Thursday, February 20, 2020
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Tag: Gun Control

Gov. McAuliffe Loses 13 of 19 Senate Dems on Concealed Carry...

by Lowell One of Gov. McAuliffe's main arguments for making his gun deal with the NRA is that if he hadn't, the Virginia General Assembly...

Terry McAuliffe Lurches Wildly Off Hillary Clinton’s Tough Messaging on Guns

by Lowell I've been fascinated with Gov. McAuliffe's gun "raw deal" with the NRA (negotiated by NRA "A"-rated Brian Moran,  NRA "A"-rated and endorsed Bryce...

Men Who Need Guns to Put Lead In Their Pencils

By Dan Sullivan Posted on Facebook by William Sellari of Roanoke: While watching the Revenant, there was an older couple beside (us) who kept talking during...

Virginia GOP Chair, John “Anti-Semitic ‘Joke’ Dude” Whitbeck, Completely Wrong (As...

The statement by Republican Party of Virginia Chair John "Anti-Semitic 'Joke' Dude" Whitbeck (see image; click to "embiggen") to Virginia Attorney General's actions today...

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 photo Shelter_zpsebe5yl1x.jpg Yesterday, Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring emphasized their commitment to taking guns out of the hands of dangerous domestic abusers. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William County) immediately defended the rights of these violent offenders to bear arms. This underlines the importance of shelters. Reach out to yours this month.

Again this year, Charlottesville's Shelter for Help in Emergency will hold a free and open to the public Brown Bag Lunch Series at its Community Outreach Center.  These presentations serve to highlight and reveal specific issues faced by domestic violence victims and their children. This year's sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 7th: Teen Dating Violence in LGBTQ Relationships
  • Wednesday, October 14th: Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
  • Wednesday, October 21st: When Domestic Violence and Homelessness Meet
  • Wednesday, October 28th: Telling their Story: A Survivor's Panel

Contact your local shelter to find out about events where you can show support for their service to the community and for the Governor's and Attorney General's efforts to protect the lives of victims after they escape their abusers. Invite your members of the General Assembly to attend. Donate if you can.

Guns, Germs, and President Obama

It looks like communists (or socialists, whichever) are once again taking up arms to defend their cause. Witness Exhibit A, the not-so-recently taken picture of President Obama using a shotgun at Camp David on August 4, 2012. Before the picture surfaced, Republican and Tea  Partiers seemed to believe that President Obama was so anti-gun that he would never even shoot one. Who needs a shotgun, after all, when you have the United Nations to subvert the Bill of Rights in the U.S.?

But that trickster, President Obama, must have something else up his sleeve, right? Indeed, it didn't take long for the smokescreen thesis to arise within fruit-cup conservative circles. That is, President Obama's picture campaign is nothing but a diabolical attempt to fool the American people in to believing that he is a "moderate" on gun safety. How diabolical, indeed!

Look, we already know that there are a lot of nutty people in this country who believe extremely distorting things about President Obama, to say the least. One of my favorites is the belief that President Obama will run and win a third term to the presidency. Thus, somehow President Obama will overturn the 22nd Amendment with a bitterly opposed Republican House to then win another presidential election in a country that is hostile to the mere thought of a president running for a third term. Of course, these are only two of the many barriers that could be named. Brilliant!

Public Safety and Personal Responsibility

The debate about gun control has raised the usual themes, centering around the Second Amendment and the sacred right of a free citizenry to bear arms versus the outraged sentiments of victims of gun violence and their loved ones--- a debate  with such limited parameters that it could take place nowhere  else in the world but in the  United States of America. Every time we have another mass carnage, Second Amendment buffs immediately claim the answer is to arm everyone, so the "deranged" shooter could be stopped in his tracks by a well-armed good guy... thus turning a settled, civilized society into a Wild West shoot out. "Guns are the answer to more guns." If this sounds counter-intuitive, that's because it is.

What's missing from the debate are two other bedrock myths beloved by conservatives: personal responsibility, and the profit motive--- two equally sacred themes running through American political discourse. Consider how the conservatives demand that people take "personal responsibility" for their retirement, think about the "makers" and "takers" and how the right wing dismisses the poor as slackers. Also, consider how they believe that everything society needs can be provided by private enterprise for a profit---- if there is no profit to be had, then society must not need it. We use taxes and tax loopholes to encourage behavior we think beneficial for society as a whole. So, why not apply these principles to the gun debate?

