An abomination

San Bernarndino shooting
Image from Huffington Post




An article in the Atlantic called it what it is- an abomination. From the article:

Three years ago, after that week’s American gun massacre (the one at a movie theater in Colorado), I wrote about our horrific shared understanding that these killings will go on. Similar things happen in other countries, but nowhere else do they keep happening. Australia, Norway, the U.K., Canada—societies like these do something about it. A society like the United States doesn’t. Can’t. The shootings are appalling. And our public paralysis is worse. (…) It cannot go on. And at this moment, I can’t bring myself to complete the thought by saying, but it will. This is an abomination, and it is a political choice.

Is it paralysis? Perhaps. It is, as some have said, a choice. It’s a choice to ignore the carnage because…. rights. That is an abomination. Where are the statements from the gun lobby about the latest carnage? Maybe they are beginning to feel like the rest of us- speechless.

What can we say any more that we haven’t said before? How can Congress stand by and offer only thoughts and prayers without offering to do something to stop the slaughter of innocent Americans? It is, after all, the job of Congress to protect the “homeland”. Where are they? Offering tweets.

The twitter world was on fire yesterday and last night. And one person got it very right when he started screen shooting the tweets of some of our leaders and added his own comments about how much money each of them had taken from the NRA. Make no mistake about it, that is the problem. Follow the money to the paralysis.


Last night, MSNBC host Chris Hayes interviewed Igor Volsky of Think Progress who tweeted out the connections to the NRA to those offering thoughts and prayers. You can read his tweets at the link just above. Check out his comments last night on MSNBC.

The shooting in San Bernardino was just one more in the daily list of mass shootings– the 2nd just yesterday if you read the linked Washington Post article. Is this the tragedy that will make the changes we deserve? Will this be the one? Will Congress stand up at long last and tell the NRA and others in the gun rights world to stand down?

Common sense is worthless if it doesn’t lead to action. And that is what the gun lobby is banking on. But the steady drip drip drip of the mass terror attacks on American soil as the victims pile up is finally entering the collective conscience of the 92% of Americans who support common sense gun legislation. They are acting. They are phoning Congress and signing petitions by the thousands. Last night the Brady Campaign asked people to text to call US Senators and thousands responded within minutes. #enough. You can watch what Brady Campaign President Dan Gross had to say about the latest “terror attack” in our country as he spoke on CNN.

The American public has had #enough. They had #enough a long time ago.

The media has also had #enough. Vox is doing a great job of charting or unique gun problem pointing out that: “The research on this is overwhelmingly clear. No matter how you look at the data, more guns means more gun deaths.”

With more than 300 million guns circulating in America and owned by even fewer people, it is inevitable that the carnage will increase. That many guns means that many people could be angry enough or paranoid or fearful enough to use their legally purchased guns. ( according to the LA Times article I linked to above about the latest shooting, the guns used were legally purchased). When guns are readily available in a moment of anger, depression, while drinking alcohol, or just “fooling around” they will cause death and injury.

And further, when the guns not legally purchased get into the hands of those we prohibit from purchasing them legally, we have a double problem. There is absolutely no reason not to do a Brady background check on each and every gun sale in our country. The gun lobby has made up reasons not to do this. They are wrong- so wrong.

Yes, America, we have a problem. It is spiraling out of control. Can we put our heads together and gain control of the situation? I believe we can. It’s not rocket science. We sent people to the moon. We can do this, too. Congress should drop all of their other nonsensical business ( repealing Obamacare for the umpteenth time, threatening to shut down the government, voting to keep Syrian refugees out of the country and blah, blah, blah) and roll up their sleeves to prevent the daily carnage. But first they need to drop their fear of the NRA and the corporate gun lobby.

We’re waiting but the longer we wait, the more bodies will pile up. If Congress members were like the rest of us, they were watching the drama unfold on live TV yesterday and last night. It looked like a scene out of a war movie. We are at war with each other. Armored vehicles with SWAT teams looking for armed citizens in tactical gear with assault rifles. Combat on our streets. Law enforcement outgunned by every day citizens with arsenals and tactical gear, all dressed up for battle.

We are better than this.

Congress? Are you with us?


