Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Revolutionary Goad


Exactly how far is too far?

Several times over the past month or so, I've dismissed Glenn Beck, the new clown prince of Fox News, as being not much more than a guy doing Kaufman-esque stand-up -- an opportunistic little turd who's playing his audience of paranoid conspiracists like a badly tuned piano in the name of making himself rich. At one point, I even admitted that Beck was basically good, clean fun -- or at least would be until some tinfoil-hatted psychopath who took his nonsense way too seriously decided to fire off a few rounds at President Obama.

But given what we're now seeing, the question has to be asked: Is it just a matter of time before something like that does in fact happen?

Over the weekend, a man in Pittsburgh gunned down three police officers who showed up to the home he shared with his mother on a domestic disturbance call. He strapped on a Kevlar vest and armed himself with an AK-47, waited for them to come through the door, then picked them off one by one. The details that have come out about the shooter since the attack are as infuriating as they are not-the-least-bit-surprising: 22-year-old Richard Poplawski is identified as a Marine Corps wash-out, a recently unemployed white supremacist who believes that the Jews control the media and that, most tellingly, the Obama Administration is planning to ban his beloved guns. In other words, he's exactly the kind of guy who, if you went on TV and told him that his worst paranoid hallucinations were coming true and that the new left-wing government was indeed poised to kick down his door and take his freedoms away, would believe every fucking word of it and act accordingly.

And if you don't think that that's exactly the message the Richard Poplawskis of this country are being inundated with from the far right these days, you're even more delusional than Poplawski himself.

Over the space of just the past couple of weeks, Glenn Beck has warned his loyal, terrified viewership of the coming socialist junta; lunatic congresswoman Michele Bachmann has claimed that the U.S. dollar is about to be replaced by foreign currency, American youths will soon be sent to "re-education camps," and patriotic citizens should be "armed and dangerous" and ready for revolution; disgraced CNBC loudmouth Jim Cramer has called the Democrats "Bolsheviks" and compared the U.S. House of Representatives to the Politburo; and Dick Morris, the no-lie smarmiest shitbag alive, spat this little pearl of wisdom into the Fox News echo chamber:

"Those crazies in Montana who say, ‘we’re going to kill ATF agents because the UN’s going to take over’ -- well, they’re beginning to have a case."

In case you missed that, let's rewind: Dick Morris says that militaristic nutjobs willing to kill government agents now have a fucking case.

Once again, exactly how far is too far?

While free speech has to be respected and the right to it protected, is there no line of rhetoric so incendiary, so dangerous, so shameless in its aim of instigating simply for the sake of ad revenue, that it can't provoke absolute outrage? If you know that there are an inordinate number of Richard Poplawskis listening to you and that they already buy thoroughly into half-baked persecution fantasies -- and then you purposely try to at best validate their fears or at worst scare the hell out of them even further -- don't you bear at least a small amount of responsibility for the outcome? Shouldn't there be accountability?

In a display of hypocrisy that's almost staggering, many on the right who once railed against the twin evils of violent video games and Marilyn Manson and decried their supposed relation to teen violence are now hiding behind the very argument they say bleeding-heart liberals used against them way back when: that you can't blame the messenger for the effect the message might have on one or two unstable individuals. To his credit, Bob Cesca has a good take on this specious comparison; he points out that the difference between, say, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- the Columbine killers -- and someone like Richard Poplawski is that Harris and Klebold, while certainly being budding gun fetishists, hadn't yet developed the intransigent political ideology that goes hand-in-hand with a maniacal worship of weapons in this country. Harris and Klebold, like Cho Seung Hui -- the Virginia Tech killer -- were basically impressionable kids using guns to lash out and make themselves feel powerful (the latter, a trait they indeed shared with Poplawski and one that should have precluded them from ever owning a goddamned gun in the first place). They loved guns, sure -- but they didn't yet have the distrust of a government they feared would one day come and take their precious weapons away. Poplawski was impressionable in another way in that he did think that his weapons made him part of a larger culture of True Believers, and any confirmation of an attack on the way of life espoused by he and those like him would be all it took to set him off. And it did. Poplawski likely always figured his guns could be used to level the socio-political and economic playing field, and in his twisted mind, that's exactly what happened.

But for those who would still claim that everyone is impressionable in his or her own way and that, at some level, both the creators of GTA4 and Glenn Beck need to acknowledge that their actions may have unintended consequences: You're right, to an extent. The bottom line is that while free speech and expression must be respected, there has to be a level of responsibility attached. It's reckless, dangerous and immoral to knowingly stoke the demons of a person's nature -- and what's worse, to pass off fantasy as fact and do it in the name of making a buck or a political point. It's intellectually dishonest to pretend that you're operating in a vacuum -- whether you're Marilyn Manson or Michele Bachmann -- and that nothing you say will have an impact on the crazies within your target audience.

