F*ck them thoughts and prayers.

A mass shooter took out eight young people, three of them fatally, at Michigan State University last night. I’m not going to do the things we do when this happens.

Warning: This is going to get ranty, I fear.

I will not change my profile picture on my social media to any of the approved images — the MSU Spartan with a tear dripping from its eye seems to be the preferred one for now, although there may be others. I won’t be using hashtags like #MSUStrong or #heartbroken or anything like that. I won’t be wearing green and white, or attending candlelight vigils. Not gonna buy flowers to lay on a pile somewhere, nor stuffed animals.

I get why people do all those things; it beats doing nothing, I guess. But doing nothing is better than this performative, useless thing where we collectively make a heart with our hands for a few days, then go right back to the same old shit that leads to this type of same old shit.

Here’s another thing I won’t be doing: Telling you “Don’t talk about the bad man who did this! Talk about the wonderful young people who died!” Nope. I’m sure they were fine young people. I’m sure they were bright and driven and had plans for their lives that were only beginning. It’s a tragedy they’ll never be able to carry them out, that their absence will mean decades of pain for their parents, siblings and friends. But to talk about only that, and to ignore the many bad things that led their killer to that moment last night when he fired his gun, is to say those young people are just props in our own performative grief.

In this case, the killer, ID’d as Anthony McRae, had a misdemeanor firearms charge in his record, for which he was initially charged with a felony, then pleaded down. He received probation, did the term, and was released from supervision in 2021. From the history journalists have been able to glean in the last 24 hours, he looks like a very familiar sort in 21st-century America: A guy who loved guns. Neighbors complained he’d take target practice from the back door of the house he shared with his father. It wasn’t a big house. His dad said he tried to get his son to give them up, but he refused.

Like I said: A familiar story. A defense lawyer talks sense here:

The plea to a lesser, misdemeanor charge is not unusual, said Birmingham defense lawyer Wade Fink, who was not involved in the case.

“It is exceedingly common for someone who doesn’t have a criminal history and was carrying a concealed weapon,” Fink said. “If everybody went to prison for that, you would have an overcrowding problem and you would be giving a lot of younger people felonies, which hurts them their whole life.

“What would have stopped this is more difficulty accessing guns,” Fink added. “The felony isn’t going to stop a madman.”

I’m feeling angry because already all this shit is starting, the static and snow that obscures the lesson Mr. Fink is trying to tell us. This never would have happened if he’d been put behind bars! This never would have happened if he couldn’t just walk into those buildings! This never would have happened if we had more two-parent homes! And so on. There are unlocked schools, single parents and jail-happy judges in many other countries, but this only happens here, pretty much.

One final note: Two of the three students who were killed were from Grosse Pointe. The girl, 19, went to Kate’s high school; the boy, 20, went to the other one. Both fine young people. Brian Fraser and Arielle Anderson. There, I said their names.

But until we do something serious about this madness, they’ll only be the most recent in a lengthening list.

Posted at 3:26 pm in Current events |

72 responses to “F*ck them thoughts and prayers.”

  1. Sherri said on February 14, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    Locking the doors won’t solve anything, because the gun will just be brought in by someone who is allowed access.

    Putting more people in jail didn’t make drugs go away, it won’t make guns go away.

    We all know what the solution is. Too many people are profiting off the carnage for the solution to be implemented.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    This is a savage, violent, stupid and angry nation with more firearms than people.

    The government won’t respond to the citizens it allegedly serves. Large majorities of Americans favor gun control legislation including a majority of Republicans –particularly regarding powerful long guns like the AR-15 (which some QOPers are wearing as a lapel pin these days) and expanded magazines– but it doesn’t matter.

    Money combined with political cowardice and an obsession with a loosely interpreted Second Amendment that is nothing short of a fetish or addiction shared by millions of pretend G.I. Joes.

    Don’t worry, though. We’ll have another mass shooting somewhere in the next couple of days. They’re as dependable as the sunrise. MSU will soon by pushed out of the headlines by new bodies torn asunder with lead. Ho fucking hum.

    ‘Murica, the bloody. . .the cruel. . .the paralyzed. What a country.

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  3. kayak woman said on February 14, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    That crying Spartan really annoyed me. I hadn’t heard about the shooting until I looked Facebook this morning. I saw 5-6 of those Spartans with NO WORDS saying what happened. Eventually I got to a news blurb. This shooting got personal for me too when a young cousin (that I admittedly don’t know very well) posted that she knew one of the kids who died. The girl from Clawson where my cousin coaches volleyball. Plus three of the folks at our work standup meeting today have kids at MSU. None were victims but ugh.

