Just Another Day in America

I hesitated to write about the latest mass shooting, since I hadn’t even gotten around to writing about the one here just last week,  about which I felt more qualified to comment.  I guess the rule ought to be not to wait, because before you ever hit “publish” there will probably be a new one, perhaps suited to a timely update.  I suppose if I dropped every other subject and wrote exclusively about mass slaughter, I’d have a fresh topic every other day, but why?  Each one is different, but in the end they are all the same.

An unbalanced young white male with astonishingly easy access to a military-grade arsenal shoots up a bunch of people, the media swoop in, tearful survivors bemoan the senseless deaths, and we do absolutely nothing about it.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Despite the unusually high number killed, and the fact that they were mostly children who lived in a posh suburb, I don’t expect Newtown to be any different.  Sure enough, Louis Gohmert took to the airwaves with the helpful suggestion that the teacher ought to have pulled her M4 out of the chalk tray and blown the shooter’s head off.  Seriously.

In a vain attempt to foster a conversation about what to any functioning democracy would be a pressing issue, Meet the Press contacted 31 pro-gun US Senators and all declined to appear, proving that, for all their empty bluster, gun nuts are too chicken to face David Gregory, who is approximately the journalistic equivalent of a golden retriever.  Dowdy cocktailhag Dianne Feinstein boldly promised to introduce gun control legislation on day one of the next Congress, but anyone who thinks such a thing would ever pass the House probably also still puts out cookies for Santa.

In the end, such gestures prove less than empty; gun nuts respond by buying yet more, and more terrifying, guns, and those lush profits thus created are immediately funneled back to the NRA and ALEC, which continue to push for weaker laws and more gun ownership.  The vicious cycle is well-established;  even the vaguest hint at restricting, say, people with criminal backgrounds or mental illness from buying assault rifles leads immediately to a bonanza of sales, negating the value of any law going forward.

Although gun ownership has been shrinking for decades in the wider populace, those who do own guns tend to own many of them, a deranged fetish that has been proven to be hazardous to one’s health, as the shooter’s survivalist mother found out, but hard facts cannot penetrate their paranoia.  Worse, they are awash in a culture of persecution fantasies and apocalyptic fever dreams, living in fear of things deeply unlikely to happen.

It is this dangerous mental state, relentlessly stoked by the gun lobby and right-wing politicians, that makes it unsurprising, if infuriating, that White House spokesman Jay Carney airily dismissed any notion that this particular tragedy, like all others before and presumably those to come, would be the right time to talk about gun control.  Carney is acutely aware that his boss, for reasons too numerous to mention, is in no position to advance meaningful restrictions on guns.  Half of Republicans don’t even think he was legitimately elected, and most will greet any such proposal as confirmation of years of NRA fearmongering.  Obama has already set a record for Presidential death threats while loosening gun laws.  Were he to attempt to actually tighten them, he could look forward to spending his second term under virtual house arrest.

In short, we have come to a point in this country of just leaving the barn door open, since the horses left so long ago.  People who think that they will soon need to defend themselves against government tyranny and are stupid enough to think they stand an ice cube’s chance in hell against the world’s largest and most lethal military are deluded, yes, but they seem to comprise a plurality of armed Americans.  That’s the problem.  In an effort to make a fast buck, the gun industry has created a monster, and no number of slaughtered innocents will ever satisfy it.

32 Comments

  1. Ché Pasa says:

    Yup. “Just another day in America.” Delusions everywhere. Denial. Despair.

    The Monster has been loose for way too long, and everyone who might do something about it are too frightened of the Monster to do anything but repeat old nostrums and incantations. “We must come together, we must increase security, we must defend against tyranny…”

    Most of all, we must not talk about it in front of the Monster…

    • cocktailhag says:

      I just don’t think this genie is ever going back in the bottle; sad but true. My entire adult life has been lived in a downward-spiralling culture, but this is perhaps the most odious part of that.
      I mean, it’s bad enough to be so selfish and materialistic, but really… Now we torture, bomb, maim, and kill, as if by birthright, to boot. I hope we’re exceptional.

      • Ché Pasa says:

        “My entire adult life…”

        I’m so old, I remember a time when this sort of shit wasn’t happening on a routine basis, just women getting chopped up periodically and scattered about and various bushy-haired men slaughtering various others…

        It was an idyllic time. The only thing we feared in school was nuclear annihilation, you know, instant incineration, which we were shown in movies and film strips in gory detail at least once a year at assemblies in the cafetorium. No one would think of shooting up a school in those days. There were no guards, no camera surveillance, not even any fencing on the street side of the schools. There were neither prohibitions on access nor fears of would-be warriors running amok in the classrooms or on the schoolyards.

        And then there was Austin… which seemed completely aberrational at the time. Bizarre. Wild. Insane.