So, I ask yet again: How far is too far?

I talked to my father a few days ago. He's an ex-cop and ex-Navy SEAL who now lives part-time in a little Florida town called Sebring -- right in the center of the state's hyper-Republican I-4 Corridor. He's had a concealed weapons permit for decades and is about the most qualified and responsible person I can imagine being allowed to carry a weapon. He mentioned to me that he had recently been to the local Wal-Mart looking for ammunition for his handgun -- the kind of thing that's typically in abundance at a Central Florida big box store. But what he found surprised him, and scared him a little.

The place was almost completely out of ammo. In fact, it turns out they can barely keep the stuff on the shelves these days.

Somebody out there is listening to the "warnings."

And I'm betting that what we've seen lately is just the beginning of the nightmare.

42 comments:

DragonIV said...

GTA4? Don't tell me you bought into the line of BS that video games are directly linked to violence that nutjob Jack Thompson so likes to espouse.

Other than that, excellent column.

DragonIV said...

Let me also add that I see the parallel you're trying to draw with GTA4 and Mr. Beck, but one is a fantasy that sells itself as one--basically, an interactive novel. The other portrays a fantasy world but tries to pass it off as the real thing, and that is the far more dangerous of the two. They are very much *not* the same thing.

Chez said...

No, the two aren't the same, and that's an excellent point. Beck is selling "reality." "THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, SO YOU'D BETTER WAKE UP, AMERICA!" It's of course crap of the highest order, but a lot of people believe him -- and the fact that it's crap sold as truth makes it all the more reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

Where is the Cesca piece? On his blog? HuffPo?

While I realize logic is too much for the tin foil hat crowd, there is no feasible way for the government to take everyone's guns. Sure, they can pass laws, but logistically it will never happen.

Chez said...

Cesca's piece is linked within mine. This is kind of a direct response to his. Of course Gary Kamiya wrote about this topic for Salon this morning, so it's not exactly virgin territory all the way around. One of the biggest problems with new media saturation: everybody stepping all over each other.

DragonIV said...

Yep, I totally agree on Beck. Your comment about your father's experience at a local Wal-Mart was downright frightening, but from what I've seen this has been a constant drumbeat since Obama was elected. I suspect the NRA is pounding the drum of "he and the Dem Congress are gonna take yer guns away!"

L. said...

In my opinion, it's going too far when you're creating and feeding paranoid hysteria on a news channel. What kills me is that this is the same channel that a year and a half ago was saying if you didn't love and support every move of the government that you should leave the country.

This happened about 5 miles from my house, so it spooked me to no end. You always like to think that the violent crazies are a million miles away from where you are. It's not so much the fear that you'll be physically injured, as it is the startling realization that there are people physically close to you who think that way.

Deborah said...

I am a Pgh. native, transplanted to eastern OH, about 40 miles away. And, my dad was a career cop, for a brutal suburb of Pgh. I agree with you, Chez, 1000%. In fact, Pgh. has a talk-show host who is pretty conservative, and even HE agrees with this point! In short, the show I heard said that there are too many unstable folks listening for validation to their paranoias...and that a forum requires responsibility, presently not being exercised by many far-righters. Ironically, though, Pgh. itself has one of the most incendiary morning talk-show hosts EVER...a guy by the name of Jim Quinn, ever heard of him? He thinks he's the voice of truth and that there's no such thing as "too far" when it comes to his "message". Of course, a lot of Pittsburghers remember him when he was part of a morning-radio program called "Quinn and Banana". That oughta tell you something. Believe me, Pittsburgh would have been far more content to be famous for being the city with 6 Super Bowl trophies and home to Dan Rooney - not this kind of tragic notoriety.

Anonymous said...

in this country (the good ole' US) "how far is too far" is when the gun goes off.

Anonymous said...

My bad. Missed it.

Anonymous said...

Chez, I said this before in a comments section of one of your posting, if McCain would have been elected I made a deal with my wife that we would go out the next day and buy a gun, because I saw that as the "end." But it wasn't that I was going out there to buy a gun to start something, it was only self defense. I think (I hope) that this is no different - that people who fear what a black president brings to this nation, are just arming themselves because they find that they are the minority, now. The question is should we arm ourselves in response to them arming themselves out of fear of what they might do? Do we really want to play the same game that Bush played in Iraq and charge in and shoot first and questions later?