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  4. Jason T. said on February 14, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    We buried one of our police officers today. He was shot at close range while responding to a domestic dispute. One of his colleagues was seriously wounded.

    There has been a great public outpouring of grief — as there should be — but as I wrote last week, when do we finally do something about all of the goddamned guns?

    Like you, I’m past the performative stage and tired of symbolism.

    I’m enraged. I’m pissed off. Why have we let the gun nuts ruin our society, and when do we draw a line and say, “Stop. Enough!”

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  5. David C said on February 14, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    If the entire Republican House caucus was mowed down at once it wouldn’t matter. They’d have the special elections and even crazier gun nuts would be elected to replace them. We try to imagine some scenario that would bring enough people to their senses. There isn’t one. This is it.

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  6. ROGirl said on February 14, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    And the other student was from Clawson, which is less than a mile away from my house.

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  7. Sherri said on February 14, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    And if Trump gets elected again, he wants to make this an even more savage and violent country.


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  8. Bruce Fields said on February 14, 2023 at 5:35 pm


    I’ve been sending some regular money to https://www.everytown.org/

    The other group mentioned there is https://giffords.org/

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  9. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2023 at 5:47 pm

    Let’s tip our hats, too, to the hypocrites among the ammosexuals. You can bring a loaded gun into the Atlanta Airport, but not to an NRA convention. Floriduh wants everyone armed, but DeathSantis insisted no guns be allowed at his election victory party. And he tried to hide it by claiming the city prohibited it lest his pro-gun cred be jeopardized.

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  10. Heather said on February 14, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    Apparently one of the Sandy Hook survivors is at MSU, so they’ve lived through TWO mass shootings. Which is just insane, but probably not going to be unusual in the future.

    We don’t have to live like this! We’re being held hostage by a bunch of people who love their guns more than they care about dead people, and I’m sick of it.

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  11. alex said on February 14, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    One of the news items I perused today said that there have been 70 mass shootings in the U.S. since the beginning of the year. Then I thought about it, we’re only 45 days into the year.

    It’s fucking insanity that we have been conditioned to accept this as normal and to feel resigned that there is nothing that can be done about it. The only way it will ever change is to vote against anyone who’s on the take from the NRA. I’d be more than happy to start a single-issue, “pro-life” movement that really has something to do with saving life. And limb. Please join me in scrutinizing who you vote for. Who knows? In 50 years we might overturn Heller.

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  12. nancy said on February 14, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    Heather, a survivor of the Oxford HS shooting last year is at MSU, too.

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  13. Suzanne said on February 14, 2023 at 7:59 pm

    As I mentioned in the comments yesterday when news of the shooting broke, since the shooter was black, we are more likely to see the GOP begin advocating for banning black people than guns. It makes me sick. College students, first graders, grandmothers, cops all sacrificed on the altar of gun ownership. And Republicans are fine with that.

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  14. Mark P said on February 14, 2023 at 8:40 pm

    How many times have I said it? Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.

    OK, we’re there. When does the destruction come? Maybe this is it, a slow destruction, not with a bang but with a whimper.

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  15. Deborah said on February 14, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    That’s outrageous that kids are surviving more than one mass school shooting. Will it make a difference? Nope.

    But people* still have to take their shoes off through TSA after the attempted shoe bomb 22 years ago. It wasn’t even successful, but all of these mass shootings have really happened and many, many people have died, and yet nothing changes.

    *at least I think people still have to do this. We have TSA pre so haven’t had to do that for a while.

    We’re in Scottsdale AZ on our way to southern CA. It was a crappy drive through snow and rain most of the way. There was 5” of fresh snow on the ground in Santa Fe this morning.

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  16. Ann said on February 14, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    I start my rant every time people wonder why we have so many mentally ill and despairing kids these days. Hello. We literally make them practice for the day they’re going to get sacrificed on the altar of the 2nd amendment. Starting in f**king kindergarten. Talk about trauma. In my day we ducked and covered, but our threat was theoretical: we weren’t at the same time seeing news headlines about atom bombs raining down every day on other schools killing those kids.

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  17. FDChief said on February 14, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    Every U.S. GI has an issue weapon. Most of them are fully automatic assault rifles. Every single fucking one is locked up in the arms room vault when not issued under the supervision of multiple layers of leadership.