        I’ve seen plenty of so-called “experts” claim that nothing like Newtown has ever happened before. BS. Yes it has. Repeatedly. There were two incidents in California I recall with a kind of sickened horror, both at elementary schools named “Cleveland,” one in San Diego in 1979, and another in Stockton in 1989. And I’m sure there have been more.

        It’s ingrained. It has been the New Normal for decades.

        “Birthright.”

        The price we pay for Freedom. So they tell us.

  2. Julie says:

    So lets say someone passes some massive gun restriction laws tomorrow. And lets overlook for the moment that there’s already nearly one gun for every ‘Merkan out there already.

    America is an ultra-violent country where we are told in every movie, TV episode, and military action that violence is the way to solve problems. Violence is even inserted into movies where it isn’t needed because, I suspect, the producers/directors think that the audience needs to “entertained”. I didn’t see anyone else but myself notice that in “The Descendents”, a grown man commits felony assault against a teenager for the “crime” of an immature comment – in fact, it got quite the laugh.

    I don’t think the damage at this point is undoable.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I wish I disagreed, but as I suspect you detected I do think you’re right. Watch a few taser videos on youtube, and the lines to see torture porn like Zero Dark Thirty, and it’s pretty unnecessary to try to read the tea leaves. In the unlikely event that things ever get better, they clearly will have to get much worse first.
      We’re on a bad road with no readily apparent exits.

    • Anonymous says:

      You echo my concerns as well, and interestingly enough, I had the same reaction/response to the Grandfather character punching the stoner teen in the “Descendents” as you did, but also got quite the big yuck at the theatre.

      We are a country now so thoroughly steeped in violence & guns that it’s hard to imagine how we turn the clock back, sad to say.

      That said, I happened to be visiting my Tea Party relatives this past weekend, and *they* were saying that we needed stricter gun control laws. Stay tuned, though, and I can update later as to whether Rush & Glenn manage to manipulate them into changing their minds. I’m not holding my breath that they’ll hold that thought.

      • cocktailhag says:

        These people do, and think, just as they’re told, and so far no one on the right has said anything remotely sane yet. Give Frank Luntz a day or two, and the teabaggers will be right back on board.

        • RUKidding says:

          Yes, sadly I think that’s what’ll happen. That was me doing the “Anonymous” post above by accident.

          My jaw dropped open when my teabag sis started raving on about gun restrictions! Could. Not. Believe. My. Ears.

          Wonders never cease, but sadly I guess give her a few more days before her views revert back to “Need More Guns.” She is addicted to Rush & Glenn, so go figure.

          • cocktailhag says:

            That reminds me. By now Media Matters should have sussed out the early talking points; guess I ought to have a look.
            (Ah, we all have our blogging boo-boos…)

  3. meremark says:

    -

    It’s complicated complex and difficult to fathom and understand. The following is dubious, sort of, but an interesting proposition in that if it’s true the answer is no and if it’s false the answer is no. Just saying, I’m aware in-advance what this sounds like, (unbelievable), yet on-balance, truth sounds the same way.

    Pt.1) The guns’n'violence fetishists are NOT “a plurality,” IMO, CH, although it is understandable when someone carries that over-estimate impression since ‘they’ play one on TV, all over TV all the time.

    Pt.2) Aug. 1, 1966 — “former Marine who killed 13 people and wounded 32 others in a shooting rampage.” In a way that’s the first of the ‘rampages’ (sprees?) in the category. Read the story at the link; my only mention here is the similar ‘body count.’

    Pt.3) This is the dubious part. Internet talk (rumor?) says Russia Intelligence Agency files have mama Lanza (deceased) listed as CIA – DARPA employee, for some years. If so, it might explain a couple of curious observations: she had expensive property ($1.6 million? home, reportedly) and pricey style without visibly obvious means of support, and neighbors and community say nobody knew her or what she did. Going further (into ‘reports’), some who claim to know state that the guns involved she had son ‘stole’ are standard CIA-issue, for its peeps.
    That sort of ‘job’ for her could almost make sense of other weirdnesses about her (reported), clearly not a soccer mom or civic socialite.
    If true, CIA won’t comment. If false, CIA won’t comment. Does that mean wild-ass guessing and supposition is reasonable, fair sauce?

    -

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, I do believe that much of the mystery lies with the Lanza woman; here’s hoping we find out more.
      BTW…. In today’s Oregonian, Steve Duin reports attending a gun show, and 100% of the people he encounters are paranoid, would-be militia members. Could be sampling bias, but….

    • Anonymous says:

      One does have to really wonder what the heck was going on with Mama Lanza, and that’s for darn sure. At this point, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get the real skinny on that one.

