62 Comments

I believe Michael needs to read more history. When he says that America has always had guns, the truth is that a MINORITY of Americans own guns.

I grew up in Appalachia where most people had guns- usually a .22 or a .410 shotgun for hunting. No one owned handguns or military weaponry. It was a very different style of gun ownership.

And it was only in 2008 that the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment as applying to individual gun ownership.

American’s history with guns has not always been this “guns at all costs or you are infringing upon my rights” rhetoric that we now hear. In the West in the 19th century, many towns demanded that citizens not bring guns into the town.

Ronald Reagan went after gun “rights” in 1967 when he signed the Mulford Act (aimed at the Black Panthers) which profited the public carrying of loaded guns without a permit.

And In the 1920s-30s when crime could involve Tommy guns, it was only organized crime that used those guns. Common citizens did not own such weapons.

Our country’s relationship to guns has been all over the board and our current iteration of gun “rights” is due to gun manufacturers’ profits, the NRA, and lobbying from what was once considered the far right.

A knowledge of history complicates the picture in such a way that we come to understand that the interpretation of the Second Amendment that we currently cite is extremely new.

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I don't revere freedom like I used to. There is so very little good use being made of it. When freedom of speech permits book banning at the same time it protects commercial and political falsehood, what good is it?

Freedom to own firearms translates to more than daily mass shootings.

Religious freedom means Joel Osteen.

If only we could have a dictator of guaranteed benevolence.

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Maybe I have Apple Knocker bias, but I think this man sorts out this gun control issue really, really well.

As the guy in these videos says, “Right now, there’s a whole bunch of people out there, that are pro-gun, that are like, oh yeah, hillbilly about to school these liberals on guns.”

These 3 short videos are less than 10 minutes and well worth the time.

Beau of the fifth column, Let's talk about guns, gun control, school shootings, and the "law abiding gun owner" parts 1, 2 and 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxvxbZGjlv4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNtxtuQxUz8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbXTDuwSVkk

And just because I think it matters, I recommend these 2 short videos as well

Let's talk about being armed and black

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL_IX8yX_JU

Let's talk about what it's like to be a black person in the US

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD8mWq0Hdcw

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Thank you for these video links, Raffey. I would have never found these (or been fed them via algorithm). Definitely worth watching. Beau helped me understand the pro 2nd amendment side of the argument more than any other articles or videos with his sane, straightforward and rational presentations. I am not very well-versed in types of guns and ammunition, so learned quite a lot from Beau's explanations. I watched all the videos above, and a few more. the following 2 are also worth a watch:

Part 4 "Let's talk about race and guns" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXFtH3v2epI

and

Part 5 "Let's talk about gun control (Part 5: Bumpstocks)" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqVMiL7Qi0Y

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I haven't had time for videos, but I notice that one is about bump socks. First off, I can bump fire probably most any semi-automatic that has significant recoil without any attachments. After I went out in the desert and proved to myself that I could I never had any desire to do it again. A waste of ammunition.

When the M-14 was still the primary battle rifle, it was normally issued semi-auto only. The armorer installed a select fire sear on rifles for fire team members designated as automatic riflemen. In around 1967/68 the M-16 became standard issue. My first one (of four) was an original model that didn't even have the chrome chamber. They were widely called Mattie Mattel Jamamatics when they were first issued. Even with a low recoil rifle like an M-16 the muzzle rise was sufficient to make going rock and roll with a full magazine a likely 15+ rounds miss. It's my understanding that they eventually replaced "Safe, Semi Full" with "Safe Semi Burst" but I never saw one. Our real machinegun was the M-60 "pig." It weighed over 20 pounds empty and approached 30 pounds with a belt of 250 rounds. That added weight made longer bursts reasonably accurate, but the 5 to 7 round burst "suggestion" was often exceeded. Helicopter door gunners did fire long busts where their tracers made it like squirting a water hose.

All that to say that full auto is a bit overstated as effective, and the high body count mass shooters probably fired at nowhere near their maximum rate and aimed. A crowd of unarmed people gives no cause to shoot at a rate that makes most rounds a miss. The Las Vegas shooter was shooting down into a fairly tightly grouped crowd so high rate did matter in that case.

I'm not a fan of world at war wannabe video gamers running around with firearms and am a big believer in training and proficiency testing. When my daughter wanted to get a concealed carry permit, I went with her for the training, testing and background check. I live in a Constitutional Carry state where no training or permit is required. Some of my friends would hate me if they read this, but training and testing seem reasonable to me.

Just to show how much things have changed in attitudes over the years. Here's a picture of the girl's rifle team/club city champions (St. Louis) from my high school in 1964. We had an indoor range and armory. A different America, and what I think of when I think of America. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Yss24S7KlZUy2PhgMCmMUuFhNykhy1hY/view

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Darn. I’m sorry you’re short of time, cause your comment tells me, you could have told me more about the gun culture component of these videos. Another commenter, Michelle, pointed out there were five, not three videos on guns, so the chances of persuading you to watch and report are now nil.

You and I come from different cultures – you are city and I am country. I’ve never understood gun culture in cities any better than city people understand gun culture in the country.

At home, I see people carrying guns and think bobcats, cougars, bears, rattlers, coyotes, racoons, elk, deer, quail, and mercy for sick or injured livestock, horses, cats and dogs. And it ain’t no racial thing here either; black, brown, Asian, white, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist, liberal, conservative, educated, and un-educated people carry guns. When we are hunting, we advertise it so loudly, you can see our fluorescent vests a mile away. Our kids and dogs stay behind us, not in front of us, beside us, or who knows where? We don’t have the luxury of forgetting to clean and oil our guns.

Our game wardens are more heavily armed than our police. Game wardens are coping with illegal hunters, who are definitely carrying guns. Like Africa, big game hunting in the states – moose, elk, wolves, grizzles and bison – has turned into a rich man’s sport. They hunt by helicopter, super-tricked out high speed all-terrain vehicles and the hire of super gifted trackers.

The police out here are a whole lot more respectful, than cops I’ve run into in cities. Why? What made people think, that cities would give up hundreds, let alone thousands of acres of land for prisons? Cities ship their inmates to rural America.

Putting 5,000 inmates in wide open country is going to have an impact. Escapes are rare, but what it does to your mind is constant.

From my balcony on one mountain range, I looked across a valley filled with farms. On the far side of the valley sat the prison, nestled at the base of the next mountain range that rose 8,000 feet in the air.

Of course, I could see the prison, it’s 1,650 acres big. 5,000 inmates live there, and 5,000 employees work there. This valley has some of the richest soil, dedicated to organic farming in the country. I don’t care where you live, you’ve seen our produce in the grocery store every time you shop. And yet, 2,000 acres of this farmland has been dedicated to housing inmates from the cities.

Supplying water and managing the sewage for this prison, is paid by YOU. You are paying higher prices for your food, to fund prisons.

Our prison includes a SHU, which is a jail, within a prison. Yup, inmates in prison, can get sent to jails – in prisons. Some get sent to prison jail to protect them from inmates in the general population, and others get sent there to protect inmates in the general population. And prisons without jails, send their inmates to prisons with jails. In other words, the most dangerous people and the most endangered people live in prison jails. Our SHU is very large.

Our county is huge, over 8,000 square miles. Less than one million people live here, but there are 19 prisons and 2,176 jails in our county alone.

Our sheriff’s patrol more than 8,000 square miles. Detroit police patrol a puny 143 square miles.

I tell you, I just don’t get city people and their guns.

Whenever I see city people carrying guns I think, umm the only thing to hunt ‘round here are people. Heck, city people can’t even put their old, sick or injured cats and dogs down themselves; they take them to vets who put them down with needles (then call it putting them to sleep?).

How is that city people can’t bring themselves to put their own beloved pets out of misery, but they can fly to Africa and shoot down elephants and giraffes and call it a sport? The attitudes of city people who come to the country to hunt elk and wolves is abominable. It’s like they got some kind of blood thirst dis-ease – killing is all they talk about. They do not sound human to me.

When city people “claim” they do not understand why there’s an epidemic of mass shootings in cities, I can’t help but ask, what did you people think your gun culture was all about? When kids grow up in cities where killing another human being is the only reason to own a gun, why are people surprised when kids shoot people?

City’s shooting ranges are bizarre. Why are people shooting at human silhouettes, instead of bullseyes? Cities are packed with moving traffic, pedestrians, stores, trees, etc. and yet gun owners practice shooting in empty cement boxes with fixed targets. Please explain that to me.

In city’s endless rows of cookie-cutter homes, apartment buildings and housing developments, someone is bound to walk into the wrong home, thinking it was theirs. Do city people really think their homes and apartments look unique?

