of a bank, should be held to the same degree of accountability as those in the bank example here cited who stuck guns in tellers’ faces and ran off with the loot to the waiting getaway car. In short, and as a stopgap measure based upon product liability law, I am recommending that since the NRA’s sponsoring gun and ammunition manufacturers are putting a dangerous and lethal product (military style weaponry) on the market that they should be held to a strict liability standard in its use, like, for instance, arsenic, transportation of atomic wastes, etc. To be even more explicit, I think it possible that a court could find a common law in lieu of a statutory standard of liability applicable to such manufacturers in a class action by the bereaved parents over in Broward County, depending upon an examination of case law.

    It appears that Republicans who collect huge campaign contributions from gun and ammunition manufacturers funnelled through the NRA (see especially Cruz, Rubio and Ryan) are, as usual, not going to do anything about the continuing slaughter of school children, church and concert goers, preferring instead to talk about mental health and “policy” rather than guns, so perhaps our judicial branch can bring sanity and justice to Broward County and America. I hope so, since I cannot imagine a bigger issue than life or death and the crying need for regulation of those who provide the choice for profit, and since Republicans in Congress will not be doing anything about it because they are bought, perhaps some billion dollar recoveries
    arising from lawsuits against the manufacturers will dramaticallly slow the rate of slaughter by such lethal weaponry.

  19. Actually, owning a car is as much a Constitutional right as owning a gun. The car ownership is implied in the freedom to commit commerce.

    Gerald,

    In no way did my cynical comment advocate violence against anyone. Awkward as I am, my comments are the result of years of watching knuckleheads like Marco Rubio taking $3 + million from the NRA and not even standing up for his own constituents. This is a typically Republican trait. Moreover, Rick Scott says he now wants to have a “serious conversation” about gun violence. Really? A conversation? I hope he invites all the victims’ families to the chat.

    The racism has become increasingly overt since 2009, and the white lunatics are feeling ever more empowered to commit mayhem. THEY are the people advocating for violence.

    The Republican politicians are beyond craven. Grassley (R-IA) sponsored the legislation last year that specifically allowed mentally ill people more rights to buy guns. Yesterday, he said that the shooting is a mental health issue and that they (the elected officials) haven’t done a very good job at protecting Americans. Really? Is he so senile that he misses his own irony? Those are the creatures who need some sort of drama in their lives that offsets the paychecks they get from the bagmen of the gun industry, the NRA.

  20. Growing up in the Chicago area, St. Valentines Day always had several articles on the St. Valentines Massacre. The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre is the name given to the 1929 murder in Chicago of seven men of the North Side gang during the Prohibition Era.

    We now have a new and far more deadly St. Valentines Massacre to remember.
    Mass shootings in USA have become so common they hardly are mentioned unless the numbers reach double digits. Data from the Gun Violence Archive reveals there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – nine out of every 10 days on average. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/oct/02/america-mass-shootings-gun-violence

    We could offer a bounty or buyback on assault weapons. The cost of the Trumpet’s Parade is estimated at $20M. If we used that $20M to buyback assault weapons at $500 a piece, we could buyback 40,000 weapons. The these weapons should be melted down.

    I expect the Republicans to hide behind the NRA and Fox News. Where are the Democrats?? The Corporate Democratic Party has taken the approach of “Duck and Cover” better not stick our necks out, or offer simplistic platitudes they do not place them at risk.

    I agree with MCV >> Churches have abandoned their moral leadership on gun control. <<
    All organized religions offer is thoughts, prayers, hand wringing and meaningless vigils or marches.

  21. The comparison between guns and cars is bogus. Cars are not made to kill; guns are. But we should treat them equally, as they can be equally dangerous. Licenses, insurance, proof of competency, etc.

    Ban assault weapons. If it means a buy-back, fine. Use Trump’s parade money to pay for it. Treat the issue as a homeland security issue. They’re “weapons of mass destruction.”

    Reinstate or implement refusal to allow some–the mentally ill, domestic abusers, those on the no-fly list, anyone under 21–to purchase guns.

    We already have the technology for “smart” guns. Use it.

    I am also one of those people who would advocate the confiscation of guns. I know that won’t ever happen, but why can’t we (and especially the NRA) be sensible about the issue?

    3. This is not an original idea but one I’ve seen going around. Write a check to your representative but, instead of money, give them your “thoughts and prayers.”

  22. no defense in guns here,but where is the parents failing? seems we can come up with all kinds of ways to suppress,others,while they,are responsable. whereas, we cant condem the family when its their,offspring that makes tragic moves..this is not limited to guns, but cars,games,eating,and basic respect for others. if we all conclude we all need to work,and have money for the betterment of the kids,somewhere,we lost the reason to have kids. I grew up,with my grandfolks,union people,who,were intelligent enough to see the reason why,someone needs to be there,when i came home from school..i didnt watch t.v. until the news at 6 with,my grandfolks,ate dinner with them,and talked about whatever. little did i realize then,about why,they asked. we lost contact with the kids,they visibly shun us when wandering through their little world on that crystal ball you bought them ,just so they,can,stay in touch with whatever they have,discovered. if mental problems were to exist,would you reconize them before it was a issue? I have no family today,none, but I can see where and how,some families fail,and others nurture what they have bought into this mad world. if you havent time,for children,dont have them…..

