Drop it.

I love babies as much as the next person — possibly more — but even I was sort of disappointed to learn the eagle video wasn’t for real:

It totally fooled me. I was talking once to a guy in the Upper Peninsula; we were talking about seeing a salmon that had chosen a nearby shoreline to wash up on, and the carrion-eaters that would soon carry it away. Raccoons. Eagles.

“I go walking on the ice in the winter with the dog” — a cairn terrier — “and sometimes those things circle around like they’re thinking about having him for lunch.” A cairn terrier weighs less than a six-year-old, but it’s always nice to have your worst fears confirmed.

But I guess this one is just a clever final exam in an art class. Still, en route to watching it, I did discover these driving dogs:

So that’s good. The only thing missing — not enough horn-honking. I always thought a world where dogs could drive would include a lot more honking.

It’s been almost a week since last Friday, and I’ve started to calm down, not tearing up unexpectedly, punching pillows, etc. But as the dust settles, it looks like I’m going to have to start fussin’ again, because I can’t get past something that now looks like a permanent part of the debate. That is, the pro-gun contention that “gun-free zones” are part of the problem.

I confess, I’d never been aware of it until 2004, when I spent some time in the Twin Cities and saw a big sign on the door to Minnesota Public Radio, advising the building was a gun-free zone. It was explained this was part of the new law, with lots of eye-rolling. OK, I get it: If you want to opt out of the state’s new yee-ha-freedom gun laws, you may invoke your other sacred right (private property) and do so. I stopped noticing them after about a day. And I assumed everyone else did, too.

The problem with carrying a gun, at least to me, is one of practicality. Those suckers are heavy. Holsters are big and clumsy, hot in warm seasons, impractical in all of them. There’s a reason cops are universally seen as lousy dressers; their sports jackets hang all wrong. I know a few people who pack heat in Detroit for reasons of their own, and they all opt for the time-honored Motor City holster — the glove compartment. Women have purses, but, again: Heavy. The slenderest, most compact ladies’ model Smith & Wesson would crowd out my wallet in even my roomiest bag, make reaching for the Tic Tacs problematic and eventually cut a rut in my shoulder.

So when we talk about gun-free zones, who are we talking about? Open carriers? Are there that many out there? You all live all over the country, so you tell me. One of my colleagues in Fort Wayne had a brother in Texas who wore a holster everywhere, all the time, but I don’t see it around here. (Of course, in Detroit, it’s wise to assume that every single person you meet is packing, which has resulted in our extremely civil, virtually violence-free metro area. But they don’t wear them on their hips, for the most part.)

If we’re not talking about open carry, how are gun-free zones enforced? No one asked to look in my bag when I was in Minnesota; it was all on the honor system. And because people who feel threatened enough to feel they must be armed at all times are unlikely to even approve of the idea of gun-free zones, much less follow the rules, I’ve just assumed the signs are like the old joke about wetting your pants in a navy-blue suit — a nice warm feeling no one notices.

Consequently, I have a hard time believing, as the current pro-gun talking point has it, that these mass murderers are choosing schools, movie theaters, malls, etc., because “they know no one will return fire.” I just don’e. It goes contrary to everything I know of crazy people, including the ones who believe this crap.

Which brings me to something I found via Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alan Jacobns in (yes) the American Conservative:

But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.

Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Moreover, the person who wishes to live this way, to maintain order at universal gunpoint, has an absolute trust in his own ability to use weapons wisely and well: he never for a moment asks whether he can be trusted with a gun. Of course he can! (But in literature we call this hubris.)

Yup.

So here’s my bottom line: We can’t have a discussion, or whatever, until some participants stop lying. Let’s start with that one.

And let’s do some bloggage!

Steven Rattner on the coming conclusion of the GM rescue.

Finally, why I was at the camel farm Tuesday. Link will work after 8 a.m. EST.

Posted at 7:33 am in Current events |
 

66 responses to “Drop it.”

  1. Connie said on December 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Open carry groups did demonstrations this year in local public libraries in Lansing and Birmingham. I personally think the children’s room in particular is a bad place for open carry of big guns.

    My husband shot pictures last August of an open carry guy with shoulder holster at a local community street fair. He was there to protect us all from bad barbecue.

  2. coozledad said on December 20, 2012 at 8:13 am

    It’s not enough that they aren’t ashamed of themselves for their stupid childishness. They’re playing the victim and going on the offensive at the same time. Michelle Malkin’s going after Eric Loomis for using a common figure of speech about that fucking hookworm La Pierre.