39 thoughts on “An abomination

  1. J. Edwards says:

    Sorry Joan, I still can’t figure out how background checks on private gun sales would’ve stopped yesterday’s abomination. Honestly not trying to push an agenda here, just my opinion.

    1. We aren’t sure yet how the shooters got their guns. And we don’t say background checks will stop all shootings. But we know that they can stop a lot of them and stop some of the trafficking. Along with stronger straw purchasing restrictions, strong gun trafficking and safe storage to prevent stolen guns we can do a lot to prevent shootings. What do you suggest? Nothing. That is not an option. Other countries have strong background checks and we are just not seeing this kind of daily carnage. It’s not a coincidence.

  2. J. Edwards says:

    I completely agree that doing nothing is not an option. I’ve already learned even at my state level, the elected leaders fail to do what their own constituents want. Rather then waiting for an ineffective government to do something, iv’e decided to to get the proper training and tools to defend myself. Rather then wait for someone to take care of me, I’ve made some adult decisions to be responsible for myself.

    1. In other words, you really don’t give a crap if innocent people are being shot up when we could prevent some of the shootings by passing laws that won’t affect law abiding citizens like yourself. And you admit that the majority-92% of Americans want these laws. But apparently you are not among them.

  3. To begin a change in our US culture, undermine the NRA; ostracize their organization. Boycott any entity, organization, person that has relations with the NRA. Petition congress, the Senate and the House, to pass a rule that no member nor candidate may accept assistance, funding, services, et al. from the NRA. As well, petition state, county, municipal, local entities not to enter into any dealings with the NRA.

    Owning guns in the US is part of our cultural heritage. We mustn’t attempt to outlaw gun ownership. Nonetheless, we should, as a broad community, attempt to ostracize the glorification of gun ownership. Let us be sensible.

    By the way, is it not so that in the US’s historic wild west citizens were required to check their guns in with the sheriff before entering a municipality?

    Benjamin, Austin, Texas

    1. Yes, let’s have gun ownership laws changed. Yet we can’t do it by our individual selves: Law and government regulation requires a lot of work involving the participation of not just individual citizens but larger influential groups….like congress, or an organized group of individuals like you guys on this site…..or, the NRA. I suppose this idea is, duh, so obvious. Sorry, I haven’t studied the details of legal gun ownership very well; Is mean, for some as ignorant about gun laws as me that study would be, like “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”.

  4. There is absolutely no reason not to do a Brady background check on each and every gun sale in our country.

    So how do you enforce a mandatory [with fee of course] NICs check on a sale between two private citizens?

    1. Take it to a federally licensed dealer to make sure that person to whom you are selling is not a domestic abuser or felon or some other prohibited purchaser. On-line sales between private citizens will work the same way. Laws are written in many states that require this to happen. There are penalties if it doesn’t happen. The ultimate penalty for not doing so, as now happens in most places, is the death of innocent people.

      1. I’m not trying to belabor the point for it’s own sake, but without the State knowing who owns which firearms, said State cannot truly enforce a law that requires private sellers to seek out and pay for a NICs check. So I’m left wondering why it is so important for some to support legislation that is nothing more than an honor system.

        Appreciate your link, but given it’s editorial bias, do you give equal weight to reports from the NRA or SAF?

      2. It is not just an honor system. If you are caught there are penalties. Would you like to be slapped with a misdemeanor or felony charge for selling a gun with no background check? What equal weight could there be to the NRA or SAF whose vested interest is in selling guns without caring to whom? They have resisted all laws to require background checks for all sales with no good reasons. It will not lead to gun bans or confiscation since the current system in place has not done that.

  5. J. Edwards says:

    The insurgent has a point. If I sell a gun to someone how will the State find out? There is no registration on these guns. The State does not know who has them. If the gun is later used in a crime, how would it come back to me? Or if I sell a gun to a friend at work and we decide to not go pay for a background check, how would we “get caught”. Note, at the time of this writing there is no provision in my state requiring a background check on private sales.

