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Guns in America
The Distorted Politics of Gun Control
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  • Tom

    “The type of political triangulation gun controllers are currently engaged in does no one any favors.”

    The problem with that statement is that said triangulation does the major players in this–Democratic politicos and the media–a world of favors. The media gets to feel all virtuous and feel like they’re sticking it to the rubes in flyover country, the politicos get to pretend to care about the little people and poke a stick in their opponents’ eye, while raking in campaign contributions and votes from the people who have panic attacks at the idea of a civilian with a gun within five miles of them.

  • Boritz

    “Democrats increasingly see gun control as a wedge issue”

    It’s a balancing act. Progress towards gun control/disarmament of people who are not contributing to the problem while leaving the actual problem intact as a perpetual campaign issue. One of many issues you want to be seen as opposed to while allowing it enough nurture to endure.

  • The key to the LibDem obsession with “gun control” is the “control” part. They want the plebes to be totally dependent on government for every aspect of their lives, especially security. If gun controllers were serious about greatly reducing violent gun crime they would embrace “stop and frisk” in the inner cities of the murder capitals of the country. But we can’t do that because it’s applied unequally to minorities (who are the exact same ones doing the crimes). Gun control is just political theater.

    • FriendlyGoat

      “Stop and Frisk” could be applied equally and randomly to everyone in society—–black, white, rich, poor—- as an ongoing program. The chance of being stopped and frisked by uniformed law enforcement at any moment could become a cultural backdrop of all of our lives, EXCEPT for the obvious fact that American citizens as a whole would not tolerate any such thing even for a week. We are NOT a police state. We do have a Constitution which gives us rights against searches without warrants. That Constitution applies in the inner cities as well as everywhere else.

      • Angel Martin

        typical liberal. take something that has worked (Giuliani stop and frisk in NY) and apply it equally to every demographic to dilute its impact to useless. then claim it is useless and should stop.

        blacks do almost half the murders in the US while being less than 14 percent of the population. They are the problem and they are the ones who deserve to be targetted.

        • FriendlyGoat

          The poster to whom I replied said we could not do “stop and frisk” in the inner cities because it is applied unequally to minorities. I am suggesting we CAN do it quite equally but no one will want it done that way—-because of that pesky Constitution. You appear to be suggesting we should target the blacks. Are you of the opinion that the Constitution is not for their use and protection?

          • Anthony

            FG, something of interest: “instead of providing all Americans with decent healthcare, education, jobs, or housing….”

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. There is a story about Martin Luther King being in jail and asking his white jailers how much they were paid. Upon being told how poorly the guards were paid, he remarked to them “you should be out marching with us” (or something like that).

            It’s a pity that the lower earners in all races often do not see themselves in the alliance they SHOULD sensibly share against economic inequality. Whether to blame a legacy mindset of “white supremacy” for that—-or something else—-I don’t know.

          • Jim__L

            Another Nation article Anthony cited earlier, possibly more useful…


            While I disagree with Ehrenreich’s idea that a belief in ethnic superiority is a large motivator anymore (90% favorable ratings for Obama upon his inauguration make that a libel today), she does make my point that not all motivations are material.

            I think that today there is a significant sense among the 10%ers that the vast majority of people (black, white, or Hispanic) are NOT their social equals. Socialism can’t work if that equality isn’t front and center.

            FG, if you’re really serious about putting together a unified front against high-end earners, you’re going to have to convince tax-friendly leaders that Creationist churchgoers, AGW Deniers, 2nd Amendment absolutists, Personhood Pro-Lifers, Man/Woman Marriage Freedom-of-Conscience types, and high-school-education-only rednecks are their social equals.

            Bill “Bubba” Clinton did that. (So can Mike Huckabee.) “Perfect Pants Crease” Obama can’t seem to. Hillary “laws are for little people” Clinton can’t either. Tina Fey is the problem personified.

            As for Bernie, these guys look down on *him* as a crazy uncle, even as his supporters look down on them as The Great Unwashed.

            I just don’t see that chasm getting bridged, especially as that would require Bernie’s supporters dropping their social agenda wholesale. But, if you can work on 10%ers showing respect instead of condescension for the white working class, you might get your political ambitions realized.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) Okay, without the intent to come off as preaching to YOU, but rather preaching to part of the problem you are describing, I do not now and have never felt that there is anyone on earth who is “not my social equal”. Perhaps this comes from the fact that I have not been much marinated in any kind of social “circles” during my life, or perhaps it is that, as a liberal, I subscribe to both the ideas of needing Jesus personally in the same manner everyone else does, and the “created equal” thing in the Declaration of Independence.

