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    • Chris, your friend from Scotland sounds like he has a firm grasp on the reality here in the USA. He's probably seen the many "No lacking challenge" videos on youtube, which is possibly a better argument for limiting access to guns than any graph or research.

    • Whoa, that was insane. 😧

      Once upon a time, in my geophysicist days, I was running a seismic crew in Alabama with 30 laborers on it. We had a pretty good bond because we worked hard together every day, away from our families.

      We were in a new town every 4 days staying at discount motels, and one night at 3 in the morning the hotel owner got me out of bed and said our boys had a wild drunk going in one of the rooms and were wrecking it. We had a couple guys who couldn't help but get drunk on payday, and then bad things happened.

      So I went into the room, told them to stop, clean it up, and I would have to let a couple of them go. One, who was seriously drunk, pulled a pistol from his pants and put it against my head, asking if I wanted to reconsider. The other guys talked him down, but I'll never forget having a loaded pistol pressed against my head in the hands of an angry drunk.

    • If you haven't seen this yet, this is big news!

      DICK'S Sporting Goods

      We at DICK’S Sporting Goods are deeply disturbed and saddened by the tragic events in Parkland. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their loved ones.

      But thoughts and prayers are not enough.

      We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country.

      We have heard you. The nation has heard you.

      We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.

      Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been.

      Clearly this indicates on so many levels that the systems in place are not effective to protect our kids and our citizens.

      We believe it’s time to do something about it.

      Beginning today, DICK’S Sporting Goods is committed to the following:
      We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
      We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
      We will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
      We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.

      At the same time, we implore our elected officials to enact common sense gun reform and pass the following regulations:
      Ban assault-style firearms
      Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
      Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
      Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
      Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
      Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks

      We hope others join us in this effort to let our kids know that their pleas are being taken seriously.

      Some will say these steps can’t guarantee tragedies like Parkland will never happen again. They may be correct – but if common sense reform is enacted and even one life is saved, it will have been worth it.

      We deeply believe that this country’s most precious gift is our children. They are our future. We must keep them safe.

      Sincerely,

      Edward W. Stack
      Chairman & CEO
      DICK'S Sporting Goods

    • Wow, that was actually really well written and felt genuine. I can't help feeling skeptical by default as I read some of the things that come from corporations, wondering if there isn't an underlying profit motive. But this felt real and it moved me.

    • This isn't going to help the Trump/NRA "arm the teachers" cause: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/three-space-station-fliers-wrap-up-168-day-mission/

      OOPS! Wrong link!!

      This is the link I intended: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/28/georgia-teacher-in-custody-after-reports-shots-fired-at-high-school.html

    • Flei, that was a fascinating link but was it the one you intended? It was all about the returning astronauts from the space station.

      Two stories that caught my attention on the gun debate were:

      Florida lawmakers approve bill to arm teachers
      Kentucky school district votes to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons

      From Kentucky:

      “This program … could be a model for the rest of the state and, possibly, the country,” said state Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, who attended the meeting.

    • My understanding is that the AWB did a poor job of differentiating between weapon types (basically, it tried to define an "Assault Weapon" but that wound up being more cosmetic than functional) and that any statistical effect on murders was negligible. Wikipedia has a section on effectiveness that seems to bear that out, but I'm not an expert. I suspect this is one of those deals where you can find evidence for whatever position you want to by slicing data different ways.

      My understanding from a US Prosecutor is that gun crime in America is a complicated subject, but that small groups have a very disproportionate effect on the overall statistics. I believe there are a few zip codes that, if removed, would change the whole picture. The problem is, digging into the data creates political problems that are hard to reconcile, so no one wants to.

      I agree with the point that nothing will be effective in every case, which is not an excuse for doing nothing. But I'm skeptical that the people we have elected to represent us can get much of anything right, let alone a subject as complicated as this.

    • I thought this person on Twitter managed to lay out a pretty compelling and simple set of criteria for what to ban that nicely avoids the "what is an assault rifle" problem:

      - Ban all centerfire semi-automatic rifles with a magazine capacity of more than six rounds.

      - Ban all pistols with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds.

      - Create a year-long exchange program to allow high capacity magazines to be exchanged for compliant ones.

      That's it.

      The beauty of this is that instead of trying to ban specific weapons or vaguely defined classes of weapons, it broadly bans the things we know to be a problem while still leaving plenty of room for hunting, recreational shooting, and self defense. And it doesn't require anyone's guns to be taken away (though the obvious next step would be better background check laws and licensing requirements).

      This wouldn't make mass shootings impossible, but it would make them significantly more difficult. I think this would be a great start.

    • Yes, I ran seismic crews in Wyoming and Montana too. We had to learn quite a bit about Native American lands and customs and I was surprised by how very different the cultures of the different tribes were. Fascinating.

    • Fascinating. After reading your posts and that article, I got interested in what data we do have about who mass shooters are. It turns out we have quite a bit of history now to draw on, tragically.

      They're almost always male. They're usually white and single, separated, or divorced. They face social isolation and tend to lay the blame externally. They hold a grudge.

      That seems to fit quite a lot of people, no?

    • Ugh, that's a scary thought. I was thinking of what Elle Reeve said, the reporter for VICE who made that amazing Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally documentary. The Neo Nazis and white supremacists there were white men and she said it started with misogyny for almost all of them.

    • I never worried about guns while growing up in scotland. However raw violence from fists or make shift knives was and is still rampant. Many never reported. Economic and social issues abound for cause like most places. I also see the school violence and the dumb "world star" culture so disheartening in the US culture. See a act of violence, make sure you have your phone out to capture it, don't worry about stopping it! ugh!

    • flei, the most informative insight I've heard about the NRA is a podcast I heard today between Preet Bharara and Shannon Watts. She said the Trump campaign benefitted from the NRA to the tune of around $30 million during the Trump campaign by the time you add up the numbers. They spent $11.9 million on attack ads against Hillary and said they have to make sure she loses at all costs.

      She said it isn't an organization that represents its members, 77% of whom want better background checks that the NRA opposes. Their sponsors are largely the gun companies and the mission is to improve the profitability of gun manufacturers.

    • I'm in favor of gun control, but one thing I haven't seen in this (excellent) conversation is the effect that the notoriety of school shooters/shootings can have.

      This article is the best I've seen on the topic, citing many of the studies and talking about those conscientious outlets and reporters who have already adopted best practices. Basically: in addition to every other factor leading to the increase in school shootings, the infamy and press coverage that shooters get instigates other shooters. The media should not say their names, should not print their pictures; should definitely not give them a platform for their manifestos and screeds. They should never rank events by killcount, especially in lists and infographics (which I've seen since Parkland in major newspapers that should know better.) That's a high-score list for the next shooter: it reads to that mindset as a challenge and inspiration.

      I'm still not entirely sure how best to go about affecting media coverage: I've been thinking of sending letters to the outlets I support with my subscriptions, and maybe to AP since standards and practices are their bailiwick. We can't suppress the madcap pace of news or change what kind of news gets attention, but conceivably we could create new standards and norms, over time.