    And none of them are loaded with live ammunition until the soldier passes the hot line of a firing range. And every one of those live rounds is accounted for and and any not fired are collected before the troop leaves the firing line.

    That’s how an organization whose business includes lethal force deals with firearms.

    But somehow We the People are supposed to be jake with every random chucklefuck running around in public locked and loaded?

    If that wasn’t the actual physical reality of the U.S. in 2023 you’d be considered a dangerous lunatic for even suggesting that stupid fucking idea.

    But that’s where we are.

    If Sandy Hook couldn’t get the gunlickers to see reason nothing will. They’re just hopeless.

    I’d like to think that there’s a break point where the REST of the public will tell the ammosexuals to fuck right off.

    But what point is that? I mean…Sandy Hook?! C’mon! If that couldn’t do it, nothing short of turning their beloved guns on the gun nuts will.

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  18. Dexter Friend said on February 15, 2023 at 3:37 am

    Run ! Hide! FIGHT !
    This was the text message sent to all students and staff.

    I grew up knowing New York had The Sullivan Act in place, slowing down gun violence by outlawing most gun possession legal ownership. It was instilled in 1911, then much later Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion killing the law. Pandora’s box was wide open. Now there is a mass shooting every 18 hours in the CONUS.
    David Hogg works tirelessly trying to get attention and traction behind a push for legislating strict weapons laws. The goddam repuggs ridicule him and scream at him. 5 years ago he survived Parkland’s massacre. No repugg gives a flying fuck.
    I frequently throw digs at MSU for the students kicking cow shit off their shoes and cheating on football scoreboard timing, but that’s because I am a shallow sports fan with less than a college degree, just fun stuff because I love U of M. All that shit goes out the window in a case like this, of course. These gun nuts can go to hell . https://nypost.com/2022/06/23/ny-gun-law-shot-down-by-scotus-spurred-by-rise-in-gunplay-in-1911/

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  19. Dorothy said on February 15, 2023 at 4:54 am

    I did not pay close enough attention to share it here, but I’m confident I heard there are at least three students who survived a previous mass shooting, only to experience their second one at MSU the day before yesterday.

    I’m looking forward to finding out what the doctor says about my cough. I’ll see her at 11:45. Hubby went yesterday and he has sinusitis, bronchitis and double ear infection. I haven’t ever had a cough like this. I woke up at 4:00 and said “I’m starting to wish I was dead.” We did home Covid tests on Monday which were negative. Overnight while having a coughing fit I thought of how awful it had to be for people who caught Covid when their symptoms built up to the point that they needed to call an ambulance, go to the ER and were then intubated. I don’t mean to compare myself to those who suffered like that, but JFC I’m feeling so awful this week. But I am pretty sure it’s survivable, whatever it is I have.

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  20. Jeff Gill said on February 15, 2023 at 8:14 am

    It’s the politics of gun ownership more than the economics; not to go all fiscal on you, but I was surprised when I first went looking for the profits Ruger & Winchester & Glock are making. Millions are in play, yes, but compared to almost any other lobbying interest group it’s really chump change. Gun rights aren’t getting expanded and access increased because of the amount of profit feeding the bribes legal and otherwise going to politicians, it’s because weaponizing retail political discourse is profitable at the ballot box.

    And it will change when enough of us vote against people pushing increased access and carriage of firearms in public spaces. Mr. Fink did indeed sum it up well: “What would have stopped this is more difficulty accessing guns,” Fink added. “The felony isn’t going to stop a madman.”

    It should simply be harder to get firearms, especially handguns. Banning may be too high a bar in this country, culturally, but adding waiting periods and screening and more ways to address known misuse of weapons short of CPOs would get us somewhere to start.

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  21. Bruce Fields said on February 15, 2023 at 9:51 am

    Yeah, looks like a lot of the lobbying money is from small donors: https://money.cnn.com/news/cnnmoney-investigates/nra-funding-donors/index.html

    Anyway, we can do the same. And do other stuff too.

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  22. Sherri said on February 15, 2023 at 11:21 am

    I meant profiting in the more general sense; although if gun manufacturers weren’t shielded from liability, none of them would still be in existence.

    But it’s not that politicians get a lot of money from the NRA, it’s that they get a lot of benefit from selling the fear.

    As to what profit Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito and company have gotten for distorting the 2nd Amendment into parody, who knows?

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  23. Jason T. said on February 15, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Yes, the gun lobby does a lot of lobbying, and it is small beans compared to money spent by the fossil-fuel industry, pharmaceuticals, etc.