            2) I do not know anything about Tina Fey’s Kimmy Schmidt so have no idea what you or Ehrenreich are talking about with her.

            3) I am not clear on the context of the 10% and 90% you mention—-whether you are speaking of the 10% with highest taxable incomes—–arguably including MANY political conservatives—–or 10% of people who are imagined by conservatives as elite-minded (or something).

            4) Mike (The Fair Tax) Huckabee is not useful for anything whatsoever except making church people stupid. He and the Clintons share some time in Arkansas and NOTHING else, including especially any political talent or social wisdom. As a former preacher, Huckabee has the background presumably of some social justice—-but he denies it all by the party he runs with. In the PAST he has “played” with a few half-sensible statements and either does not know (or does not want you to know) that his party has no intention of ever doing anything but the stock GOP agenda. So, any moderate statement on his part is always both meaningless and deceptive.

            5) The “high-school educated” are not necessarily “rednecks” by nature. Many of them have been “made monkeys of” by voices who accumulated A TON of money by telling THEM to be stupid. Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, The Robertsons of Duck Dynasty, Chuck Norris, Jeff Foxworthy and others come to mind, not to mention some very questionable pastors.

          • Jim__L

            1) Your social outlook is laudable, but I think that your reply to 5) contradicts it a bit.

            2) This reminds me of the way conservatives (such as myself) avoid even thinking about the KKK. Sure, it’s helpful in marginalizing the group and keeping them from the mainstream, but in some ways it’s willful blindness. I’m pretty sure you’d find as much to object to in Fey’s contempt for the common man in this country as I find to despise in KKK ideology. The problem is, Tina Fey’s the toast of the Leftist establishment, and has a very visible platform from which to push her contempt for white men.

            3) VM linked a study a little while back that looked at how well actual legislation lined up with the preferences of various portions of the population. About half the time legislation went in accordance with industry (lobbyist) desires; less so, with various other special-interests. The telling point in the study, though, was looking at the influence of the opinions and points of view of the median voter in the top 10% of income, compared to the influence of the opinions and points of view of the median voter of the population overall. (1%ers tend to have a libertarian streak; 10%ers tend to be products of
            “elite” schooling, and have the political opinions that go along with

            The median voter of all the population only got her way when her ideas agreed with the top 10%. Otherwise, never. And the top 10% got their way 70% of the time.

            Basically, the 10%ers run the country, and the median voter can go whistle.

            4) Lumping someone in with the party they run with is hate-by-association, and beneath your better nature, FG.

            And PLEASE tell me you’re not accusing Hillary Clinton of having political talent. While that’s fair to say of Bill, she is utterly innocent of that, and such an accusation is also beneath your intelligence.

            5) This is condescending in the extreme. I’m still not sure how you square your idea that non-material concerns have value, and the idea that people who vote according to non-material concerns are “stupid”.

            It seems like we have a choice between a party that tries very hard not to support traditional American values but gives them lip service in exchange for power, and a party that trashes those values at every opportunity in exchange for power (with which they trash those values further). If you truly put any stock in those values, supporting the first may be quixotic, but only support for the second is truly stupid.

          • FriendlyGoat

            1) Us Christians should all have the same social outlook on who is a social equal, shouldn’t we?

            2) Other than thinking Tina “did” a good Sarah Palin, I don’t follow her that much.

            3) Okay, so one-percenters are libertarian and the next nine are products of elite schooling?

            4) I don’t hate Mike Huckabee, but I do dislike the party he runs with and all of the things he says to hone his street cred with that party.
            The “Fair Tax” is an over-the-top stupid idea for nearly everyone in that other 90% of people you identified..

            5) People who are asked to vote against abortion, gun laws and gay marriage—-and do so—– but GET high-end tax cuts, de-regulation, wars, union busting, and their politicians’ resistance against all the progressive ideas that have improved people’s lives are being misled IMHO. I don’t know why the keep doing it.

          • Anthony

            You’re welcome. I recall incident you write about.

          • Jim__L

            “We could not do ‘stop and frisk’ in the inner cities because it is applied unequally to minorities.”

            Clearly, this is an erroneous statement. Police have in fact done “stop and frisk” in inner cities, where it applied unequally to minorities.

