this shit has to stop

Set fire to a building, wait for the police and the fire department to show up, fire a few rounds at them, run away.

This used to be a tactic used in inner cities during the infamous Long Hot Summer of 1967. A hundred and sixty urban riots during a four month period. A lot of anger and rage against government — national, state, municipal, it didn’t matter. Tension about the war in Southeast Asia, tension about racism, tension about drug laws, tension exacerbated by the summer heat. Start a fire, wait for the response, fire a few rounds, run away. The motives in 1967 were personal and political. Not like this — not like what happened this morning in Webster, NY.

Scene of the shooting, Webster, NY

Scene of the shooting, Webster, NY

This morning, in a middle-class, lakeside suburb near Rochester, firefighters — and let me stress this: volunteer firefighters — arrived at the scene of a home fire and were shot at. Four firefighters were shot; two are dead. The gunman is also dead. The house that was on fire — it burned to the ground since the firefighters couldn’t extinguish the blaze while being shot at. Three other houses were also destroyed when the fire spread; four others were damaged by fire.

I don’t know if the shooter started the fire. I don’t know if this was planned or spontaneous. I don’t know how the shooter was armed or what sort of ammunition he used. But I know this: this shit has to stop.

Last week, it was children and their teachers. This morning, volunteer firefighters. Regular people who give up some of their free time to train and practice putting out fires. Regular men and women who, when called, willingly stop whatever they’re doing and respond to help the people of their communities. They don’t care if the house belongs to a friend or a stranger, they don’t care if the house is owned by Democrats or Republicans, they don’t care if the inhabitants are black or white, they don’t care if it’s the home of illegal immigrants. They get the call and they deliberately put themselves in real danger, because it needs to be done.

And some asshole with a gun shoots them.

My guess is Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association will suggest that all firefighters should be armed so they can return fire.

Let me be clear about this. It’s NOT the individual firearms that’s the problem. The problem is ALL the firearms. It’s the easy availability of firearms and the availability of high capacity magazines. Making firearms more difficult to obtain IS NOT going to stop mass shootings; our culture is much too fucked up at this point for that to stop. But we can, over time, at least try to reduce the body count.

This shit has to stop.

asshole dentist v. hot dental assistant

James Knight is a dentist in Fort Dodge, Iowa and a good family man. We know he’s a good family man because he fired his dental assistant of ten years because she was “irresistible” and therefore a threat to his marriage.

No, I’m not making this up. Melissa Nelson had been Dr. Knight’s assistant for just over a decade. For most of that time, there was no problem.

Dr. Knight admits that Nelson was a good dental assistant. Nelson in turn acknowledges that Dr. Knight generally treated her with respect, and she believed him to be a person of high integrity.

Ms. Nelson stated she thought of Knight as “a friend and father figure.” But over the last year and a half of her employment, Knight began to behave in a rather unfatherly way. He complained that her “clothing was too tight and revealing and ‘distracting.’” So distracting in fact, that he was forced to talk to her about it.

Dr. Knight acknowledges he once told Nelson that if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing.

On one occasion he texted her after work, stating the shirt she’d worn that day was too tight. When she disagreed, he texted her that…

it was a good thing [she] did not wear tight pants too because then he would get it coming and going.

Ms. Nelson denies any of her work attire was inappropriate in any way. So she was surprised a couple years ago when she was called into Dr. Knight’s office at the end of the workday and was told she was being fired. Knight had the pastor of his church in the office with him, and he read a prepared statement to Ms. Nelson.

The statement said, in part, that their relationship had become a detriment to Dr. Knight’s family and that for the best interests of both Dr. Knight and his family and Nelson and her family, the two of them should not work together.

Then Knight gave her an envelope with a month’s wages and showed her the door. That night her husband (both Knight and Nelson are married and have children; Knight’s wife also works at her husband’s dental office) called Knight, and they arranged to meet. Again, Knight brought the pastor of his church to the meeting.