The truth is is that President Obama potentially has the opportunity to go down in history as one of the greatest presidents ever, considering the crisis that we now face, if he can fix all of these problems. The other half of the nation is just pissed off because it could have been their man in there that saved the day. More then that, Obama is smart - I mean the guy is damn smart - and there is probably very few with the brains and know-how that can fix all this. If he succeeds we might see a day of true equality - white people and black people being treated equal, a shrinking division of the rich and the poor - and that scares the hell out of them. And why? Because the truly evil will not want to give their power when they have it, and the gun loving, extremest (Republicans if you will) have lost that power. We can only hope that they are smarter then we give them credit for and will not want to go out in blaze of glory, but their record says otherwise.

Deacon Blue said...

I'm kind of curious how many people are buying that ammo because they're afraid of the government and how many are buying the ammo because they fear civilization itself is about to collapse and they're worried about the roving gangs who will start trying to take their stuff and rape their women and children.

Not that I'm saying the latter is any more likely to happen than our government suddenly turning totalitarian on us...but I think the gun-love right now is coming from multiple sources of fear...and not just from the "crazies."

Sadly, though, its sometimes hard to sort out the crazies from the fearful...and they can so quickly change from one to the other sometimes....

Anonymous said...

I've run across a new one on the winger talkbacks: That lunatic who dresses like Tom Paine and encourages people to "rise up and start a new revolution" is claiming Obama called to talk to him, which is of course "intimidation" in wingerworld so he had to go on Glen Beck to talk about how the socialist is trying to silence him.

I just love that the right is now being driven to revolution by a guy who's website claims he's "America's Number One Fun Motivator." Which really does sort of shine a light on the intellectual heft of their movement. Check it out --

http://www.bobbasso.com/

Also check out his IMDB, apparently he made a living playing doormen and bailiff's on Aaron Spelling shows for most of the 70's and 80's.

And here's the big controversy --

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92999

Jeremy said...

Chez said, (Popalowski believes)"... the Obama Administration is planning to ban his beloved guns."

And yet, ironically enough, the actions of every person like Popalowski brings this delusion of theirs one step closer to reality.

The leftist paranoid in me thinks that, like with their co-opting of religion, the uber-right wingers really want this to happen, that is why they rile up the masses about gun control, because for every action like Popalowski's they get one step closer to the inevitable that they claim to be railing about, and then once the populace DOES have their Second Amendment rights revoked, it'll be easy for the jack-booted Neo-Cons to declare Cheney der Fuhrer.

Of course I know that this is just a nightmare that I have, and most likely not true in any way, shape or form... maybe.

And yeah, honestly, the Becks and Dick Morrises of this world are awfully close to that old chestnut example of screaming "Fire" in a crowded theatre.

Jeremy S. said...

I agree with Deacon Blue as far as the fear coming from multiple sources these days and fueling the gun-love. Personally, I have never owned a gun until recently, however I have been around them and shot them my entire life. I've always said one day I would buy one, but just could never find the money or the desire to add one more hobby to my life when I had friends and family with guns that I could take advantage of whenever I wanted to go out and get my cowboy on. Recently we had a string of break-ins in our neighborhood, a quiet neighborhood with no prior history of anything like this. Most of these happened during broad daylight and when people were on vacation, and many items were stolen, ranging from guns to jewelry to televisions. This suggested perhaps that our homes were being watched on a regular basis by this individual. At any rate something like this coupled with having a toddler at home and a family that I feel obligated beyond anything else in this world to protect at all costs prompted me to finally purchase a gun and a concealed weapons permit. Those with children/ newborns will possibly understand this new feeling in your life that might not have been there before. Not that I'm now consider myself a gun-toting crazy nor do I even carry the gun with me on a regular basis, but I feel that I have an obligation to protect myself and my family should I have to. Besides anyone who legitimately carries a gun on a regular basis knows that to use that weapon is a choice of absolute last resort once all other options have been exhausted. The best scenario is that the conflict can be resolved without ever having to fire one shot, however that isn't always reality as the news proves day in and day out. The crazies as you mention are just that, crazy and reason and common sense does not come naturally to them. One other thing, I'd just like to confirm what your dad has stated about ammunition being scarce. I have not been able to buy 9mm ammo at a local Walmart here in Virginia for a couple of months now. It's almost to the point now, that when you do find ammo anywhere you stock up on it just because you don't know when you will be able to purchase it again. And before anyone asks how much ammo does one person need, I practice at a firing range quite often just so I don't become one of those dumbasses who accidentally shoots himself or someone else. One other little anecdote and I will shut up. Local gun shows are packed with more people than I have seen at these events in years. Kinda makes you wonder.

