Rob Douglas: Newtown and America's violent culture

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Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

For 20 years, I investigated dozens of murders and hundreds of other violent crimes in Washington, D.C. My work provided a front-row seat to the worst man can visit on his fellow man during a period of routine bloodshed that branded Washington as the murder capital of the United States. Sadly, while violent crime in the U.S. is at a 40-year low, there still are more than 14,500 murders every year across the country.

America, especially in many of our urban neighborhoods, is a violent nation with murder ingrained in its culture. As if the real carnage documented on the nightly news isn’t enough, we steep ourselves in violent movies, TV shows and video games as a means of “entertainment.”

Inexplicably, in suburban and rural communities where the mayhem of urban street gangs is absent, too many of our young consume music and videos overflowing with profanity, violence and the sexual degradation of women. Kids, with no meaningful understanding of urban street life, adopt the clothing, language and mannerisms of inner-city thugs. Tragically, even conscientious parents who stop their children from partaking in or imitating the violence that is prevalent in our culture find it nearly impossible to shield their kids from an entertainment industry that thrives on violent imagery and virtual murder.

Arguably, Americans have become impervious to the violence that exists, to one degree or another, in every corner of America. Even an endless string of mass murders hasn’t caused us to look within the soul of America in any meaningful way. Instead, these slaughters become names we can recite like the alphabet: Clackamas, Aurora, Tucson, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Lancaster and Columbine — just to name a few.

And that brings us to the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Will the eradication of 26 innocent lives — 20 of them 6- and 7-year-old first-graders — finally shock us into action? Will the interment of 20 child-sized caskets move us beyond the partisan arguments of the left and right that seemingly crowd out serious examination of causation in a wide-range of scenarios that end violently? Will we look deeper into the American psyche in search of factors that may lead one human to kill another?

Perhaps we will. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s move to expedite access to mental health records by officials performing gun buyer background checks in response to deficiencies found in the wake of the Aurora Theater mass murder could reduce, but certainly not eliminate, access to guns by those deemed a danger because of mental illness.

More importantly, Hickenlooper has signaled a desire to examine cultural influences that may play a role in American violence. That is a discussion worth having. After all, while we never will eradicate mass killings or other incomprehensible acts of violence, we should not allow that reality to prevent us from gaining a better understanding of the role our violent culture plays in influencing criminal behavior in America.

To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Comments

Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

Thoughtful as always, Rob. My dad (in his late 70s) and I recently had a related discussion about the changing cultural paradigm. Dad observed that when he was growing up, he and his peers looked to the upper crust elite for cues on behavior, fashion & affectation. Movie stars, business magnates, athletes & entertainers... very few of them would have been caught dead with tats & piercings & a Glock in their pocket. At the very least, they kept their private escapades cordoned off from their public personas. In the here and now, belligerence & criminal transgressions are embraced & celebrated, and their perpetrators seem inclined to wear that behavior like a badge as often as not. The eagerness with which many try to emulate the affectations of the most violent & criminal among us baffles me. I think I first noticed things trending in that direction during the 80s.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

The gun nuts circling the wagons in a preemptive strike against the legislation hopefully to come doesn't surprise me, but the lack of a reasoned response does.

Rob says "we never will eradicate mass killings" which may be true, sadly -- but we could reduce damages if the kook has to reload every now and then.

Tom says we must have equal firepower -- I don't know what you're smoking, Tom, but it must be better than mine. Every National Guard armory has more automatic weapons stored than are running loose in the nearby society, even counting Mark's arsenal. How many are you good for, Mark? I've seen our SWAT team sporting their M4's, surely more where those came from, and this is not to even consider active-duty military. I hate to disappoint you, Tom, but the masses will NEVER equal the firepower of the powers that be. And if they ever think they do, and put them to use, an F-18 or Harrier will quickly turn the tide the other direction. How will your bunkers hold up to a smart bomb? While I fantasize about armed revolution too, such a move would be suicide -- but give it a shot, guys!!