            And it reduced the rate at which African-Americans were murdered, moreso than the white murder rate. Disparate impact, indeed.

            If Black Lives Matter to you, support Stop and Frisk.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Please bear in mind that I was replying to that assertion from a poster named “Holding My Nose”, above.

          • Jim__L

            Gotcha. Hopefully he follows the rest of this thread.

        • Anthony

          Angel, being in America certainly beats…and you are trying to convince your…that you belong! Perhaps, your erudite skills of observation could be of use… And I am not generally targeting emigres or anyone else relatively new to our accepting country.

          • Fred

            To be sure, Angel seems a bit emotional. That said, I’m listening Anthony. In exactly what “context” do Angel’s numbers (which you do not appear to dispute) not indicate that African American men commit murder at a rate out of proportion to their representation in the population. Please be specific, no generalities about “bias,” no vague references to “cognitive science,” and no BS about “social construction.” I want concrete examples and empirical evidence. I want to see the reasoning behind any conclusions you draw. Somehow, I seriously doubt any of that will be forthcoming, but hope springs eternal as they say.

          • Anthony

            We have “nothing to discuss”. Write Angel since you seek confirmation bias wherever you find it – by the way, your timing seems impeccable – another mass killing (San Bernardino California). I suggest you redirect your obsession again. I see your name and go straight to see reply… (I don’t read what you write beyond 1st several words).

          • Fred

            I figured if I called your bluff you’d fold. I wish I could buy your intellect for what it’s worth and sell it for what you think it’s worth. I’d be a very wealthy man.

          • Anthony

            See reply Oct.23, 2014 and reply Oct. 23, 2015 (NSA calls this virtual Harassment – 5 years and counting).

          • Angel Martin

            “And I am not generally targeting emigres or anyone else relatively new to our accepting country. By the way, terms liberal/conservative in English Language like many words in our language represent various “signs and symbols” historically.”

            ? does anyone else understand any of this ?

            BTW the origin of my nom de plume

          • Anthony

            Thanks, Angel, but much has happen in 5 days beyond our topic. 21st century technology… (what’s that words to pictures).

          • Angel Martin

            don’t know where you get this stuff… never been to the Philippines in my life.
            Born in the UK, don’t currently live in the US although i hope to eventually get back there for winters in the sunbelt.

          • Anthony

            Stand corrected.

          • Angel Martin

            no problem. I did emigrate from the UK at age one, but i dare say they will survive without me.

            i just wanted to correct the impression that i was part of some recent-immigrant-racial-hierarchy blacks at the bottom thing.

            whatever else i might be guilty of that’s not what i am about.

          • Anthony

            Angel I know nothing about racial hierarchy but in both UK and America we use capital with I pronoun despite what we’re about. I’m done here and good luck denigrating others from afar.

      • Jim__L

        It appears to come down to what “reasonable suspicion” means. If you’re dressed like a gangbanger, does that count?

        Remember, often these policies are pushed by the populations that want to stop being shot so much, i.e., African-Americans.

        • FriendlyGoat

          I can appreciate what you’re saying. The question is whether we are at Constitutional liberty to apply different rules to different people on the basis of how they dress or look. As much as some people will say, “sure, that’s common sense”, we all know it does not really pass a smell test.

          • Jim__L

            Someone who deliberately dresses to self-identify as part of a violent street gang might reasonably expect to be suspected of being part of a violent street gang.

            What part of that doesn’t pass the smell test?

          • FriendlyGoat

            A search is either Constitutional or it isn’t.

          • CaliforniaStark

            That question has already been answered in the affirmative.

        • CaliforniaStark

          California has had for decades what are know as gang injunctions, which prohibit members of a street gang from standing, sitting, walking, or gathering with other members of their gang. Some gang injunctions actually set a night curfew specific for gang members. These injunctions have withstood legal challenge.

          Given the high rate of crime and homicides associated with street gangs, I would assume being dressed like one and acting suspiciously would be reasonable suspicion sufficient for a stop and frisk. Being a member of a street gang does not make someone a member of a constitutional protected class. Police have the right to subject a gang banger to extra scrutiny.

  • CaliforniaStark

    Here are the cold, hard facts:

    The murder rate per 100,000 in the United States in 2010/2012 was 19.4% for African-Americans; 2.5% for Anglos; 5.3% for Hispanics.
    Approximately 75% of U.S. homicides are gang-related; approximately 90% of African-Americans who victims of homicide were killed by other African-Americans.