In the country, someone entering your home is NO accident. If someone gets past the dogs outside, they won’t get past them inside. Teenagers are idiots, but if they sneak into your house to visit your teenager and wake you up, they announce themselves straight away, cause they know they’ll get shot if they don’t.

The whole point of those videos boils down to this: The problem is gun culture. Whatever went wrong in urban culture, is coming out the end of mass-shooters guns.

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Last thoughts on the videos. We have a great deal in common in our views on the issues. We also don't have a workable solution, just a view of what should be.

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#5 was quite good. Thanks for recommending them.

My daughter became interested in her ancestry and had us do the DNA thing. My ancestry was not a big surprise. She was interested in her mother's heritage because she knows so little of it. There were surprises, but nothing that changed her view of who she is. As more people with African roots test, the data will better be able to inform their tribal roots.

Speaking of roots, I'm old enough to remember the TV mini-series "Alex Haley's Roots." I was living in Georgia as a displaced Yankee at the time. It created quite a stir at the time and the bros were going "Kunta, Kunta-Kinte" while out of sight for the white people to hear. The message most got from it was the in-your-face awfulness of slavery. I learned the history in school, there isn't really anything new history-wise being presented today, but people prefered to not think about it too much. What people didn't seem to get was the point of the movie. Alex Haley was trying to learn about his ancestral roots that were stripped from his knowledge. I understand people wanting to know it. What they have now in America is at best, a sub-culture.

Years ago, while in Brazil I went to a club/eatery and mentioned that in America the food we were eating was called "soul food." The Brazilian man's reply, "Slave food. We have a parallel history with America and slavery existed longer here." The influence was not Africa, it was slavery. I find it interesting that lobster was fed to slaves, a crustation underwater bug. Now it's a delicacy served in restaurants at a higher expense than steak. They say in the South that the only thing not eaten from a pig is its squeal. I've eaten chittlins, ONCE.

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Just watched #4. I don't get stopped as often now as when I was younger, but the last time I was stopped I did my standard actions. While he was running my plate and checking me out, I got my license, registration, proof of insurance and concealed weapons permit out. Rolled down my window and had the documents in my hand with both wrists on the top of my steering wheel. That was to make myself as non-threatening as possible. If you think that only black people need to do that you read too many Medium articles. He asked if I had a firearm with me. I told him there was one in the car and would tell him how to access it if he wanted to. I preferred to not touch it. He said he didn't need to. I will never understand why people think it's OK to give a cop a blast of shit.

Most of my friends who are black also are veterans and gun owners. I once saw a black man walking out the door of a Wall-Mart with an open carry Glock on his hip. Nobody was paying attention to him. Arizona before the great influx of "Oh my God, he has a gun" Californians. I won't do a rant on the issues with firearms and people who are black with the police. I think it more complicated than "race."

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I'm influenced by personal experience more than anything I read. My last interaction with the police was not a good one.

I was pulling away from the curb, when a woman leaving the hotel across the street, tried to beat traffic. She was pulling a 20 foot trailer behind her F-350 and could not make the turn and slammed into my car in the parking lane. The woman stopped and flew out of her truck screaming and yelling and running straight at me. I locked my car doors and wound up the windows. That woman was crazed. The police showed up, took her down the street and calmed her down.

Eventually, the cop came to ask if I was okay. I was fine, but the woman had put a fright in me and I was shaking. Take your time, he said, she hit you pretty hard. I was confused when the cop asked how far my car spun around. I finally got out of my car, and he showed me the back of my car, where her trailer had hit me and stopped my spin. The crazy woman walked towards us, and I got back in my car and the cop walked over to her and told her to stay on the sidewalk.

He turned around and I rolled the passenger window down and he asked for identification and insurance card. That's when my boss drove up. The cop takes one look at the man exiting the truck, unsnaps his holster, puts his hand on the pistol grip, stands up, and backs up and tells the boss to stop where he is. He's my boss, officer, he's my boss, we work right there I say pointing down the street. That's his company. My boss is standing there, his arms held out to his side, and the cop is staring at him with his hand on his pistol. It was a frigging Mexican standoff I slowly got out of my car, walked towards my boss and wrapped my arms him. "ABC" says the boss, "ABC". The boss spent 20 years in the air force, and quietly de-escalated the situation.

Police officers bring their cars to our shop all the time. We service prison and game warden vehicles as well. This cop was young, and new to town, and he brought his lousy attitude with him.

A week later, my insurance company informs me that the cop had reported the accident was 100% my fault.

As you've probably guessed by now, my boss is a black man. Everyone I work with is black or Hispanic and like any other auto repair shop, their friends and families hang out at the shop. From kindergarten to high school, our kids went to school together. Our families have been friends for years. I don't need people on Medium telling me what happens to black and brown people in this country. I've spent seven years seeing it and hearing it with my own two eyes and ears. That was not the first standoff in our shop, not by a long shot. The only time the county sheriffs ever drive by our ranch, is when we're having one of our big picnics. Apparently, its okay when we're miles apart, but when a bunch of us gather together, they think they better check on us. Dave, a whole lot of country folk, are ex-military and ex-police and they carry guns. They also know HOW to behave around the police. They also know how to de-escalate bad situations.

You can't tell me that a man who spent 20 years as a homicide detective in Los Angeles, doesn't know a racist cop when he meets one. And yet, one of those Mexican standoffs between a cop and that black homicide detective happened right in front of me in the lobby of our shop. The cop walked in saw a black man and unsnapped his holster. One wrong move and Dex would have been dead. And yes, Dex was carrying.

Now back to the subject at hand. What is causing these mass-shootings?

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Personal experience is a big influence on me, but I'm not statistically relevant, especially since my life has been somewhat atypical. But I get what you are saying.

If the "real" fix requires a change in perception of the relationship between violence and masculinity, it is one that will be agonizingly slow in coming, like other big issues where people want quick fixes now. Is there a way to speed the process if that really is the root cause? If we can't find that it will be denied as a root cause, and we'll be back to "gunz!"

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I've watched #2 & #3. I pretty much agree with all that. There are no Mr. Tactical pictures of me and like him, I cringe when I see them. One of the main reasons is that the people who post those for the most part have never been in combat. They are wannabes living in a fantasy world who pass that fantasy to the next generation.

There are, to the best of my knowledge, no veterans on my father's side of the family. It was a tradition on my mother's side of the family. It ended with me. I was the last to serve in the military. No siblings, children, grandchildren, cousins or nephews. While I am happy that my kin are no longer marching off to war, the decreasing number of combat veterans in society does have a downside. We are not the ones wearing "tactical" (I hate that word) crap with a penis that shoots bullets. I'll be interested to see where he goes with this. The media (social and otherwise) sells the idea of an association between manhood and violence.

I am a lifelong martial artist who's primary arts are Southeast Asian with blade and bludgeon orientation. As time went on, those weapons went behind the veil. Interestingly, long term martial artists are often anti-violence just as combat veterans become anti-war. But we recognize that violence is a thing that we can't just wish away. I hope we can resolve it before it takes the Biblical swords into plowshares horror to do that. It's complicated.

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I spent three years in martial arts classes and if I were dictator for a day, every student would be required to take two semesters of martial arts classes as part of their phys ed requirements for high school graduation.

Like you, Steve QJ is also a martial artist. I have a hunch, that factors into both your views on guns, far more than you've considered.

WAIT a minute here. STOP and think this through.

STEVE and DAVE, has this discussion hit on some kind of a solution? Is martial arts classes in high school a way to start addressing violence and bullying in boys?

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Sorry about taking it personal. The world of internet.

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Martial arts have a place, I'm a fan. Sadly, there is a certain degree of fantasy there too. There are "experts" teaching martial arts who have never been in a real fight or self-defense situation, and it sometimes shows. While I spent years studying bladed martial arts, I haven't been in a real knife fight. I saw several in high school. They were sudden, Pearl Harbor affairs. Once in the boy's room in a dispute while rolling bones. Another in the locker room where a guy caught someone stealing his lizards and got cut from eyebrow to belly. There was no "fight" or defense, just a stabbing and slashing. Real world violence!

Facebook has street fight pages showing people getting hurt bad, maybe killed after the video stops (why do they allow that shit?). Comments are discouraging. A part of the virtual bad-ass world for people who have never experienced it, and some who have.

We do need to address bullying. I started my daughters in Taekwondo at the ages of 7 & 6. They had to use it to defend themselves. Not a world I wanted for them, but the world as it was. There's the issue. The world as it is, vs the world we wish it to be. Finding ways to change the world are difficult.