Jacqueline said...

I don't live in the States (hello from Canada!) and our politics are in a whole different spectrum than yours, but one thing that's common to both of our countries has always perplexed me, and that is the extent of free speech.

Don't get me wrong, I think free speech is one of the most important things that many countries are founded on, but I feel like a line needs to be drawn and somebody needs to say "This side of the line is free speech, but this other side of the line is treason". I know it's an archaic word, but honestly, encouraging your populous to rise up against a fairly-elected government? Treason. I realize that there are many nuances of the US Declaration of Independence about a well-armed militia, but even with my tenuous grasp of American political theory I can pretty much guarantee you that the Founding Fathers did not intend for fairly-elected governments and the people that support them to fall prey to a bunch of nut-jobs, regardless of their political affiliation.

I'm sick of anti-American sentiment being sold to the masses as both news and their "patriotic duty". Cut it out, slap a treason label on it, and introduce some sensible gun control. Nobody needs a crazy with an AK-47 watching Limbaugh and Beck.

Bob Cesca said...

Great post, Chez. I wanted to underscore something I wrote in a separate post after my reaction to Pittsburgh had further evolved. The "influences" of the Columbine and VT shooters were fictitious, and, as DragonIV wrote, the video games or movies (respectively) in question were never presented as reality. This is in sharp contrast against Glenn Beck's context -- a "legitimate" news network informing viewers of real-life situations. Glenn Beck has to understand that while he's on FOX News or on the radio, those media contexts lend credibility and reality to what he says. Therefore, it's crucial that he treat his content with appropriate levels of discretion because more people are likely to take him seriously than they would an obscure foreign movie like OLDBOY, or video game like GTA.

One other related point: if Glenn Beck's show is a big farce, he has a responsibility to say so. Imagine if Orson Welles had never aired disclaimers before or after THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. The hysteria would have arguably been far greater than what actually happened.

Anonymous said...

Restricting free speech and/or guns is just as bad as Glenn Beck inciting fear in those who value those important rights Americans have.

At least the Supreme Court had the sense last year to decide that the second amendment covers "We The People", not "We The Police/Military".

Look at England. They've restricted guns, and crime skyrocketed. They monitor their citizens like nobody's business, and do you think that's done anything to reduce crime?

No.


It's been proven time and again that countries with a strong and active sense of self-defense have less crime and are better able to defend themselves from any threat, from abroad or within.

Also, I can't help but wonder if the gun control laws against automatic weapons (assuming this AK-47 was illegal for the person you mentioned in your post to have, Chez) was at least part of what caused this person to do what he did. He's already screwed because having such a weapon is a felony with a high chance of imprisonment, so why not seal the deal and be done with it?

Maybe if we'd stop worrying about policing what we fear, and fear instead policing what we don't understand, real results might be obtained in the betterment of this country rather than people living every day wondering when their next right will be stripped away by some obscure law tucked into a gigantic bill passed around the table so politicians can pat each other on the back for a job well done.

I'd rather pay a politician who passed nothing (or voted against legislation in general) because he felt further legislation was unnecessary rather than a politician who passed many things because he felt it helped his image and future in the political arena.

If we could only do away with the party system completely...

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the government incompetence is giving them the ammunition (yes pun) to sell this to the nut jobs.

One example is the detainment of a Campaign for Liberty Staffer by the St. Louis TSA for having $4700 on him. TSA Blog on incident. Fox News clip about it.

Another problem is that Obama is not living up to the pledge of transparency and undoing Bush's rules on wire-tapping.

zdub said...

sorry Anon-
can't let your little "factoids" go unchallenged.
"It's been proven time and again that countries with a strong and active sense of self-defense have less crime and are better able to defend themselves from any threat, from abroad or within."

OK. Prove it.
Are you talking about petty theft? Murder? I'm not being snarky. I'd love to see hard evidence of what your talking about before we accept that notion. Every study I've seen says almost the opposite.

Izar Talon said...

Anon 1:37:

If we got rid of the party system, then very little would get done. I used to be of the opinion that political parties were bad, back when I was a teenager, until I took a moment and actually figured out what their purpose was. To organize people with similar veiwpoints so that they could actually have enough voices to accomplish something. Without parties, we would be lots of individuals arguing with each other instead of a few groups of people arguing with each other. You think it's hectic now? Just imagine if everyone was his own political party. What we need are more parties so that people don't have to pick between "the lesser of two evils" because one party espouses MOST of what they believe in, but stands opposed to one or two.



