Tag Archives: Gun Control

David Brooks, Please Don’t Assume What I “Get” on Gun Control as a Progressive

iStock_000011104157_ExtraSmallIn his latest column, focusing on various afflictions plaguing the American working class, David Brooks had this to say about gun control:

“It’s a culture [the American working class] that celebrates people who are willing to fight to defend their honor. This is something that progressives never get about gun control. They see a debate about mass murder, but for many people guns are about a family’s ability to stand up for itself in a dangerous world.”

I am a progressive, depending on how one defines the term. I also grew up largely as a part of, and certainly surrounded by, the American working class.

I can say with confidence there is nothing I don’t “get” where the enthusiasm for owning firearms is concerned, despite Brooks’ blunt and stereotypical accusation. Like many people who lean left as I do politically, I absolutely understand, and in most cases honor, the desire of individuals to protect themselves and their families. I would not seek to prevent Americans from owning firearms within common sense limitations, the details of which are beyond the scope of this piece.

But please, David, don’t tell me I simply “don’t get” what guns are to the working class or anyone else. I do. What I also “get” is that, unfortunately, far too many of them (along with people in other demographic groups, like Donald Trump) are not plain-spoken, responsible men and women wanting to protect their families. Instead, they are gun fetishists who believe- with adolescent naivety and emotion-driven fantasy- that guns are shields and not swords. With inattention to facts and utter blindness to human experience, they nevertheless assert that that arming everyone, everywhere, is the answer to preventing the kind gun violence that, in fact, stems from the proliferation of those very same guns.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and the Savior Gun: The Adolescent Nonsense That Passes For Leadership In Tennessee

RamseyFinally, someone has an answer!

It’s the Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee, and it’s the Savior Gun.

“I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.”

That’s as far as the “thinking” goes for this man who currently holds high office in an American state. Having a firearm, at all times, in all circumstances, at the ready and fully loaded, is how Americans need to start living. All the time. Everywhere. Church. School. McDonalds. The supermarket. Back to School Night. That’s the only answer: A perpetual state of itchy readiness for gun violence.

Music this is, surely, to the NRA and it’s sugar-daddy the gun manufacturing industry. But back to Ron and his admonition. It appears to go something like this:  All of you (you who are Christians anyway, and not anyone whose religion I might not trust):

Your new savior is a firearm. Let’s call it the Savior Gun. Having a Savior Gun and being a “good guy” is all that’s needed in Ron’s brave new world. Because after all:

1. The aim of the shooter behind the Savior Gun will always be perfect and true, despite shock, stress, ricochet, the natural non-preparedness of simply living one’s life outside of a perpetual combat zone, the shooter not being a professional or a marksman, the chance of slipping on a pickle chip, and an infinite number of other factors. In Ron’s world, the “good guy” will always hit the “bad guy” and save the day, period. There’s no reason to fear that a roomful of panicked shooters will hit each other, fleeing bystanders, or actual, professional first responders. There’s also no need to worry about whether actual good guys, the professional responders themselves, will know not to shoot the now pistol wielding “good guy,” as his intentions will always, somehow, be crystal clear and apparent during the melee.

2. The Savior Gun will never accidentally discharge and kill or maim the “good guy,” a classmate, bus rider, dinner companion, toddler, or anyone else.

3. The Savior Gun will never be stolen and misused, or fall into the hands of a child.

4. The Savior Gun will never be used in a suicide, a heated argument, or a misunderstanding, given the ease of which firearms make death something that can be dealt from a sanitized distance as an extension of one’s fist.

No, sir. Where the Savior Gun is concerned, all of these inevitable and oft-seen outcomes are either impossible or unworthy of consideration for Ron. Why? I guess he believes that, as a Savior Gun purchased by a Christian, it will itself surely anthropomorphize and adopt Ron’s benevolent Christian principles.

Adults, many of them police officers, understand better than Ron that guns are swords, not shields. Adults understand that the presence of firearms almost always means more death, not less.

Adults understand that the inconvenient realities around the actual nature of firearms, particularly when coupled with human frailty, tend to complicate attractive but dangerous teenage boy fantasies.

Adults understand that the reality of how firearms will likely be used in high-stress situations by non-professionals must temper the understandable but grossly unrealistic urge to view them as infallible protecters of innocence and virtue.

Adults see the necessity of firearms for qualified individuals and understand the importance of allowing individuals to defend themselves and their families appropriately- sometimes even with firearms. But adults also appreciate the grave necessity to control the accessibility to guns, and also the public carrying of them.

Adults know these things because they’re, well, adults.

I don’t what Ron Ramsey is.



A Firemarm versus A Pencil

A common meme of gun rights enthusiasts is that if you’re going to blame guns for homicides, then you might as well blame pencils for making spelling errors.

It’s an utterly true statement. It’s also utterly meaningless.