      I hadn’t yet heard about the possible CIA connection. Who knows? Anything is possible, but it does seem amazing & strange & irresponsible (to say the very least) that she had all these survivalist weapons just laying around with a distrubed (or whatever …) young son.

      WTF?? Very odd, indeed. Of course, the neighbors are predictably saying how they “seemed nice.” But how did Mrs. Lanza come to be living in such an expensive property, esp after the 2008 crash? Something’s not adding up.

  4. dirigo says:

    Oh Hag, what if one doesn’t believe in or even want “second amendment rights” any fucking way? I mean, can’t I cherry-pick a bit, leave the second for the first, so I can just keep shooting my mouth off 24-7 instead of my Glock?

    On the other hand, arming principals, teachers, custodians, and if necessary, substitute teachers, sounds like a great idea, one that’s way overdue. After all, the days of the little red school house are so 20th century.

    • cocktailhag says:

      I for one have never felt safer with a gun around; quite the opposite. Statistics back me up on this.

      • dirigo says:

        Sandbags around the flagpoles would be a nice touch.

        And, taking a page from the Newt Gingrich handbook on how to learn kids how to work, it’d be good to have pupils doing part time as janitors, armed with derringers at least. Once they can handle a bigger broom they can also carry a bigger piece.

        • dirigo says:

          This is pretty simple when you push aside the gross demagoguery about “gun rights.”

          I met a new nephew-in-law over the weekend, just to spend some quality time with him and a niece. The young man is a special forces marine of recent vintage, and he cut to the chase right away as he touched on this disaster. He said, simply, the line between weapons designed to kill people – defacto military weapons – and those which might legitimately be regarded as sufficient to defend a home (or bring down a charging grizzly headed for the family cooler with the burgers in it) is pretty clear on technical grounds. As a decorated combat veteran, he also made a strong statement in support of proper background checks for anyone to purchase any weapon, and appeared to know that his former authorized expertise in weapons, and experience with them, did not give him the right to stock a personal, military-style arsenal amidst or among family members.

          This from a recent veteran.

          Thank you

          • dirigo says:

            Dark and cold we may be, but this
            Is no winter now. The frozen misery
            Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move;
            The thunder is the thunder of the floes,
            The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
            Thank God the time is now when wrong
            Comes up to face us everywhere,
            Never to leave us until we take
            The longest stride of soul we ever took.
            Affairs are now soul-size.
            The enterprise
            Is exploration into God.
            Where are you making for? It takes
            So many thousand years to wake,
            But will you wake for pity’s sake?

            – A Sleep of Prisoners
            – Christopher Fry

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEMw9qgQ-j0

          • cocktailhag says:

            I’ve heard similar comments from veterans on Ed’s radio show today. They also have, shall we say, a somewhat more realistic assessment of how effective one’s home arsenal would be against the US military.
            About like Wile E. Coyote vs. the boulder.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Ah, Newt. Has he offered any priceless pearls of wisdom about all this?

  5. mikeinportc says:

    Ah, Louis Gohmert. Still trying to unseat Virginia Fox, from the Dumbest-M<ember-of-Congress title . A couple school districts south of here, in Pennsyltuckey, are responding by arming school cops . [Ed. note : They have cops in the schools ?!]

    I do think it is the culture overall, but when the products of that culture can easily arm-up, and indulge their deranged impulses ……..
    One thing I’m curious about, how many of these…people had the guns all along , and then went nuts (Jiverly Wong, for ex.), and how many went out and got the guns after deciding to kill? If the latter is in the majority , then most of these incidents are easily preventable .

    In my experience, meremark is correct on point #1. I, and almost everyone I know , grew up with and around guns . If you are used to it, the novelty, and the idea of power in your hands isn’t there. ( & I think that might be part of it with the rampagers.) It’s just a another tool . A dangerous one , (like a chainsaw), but just a tool. Only one person I know , a friend of my father’s , has black-helicopters-from-the-Kenyan-Socialist attitude, and even he doesn’t have the “violence-fetish”.

    One thing that seems to be missing , in almost all venues , is the US government role in promoting violence. Along with glorifying their own violence, committed all over the world , they’ve been working here at home, for a long time, to condition us, especially young males, to accept, and be willing to commit violence . In WWII, the firing rate , that is the % willing fire at an enemy soldier (except in dire , you-or-me situations) was 15% ! . Even when firing, the tendency was to shoot anywhere but at the guy on the other side. The generals were aghast. Since then , they’ve been working, successfully, to increase that number. Now it’s almost 100% . Working with, promoting, and advertising movies,TV shows,books, video games, sporting events, air shows , etc. is part of that .
    Thinking of it in that context, I couldn’t stomach listening to Obama , and the other pols and pundits, this time , or last year , in Arizona. Having the leading purveyor of violence ( & murdered children) on the planet, stand up there, and decry violence, the waste of life, and state that we can’t tolerate this anymore, is obscene. That also goes for all the others that support it, enable it, and even insist upon it. If by some miracle, he did stop, they’d be screaming with outrage . ( Except J. Boehner & L.Graham – they’d cry) How about starting at the top?