I have done a full 180 in my views of gun control, in light of recent events, as I've stated in another forum, but will repeat here: It should be a Federal offense, or at least a State felony, for private citizens to possess handguns or assault weapons, those being defined as anything full auto, or with a magazine capacity greater than 5, say. Don't tell me it can't be done; Dad used to have to put a plug in his 12-gauge, when I was a kid in South Dakota, so it could no more than 3 shells, before he could legally hunt waterfowl -- which he did, gladly, for the privilege. Anybody found in possession of such weapons goes to jail. Period. Canada prohibits handguns as well as assault weapons, and when was the last mass shooting up there? I learned the hard way; now they own a sweet .357 Ruger that used to be mine. Throwing up our hands in despair, admitting defeat, is the WRONG approach -- we'll deal with it on a case-by-case basis, if we have to, and the problem will recede as the crooks reveal themselves. Like a cop I might be related to once said -- We don't have to go looking for drunks, you make yourselves evident. Same with the gun nuts.

And while prohibiting the disturbed from procuring ANY firearm would go a ways, neither our Newtown shooter, nor Harris and Klebold, nor several other of our recent maniac shooters, had been idedntified as having issues or was under treatment. They just snapped. But better communication between therapists and gun dealers could help, no doubt.

Sporting firearms -- rifles and shotguns -- will remain fully unregulated, and I can envision no legitimate need for anything more. Not even revolution -- if you can't hit them from 300 yards, you shouldn't be playing that game. Because they'll tear you up, at close proximity. Equal firepower is a dangerous delusion, and no more.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

Rebel Without A Cause was apparently a science fiction movie set 50 years in the future since kids didn't rebel then, but would in the future?

Sure piercings and tattoos are the new fashion in rebelling. Rebelling has always included fashion and music as well as breaking laws and daring to be caught.

Maybe teenager Brian looked to emulate the elite, but there were certainly some peers that were not acceptable to polite society.

There are differences in various countries number of violent incidents. But the most striking difference is that in the US that a far higher percentage of violent incidents involve guns and are thus more deadly.

Sad fact is that while guns are promoted for personal protection, in the unlikely event that the gun is used then it is almost always used against a family member or the gun owner. the good news is that most of the time that most people can avoid gun violence by not having a gun.in their residence.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

America contains more guns than people. Over 300 million in civilian hands alone. The toothpaste is out of the tube and we're not going to put it back. It's a culture that's been centuries in the making, and it won't be appreciably changed.

Criminalizing weapons that frighten the anti-gun crowd will have zero impact on criminals and the deranged. There are more than 20,000 gun laws on the books already. At least one of them prevented the Connecticut shooter from purchasing a rifle a week before his meltdown. If his mother didn't have weapons him to steal, he would have acquired them elsewhere. Reports indicate he was sufficiently bright, resourceful, & determined.

The ignorance of existing gun legislation can be breathtaking. Rhys opines that fully-automatic small arms should be illegal. Um, they have been since the National Firearms Act was passed in 1934. It imposed a stiff tax and erected a labyrinth of legal hoops to jump through, and required the weapon to be registered. That registry was closed during the Reagan administration. Since 1986 there is no fully-automatic weapon a civilian can legally possess. And yet, full auto weapons continue to be used to commit crimes. Serious bad guys either make their own (not hard to do) or smuggle them across our porous borders along with their usual payloads of narcotic contraband. I have no doubt criminal scumbags are grateful we've kept those weapons away from the law-abiding.

If all you know about defensive handgunning comes from Hollywood, then the proposal to limit magazine capacities to 5 rounds is eminently sensible. In the real world, one-shot stops – particularly from handguns – are exceedingly rare. The most recent assault weapons ban limited mag capacity to 10 rounds. I invite you to take a ballistic wound class. Go over case after case after case of the rage-filled, drug-fueled, or bada$$ ex-convicts who've absorbed 4, 6, 9, 15 rounds and still walked under their own power to the ambulance. In self defense extremis, more rounds is the optimal choice.