While I am all for eliminating the petty groups people gather themselves into (weather they be sports team fans, religious zealots, or jingoistic nationalists,) seemingly sometimes just so they'll be able to stand opposed to other groups and have someone to argue with and fight against, eliminating political parties would just be eliminating organization, and eliminating organization is chaos.

As Merlin said in The Once and Future King, (quote not exact): it's like monkeys picking a tree to sit in so they can throw fruit at other monkeys.

Factionalism. Why does everyone have to freaking FIGHT each other all the time? Why do people have to manufacture differences to fight over? While I understand the desire to get rid of one part of the factionalism, this is one instance where the differences aren't manufactured, a difference in what and how people think, as opposed to an arbitrary grouping based on characteristics someone was uncontrollably born with.


Gah, sorry, I'm rambling now.

jrm78 said...

Couldn't some speech which serves to rile up the paranoid and crazy to violence be considered criminal incitement? It is irresponsible speech at best, and dangerous at its worst. Like was mentioned earlier, its like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

And the abuse of mass media (wiki link) was a big part of the Rwanda genocide. The owners (and I think even some DJs, but have no confirmation right now) were tried in the UN tribunal on charges of genocide and incitement of genocide.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Wal-Mart; ammo shelves everywhere are literally empty and have been for months. Sportsman's Warehouse, Cabella's, Big 5, Dick's. You can't even find gun powder.

Gung-ho shooters everywhere are convinced that the government will come a-knocking at their door to take their weapons away, so they're squirreling away ammo and buying assault weapons whenever they can in hopes of grandfathering in their weapons should a ban pass.

I'm not making this up -- as a hobby target shooter, I run across these people with frightening frequency, and it seems all of them are preaching the same "stock up now or Obama will take yer guns!" crap.

It is genuinely frightening when the only people who seem to have ammo anymore are the people who stand the best chance of listening to idiots like Glenn Beck.

jrm78 said...

And reading up a little more on the Rwandan Genocide, today is the 15th anniversary of the genocide getting underway in earnest.

Tara Parker said...

Excellent post, Chez. I'll have to look up this Glenn Beck - haven't paid attention much to him at all.

What disturbs me is the fact that your parents live in Sebring. Good God. (g)

My father designing and building Spring Lake Golf Course was the start of my hellish nightmare that is Sebring.

Chez said...

My parents live on the Spring Lake golf course.

Small, small world. But not as small as Sebring.

Jeremy said...

I never have quite understood the "concealed carry" stuff either. Sure, folks need to take gun safety classes if they are going to carry. But the whole argument that concealed carry serves as a deterrent to crime?
Horsefeathers!

What deters crime is openly carrying a hogleg, right on your hip, where everyone can see.

Nobody wants to fuck with that guy.

Deborah said...

I wanted to comment on Jeremy's comment regarding people like Poplawski, their rampages and how these are the exact things that threaten RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. I had that very thought as I listened to the horrifying reports from Pgh. I commented earlier...Pgh. native, live now in Steubenville, OH. When I was married, we had a 9mm Beretta, of which I had no fear and could use (if it came to that). Years ago, I had a small-caliber handgun with a concealed-carry permit, obtained for me partly by my ex-cop dad, who insisted that I know how to use it SAFELY. Didn't carry it much and never used it, but appreciated that I COULD. At present, I have a weapons disability stemming from a past legal problem, so it's a non-issue for me right now. However, I was raised - again, by a cop - with one each of a loaded revolver & pistol, in the buffet cabinet in our dining room. These were, of course, my dad's duty pieces, and God help us if we EVER touched them. Kids CAN be taught responsibility when it comes to firearms. Here's a little anecdote, too, from right here in the Steubenville are: A woman awoke in the middle of the night, sensing someone in her bedroom. Indeed, it was her neighbor, who was trying to get into bed with her. She ran past him, down the hall to a hutch where a legally-owned handgun was kept. She stuck it in the small of his back, and marched him right the hell out of her house, then called the cops. No shots, no fuss...in fact, I don't believe that her name has even been released. He got convicted of burglary. THAT is responsible gun-ownership!!

Tara Parker said...

Chez,

Wow. Small world is right. After the golf course was built, my grandparents managed it for 4 years.

The current owner had very nice things to say about my grandfather when I spoke with him about a month ago, which was good to hear.

We were in and out of Sebring/Spring Lake from the time I was 6 until I was 23.

Not enough money or alcohol to ever convince me to step foot in that town again.

(Sorry for going off-topic.)

Chez said...

Yeah, but the alcohol there is so damn cheap.

My personal favorite is the bar with the 14-foot live alligator in the middle of it.

Tara Parker said...

It wouldn't surprise me if that alligator was the one they took from the golf course years ago.

