Monday, September 16, 2013


In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA did everything he could to offend and outrage people who don't agree with him short of breaking into the homes of the victims' families and defecating in their living rooms.

And yet even as LaPierre said outrageous and offensive things, poll after poll showed that the Americans continued to view the NRA more unfavorably than unfavorably. And recently, in Colorado, just before two state senators were recalled as a result of pro-gun outrage, we saw this:
The main elements of the new [Colorado gun] law -- requiring universal background checks and limiting magazines to 15 rounds -- have strong backing in Colorado polls, yet a recent poll found a slight majority opposed to the new law. "People want background checks yet they don't want 'gun control,'" said Jennifer Hope, a Denver activist in favor of stricter regulation.
People favor what's in the Colorado gun law, but oppose the law. People wanted specific gun control laws in the wake of Sandy Hook (and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech), but they continue to look favorably on the NRA, which is not only unswervingly opposed to popular gun control measures but is offensive and boorish about it.

What's going on?

It's all part of the culture war we've been living through for at least half a century. Oh, sure, Americans support universal background checks, and want the likes of Aaron Alexis -- previously arrested for more than one gun offense -- not to be able to obtain guns effortlessly ... but "gun control" is something that comes from liberals and hippies and untrustworthy rootless-cosmopolitan city slickers like Mike Bloomberg. Whereas the NRA (despite being a Beltway lobbying operation) is identified with heartland America, so it's trustworthy and admired.

Heartlanders don't reject gun control because of how they feel about gun control proposals. They reject gun control because of who supports it. If we're for it, it's absurdly easy for the NRA to tell heartlanders they should be against it.

And that's why twelve people had to die at the Washington Navy Yard today.


giantslor said...

"Heartlanders don't reject gun control because of how they feel about gun control proposals. They reject gun control because of who supports it. If we're for it, it's absurdly easy for the NRA to tell heartlanders they should be against it."

Exactly. The opposition isn't ideological, it's cultural. This is like health care reform. Polls show that people support almost all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but they oppose the law itself.

Danp said...

But what are we going to do to keep violent and mentally ill people from buying video games and heavy metal music? We can't put the blame on real-life doomsday conspiracy promoters or those things that killers find so handy... oh what are they called? You can buy them in pawn shops, flea markets, sporting goods stores...You know, preppers collect them and now they are made for children, who love to play with them. It's right on the tip of my tongue...

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Victor said...

The thing about this situation, is that in the rural parts of "The Heartland," there actually can be real needs for a gun, or even several.

If you're a rancher or a farmer, you may need a rifle in order to scare away or kill predatory animals on your property.

If you live out in the boondocks, and a police response is much more than a few minutes away, in order not to be the victims of an "In Cold Blood" kind of a scenario, you would want to have ready access to a shotgun or handgun.

In cities, where police are usually minutes away, and you don't need to protect against animal predators, only human ones, you really don't need one.
Because in the rural areas, if you miss, chances are, that bullet won't end up near any human.
In a city, if you miss, there's a great chance that bullet will end up near someone - if not IN someone.
Population density, being what it is.

My point again, is that I'm not against normal handguns, shotguns, or even hunting rifles.
It's semi-automatics.

And the other problem, imo, is WHO gets the guns, and what they have to go through, and how long they have to go through it, to get them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the people who are for gun control should pick messengers and leaders who aren't horrible human beings, and maybe they should muzzle their crazier members.

Bloomberg is not a good messenger for anything outside of a small crowd of rich urban elites. Bloomberg is the walking, talking, emblem of rich urban people using their money to control other people.

Along the same lines while many Democratic politicians, and certainly prominent Democrats in the media support rational gun control... all it takes is a walk over to Kos to see articles and posts on how they really want to take all guns away and this is just a step to get there.


I live in the city, and guess what the cops aren't the best option. If you're mugged, robbed, whatever... that incident is going to play out before the cops get there. The cops do not stop crimes from being committed, the cops show up after. Even then depending on where in the city it happened nothing may come of it. There is also the fact that city police departments are often spectacularly corrupt, so in many cases trusting them makes you a grade A idiot.

Steve M. said...

Maybe the people who are for gun control should pick messengers and leaders who aren't horrible human beings, and maybe they should muzzle their crazier members.

Right, because Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent, and Larry Pratt are such sober, rational, responsible spokesmen for the other side.

Look, I agree with you that Mike Bloomberg is doing more harm than good for the gun control side -- but that's only because heartland Americans have perversely decided they'd rather have more gun massacres than side with a rich city slicker. Heartlanders want universal background checks, but they go against their own preferences in order not to ally themselves with a guy wgose demonization by the gun right movement they've unquestioningly accepted (not that Bloomberg has done anything to make himself seem more likable).