    The temporary silence from them is just them coordinating how they’ll lash out, and blame us instead of one of their own pieces of homeschooled gun licking human garbage.

    At least Doug J. at Balloon juice has helpfully provided some insight on how McArdle held down that job at the Atlantic for so long:
    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/12/19/but-i-used-a-little-too-much-force/

    Sully’s just as big an unserious dumbass as McCardle.

    The only good news we’re likely to get for a couple of months is that Robert Bork is fucking dead. No bardo state. Straight to the cookhouse.

  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Alan Jacobs is often quite readable. I take flack from some of my fellow mainline Protestant clergy because our doors do not have the gun-free zone signs; there’s at least two cops regularly in worship, and their assertion is that they are expected to carry at all times. When we discussed this last, I chose not to dispute the point, but asked that they not carry weapons if they are serving (diaconate or elder) up in the chancel — the raised area in the front of the building where the communion table (aka altar in some churches) and choir and pulpit/lectern are. That traditionally has been a weapon-free zone, which is why grooms have a “best man,” since his job with the groomsmen was to stand at the chancel steps, swords at their hip, and protect the altar while the couple and clergy step to the table for the vows: the groom had to leave any edged weapons behind before going up those steps.

    Everyone agreed that was fair but one fellow, not a cop, not any other public safety role, just a militia member (an actual Ohio militia officer). He argued that his right could not be infringed, and I pointed out that’s why the flags are in the front of the nave, but below the chancel steps, because it’s like an embassy — the chancel is extra-territorial for the Realm of God, and I reserve the right to assert that his Second Amendment rights can, in fact, be suspended in that space during worship. I have no idea where that argument came from, having made it up on the spot.

    Major Militia was quite taken with the idea of ambassadorial status for the church chancel, dropped the argument, and has reminded me on many an occasion that he keeps his Ruger in the glove compartment when he’s singing in the choir, and I say “thank you.” I only found out after the fact from a Catholic priest colleague that this is exactly how most parishes slice the melon, given that they’re even more likely than my denomination to have current & retired cops in the congregation. No “gun-free zone” signage in most parishes, but it’s understood that if you’re serving even just to do a reading on the altar platform, you don’t pack, even concealed, and you can take your Constitutional rights and leave them in your car, or at least with your spouse in the pew. But Fr. Shonebarger did recall a Sunday when an usher came up to him after service, walked him to a back pew, and pointed out a .38 in a holster sitting between the missals. Turned out in the end it belonged to an undercover cop and fell out of the back of his pants – all that standing, sitting, kneeling.

    • nancy said on December 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

      See, this is why I’m so glad you’re a part of this group, Jeff. I had no idea.

      (On the other hand, how do you lose a gun carried on your body? I know the weight of my purse down to the gram, which helps me immensely when I’ve taken my wallet out for some reason, then neglected to put it back.)

  4. beb said on December 20, 2012 at 8:32 am

    These open carry laws seem to prove Atrois’ comment that every gun not he’s ever met has a secret fantasy of killing a black man.

    I thought cops were bad dressers because, unlelss they were taking bribes, they couldn’t afford a good suit of clothes.

    Besides the nuttiness of “gun-free zones being the cause of massacres there is now the growing idea that we could mandate that some teachers be armed in school. First teachers were lazy, over-paid, sucking at the teat of America, incompetent union lackeys and now they’re to be our first line of defense against armed crazy people? What cops are too good for schools?

  5. nancy said on December 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Tom and Lorenzo spin one-liners off the national costume parade at the Miss Universe pageant. I can’t wait for part 2!

  6. beb said on December 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    gun nut not “not”

  7. beb said on December 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Also
    http://www.salon.com/writer/alex_pareene/

    The annual series on journalistic hackitude

  8. Basset said on December 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Maybe some of the more strident open-carry advocates should be required to have their penises out whenever they’re packing just to show what they’re making up for.

  9. Mark P said on December 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

    My uncle, now in his 90′s, was a cop in Ohio. When he was a detective, he said that he felt undressed without his pistol, so he wore it everywhere, including church.

    I think the people calling for more gun carrying are fantasizing. They have seen too many Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson movies. I have a strong suspicion that if they found themselves in a shooting incident, they would do one of two things: 1) shoot themselves in the foot, or 2) piss their pants.

  10. coozledad said on December 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

    The miss universe pageant has come up against hard economic realities and is now costuming straight from the damn Hobby Lobby.