    The Mayor of Chicago, which in several weeks in September 2015 had about 50 shootings a week, recent accused the police of going”fetal”. Does this surprise him? Perhaps he needs to have a long discussion with Rudy Giuliani about how to reduce crime in an urban setting; “stop and frisk” is one of the main tools. We can do an invasive search for weapons of a little old lady about to board an airplane, but cannot do the same search of a gang-banger on the street.

    • Alan_McIntire

      You should drop that %. The murder rate for blacks was 19.4 per 100,000 not 19.4%.

      • CaliforniaStark

        Done. Thanks for the edit.

  • Beauceron

    All true.

    But that’s because the Left don’t have any interest at all in saving lives, black or otherwise. They want to strip people of their 2nd Amendment rights because it’s a power issue. Going after black gang bangers who illegally own guns in cities where gun control is so strict that they’ve already effectively banned gun ownership as it is, won’t get them there.

    Look, we’re entering an interesting time in American politics. The Left’s decades long push to change the demographics so they have a shot at a permanent majority is about to bear fruit, the Left has total control or near total control of all of our forming institutions– the educational system from the top down, nearly every media outlet. All of them want to control everyone else from the top down. State power is the Left’s core goal.

    What can stand in their way is people with guns and people with the right to speak out in opposition– so they need to get rid of both of those impediments. And anything they can use to forward that goal is going to be used, whether or not it has any grounding in fact.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Abortion is probably the all-time best soapbox issue for economic conservatives seeking high-end tax cuts. The 2nd Amendment mania may still be in second place but is possibly challenging abortion for the Number One slot. (Anti-gay is a distant third).

    When we talk about “gun control politics”, we need to be honest and not act as though this is liberals trying to take over the political world. It is actually more a political tool of conservatives than of liberals. Those whose real agenda is high-end tax cuts are those most concerned about making every Bubba believe that “Obama is after your guns”—-now morphing to “Hillary is after your guns.” One only needs to notice Grover Norquist on the NRA Board to understand the actual nature of “gun control politics.”

    • LA_Bob

      I think this is grossly unfair.

      “Abortion is probably the all-time best soapbox issue…” I agree. For politicians all across the spectrum.

      “…economic conservatives seeking high-end tax cuts.” I don’t know. I’m an economic conservative, however exactly that’s defined, but I am not seeking high-end tax cuts.

      “Those whose real agenda is high-end tax cuts are those most concerned
      about making every Bubba believe that “Obama is after your guns” Got news for you. Every “Bubba” — you know, the ones Obama said ‘cling to their religion and their guns'” because they’re economically stressed — needs no help from anyone in the “high-end tax cut” movement to believe that “Obama is after their guns.”

      The NRA is full of Bubbas and others with varying levels of education, common sense, and paranoia. It is a grass-roots organization, you know. Grass-roots organizations are widely admired by the Left unless they come with the wrong “complexion.”

      • FriendlyGoat

        1) It’s my understanding that economic conservatives generally always support lower income taxes, especially the concept of flatter or completely-flat low rates. I call that “seeking high-end tax cuts” because the “high end” of the income spectrum would end up with most of the benefit from the “cuts” when rates are lowered or flattened. If you support something else, what is it?

        2) I have always been in general agreement with Obama that many men who have been losing power as workers ARE seeking to compensate for that emotional loss with a comfort found in the accumulation of fire-power. And, it is my further belief that the same Republican Party which has caused (and is causing) working men to lose economic power IS always trying to keep tricking those men into voting for their own destruction by wooing them with talk about “gun freedom”. Sorry if that’s offensive, but I do believe it’s true.

        • Dale Fayda

          You got that twisted, homie.

          It’s the grass-roots of the GOP that are telling the party’s establishment that their 2nd. Amendment rights are sacrosanct, not the other way around. There is no shortage of “moderate” GOP types – Chris Christie, John McCain, Michael Bloomberg (when he was a nominal Republican), etc. who would love to “ban” something, anything, just so they can “go along to get along” with the media and the rest of the ruling class. Face it, FG – societal solidarity in this country is pretty much extinct – liberalism had killed it. People will continue to arm themselves more and more, because they increasingly see their government as a dismal failure (rightly so), their values impugned, ridiculed and outlawed, post-apocalyptic American cities in flames and racial identity politics as sine qua non of the American Left.