  23. When I was young virtually every house in our village had guns simply because harvesting wild meat was much cheaper than buying domestic meat. People ate plenty of wild fruits and berries too. The end of hunting/gathering.

    Now there are lots more guns grossly unequally distributed. Many houses with none many with many.

    I have never met anyone anti-hunting/gathering.

    But, on the other hand, the current situation is clearly absolutely unacceptable. To say that all solutions are impossible is unacceptable and ridiculous as well.

    We simply aren’t collectively that stupid.

  24. One point left over from yesterday. One of the current realities that we are suffering from is a shortage of science and civic literacy. The simplest and most discriptive term for that is “ignorance” meaning inadequate education in those subjects on the part of some. Not everyone chooses any topics as an educational goal but most school curricula requires some minimum exposure.

    Someone yesterday interpreted remarks made as disrespect for rural ignorance. I wanted to say that to whatever degree that misinterpretation exists it means many like me are choosing the wrong words.

    One excuse for that is that some, like me, see ignorance as a practical choice that everyone makes. There is no stigma to it but there’s also no reason to not recognize it. We all have to choose what to learn and what not to and there’s no doubt that that decision is informed by what we we are born like and into. A fact of life.

    So, to quote an old saw, words matter. We should try to chose honest words but precise ones with narrower interpretation. (Like Sheila does). Ignorance is one of the things that we all share but thankfully we choose differently. Unfortunately a consequence is that we have to rely on each other and expertise to cover all bases.

    The problems starts when ego or propaganda gets in the way of the those facts.

  25. The only purpose to own a hand gun or assault rifle is to kill people. The answer is to ban all guns that do not have a legitimate us eg hunting as in the UK
    Gun deaths per 100,000 per year in the US 10.54 in the UK 0.23 that is a 45 fold decrease in gun deaths.
    The US has 45,000% more gun deaths because the silent majority does nothing.

  26. In Florida, it’s easier to get a gun than it is to get birth control. It’s easier to get a gun than it is a vehicle. A job. A career. It’s the easiest thing one can do all over this country and we watch these horrors and let them DO NOTHING about it. We must stop these killings.

    I think we need to let women run this country because the men are failing. Not only are they in charge (the men), they are the ones doing all this killing. Maybe a Man needs to stand up and say enough! Who is that man going to be?

    All of us women want them to stop killing our babies. WHOSE IS IT GOING TO BE?*

    *sorry, don’t mean to shout. I am furious this keeps happening. I don’t feel safe anywhere anymore.

  27. AgingLGrl: ” I think we need to let women run this country because the men are failing.”

    My wife and I have talked about this a great deal. I think a women’s party supported by progressive males is a serious and game changing proposition.

  28. The voters of the state of Florida deserve having their children killed. I have no sympathy for these people. None.

  29. Ron,

    “The voters of the state of Florida deserve having their children killed. I have no sympathy for these people. None.”

    Is this statement enough proof that the U.S. is COMING APART AT THE SEAMS?

  30. Ron Skurat; although Sheila supports freedom of speech and we are allowed to speak our minds, as long as we remain civil to one anther – your level of hatred and lack of respect for human life is beyond comprehension by those of us trying to bring this country back to a functioning level of sanity.

    YOU ARE DISGUSTING; YOU ARE AS BLACK-HEARTED AS DONALD TRUMP, MIKE PENCE, BANNON, RYAN, McCONNELL AND ALL OTHERS WHO ARE SUPPORTING AND SUPPORTED BY THE NRA. YOU ARE AS DEVOID OF HUMANITY AS THOSE WHO HAVE CARRIED OUT THE MASS SHOOTINGS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE; ESPECIALLY THE DOZENS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE SLAUGHTERED IN SCHOOLS AND ON OUR STREETS. YOU ARE A WASTE OF OXYGEN AND SPACE ON THIS EARTH. IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN; I PITY THEM AND HOPE THEY ARE SAFE FROM YOUR HATRED.

  31. Dear Ron Skurat and JoAnn Green we are all torn and bleeding. Regardless of the path we take let’s keep giving each other what help we can. I look forward to this forum and all of your value.

  32. JoAnn is right.

    In the recent past, Larry Kaiser has advocated for the “righteous” use of eugenics and bragged as to how he fooled black folks wrt the origins of his art.

    https://www.sheilakennedy.net/2018/01/normalizing-segregation/comment-page-1/

    And now we have Ron Skurat’s eloquent sentiments.(sarcasm)

    The “New” Democrats are just as authoritarian as the right. I don’t think there is anything that can assuage such derelicts from having such views. They and their contemporaries on the right deserve one another. Of course, since both commenters are white–as is the majority of this audience–which gives them some breathing room for making such comments. Funnily enough,I don’t see a post from the host admonishing such comments ( Remember how those black women made everyone so uncomfortable at the march). I guess everyone is comfortable with such comments? Advocate for eugenics,speak of others as if they’re stupid and declare that Floridians deserve to have their children killed–those are acceptable views on this very forum. Just don’t advocate for single payer or type about the lack of spine coming from the Democrats. If you do,you’ll be treated as if you’re a pariah and extremist. This forum resonates with white-privilege. The comments from Larry and Ron bear this out.

    Again,nice group we have here.

  33. If people can hold pharmaceutical companies liable for overdose/addiction costs, does it follow that gun manufacturers could be held liable for damage/death related to their product?

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