  11. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Didn’t one of those open carry guys in Birmingham shoot himself in the foot or leg at the demonstration. As Steven Wright would say: “That cracks me up.

    One movie I definitely will not be seeing. Holy BirdCrap, what a horrendous idea.

    Here’s a catalog of some of the franking stupidest shit that has been said on the subject of the massacre.

    Ann Coulter says more guns is “proven policy” for preventing mass shootings. She offers no proof, of course.

  12. Mark P said on December 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Prospero, I followed the link to the catalog of right-wing responses. It makes me long for the days before they emptied the mental health facilities. Of course these people would actually have been sent to places more accurately called loony bins.

  13. Danny said on December 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Ann Coulter says more guns is “proven policy” for preventing mass shootings. She offers no proof, of course.

    Actually, she did: Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week, Winnemucca, Nev., 2008, Appalachian School of Law, 2002, Santee, Calif., 2001, Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997, Edinboro, Pa., 1998.

    But I don’t agree with her argument. I cannot imagine a world where the only way to mitigate gun violence is for us all to pack heat. I agree with at least part of the argument that incremental adjustments to gun laws will be ineffective, but I do not agree with anyone that says we need more guns to be safe.

    Back to my comment from a few days ago, how do we get this toothpaste back in the tube? Having a gun-free zone in a public place is kind of like having a no-peeing zone in a swimming pool. Short of confiscating everyone’s guns, how would this work? Cooler heads seem to be talking more about the harder part of this, the mental health piece of the puzzle.

  14. Danny said on December 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I mean, “anyone who says..””

  15. brian stouder said on December 20, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Nancy says -

    It’s been almost a week since last Friday, and I’ve started to calm down, not tearing up unexpectedly, punching pillows, etc. But as the dust settles, it looks like I’m going to have to start fussin’ again

    And again I’m reminded of how easy it is to reside up here in the cheap seats. We’ve probably all been off our pins since the news began breaking last Friday; hell, in amongst the national news that afternoon, I also heard that Fort Wayne’s North Side high school – probably 1400 students(?) – was being evacuated. That turned out to be a small fire in a maintenance area – but the news made my heart stop for a few moments, as the word from Connecticut worsened and worsened.

    By way of saying, if any blog depended upon me (for example) for a daily update, it would have gone dark Friday, and would probably still be quietly adrift.

    But our proprietress has (rather valiantly) kept the show going on hereabouts, and as a Christmas Bonus produced that marvelous Bridge assignment, too. (yesterday it crossed my mind to ask how it came to be that she had occasion to snap photos of horney camels, of all things, but years of cheap-seat experience told me that all would be revealed at the appropriate time)

    I’m saying this is the greatest lead sentence I’ve read in 2012:

    Feathers flew during the Legislature’s recently concluded lame-duck session on a wide range of issues, obscuring from public view a glimpse of fur, too – a two-bill package that eases restrictions on ownership of large carnivores in the state.

    And, like any beautifully wrapped gift, it gets better as one delves in

    Another provision would allow visitors to come into direct contact with bears up to nine months old, a move designed to bring an Upper Peninsula bear farm into compliance with state law

    “Bear farm”?

    And then, it being Christmas and all, this passage made me laugh out loud, as it reminded me of nothing so much as Cousin Eddie (with a plate in his head) showing up at Clark’s house in an RV

    To Hune, who raises Bactrian camels on his parents’ farm outside Fowlerville in Livingston County, the [Ohio exotic animal disaster] was an outlier, a rare and random act by a mentally unstable individual. Not that he would deny animals can be dangerous – in 2004 his father, David, suffered a skull fracture when one of his son’s camels picked him up by the head as he worked nearby. “It wasn’t an attack,” said the younger Hune. “He just wanted attention.” The incident left the elder Hune with a plate in his head, but that didn’t dampen the family’s enthusiasm for exotic livestock…

    Good stuff; a genuine Christmas sugar plum. And anyway – we, the people who do NOT believe in the holy and patriotic power of guns, know that we have infinitely better chances against the exotic animals that the nutballs in Michigan (if not Ohio, anymore) want to own, rather than the firearms that any Tom, Dick, or Harry may be weilding

  16. 4dbirds said on December 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Before the days of required direct deposit, I carried a sidearm (first a Colt .45 later a 9mm Barretta) while serving as pay officer. I also had two armed MPs with me. I am an expert shot both with a rifle and a pistal but I didn’t feel any extra safety while packing. As the pay officer, any thief intent on stealing (we carried a LOT of cash) would take me out before I could get my weapon out of the holster. The MPs did make me feel safer although I never really worried about the soldiers we paid.