Lived on an island off what used to be the 1st hole (I think). My father built that island just for the 11-foot gator.

Grandparents lived on the corner of San Marco, by the way. Still only two houses on that road, if the satellite picture is up to date.

This is just all too weird for me. (g)

Peach said...

Disclaimer: Obviously Obama is a smart guy and I do believe he has the best of intentions.
However--what if he wasn't?
What if it was a amped up 'roided version of Bush that won? One that made the Patriot Act actually look patriotic?
Wouldn't we want a newsmedia that had the ability to say something about it?

I'm all for calling people out and I think that needs to be done. But curtailing speech regardless of motivations behind it a huge no-go for me. I dont care if Fox turns into the Klu Klux Klan Station and starts airing burning crosses. I dont care. Once you take away theirs you cannot bitch if they take away yours.

Having come to America I revel in free speech laws --I roll around like a dirty pig in the mud that is free speech laws-- they are sacred to me. A non negotiable topic.

But then again, I came from a place that will give you 5 years in jail for insulting the President. So...yeah. I know using that reason is sorta like those old men who used to walk uphill both ways in snow...but that is truley the reason they are so important to me.

It's a shame that Fox News is touting themselves as a News Channel and so many people agree. But those people without Fox News will find (on the intranets) their own version of crazy validation.

Jeremy S. said...

Zdub, I don't really want to get in a 'fact' war because for every 'fact' spouted for one side's argument, the other side has an equal and opposite 'fact' that backs their own viewpoint....that being said one really doesn't have to look any further than our own country to back up some of Anon's comments...It's widely known that our own capital, Washington D.C., has some of the strictest, if not the strictest, gun control laws in the nation and yet year after year their crime rates are at the top or close to it over every american city in the country...this is just one example that can be fact checked from multiple sources if desired...granted crime is a pretty broad term as you have correctly noted but when you start looking at crime statistics for each individual category of crime, every chart generally combines those numbers into one number called the crime index for a particular area, region, city, etc....bottom line though, as recent events have shown it really doesn't matter where you live, it only has to happen to you once, and if you are not prepared then, well, to each his own and I hope that works out for you....I prefer and choose to be able to protect myself, my family and those around me who may not have made that decision for themselves and are having it made for them by those who don't follow and have no regard for the laws as you and I do....that being said, I sincerely hope that I never have to exercise that right to defend myself or others from a criminal....however, should I come across you some day being mugged in the street at gunpoint/knifepoint let me know whether you want to be protected or not as I will happily save the bullet (they aren't cheap these days) and I will just call the cops on your behalf....hopefully they will show up in time to save you and not just investigate the aftermath as is usually the case....

Jeremy S. said...

ahahahahaha.....What Jeremy @ 3:29 said....true....however society as we now know it looks down upon open carry heavily as a general rule and I live in an open carry state where it's perfectly legal to walk around with a gun strapped to your hip, however god help you if you actually exercise that right...you can't even leave your own property without someone calling the cops on you....that's why concealed carry exists, so the cops aren't busy acting upon a constant barrage of illegitimate calls from frightened citizens about their law abiding neighbor....i actually wrote a paper in college about what was considered the 'wild west' when everyone carried a gun and it was acceptable in society to do so...i should dig that up and present some of the facts that I found out here....in a nutshell, it's not at all what you might expect despite what hollywood has led us all to believe....

zdub said...

Jeremy S.-
Alright. Hopefully not straying too far off topic here . . .
Let's not kid ourselves about a "fact" war (love that you put quotes around "fact"). Numbers are numbers. Some are valid indicators of a correlation, some are not. If x percent of people in a country own guns and y is the murder rate (let's use that as an example) then you can just look at those numbers and draw some conclusion about your proposition in general, no? Canada has lots of guns. Not so much murder. US has lots of guns, lots of murder. And so on. I'm not sure what the correlation is or if there is a statistically valid one, but you're the one who brought up the "fact" that guns make people safer, not me. I'm just saying, don't make up an assertion and then move on as though it's given, especially when it involves such a heated issue (pardon the pun).
Second, thanks for offering to rescue me in your comic book scenario. Frankly, I'd prefer to give up my wallet rather than stand unprotected in the middle of what you seem to imagine will be a blazing gun war that ends with you standing victorious over my slain assailant. I'm not against your right to carry to protect yourself and your family. Let's just leave shooting the undesirables out of the equation.
As far as usual aftermaths, I'm not unfamiliar with them (and don't need a righteous attitude about it, thanks). I taught high school in Harlem for many years. I've known many kids who have been killed. 10, 11, 12 year old boys and girls (I know the devastated families they leave behind, too). A few kids killed in criminal acts. A few killed in petty arguments. Most of em shot by stray bullets in confrontations that had nothing to do with them. While they were walking with their mothers or buying candy. No shit. That's ultimately my problem with EVERYBODY walking around strapped. Bullets don't stop when they miss what you're shooting at. So just be careful how you aim while you shoot down muggers. God help you and your conscience if you're not careful.