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Dave, did you not read what you wrote? My word, man, your gun knowledge and experience puts you in the smallest gun owner category imaginable. Not a word I said was about you, or aimed at you. Also, I don't believe in monoliths, so I don’t think that way. Put two human beings together and we’ve got two monoliths.

I’m not interested in guns. I leave guns to people who know what they’re talking about and that ain’t me.

What I’m trying to get at here, is what is causing these mass shootings? I think something went seriously awry in American culture and I’m trying to figure out why it’s coming out the barrels of guns aimed a little children. I live in the country. I know what happened in my part of this country and Beau pretty well nails it. You live in the city, and you are a gun expert. That’s why I’m asking you what the heck happened in city culture?

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Looking at the FBIs published statistics, we have a violent society where the issue is beyond guns. We often don't see it because in general the media reports guns and cops killing people, but not the guy I saw lying dead a few days ago who appears to have been beaten to death.

I can't really say what happened, but it did happen on my watch. Availability of firearms certainly are a factor, along with the glorification of violence (gangstas and Mr. tacticals). Not a popular view but I think that Rambo movies and World at War video games are a part of the problem. I don't see them being banned. I wish I could fix it.

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I started watching them. It will probably be reasonable, but I'll add a bit of clarity to the beginning of the first one.

Before the advent of the M-16 the military had switched from the M1 Garand's 30.06 round because it was too long to for magazine fed rifles. It had an 8 round clip. The 7.62 mm NATO round was adopted because one round could be used for a battle rifle (M-14) with it's standard 20 round magazine, machine gun (M-60) and the various sniper rifles though snipers normally used a round with a heavier projectile than the standard NATO round. The M-16 also was standard with 20 round magazines. He is incorrect in stating that the M-16 was chosen for a larger magazine.

The 7.62 mm NATO round uses more brass, more lead, more powder than the 5.56 mm round. There are a number of stories about why it was adopted. We used to blame it on the Airforce. I think it probable that it was cost of ammo and rifles. It certainly was not about a larger magazine like the video stated.

It did become somewhat popular after several mods that made it more reliable because of weight. You carry a lot of stuff and weight matters.

I don't think he was correct in saying that Stoner invented it. There have been gas operated, magazine fer rifles with bolt camming lugs for a long time. The straight-line design with a buffer spring in the stock (the reason for needing a pistol grip) was new for rifles used by the US military. It also has a straight firing pin where older rifles had a L shape where firing pins broke. This was definitely an improvement because a broken firing pin cannot be cleared in the field.

I'll add links to the early history of the AR-15 from Hatcher's Notebook at the end of this. As you will read, the AR-15 (renamed M-16 when the military adopted it) was not originally intended for the US military. It did have select fire; the ones being sold on the civilian market are semi only.

OK, pedantic, but it irritates me when incorrect things are stated about firearms. Ironic because it also irritates him. Back to the videos...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B1FqTjLSb9YrkBDWlB6OLb1lD1qc1Owg/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/134qC_sNd1uLnkBp1tGkdYnfSb0YYSHNY/view?usp=sharing

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That's why I just said, I leave guns to people who know what they're talking about. To the point, what the heck are congressmen and senators doing trying to regulate something they know absolutely nothing about? Why don't we have a gun expert team advising these political idiots?

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I lived in the city during the school year. I summered in the country with kin because by mom couldn't afford a sitter for me before I was old enough to latch key. Hunting was a tradition that I grew up with.

The last time I went hunting I had cross hairs on a buck and wished I had a camera instead of a rifle. I have no desire to kill. My wife didn't want to eat game. She grew up as country as it gets.

I was a competitive handgun silluetta shooter when my eyesight supported it. Targets were steel chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams at 50, 100, 150 & 200 meters. I enjoyed it but not because the targets looked like animals.

You assume too much about me and I think you are wrong to think of "gun culture" as a monolith.

The last time I went to a rifle range there was an increased number of women and girls than in the past. Big smiles on their faces saying things like "this is fun!"

I will ask what you are thinking of with "urban culture"? The people there, including gun owners, are not all the same.

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Michelle, rural Americans are drowning in stereotypes and knowing you watched these videos means a lot to me. As far as I know, Beau of the fifth column, is the only genuine rural voice out there. Just because someone grew up in a rural area, doesn't mean they understand the place they left behind when they grew up. I live in Kentucky and JD Vance trading on his troubled family infuriates me. Vance doesn't know jack sh-t about rural life - he left long before a boy learns to see life as a man.

If not for you, I would not have found parts 4 and 5 - and so I thank you. :)

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Definitely agree about the rural stereo types. Unfortunately, the stereotypical rural Americans are ones that get most coverage, in both left and right media.

I do have to admit, I had to check my own implicit biases and assumptions related to baseball-capped white men with southern accents talking about guns, for the first minute into the video, but got over it quickly as I listened to what he was saying ;-)

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Michelle, thanks for a hearty, good morning laugh. Baseball-capped white men with southern accents talking about guns indeed. I thought that might happen, so I tried to head it off, by typing in Beau's line about “oh yeah, the hillbilly gonna school the liberals.”

Michelle, before I moved to Kentucky, we lived on a ranch out west and held summer picnics on the greens beneath the elm forest. The kind of work my daughters and I do, keeps us connected to people in the cities. Every time one of our city friends came to our picnic for the first time was hysterically funny.

The city folk had never seen real working cowboys, let alone black cowboys or vaqueros. And all the baseball caps, long beards, tattoos, cowboy boots, and work boots, oh my. Their kids were excited by all the animals (adorable) and that helped. But they would huddle together at a table, trying not to stare, but too intrigued not to stare. We're country friendly and someone always took it upon themselves to help the city folk out of their discomfort.

The most fun of all, was watching our city friends when they discovered they were in a crowd with doctors, former gang members, teachers, NASA and aerospace engineers, homemakers, farmers, geologists, chemists, a couple ex-felons, ranchers, lawyers, physicists, Walmart clerks, professors, homicide detectives, activists, luthiers, wind turbine technicians and executives, business owners, waitresses, and men and women with years of military service and the rank to prove it.

Did you know, that one of the biggest groups of musicians anywhere, are scientists and engineers by day. Something about the mathematical mind and music go hand in hand). I've heard them say, music is the language of math.

Come sundown, we lit a fire and out came the instruments – banjos, cellos, guitars, violins (depending on the music, violins are also fiddles), mandolins, and traditional handmade drums. The storytellers would start telling stories, and oh how we love talking politics. In a crowd like that, judging a book by its cover is gonna make you a fool – and I don’t blame folks for setting people up when talking politics.

People stayed until the wee hours of the morning or grabbed a sleeping bag or blankets and stayed the night (underneath the stars).

During the BLM protests, Americans finally saw black cowboys. Apparently, city people had no idea they existed. I doubt city people have any idea vaqueros are still with us. Its impossible to imagine horses can even move that way, or riders can use ropes that way – awesome. When I was young, I was an endurance rider (Arabs). Those are long races, on treacherous ground, with no trails and I did my last ride down the east side of the Sierras and into the desert 20 years ago. Did you know that the largest desert in the world, runs from Mexico, through the western United States and up into Canada?

Here in Kentucky, Churchill Downs and Keeneland are near enough to visit now. Racing is a rich man’s sport, and the horse farms here are positively stunning, but the owners are importing people from Mexico and South America, cause there aren’t enough skilled horsemen here anymore. Same thing happened with sheepherding out west. If ranchers did not import sheepherders from Peru, there would be no more sheepherding in America. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is famous, but you’ve never seen a working dog, til you’ve seen a sheepherder’s dog moving huge flocks across mountains that reach more than 8,000 feet into the sky.

Oh dear, I do go on. All I’m really trying to say, is thank you for keeping an open mind. In my heartfelt opinion, stereotyping people is how Donald Trump got himself elected. Trump played stereotypes like a fiddle.

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I love this. Speaking of Black cowboys - https://domflemons.bandcamp.com/album/black-cowboys

Domm is a nice guy. He came to an annual folk festival before he moved away. I took his class on rhythm bones.

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Okay, I am officially jealous.

Dave, if we'd lived in the same region, I'm sure you and I would have met.

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This Michael guy disqualifies himself in so many ways I lost count. I don't understand why you persist with someone who argues in serial falsehoods.

* self-defense. This is more of that hairy-chested Stand Your Ground BS. It's an article of faith that gun owners repel intruders and attacks 100,000 times a year, a preposterous figure that probably traces back to John Lott, who makes shit up.

* gun rights come from God. If your argument has its basis in the supernatural then you have no argument; until God can take the bench in a courtroom this is inadmissible. I know your determined civility forbids you from pointing this out but it's true.