    Even though I am comfortable with guns, I never had one in my home. I’ve lived in some dodgey places but I couldn’t justify it with children and later with emo teenagers in house.

  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

    A lurker here messaged me to remind us both of the Catholic parish up in Chicago which went through a fair amount of tsouris over a handgun that appeared in the “poor box” in the sanctuary. Should it be turned over to the police as possible evidence of a crime? Should it be sold and the proceeds used as the contents of the box usually were? Should it be destroyed and no one given the chance to use it in the future? (This was before the rise of buy-back programs where giving a gun to the police means, as it usually does today, that it will be melted down.) And neither of us are sure what the final decision was. You can write a book full of short stories on scenarios that resulted in that pistol getting into that location and being left.

    Holy Name Cathedral, the mother church of the Chicago archdiocese, still has bullet marks on the facade from a mob hit that was attempted on the steps (it was a drive by). As I recall, the fellow survived.

  18. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Sorry Danny. Finding that out would have required me to click on something Coulter and actually read it, and I woke up with a bad cold and what feels like the beginnings of influenza this morning, so I didn’t want to induce vomiting. I know the gunthusiasts produce anecdotal evidence galore for the idiotic call for arming everybody, but they invariably seem idealized or embellished, or flat out fabricated. Coulter is certainly not averse to lying her ass off. It’s always struck me that law enforcement professionals put little or no stock in these arguments or the tales of brave bystanders. I think something like the following is more likely than not in situations of that sort:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2011/01/friendly_firearms.html

  19. Dorothy said on December 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Well y’all have so much to say about the gun stuff but I want to mention this little tidbit, since Nancy shared a video of driving dogs, and lamented the lack of horn honking: When I worked at the quilt store in the 90′s we had a customer who brought her dog along in the car with her. (Only seeing eye dogs were allowed inside, but of course we didn’t have any blind quilting ladies, not that I can recall, anyway.) So this lady is blithely shopping but after about 10 minutes, suddenly we hear this loooong honking sound coming from a car out front. The owner of the store was upstairs doing paper work, and she called down the steps to ask if we knew who was honking. I went to the window, and could not see anyone inside the car that had backed into a parking space right by the entry. A couple of other cars were across the street. There was a rest of about 30 seconds, and then the honking began again. Relentless honking. Long, continuous honking. Suddenly this customer got red in the face and excused herself, ran outside, and admonished the dog. Who was leaning on the horn trying to get her to come back to the car. She came back inside but the dog would not stop, so she apologized profusely and finished her shopping quickly. The boss, other customers and I could not stop laughing, it was so wild! He’d lean on the horn, then dash to the back seat and look longingly out the back window.

    Now please return to the gun control discussions that loop over and over again, much like the relentless dog yearning for his mama to return.

  20. BigHank53 said on December 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

    An essay that many of you may find worth reading, on how the NRA was converted from a hunting advocacy group into a PAC:

    http://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/newtown

    Link stolen from Balloon Juice. Sample:

    Which means it’s also no longer possible for me to ignore the National Rifle Association, and its hick fascism politics that’ve been poisoning our culture ever since the NRA’s infamous “coup” in 1977, when the NRA was taken over by far-right fanatics led by a convicted murderer and onetime US Border Guards chief named Harlon Carter — whose previous claim to fame was when he led a massive crackdown on Mexican immigrant laborers called “Operation Wetback.” That’s not a typo by the way.

    The mass shooters aren’t especially drawn to schools, movie theaters, and malls. Those are just the places where a mass shooting has (a) a better chance of racking up a large body count, and (b) the media can be relied upon to bark and howl and look for somebody to put into the sackcloth and ashes. Workplace shootings? Everyone knows what a shithole their job is now, everyone knows where the exits are, and the body count is reliably in the single digits. Page five. Nutter barricaded in his house? He kills his family, a couple of cops: local headlines only, mentioned after the first commercial break on the national news.

    All of these schmucks would like to have triple-digit honor guards to escort them to hell. They’ve gotten the quantities they have when their victims don’t have good escape routes.

  21. Mark P said on December 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Dorothy, dogs are such jokers. And their humor is, shall we say, immature?