Anonymous said...

@ zdub:

Read this: http://www.reason.com/news/show/28582.html
And this: http://www.tinyvital.com/blog/2003/7/26/american-vs-european-crime-rates/

When you read the second, notice that it talks about separation by race, etc. While that is partially true, the other side of the coin is that most of these deaths are over drugs and drug-dealing territory, many times over simply a curb to sell marijuana on.

This is why I advocate the legalization of marijuana (I have another anonymous post a few days back when Chez posted something about D.L. Hughley), as it will drive the crime rate down, boost the economy (in astounding ways), and generally redirect law enforcement efforts toward dealing with the real problem drugs and other matters of public health and safety.



@ Izar Talon: I suppose I should've clarified beyond just a single sentence. What I meant was I want to do away with the idea of an RNC and DNC or anything like it.

Sure, have parties (which organize only during election season). These parties should center around a set of ideals, and nominate a candidate based around these ideals. The more parties the better. However, there shouldn't be a "liberal" or "conservative" party, necessarily.

For instance, I'm pro-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-gun, pro-marijuana, pro-equality in human rights, but anti-minority "support" (In the sense of free money and other crap relating to minorities that really has nothing to do with actual human rights).

I fall on both sides of the fence if you're talking party lines as they exist today, and I honestly didn't want ANY of the presidential candidates to be elected. Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney were my first choices, but only because of their respective experiences in areas America needed improvement in during the tenure of George Bush and through today (I still think either would have been a better choice than Obama, but he's certainly a better choice than McCain. I digress).



My point is that when the party system boils down to "us vs. them", not "viewpoint A vs. viewpoint B vs. viewpoint C vs. viewpoint D", it simply ends up in bickering and name-calling, not discussion of issues and checks and balances as the system was originally intended for.

Honestly, if the DNC/RNC and other committees had to be completely dissolved at the end of each election season and reformed 3-6 months after that with new/revised platforms and even different names for the parties, I feel we could balance out a lot of the problems in the political system as they exist today.

zdub said...

Sorry, Jeremy S., I assumed you WERE anonymous . . . Apologies if your not. Obviously, any "fact" arguments are based on Anonymous' assertions. Though you, sir, have to own those "fact" quotes, which I still think are silly. :)

Wes said...

1. There are crazys that think the government will be taking all there guns and all there rights. Very scary, very vocal. Some are organized and well funded. Make normalized gun owners and hunters look like morons.

2. There are folks rooted in reality that own, use and enjoy guns for various legitimate reasons. These folks are concerned that the Brady bill will be re-enacted and that there may possibly be a considerable increase in taxation on guns and ammunition. 15% of the US population, give or take based on hunting license purchases. Most are not vocal or chose to participate in local issues.

3. There are folks rooted in reality that may or may not have a gun, don't particularly follow gun legislation closely, don't hunt but at the same time aren't anti-hunting. 60% of the population. These are the people most affected by #1 and #4.

4. Crazys that want an unreasonable amount of gun control, are anti-hunting, anti-gun sports, anti-violent video games, PETA people. 10-15% of the population give or take. Vocal, organized, well funded. Make normalized conservationists look like morons and distract attention away from less charismatic issues. Hunt pressure as a viable land and species management tool for wildlife biologists? Bah! Barbarians! Carrying capacity, social K? What's that? Sea Kittens!

At least in Florida #1 and #2 are buying every single gun that was previously banned under the Brady bill and are stocking up on ammunition for two different reasons. #1 thinks the guns and ammunition will be banned and watched Red Dawn to many times. #2 is buying the guns because it is plausible that a new Brady-like bill might be considered under the current administration. They're stocking up on the ammo because there is a slight chance it may become very expensive in the near future. Also, they just bought a new semi-automatic and some stuffed animals are seriously going to die.

Gun control is good, if the legislation is good. The Brady bill was just bad legislation. It banned guns based on asthetics rather than banning an actual firing mechanism. A semi-automatic hunting rifle and a semi-automatic AK-47 variant fuction the same. While it could be considered a waste of money to buy a sub-standard, inacurate, scary-looking semi-automatic assault rifle, it shouldn't be illegal. It's just confusing and near unenforcable. Fully automatic firearms are still illegal as well they should be (barring special permitting).