In the meeting, Dr. Knight told Steve Nelson that Melissa Nelson had not done anything wrong or inappropriate and that she was the best dental assistant he ever had. However, Dr. Knight said he was worried he was getting too personally attached to her. Dr. Knight told Steve Nelson that nothing was going on but that he feared he would try to have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.

Seriously. This asshole fired her because he was afraid he’d try to have an affair with her. So she did the reasonable thing. She sued his ass.

Let me interrupt myself and say something  about the Iowa Supreme Court. It has a long and venerable history of standing up for civil rights. The very first decision the court issued was In Re the Matter of Ralph (a colored man), in which the court found that a Missouri slave residing in the ‘free territory’ of Iowa could not be returned to his owner — that simply by living in Iowa Ralph was a free man. This was 18 years before the US Supreme Court heard a similar case (Dred Scott) but ruled in favor of the slave owner. This was 22 years before the beginning of the American Civil War.

In 1868, their decision in the case of Clark v. The Board of Directors ruled that racially segregated ‘separate but equal’ schools for children had no place in Iowa’s educational system. It took the US Supreme Court another 85 years to reach the same conclusion in Brown v. Board of Education.

In 1869, when Arabella Mansfield sued the Iowa Bar Association for denying her the right to practice law, the decision by the Iowa Supreme Court made Iowa the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law.

In 2009 the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled against legislation banning same-sex marriage, making Iowa the fifth state in the union to permit same-sex couples to marry.

The Iowa Supreme Court, when given a chance to stand up for the oppressed, for the marginalized, for the disadvantaged and downtrodden and mistreated, has always made the difficult but right decision. Until now.

Ms. Nelson’s suit argued that she’d been unlawfully terminated because of her gender. She made three main points against Dr. Knight and her termination. She argued that:

any termination because of a boss’s physical interest in a subordinate amounts to sex discrimination: “Plaintiff’s sex is implicated by the very nature of the reason for termination.” Second, she suggests that without some kind of employee misconduct requirement, Dr. Knight’s position becomes simply a way of enforcing stereotypes and
permitting pretexts: The employer can justify a series of adverse employment actions against persons of one gender by claiming, “My spouse thought I was attracted to them.” Third, she argues that if Dr. Knight would have been liable to Nelson for sexually harassing her, he should not be able to avoid liability for terminating her out of fear that he was going to harass her.

In effect, Melissa Nelson’s position was that she didn’t do anything to get herself fired except to exist as a woman.

And the Iowa Supreme Court? It dismissed her suit. It ruled in favor of Dr. Knight. Despite the fact that everybody involved agrees Ms. Nelson did nothing wrong, it ruled in favor of Knight. Despite the fact that the Court itself referred to “Dr. Knight’s unfair decision to terminate Nelson (while paying her a rather ungenerous one month’s severance)” they ruled in his favor.

Iowa Supreme Court

Iowa Supreme Court

Why? Because her termination from employment wasn’t “based on gender itself” but was a decision “driven entirely by individual feelings and emotions regarding a specific person.” Their ruling was apparently grounded in the notion that there were several other women working in Dr. Knight’s office, and he didn’t fire them. He only fired the woman he was afraid he’d try to sleep with. She wasn’t fired because of her gender, according to the court, but was apparently fired because she was smoking hot. And that, I guess, is okay.

It should be noted, though, that of the seven judges who voted to overturn Iowa’s ban on gay marriage, only one remains on the bench. The others were replaced after Republicans raised massive amounts of money to defeat them. This is now an all-male court in which the majority of the judges were appointed by a Republican governor. So maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

more guns

In his news appearance today Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, made this dubious claim:

[N]obody has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?

That might sound like a profoundly stupid claim, considering that a lot of people have, in fact, been addressing that very issue. But since the NRA believes there’s only one possible answer to the question, they assume the question really hasn’t been addressed. The NRA’s answer, of course, is we need more guns.

