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Archive for the ‘guns’ Category

Attack the ambush.

That’s what our soldiers are trained to do. And, increasingly, our cops too. It’s what two Capitol Police officers did today. Two black Capitol Police officers. Who were there as the security detail for a white Congressman who has made his career running his mouth about how lazy stupid etc. black people are. They were ambushed at a baseball field, and the two black police officers immediately attacked the ambush and killed the ambusher. Because that’s what they do. That’s what they signed up to do. Even if it means defending the life of a bigot.

Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey did their job. It’s a dirty job, but it’s a necessary one. Regardless of what various right-wing assholes (and a few lefties too) say about Second Amendment remedies, it’s a damn nasty idea. Because once we start down that route, we’re talking about rule of gun — and rule of gun always favors the most evil, the most venal, the most willing to murder in cold blood.

And nations ruled by cold blooded murderers are not good places to be.

Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Rule of Law Penguin

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NRA employee shoots himself at NRA headquarters. He was apparently holstering his pistol as part of firearms training, and it “went off”.

For realz? It just “went off”, for no reason at all?

Oh for Zombie Fucking Christ’s sake, people, guns don’t just “go off”. Somebody — or something — has to pull the fucking trigger, they don’t shoot by themselves. What’s that saying again? Guns don’t kill, people kill? Well, guns don’t shoot. People shoot. This dumb-ass motherfucker shot his fucking self, is what it boils down to, and did it with careless-ass gun handling. Didn’t put the safety on (assuming it’s an automatic with a safety, which, if it’s a fucking plastic Glock, it doesn’t have, which is why I wouldn’t own one of those goddamn plastic pieces of shit), left the hammer cocked (if it was a revolver), and managed to snag the trigger with his finger or part of the holster. Whatever. He’s the one who fucking pulled that trigger and shot his foot off whether accidentally or on purpose, in the end. The gun didn’t do it by itself. Guns aren’t fucking magic, peeps!

And follow this up with dumbass college student managing to shoot one of his dorm-mates. This is a piece of dumbassery that required a) violating the stated gun policy of the University of St. Thomas, a private Catholic college, and b) being stupid enough to actually remove the gun from its hidey-hole and pulling the trigger while inside a dormitory room. And one of his dorm-mates paid the price. Talk about your dumb motherfuckers…

But of course, what kind of week would it be without a school shooting to spice it up? San Bernardino, three dead including one child, one child severely injured. Why is it that these suicidal dumbasses with guns never just shoot themselves, instead they gotta go in and kill their ex and a random kid who just happened to be the wrong place at the wrong time before they eat their pistol? Zombie Jesus does not approve, peeps! If you’re going to blow your brains out, be a man and do it at home where Zombie Jesus can scoop out your brains for himself, don’t take other people with you. Sheesh!

Just another day in the failed state that is the United States of America. Have a nice day. (SNERK).

-Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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No, I’m not joking. They really did.

Look, I’m not super excited about the fact that the 2nd Amendment grants an individual right to keep in bear arms, but that’s what it does, at least until the Supremes dance different or the 2nd Amendment gets replaced, so that’s that. But that doesn’t mean that we ought to be arming crazy people.

Of course, given the fact that there’s actually people who argue that the blind should be armed… so why should I be surprised that they also believe crazy people should be armed?

Of course, this might just be self-protection on the part of Congressmen. After all, if crazy people can’t own guns, they’d have to give up their own guns, right?

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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So I’ve seen some screeching on various left wing sites about how the administration of His Fraudulency Donald J. Trump is going to deregulate “silencers”.

Uhm….

There is no such thing as a “silencer”. Not in the movie definition of the word, anyhow, where a gun makes a “pfftt” compressed air sound when it shoots rather than a sharp “crack!” sound. What there is, is suppressors. These work like the muffler on your car, and are constructed with much the same techniques. Does the muffler on your car make your car silent? Does the muffler on your car make your car sound like not a car? Exactly. A gun with a suppressor attached sounds like a gun, and is still quite audible. It just isn’t loud enough to destroy your hearing, like a gun fired in close quarters by a cop or in self defense can do.

So what are the upsides and downsides of deregulating suppressors?

Upsides:

  1. Cops don’t have to risk their hearing when they’re clearing the interior of buildings. They can’t wear ear plugs because they need to be able to hear bad guys, but if they fire their weapon in those closed quarters, their ears *will* be ringing for the next few hours, and probably permanently damaged. Do that enough and you end up deaf, which if you’re a cop means involuntary retirement because being able to hear is an important part of the job.
  2. Hunters don’t have to risk either losing their hearing or not hearing their prey. Hunters can wear ear plugs, unlike cops, but if you do that, it’s possible to miss your prey, and you certainly lose the ambience of walking in the woods on a crisp fall day. Watching the leaves flutter without being able to hear the leaves flutter sorta sucks.