Current federal gun laws could stand to be tweaked, but it's such a politically charged issue that I hope the Obama administration stays away from as best it can. It's just a waste of time and distracts from other more important issues.

I think most gun enthusiasts and hunters would support a reasonable tax increase on guns and ammo, since all of that money goes towards purchasing and conserving public land. A signifigant tax increase proposal would probably crash and burn.

Ramble, ramble. Anyway, Chez, you should totally move down to South Florida. We NEED you.

Jeremy S. said...

true that numbers don't lie, however you correctly point out that you input those numbers into the equation and draw your conclusion....all i'm saying and the reason i put 'fact' in quotes is that the conclusion ultimately comes down to human judgement of what those numbers mean which is why they can be used to prove both sides of each argument depending on who is determining the statistic or fact or whatever you want to call it....all i'm saying is that for every statistic you or i quote, which you asked for, there will be someone else who can just as easily counter with a statistic of their own which will probably be equally as valid....i'm glad you appreciated my comic book scenario by the way...i worked hard at dreaming it up....you think i might have a future in the industry...besides as i mentioned in my earlier post i probably wouldn't even be carrying the thing anyway so we would both be screwed...you ever heard about showing up to a gun fight with a knife....that would be us, because i do always carry a pocket knife on me (as a useful tool not for self defense, i'm not trying to kid anyone here)...trust me i'm not some crazy right wing nut job who is looking to shoot every person that crosses me or appears to be, or save the world as we know it....conservative, admittedly, which in this crowd probably already condemns me to be deemed crazy....that's alright though b/c i probably think the same about some of your ideals and i read this blog everyday because it's a damn fine read....as i've already mentioned i hope to never ever have to exercise my right...it is a last resort only....the only thing that really bugs me and the one thing i know for certain is that the more laws they seem to pass regarding guns the harder it becomes for law abiding citizens to protect themselves from those who do not.....one other thing i have not mentioned before now and relates to this article is that i do not listen to fox news or limbaugh and i am not a member of the NRA....i listen to the same liberal media you do....my opinions are just that and i'm not trying to convince anyone otherwise....again to each his own, just let me have my own without legislating them to me....that is all i am asking...i apologize if i came across as self-righteous...obviously this is a topic that i feel strongly about...while i was not at virginia tech when that tragedy occurred i did graduate from there, class of 02, and it is like a second home for me.....i had friends that were there when that tragedy occured and while i am not a crying man by nature, i wept that day along with my fellow alumni and extended virginia tech family....and all i could think about after that was what if just one person had been able to stop it....you cannot legally carry a fire arm on that campus and so the students do not because they feel safe....every law already on the books should have prevented that asshole from ever owning a gun and yet he still did and used them and those very laws meant to protect against every one there....

zdub said...

Anonymous-

Thanks for the links. Some of the stats are missing to confirm or deny the idea that guns make us safer (for instance I notice there are numbers for relative crime rates, here and in Europe, but the MURDER rates are only US, seems a bit cherry pick-ish). And the reason article seems long on anecdotes and short on stats (but still mentions that as of the writing of the article, the US homocide was still 350% that of England). But I'll give them a closer read, for sure. I'd much rather quibble about what the numbers mean than make suppositions out of whole cloth. Appreciate it.

zdub said...

Jeremy-

I don't think you're crazy. I assumed you were being slightly hyperbolic. Though if you listen to too much of the media (lib-ruhl or otherwise) you might end up crazy. . .
Agree also with the opinion that Herr Chez runs a great blog.
I guess one of our differences is that when the Vtech shooting happened I had a different response (not about the horror and tragedy of it, of course), that is, that I thought "My gosh, if only he COULDN'T have gotten a gun" How many people would have been killed if he had only knives? How long before someone jumped him and beat him senseless and hauled him off? I understand the argument that people should be allowed to have guns. I grew up in upstate NY with hunters and all that. I learned to shoot when I under 10. I'm just saying lets have reasonable balance here. The problem is clearly that PEOPLE are unpredictable and some of them shouldn't have guns. If we can operate under that assumption, I think there will be a less rabid rush to stockpile an armory. Maybe some thought as to whether we all need kevlar vests and AK47's. I appreciate your position and that you and i have different points of view. I just don't want every difference settled at 10 paces:) Maybe we can just have a pocket knife fight about it.

Anonymous said...

"who believes that the Jews control the media"

Yes his name is Jon Klein and he fired Chez for blogging then tried to threaten him with screed taking away his benefits.

Now he wants to control the interent.

So maybe there is a little truth in what they say?