More guns. For three and a half decades, that’s been the NRA’s answer. Since 1977, when new leadership took over the NRA, the group has been pressing the ‘more guns’ solution. They’ve stopped representing hunters and ordinary folks; now they represent firearms manufacturers. What do firearms manufactures want to sell? More guns.

Wayne LaPierre, NRA Chief Executive

Wayne LaPierre, NRA Chief Executive

In his speech today, LaPierre pointed out that

[F]ederal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40 percent, to the lowest levels in a decade.

What he neglected to mention is the NRA’s role in that situation. LaPierre failed to note his group has helped Republicans draft legislation making it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute firearms cases.

Because of Republicans in Congress (all of whom are supported by the NRA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (the only federal agency allowed to investigate federal firearms crime) has fewer field agents now than it did 40 years ago. There are fewer than 2500 agents to oversee the activities of more than 60,000 licensed gun licensed gun dealers (and nobody knows how many unlicensed gun dealers). The BATF hasn’t had a Director for more than six years, because Republicans in the Senate refuse to confirm any nominee not supported by the NRA.

The NRA drafted legislation offered and passed by Republicans that prohibit the BATF by law from performing more than a single unannounced inspection of a licensed firearms dealer in any 12-month period. The BATF is also prohibited from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory checks to detect loss and theft. What do those limitations mean for criminals? More guns.

The NRA also drafted and lobbied for a Republican-sponsored law requiring the Justice Department and the FBI to destroy within 24 hours the records of all gun buyers whose background checks were approved. That makes it harder to catch gun dealers who falsify their records. It also makes it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and track straw purchasers (people who buy guns for folks who wouldn’t be able to pass a background check). What does that put in the hands of more criminals? More guns.

If that’s not enough, the BATF is also prevented by law from providing gun trace data to municipal and state law enforcement agencies. This data can show where illegal guns are coming from, who buys them, and how they travel across state lines. Criminological studies consistently reveal that most of the firearms seized at crime scenes are sold by a very small percentage of licensed gun dealers. The denial of that sort of information means it’s almost impossible to prosecute gun dealers who supply criminals with more guns.

In fact, Riverview Gun Sales, the gun shop that sold the weapons used in the Newtown, CT school shooting, also sold the weapons used to kill eight people in Hartford, CT in 2010. In 2007, an employee of that same gun shop was accused of stealing 33 firearms from the shop’s inventory. Only two of those guns were recovered. The man pleaded ‘no contest’ to stealing those two guns; he received an 18 month suspended sentence.

Riverview Gun Sales

Riverview Gun Sales

So LaPierre is right. Gun prosecutions are down — and we have the NRA to thank for that. And criminals can also thank the NRA for giving them greater access to more guns.

The NRA’s solution to the tragedy in Newtown, CT isn’t to make it more difficult for crazy people to arm themselves. Their answer is more guns. Their answer is to turn schools into armed camps. LaPierre said this today:

[W]e need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work and by that I mean armed security.

Rather than try to prevent the shootings, the NRA’s answer to school shooting is to make somebody available to return fire. More guns.

LaPierre did say one thing today that I agree with completely. He said,

If we truly cherish our kids, more than our money, more than our celebrities, more than our sports stadiums, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible.

He’s right, we must give school children the greatest level of protection possible. But that doesn’t mean arming teachers or placing armed, uniformed guards in every schoolhouse in the US. It doesn’t mean providing still more guns. The greatest level of protection would be to make it more difficult for deranged people to obtain a firearm. It would be to reduce the number of rounds that deranged people can fire. Giving the greatest level of protection would include giving BATF and other law enforcement agencies the tools they need to actively investigate and prosecute firearms violations.

You know what else ‘giving school children the greatest level of protection possible’ would mean? It would mean telling the National Rifle Association to go fuck itself.

good to have a plan

You’ve had those days. You wake up, you stumble out of bed, you manage to formulate a simple plan: empty your bladder, start the coffee, crawl back into a warm bed and read until the coffee’s ready. Then you look out the window.

