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    • The Washington Post reported a shocking statistic: in this year to date, more students have been killed at school than US soldiers around the world, including non-combat deaths. This may just be a statistical anomaly (and military statistics are sometimes intentionally incomplete). Nevertheless, the US approach to gun regulation is even more insane than its approach to healthcare. The Onion nailed it years ago, when it ran the headline ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. They are now running the same headline with depressing regularity.

    • I already said what I had to say in the last school shooting thread. Fuck the NRA and their blood-money. The firearms industry and it's place in the military-industrial complex has become more important than the lives of our children.

      "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

      We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
      D.D. Eisenhower, 1961 (

    • I read this too. Did anyone else have trouble getting their heads out of this shooting yesterday? I had so much to do and yet this kept coming back into my consciousness and I'd end up pondering it. Everything about it is so troubling.

      He got the guns from his dad who bought them legally. He had few signs that would trigger suspicion. In Florida many people blamed law enforcement missing the signs of a troubled youth. Will that be the case here?

    • Except for a slight uptick starting around 2014, the overall rate of US homicides by firearms had been decreasing since 2011. So there's something unusual going on. One theory is that the amount of media coverage these incidents get has created a new role model for disturbed males. Some people have argued the contagion effect could be mitigated if the shooters' names were not published, but it's hard to imagine this actually working in the US--the government could not impose it for constitutional reasons and the media would not do it by consensus. And there's no controlling social media.

      In any event, this approach is simply another example of ignoring the elephant in the room, namely, guns and especially assault rifles. I'm sure my eyes rolled when I read some idiot Texas politician claim that the problem in the latest shooting was that the school had too many doors. Right. If it weren't for all the damn doors, we'd be safe. Guns don't kill people, doors do. It's pathetic that America tolerates this sort of bullshit.

    • Yeah, but there are forces working in both directions here. The NRA is powerful enough that swing district/state Democrats are often against meaningful gun control. Since all Republicans seem to be reliably opposed, that leaves the well-intentioned young with no meaningful choice on the issue, which will depress their participation. My impression for some time has been that a well-conceived message on responsible gun control could win at the polls but only if the swing state Democrats had the courage to challenge the conventional wisdom that the NRA is all powerful. Most polls show that a strong majority of NRA members themselves believe that gun controls stould be strengthened. It's mostly the gun lobby itself that spreads the fear that "they're coming for your guns..."

    • Wait until the door lobby sees this! They are gonna freak out! I'd be pretty scared about my political future if I were Dan Patrick.

    • I hate that memes are what pass for discussion of difficult issues these days.

      We can't have a rationale discussion about guns anymore because the extremes from both sides drown out the moderates. I'm a gun owner and avid shooter. I typically go to the range at least once a week. According to polls, the majority of gun owners feel like I do - there are some common sense reforms that would improve safety without unduly compromising 2nd amendment rights. Magazine capacity restrictions, universal background checks, and a requirement to have a trigger lock or storage in a safe if there are kids at home. But extremists from one side think anything is a step down a slippery slope and the other side thinks nobody but the military should have guns. Those of us in between get shouted down.

    • I dance in and out and all around this topic rather than directly engage because I don’t think there are any realistic solutions. In my mind, the issue is not guns, the issue is safety. Safety as an issue is so complex and also so critical that it quickly spins out beyond my ability to wrestle with it. Especially when the people on *both* sides of the gun debate use safety as an argument...

      I do, however, have a distaste for the leadership of the NRA based solely on their extreme tactics... I wonder if Oliver North has any inclination to change that part of it?

    • flei, I think about this every day in some context, ever since going to hear Jared Diamond speak. I had read all his books like Guns, Germs, and Steel, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, and he was just out with a new one: The World Until Yesterday.

      He said the mass support of Hitler was a thing we believed could never happen again once the horrors of it were exposed and the German people emerged from their fog. But it happened again in Rwanda, and the Rwandans were like the Germans who looked back and wondered what came over them.

      We Americans do it too. History is already not looking kindly on us for invading Iraq. Remember when the French asked us to produce evidence of weapons of mass destruction before invading Iraq and we responded by boycotting French restaurants and trying to rename French fries to freedom fries?

      And I think it's happening now wrt making up conspiracy theories. Alex Jones is getting rich peddling them. The president gets more attention than any man on earth by tweeting them. Mass shooters become world-famous overnight. Let's all get in on the action and get that kind of attention.

    • I just had an email exchange with Carol Guzy, who has won 4 Pulitzer Prizes for journalism. She is the only journalist to win 4 (3 other individuals have won 4 like Robert Frost did for poetry, but not for journalism). She is going to let me interview her on Cake.

      She said in wars sometimes people (collectively) go crazy.