Downsides:

  1. Poachers can more easily do their trade, since the gun isn’t audible for as long a distance as an unsuppressed gun.
  2. If used for a mass shooting, the sound of a suppressed gun doesn’t carry as far and thus gives less warning for those some distance away from the mass shooting. It still sounds like a gun, and if it goes off within 200 yards in, say, a mall, you’re not going to wonder “is that a gun?”, you’re going to say “feets lets book!”. But the crack of an unsuppressed firearm is clearly audible a mile away in open air. The whole mall would hear it, not just the portion of the mall within a few hundred yards.
  3. It would defeat the gunfire detectors used by, e.g., the City of Oakland, that can triangulate and determine the exact location of shots fired without needing anybody to call in a police report.

That last is probably a good enough reason to not deregulate suppressors. Yes, make them available for police officers (with the understanding that police officers likely aren’t going to carry them because they’re bulky and heavy), but quick police response in many cities today requires those gunfire detectors to work over a distance of miles, not hundreds of yards.

The question is whether the advantages to hunters outweigh the disadvantages — especially the ability to triangulate gunfire in cities. I would say no. In today’s world, hunting isn’t the life or death that it was back in pioneer days when a bad hunt meant you went hungry. The convenience to hunters is pretty much irrelevant. And guns are very, very rarely fired in home defense situations. As in, maybe a few dozen times per year, nationwide. The reality is that in a home invasion, either they’re in and on you before you have time to fetch a gun and bring it to bear, or they book as soon as they see you have a gun. Saving a few percent of a few dozen people’s hearing is probably not worth the problems it would cause police in being able to detect illegal gunfire within their city.

On the other hand, if they were deregulated, I wouldn’t throw a hissy fit. The reality is that crime has been declining in the United States for the past two decades. While it’s good to have the automated gunfire detectors, the old fashioned remedy of people calling in and reporting they hear shots in their vicinity still works. So while I’d prefer they stay heavily regulated and out of the hands of non-cops, the reality is that if they’re deregulated, it will not be a public safety disaster. Remember, guns still sound like guns through a suppressor. They just don’t leave your ears ringing afterwards. I suspect that my own problems with tinnitus were worsened by hunting without hearing protection… somehow not being able to hear the woods just doesn’t sit right with me, or many other hunters (or former hunter in my case). Though the majority was just working too damned close to those goddamned turbines in the oilfield without proper hearing protection…

– Badtux the Unsuppressed Penguin

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NRA through the years

2008 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2009 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2010 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2011 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2012 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2013 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2014 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2015 : “Obama is coming for your guns!”
2016 : “Hillary is coming for your guns!”

Gotta give’em credit for consistency.

Meanwhile, here in the real world, Sandy Hook marked the end of the U.S. gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, any chance of gun control was off the table. Nevermind gun confiscation, which ain’t even in the same fucking house as that table, nevermind on it.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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So, the numbers are pretty clear. Gun violence in the United States peaked in the early 1980’s during the peak of the crack epidemic, and after doing a camel hump thing during the Reagan Administration, has been falling ever since the late 80’s. The number of those killed and injured by guns today, as a percentage of the population, are lower than they’ve been since the Eisenhower Administration. We basically live in the safest era that anybody under the age of 60 has ever known.

Yet… somehow it does not feel safe. Why? I don’t have the numbers to prove this yet, but I have a suspicion. The gun violence in the early 80’s was almost entirely related to the drug trade. If you weren’t a gang-banger, if you didn’t hang with gang-bangers, you weren’t likely to be targeted by gun violence. Today….

Well, today you can’t even go to the mall without worrying about being shot by some deranged spree killer. As this article about a spree killing at a mall in Burlington, Washington State mentioned, “the shooting marks Washington’s sixth mass shooting with at least four people who were fatally shot or wounded this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. In the most recent shooting, people were shot to death at a house party in Mukilteo in July.”

Now, six shootings is pretty trivial compared to the total amount of crime in Washington State in the 1980’s. But here’s the thing. When most murders are either drug related or domestic violence related, 3 murders is a huge percentage of the small number of murders remaining, let’s call them “non-drug non-family murders”. And that’s just *this* spree shooting…

In short, it’s not a quantitative difference over 30 years ago. But it certainly is a qualitative difference, a difference in nature. And that makes people worried, even if it is much more likely that you’ll die in a traffic accident if you die, rather than die at the hands of a spree killer.

Sort of like cops and brutality towards black men, now that I think about it. Thirty years ago, you had cops using side-handle batons beating down black men left and right. Rodney King was not an anomaly. He was representative of thousands and thousands of black men that the LAPD beat down in those years.