And there’s fog.

Immediate change of plans. You ignore the warm bed and you forget the coffee (though you surrender to the tyranny of the bladder), you dress hurriedly, grab your camera, and bang out the door. Because, you know…fog. And you start to walk.

That’s exactly what I did recently. I headed for the oldest part of a once-small town that over the last couple of decades has evolved into a suburb. It’s just a few square blocks where the railroad used to run, but there are the small town equivalent of alleys. I’m usually drawn to alleyways, and in the fog even the unpaved alleys of this small town seemed attractive and mysterious.

foggy alleyI followed one alley to some old sheds near the railroad tracks on the outskirts of the town. Some of the sheds were clearly meant to house large equipment; others looked like they might have been used to store the freight that used to be shipped in and out of the town. Some were brick, some were corrugated siding, none were well-tended. My first thought was that the sheds would make great studio space. Or, with the field out back, maybe a manufacturing space for making artisanal kites (Is anybody doing that? Have I found myself a new career niche?).

shedsThe alleyway soon morphed into a dirt lane that ran parallel to the railroad tracks. It would be more accurate to say the lane ran parallel to where the tracks used to be. I don’t know when the rails were torn up, but they were long gone. Even the railroad ties had been pulled out and placed in piles.

Every twenty yards or so there was another disorderly heap of old, decaying railroad ties. There was something oddly attractive about the continuity of the evenly-spaced piles, coupled with the casual jumble of the piles themselves. Order and disorder, all part of the same process. That pleases me.

railroad tiesI followed the dirt lane until it turned out toward the countryside, then walked along the path where the tracks used to be. The fog was slowly beginning to dissipate, but the world remained remarkably quiet and still. There was nothing to hear but some surly crows, a flock of Canada Geese flying somewhere in the mist, and the occasional barking dog.

Part of the beauty of fog is that it’s so wonderfully disorienting. As it fades and you get a better sense of where you are, so much of the mystery evaporates. You’re just chilly and wet and walking along railroad tracks that aren’t even there.

absent the pretty paint of leavesEventually the bygone railroad tracks led to another suburban bike path, and I saw my first people of the day. A lone jogger running south, a bicyclist riding north. I said “g’morning” to both and got semi-social grunts in return. My guess is they were out there running and cycling despite the fog, not because of it.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just a waste of good fog.

jogger & cyclistBefore long, the fog was just about burned off and I was left with nothing but a long chilly walk back to the house. When I got there, I renewed my earlier plan: start the coffee, back to bed, read until the coffee was ready or I fell back asleep — whichever came first.

It’s good to have a plan, if only because it’s so much fun to ignore it.

this is not about freedom

Yesterday, at the vigil for the dead children of Newtown, President Obama asked this question: “Are we prepared that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

It’s a good question. But it’s the wrong question. This is not about the price of freedom.

It’s important NOT to allow the gun lobby to frame the discussion in terms of freedom. They like to argue that even the smallest attempt to restrict or limit any aspect of firearm technology is an assault on freedom. They like to claim that privately owned guns are the only reliable barrier between freedom and tyranny. They like to portray themselves as the heroic Defenders of Liberty, as the Guardians of Democracy, the Champions of Freedom.

They’re not. Again, this is not about freedom. They’re the Defenders of Convenience. They’re the Guardians of Fantasy.

Their insistence on having access to 30 round magazines or 100 round magazines isn’t about freedom. It’s about the terrible burden of hobbyist shooters at the rifle range not to have to pause for a few moments to reload.

Their insistence on the ‘right’ to carry firearms everywhere — to church, to the bar, to places of business — isn’t about democracy. It’s about action figure fantasies. It’s about men wanting to believe that in the unlikely event that a dangerous situation develops, they’d be able to resolve it. With a gun. It’s about a movie poster world view.

die hardLet me say it again. This is not about freedom. It’s about male fantasies.