  22. Deborah said on December 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I read somewhere that the NRA is making an official public statement tomorrow, a week after the shooting. Bill Bennett, McCardle, Coulter and others are starting to come out of seclusion too as you’ve all stated. Here it comes folks, I’m going to be gritting my teeth. I’m also expecting another email from my surprisingly quiet right wing sister.

  23. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek (from the camel story)

    Binders of large carnivorous women, one presumes.

    Dorothy, I posted something about Avid Bookshop at the end of yesterdays comments. An ingenious stunt to get people shopping downtown Athens instead of the mall. I imagine your niece is pretty popular with her fellow merchants these days.

    The rush the shooter crowd puts me in mind of Kermit Washington’s split-second decision when he saw Rudy T running at him full speed:

    http://www.nbaloud.com/kermit-washington-and-rudy-tomjanovich/

  24. Dorothy said on December 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I had not seen that, Prospero. Thanks for letting me know! I’ve been inundated with emails from businesses so much that I’ve just been deleting them, frankly. Including a few from Avid. If I lived closer and could shop there, I’d never delete an email from her without reading it first! That is a clever idea. I think Janet’s shop has been doing very well. She’s a smart girl and works very well with other merchants in Athens.

  25. Deborah said on December 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I forgot to mention James Fallows has determined to use the term “gun safety” instead of “gun control” because “control” gets peoples’ hackles up. So I have decided to follow suit. I’m going to start saying I’m for gun safety instead of gun control. Who is not for gun safety?

  26. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Dorothy. No problemo. Coolest thing about that promotion aside from getting people on the downtown sidewalks as in days before the mall is the fantastic drawing done by an Athens Public School student. Talented kid.

    At least one rightwing nutter says the massacre was a result of Jon Stewart’s War on Christmas and hatred for Jesus:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/12/19/right_wing_author_jon_stewart_part_of_the_culture_that_led_to_shootings/

  27. Mark P said on December 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Deborah, I think we also ought to start referring to the type of firearm used by the child-murderer as weapons of mass destruction. A large-capacity magazine and semi-automatic fire makes such a rifle a weapon of mass destruction.

  28. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

    “Gun control” vs. “gun safety”? like “global warming” vs. “climate change”. Makes a lot of sense. James Fallows is a pretty smart fellow.

    This college hoops coach from Winthrop made a pretty impressive statement about the massacre:

    http://www.wrhi.com/2012/12/winthrop-hoops-coach-speaks-out-on-school-shooting-74031

    I’ve always found Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim to be a more or less obnoxious whiner, but in the wake of his 900th coaching win, he saw a bully pulpit opportunity and made a similarly impressive statement:

    http://newyork.sbnation.com/2012/12/19/3783750/newtown-school-shooting-jim-boeheim-gun-control-mental-illness-social-change

  29. MichaelG said on December 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    4dbirds’ post about being a pay officer tickled me. I remember when I was in a line company in Vietnam and pay day rolled around. We would be out in the boonies in the middle of nowhere and the war would come to a temporary halt. We would gather, a chopper would land and the pay officer would disembark accompanied by his guard. No women out there in those days. He would set up a folding card table and, taking a seat, place his forty-five on it along with a pile of scrip and a stack of pay vouchers. Then we would get paid in cash just like state side. Most guys would get $25-30 bucks and have the rest deferred or sent home so there wasn’t really that much money.

    The amusing part was the officer and his pistol and his lone guard. Ritual is ritual and the fact that his 60 or 70 payees were armed to the teeth didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that the only possible other people in the neighborhood, NVA or Viet Cong, would also be armed to the teeth. It seemed so normal that nobody even bothered to comment.

  30. Bitter Scribe said on December 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Regarding GM, I was much amused by watching the right-wing contortionists, led by Mitt Romney, figure out how to deal with the bailout. Romney went from opposing it to saying it was his idea. And to this day he has no idea why so many people consider him a weasel.

  31. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Basset at 8 wins the thread.

    Gotta go, family visiting, I may be scarce but I’ll try to pop in just to read.

  32. coozledad said on December 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

    More from that article BigHank linked to. This is why the Republicans have more in common with Slobodon Milosevic and Franco than Lincoln:
    Looking back at Big Business’ violent reaction against the New Deal and the political culture that it created: a more “collectivist” political culture, as the libertarians derisively call it, where people were more deeply involved with each other and their communities, and with that involvement in their politics and communities came greater trust in their communities. That political culture — where people were more involved in their politics and trusted government more than they trusted business — was a big problem, according to pollsters and PR experts hired by business lobby groups in the postwar era, groups like the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce.