    • cocktailhag says:

      David Sirota wrote a book about this, which I have yet to read, regarding the military’s relationship with Hollywood in the post-Vietnam era. His thesis closely tracks yours. I would add that it’s gotten almost exponentially worse since 9/11; we glorify violence 350 or so days a year, and bemoan it on the other days, right after the latest mass shooting. Pathetic, but true.

  6. mikeinportc says:

    Forgot one point . When I was 16, my brother and I went to visit my grandparents in Casa Grande ,AZ. That town, and the two nearby , Coolidge and Francisco Grande, had ~10,00 pop. each, if I remember correctly . At the time, Arizona had ( & still does?) the most permissive gun laws, and liquor laws, in the country. No concealed weapons laws, and you could buy hard liquor just about anywhere , including the neighborhood grocery store. Just about everybody was packing, or had something close by . The worry of what the other person might do, and the distance/response-time factor, required it. My grandfather had one under the seat of his truck, in the bedroom closet, and behind the bar, ( He always wanted one, so when he retired…), and made sure I knew where they were.
    In the short time we were there, there were more shootings in those three little towns, than here ( 4 counties with ~ 10x the pop.) in ten years ( 20?) . The If-everybody=is-armed-this-won’t-happen theory doesn’t seem to work that way

    • cocktailhag says:

      Of course. Pretzel logic always leads back to square one. That’s one reason I’ve always feared small towns; turns out my fears are well-founded.

      • mikeinportc says:

        :) )) I’d think the noise, funny-smelling air,lack of darkness , and sheer volume of irritating humans, elbow-to-elbow , would make more city people go postal , but …… things don’t always go as expected.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Isolation and economic decline do a lot of awful things; you should have heard the hair-raising tales of social pathologies that plagued Harney County, Oregon, where my dad served as DA.

  7. mikeinportc says:

    And then there’s Dianne Feinstein. Last I knew, her husband is on the boards of Pentagon contractors, and presumably profits from that. The good senator seems never have met a weapons program, weapons sale, surveillance program,assassination program, or war, that she didn’t like. Her domestic efforts would have more credibility if she wasn’t so gung-ho about killing elsewhere.

    • cocktailhag says:

      She always likes to remind people of the murders of Milk and Moscone that basically launched her political career, probably because it was almost 30 years ago, and she’s done squat since.

  8. RUKidding says:

    It does seem like Pandora’s box is well & truly opened. I don’t know how we get it even partially closed.

    Judging from the immediate & large response from gun nuts of all stripes all calling for even MOAR GUNZ STAT! it’s hard to see how anything sane or sensible will ever happen.

    Good luck to us all.

    Last night I heard a call-in radio show on NPR out of San Francisco. One caller said words to the effect of: I’m tired having to kow-tow to 2nd Amend-fetishist gun-rights people. What about *MY* right to safety? Why do I have to live in fear of some gun fetishist shooting me because they have such ready access to fire arms, and why should *I* have to arm myself “against them”?

    Good question. Somehow the wingnut gun nuts’ rights prevail over anyone else’s these days (or really: the GREED of the Gun/Ammo Industry trumps all).

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yes, freedom clearly means different things to different people.
      Economic freedom means unchecked exploitation of labor and resources.
      Religious freedom means everyone is forced to believe the same wacky fairy tales you do.
      No surprise that gun freedom means making everyone’s world as insecure as your own is.

  9. meremark says:

    -

    Obama memo’d his Admin peeps (according to a report) somehow somewhere some one of them should ‘come up with an idea to undo the voodoo that guns do.’

    Still, no-effing, no-eye deer. Here’s one, perhaps novel:

    Cut spending on taxpayer-paid ‘public’ guns. Meaning: cops don’t get guns, FBI don’t get guns, State Dept don’t get guns, CIA don’t get guns, etc don’t get guns. Public employment means giving up one’s guns … but keep the retirement bennies — a strong enticement.

    Anywhere public dollars buy guns for ‘authority’ STOP SPENDING the Public Money on guns.

    Then ALL remaining guns are privately-owned guns.

    That’s the idea. Rather radical. At first glance one’s immediate sense is that it would never work, it’s an ‘impossible’ idea. However, there is a ‘problem’ with ready dismissal of the idea: Everyone takes a second glance, and a third …. One glance at it isn’t enough.

    Somewhere in the idea is a viral meme of the mind which keeps returning to think about it.

    I haven’t figured out what the ‘hook’ is; what in it sounds worthy. Only I can’t stop thinking about it.

    -