Finally, the vast majority of self defensive handgun deployments are never recorded or tracked. Here are two examples:

While I was an infant, my parents took a day trip to the mountains.

We stopped at one of their favorite spots. At some point during our stay, a couple of bikers rolled in. Dad could tell they were trouble, so he packed wife & kid into the car. During the load up, one of the bikers shouted at Dad to hand over “summa that gook %#$$y” (Mom was Asian). Loudmouth wheeled his hog behind the car, blocking our exit. He dismounted, walked to the the driver's window & leaned in to find himself looking down the barrel of dad’s .357. Loudmouth backed away slowly, and returned to his bike. He and his compadre saddled up and rode off.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

Continued:

When I was in my 20s, I owned a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda, which I towed to a friend's building for storage. The building was somewhat off the beaten path in a semi-wooded area. As I pulled in, there were a couple guys about my age sharing a crack pipe. I rolled down the window & said "Hate to tell you guys, but this is private property." One of them cursed, picked up a piece of rebar and advanced. I let him see my pistol at him and told him to simmer down. Both men split.

Both incidents were reported to the police, but not recorded as defensive use statistics because no shots were fired in either case. The CDC has recently begun factoring those sorts of episodes into their data, and the estimates range from 800k to 2.5 million defensive uses annually.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 10 months ago

LaPierre of the NRA called for the establishment of National Data Base on all mentally ILL people in the country this morning.... if I'm not mistaken that would be most of us... everyone who takes zoloff... suffers depression...most of the military suffering from PTSS, etc etc.... lets stygmatize anyone who suffers from the loss of a love one and is depressed, lets brand anyone who as Attention Deficient Disorder (most of our kids nowadays)... etc etc etc... I thought I was in another centruy listening to this guy... was unreal...... Armed guards in every school.... how many would it take to cover our high school or the middle school complex here in town??? how many exits are there??? The issue is access and excessive fire power.... how many people here go hunting w a 30 round clip??? how many people need one?? DO you use Ballistic armour clothing when you hunt?? Lets address the real issues please

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

This is one of those issues that partial solutions do not work. It does no good to ban new assault weapons unless they plan on getting owners to turn in their existing assault weapons. It does no good to ban large magazines and leaving 30 million existing.

We need to either accept what Australians did after a massacre there which is that someone owning an assault weapon is a danger to the public. While it may not be a danger today that it is an ever present danger since the owner could have problems in the future. And thus, Australia banned assault weapons and paid people to turn in their guns. Assault weapons are exceedingly hard to get in Australia now.

Or we say Americans feel safer owning assault weapons and want to keep them.

There is no middle ground that should be expected to make any difference It is pointless to ban new assault weapons or expand mental health checks since the potential gun buyer can simply buy an existing weapon from a private citizen.

We should either accept that once in a while a bunch of people are randomly killed by guns and ever day there are individual shootings, or we get rid of 90% of the guns.

I really do not care which way we go. I know people that enjoy their guns. There is also the ever present risk that some drunk or mentally ill person will shoot me or someone I care about. That is and has been life in America.

But this "What a terrible tragedy so lets do something ineffective" is stupid. The NRA's theory that every school needs an armed guard is silly since that just becomes the first target of the massacre. And then are they going to post an armed guard on every school bus? At every afternoon sport practice? With every group of kids walking home? Seems to me that the NRA's "solution" admits that gun violence is totally out of control and either everyone needs to be an armed guard at all times or that the access to guns needs to become very limited.

Just as the gun control crowd's talk of limiting new assault weapons and large magazines while doing nothing about existing supply is silly. The last assault weapons ban let manufacturers keep making the same guns but as a different model with cosmetic changes.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Back in the KC race riots of the '60's, Dad put the Browning in the family car for self defense, and I have discouraged those who would have done me harm with a Winchester. If a little gun will scare away the crooks, think what a big gun will do. Nobody needs a handgun, unless their intent is crime.