    Occam’s razor suggests the answer is simpler: Right-wingers want everyone to be armed because they want to have the option of killing their enemies.

    And since most of the gun violence tends to afflict poorer communities, comprised largely of people of color, it doesn’t bother them. They have gated communities and private security forces to protect them anyway.

    Some politicians are cheaply bought by gun manufacturers and the NRA, but never forget that we have a lot of people in the United States who are fascists, or at least fascism-curious.

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  24. Jason T. said on February 15, 2023 at 11:52 am

    There is also the founding myth of America, which is that scrappy farmers and laborers, carrying muskets and flintlocks, drove out the elitist British, and then “tamed the West” by chasing out the indigenous people.

    Never mind that the backers of the American revolution were themselves wealthy landowners (“elitists,” in other words) or that the revolution was going badly until the French, Spanish and Dutch entered the fight on the U.S. side.

    Guns are central to America’s mythology. To quote Jamil Abdullah al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), “Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie.”

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  25. LAMary said on February 15, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    I’ve engaged in conversations online with people who think they need semi automatic weapons to stay safe. I’ve lived in some pretty sketchy parts of big cities: New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Denver. Never, ever was in a situation where I needed a gun. I got burglarized once in Philly. Pickpocketed once in NY. I had a stoned neighbor try to break into my house in LA while I was home. The gun lovers I’ve engaged with don’t live in sketchy areas but they’re sure someone, probably someone with darker skin than their own, is out there ready to threaten them.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on February 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    If not the manufacturers, someone is making a hell of a lot of money from guns. BTW, Jeff B, though DeathSantis tried to ban guns at his victory party, he was overruled by the Tampa Convention Center and they were allowed that night.

    In light of Floriduh’s book banning mania, a neighborhood group has formed to stock a little free library with banned books. We’ve been throwing ideas around in a FB group, and will have a potluck and meeting this Saturday. Our daughter came up with the idea and is offering to host it at her church, or if someone objects, at our house.

    People are energized and excited. A group of moms from the school want to be involved, friends living across the country want to contribute, and we’re looking into starting wishlists at Amazon and bookshop.org, which supports local independent booksellers. We will have to source the actual wood box for the books.

    This morning’s paper had a story about the Broward County Democratic Party who had the same idea. They’re going to put up the libraries all across the county, and in the first week had 550 books odered from their wishlist.

    It’s our own FU to DeathSantis and the Moms for Liberty.

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  27. Suzanne said on February 15, 2023 at 12:44 pm

    My brother loves guns. I don’t know how many he has but more than I think anyone should have. He says they are fun to shoot and that people need to be armed to fight against a tyrannical government. A cousin & her husband have a huge gun safe in their house although they live in a very safe part of Fort Wayne. I don’t get it and never will. I do know that I have never heard any gun lover say that having a gun at the mall, or in church, or at a movie theater, or at an elementary school could easily add to the chaos of a shooting. No, they all believe they would be the hero and calmly take out the shooter, no problem at all, easy peasy.

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  28. Dorothy said on February 15, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Suzanne that theory works only up to the moment the so-called hero fells the shooter. Wait till the police show up – then they’re going to shoot the hero.

    I have bronchitis. Can’t wait to get the inhaler so it can start healing my damn cough.

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  29. Deborah said on February 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    Yes it’s based on fear but it’s also power. It’s the ultimate power when one can make the decision to allow another person to live or not. Power is a huge motivator, I think more than money. Way more.

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  30. LAMary said on February 15, 2023 at 1:08 pm

    One of my brothers has a lot of guns too. He’s got a gun safe. He lives in a very white neighborhood not within 10 miles of an urban area but he’s ready if those illegals storm that gated cul-de-sac.

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  31. FDChief said on February 15, 2023 at 4:11 pm

    The idiotic Death Wish-fantasy that Suzanne described is fairly central to how these jamokes think, and a huge tell re: what nonsense it is.

    Professional police are notorious for needing massive volumes of fire to hit who they’re aiming at, regularly hit things and people they’re NOT supposed to hit…and they practice probably several orders of magnitude more often that any of these schmoes. Plus…yes, adding another random firearm to an already chaotic gunfight? How well is that likely to go..?

    So, no. There’s no actual public benefit to having every schlub walking around strapped, whatever the wingnut fap-fantasy notion is.

    But the plutocrats 1) know they need the gun nuts to win elections, while 2) are comfortably insulated from coming in contact with nutter shooters AND the gun nuts, so they could care less. That’s why they got Uncle Clarence and the Furious Five working on the SCOTUS Plantation; to keep the gunlickers happy and voting GQP.