* gun control is a non-starter. Nonsense. We banned assault rifles, mass shootings dropped. We unbanned them, mass shootings came roaring back.

* guns safeguard against tyranny. Horseshit. Only a fantasist sees tyranny in America coming from "the left" and anyone with a functioning brain sees it being actively developed on the right. The gun owners would in substantial number be enthusiastic supporters of their new right wing dictator, liberated to shoot people like you and me. And even those who opposed the tyrant would be going up against trained soldiers and would die by the thousand, probably safely killed by drones.

You can count me among those who would fully repeal the Second Amendment. Round up the guns and melt them down. Collectors could have their pieces irreversibly disabled but the age of personal firearms would draw to a close.

"The Bill of Rights must remain sacrosanct." Note the religious phrasing; your interlocutor suffers from delusions. I am SO RELIEVED that I will never be forced to let soldiers occupy my home!

The real problem with these arguments is the intense fanaticism of the gun culture. The fact that a man whose children were murdered by a deranged shooter will still adhere to his Second Amendment. We on what the uneducated call "the left" are accustomed to dealing in logic and perennially make the mistake of believing that everyone else does too. To the gun nuts any limitation is inadmissible and a step closer to slavery. You can't deal with fanatics.

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Jul 25, 2022·edited Jul 25, 2022

First of all, let me say I appreciate the spirit of this conversation, on both sides. I wish all our public discussion around this issue (and others) were conducted at this level of reasoned, respectful discourse.

I am a confirmed liberal democrat, small “l,” small “d.” I have never owned a firearm and wouldn’t know how to handle it properly if I did. But it is a fact, for better or worse, that the right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our Constitution. I wish it weren’t, and I understand that—in principle, in an ideal world—everything and anything in the Constitution should be open to reconsideration and revision. That’s what Article 5 is for.

But notwithstanding my personal feelings about guns and their effects on our society, I would strenuously oppose any effort to repeal or revise the Second Amendment. (I realize you haven’t suggested this, Steve, but there is no shortage of others who do.) Amending the Bill of Rights in any way would set a disastrous precedent, an open invitation to start chipping away at it in other ways: to, say, limit the right of trial by jury, or repeal the religious establishment clause, or revoke the “speedy and public trial” clause and the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, and keep people incarcerated indefinitely without charge. I’m normally skeptical (you’d probably write “sceptical”) of “slippery slope” arguments, but this is one slope I don’t want to set one toe on. The Bill of Rights, whatever its imperfections, must remain sacrosanct.

Having said that, I would hope a guy like Michael would support things like more stringent training and proficiency testing; as a “responsible gun owner,” I don’t see why he would object to this. Restrictions on fire rate, magazine size, biometric trigger locks—all these things should be possible consistent with the Second Amendment. You have to pass a road test to get a driver’s license, register your vehicle, pay an annual registration fee, display registration plates, but nobody thinks those things infringe your right to keep and operate an automobile. This is what we on the left mean by “common-sense gun regulation.” Can’t we please find common ground here?

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The 18th amendment was repealed in 1933. It was the first. I would like the Second to be the second.

Slippery slope arguments are logically fallacious. It's not as though removing a chartered right to own something whose reason for being was to kill people would lead to an avalanche of lost liberties; if you're worried about lost freedoms you should be out canvassing for the Democrats (not that I like the Democrats much but they are the only ones capable of keeping Republicans from power).

Anyway the Second was obsolete in 1903 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militia_Act_of_1903) when we began with a standing army and didn't need any more well-regulated militæ. Actually it was obsolete with the Emancipation Proclamation since the original point was to put down slave revolts and protect Decent Christian American Pinch-Faced White Wimmin. But the fetishizing of guns led to some gallingly dishonest revisionism that ignored the first fourteen words and turned the RKBA into an individual right to settle domestic disputes with finality and mow down kindergartners and Jews.

Go traveling to a country where most of the population is nonwhite. Look at the signs in the air[port. Travel to America is discouraged.

The cruelty that came over with the religious nutters in the 17th century and has been part of American culture ever since is the only thing about America worse than the Second Amendment, and that title has a lot of competition.

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This was fantastic. I love reading you going on at length because I feel like I'm hearing a fully rounded, carefully thought-out argument. I know that writing at length isn't the point of this substack, it's literally called The Commentary and it's about sharing conversations that have been had. Pretty unique in the Substack world, which is why I'm a paid subscriber. But I for one would love to read an occasional lengthy article from you on your substack. The writing in your responses to Michael here is as engaging as other writers that I pay to read, folks like Andrew Sullivan and Freddie deBoer.

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A position I argue from when it comes to preventing mass shootings is bullying in schools. Nearly all the perps have this in common - they were bullied in school. I find this article to be fascinating: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/05/27/stopping-mass-shooters-q-a-00035762

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Interesting read, but I didn't make it all the way to the end. I like detail, nuance and so on, but this ran a little long...

Here are a few thoughts, in no particular order from someone who often disagrees with you, but also believes you are perhaps the fairest writer on many topics, especially race/racism in America.

Guns aren't going away in this country, ever. Even if magically we could do that, the new 3D printing technology and ghost guns make it unlikely that we are ever going to be done with gun violence through laws.

Laws prohibiting stuff rarely work. Think prohibition, "war on drugs", etc. A lot of lives were destroyed by do-gooders, well-intentioned or not, determined to remake society in their image. It didn't work, and both crusades arguably aggravated the original "problem".

I grew up in rural NW NJ., Most houses had a shotgun or rifle. I lived in that town until I was 18. There were two incidences of gun violence in the town (25k population) during my youth: a murder/suicide of husband/wife and an incredibly stupid homeowner target shooting off his deck in a lake community who struck and killed a neighbor across the lake. Even though guns were readily available, it was absolutely unthinkable that they would ever be used to settle disputes, attack teachers you didn't like, and so on. We had both parents and police, and it worked just fine.

At 18, I joined the Marines, and spent 4 years in the infantry. Our government issued weapons were always kept in the armory, but many of us had personal handguns which we kept in the squad bays, which was illegal but common. Again, there was never, ever a single instance of even a threat of violence from guns in my unit. We fought with each other, and there were broken bones at times, and we fought with civilians off base, but it was completely unthinkable , not something that would ever even be discussed over large quantities of alcohol, to ever settle disputes with guns. We were young, crazy, testosterone driven men, but some things were simply off limits, by nature, by training, and by fear of consequences.

While stationed in NC, I had a girlfriend who was being relentlessly bullied by an ex boyfriend, a known drug dealer whose father was a prominent lawyer and very good friends with the local judiciary. The son was untouchable legally, and bullied and threatened anyone in his life who "disrespected" him in any way, especially women who had the temerity to leave his violent companionship. He would follow my girlfriend during the day and terrorize her wherever she went. One day I took her too a gun store, bought her a small handgun, gave her the basic lessons on loading, aiming and fire, and told her to kill him the next time he came to her house. The next time he came pounding on her door, she fired through the door, ddi not kill him, and he stayed away for a while. When he started following her car again, her brother followed his, and blew the back windshield out of the ex-boyfriend's car with a shotgun. That was the last she ever heard from him. She would most likely be dead today were the gun laws (and prosecutorial zeal) of today in force in NC in the 80s.

I live in Detroit. Virtually everyone owns, and carries a gun, almost always handguns. Some are legal, many are not. Some are legally acquired guns carried concealed without a permit. There are hundreds of killings per year here, almost all from driveby shootings or turf disputes among gangs or something as simple as a fender-bender n the Home Depot parking lot. It is completely tolerated, and accepted. There is no protest here, unless the shootings are done by the police, in which case every suburban activist dresses ups in BLM gear to descend on the City to (selectively) denounce gun violence. The amount of children shot in this city is out of control, and you will never, ever hear about it on the news, because it isn't news.

So what to do?

I am firmly on the side of responsible gun ownership, with the emphasis on responsible. I would, and do support some sort of mandatory training and (short) waiting period before purchasing guns. Obviously, this would only help matter out in instances where the guns were being purchased legally. Here in Detroit , such restrictions wouldn't have even a marginal effect, since the overwhelming percentage of gun crimes are being committed by felons who aren't supposed to be anywhere near firearms to begin with .

The spate of suburban teenage/young adult male mass shootings is a new phenomenon in my life. it seems to coincide with the rash of new drugs, prescription and others, that have flooded our country, whether under the guise of "anti-depressants" or other pretenses. Most of the shooters seem to have been prescribed, at some point , drugs with a frightening list of potential "side effects". I know coincidence doesn't prove causality, but there is something to look at here. This sort of shooting simple didn't exist when I grew up, and guns were, and are, readily available.