Scott is right -- there is no halfway solution -- ALL handguns and assault weapons should be banned from private possession, at the risk of prison and a felony record. Book 'em. Every damn one we can find.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

When I walked guard duty in the Suck, we didn't carry M16's, the weapon of choice for firefights, which usually occur at some distance, and involve lots of people -- we carried Remington Model 870's, 12-gauge 00 buckshot -- by far a superior weapon for close-in fighting -- self-defense, by definition. And a good bird gun, loaded up with #4 or #6 shot.

The argument that assault weapons are needed for self-defense is pure hooey, cited by the insecure and paranoid to cling to their precious security.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe you also remmebr back then M-16s jammed all the time... The 'ole double was the weapon of choice... not to mention that you were much more selective in using your weapon then spraying everything in sight . There is absolutely no reason for anyone not in the military or law enforcement to own an assault weapon........

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

John -- You're right, the M16 is junk, the M4 somewhat better, which offers a 3-shot burst option, before the recoil has rounds spraying everywhere -- you have to push the barrel down, on full auto, just to keep the spray in the same relative plane -- and forget about accuracy. Great for shooting into a crowd -- not so, for a specific target.

You are correct, sir -- there is no need for assault weapons in any society, nor handguns. They both lead to more trouble than they ever fix.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 10 months ago

May I add one more observation... in all this talk about guns,,,, I rarely see anyone ask someone who has had to take a life.... from police officers to front and I underline front line military troops... and the presence of mind to aim / shoot and hit...... its one thing at a firing range playing with your gun or playing with your video game......and totally another to have the presence of mind to use it...... under stress.

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John St Pierre 1 year, 10 months ago

I find it quite amusing that the same people who fear Obama is leading us to a police state are now the same people happy the NRA is insisting on one.....

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Fred Duckels 1 year, 10 months ago

In society today lack of character seems to be a celebrated state and we are harvestimg the results.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

OMG -- The sky is falling AGAIN!! Oh well. Any characters lacking, party at 8, and don't be late. We're all going to The Hole together!!

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Why go halfway? We don't need, nor can we afford, more cops. Extending the NRA's logic, why don't we just arm the kids? Let them protect themselves. Pack a little .32 along with lunch. That'd thin out the kooks real quick, huh.

If Tom has his 'druthers, he'd shoot up a whole flock of cranes on full auto. You've got to consider the source. Tom scares me as much as the loons. He LOVES to kill. Cranes, bears, folks, it don't matter. Give him a chance, he's judge, jury, and executioner. People like him are exactly WHY I support stricter gun controls.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

Let's face it, America is a dangerous place. According to the Supreme Court, our Constitution gives people the right to own guns. A significant number of people enjoy that right.

We have the highest murder rate of any developed country. Our murder rate for murder committed by knives, hands, poison and other non gun methods is about the same as those methods in some other developed countries. So we are not inherently more violent or have deep societal flaws not seen in other countries.

Our difference is that we love guns. We have a hunting culture that is fading away with the number of hunters decreasing. But our gun culture is thriving with numerous people rushing out to buy guns on any suggestion that some people would like to ban some guns.

Guns simply make it so much more likely that someone will shoot someone else. It is well established that easy access to gun increases the amount of gun violence. Most gun violence is caused by people on drugs, alcohol or otherwise impaired. A gun allows an impaired person to quickly kill others. Having more people carry guns does not reduce gun violence because it means that are now more people that could become impaired and stupidly use a gun.

So if you love your guns then go ahead and say that there is no form of gun control that is constitutional that makes any difference, go ahead and claim your constitutional right to own guns, but please don't claim more guns makes it safer. That is known to be false.

I find it ironic that gun lovers that proclaim their need to own guns to protect themselves from the government are so willing to suggest we should have armed guards every place that people gather that present the opportunity for a massacre. Gun lovers want freedom from government and armed guards everywhere? I'd think that if you want freedom that then you wouldn't want a massive armed police presence like in police states.