    And given that plus gerrymandering plus the Senate?

    We’re doomed to be First World Somalia.

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  32. David C said on February 15, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Any teen in the country can get an eCard library card from the Brooklyn Public Library. I’m sure the little fascist will try to do something about that.


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  33. Julie Robinson said on February 15, 2023 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you, David. The BPL site has lots of good info, including a media kit that includes a QR code that takes teens directly to their site. I’m passing it along.

    The Florida Freedom to Read group sent us their spreadsheet of books that have been challenged in school districts around the state.It goes on for page after page, and has 948 titles. I’m gratified that our county isn’t the worst, by a long shot.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on February 15, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    Only three books have been removed from Orlando public schools, all at the behest of one hateful school board member. We need to target her at the next election.

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  35. Alan Stamm said on February 15, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Performative grief props:

    “In the wake of this week’s horrific tragedy in East Lansing, some of our Michigan teams will wear special helmet decals to honor the victims at Michigan State.”
    — University of Michigan Athletics tweet, 12:29 p.m. Feb. 15

    Yes, green hearts are involved.

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  36. alex said on February 15, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Fear-mongering by politicians seems to be one of the big drivers of gun culture. I’ve been hearing rubes saying, for at least the last 25 years, that they need guns to protect themselves from the government. I think it all started with Newt Gingrich, who probably deserves as much credit for the Oklahoma City bombing as Donald Trump deserves for January 26, 2021.

    I haven’t had much luck trying to get people like this to reflect on 1) what makes them think they’re so damned important that the government would target them personally and 2) what makes them think that their consumer-grade firepower stands a chance against the government’s anyway?

    I don’t understand the paranoia and lack of empathy in these people, nor their susceptibility to the goons preying upon them. Just as I don’t understand people who wear their Christianity on their sleeves but show not the slightest trace of it in their character.

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  37. David C said on February 15, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    I don’t think they’re concerned about the government’s firepower, Alex. The guns are to kill us. They think the police and the military will be on their side. The police probably will be. The military will do what they’re told to do so it all depends on the leadership. Other than a few Mike and Charles Flynn types the brass isn’t going to do anything that could affect their pensions or their chance to cash in post retirement.

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  38. MarkH said on February 15, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    Sadly, sooner than you thought, Jeff B.


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  39. FDChief said on February 15, 2023 at 9:17 pm

    I think that the “tree of liberty watered w blood…” &tc really IS how these gomers think. Their heads are stuffed with “Red Dawn” fantasies and – tho I agree that they ALSO want their guns so they can kill the dusky hordes and their liberal allies – the notion that they’re gonna rise up and destroy Dark Brandon’s dictatorship of soy lattes.

    That their pathetic militia cosplay would do about as well as Saddam’s Republican Guard did against the most raggedy-ass National Guard outfit never seems to occur to them. Yeah, I’ll see your ten AR-15s, Cletus, and raise you a 25mm chain gun. Idiot.

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  40. Dexter Friend said on February 16, 2023 at 3:52 am

    Many years ago my late son-in-law was a cop for the shortest of time. One evening he and I and another son-in-law went for a walk to the edge of town. Neither of us apart from the cop knew the cop was packing.
    As I probably related here, even though I was supposed to have been issued a .45 pistol in Vietnam, the officers had stolen them and sold them on the black market. I had never fired a pistol in my life.
    Out of the blue, the cop yells “watch this!”, and he pulled out his service revolver and fired a shot across a field. He asked the other s.i.l….yeah he wanted to shoot it too…then me. And I thought why not?—and I took the weapon and aimed and fired. I sort of instantly understood how a person could get addicted, hooked into the gun/weapons culture. Not me…I only fired that one shot. It’s how a drunk starts, he like the feeling, and like a drug addict feels after that first snort. It’s a powerful thing. And with the gun-nut, he knows that he has an outlet for his anger now. And this has to be stopped before it starts. I am for the complete ban on sales of any and all firearms.

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  41. ROGirl said on February 16, 2023 at 5:10 am

    Alex, I also try to let people who talk about holding off the government invaders with their personal arsenals that they are not important enough to be on the government’s radar. It’s not a perspective they want to hear.

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  42. alex said on February 16, 2023 at 7:35 am

    It’s a shame the local news outlets are paywalled or I’d share some of what our Republican supermajority state legislature is doing. It really is the lunatics running the asylum these days.