We need, desperately, the PARENTS of this country to parent, and to raise responsible, compassionate, and discerning children. We need the parents back. If we don t parent, we will need to police ever more, and that is no substitute. We, as a culture, need to go back to what worked, what worked, imperfectly, but much better than what we have in 2022. It isn't difficult. It has nothing to do with race or poverty or anything else but a spectacular decline in personal responsibility, and a lack of appreciation for what we do have, which has been replaced with a unrelenting drumbeat of complaints, victimization and overall whining about what is wrong.

Will some laws restricting gun ownership, in some instances, reduce some typos of crimes? I would guess yes, but we aren't going to legislate our way out of this problem. We need responsible, mature, adult citizens and strong neighborhoods and communities to collectively address the problem of gun violence, and so many other problems, not more laws.

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Joe, I posted these links right before I read your comment. If you have the time and inclination to watch (less than 10 minutes), I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Maybe I have Apple Knocker bias, but I think this man sorts out this gun control issue really, really well.

As the man in these videos says, “Right now, there’s a whole bunch of people out there, that are pro-gun, that are like, oh yeah, hillbilly about to school these liberals on guns.”

Beau of the fifth column, Let's talk about guns, gun control, school shootings, and the "law abiding gun owner" parts 1, 2 and 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxvxbZGjlv4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNtxtuQxUz8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbXTDuwSVkk

And just because I think it matters, I recommend these 2 short videos as well

Let's talk about being armed and black

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL_IX8yX_JU

Let's talk about what it's like to be a black person in the US

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD8mWq0Hdcw

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Hi Raffey

I watched all but the last one because of time issues, and I largely agree with what he is saying.

I disagree with the age limit thing....I think conditioning federal transportation money win all the states adopting a 21 year old drinking age minimum was and is a disaster and encourages all sorts of lawbreaking and general disrespect for all laws, and does absolutely nothing to control the drinking/driving problem.

I agree with the spirit of his questioning the sending of young men and women off to war at 18 years old, but would dig a bit deeper here....not all wars are wrong, although 90% of what America does overseas is evil and serves the interests of the arms merchants and moneyed elites. The Problem isn't 18 year olds being trained as soldiers; it is, rather, I believe, the casualness with which these young people are sent to meddle in other countries' affairs and the mind fuck that inevitably happens when you are conditioned over and over to view another people, who has done absolutely nothing to you, as sub-human, allowing you to justify, internally, killing, torturing or whatever. I am the strongest person you will ever meet on legitimate self defense and defense of America, but I am 100% for closing down every overseas military base, withdrawing from NATO, etc. Trump was right on this one.

I greatly appreciated our former police chief here in Detroit who encouraged Detroiters to get training and arm themselves, because there was no way the police could protect everyone, (even if they were so inclined).

I think his distinction between Second Amendment people and gun nuts is generally valid, as his his characterization of suburban kids getting guns from Walmart and Dad's gun closets and then shooting up schools. That's the type of event that gets the press, but it doesn't address the problem we have here in Detroit, or most cities, though there are things in common,. Guns are definitely a way to prove manhood, to become significant and important for your peer groups, but that doesn't stop at the county line in Alabama or Georgia. We have the same shit here in Detroit, with wannabe rappers putting their junk up on FB with photos of guns in one hand, wads of $100 bills in the other, a sexy chick in a micro mini skirt caressing them and a bottle of Chivas Regal on the night table. So yes, American culture glorifies violence, over and over and over again, and this glorification runs from the school house to the White House, and doesn't pause at the rural or urban boundaries, but has swept through this country.

I firmly believe that almost every problem is solvable, and best able to be solved, at the local level, and that that is where the process must begin. We need real leadership from, well, leaders, and that is going to look and sound differently in Detroit than it will in the Louisiana bayou. There isn't a one size fits all solution here, and I have found in my middle age that while passing laws and invoking the government sounds good, and feels good, these made for TV actions often don't ever address the real roots of the problem or lead to any long term solution. Government is excellent, excellent, at partially solving problems they are largely responsible for creating and nurturing in the first place.

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I like seeing this sort of debate at length, not just the edited highlights. It gives all sides space to make their points & bring in different contextual information, rather than having a simplistic, reductionist argument - even when the contextual information contains completely self-defeating claims like saying that the right to own a gun is god-given, in a country that (at the moment) claims to have separation of church & state.

Something did occur to me while I was reading, though.

How many mass shootings are committed by women?

That should be easy info to get hold of.

Perhaps logically the US should only allow women to own rapid-fire guns with large magazine capacity... now that would put the cat among the pigeons, wouldn't it?

I think the issue here is with men feeling that they have the right to protect "their women", instead of understanding that women, like men, should always be respected as individuals & anyone who places people somewhere where they need protection is mentally ill. Even if they're a senator, or a president, or extremely rich, they need treatment in a secure institution until they understand why this is wrong.

Like I said, just putting cats among pigeons here. Food for thought.

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This commentary seems to be finished but I've got to get this off my chest.

While Snowden informed us that the government spies on us and keeps data forever, not deleting it after legal time limits, they don't know about the guns you got from grandpa. The latest gun control measure from the house is specifically to address that. They want to know where they all are because it is a prerequisite for confiscation. There is no other purpose for registration, except taxation, than to enable confiscation.

The nebulously defined "assault weapon" is about all semiautomatic firearms which are widely produced and owned in modern America. This should be obvious to anyone capable and willing to think critically about the true, thinly veiled gun control agenda. The NRA or more specifically the NRA/ILA has nothing to do with that being obvious. The NRA is not needed to see that.

I understand that there are many who want a ban and confiscation. I don't write this thought with regard to the good or bad of that agenda, just to dismiss the "Oh, nobody wants to take away your guns. That's just NRA Kool-Aid" nonsense. When it comes to political things, people who are presumably capable of critical thought refuse to do it if it can shine a light on something they would rather not see. It's not a wild, unwarranted conspiracy theory, it is plainly obvious in the activity of those who prefer a defenseless population.

If you want to end firearms ownership that's your opinion that I disagree with, but it is a different issue than denying the end goal to deceptively take progressing small steps toward it.

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I have something to add after some of the research I did yesterday for an article I'm working on on the connection of domestic violence to mass shooters, and general violent history for young 'longer' mass shooters. The media really seems to have picked up on this DV connection and I wonder whether guys like this guy are freaking out because if people start demanding that the gov't crack down on people with violence in their past, maybe their precious guns will get taken away, or they won't be allowed to have any.

Maybe this guy is a responsible shooter with no violence history, or maybe it's simply not on the record and he's running scared. The 'boyfriend loophole' that Biden's new gun law closes really isn't that big a deal; it only prohibits guns for men with DV *convictions*, and most women will never push it that far. But...what if people like me, and I say this in my article, take a more proactive approach to reporting potentially violent people to the police since I argue that DV is no longer a woman's private matter - it now potentially affects all of us, although it's always affected more than just the woman and her children.

What if people could report 'problematic' people to the police, so that he might be 'known to police' even if he's never had a run-in himself?

You'd think a 'law-abiding' guy like this NRA Koolaid-drinker would be all in favour of going after the 'non-law-abiding' gun owners, esp potential mass shooters who make *all* of them look bad.

It's almost as though he has something to fear.

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DV is a huge problem in the law enforcement community. I first learned of it years ago from an abuse victim whos husband was a cop. She couldn't get help from the police, they stood behind him. It is well known within the law enforcement community, but they have that blue line thing. As was previously mentioned, they shouldn't be cops, but their fellow officers stand behind them, they'll lose their job. https://www.stopvaw.org/officer-involved_domestic_violence

A restraining order is a useless piece of paper. Women typically don't buy guns to hunt or participate in shooting sports, they buy them to defend themselves. One of my daughters X husband was stalking her, she's the one who wanted me to go with her for the training, permit and to buy a gun. He stopped when he learned she was armed.

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You bring up a very good point. Cops have a 40% higher DV rate than other professions and they're a huge obstacle in fighting DV. I agree with you, DV should prohibit one from becoming a cop. Maybe that's the subject of another article.

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As for the NRA. They are the largest supplier of firearm safety training and materials there is. I took the NRA Safe Hunter course sitting in my 7th grade classroom. The NRA supplied targets and safety training for my high schools shooting team/clubs. The training for my concealed weapons permit was NRA materials, only the parts of the training pertaining to laws and deadly force were supplied by the state. The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA/ILA) was created in 1975 as a political arm of the NRA. You won't find the /ILA on any of the NRA's materials for its original and much needed purpose. Needed because of increasing ignorance about firearms by detractors.