The gun lobby claims new gun laws won’t stop the killing. They claim there are already more than 20,000 gun laws in the U.S. already. That’s not true — but even if it was, it would be irrelevant. A lot of existing gun laws either permit easier access to firearms or extend gun rights. They’re not laws that restrict or limit firearms. For example, earlier this year the State of Indiana enacted a law that essentially gives homeowners the right to shoot police officers under certain conditions. Seriously. The law states:

a person is justified in using reasonable force against a public servant if the person reasonably believes the force is necessary to: (1) protect the person or a third person from unlawful force; (2) prevent or terminate the public servant’s unlawful entry into the person’s dwelling; or (3) prevent or terminate the public servant’s criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession.

This law was written with the assistance of the National Rifle Association. It’s grounded in the paranoid belief that the government wants to stifle freedom by sending government agents to seize the weapons of common citizens. It’s a law that says you can shoot and kill police officers if you ‘reasonably believe’ the officer is coming to break into your home and take your legal firearms.

red dawnI’ll say it again. This is not about freedom. It’s about paranoia. It’s about the irrational belief that some day some military or paramilitary force will seize control of the United States, and it’s about the male fantasy that plucky Americans with guns will resist and prevail.

We live in a society in which children have to be trained how to behave in the event of a school shooting. We live in a society where school entrances are routinely locked to reduce the likelihood of mass murders. That’s not freedom.

The gun lobby likes to claim that an armed citizenry is a free citizenry. That’s a lie. An armed citizenry is a frightened citizenry, and people who live in fear are never really free.

We can place common sense limitations on firearm ownership in the US without infringing on the rights of citizens. But it’ll be much more difficult to do that as long as we keep discussing firearms in terms of freedom. This is not about freedom. It’s about lives.

we need to stop being stupid

For the last decade or two any discussion of gun policy has been relegated to people who are either paranoid or ignorant. The gun rights advocates are paranoid; the gun control advocates are ignorant. Both are passionate.

I’m not trying to be insulting here. When I say gun rights folks are paranoid, I mean their passionate defense of firearms isn’t grounded in reality. They have a completely irrational belief that they need powerful weaponry to defend themselves against their own government and an equally irrational fear that the government intends to seize all their weapons. And when I say gun control advocates are ignorant, I mean that despite their passionate concern for the welfare and safety of their fellow citizens, the vast majority of them have little or no experience with firearms and often don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

Passion is good for debate. Paranoia and ignorance — not so much.

Here’s an example of what I mean about ignorance among gun control advocates. In an editorial in the LA Times today Steve Lopez writes the following:

In this country, you can legally buy assault weapons.

No, you can’t (see note). You cannot walk into a gun shop and buy an assault weapon. An assault weapon is a military weapon; it’s a gun capable of fully automatic fire. If you hold the trigger down, a fully automatic weapon will continue to fire rounds until the ammunition is exhausted. But it’s NOT a machine gun. A machine gun is only capable of automatic fire; it’s either on ‘safe’ or ‘automatic’. That’s it. An assault rifle has the capacity for selective fire: single rounds, bursts of three rounds, or full auto.

Gun rights advocates know what an assault rifle is. If a gun control advocate gets into a discussion with a gun rights advocate and starts barking about assault weapons or machine guns, the gun rights advocate can legitimately disregard what the gun control advocate is saying because he clearly doesn’t have a clue about firearms. If chef Mario Batali hears a person talking about Kraft Mac & Cheez as Italian cuisine, he can rightly ignore him.

So no, you can’t legally buy an assault weapon in the US. You can, though, walk into a gun shop and buy a semi-automatic firearm based on the design of an assault weapon. A semi-automatic weapon is one that fires a single round every time you pull the trigger. If you want to shoot, say, 30 rounds you have to pull the trigger 30 times.