And sure, we got a riot out of it. But here’s the thing: Rodney King lived. Whereas today, they would have shot him dead, and he would have died.

My guess is that we have less police violence towards black men today than we had back during the 1980’s. The problem is not quantitative, it’s qualitative. The violence has become shootings rather than beatings, and needless to say black communities aren’t exactly onboard with that change… just as, I suspect, most white communities today really wish we could go back to the time when spree shootings were drug-related drive-bys by rival gangs, and you could avoid dying simply by staying away from gang-bangers. Getting randomly shot sucks regardless of your color.

– Badtux the Quality Penguin

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I am awaiting a description of what rights the guns being carried by heavily-armed KKK members were protecting when they were lynching and burning down the houses of “uppity nigras”.

Oh wait, the guns owned by the black population protected their rights? Uhm… not so much. When you’re an outnumbered minority, all that taking up arms against your oppressor manages to do is get your entire community exterminated. And yes, there were entire black communities massacred if they took up arms to defend their rights.

So okay, guns in the hands of a majority don’t protect the rights of a minority, got it. But clearly the guns in the hands of the majority are necessary to resist oppression by the central government. Which is why the heavily armed Ukrainian Partisan Army was so successful at winning independence from the USSR in the aftermath of WW2. They were heavily armed first by the Nazis to fight the Soviets, then by the Soviets to fight the Nazis. They had plenty of guns, and enough ammunition. And they were totally exterminated. Because armed resistance against a totalitarian government willing to exterminate entire populations in order to maintain control has never succeeded. The American Revolution succeeded because King George III had scruples — he was not willing to order that entire cities be razed and their populations exterminated or sold into slavery if they resisted English rule. Indeed, he likely would not have been able to stay on his crown if he did that, the outrage in England proper would have likely drove him to the gallows. But a true totalitarian government like that of Stalin has no such scruples. If a town was found to be harboring a UPA partisan, the town was razed and the population deported to Siberia. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. By the end of the UPA, the mayors of towns were calling up the Soviet secret police to tell them who the UPA partisans were in town, and the UPA partisans were then taken out in the middle of the night by heavily armed internal soldiers of the Soviet regime. The UPA was crushed, utterly and totally. The modern equivalent is this:

gun-drone

Okay, so guns maybe aren’t always useful for resisting an oppressive central government that’s willing to engage in acts of genocide against its own citizenry, but they’re necessary for overthrowing the central government. So, you’re saying that the Soviet Union was overthrown by use of force, rather than by the people collectively deciding that they no longer were content to be good Sovoks and refusing to cooperate with Gorbachev’s regime, leaving him to be a sad relic rattling stomping around in the Kremlin shouting out orders that nobody obeyed until finally he realized the Soviet Union was done and officially dissolved it? Wow. I must have missed that. You’d think that I would have noticed that the most tyrannical government ever in world history was overthrown by force of arms, but somehow it just eluded me. Funny, huh?

So what rights are actually being protected by guns right now? Well: guns protect your right to terrify other people who think you’re the latest crazy nutcase who got a gun in order to shoot up a random school, park, movie theater, or mall. Taking away the right for ammosexuals to terrify everybody around them would be, like, un-American! So yeah, guns *do* protect one (1) right in America. Hip hip hurray!

And of course guns are useful for self defense and hunting. But the Supremes say that self defense is a 2nd Amendment right, so the 2nd Amendment is protecting, err, the 2nd Amendment, there. And hunting isn’t a Constitutional right, period.

Finally: If you want to make the argument that the 2nd Amendment protects the others, then why have the others been all but killed with abso-fucking-lutely nothing said or done by the so-called 2A people? Even if we want to buy that argument, the data doesn’t back it up. Free speech zones, stop and frisk programs, mass voter suppression, the PATRIOT Act, constant surveillance, secret courts, warrantless wiretaps, no-knock raids, etc. All those millions of guns aren’t going to do shit if all you do is use them to terrify Muslims going to mosque or people marching to stop murders by police.

In short: I can find many examples in American history of guns being used to remove Constitutional rights from people. But not a single example of guns in the hands of private citizens being used to protect the Constitutional rights of people. I’m willing to accept non-bullshit submission, as long as they’re not yet more fake quotes from founding fathers (if I can Google and immediately find that the supposed quote has been debunked on Snopes, your message will automatically get changed to “I Like Pie” because I don’t have any inclination to engage with bullshit artists and liars). Happy hunting for an instance where the 2nd Amendment has protected one of the other rights in the Bill of Rights, and let me know what you find!

— Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Note — I have deliberately not mentioned anything about Cheetoh Mussolini or the Queen of Mean for the past few days. We already know who we’re going to vote for. It makes no sense to belabor the obvious.

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