Just as gun owners dismiss and laugh about people going on and on about "assault rifles" (within the military there is no such designation, assault is a verb) and "clips" (only the M1 Garand had them and idiot politicians who overstate the power of M-16s by several orders of magnitude, they tend to dismiss the anti-gun Kool-Aid drinkers who babble about the NRA. In the interest of sounding like you know what you are talking about I suggest that you put the /ILA on your demonization of a gun safety organization.

If that sounds harsh, sorry, but it was to illustrate what I write next. We will never have fruitful conversations about violence involving firearms while one side (yours) is routinely dismissed as not knowing what the hell they are talking about. For the most part, they don't. Just as you dismiss gun owners and "NRA koolaid drinkers", they dismiss you as ignorant. There will never be productive discussion with that. I don't know if you watched the five YouTube links that were provided in the discussion, but I suggest them in the interest of the same issue.

Edit addition: My point is that dismissive demonization of the "other" tribe inhibits productive discussion (from both sides). The more likely result of that is the urge to tell the insulters to perform a sex act on themself with a fire hydrant. It is just ranting for their respective tribe with no hope or intent for problem solving.

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I haven't watched the YouTube videos yet but I have the links on a digital post-it. Got a long weekend coming up and I'll have more time.

My "Koolaid Drinkers" remark stems from the increasing radicalization it's undergone in the last fifty to sixty years. For about a century it was a perfectly respectable marksmanship organization until America suffered a massive crime spike in the '60s and '70s and there was a 'revolt' within the NRA in 1977. Since then it's turned hyper-aggressive, has contributed greatly to the political divide (although hardly the only one), traffics in conspiracy theories ("the liberals will take all your guns!"), fanatically supports an overly-broad, extremist view of the Second Amendment that the Founding Fathers did NOT have in mind when their primary concern was protecting themselves against the British Army, and is the primary force behind why we have 'assault weapons' on our streets, in the hands of nutbags, and you're doing that thing the NRA True Believers do to discredit and distract critics by nitpicking over exact vocabulary, and especially the term 'assault weapons'. It's a perfectly valid term to describe weapons used for mass assault.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-nras-true-believers-converted-a-marksmanship-group-into-a-mighty-gun-lobby/2013/01/12/51c62288-59b9-11e2-88d0-c4cf65c3ad15_story.html

Since it won't listen to reason and sounds like a pack of crazies, I really don't care what they think of us and reject the notion that us critics have to become experts on the different types of guns in order to be taken seriously. Wayne LaPierre did *nothing* to improve the NRA image as a bunch of assault weapon-packing whackos,

It's because of the NRA that so many sane gun laws have been repealed, and any old idiot can get one. I remember thirty years ago in Connecticut when a co-worker told some of us that one of the guys who worked in a different department wanted him to write a letter of recommendation for him in order to get a gun, it was part of the process at the time (not sure if it was state or federal law or what). He was on the fence about it because he wasn't sure about the guy's mental state. You don't have that today. "Hi, my name is Salvador Ramos, I just turned 18, and I want to buy a gun." Sure, no problem. You'd think a rational, responsible gun lobby would want to keep guns out of the hands of the violent nutbags like Ramos who want guns but no....that would 'abrogate' their 2A rights.

The NRA latches on to every tiny minority idiot who says we should 'ban all guns' and makes out like *everyone* on the left feels that way (I haven't met one yet, but I can't say they don't exist). Reminds me of Bush's 'welfare queen' - the one black woman who had really cleverly figured out a way to game the welfare system and live well, and he talked about her as though *many* people on welfare were the cheats she was.

I call many of the NRA's supporters 'Koolaid Drinkers' because ye shall know them by their actions, not their words. They *say* they're responsible gun owners and maybe they are; but they sure do seem to be running scared these days, and I wonder if the spotlight shined on the 'violent history' connection has anything to do with it. When the NRA starts supporting rational, sane gun laws - the same ones that just about every other 'civilized' country has with remarkably fewer gun homicides of all types - I'll rethink my position on "Koolaid drinkers".

But y'all are going to have to *earn* our respect, and stop playing games with words.

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The point I was trying to make is statements laced with insult are a sure way to destroy productive conversation/debate. Demonization of the "enemy" was part of the process in preparing me to go to war. Again, not the way to have a productive and peaceful discussion.

You mention the idea that "assault weapons" is valid. The problem is that it is not productive. In places like California they tried to define them with absurdities like bayonet lugs, pistol grips, magazine size, etc., having little to nothing to do with what you are thinking of, "weapons used for mass assault."

The defining and relevant feature of those is that they are semiautomatic with detachable magazines. That also defines the vast majority of firearms manufactured during the lifetime of any living American. If banning them is the objective, and I think it is, the Kool-Aid drinkers are absolutely and undeniably correct, you want to take away the guns, because semiautomatic firearms with detachable magazines are essentially "the guns" manufactured during my lifetime. Denial can only be naivety, disingenuousness or a bold-faced lie.

The use of that phrase unmasks the agenda the Kool-Aid drinkers and the ILA talk about. Do you think that contributes to compromise and laws that are effective and acceptable in America?

[Edit update: And this is the problem with Steve QJ's statement in the Commentary. "𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘨𝘶𝘯𝘴? 𝘕𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮. 𝘛𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘈𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘢'𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘮𝘪-𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴."] Sorry Steve, it is a problem, a huge one. I don't know a single gun owner who does not have at least one semiautomatic one.

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A 'Koolaid drinker' is one who buys into a narrative without questioning it, whether it's the 'transwomen are women' set, the 'Trump won' brigade, or the now-ludicrous "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." As mass shootings have now become a multiple-daily occurrence, everyone knows that's as much of a Koolaid lie as anything else the NRA is pushing at the Toxic Cocktail Open Bar, since that almost never happens. I know it did happen once, last week, for the first time in several years. The purple-moustached NRA crowd is over the moon with that. "See? See? We tolja!" Except for that annoying FBI report that shows only 3% of mass shootings or even just gun crimes are stopped by civilians with guns, and that the vast majority, if they're stopped by anyone, are with unarmed men.

Clearly, y'all are never around when we need you, which is genuinely weird since we have more guns than probably any country on earth.

And while I regard you as a largely critical thinker here, Dave, and understand your perspective is a little different as a veteran (which means I take you more seriously since you've been trained on how to use a gun, as well as to how to dehumanize the enemy), I still find you a little suspiciously grape-smelling. The carping and kvetching you're doing about semantics reminds me rather a lot of the gender identity set. Trying to distract with semantics and fine points from the fact that too many people with guns are clearly too irresponsible and violent to have guns, and it goes far beyond convicted felons.

So yes, *those* people - the nutbags who clearly shouldn't have them, like Uvalde Boy - should be very, very afraid. We ARE coming for their guns. Whether we'll get them or not remains to be seen, but there are many thousands of black marks against the 2A Forever set, and not just mass shooters. There's all the suicides and gang murders/massacres - the latter being the ones Black Lives Matter remains silent upon.

I've often said (maybe not here, since we don't talk about guns much) is that I'm not against guns, I'm against idiots with guns. America has a lot more idiots than it had fifty years ago. That article I referenced covers pretty much everything wrong with the NRA today, and why so many so-called 'law-abiding' gun owners, well, aren't. Domestic abusers have *got* to be shitting their pants in fear right now. They should be.

And *no* civilian needs military-style weapons, period. Another big freakin' honkin' mountain of evidence against the Koolaid-drinkers is all the countries who don't have our gun homicide problems because they *eliminated* this shit. It even happens here. We enacted a ban on assault weapons and Congress let it lapse. And homicides shot way up, but not as much as they have today, especially in the last two years after the pandemic made *everyone* a little nuts (or more.)

Look, if you're a 'responsible gun owner', none of this should be a problem for you. The evidence would be too convincing to you too, and you'd say, "I agree, Nicole, only responsible, non-violent people should have guns. People with a violent history shouldn't be allowed anywhere near them." And you don't need assault weapons to protect your family or hunt. I know there are different types of weapons for different occasions, you buy a handgun for protection against home intruders and different types of rifles for different types of game. But there's no need for assault weapons for any of this. The only place where they're arguably used in defence is in military combat. In America, they're used solely to mass murder.

So if you 'responsible gun owners' want our respect, you're going to have to drink less Koolaid and pay more attention to the evidence. You can carp about technical details all you want, but we don't care - you're right about one thing, guns don't kill people, *people* kill people. So we don't want the wrong people having or owning guns, and we need to close a lot of loopholes to reach that.

