Tag Archives: guns

Charleston Shooting

Terrible, awful shooting in Charleston.

This looks like terrorism to me.

From CNN:

The man suspected of killing nine people Wednesday night at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested Thursday morning about 245 miles (395 kilometers) away in Shelby, North Carolina, law enforcement authorities said.

Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, was taken into custody without incident about 11:15 a.m. during a traffic stop, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning. He said local police were acting on a BOLO (be-on-the-lookout) notice that included a vehicle description, the license tag and the suspect’s name.

Roof was armed with a gun when he was arrested, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. It’s not clear if it’s the same firearm he allegedly used in the shooting.  (more…)

More updates here.

President Obama speaks out on the subject of easy access to guns – “I have had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” he said. “We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

Glenn Beck at NRA convention

Glenn Beck

It’s been years since I’ve mentioned Glenn Beck on this blog. There is generally no reason to bring him up. In my mind, you shouldn’t mention him in polite company. Although there are some Americans who believe that Glenn Beck is a “real American,” I think the data would show us otherwise. He is nothing more than an opportunist. He pedals conspiracy theories and plays to the fears of vulnerable Americans.

Glenn Beck was true to form when he delivered a speech that was over two hours long in Houston at the NRA. First of all, I cannot imagine anybody sitting still and listen to Glenn Beck for over two hours. Secondly, he went back into his old bag of tricks and pulled out the conspiracy declaring that “they want to fundamentally transform our country and they’re just about finished with the project.” Who are they? Glenn Beck never says. It is somewhat implied that it is liberals. He then launched into some misguided attempt at defining the Second Amendment as protecting our “natural rights” and throwing off the chains of tyranny. Have you heard this before? You should have. Glenn Beck says this type of stuff all the time.

I just don’t understand how the chains of tyranny can be defined as a background check before you purchase a gun. I simply don’t understand how not allowing Americans to purchase assault weapons equals tyranny. In order to sit still and listen to Glenn Beck drone on for over two hours, you have to believe that everybody is lying to you. This fight over gun control is not about limiting guns (and removing them from folks who have proved that they shouldn’t have weapons), but instead it is about actually taking guns away from law-abiding Americans. No one has seriously suggested this. No one. Yet, Mr. I Petal Paranoia is trying to stoke the fears of law-abiding Americans. Then again, the far right has been pushing this mantra for more than six years.

Oppositional Society and the Iraq War

Debate in our country has boiled down to our side versus their side
Debate in our country has boiled down to our side versus their side

Yesterday, I asked the question about whether the Iraq war could happen again. Could we, the American people, be pushed into a war of convenience rather than a war of necessity? Simply put, I believe the answer to this question is yes. My answer is yes because we live in an Oppositional Society. This concept, the Oppositional Society, was first proposed by Rebecca Costa in her fabulous book The Watchman’s Rattle. (I’m not sure who first proposed the idea of an Oppositional Society. I first read about the idea in this fabulous book.) Basically, Ms. Costa’s argument is that we boil very complex topics down to yes or no, right versus left, for or against.

If we look at how we debate major issues, we can clearly see how nuance and complexity of argument have been lost in the whole issue and the issue is boiled down to a yes or no question. Gun control. In my opinion, this is an amazingly complex issue. Can the government regulate guns? Most constitutional scholars will tell you that every right that is granted in the Bill of Rights is not absolute. Yet, in this debate, we’ve seen almost every aspect of nuance and complexity boiled down to yes versus no. Assault weapons. There are simply two sides of this debate. Should an American be able to buy an unlimited quantity of assault weapons? Yes or no.

We can come up with theories as to why the United States has gravitated to this extremely simplistic way of examining any problem. Personally, I believe that the majority of Americans get their “information” from the television. Television is extremely good at presenting two sides to any story or topic. Television gets a little bit messier when you present a third or fourth opinion. That simply doesn’t make for good television. Even when you have four or five or even six guests discussing a single topic like on CNBC or Bloomberg TV, the guests conveniently can be categorized into two groups for or against whatever topic is being discussed. Interestingly, this fits very neatly into our political system. Democrats. Republicans. Notice how any third party which pops up is shunted to the side and is painted as being out of the mainstream, crackpots, just as any idea that doesn’t help frame a question in a yes or no answer is also pushed to the side. Continue reading Oppositional Society and the Iraq War