Incidents like the firefighters shot and killed when showing up to fight a fire is going to increase the calls for limiting the firepower of legal guns. Presumably, anything able to fire more than 10 rounds in 60 seconds could be banned since Founding Fathers would recognize anything able to fire faster than that as a form of specialized military hardware and not as a personal firearm.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

And by "banning" - there is no way to get rid of existing guns in the US. But they could ban the sale, carrying and unregulated transport of those weapons.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Tom -- Watch your quotes, and don't go putting words in my blogs. Nowhere were you accused of killing people -- just that you loved killing in general, target secondary, and could very easily include people. Why else would you own assault weapons and handguns?

Did I list paranoid among your attributes?

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

I own fire extinguishers. I must love putting out fires. I probably even start them just so I can pull the pins on my beloved red canisters. I own a couple of cars. Motor vehicles kill 3x as many Americans annually than firearms; you can be sure I look forward to killing people whenever I get behind the wheel. Because those who disagree with you must always conform to the most infantile caricatures you can invent.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Brian -- While fire extinguishers and cars may inadvertently kill people, that is not their designed purpose. Your logic is faulty.

Tom -- You yourself state that the reason you keep assault weapons is for when "those in authority" get too oppressive. Not for hunting, not for knick-knacks, but to kill people when you feel you have to. Squirm your way out of that one.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

Fire extinguishers kill people? Wow. Learn something new every day.

My logic is spot on. Your ludicrous allegation that gun owners are paranoid bloodthirsty murderers in waiting is beyond childish. You've leapt headlong into the fevered swamps once occupied by seeuski & thalgard, and it's a challenge to take you seriously anymore.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

"Guns don't kill people -- people kill people." Lacking a gun, I'm sure you could make a fire extinguisher work. Point being -- and I'm disappointed that you couldn't add it up yourself -- you are comparing apples and pogo sticks -- ie, ain't none. Faulty logic. Take a course.

Yet again my words are fabricated: Find ONE PLACE where I specified "gun owners." My issues are specifically with assault weapons and handguns. Squirm away, your breed is like minnows flopping in the puddles of a receding river. Forget Obama; maybe the Chinese will let you keep your arsenals, but I'd bet not.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm still waiting for one logical reason to own assault weapons or handguns, except to kill people. If that's "ad hominem" to you, your Latin is suspect, in addition to your logic.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

PS -- "Defending liberty" is a lame rationalization. When and if the time comes, WWIII will be settled without firing a shot, in the boardrooms, courtrooms, and Federal Reserve headquarters of the world. Go ahead, attack any or all of those for us -- PLEASE!! Then you'll learn about assault weapons.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

There is no "logical reason" to own skis.

No "logical reason" to spend time snowboarding, skiing, mt. biking. No logical reason to eat pizza or drink beer of go to a football game or even watch one on TV. No "logical reason" to own a dog or take that animal skiing.

People who ask such such stupid questions are approaching things from a standpoint of individuals not having personal rights, of a government having de-facto rights, and of a majority having the right to deny individuals' freedoms.

Such beliefs are FOOLISH and FALSE and play right into the hands of the Hitler's of world history.

It is government which needs authority to act; government which needs to explain why it needs "one logical reason..." NOT the individual. If the individual wants to jump off a bridge, fly a kite or slide down a hill on a board it's nobody elses damned business, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others.

I don't need a "logical reason". And I sure as hell don't need to list my reason, logical or otherwise, in order to retain my rights to act. Even if the whole damned world disagrees it is STILL not encumbant upon me to explain my desire or need or choices.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

Totally doesn't matter, I guess, but one my best friends in the whole wolrd is from Newtown, CT. No big deal, I suppose; just means it's more to me than some distant point on a map.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

Perhaps I don't really worry too much about banning "assault weapons" because I think it would be about as effective as most other things Uncle Scam does.

Heroine is banned.

Cocaine is banned.

DUI is banned.

Robbery... illegal.

Rape... banned.

Arson, theft... crimes.

Until last month smoking pot was banned but you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a pothead. Pot was plentiful... still is!