If your three year-old picks up an unattended pencil and makes a spelling error, it’s unlikely your world will change much. In fact it’s unlikely the entire world will change much, unless your child is tasked with creating, say, a final draft of a national constitution not subject to editing. That’s not likely.

But a three year-old picking up the unattended firearm of a pathetically, inexcusably negligent parent who relishes in ostentatiously carrying it in public but then casually leaves it like junk mail on a counter?

Even that toddler will know the difference. Particularly when he reaches for and manipulates the thing that isn’t a pencil.

Evoking the Spirit of Freedom and Rugged Self-Reliance by Intimidating Four Moms


Yes, Open Carry Texas, your website extolls the the “safe and legal” carrying of firearms openly in the State of Texas.

And apparently you believe a reasonable way to stress how dedicated to safety and legality you are is to show up in a restaurant parking lot to intimidate a four-person gathering of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America with your weapons displayed.

MDA formed after the horror of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, where a legally obtained assault rifle was used to slaughter 20 six and seven year-old children and six adults. So I can understand why you’d believe that a threatening display of firepower at an in-town business location on a Saturday in broad daylight was an appropriate response to their efforts. Truly, it takes a tough group of guys to bully a tiny gathering of mothers.

Once again, you’ve proven their point: The danger begins, and far too often ends, with you.

As for the point I’d make? For now, I’ll go with this one: Angry mobs made up of mouth-breathing, adolescent masturbatory rednecks shouldn’t be trusted with concealed sling shots, let alone firearms.

I’m happy to discuss this further; feel free to surround me with your fire power, if it’ll make you feel more masculine. I won’t be intimidated by it. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like MDA will either.

Want to Appear A Responsible Gun Owner? Don’t Interrupt Testimony in A Legislative Hearing

The ones who shouted at him are the ones who demand we honor their rights as “responsible gun owners” to nearly unregulated ownership, sale, transport and use of semi-automatic weapons. Be very afraid.

On December 14, 2012, Neil Heslin’s life, as he knew it before that date, ended forever when his only son was murdered along with 19 other six and seven year-old children. In an effort to perhaps prevent another parent from bearing the scarcely imaginable burden he carries, Mr. Heslin appeared at a public hearing at the Connecticut General Assembly to ask that body to ban the the kind of weapons that blew apart his child with simple, finger-squeezing efficiency at the hands of a willing murderer. While not every grieving Newtown parent feels as he does, he is certainly not alone in seeking to control access to certain firearms as part of a much larger response to the abomination that was Sandy Hook and every other nonsensical mass-killing that has bloodied the US in recent years. As a part of his testimony, Heslin displayed a photograph of him and his now dead child, and made an emotional but dignified speech to a legislative committee. Apparently after expressing his opinion that “no one” (figuratively) could answer the question of why a person would need a military style weapon to defend his home or person, he was shouted at by observers in the gallery who “answered” his question with loud calls of “Second Amendment!” and “shall not be infringed!” 

But don’t call it heckling.

“Heckling” it’s been said today (by a contributor to the reliably liberal Daily Kos), was an unfair characterization of what gun rights advocates did to this appropriately recognized, testifying individual before a legislative committee. Rather, as at least Kos commenter Sarge from Seattle believes, the audience members were “goaded” into answering the supposedly non-rhetorical question that Heslin, “put” to the audience. The audience had a right to answer Heslin’s question, goes his argument. Heslin “pushed things too far” by asking the question and then suggesting that he had received no viable answer.


The shouters were in the hearing room gallery. The Connecticut General Assembly publishes a guide to speaking at public hearings before legislators. No guidance is offered to testifying individuals about their duty to either not provoke or otherwise be ready to answer the shouts of observing gallery members. That’s because observing gallery members aren’t supposed to speak, ever, unless asked to do so, which I’m guessing would be unusual. For most of us, that’s as obvious as breathing. One doesn’t shout out one’s opinions at a public hearing where one hasn’t been recognized to speak. Unless, I suppose, one is a “2nd Amendment Enthusiast” who believes that his highly arguable interpretation of Constitutional law and apparent passion on the subject nevertheless trumps his (or her) basic duty as a citizen to observe decorum- let alone simple courtesy- during a public hearing before a centuries old state legislature with clearly established guidelines for citizen conduct.

I suppose as well, that, given the willingness of these “defenders of the Constitution” to mock the very process that the Federal and Connecticut Constitutions mandate for civilized debate and policy formation, it’s futile to point out how despicable it is to shout grossly over-simplified absolutes regarding guns at a grieving father who lost his only son to gunfire. Again, this goes without saying for most of us. But not for the proud purveyors of blindingly efficient tools of death and destruction. 

Yet these are the people who urge us to allow them to carry, wherever and whenever, the firearm of their choosing with minimal oversight.

Were I still an ADA, I would rest my case.