          Every time Obama opens his mouth, guns fly off the shelves in record numbers, requests for carry permits skyrocket and demand for firearms instruction goes through the roof. And I’m pretty sure he knows it too.

          But this is all academic, really. You will not disarm us and if really you try, if will explode into your faces with the force of a thousand dying stars.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Dale. I have a rifle. I not only don’t want to point it at anyone, I can’t as a matter of law. They call it assault with a deadly weapon. You and all the other gun owners are in that same boat. There is nothing “twisted” about us noticing that many, many men are living a very negative fantasy about their guns solving all the other problems around us. No one but the gun/ammo makers and dealers are winning anything in that fantasy.

          • Dale Fayda

            If you want to dispense with your weapon, because you’re afraid of its “fantasy – inducing” abilities, be my guest. Giving a gun to a liberal is generally a bad idea anyway, considering the fact that the vast majority of gun crime in this country (including mass shootings) is committed by them.

            But I’ll be damned if I even entertain the notion of being shamed or forced into disarming myself by the likes of you. I’ll gladly give my money to the gun/ammo makers. It is their product that helps me sleep better at night and it’s their product that enables me to know that if SHTF, I will not be a helpless victim of criminals OR of government. I’ll deal with my “gun fantasy” issues myself, thank you very much.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Did I tell you I planned to give away my rifle? Did I ask you to give away yours?

            I’d settle for gun-issue voters to stop enabling the high-end tax cuts that killed their jobs and made them into gun-issue voters in the first place. That’s about it. The politics of this is like that circular firing squad with conservative working people shooting their own A$$ES off and not even knowing they’re now missing them.

  • Andrew Allison

    I didn’t see a reference to the fact that the weapons used to kill all those people were almost certainly illegal. In other words, what difference would making gun ownership illegal make?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “identifying solutions that work”

    The problem here for the leftist Democrats is that “Gun Control” doesn’t work to reduce crime or murders. In fact it’s the opposite of what works. Communities with high levels of gun ownership and concealed carry permits have lower murder rates, and high profile massacres either don’t occur or get stopped short in places with high numbers of armed citizens. The common sense solution is therefore to require all Public Employees to carry a firearm and be trained in its use. Also to enforce the 2nd Amendment in all those locals that have gun control laws which violate this Personal Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The heavily gun controlled Chicago is the murder capitol of America because of “Gun Control”.

  • LA_Bob

    “Later, other ministers who worked with McBride would get an even blunter
    assessment from a White House staffer: There was no political will in
    the country to address inner-city violence.”

    Really a sad commentary, huh? The next paragraph explain well where much of that comes from. As with so many other issues, “gun control” and “law and order” are insufferably complex and smothered with hot buttons.

    I’ve heard it said that the only effective gun control is complete confiscation and supply interdiction. Anything short of that leaves too many weapons available for the “bad guys” to use. But complete confiscation punishes the law-abiding innocent along with the guilty. Inner-city and other violence may be the price we pay for our free society, unless we vigorously pursue programs like “Ceasefire”.

    Great column.

  • Jim__L

    “Liberals (and some libertarian-leaning conservatives) have been arguing
    for years that law enforcement has too large a presence in inner city
    communities, that it engages in racial profiling, and that the
    tough-on-crime policies that started getting put in place in the 1970s
    have done more harm than good.”

    Could we maybe consider that tough-on-crime policies do a great deal of harm, and a great deal of good? Larger police presence means less citizen-on-citizen violence, but more police-on-citizen violence.

    That’s why this is a hard problem. We have to decide whether the police interventions (which prevent a good deal of crime but increase the reality of police shootings), and mass incarceration (which prevents a good deal of crime but helps destroy social fabric), are good ideas.

    We’re dealing with secondary effects here, which are very, very complicated to resolve without unraveling the solution to the primary problem.

  • hopleyyeaton

    “Gun control politics is a mess.” That is because it isn’t about guns, it’s about control. It is politicians and ‘experts’ who think they know what is best for everyone versus the rest of us who just want to be left alone. I am a free man. Don’t tread on me!

  • Itche-Meir

    the distortion of having more guns than people; of not knowing if a parking dispute at the mall will Joe Schmuck to “stand his ground” and enforce his position with firearms

    that’s the distortion
    that, and having to check the crowd before walking into a restaurant or the movies

    American exceptionalism

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