"Assault Weapons" will remain plentiful too.

One need only turn on the evening news to see ample evidence that ours is a "heart" problem, NOT a "law" problem.

Laws do not change men. Men change laws because they do not wish to change their hearts.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

What a crock of semi-coherent gibberish. Your words are like your bullets: Spray enough of them randomly, maybe you'll hit SOMETHING. If volume alone wins, you are the victors. If only it were so simple. Unfortunately they must also survive critical analysis, where they fall far short. Tag teams won't win this fight. Neither will cheap insults. Only well-reasoned arguments score points in this forum, and your premises, like your conclusions and your bullets, are missing their mark.

"rights to act"? Oh my, who are you going to shoot up? Cops? Feds? The army? WHO? Once your pop guns are outlawed, your "rights" are gone, you cease being our tireless defenders and paper tigers, and you instantly become criminals. Keep squawking, so they know where to go first.

Circle the wagons, Festus, the heathens have you surrounded.

Oh, Merry Christmas too!!

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

I wouldn't know about the "critical analysis"; haven't read any so far.

Just a bunch of venom from ignorant egalitarians who presume to think that their opinions should somehow be weighed against my rights.

Other than the joy of pissing you off, Rhys, I don't give a rats A** what you or anyone else thinks concerning my activities... whether it be gun-collecting, snowmobiling, knitting, or just chumming for dingbats on this blog. (i got a big one on the line right now).

Your opinion of my rights counts for NOTHING, Rhys... NOTHING...

Why don't you spend more time earning a living and less time spouting off about things that are none of your business? Maybe then you wouldn't have to go to your grave saying stupid things like "... oh. to be rich..."

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

And...

"I'm still waiting for one logical reason to own..." skis... You do own skis, don't you??? When your skis are outlawed your "rights" will be gone bla bla bla...

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Skis weren't designed to kill either. You just don't get it, do you?

I can't WAIT for the government to take away your "rights" and make you a criminal by mere possession. Now thanks to other kooks like yourself, it'll happen just that much sooner. We won't have to wait for the Chinese to do it. Your ilk spelled your own future.

With all the venom flowing in your veins, the sooner the better. Now go light up a theater or something, it may be your last chance, without having to reload anyway.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

Gonna ban hammers next, Rhys?

William Spengler used a hammer to beat his grandmother to death. Why was he walking around on earth instead of lighting fires in Hell? Liberal criminal policies from folks like you, that's why.

Going to ban Bic lighters next, Rhys? William Spengler used a Bic Lighter to torch his own home and those of 6 other families on Christmas eve. Why wasn't he still in jail for beating his grandmother to death 17 years earlier? Folks like you, Rhys. That's why.

Going to ban "assault" weapons next, Rhys? William Spemgler was a convicted felon and already banned from having "assault" weapons. But he got one anyway, didn't he Rhys??? Just like he got the hammer, Rhys. Just like he got the Bic lighter, Rhys.

Keep on tokin, Rhys...

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

Hammers ... "weren't designed to kill..." either.

Bic lighters weren't "designed to kill" either.

Women weren't "designed" to be prostitutes, but they are equipped for it.

Men were not "designed" to be murderers, but they always find a way.

Genisis 4:8 "... and it came to pass that, when they were in the field, Cain rose up against HIS BROTHER Able, and slew him."

Just a wee bit before guns were invented.

It's a heart problem, Rhys. Until you get that you will always be looking for answers where none are to be found.

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john bailey 1 year, 10 months ago

gentlemen, while i'm enjoying the banter on this particular subject for christs sake can you please give it a rest for today? now don't touch that gun it might jump up and kill someone. go outside and enjoy the snow.merry christmas, tom, rhys, and mark.

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rhys jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Truce over? Good. Just a couple of closing thoughts:

In an effort to prove he's not as stupid as he sounds, Mark accuses me if being an "ignorant egalitarian." Dictionary.com defines egalitarian

adjective 1. asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life. noun 2. a person who adheres to egalitarian beliefs.

which implies his opinion is somehow worth more than my own. Maybe to him, but not at the polls, as we saw demonstrated in the last election.