    They want to make school board elections partisan, claiming that this creates “transparency,” and they want to expand the definition of “disseminating material harmful to minors” to include school textbooks and library books while eliminating exceptions for materials “used for educational purposes” or which have “literary or artistic merit.”

    One of our local school boards dodged a bullet in the last election in the person of Amy Tokos, an also-ran who was less than transparent in her candidacy about the fact that she was bankrolled by an outside group of agitators. She testified before the statehouse that she had compiled a list of 100 items in her local school library that were pornographic. There were others whose testimony was even more risible. And then there were teachers and librarians whose testimony fell on deaf ears.

    A Washington Post critique of Nikki Haley’s presidential aspirations summed up her lane in the contest: People who wish to return to pre-Trump Republican priorities but want a candidate with an insulting demeanor. The columnist predicts that she won’t go far in 2024.

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  43. FDChief said on February 16, 2023 at 8:16 am

    Dexter, that’s…kinda whack.

    Was Deadeye Dick absolutely, utterly, 100% sure there was nobody and nothing downrange when he busted his cap? Any notion where that round was going to land?

    I mean, sure, open field, dinky pistol round…but that’s about four thousand basic common sense firearms rules violations – and I mean the NRA’s own rules, not mine! – right there.

    That’s what gets me about these kinds of people. A firearm is a tool, a deadly one, but a tool. It’s not something to give you a chubby. If you’re thinking about firearms with your little head? You’re not actually thinking about firearms.

    To try and disarm the American public is fruitless at this point. Instead if I were Cosplay James Madison and could re-write the Second Amendment I’d incorporate savage qualifications. To keep and bear arms you’d have to show you really were “well-regulated”; annual qualification with your weapon, including correct safe handling and storage, ammunition and muzzle control, as well as a “Hogan’s Alley” sort of qualification range. You shoot little Suzy? Fail, and good luck next year getting your firearm license back.

    The bottom line is that given the exact kind of carelessness you describe is why I’m utterly convinced that there’s about a fraction of the public that is actually qualified to own and use a deadly weapon.

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  44. Mark P said on February 16, 2023 at 9:35 am

    From a very young age my father took my brother and me shooting. I don’t remember how old I was when I got my rifle, a little single-shot bolt action .22. We rode our bikes down to the service station, leaned them against a fence and then walked down the railroad tracks towards the river. It was woods and fields. We shot at stuff like cans floating down the creek. What I remember is being with my father and brother for hours at a time, mainly just climbing around and doing the things that young kids did in the woods back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. I still like shooting, but I haven’t done it in years, decades really. But handling a gun doesn’t give me a thrill and I cannot fathom carrying one in public. If it would save lives, I would happily give up the guns I still have.

    I might argue about my Marlin Golden 39a, a .22 lever action that was originally designed in 1891. My father gave it to me for Christmas maybe 60 years ago. Annie Oakley used a Golden 39 in some of her shooting performances.

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  45. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2023 at 10:19 am

    From a very young age guns have frightened me. I’ve never held one and have no desire to change that status. The JFK assassination was probably part of it, but my parents must have communicated it too. They were also anti-military, which is pretty astonishing considering they were Republicans. We didn’t let our kids have toy guns either.

    Alex, I read that same analysis of Nikki Haley and agree she’s got nothing to offer. She made a cutesy comment about high heels and I thought, uh-oh, she’s trying to pull the Sarah Palin hockey mom/lipstick/folksy crap to show she’s tough.

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  46. Mark P said on February 16, 2023 at 10:27 am

    Nikki Haley is burning bridges. Her comment about mental testing for candidates over 75 hits T***p as well as Biden. I suspect she will be a target for T***p, if they let him make public comments from a state prison in Georgia.

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  47. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2023 at 11:37 am

    Mom is being admitted to the hospital for monitoring after waking up this morning with a headache and pain in her left arm. I’m still sick even with antibiotics so Dennis had to take her in. So far they haven’t found anything in particular but those symptoms in a 90 yo warrent attention. She thought she was having a stroke because of the headache and family history, but didn’t have weakness on one side or trouble talking. She hateshateshates medical intervention. Oy vey.

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  48. Jeff Borden said on February 16, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Julie R.,
    A little lending library devoted to banned books is brilliant. Good for you. I mock Floriduh–my wife is a 3rd generation native–but I know there are many good-hearted, public minded souls like yo who live in the Sunshi e State. Ditto for Texass.

    Some high profile authors including Stephen King have gotten behind the idea of purchasing banned books at book stores serving those areas. Students can walk in and request one for free. And, of course, there are all the online ways to read them.