Gun control advocates need to understand the technology they want to regulate. In the past, their ignorance.has led to stupid gun policies. For example, Lopez also writes:

There used to be a federal ban on assault weapons, but it died in 2004

No, there wasn’t a federal ban on assault weapons. There was a federal law that banned a group of weapons that looked like assault weapons. It was, in many ways, stupid policy. The law restricted the sale of weapons that had at least two characteristics from a laundry list of military-style attributes — characteristics like a pistol grip on a rifle or a bayonet mount. Those attributes were essentially cosmetic; they had absolutely nothing to do with the lethality of the weapon.



For example, you couldn’t buy an AR-15, but you could buy a Mini-Ruger. The difference between the weapons are largely differences in cosmetic design. Both fire .223 caliber rounds, both are capable of semi-automatic fire, both can utilize high capacity magazines, both are equally lethal. But the AR-15 looks more brutal and militaristic.



The so-called ‘assault weapons ban’ was instituted by people with good intentions but inadequate information. It was flawed, and because it was flawed, it was difficult to support its renewal. And the failure to renew the ban made it politically more difficult to pass any further gun control legislation.

The next time we introduce gun control legislation, it’s critically important we know what we’re talking about.

That said, there were two facets of the law that potentially could have had an impact on mass murders like the one that took place in Sandy Hook. First, the law also banned magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. Second, cosmetic differences sometimes matter.

Limiting the capacity of magazines forces mass murderers to reload more often. I’m in favor of that. If it takes seven or eight seconds for the shooter to eject one magazine and inset another, that’s seven or eight seconds more a target has to run or hide. It won’t stop mass shootings, but it’ll help reduce the body count. And that’s a good start.

50 round drum magazine

50 round drum magazine

But why should cosmetic differences in firearms matter? Here’s a true thing about the majority of mass murderers: they may have severe personality disorders, but they’re not crazy. They almost always plan their attacks, and those plans are usually consistent in two ways. First, they require effective weapons. Second — and this doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves — mass murderer plans often include an aesthetic component.

Why do so many mass murderers wear camouflage or an all black outfit? It’s not so they can blend into the environment of the mall or schoolhouse. Why do they often wear masks or balaclavas? It’s not to hide their identity; most either kill themselves, force the police to kill them, or surrender without a fuss. Why do so many wear tactical gear like helmets and vests, which can be easily purchased by civilians?

They dress that way because popular entertainment culture says that’s how mass killers are supposed to dress. They don’t want to just kill and wound a lot of people; they want to look cool while they do it.

Tactical gear

Tactical gear

That mass murderer aesthetic also influences their choice of weaponry. The two most popular weapons for mass murderers are the AR-15 and the Glock pistol. Why the AR-15? Because, as the legislators who voted to ban the gun noted, the damned thing just looks lethal. It looks like it means business. As a killing tool, it IS more effective than many other weapons (partly because of AR accessories and the wound ballistics of the .223 round), but mass murderers also choose it for aesthetic reasons. It looks badass.

9mm Glock

9mm Glock

There’s an aesthetic facet to the Glock as well. It has a clean, no-nonsense look. The physical design of the Glock has actually influenced almost every other handgun manufacturer; they all now produce pistols that look similar to the Glock. Mass murderers also pick the Glock for the same reason two-thirds of police departments have selected it; the Glock is an incredibly effective and efficient handgun.

The AR-15 and the Glock have one other thing in common: they both accept high capacity magazines. You can legally buy 100 round magazines for the AR-15. James Holmes, the gunman who killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in an Aurora, CO movie theater, was armed with a Glock and a variant of the AR-15 that had a 100 round magazine. He’d have killed more if the AR-15 hadn’t jammed.

Mass murderers may consider aesthetics in their preparation, but what they’re ultimately after is a high body count. We can’t do much about the aesthetic choices of mass murderers. We can try to reduce the body count through intelligent legislation based on a sound understanding of firearm technology.