    Much better is to pour arms unrestricted into the population, give them legal cover and political encouragement to take political matters into their own hands with laws like “Stand Your Ground”. That way you wind up creating a political culture of atomized, fear-fueled citizens who think they’re literally at war with each other, and their only way out is to fend for themselves and their family.

  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Pay muster, with that 1911 .45 on the table, and all of us lined up with M-16A1s — always seemed odd. But paymasters usually looked even scarier than the Colt did.

  34. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Extremely strange Old Spice promotion on the internet, with Dikembe Mutumbo:

    http://www.oldspicesavestheworld.com/

    Six Chix Christmas strip:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/comics/king_six_chix.html?name=6Chix

  35. Judybusy said on December 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Dorothy at 19, loved that story! And yes, Bassett FTW.

    A few previous NRA A-rated legislators are stating they are now re-thinking their positions, and that perhaps some change is needed. This includes Senators Manchin from West Virginia, Warner from Virginia, and a congressman, Tim Walz, from MN.

    While that’s very nice, I was in a fury this morning listening to the story about Warner on NPR this morning. What, all the thousands of people who’ve been needlessly slain don’t count, but these poor first graders do? Really, that’s what it took? It had to come to the most horrible shooting we could imagine? (OK, shooting up a hospital nursery would be more horrible, but you get my point, right?)For me, this isn’t just about mass killings, but the stupid, absolutely wasteful deaths that happen because we are awash in guns. I’ve posted a few stories in the last few days, so won’t repeat them here.

  36. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    When the Senate gets busy changing the filibuster rules, I wish they’d also install a rule requiring expulsion from the Senate of anybody that calls criticism of AIPAC “anti-semitism”. Americans that think Israel is more important than the USA are a blight on American politics:

    http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/chuck-hagel-swiftboated-not-bowing-down-aip

  37. Dexter said on December 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    My penchant for finding things continues; in the past here I have recanted how I have found seven wallets that I can remember and returned every one, a couple times with “pain in the ass” procedures. I have learned to avoid just taking a found wallet into a police station’s public bulletproof window area…you are then involved in a “case” and you will be interrogated and told to fill out paper work, as if you are (sort of) a caught thief. At last that’s what happened to me once, so if I find another lost wallet or purse I will make direct contact with the person or just take it to a lost and found counter somewhere and let fate take over.
    A couple months ago I found a cell phone and , well, this would be easy…just call and tell the person I had their phone, found in the grass at the park…dead battery…and maybe the person just threw it in the grass? I just put it on a curb so someone else could make a decision.
    Two days ago while riding my bicycle back from the market with a sack-o-potatoes in the basket, I noticed a folded ten dollar bill on the curb, and it wasn’t a phony religious tract, it was the real thing. My eyes are still good enough to spot cash in the street. I bought a lottery ticket with it; it had to be an omen, right? :) Stupid choice. :(

    So while I have found cash multiple times, found all those wallets and purses, found a phone now, I have never found a firearm. If I did, I would not touch it. I would mark the spot around the gun with a fallen branch or stone or something and then I would feel obligated to call the cops. It would ruin my day but some days ya just gotsta do the right thing.

  38. Sherri said on December 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    All those “we need more people packing heat” and “people don’t attack where the guns are” idiots need to explain Maurice Clemmons to me.

    Maurice Clemmons was a many-time felon who ended up in Washington state after having his sentence commuted in Arkansas by Mike Huckabee. He committed another crime, and through some screwup, managed to get out on bail. Tired of cops screwing up his life, he decided it was time for payback. He decided he was going to kill him some cops, and drove to the cop shop a couple of time to do so, only to find there weren’t enough cops there to satisfy his purposes. Then he was driving by a coffee shop one morning and saw a bunch of police cruisers parked out front, and decided to take advantage. He walked into the the coffee shop, pulled out his gun, shot and killed all 4 armed cops, and left. One of the cops did manage to get off a shot and wound him, but it was several days before a manhunt was able to track him down and he was killed in a shootout.

    He didn’t shoot anybody else in the coffee shop, just the cops. Just the people with guns. Now sure, you can argue he was an outlier, a one of a kind, but all people who pick up guns and walk into places intending to shoot lots of people they don’t know are outliers. We do need to spend more money on mental health services, but believing that improved mental health services are going to identify the troubled souls who are going to become mass murderers and stop them is a fantasy. We can’t even reliably identify suicides ahead of time, and they aren’t as unusual.