    I hate book bans. Even though “The Turner Diaries” is rancid, racist murder porn –it heavily influenced Timothy McVeigh before the Oklahoma City bombing–I don’t think government entities should be in the business of choosing our books. And that certain includes ambitious little Mussolini like Meatball Ron.

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  49. jim said on February 16, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Just, wow: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/02/16/alex-jones-holding-firearms-jan-6-rioters/

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  50. David C said on February 16, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    Pico-balloons. Who knew?


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  51. Mark P said on February 16, 2023 at 9:59 pm

    I was surprised that it was on OK to release balloons to float around uncontrolled and without notice at altitudes where airliners fly. When I was in grad school, my advisor had a project where he used a tethered balloon to measure temperature inversions at night some distance S.W. of the Atlanta airport. The technician tried to skim some fluff off the tether and accidentally severed it. The balloon disappeared into the night sky, going where we did not know. He had to notify the airport that a balloon was loose somewhere in their general vicinity. They were not amused. Fortunately the balloon was not designed for high altitudes, so it split and the instrument package fell back to the ground.

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  52. Holly said on February 16, 2023 at 11:40 pm

    This is how bad the gun situation is. My daughter was trying to get my granddaughter her backpack for school this year. Bulletproof. My granddaughter is 8. And what is worse is that they do make them for grade school age kids

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  53. basset said on February 16, 2023 at 11:57 pm

    MarkP@44, I can relate to that… similar activities for me at, it looks like, about the same time, and I still have my single-shot bolt-action Springfield 22, I believe a 120A, in nonworking condition in the back of my gun locker.

    Also in the collection and behind a stout lock is a Remington 12CS pump chambered in 22 Special, a now rare and relatively expensive round, which Mrs. B’s dad, soon to turn 98, swapped a goat and cart for when he was fifteen. There are stories of it being used to poach deer up in Newaygo County during hard times, surely those aren’t true though.

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  54. LAMary said on February 17, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    More thoughts and prayers requested for six people shot and killed in a small town in Mississippi. Get thinking and praying, everybody. Apparently it’s the only thing we can do.

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  55. Dave said on February 17, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    Shootings and more shootings, Indianapolis has so many, today at a mall, Castleton Square, where the local Apple store is, a shooting with one person shot, another shooting there last month, killing one teenager, a two year old who got a gun and shot himself in the hand (imagine what that does to a tyke’s hand), and a man and woman shot dead on the southwest side of Indy, and I believe one more. That’s just in the last twenty-four hours and there are stories like that almost every single day. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t seem to matter, let’s focus on issues that wave red meat in front of the folks, cultural issues that people don’t even think about until somebody stirs them up.

    I grew up with guns around and shot them myself but I haven’t shot a gun in probably forty years. My brother had a .44 magnum, which he was inspired to purchase directly because of Dirty Harry movies and I shot it a good number of times. Yep, a lot of power, but I never really took to it and certainly don’t care anything about it now.

    There’s a columnist in the Tampa Bay Times who did the Little Library thing, here’s a link: https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/humor/stephaniehayes/s-2778527

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  56. Julie Robinson said on February 17, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    And locally, Mom & Dad go grocery store after supper, leaving 16 yo in charge of brothers ages 3 and 6. Three yo goes to Mom & Dad’s bedroom, finds gun in bedside table, kills himself. Another gun on top of refrigerator, gun sage inoperable. Dad was a corrections officer.

    In much happier news, Mom is home from the hospital with a clean bill of health, having wowed the nurses with her Sudoku skills, but no explanation of her symptoms.

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  57. Dexter Friend said on February 18, 2023 at 4:04 am

    Lying chickenshits Laura, Tucker, Sean, perpetuating lies as they knew Joe had won.
    Joe Scarborough and Jon Meacham always talk of this great American experiment called democracy.
    It’s teetering on the edge.

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  58. alex said on February 18, 2023 at 11:39 am

    On Facebook one time there was a photo of a Little Free XXX Library in Rogers Park in Chicago and I found this hysterically funny.

    I follow a local horticulturist group on Facebook and the Little Free Library concept has been expanded to include outdoor boxes to share cuttings, seedlings, etc. and facilitate plant swaps.

    Dex, I can’t see Fox using the “Tucker Carlson defense” this time around when his own e-mails show that he knew what he was doing, as well as those of the rest of the hosts and producers and Rupert Murdoch himself. I just hope this whole imbroglio penetrates the consciousness of the people who’ve been duped and disrespected by the whole lot of ’em.