      1. further, if private sellers want to flaunt the law at their own risk, they can go ahead and try and see if they caught. Getting caught by having a gun used in a gun crime or awful shooting would surely be the test as to whether someone is willing to give it a try. Just as you can flaunt the traffic laws if you choose but if you get caught speeding or causing an accident while being over the legal limit for alcohol consumption the penalties are great. But go ahead and say that laws don’t work and you wish to live in a lawless society. I don’t.

  6. Firstly, the gun issue is not a binary choice. It’s not your vision of gun control v. anarchy. Second, you’re repeatedly remarked about the penalty aspect of universal background check legislation…..but not once to the enforcement, even after J. Edwards raises the same point. Why is that?

      1. “Catch you up” on what? You keep posting links and making commentary on the law, and the penalty for breaking the law. You haven’t come close to explaining how the State is even going to know when a citizen breaks this law.

  7. J. Edwards says:

    I’m just trying to understand how this would work. Even the sheriff’s in my own state have rebelled against these laws and called them unenforceable. They wrote a letter to our governor asking him to veto any such legislation back in 2013.

  8. As with most mass shootings that make it to the national news, this one in California would not have been stopped with a background check law. But with the far more common day-to-day shootings, at least one of which each day is technically a mass shooting, the situation is the opposite. Here background check laws that are tightly written & adequately funded will work.
    To make proposed background check laws more palatable to those who are concerned that they may lead to future gun confiscation, they are generally written such that the only paper record on a gun transfer is the 4473 kept by the FFL. So it can certainly be argued that such laws rely on an honor system. But as Joan says, if you do get caught there’s a penalty.
    A few thoughts here. From what I’ve seen regarding the second hand gun market, a lot of stuff gets traded at a high turn over rate. If a seller decides to transfer a particular gun w/o a background check when the law requires it, he/she may get away with it for awhile. But what about subsequent transfers of that same gun (and they almost always happen)? If it’s then used in a crime & a trace is done, the authorities can work back to the person at the beginning of the background check transfer trail and from him/her get I.D. info on the person from whom they acquired the piece – i.e., the one who didn’t bother doing the background check in the first place. For a few bucks and a ride to the local gun shop, I wouldn’t risk it and most others wouldn’t either.
    Second most people want to follow the law, even if they may disagree with it. My hunting buddies & I don’t agree with all the hunting regulations but (just about) always follow them even though we’ve never encountered a conservation officer, and likely never will. (You’re more likely to see a camel in the northern Minnesota woods than a law officer.)
    Third, most gun owners agree that background checks should work in principle, at the very least, and therefore want to be part of the solution by having them done.

  9. J. Edwards says:

    Thanks for the well thought out comment Brent. Your intel and reasoning is right on. Like you say, Us “people of the gun” will follow the regulations regardless of our personal beliefs as it is not worth going to jail and losing our gun rights but the law abiding people are not the problem. The people who make the decision to commit the crimes are already planning to break the law. They no longer care and will do as they please regardless.

    The people who do these things already do not care and as they don’t even value there own lives, you cannot legislate their behavior. They are not deterred by stiffer penalties because they have already decided to die. The only way to stop them is with swift counter attack before they kill more.

    1. And the counter attack that will work is stronger background checks, stopping bad apple gun dealers, stronger penalties for straw purchasing and trafficking and changing the conversation to gun safety and identifying that a gun is a risk for accidents, suicides, and domestic shootings.

  10. J. Edwards says:

    I guess we can’t come to a common ground there. Our ideas of what gun safety mean are vastly different. I am absolutely for educating people about gun safety: Safe handling, safe storage, how to educate children about the safe use of guns and the dangers of their misuse. I know it’s a model that works because I live it. At the age of twelve, I had a loaded pistol in my bedroom and was trained in it’s care and use. I never thought of using it in arguments or taking it to school. My parents also instructed me on the use of first aid and how to use the fire extinguisher in the house. They did this because they cared about my life. They did not simply say, “don’t touch these things” and hope that would suffice. Every child should be instructed in the safe use of firearms. With so many guns circulating the country, not teaching them would be irresponsible.