So, yeah, I get it. But it's still irrational and self-sabotaging.

And as for Kos: 750,000 people read Kos every day, out of a U.S. population of what, 300 million? Kos is not the problem.

Kathy said...

Danp, I just heard a couple of MSNBC commentators heading down the "violent video games" rabbit hole. *sigh*

I don't think anyone picked Mike Bloomberg - other than Mike Bloomberg. OTOH, LaPierre was hired by and is paid by the NRA. NRA members actually have the option to object strenously to his leadership and call for his resignation.

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

you really have to live outside the US to see the lunacy of the NRA/heartland gun fetishism.

only in the US is "freedom" tied to gun ownership and only ignoramuses who have never been anywhere outside the US would accept the preposterous notion that people living in all other countries are somehow less "free" than US citizens because they don't own guns.

And this crazy fantasy of armed vigilantism, supposedly against "the government" but really against black people. There's a reason George Zimmerman was so popular with gun owners, right wingers, and racists--- what he did with his gun is what they would like to do with their gun: shoot a n-----.

sick, sick, sick.

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

PS Forgot to say--- the corporate gun lobby is so successful at manipulating the heartland morons that there's only ONE THING that will ever change the current situation.

What is that one thing, you ask?

It's WHEN (not "if"; WHEN) some heavily armed lunatic manages to inflict gun violence on the rich and powerful.

We just have to wait until Wall Street gets shot up, or Congress gets shot up, or the Koch brothers get shot up... Then things will start to change.

Ellis Weiner said...

Above, Steve M mentions the word "irrational." That's at the heart (and the mind) of this issue. It is irrational to love and collect guns. It is also irrational to love and collect china figurines or postage stamps, but they don't threaten the lives of other people.

The very potency of guns--real and symbolic--make them objects unlike any other, and make the fetishization of them a potential danger to everyone, let alone to the fetishist. The NRA (an industry lobby masquerading as a hobbyist group) exploits this for commercial purposes, while pretending that it's championing self-reliance and patriotism.

So we've got an essentially irrational--not just "emotional," but psychologically and symbolically potent--topic, that we're trying to address via the rational discourse of laws. It's like trying to pick up fire in an oven mitt.

Anonymous said...

@Steve M.

Wayne is certainly a lunatic as well. However pointing out that Wayne is nuts and some supporters of the NRA are nuts doesn't make Bloomberg any less of an asshole, and it doesn't make some supporters of gun control any less nuts either. It does show that assholes abound all over this issue.

I grew up in Washington DC. I know that people like me are the bullies here. I spent some time in the military as well so I'm totally aware that people from my regional and cultural background do shit all over heartland America, mock them, and then fuck them over to enable the fantastic wealth in our cultural mechas. I don't even mind it, my side is winning here.

However I also realize that their hatred and dislike of people like me isn't some paranoid fantasy, it's self preservation and if anything I'm shocked it's not worse than it is.

Steve M. said...

Self-preservation? Seriously? It's self-preservation to enable more and more massacres, including (potentially) massacres of your own family and friends just to make the rootless cosmopolitans think twice about telling hick jokes? That's one fucked-up notion of self-preservation.

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

It does show that assholes abound all over this issue.

yeah, especially assholes who go around saying crazy shit like "well regulated militia" when the founders obviously intended that in the future, every lunatic could have his own arsenal.

Dave E. said...

"Heartlanders don't reject gun control because of how they feel about gun control proposals. They reject gun control because of who supports it. If we're for it, it's absurdly easy for the NRA to tell heartlanders they should be against it."

I'm sure you can find a few people who think that way, but for the vast majority of "heartlanders" that's BS. If you insist on believing that, you're going to be asking "What's going on?" for a very long time.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking about flyover country and gun control.

Gun control advocates need to realize that there's a substantial disconnect between general concepts such as "universal background checks" and the realities of specific legislation, the details of which will almost certainly cause some support to dissipate. Yet they treat them as if they are the same and express puzzlement when the polling for the former does not match support(or lack of) for the latter. Apples/oranges, not some stubborn contrariness.

Substance and not style, as President Obama noted the other day, is what matters most here. Laws that aren't actually responsive to the problem they supposedly address aren't going to get much traction in this part of the country. Banning new sales of "assault weapons" is nothing but gun control theater. Banning new sales of 20 or 30 round magazines is nothing but gun control theater.

Trying to prevent non-political mass killings is primarily a mental health issue and one that is not 100% solvable. I think there are things we can do in that area, but they require some concessions from 2A types and good faith on the part of gun control activists. Unfortunately, there's not enough will or trust on either side to make anything happen.