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  59. LindaG said on February 18, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    Read about the Indy Castleton shooting in the IndyStar on-line. Not one word in today’s Journal-Gazette that I can find. Didn’t see/hear anything on the local “news,” but I’m not generally awake for the 11 p.m. “news.”

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  60. Sherri said on February 18, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    Fox has trained their audience to expect lies, to prefer lies, so if they don’t be their lies from Fox, they’ll just turn elsewhere. That’s what the Fox people knew, and that was their dilemma.

    It’s the same dilemma facing the GOP candidates trying to sell Trumpism without the Trumpiness, without the ugly parts that make decent people uncomfortable. It’s the Trumpiness that motivates and energizes the base to show up and vote, not the policies, such as they are.

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  61. diane said on February 18, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    I think Sherri is exactly right. The Trumpers love the permission to be violent and to be racist, etc. Policy is relevant only to the extent it can be used to establish their superiority and to own the libs.
    I do think everything always comes down to big money though and the only hope is that the very wealthy start to realize that the long term cost of this is ultimately going to impact them and that maybe they can find a better way to stave off tax increases.

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  62. Sherri said on February 18, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    I think too many rich people are perfectly happy with feudalism.

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  63. Sherri said on February 18, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    As a liberal, a coast-dwelling elite no less, I feel so owned by the fact that my state of birth has terrible health, low health insurance coverage, and terrible credit scores because they would accept Medicaid expansion.


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  64. alex said on February 18, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Fox has willfully and maliciously destroyed the good name of legitimate news media, but paid no penalty for it. So as the single biggest propagator of fake news (along with the “fake news” myth) Fox may just finally be getting its just deserts. Let us pray.

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  65. Deborah said on February 19, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Amen, Alex.

    We’ve been in So CA for a couple of days. We leave Tuesday. It’s been a little cooler than we expected, but very pleasant.

    Back to NM for a few days then back to Chicago.

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  66. Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    I’ll dance a jig in the street if Dominion succeeds against Fox, but the appeals and new trials will continue long after that bastard Australian immigrant is pushing up daisies. As several have noted above, it’s pretty clear Fox viewers have zero interest in truth or honesty. They want their fears crystallized and fed back to them. Fox is their fentanyl.

    Efforts to bring accountability to Fox are almost impossible. Many of its programs lack “real” advertisers, relying on the crackhead pillow guy, erectile dysfunction drugs and other low-rent purchasers, but the network brings in a shit ton of cash from cable and satellite carrying fees. That’s where the real profits are generated. I’ve been writing to advertisers for years and rarely receive more than an occasional “thanks for writing” response. Turns out they are not the problem. It’s the carriers. But can you imagine the backlash if the Fox lie junkies lost their fix? Ugh.

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  67. alex said on February 19, 2023 at 9:16 pm

    A shout-out to Jeff Gill.

    Newark, Ohio, was mentioned on 60 Minutes tonight in an interesting segment about one of its native daughters, Julieanna Richardson:


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  68. Deborah said on February 20, 2023 at 1:25 am

    I keep seeing articles online about the woman who bumped into the Jeff Koons balloon dog sculpture shattering it to the floor at some gallery somewhere, maybe Miami (?). Personally I would like to buy that woman a drink. Koons is one of my least favorite artists. Sure his balloon dogs and rabbits are cute but they’re not by any stretch of the imagination great art. And when he was married to Cicciolina and made those abominable life size pornographic ceramic sculptures of him having sex with her, those are just stupid. In my mind, he’s a hack. I wonder if the shattering incident was staged for publicity.

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  69. Dexter Friend said on February 20, 2023 at 4:17 am

    On Saturday my old buddy in Connecticut wrote than strange green greasy droplets were falling from the sky, odorous and nasty, hitting lawns, cars, everything, and causing questions with no answers. He dismissed that it was fallout from the massive vinyl chloride train disaster in New Palestine, OH. I wonder….

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  70. ROGirl said on February 20, 2023 at 7:39 am

    Now that the Fox emails about their real-time knowledge that tubby lost to Biden, does anyone think that the election deniers will give any credence to the revelations? Oh dear lord, not bloody likely.

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  71. Jeff Gill said on February 20, 2023 at 8:20 am

    Hear hear for Julieanna, doing some remarkable work.

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  72. ROGirl said on February 20, 2023 at 8:26 am

    Correction: now that the emails… have been made public,

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