    1. Mr. Edwards- training children in the use of firearms has been a failure. The young girl who shot the firearms instructor after her parents brought her to the range to shoot a machine gun. The young boy whose father brought him to a firing range to fire off a machine gun which then shot and killed him ( the boy) The kids who find guns and point them at others and use them anyway in spite of being told no. You were just one of the lucky ones. 12 year olds can’t own pistols and shouldn’t have them in their room loaded. I find it appalling that you had one. That is how many children get killed. They go visit a friend and pick up a loaded gun and- voila- death or injury. No sir.The best way to avoid accidental or purposeful shootings is to lock up the guns away from kids and teens and the ammunition. That will be far more successful in preventing gun deaths and injuries. Training just won’t do the trick. And the NRA doesn’t like training anyway. They want people to be able to carry pistols around in public with no training whatsoever. If that’s how you want it, expect more deaths and injuries.

      1. My teen and pre-teen daughters refute your statement. Your argument, if taken as logical, merely proves that drivers safety “has been a failure”. I’m still waiting for a gun control group to provide, or even endorse a recognized gun safety program actual gun safety, as opposed to the rebranding of gun control, due to the inherently poor optics].

        And the NRA doesn’t like training anyway. Your reliance on the NRA for all facets of the argument is a standard part of the script, but ineffective amongst people who know better. The NRA is the most widespread and prominent guns safety and instructor certification provider in the nation, so much so, that much of their business comes from law enforcement agencies.

        If you believe that mandatory training is a worthy goal, then that debate can occur, but remember…your speaking about mandating an obstacle to exercise a Constitutional right….and very likely with a fee [I haven’t seen you advocate for it to be provided from the tax base]. Thus, you’re endorsing a poll tax. Much as with the gun control lobby’s calls for burdensome taxes on ammunition sales….I’m not sure why said lobby [mostly on the left] desires to burden the poor.

      2. ASK- Be Smart- It’s the adults who need the training. Kids can’t own or carry guns. As for a poll tax- nonsense. Nothing of the sort. You have to pay to renew your driver license, get any kind of license. Guns are expensive. Some people own many expensive guns. Paying for a background check is just part of the process. If you can afford expensive guns, you can afford the background check or any kine of imposed tax. This is not the same as voting by the way. Guns are dangerous weapons designed to kill. Therefore regulations of their owners and the guns is just part of public safety.

      3. Apparently you’re unaware of youth hunting. And with regards to driving… are comparing a privilege bestowed by the State, with a Constitutional right. This right is not unlimited,but it is not a State sponsored privilege.

        If you can afford expensive guns…

        What if you can’t afford “expensive guns”? What if you can only afford a budget model firearm, but still desire to exercise your Constitutional right? Does it boil down to “if you’re poor, too bad?”

        Guns are designed for a great many things, such as self defense, hunting, sport. That you would seek to further burden the law abiding citizen, in the exercise of this right…is concerning.

        And just to be clear, you would have no problem with paying a tax to the State, for the privilege of blogging, no? After all, it’s only your 1st Amendment right at stake.

      4. I’m fully aware of youth hunting. So what’s your point? That’s quite different than kids with loaded pistols lying around. I was taught to shoot a hunting rifle as a youth. I grew up in a hunting family. If you can’t afford the guns you don’t need to have one. A right does not mean that everyone must have a gun no matter what. There is no limit on the right. But many things are too expensive for people who live in poverty. It’s really not too bad that someone can’t afford a gun. If they can’t they can’t. Other things to spend money on will much more useful such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. If I had to pay for the privilege of blogging, so be it. I pay for magazines and newspapers and my cable TV and computer connection. It’s not the same but I’m sure you know that.

      5. If you can’t afford the guns you don’t need to have one.

        I’m actually sort of surprised that you missed the point. Nobody is claiming that the less affluent should get a subsidy on the sales price of a firearm [though they receive subsidies for a multitude of entitlements not associated with a Constitutional right]. A federally mandated NICs check on private transactions, a federal tax on the sale of ammunition, or any other gin control sponsored “common sense” legislation… a tax on the citizens right to exercise a Constitutional right….not a cost to a commercial enterprise for a durable good.

        If I had to pay for the privilege of blogging, so be it.

        You would be fine with paying a tax to the State, for the privilege [as it would then cease to be a Constitutional right] of exercising your 1st Amendment rights? Wow.