For those who would also like their nothing-voice to be heard, I offer the following link:

http://www.demandaplan.org/

There you can join over 800,000 of us in demanding action from President Obama. Enough nothing-opinions will add up to something.

Now it seems we have beaten this subject to a pulp, so, barring another especially egregious personal insult, this "dingbat" is off to more productive pursuits.

Cheers, chumps!! The rest of you, please sign our petition. Make the loons reload occasionally.

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mark hartless 1 year, 10 months ago

They found the body of William Spengler's sister.

He was the guy who beat his grandmother to death with a hammer.

The guy who was let out of prison.(ask yourself which pollitical persuasion pushes to let hammer murderers out of prison?)

The guy who was BANNED from having an "assault" rifle.

Her charred remains were found in one of the seven homes he burned on Christmas eve.

They also found a note from this monster that said he intended to "burn the entire neighborhood to the ground, and do what I like doing best... KILLING PEOPLE."

How do you stop someone like that? A law? A rule?

Enforced by who? The same law enforcement that can't keep drugs out of society? That can't keep drugs and weapons out of schools?


Would making our entire nation into a police state do the trick?

We already have such places as examples. Our nations prisons are police states where people have the kind of rights that some on the left would usher in for the rest of us; and how does it work there? They are the most drug infested, violent, miserable places one could possibly go.

So go ahead, turn this country into a police state. Put yourself into a prison in order to curtail others' rights with whom you disagree. Put the gubbamint in charge, they're trustworthy executors of your freedoms. Let your hatred of your fellow Americans be the ax you use to cut away your own liberties.

Tell yourself that, although it has never worked, this time it will.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 10 months ago

Like head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre, your argument convinces others of the seriousness of the problem.

That a convicted murderer can use an assault rifle with flash suppression convinces others that these sort of weapons should not exist in private hands. That the existence of these military style guns is what allows someone to effectively ambush firefighters. On the other hand, this does not suggest that hammers should be banned because while someone with a hammer could attack firefighters, it would not be nearly as effective as hiding with an assault rifle with flash suppression.

And the need for a swat team to travel with firefighters and the need for armed guards wherever children gather is the unaffordable police state that concerns the rest of the population. Gun owners can worry about creating a police state to remove assault weapons. Meanwhile, the rest of the population worries about the police state needed to protect the population from the nuts with military style assault weapons.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 10 months ago

The worst of the school shootings (VA Tech) was carried out with a pair of pistols - a 9 millimeter and a .22, which did not enable the shooter to kill x number of people in x number of seconds. They did allow him to kill 30 people in 9 minutes, and two more a couple hours later. He brought 17 magazines to the party, and no one stopped him between reloads. Ban semi-auto long guns all you like. It won't change a thing.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

http://news.yahoo.com/group-offers-weapons-training-utah-teachers-173649952.html

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than 200 Utah teachers are expected to pack a convention hall on Thursday for six hours of concealed-weapons training as organizers seek to arm more educators in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting.

The Utah Shooting Sports Council said it normally gathers a dozen teachers every year for instruction that's required to legally carry a concealed weapon in public places. The state's leading gun lobby decided to offer teachers the training at no charge to encourage turnout, and it worked.

Organizers who initially capped attendance at 200 were exceeding that number by Wednesday and scrambling to accommodate an overflow crowd.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Scott,

You could make a ton of money as an attorney because you could represent both the plaintiff and the defendant with equal vigor in each and every case.


I don't own many guns anymore. Just kinda got out of the sport altogether in the last 5 or 6 years and I totally quit hunting because I just don't like killing things anymore.

However, I have a feeling that all my remaining guns are gonna' get "stolen" just a few days before the "Great Gun Ban of 2013" goes into effect. I further expect that millions upon millions of guns will be "stolen" around that same time. Call it a hunch...