Finally, we see that gun control advocates get energized when one of these terrible shootings happens, but with all due respect to yesterday's victims, such shootings account for only a very small number of the victims of gun violence. The real and awful daily toll kind of fades into the background or gets mushed up into a general claim that America is a violent country.

Well, America is not a violent country except for a very small percentage of its physical area. Certain parts of our cities and some parts of our southern border are extraordinarily dangerous, but throw a dart at a map of the US and I bet you have a 97% chance of hitting a spot where gun crime is rare to essentially non-existent.

The difference between the areas that are plagued by gun violence versus those that are not is not one of gun ownership or availability. I'm certain that there are just as many guns per capita in my first-ring suburb(if not more) as the hotspot of gun violence in some neighborhoods of the city that are just a few miles away, but the rate of gun violence here is just a small fraction of what residents live with there.

It's not the guns, but a dangerous sub-culture in those relatively few neighborhoods that cause at least half of the gun murders in this country. You want to help people? You want to DO SOMETHING? Go after that sub-culture and leave us alone.

We're not the problem.

Steve M. said...

Yes, stop and frisk all the young black men in NYC, but we'd better not so much as ruffle a feather in your precious first-ring suburb. Give suburbanites convenience or give them death!

Sorry, I have no patience for this argument. The "sub-culture" you think we should just crack down on so you can live with no inconveniences in your life goes to your extremely well-stocked suburban gun market to obtain weapons. You in suburbia are not innocent. You are the enablers. It's bloody well time you took some responsibility for the mess you help make.

Dave E. said...

So much for trying to engage you with reason. Who the fuck said anything about stop and frisk?

"The "sub-culture" you think we should just crack down on so you can live with no inconveniences in your life goes to your extremely well-stocked suburban gun market to obtain weapons."

Bullshit. No way they pass the background check and no way they walk out with a gun.

Dave E. said... response? Reality is a bitch, isn't it?

GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Why would anyone feel the need to respond to your idiotic ravings? Really, now.

Dave E. said...

Hahaha...coward, RegG

Steve M. said...

I was asleep, Dave.

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

how about this, Dave E?

Monthly gun score -- “Good” use: 20, “Bad” use: 12,188
byTom BegnalFollow
Email 72 Comments / 48 New
A few days ago, via email, I received the latest edition (Issue 21) of a monthly newsletter from the National Rifle Association (NRA) called the NRA ARMED CITIZEN -- True stories of your right to self-defense in action. The newsletter reported 19 incidents of individuals successfully using guns either at home, on the street, or in their place of business to thwart intruders, robbers, or burglars. The first of the incidents was dated August 1, 2013; the last one was dated September 13, 2013 -- a period of 44 days.

However, the newsletter didn’t mention that during the same 44-day period, based on average numbers (source:, 3,696 Americans were killed by a gun and another 8,492 were wounded by one. So for each “good” use of a gun during those 44 days, there were 641 “bad” uses of a gun.

Granted, the NRA might not have reported or been aware of all the “true stories of self-defense in action” that occurred during that 44-day period, but I doubt they missed 622 of them in order for the “good” numbers to at least equal the “bad” ones.

The newsletter also failed to mention that if there is a gun in a home, it is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure a member of the gun-owner’s family (due to domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting) than to be used in self-defense (source:,

Most Americans would avoid buying a product that was 622 times as likely to hurt rather than help the general population. Or 22 times more likely to hurt rather than help a family member.

Yet, when it comes to those hand-held killing machines we call guns, too many of our fellow citizens are willing to suspend rational thinking. That’s good for the NRA and other such gun-rights groups and their lobbyists. And it’s good for the gun and ammo manufactures and their well-paid executives. But it’s not so good for the 100,000 or so Americans either killed or wounded by guns every year.

Help reduce this carnage. Call, write, email, or FAX your representatives in Washington, D.C. and tell them to support common sense gun control. Do it today. And do it again next week. And do it again every week after that until they get the message.

You’ll find contact information here:


Kathy said...

"Go after" that subculture? Only if by "go after" you mean people in your first-ring suburb get busy helping to improve the educational and employment opportunities and access to health care for people in that subculture. Volunteer, not just with charities that provide food and clothing, but with social justice organizations that are working to change the systems that keep people in poverty. Stop pretending that we no longer have any structural racism built into our culture. Stay on your government officials so they are forced to deal with these issues. Most importantly, put yourselves out there and build actual relationships with the people you're looking to help. Avoid forcing your ore-packaged remedies on them. Listen. Hear what they tell you about their lives. I promise you'll come away with a better understanding of, and empathy for, people who are more like you than they are different.

I fought the lawn. And the lawn won. said...

Dave E. come back let's talk about this!