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I'll start this by saying that I agree with you that some people should not have guns. The trouble is that laws don't prevent them from getting them. If laws prevented crime, we'd have no need for prisons.

Lumping everyone who shares a thought with Kool-Aid drinkers as you defined them has issues that I'm sure that you can see. You saw fit to splash a little grape juice on me for expressing the logical thought about the agenda of the anti-gunners even though I said that I understand why some people want that. Some for thoughts that are reasonable, and some who are drinking a different brand of Kool-Aid.

My objection to the label "assault weapon" is that it is in a practical sense a thinly veiled reference to all magazine fed semiautomatic firearms. On an emotional level it is often the ones that look military though the black, pistol griped, plastic stock rifle is something that occurred during my lifetime. If I had gone to Vietnam a year earlier, I would have been issues a wooden stocked M-14 which is in every sense of the word a worthy battle rifle but with a short magazine looks like an ordinary hunting rifle. Next up, my bolt action deer rifle will be a "sniper rifle" that should be banned. The target of anti-gunners changes. Remember when inexpensive handguns than people who wanted one for self-protection and didn't want to spend what it takes to by a quality handgun were demonized as "Saturday night specials"? The fact that the camel's nose "progressive" is the one honest label for a certain political tribe is not Kool-Aid. Let's get this one and then the next one, [...].

A ban on the ubiquitous and common semiautomatic firearm is essentially a gun ban and the current Congressional bill to find and identify grandpa's guns is clearly a prerequisite to a confiscation enforcement. No Kool-Aid drinking required to see the obvious, I think you can see that. I respect that you might be just fine with it, but I am not.

Americans are not Brits or Ausis and the passage of that will likely bring a violent resistance from some. Most likely more than the 15 minutes of fame nutters that shoot up schools, churches and shopping centers. Contrary to what our demented POTUS said, American military pilots are not likely to bomb American cities with our F-15s. America sucks bad at counter insurgency (think Vietnam and Afghanistan) and it will be worse when the insurgents look like us. After seeing what war and insurgency looks like I vowed that I would never take up arms against my fellow Americans. A vow that I will keep, and I am not unique in that thought. How many in our military will refuse to take guns from the cold dead hands of other Americans is unknown. I don't write that with any kind of approval, it is one of my greatest dreads. I truly wish it was simple, but it's not.

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"The trouble is that laws don't prevent them from getting them. If laws prevented crime, we'd have no need for prisons." And yet we have prisons nevertheless. Laws don't stop everyone from driving drunk, as Jon Stewart pointed out years ago, but they reduced them by two-thirds. If stiffer gun laws reduced gun homicides by two-thirds (all of them), I'd be good with that.

There's no easy quick-fix, it will take generations of getting American (mostly men) used to the idea that there must be limits on owning and using guns, and that it should be, like the essential right to drive a car *also a privilege*, like driving a car. Drunk drivers and others lose that privilege and 'right' when they fuck up. Gun owners should be considered the same. So if you want to own a gun when you're eighteen, don't fuck up too much as a teenager.

BTW, I realized a few years ago I don't actually care how many women want or own guns. Not even crazy-ass Trumpy QAnon chicks. Women and guns aren't much of a problem in this country, it's mostly men. However if the homicide rate went up *by* women I'd revisit this.

Re semi-automatic vs 'assault' weapons. A genuine national discussion of guns would also include the different types of guns that are legal *now* and whether they need to be legal, or under what circumstances. Now I'm curious about what you said about not take up arms against your fellow Americans. Thinking about under what conceivable circumstances one might need a high-capacity weapon to fire loads of ammo in seconds, what would you do if a riot in your neighbourhood occurred and you thought your family was in danger? Whoever you are afraid might get violent and threaten you - MAGAs, BLM, Antifa, whatever. I'm curious. That's a situation where a high-capacity weapon might arguably be useful, although I'd prefer to see them in the hands of the Capitol guards now ;P

"and the current Congressional bill to find and identify grandpa's guns is clearly a prerequisite to a confiscation enforcement. No Kool-Aid drinking required to see the obvious," yeah, actually, there's some serious Koolaid going on here. Look, Dave, you're lumping everyone Alex Jones gets hysterical about into one group. We're no more monolithic than your side, and for your occasional Koolaidy carping I'm mostly getting logical thought from you. I'm not thinking to myself, "Damn, we'll need to keep an eye on Murray!" Do we want to confiscate *all* guns? Some do, but I believe they're in the minority. Some of us woudl favour it for *some* - like those who no longer qualify because oh, look, you put your wife in the hospital a few times and threatened a few times on social media you might 'go postal'. Yes, I realize how difficult this woudl be and if we needed to pry them from a few cold dead hands so be it. Many of these changes would be very gradual, you're not going to see Alex Jones hysterics scenarios wherein the gov't is knocking on your door demanding all your guns. Maybe it might be first a freeze on all new gun licences until it's determined whether someone can have them or not. And enforcing background checks. You fuck up a background check and some asshole shoots up a church or a rival gang, the law is coming for *you* too.

I splashed you with a little Koolaid because I detect a touch of it in you. You're not going to die from it but "laws don't stop people from owning guns" is a bit grapey. There are lots of ways we can keep a stronger grip on gun ownership and they'll all give the NRA nightmares. Like a national register for gun owners, to which any objection the NRA set throws out will be, "If you can keep a Friends and Enemies list, we can keep a list of everyone who should and shouldn't own guns."

How about a standardized process for anyone that wants to buy a gun? Including a background check and a waiting period which you don't have everywhere. And that you have to stick to whether you're at a gun store, a gun show, or I'm selling you my gun. Howzabout that new law where those with DV convictions can't get a gun? Yeah, I don't know how effective it will be but it's a good start. I'd like to see it expanded to include too many DV calls to one's house, whether by the victim (highly unlikely) or neighbors (somewhat more likely). I would also want to see controls put in place so that women don't abuse this (and yes, I think some would, claiming DV for reasons other than actual DV).

I hear what you're saying about how one side demonizes the other, just pointing out that that article I cited covers everything wrong with the 2A crowd today and how little logic and critical thinking you get - too much anti-gov't whackjobbery and "THIS IS NAZI GERMANY!!!"

I don't like the extremists on the left either, but I'll note that in my lifetime (I'll be sixty next year) I have yet to see a genuine left-wing coup against the government, but I saw one from the right last year, and while I suspect the left might one day become more violent (like they did in the '60s and '70s) they have NEVER been as violent in this country (Marxist & Communist other countries are another matter). So yeah, my jaundiced eye is more on your side than the other since the right is pretty much always more violent than the left. Also, y'all smell grapier when you talk.

I favour anyone who can handle the responsibility owning a gun, and anyone who can't, shouldn't. Just as I don't care if reckless drivers, drunk, high, or not, lose their right and privilege.

This shouldn't be a problem for truly responsible drivers. Or gun owners. When they protest too much, I tend to smell more grape than logic.

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In this case, the link was interesting enough that I stayed with it. I don't have a solution; I wish I did, but "We've got to do something even if it is wrong" is often wrong.

If the shit hits the fan and there is a breakdown of society, I might regret not buying an AR-15. An EMP or severe solar storm that kills power (with no functioning gas pumps) and the internet (access to your money) will be a SHTF event. Big cities grocery stores will be completely empty in three days, and nothing will be coming when the truckers are out of fuel. Starving people will be coming for what you've got, and they will kill you to take it.

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Whew! Yes I actually read the entire conversation. Somehow it was riveting, sobering and occasionally like banging your head into a post. (A little head banging may be beneficial at times.) I also learned at least one reason you have such an admireable degree of patience and persistance: your training in martial arts.

Also, I had to chuckle at the god thing. As a happy a-the-ist it never occurred to me that a god bestowed rights to humans or that people actually believed this. Of course the pantheon of gods in human history were mostly quite violent and created of war at the slightest infringement of their whims. Every type of gun ever made was designed to kill. Period.

It seems to me that proponents of the "guns for my/our protection" philosophy are simply on the edge of who can kill who first and feel righteous about it. Whether animal or human, they will feel justified in their act.

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In fairness the "God given" is really "natural right above the laws of man." What right is more basic than to defend your own life? Do we even need a law that states that?

I also suggest that the descriptions of pro-gun people by anti-gun people are often straw men. But straw men are the norm in 3rd rail "discussion."

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How did I miss this? I've been waiting for it. Several points worth mention (according to me):

When people think of mass shootings they think of the spectacular ones (schools, churches, shopping centers) but the FBI sets a very low bar for calling something a mass shooting. Years ago, I did a search on mass shootings where I live. Four guys in a parking lot where a drug deal went south. Another (unsolved) someone went into a home and shot four people. The number of mass shootings cited are not necessarily what people are thinking of when they think of mass shootings.