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

Even if Americans suddenly agreed with the anti-gun crowd and a ban/confiscation was approved tomorrow, there are over 300 million weapons to be seized – an initiative that would take generations. So the practical application of disarming the law abiding would be what we already know too well: when one of these monsters goes off the rails, innocent people are defenseless and left to cower and hide and wait to be slaughtered. Except that now, in addition to being a function of random whackjobs and sociopaths, it is also the official policy imposed by the state, as the great unwashed are not to be trusted with their own defense. It also means that the only armed members of society are agents of the state. And as any cop will tell you: when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

In 1938, Hitler enacted Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons. It prohibited Jews from “Possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons.” In the here and now, our betters have determined that the entire population be similarly disabled. There is an entirely appropriate label for that ideology: evil.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Tom,

That article is the best argument I have ever seen for people to buy their guns second hand, without permits, without registering them, without asking anyones permission.

It further illustrates that Uncle Scam(or a state like NY) can not be trusted to keep such information private.

Everyone involved in the release of that information should be sued by those gun owners.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

A while back USA Today took a poll, asking it's readers the following question:

"Does the second ammendment give individual citizens the right to keep and bear arms?"

I wonder what our local bloggers think about that...

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 9 months ago

Assault weapons capacity for killing lots of people quickly is scary even for hunters and other gun owners.

Talking of the need to have unlimited guns to defend yourself from government is scary to law enforcement. I think the more that radical gun owners talk about the need to have guns to defend themselves from government then the more the rest the population thinks about limiting the firepower those people are allowed to own. The slippery slope is allowing individuals such firepower that the police have to start traveling in armored vehicles, schools need multiple armed guards and swat teams have to respond with firefighters. That is the sort of police state that no one wants.

It makes no sense to suggest that banning assault weapons will lead to banning all guns. Banning machine guns didn't ban all guns. Banning personal possession of hand grenades has not banned all guns. So there is no reason to believe that banning assault weapons which are notable for having large capacity magazines that can be quickly replaced will lead to a ban on shotguns, hunting rifles or standard handguns.

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mark hartless 1 year, 9 months ago

Scott,

The founders enumerated the individuals right to bear arms at a time in history when citizens/ militia carried weapons more similar to those used by the military than any time since. Therefore, they intended for citizens to have access to THE SAME weapons which could be used against them.

Furthermore, Uncle Scam brought a lot of this "...defend ourself against government" crap on itself when it started ignoring Posse Comitatus. They sent military hardware from Ft Hood to Waco, a DIRECT VIOLATION OF POSSE COMITATUS and ended up killing 80-some people including 20-some kids.

They (Lon Horiuchi of FBI fame) shot a woman in the head at Ruby Ridge, ID while she stood on her front porch with a baby in her arms. He had once bragged about how he could hit a quarter at 200 meters.

Bottom line: People don't trust the government and government gives them more reasons to distrust it EVERY SINGLE DAY. With that mistrust at such levels it will likjely be a cold day in Hell when most Americans hand over ANY of their guns.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Even given my 'druthers, I'd still rather have a Remington A-bolt M-1000 with a Leupold Mark 4 scope -- in .308 -- so I could lift my enemy's AK ammo, after I dust him from a half mile away. Much safer that way. And the Feds won't come looking for my gun.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

I forgot my point: Those people are crazy, buying those claptraps they'll never use, when there are so many more practical options available -- unless, of course, you really WANT to shoot into crowds. Then one of those junkers is for you.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

And now my inner dolt is showing -- that's a Browning .308. I prefer quality to quantity.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

If you won't bother to summarize the links you cite, I won't bother to click on them.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

I went ahead and clicked it, just to give you equal time. Fox news, the bastion of objective reporting. And mouthpiece of right-wing extremists. Idiocy multiplied.

From the Arizona Republic, right-wing central -- click the link below, to see how Mexico is banning even toy guns:

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/free/20130104mexico-city-destroys-toy-guns-fight-crime.html

Feed the birds.

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rhys jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah I really miss right-wing redneck propaganda. Feed the birds.

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