        Respectfully, at least your gun control position stands consistent with the apparent rest of your worldview. I am only guessing your political allegiance, so correct me if I’m wrong……but as I asked at my site….when exactly did the radical liberal morph into submissive sheep?

      6. Submissive sheep? You do realize that I can say the same about people on your side. So let’s just not go there all right? Not necessary. I have come to my liberal positions on my very own and I hope you have come to yours the same way. Casting aspersions just because I don’t agree is not going to get you anywhere. I believe in taxes as it turns out. It is NOT a poll tax by any means to pay taxes on guns and ammunition and pay for a background check. It’s the cost of doing business. And what’s wrong with being liberal? Is there something wrong with you because you are conservative or libertarian? This is why we can’t come together to agree on things. I missed no point. I knew exactly what you were trying to say but I don’t buy it and it’s simply not true in any way. And as for your site, I won’t look at it. I’m familiar with guys like you demeaning me and going after me on their own blogs. Who needs it? We simply come at this from different perspectives. But the thing is, 92% of Americans happen to agree with me so I’m not concerned if you guys don’t like what I have to say.

  11. I said in the other topic that I wasn’t sure if I was going to reply….but I find this statement illustrative:

    It is NOT a poll tax by any means to pay taxes on guns and ammunition and pay for a background check. It’s the cost of doing business.

    Logically, you now have to actually support a poll tax, as it’s merely the “cost of doing business”, with the State. You do see the difference between consumer pricing and paying a tax in order to exercise a right – not bestowed by – but protected by the Constitution, no?

    I have no intention to demean you, nor do I particularly care if you visit my site…I’m simply extremely interested in the train of logical thought behind the positions of someone who supports this sort of gun control. We may never agree on any of these issues, but understanding the other side is not out of reach.

    1. You already pay taxes on your guns and ammunition. ” Dalseide’s inflammatory comparison ignores the fact that firearm sales are already taxed — gun and ammunition sales have been subject to a federal excise tax for decades that is used to fund conservation programs.

      The NRA — which is joined in its lawsuit by the Second Amendment Foundation and a gun industry trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — says the tax violates a Washington state law limiting the kinds of gun regulations localities can enact. The Seattle City Council contends that the new tax does not regulate firearms and falls within their taxation authority.

      In an August 24 NRA-ILA press release, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane also referred to the tax as “nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment…”

      The NRA frequently compares the conditions placed on firearm ownership to racial discrimination, and draws parallels with Jim Crow laws and the segregation-era “separate but equal” doctrine.”

      I’m extremely interested in the logical train of thought behind the positions of someone who supports the poll tax rhetoric.

  12. Most people don’t have a sufficient understanding of the true nature of our country’s gun problem. I think that may be the main reason we keep going around & around on proposed measures like universal (or, more correctly, near-universal) federal background checks and the like.

    It is true that criminals will not follow laws, so the transferring of guns between members of their fraternity will be unaffected by such measures. People who point this out are correct and deserve an adequate response, yet they are never given one – and that has always puzzled me.

    Background checks, the promotion of safe gun storage, stiff penalties for gun traffickers (both sellers & buyers) are not aimed at the large quantity of guns criminals already possess. Rather, they are aimed at the guns they easily acquire to replenish those they perpetually lose because each year law enforcement confiscates about 500,000 crime guns – this has been the case for at least the last decade, or more, and it will continue. It’s what the police do as part & parcel of their duty to public safety.

    The country’s big gun crime problem continues because criminals can easily replenish these confiscated weapons with new ones at a rate essentially equal to that of the confiscation effort. For the police it’s like bailing water from a leaky boat – they never get anywhere. We must put into shore and patch the leaks.
    With tightly written and adequately funded background check laws, safe storage (to reduce gun theft – a crime gun supply source probably greater than purchase w/o a background check) we reduce the re-supply of guns into criminal hands, which allows the ever ongoing police crime gun confiscation to have an impact.

    1. I agree, Brent. Also changing the conversation about the potential risks of gun ownership for suicides and accidental discharges or kids getting their hands on them. This will also require a change to our conversation.

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