The age of adulthood Michael mentioned is a sticky one. I returned from Vietnam as a sergeant with a couple of rows of ribbons. I was 20, at that time too young to buy alcohol (or vote) so my wife bought it for me. The problem with what age for what is that your prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain for clear adult thinking) is undeveloped until about the age of 25. Governments want young men in the military precisely because of that. I was willing to do things that a 30-year-old man would say "hell no!" to. The government wanted us to kill people. I think there is logical argument for drinking, voting and buying certain firearms at 25 though I'm not advocating it. In a few words, I don't think that a one age fits all occasions is a reasonable argument.

You mentioned the Marines, so you know I'll chime in (I haven't watched the video). I'll probably get long winded with this.

As a Marine I was governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), not the US Constitution that I had sworn to defend. Stateside on a base, firearms were locked in an armory. In bootcamp we locked our rifles to our racks with Master bicycle locks, but we had no access to ammunition. The jelly doughnut private in the movie Full Metal Jacket had a magazine on twenty rounds but in reality, that was not going to happen (jelly doughnuts either). As a Marine while on a Marine base I did not have the access to firearms that I have now as a civilian. The base had controlled access, armed guards at entry points and roving security. There are no Marines out defending my home.

In Vietnam I was in possession of my rifle at all times. Took it to shit and shower. Inside the wire we carried magazines but didn't put them into our rifles or chamber a round until we went thru the wire. We were well trained and disciplined, something that cannot be said for all Americans. But we also had perimeters with armed Marines with fully automatic rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and at night, Claymore mines. I don't have that around my house and that's not around our schools, churches or shopping centers.

I'll have to watch the video later but without seeing it I can safely say that comparing the civilian world with a Marine Corps base has issues.

I don't have any firearms that hold over 10 rounds and have a gun safe that is bolted to a wall. Should it be OK for the police to come in and inspect for that? I'm not a fan.

Firearms for the day the shit hits the fan? Years ago, a Mormon friend said, "What are people going to do with their guns, go out into the desert and hunt to feed themselves and their families?" My reply, "You have a year's supply of food for your family of five. Some of them are probably planning to come to your house to take it. Can you defend it?" The police won't be there to defend you or your family.

The issue that I see that I agree in part with Michael to the call of "We've got to do something!!!" is "What." As the late Fred Reed wrote, "If it's politically possible, it won't work. If it will work, it's not politically possible." Trust, or the lack of it, is the showstopper. Can you fruitfully negotiate where there is no trust?

The problem is that short of magically making all firearms vanish, and it would take magic in America, what effective thing is left? But then of course we'd have to have knife control like in London. Then we would need to ban the sale of propane tanks, fertilizer, gasoline, chlorine at swimming pool supply stores, etc. to prevent other forms of mass murder. Yes, that could be called hyperbole, but just as in the Arab story of the Camel's nose, incrementally banning tools (that's what guns are) could very well lead to us sleeping in the sandstorm while the camel enjoys our tent.

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There's some definite confirmation bias in the articles Michael is sharing. When there are about 50 million school children in America and 19 of them died in the shooting you both reference you don't even need the back of an envelope to determine that the 1 in 10 million odds number being put forth is not an accurate estimate.

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Ugh, this guy was doing nothing but parroting the NRA party line. You responded well to it. You have way more patience than I; I would have been like, "This shit has all been debunked and I'm not getting into it here because you are a True Believer."

The shit about the Good Guy With A Gun - an FBI report from about ten years ago showed that 3% of shooters - mass or otherwise - were stopped by civilians with guns. The vast majority of mass shooters were brought down by unarmed civilians.

The notion that anyone who's untrained and doesn't practice regularly - which that same FBI report brought out - is going to be crap in a fight. There are YouTube videos showing guys shot by a paintball 'mass shooter' before they even got their gun out of their shorts. As for women, I looked into this a few years ago when I started writing for Medium and talked to my friend's kid whom I've known all my life - he fought in both Afghanistan & Iraq, and between what he told me and some videos I watched on how to become effective in self-defense, I came to the conclusion that it just wouldn't work for most women, who have neither the time nor inclination to practice, and you have to practice every damn day and you may still not rid yourself of the 'freezing', deer in the headlights response.

Y'all focused so much on mass shooters you forgot the other big piece to America's gun homicide problem - urban gangs and black guys killing black guys. hey, black lives matter! <sardonic smile> No, I know you're aware of it.

I think where I'm going to go with these True Believers is to start really hammering them on *why* they think they need all these silly-ass weapons. I'm old enough to remember America when "guns for protecting, guns for hunting," were far more reasonable and the biggest controversies we had with gun people was whether they should be shooting animals at all. That wasn't my debate....that was between the animal lovers and the hunters. I quietly shut up because I'm from a French family where it's 'interdit' to not eat meat ;)

They're really struggling because they're losing this battle and they know it. They've gotten the America they wanted but it's turned out to be more violent than they envisioned, and there is nothing worse than being faced with having been hideously wrong.

Oy. Because of this I googled "latest mass shootings' because I have no idea what the most recent ones you referenced were and found....the latest one was this morning in Langley, BC....

Canada has been having more of these too....nowhere close to the US rate but....maybe....the late '80s early '90s rate? :(

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I think Steve speaks like a foreigner. I usually agree with him quite a lot, but for someone outside the country to snipe at us without being here, experiencing life and the constitution, it doesn’t work. America has always been a violent place, much more so than Sweden, England, or Britain. Steve can dish out a stream of unworkable ideas, but that doesn’t really help. The solution isn’t “fix the gun problem”. People were armed to the teeth 50 years with rather nasty guns, but people didn’t kill each other nearly as much. How hard was it to get a gun 50 years ago? I believe far easier than today. Gun regulations arose to stop black people, like the black panthers, from getting guns. There is a societal shift that has caused this uptick and that has to be addressed rather than magical solutions that never actually work. Ban people under 21 from having guns? Works great for alcohol and cigarettes. Steve’s wrong about the murder statistics. Murder decreased steadily since the assault weapons ban ended, not increased (at least until the 1619 crime surge). If it was as easy as Steve says, we’d have done it already. Are we mentally paralyzed and need Steve on his high, British throne to dispense his wisdom to us unwashed colonials? No thank you.

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I'm a big fan of Steve and agree with him most of the time. While a bit harsh, you just mentioned something I'd never considered that could explain, "𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘨𝘶𝘯𝘴? 𝘕𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮. 𝘛𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘧 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘈𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘢'𝘴 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘮𝘪-𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴." Banning magazine fed semiautomatic firearms is 𝗧𝗛𝗘 problem that prevents a political solution like that in America. Steve does methodical research for his articles but in this case, I think he badly missed the mark. I don't know his nationality but that could explain his "no problem" thought.

Google research doesn't help with regard to how many of America's firearms are semiautomatic. It is unknow to all except perhaps to the domestic spying that Snowden told us about. Go to a gun store, not a Wall-Mart, and see what's selling. Go to a rifle range like Ben Avery in Arizona and see what people are shooting. I'm a dinosaur and when I was still hunting, I used a bolt action rifle and thought anemic rifles like AR-15s were unethical because they were less likely to get a clean kill like a .30 caliber on a deer. Now it seems that young hunters are using AR-15s and semiautomatic rifles with more powerful rounds than .223 caliber.

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The decline in the murder rate started in the 90s and continued steadily until recently, but Steve didn't say the murder rate increased post-2004. His claim was that the rate of mass shootings heavily increased after the expiration of the assault weapons ban, and this is true. You can have an increase of one type of murder while other types of murder continue to decrease.

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Who cares whether the murders are @mass” or not? They went down. I believe Steve is talking about murder in general.

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That would go against what he actually wrote:

"Why did the mass shootings only start happening a couple of decades ago? Well, as I said, partly because the assault weapons ban expired."

The reason people care is because just because the broad category of all murder went down does not make it less concerning that a subset of murder has skyrocketed. All you've done is conceal the problem in the way you've chosen to bucket the data.

If traffic deaths were in heavy decline but Ford Focuses have started to randomly explode at an alarming rate killing all occupants that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a talk with Ford about quality control (and criminal negligence) just because all the other manufacturers are picking up the slack for them with safer cars.

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This doesn’t address anything I am actually arguing. But we didn’t have mass shootings before the assault weapons ban. Very little. Steve has done a little work in this area, but really doesn’t get it. What’s his next task? Solve economic inequality in South Africa? End gang violence in Nicaragua? Solve the Arab-Israel conflict? Easy peazy, just like solving mass shootings in a foreign country.

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