We can re-institute the most effective part of the 1994 law: we can ban magazines holding more than ten rounds. Will that stop mass murders? No. Nor will it reduce the body count immediately, because there are thousands and thousands of high capacity magazines out there now. But if we banned them, we can be assured of one thing: gun nuts will begin to buy them and hoard them, which effectively removes them from circulation. Over time, it will reduce the body count.

A typical gun show

A typical gun show (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency)

There are other common sense things we can do. We can also close the loophole that allows firearms to be sold at gun shows without a background check. We can tighten restrictions on who can legally sell firearms at gun shows. Around 40% of all gun sales are ‘private’ sales, many of which take place at gun shows by unlicensed dealers.

We can follow the Canadian model and require that every gun buyer must have two people willing to vouch for him before he can buy the weapon. Will that stop mass murders? No, the weapons used in Sandy Hook were purchased by the shooter’s mother. It won’t stop mass murders, but it will very likely reduce the number of them.

We can eliminate the absurd restrictions placed by Republican lawmakers on background checks. For example, right now the law limits the amount of time a background check can take. If the check isn’t finished in the allotted time, the sale is allowed to proceed by default.

We can require retailers to report the sale of tactical gear to civilians. Will that stop mass murders? No, but it will alert the police to a possible problem. And it will deny mass murderers the additional pleasure of dressing like a badass when they go off to murder innocent people.

We can take a number of small steps to reduce the incidence and severity of mass murders. We can do that without treading on any legitimate Second Amendment rights. We can do that if we go about it intelligently. And that means gun control advocates need to educate themselves about firearms.

We need to stop being stupid about this stuff.

NOTE: You can, in fact, buy a true assault weapon in most states, but it’s a much more involved and rigorous process that can take several weeks or months to complete.

it’s the guns

Sandy Hook Elementary School — children from kindergarten through fourth grade. We’re talking kids who are roughly 5 to 10 years old. Right now they’re saying 26 dead, maybe 18 of them children. We don’t really know. We don’t know how many were injured but survived. We’re hearing reports that when the shooting was over the children were told to keep their eyes closed as they were led from the school.

[These shootings] happen in clusters, and given the persistence of them happening in Democrat/Liberal enclaves, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s deliberate.

What we do know right now is the shooter is dead. We’re told he had two handguns — a Glock and a Sig Sauer — and possibly a .223 caliber rifle. The .223 is a common caliber for rifles, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter used an AR-15, the civilian equivalent of an M-16. Nobody has said yet, but will anybody be surprised if/when we discover those guns were bought legally?

9mm Glock

9mm Glock

These are all very common firearms, very easy to obtain at gun store or sporting goods shop after a simple background check — or at gun show without a background check. But we can’t blame the firearms, can we. Because guns don’t kill people.

This sounds like a potential jihad attack.

Already the right wing gun nuts are pushing back. Of course, they are. Kids have been murdered and their first thought is to blame anybody or anything but the tools that make these mass murders so easy and so commonplace. It can’t be the guns.

If this is Islamic terror related, I wonder if Ubama will claim the video made them do it?

People want to blame somebody. Somebody else. Not one of us. Not somebody who is white, not somebody who is Christian. People want to believe this was an act of twisted religion or politics. People want to believe this is an act of madness.

Alleged shooter, Adam Lanza

Alleged shooter, Adam Lanza

But this is the alleged shooter when he was younger. An ordinary-looking white kid. Since he’s not a Muslim, he must be crazy — because only a Muslim or a crazy person would do something this horrific. And maybe the shooter did have a psychiatric problem. But he also had guns. Crazy and heavily armed — not a healthy combination.

 Just waiting for sightings of Sarah Brady or her kind dancing on the bodies and calling for more gun control now.

The news folks are saying this is ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘beyond belief’ and ‘completely unthinkable.’ They said the same thing after every other mass shooting this year, and every mass shooting last year and the year before and the sad and ugly truth is that is is absolutely NOT beyond belief. It’s not only not beyond belief, it’s completely fucking predictable. Because of the proliferation of guns in the United States.