  39. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Another great David Brooks slapdown by driftglass, with the funny photoshop of the nitwit rightwing apologist, and some video of Wayne LaPierre foaming hydrophobically at the mouth:

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2012/12/fundraiser-continued-contemptible-shit.html

    And then there was the guy in Pittsburgh that shot three cops to death and wounded another while he wore a bulletproof vest because NRA and wingnut media fulminators convinced him President Obama was coming for his guns.

  40. Sherri said on December 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Danny, we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. But there are things we can do. We can make it expensive to manufacture, sell, or own semi-automatic weapons, by imposing higher licensing fees. We can tax ammunition. We can change the culture, like MADD did with drunk driving. We can lobby legislatures to get rid of stupid “Stand Your Ground” laws.

    We can treat gun violence like pollution, and make the contributors to it pay to mitigate.

  41. coozledad said on December 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    It’s past time for academic institutions to shed their business and MBA programs and relegate them to the Amway/Enron/ three card monte sphere. University administration should be conducted by graduates in the liberal arts, sciences, and tech, and not by business school legacies and convention hookers. Otherwise you get the kind of weak response to the fuckmonkeying of the right that cheesepussies like Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin are paid to stir up.

    http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2012/12/fighting-words.html#disqus_thread

  42. crinoidgirl said on December 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    A very interesting basement.

  43. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Can anybody figure out exactly what these kids are trying to do?

    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/1a0c1ec0b1/kids-christmas-pageant-fail?utm_campaign=newsletter20121220&utm_content=dbag&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=fd

    Funny Christmas video from Charles Barkley.

    That basement made my day. Looks like stills from an X Files episode. Or from the Early Edition episodes about the JFK assassination.

  44. MaryRC said on December 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Re the Tom & Lorenzo link to the Miss Universe pageant: Mexico. Holy cow.

    As one of TLo’s commenters said, Donald Trump (whose pageant this is) is probably sitting in the audience with his much younger wife, going “That would look good on you. That would look good on you …”

  45. Dorothy said on December 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The costumes at Miss Universe are full-blown crazy, but I keep wondering how the hell they pack them up for traveling?! How big are the trunks they have to store them in?! Of course some take up lots more room than others. The captions on Italy and France just about killed me.

  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    My sister, who teaches Apparel Merch & Interior Design at IU, is upset with me. I sent her the Tom & Lorenzo link, and now she has no computer monitor. But I TOLD her not to be drinking anything as she scrolled down . . . oh well.

  47. Suzanne said on December 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I was gone all day and just saw the Tom & Lorenzo post. Wow. That’s all I can say.

  48. Catherine said on December 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Dorothy @19, the honking dog totally cracked me up.

    And I second Brian @15 — and I truly hope there is a follow up story on the “bear farm,” with pictures.

  49. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Is it just me, or is that Miss Turkey in the T&L pageant photos a dead ringer for Laura Dern? And whatever became of Laura Dern. And Bridget Fonda? And Jennifer Jason LeighWith regard to Basset@8, David Niven’s best Oscar Wilde impression:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IIl3zSYL8k

    What kind of fertilizer they use to grow them bears, anyway?

  50. LAMary said on December 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Parts II and III are up on the TLo website now.

  51. LAMary said on December 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    and more Miss Universe entertainment:

    http://gawker.com/5970163/miss-venezuelas-response-to-her-miss-universe-question-was-awarded-no-points-and-may-god-have-mercy-on-her-soul

  52. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I always thought electronic picture frames sounded like a cheesy gimmick, but I got one in the mail today with a memory card loaded with photos of my daughter, her husband, and my grandson Cole Matthew. Damn, I was way wrong. What a great Christmas gift.

    In fairness to, and in defense of Ms. Venezuela, if she had just dropped a coupla F-bombs, she could have claimed she was channeling Ozzie Guillen. And Ms. Guam was wearing a Terry Gilliam original:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLlJfGybBcc

  53. LAMary said on December 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Miss Lebanon looks like she needs to eat a sandwich.

    http://www.eonline.com/photos/7205/2012-miss-universe-contestants#243143

  54. Deborah said on December 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    There’s some snow here in Northern New Mexico but it sounds like you midwesterners are in for it. I read that there’s a foot in Des Moines. You folks in Chicago take care, and Wisconsin too. I assume it’s heading for Michigan, Ohio, Indiana?