Preposterous Proposals Proliferate

We're living a cartoon. One character puts up his dukes and the adversary pulls out brass knuckles, then escalation each in turn through a knife, pistol, rifle, machinegun, cannon, tank... It goes where arming and armoring schools goes: no constructive advantage. Cost without benefit other than political cover.

Governor McDonnell legitimizing the concept of arming more personnel inside schools demonstrates his narrow experience and linear, attritionist approach to the issues raised by the violence at Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech. This is understandable. As an army intelligence officer raised and trained in the era of a set piece battlespace, he is comfortable with templates and minor tactics against local threats. His cohort, Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13th), lacks even that experience with conceptual threats. Marshall's hobbies, weight lifting, gardening, and photography, might give him time to contemplate but do nothing to qualify him to defend our children or us. But both of these fellows do demonstrate the ability to push hot buttons even if they are unconcerned about the consequences they initiate.

Nattering nabobs such as them attract attention. Some of that from Democrats who either think they must say something or are afraid of saying nothing even if they have nothing to add. At least the Republicans are expressing a core value, no matter how wrongheaded it is. The Democrats on board with this idea sound as hollow as their self-serving position. Disappointing.

Reducing the security of children to talking points about arming teachers and adding resource officers limits the debate, ignores the broader issues, and potentially places children in substantially greater danger. Look, I have the greatest respect for teachers but they are not public safety employees and many are unsuited for this responsibility. Adding a resource officer to the soup definitely secures the few square feet occupied at any given moment, but has McDonnell, Marshall, or any of them actually been inside a school lately? Those resource officers are there for and deal with a lot of student issues not related to invasion; issues that do not occur in elementary schools. Unless we go back to one room schoolhouses, these ideas are just lipstick on a pig.  

Guns, Butter, and a Lot of Love

I know, let's clone Jesse Ventura and station a Ventura clone at each school across the country! Sound a little south of practical? If so, it's actually an idea with more rationale than arming "certain teachers" across the country, an idea that has been increasingly proposed by members of the Republican Party as a remedy to the recent school killings in Connecticut.[1] The logic is as follows: fight gun violence with more guns! Brilliant! If only we could use this strategy with nuclear weapons, then the world would truly be MAD!

You've got to hand it to some Republicans, they really know how to turn the improbable into the highly likely. For instance, who would have thought that any party would have been audacious enough to openly propose probing a woman's private parts? Brilliant! But the encore has been even more brilliantly mind-boggling in its utter absurdity.

The idea of putting weapons into the hands of individuals who are supposed to be seen by our country's youth as role-models to exemplify, who are professionals trained to enlighten others with the pen (not the sword), who have had little say (to my knowledge) in the matter is the same as asking Albert Einstein to strap a bomb to his chest in case the Nazi's attempt to kidnap him. The supposed solution could easily turn out to create even bigger problems than the initial quandary (i.e., armed individuals killing students).

Now Is the Time for That Discussion About Guns

Let's begin that discussion about guns: the current application of our Second Amendment protects the proliferation of weapons. At the time it was written, it was damn difficult to kill with them, though Aaron Burr managed not long thereafter. That amendment was never meant to aid and abet carnage.

I don't remember not owning a firearm. My first was given as a Christmas present when I was young; a Savage over and under .22/.410. My father instilled the greatest respect for firearms in me. He locked them away and I did not have access unless there was a purpose. Later I learned that upon his return to college from the Pacific theater and engagements on Tarawa and Saipan, he'd kept a handgun at his bedside. One night late, a spring roller blind in the bedroom snapped open and by the time he awoke he had locked, loaded, and drawn down on my mother who'd jerked up next to him in bed. He'd nearly killed her. Weapons in their home remained secured after that.

As a college student, I carried a weapon wherever I travelled. I did not have one with me the morning in Richmond when three fellows with sawed off shotguns came into the convenience store near Carytown where I worked. Thinking back, I don't think it would have helped the situation much, even if I'd open carried. After all, they were only exercising their own open carry rights.

You'll find no one more rationally and sentimentally supportive of the second amendment than I. But all this silliness, false bravado, and acting out about what gun rights mean misses the problem it has created: we have guaranteed access and availability of firearms to every individual regardless of their capacity, intent, or history. And our own Governor McDonnell is on record as supporting "the more the merrier" approach to provision. This outcome and attitude is sinfully irresponsible and far from the intent of the framers.