We don’t want to recognize the fact that mass murders happen in the U.S. on a regular basis. They happen so often they don’t make the national news. They’re considered local stories — until the bodies hit newsworthy numbers.

Bank on it, “O” will make a power play to shut down gun ownership.

It’s being reported that this is the deadliest mass grade school shooting in U.S. history. We have so many mass murders at schools that we have to distinguish them by grade. Virginia Tech University holds the record body count for school shootings, but Sandy Hook is a close second. The victims in the former case were college students; the victims at Sandy Hook were mostly children. The thing they have in common is the guns.

9mm Sig Sauer

9mm Sig Sauer

Each time a reporter talks about “the deadliest school shooting in history” there’s an implied “…to date.” It’s the deadliest school shooting of 4th Graders and below…to date.

It is sickening that the left will blame the gun, but not support the gun that would prevent this Satanic act.

It’s not the gun. Don’t blame the gun. The gun didn’t shoot itself. We’re going to hear that a lot. And you know what? It’s true. Individual firearms aren’t responsible for all these deaths. But the collective easy availability of firearms is most definitely a major part of the problem. The easy availability of high capacity magazines, that’s part of the problem. The lethality of firearms, that’s a serious part of the problem.

This is an act of provocation allowing for new legislation to outlaw handguns. I have no evidence yet, but this is a play straight out of Rules for Radicals. Watch out, Zero’s about to make his big move to disarm the law abiding public

When the local hospital was notified of the mass shooting, they brought in extra staff to assist with the casualties. Only three people were brought to the hospital. Three. More than two dozen dead, only three injured. Why? Because of the guns.

I am afraid the Gun Control Fascists will use this to push for Gun Control.

I’m also afraid. I’m afraid and angry. I’m fucking furious. I’m furious because we don’t have any meaningful gun control. I’m furious because despite all the dead children in Connecticut today, despite all the grieving families, nothing is going to change. Next month there’ll be another mass shooting, and there’ll be another the month after that, and nothing is going change.

It’s not the gun? Fuck you, it IS the gun. It’s all the goddamn guns.

Editorial note: The quotes above were taken verbatim from

come home to roost

It’s derived from the Old English term hrōst, which referred to the wooden framework of a roof. Old English birds would perch and sleep on old English hrōsts, and by the early 16th century that’s essentially what roost came to mean. As a noun, it generally denotes a place where birds sleep for the night; as a verb, it means to settle in for the night.

crows, roosting

crows, roosting

Roost is also the root of rooster, which refers to a male chicken. The term used to be roost cock or just cock, but during the Puritan movement of the 16th and 17th century, some folks became uncomfortable with the association of cock with the male sexual organ. So Puritans began calling male chickens roosters and on those rare occasions when they needed to refer to the male sexual organ they probably called it the ‘male sexual organ’ (which I suspect is one of the reasons the Puritan movement died out).

The term has worked its way into idiomatic expressions. To rule the roost means to be the controlling member of a family or group. There was a time when that was assumed to be somebody with a male sexual organ, though to assert that definition these days would be to risk the rooster becoming a capon (which, by the way, has the same etymological root as hatchet, which is alarmingly appropriate).

When wicked deeds or words cause discomfort to the originator, we say the chickens have come home to roost. That phrase actually comes from an 1810 poem by Robert Southey (who is best known for writing The Story of the Three Bears, which is now known as the story of Goldilocks). In his epic poem The Curse of Kehama, Southey wrote:

“Curses are like young chicken: they always come home to roost.”

Southey, it has to be said, stole the concept from Geoffrey Chaucer, who basically said the same thing (only with a lot more vowels) in The Parson’s Tale:

And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.

Modern bryds, of course, no longer need to retorneth agayn to their owene nests. Nor do they need an Old English hrōst. If they want to roost, all they have to do is find a convenient spot to plant their feathered butts and go to sleep.