  55. Sherri said on December 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I got good news for a dark, rainy, cold afternoon here: my daughter had applied early decision to her top choice of colleges, and she found out this afternoon that she got in!

  56. Suzanne said on December 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I think the snow is mainly missing Indiana–maybe some in the far north.

    I can’t even wrap my head around those Miss Universe costumes. Who in the world thinks any of that is attractive or even interesting? It reinforces my dislike of beauty pageants. I know, I know, they give scholarship money. Prostitutes get money, too, for what they do. I remember when this nice Christian girl won Miss America a few years ago and I heard ad nauseum from church people how wonderful it was. But what is wholesome and wonderful about prancing around in a tiny bikini and stiletto heels visually shouting “I’m open for business!” in front of a crowd of people for money? I swear, I don’t get it.

  57. Judybusy said on December 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Sherri, great news!

    I finally got to watch the dog video, and it just cracked me up. If my dog got to drive, she would be barking like mad, not honking. Or maybe both.

    LAMary, thanks for Ms. Venezuela. Vacuous.

    And I’m off, to drink a little red wine, read a biography of Carmel Snow (editor of Vogue circa 1934-1957) and eat black bean Cuban-style soup I made yesterday. And I was at the dentist yesterday, got a cut and color on the mane today, so apocalypse? Ready.

  58. alex said on December 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Deborah, they’re promising we’re going to get slammed with high winds and lotsa snow. On top of rain today that was so heavy it made my full-size pickup hydroplane this morning. I’m anticipating an icky mess on tomorrow’s commute.

    Tonight my partner and I are busy turning our screened porch into a sunroom so we can get his gargantuan collection of plants out of our living area. We had envisioned getting this done months ago, but like any custom job where you’re flying by the seat of your pants, you’re bound to hit snags. Things have just evolved as we’ve gone along and everything has been trial and error. The screened porch was just such a project in the first place. I had originally wanted a mere enclosure for a lawn tractor and a tiller and a wood chipper. My partner built me an attached garage with a rolling door. I thought it needed to be tied in better architecturally so he built an adjoined awning and a deck over an area that wasn’t being well utilized and had an exterior door from the house. Then we decided to screen it in. Now we’ve fitted it with window sashes on piano hinges. The amazing thing is how we’ve managed to tie it in with the rest of the house while maintaining the unique spirit of this place that is both rustic lake cottage and mid-century modern. It looks like it has always been there.

    We have so much fun doing this stuff that we wish we could go into business doing it except that it’s rare that you’ll find a customer who would let you create an addition that’s a custom work of art with imperfections and no fixed end plan, although we did screen in a porch for a friend this summer and he’s pleased as punch.

    I wish we could envision it all beforehand and build to specification, as an architect would do, but we rather keep tweaking things out to make them work and we find things to work with as we go along, utilizing architectural salvage that we find interesting as well as commercial building materials from my partner’s family’s business. They build gas stations. Amazing materials they use in that business, particularly sheet metal sandwiches with a rubber middle that are great for routering and bending to create smooth, seamless walls, facades and columns.

    Looking forward to having it all done.

  59. Prospero said on December 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Did the House GOPers screw the pooch? or did they shit the bed?

  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Sherri, congrats to your daughter on getting admitted to Purdue!

  61. MaryRC said on December 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Suzanne, at least the Miss America contest does offer scholarships. The Miss Universe pageant that Tom and Lorenzo are spoofing is owned by Donald Trump and the purpose of its existence, as with everything touched by Donald Trump, is to provide publicity for Donald Trump. The winner becomes a “spokesperson” for some nebulous “charity”, but her real role is to have her picture taken with The Donald. The young women surely know this as well as Trump does.

  62. Sherri said on December 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Sorry, Jeff, not Purdue! She’ll be a member of the class of 2017 at Whitman College.

  63. Dexter said on December 22, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Screaming banner headline, New York Daily News America: “EDITORIAL: NRA chief Wayne LaPierre comes across as America’s mad gunman during wild rant in which he tosses blame at everything but the weapons.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com#ixzz2Fkv4b3Cr

  64. beb said on December 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/12/shorter-iowa-supreme-court-if-a-fifty-year-old-man-cant-control-his-hormones-a-woman-must-lose-her-job

    I’ve of two minds about this story. On the one hand I think that in a small office if you do find yourself too attracted to someone you’ve hired firing them seems like a good idea, on the other hand getting fired just because someone can’t control their trouser snake sucks.

  65. beb said on December 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The Miss Universe native costume show was truly fked up.